If you are a PC user and a DJ and/or Producer of Electronic Music you are probably in the minority in the world of here a Mac, there a Mac everywhere a Mac Mac. PC brands have been striving to be cool for years and it’s only in the last 5 to 6 years we have seen machines that are both sexy and powerful, case in point, the 2014 Razer Blade Pro 17” Laptop.
At their core Razer is company that makes high end gaming machines for dudes that drink more Mountain Dew than water, eat too many foil wrapped foods and will kick your ass in any first person shooter as if you were a 4-year-old child. In other words Razer is kind of like the Lamborghini of PC’s for very serious dudes who need extremely serious power and graphics.
Razer has also developed an audio division that is making some pretty solid headphones, both consumer and Pro DJ models. Check the Razer Adaro Pro DJ Model.
So what does this have to do with DJing and producing? It’s simple really, these machines are not only kick ass for gaming but they are great for DJing and producing on. While the Razer’s 2014 Blade Pro seems between two hardware generations it’s still pretty rock solid despite not changing much from 2013.
The 2014 Razer Blade Pro is a matte black and beautiful machine that is relatively slim for a computer of its size. Yes, it’s actually cool looking and you won’t be embarrassed pulling it out of your DJ bag. It almost looks like it would belong to some high tech Yakuza hacker type or a gamer that actually talks to girls.
The Blade Pro comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M that’s a bit faster than last year’s 765M, but not a huge difference. This is more for the gamers anyway, but if you happen to do both there are some little tweaks in the 2014 that you might notice. So how fast is it? The Blade Pro comes with Intel i7-4700HQ processor (the same as last year), 16GB of DDR3/1600 memory, and the option of a 128, 256, or 512GB solid-state drive which as you know is great on start up times and overall performance.
If you need to bring more music than the HD will allow you can also utilize the 3 USB 3.0 ports for your thumb drives or externals. For your external monitors it comes with HDMI port which is obviously key for producers in their home studio. The 17” monitor is so big that you really have a great two monitor set-up if you use an external.
There is also a headphone/microphone port, gigabit ethernet port and a wireless 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter and Bluetooth 4.0.
The Blade Pro’s battery can hold up for about 3 hours which is impressive for a laptop of this size and power. So if you have to unplug for that Burning Man super set you’ll be in good shape, at least as far as the battery life is concerned.
More Powerful = Heavy
You are rocking a huge laptop and there are pros and cons to consider here. The Blade Pro weighs about 6.6 pounds and is 7.6 with its power brick, so that’s not light by any stretch so you really have to look at the pros and cons here to make the right decision. Although it’s heavy the Blade is a lean 0.88 inches so it’s not that clunky compared to other 17 inch machines, and it’s close to a macbook pro size wise.
Pros: The screen is big and bright so it’s easy to see in dark clubs, it’s powerful and extremely fast so you don’t have to stress so much about it crunching while you are in the middle of a performance and you have a powerful portable studio with you at all times.
Cons: The weight and size can really be a bummer if you are used to carrying something smaller like a 13 inch or 11 inch laptop. The case while super bad ass looking gets smudged up rather easily so it needs to be constantly maintained, meaning wiped down ALL the time. It’s a little big for some DJ booths, so if you are playing smaller crappy rooms you might stick to the CDJs and your USB sticks until you get bigger gigs.
The Keyboard = Tricked Out
Here’s where things get really interesting and you might love this or hate this depending on your style. The mouse track pad is not in front of the keyboard but is to the immediate right. This is weird but you really get used to it fast. It’s also not just a track pad but also a fully functioning lower rez mini touch screen display that is supplemented by 10 LDC pads. This technology is called “The Switchblade” and you can not only program/map the pads but you can also engage the screen for something else entirely like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. This can be handy if you for some reason want to be using social media during your set. There are some catches to this cool technology, first the screen is pretty low rez so don’t get too excited but for basic stuff like social media it’s fine. Second when it’s in Switchblade mode you can’t use the track pad and need an external mouse if you really want to capitalize on this mini dual screen mode. Another big plus is the very bright backlit keyboard, which is really handy in very dark clubs.
The Blade Pro is a powerful machine that can really be used as a fully functioning studio, DJ/Performance tool and of course for gaming. We ran every program we had on it: Traktor, Ableton and Flow and it ran incredibly well. The Blade Pro isn’t as fast as some of the super gaming machines, but the weight, aesthetics and slim profile make it a no brainer for the DJ/producer who wants to use a PC and expects top speeds and stability. Razer is poised to make some big moves in the world of EDM production as well, check out their first major project with Afrojack.