Razer Blade 17 (2021) Review - 1080p 360Hz Gaming Laptop

Razer are well known for their exceptional displays, and the 2021 iteration of the laptop is no different. Although the 17.3-inch screen means the laptop is a bit less portable, for us the size increase over the 15.6-inch version is worth it for the greater immersion it brings during gaming, not to mention greater room for any other general browsing or work tasks you might do on it. Ultimately though this is a personal choice, and the Razer Blade 15 FHD 360Hz offers exactly the same laptop but with a more compact size, and for around $200 cheaper. You can also find a variation of the 15.6” laptop with the more powerful Intel i7-11800H CPU if this is a deciding factor for you.

Some might question whether they’d be better going with a 1440p resolution display on a 17 inch sized screen, and there’s no doubt that you will notice a difference between the resolutions, however when you consider the relative size of the screen compared to a desktop monitor, it’s still not particularly big, and we think 1080p does the job just fine.

If you’re a competitive focused gamer, chances are that you’ll always be running 1080p resolution in your game settings anyway to maximize those FPS, and this is the sort of customer who the 360Hz refresh rate aims to win over. As stated, this is the highest refresh rate you can get on a laptop screen at the time of writing and really is quite impressive from a technological standpoint.

That being said, the one drawback you should be aware of for this display is the response time: grey-to-grey you can expect to see a response time of around 15ms, which whilst better than most gaming laptops, may put off competitive gamers used to 1ms desktop monitors.

Color Gamut

Gamut B173HAN05.4 1 2021 05 26 07 16 120cdm² D6500 2.2 F S XYZLUTMTX

Razer claims that the color gamut of this display covers 100% of the sRGB and Adobe RGB space. As you can see from the image above, we recorded a gamut coverage of 97.2% of the sRGB spectrum which equates to a gamut volume of 109.3% of the sRGB space – not quite 100% but close enough for sRGB work and still great for a gaming laptop.

Adobe RGB and DCI P3 results were both well below 100% coverage, though this isn’t really surprising: if you want a color space that covers these then a gaming-focused laptop isn’t your best port of call.

Color Accuracy

Calibration and profiling complete

Color accuracy out of the box shows an average delta of 1.34, which is a respectable level of variance. White point is good, being fairly close to the ideal. Black depth is bordering on very good for an IPS panel, with quite a good contrast ratio (an IPS monitor will usually only push a thousand to one).

After testing it out of the box we quickly calibrated the monitor using Display CAL. After calibration, the results were greatly improved. The white point became near enough perfect. Contrast took a small dip, but was still good. The average delta reached 0.24 which is incredibly accurate, making it suitable for color-accurate work in the sRGB space.

All-in-all – whilst you will get better results if you calibrate the display like we did – users should find the out-of-the-box settings perfectly adequate even for some light editing, definitely for gaming purposes.

Panel Uniformity

uniformity test

For all laptops, we review we do a panel uniformity test after their calibration which tests for both luminance and color accuracy. We start on the centremost point as a reference and then test all the other sections of the screen (25 in total) to see how they compare.

Generally, any average color variation under 1.00 is good and shows up as green in the image below, though the average consumer won’t be able to tell much difference below 3.00. Visual editors who work with color however may have a keener eye.

As you can see in the image above the majority of the panel displayed good uniformity, with the exception of the left-hand side. It’s common that one or more edges of the screen show some variation. The only section that really showed substantial deviation was the one in the top left corner, with an average color variation of 2.73, which is bordering on noticeable even to the untrained eye. That being said, the panel uniformity, on the whole, was pretty good, and you’d only potentially notice a difference if you were doing color grading or other color-related workflows on the screen, but even then it would likely suffice for most uses. For gamers, this panel uniformity is completely fine, though obviously, results may vary on different individual laptops.

Brightness

As always we like to finish our color accuracy testing by running a quick luminance testing. On this particular laptop, we have a maximum of 320.30 cd/m² and a minimum of 14.87 cd/m² which is fairly in keeping with the claims made by Razer and generally a respectable range of brightness. For daytime viewing, we always recommend matching the brightness to 120 cd/m² which equates to a brightness setting of 37% under the brightness controls for this laptop.

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