Razer Blade 2014, 3 years later: A Retrospective

Discussion in 'Razer' started by human_aft3r_all, May 19, 2017.

  1. human_aft3r_all

    human_aft3r_all Notebook Consultant

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    Back in 2014 I scoured this forum to figure out what laptop I wanted to get after my MSI GS17 got burgled from my apartment. At the time, the refresh of the Razer Blade seemed to fix a lot of problems with the original and I was really excited to get it. Since not a lot has changed with the Blade 14, if anyone is looking to buy now some of my experience with this aging machine might help you, a lot of things went wrong that I never expected.

    Day 1 -

    Wow- the screen looks great! Wait, what's that speckly texture behind flat light colors...? I have never seen this on my previous laptops. Is this common? Something to do with the higher resolution? To this day I am not sure why there is this papery texture on the backlight of this computer, it makes it really hard to do detailed graphics work and I hate it.

    6 Months -

    The razer blade is a rock solid computer that gets good battery life and plays games well. I finally feel like I have a solid machine I can rely on, and not a fragile collection of computer parts in a plastic case where I'm waiting for everything to go wrong

    (almost) 1 year -

    Every time I shut down my computer it reboots or fails to shut down. So when I put it in my backpack I pull it out an hour later it has been baking in its own heat. Eventually I figured out a weird dance of trying to hold the button the right amount of time and pressing it again to make it actually shut off because "shut down" in windows just resets it. Upgrading to Windows 10 didn't have any effect on this.

    The heat discolored blotches on my LCD panel above the 'hot zone' area where the CPU and GPU area. Razer agreed to fix it under warranty, I also asked them about the speckled paper texture, they didn't know what I was talking about.

    They sent me back a new top panel with a defective LCD, it had a whole column failing in the backlight, so I sent it back and they sent me back a working LCD. Basically nothing was different except the splotch was gone and now the hinge is too tight and does not "one finger open" anymore.

    2 years -

    My razer blade is my main daily driver and serves me pretty well, but suddenly all keyboard backlighting has failed. Warranty is out.

    3 years (present day) -

    The battery no longer charges, the blotches are back, and the machine regularly heats up to the point that the glue has dissolved on the two rubber strip feet. One strip is completely gone, the second is peeling with no obvious way to reattach it. Razer support refuses to sell me a replacement battery but has confirmed the battery has failed. The system occasionally shuts off for no reason. I am constantly anxious that it will completely fail or heat will permanently damage it. All of the screws on the bottom are loose and I don't have torx bits so I try not to lose them when they fall out.

    For comparison, my partner's macbook of nearly the same age has kept its rubber feet and is in good overall health. I suspect my razer blade is terminal, there are very few options for fixing it. Maybe I can get a gray market battery for $200 or so? 8 GB of RAM is way too constricting for my work, Photoshop struggles. Games still work ok, I can get playable framerates from PUBG, Overwatch is fine.


    Maybe some of this is useful to you, but I am curious about anyone elses experiences. Were any of these parts improved in future iterations? Anyone had similar problems? I feel like my computer is terminal, and it would take serious convincing to get me to buy such a disposable machine again.
     
    SimplyJ3sse likes this.
  2. kent1146

    kent1146 Notebook Prophet

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    Sorry to hear that you've had problems. Honestly, your stories about Razer support are very similar to other people's stories.

    It's also not surprising that you had heat-related issues. The Razer blade packs a bunch of high-hat generating parts in a very tight space.

    If you're looking for a replacement, and didn't have a great experience with Razer, then don't buy another Razer blade. Not much at all has changed about the design... They just swapped out some parts over the years (CPU, GPU, LCD panel). I'd actually recommend you check out the Alienware 13. It's a bit larger than a Razer blade. But it's also built like a tank, using steel & magnesium for the frame, and carbon-fiber plastics for the panel. Ridiculously strong materials.

    Aaaand, the Alienware 13 has an OLED panel. That thing... Oh my god... That panel is amazing. Super rich colors and black levels. That panel has >100% sRGB and 93% Adobe RGB color gamut.... In a 13" laptop... That games like a beast...

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  3. don_svetlio

    don_svetlio Notebook Virtuoso

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    Sadly, these kinds of stories are all too common. Hell, 3 years of life on a Blade 14 is rarer than you'd think. Most die within 2 years of use.
     
  4. human_aft3r_all

    human_aft3r_all Notebook Consultant

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    I would have never considered an Alienware, thanks for the tip. The latest one is probably within my threshold for acceptable gamer trash aesthetic.
     
  5. kent1146

    kent1146 Notebook Prophet

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    Yup, totally understand the desire to avoid leet-gamer bling on a laptop. This is especially true for laptop that you also use for work, in a professional office environment.

    The other thin-and-light gaming laptop I'd recommend you consider is the Dell XPS 15. It has a Geforce GTX 1050Ti GPU in it (as opposed to the GTX 1060 in the latest Razer Blade and Alienware 13). It's not as powerful as a 1060, but is still a very capable gaming GPU at 1080p resolutions. The added advantage is that the Dell XPS 15 has zero gamer-bling at all. Just aluminum exterior, carbon fiber interior, and plain white backlighting on the keyboard. Moat people could look at that laptop, and have absolutely no idea it can game. That can be a HUGE advantage when you're looking for a single laptop for use in office environments that can also run games when you crash in a hotel room at night.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  6. Eason

    Eason Notebook Deity

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    1050, not a 1050Ti. Significant difference! The XPS 15 will also require modification and tweaking to run games without VRM throttling.
     
  7. ryajso

    ryajso Notebook Consultant

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    Mine has been good for the past 3 years, not great. Screen is fine, keyboard is fine, battery failed but Razer replaced it under warranty and I got full capacity back which is neat. Unfortunately, the fans constantly scrape and grind even during idle, it's pretty annoying and for some reason Razer refuses to fix that. I even opened up the Blade myself but there are no physical obstructions, I can only assume the bearing/sleeve is shot. Other than that, the laptop has been pretty faultless, I do feel the 8GB ram limit in Lightroom/Photoshop as well though.

    My first Blade was the 2013 model, I had hell with that laptop; fans scraped, keyboard lights failed, battery failed, touchpad buttons broke all within a few months span. Luckily I purchased that model from a local retailer who gave me a full refund on special condition. I honestly regret buying the 2014 model, while I haven't had anything severe hit me, the laptop simply isn't put together as well as a simple Asus or Lenovo which probably would have better suited my needs since I mainly use the computer for rendering, converting and image work rather than gaming. And I don't mean physical construction, it is a delight to handle, but internally and mechanically, the laptop is subpar. Shocking that they have the audacity to charge over 3K here in Australia for one...
     
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