Hands-on with the 17-inch Razer Blade Pro gaming laptop

Razer Blade Pro

Razer went all-out with the design of its new 17-inch Razer Blade Pro gaming laptop. I went to the Razer office in San Francisco to get a hands-on look at the machine that the company calls the “desktop in your laptop.”

Desktop replacements are popular now with the availability of the Nvidia Pascal-based graphics chips, which have performance on-par with bigger machines and low power consumption as well. Razer is reaching for the no-compromise laptop, one with no tech trade-offs and no price limits (it’s $3,700). What you start asking when you get this kind of machine, with such a full 4K screen, is why would I need a desktop? I got a good look at the machine yesterday at a Razer press event, and it’s clear that we are near the day where desktops and laptops are more about a usage choice – whether you want to be mobile, or whether you want to have multiple screens – than just the pure performance of the machine.

“This is now the king of the Razer Blade lineup,” said Kevin Sather, director of product marketing at Razer, in a press briefing. “It brings a whole different kind of performance over the prior generation.”

The impressive thing about this is that the machine isn’t a crazy beast that weighs a ton. Razer has adopted the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics chip for the Razer Blade Pro, which makes the machine more powerful than the 14-inch Razer Blade (with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060) and the 12.5-inch Razer Blade Stealth (with Intel integrated graphics). It’s a big step up from the 2015 model, and it completes the refresh cycle that began earlier this spring for the Blade laptops.

Razer Blade Pro

Above: Razer Blade Pro

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

While this is the high-end, fully loaded Razer laptop, it’s not an ungainly beast. It is only 0.88 inches thick, compared to 0.52 inches for the Razer Blade Stealth. It weighs 7.8 pounds. I picked it up, and it was pretty light. That’s pretty amazingly thin and light, given it has top-of-the-line graphics.

It has a 4K G-Sync IGZO screen with Razer Chroma support, which means that you can configure the keyboard and the trackpad to be any color you want. (You have a choice of 16 million colors). It has 32GB of dual-channel system memory (DDR4 at 2,133 MHz), which is the most memory that Razer ever put in a laptop, Sather said.

The machine has an Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad-Core Processor (2.6 GHz/3.5 GHz), 64-bit Windows 10, and storage options including 512 GB SSD Raid 0 (2x 256 GB PCIe M.2), a 1 TB SSD Raid 0 (2x 512 GB PCIe M.2), or a 2 TB SSD Raid 0 (2x 1 TB PCIe M.2. It has an anti-ghosting, individually backlit ultra-low-profile mechanical keyboard. There’s no hard drive in the device.

Razer Blade Pro keyboard

Above: Razer Blade Pro keyboard

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

I didn’t get to play game on it, but I did mess around with the keyboard, which has a low profile. The keys have a lot of spring in them and make a clickety sound that tells you that you’ve hit and press the key as far as it will go. I think it’s great that there’s no touchpad right in front of your wrists. Rather, it’s off to the side, which means there are fewer accidental brushes. It takes just 65 grams of pressure to activate the keys. The benefit of having the low-profile keyboard is that the machine becomes a lot thinner. Once again, this has to work really well if you’re going to replace your desktop with a laptop. And it does.

“We tasked our engineers to create the world’s thinnest mechanical switch on the keyboard,” Sather said. “We wanted the tactile feel of the mechanical keyboard without sacrificing the form factor.”

Razer has been able to pack a lot of processing power in part because the Nvidia chip is power efficient, built with a 16-nanometer manufacturing process that reduces the power consumption. You could theoretically attach this machine to a graphics accelerator, adding a second graphics card. But with the performance of a GTX 1080, you probably don’t need to do that, Sather said.

Sather said the machine is VR ready, allowing you to play with the HTC Vive VR headset or the Oculus Rift or OSVR headsets, Sather said. The machine should be more than powerful enough to run VR games at 90 frames per second, which is the recommended spec if you don’t want to get motion sickness.

“Earlier this year, it was hard to hit these specs,” Sather said.

The machine has three fans that circulate air in and out of the machine, as well as within. There are other thermal management techniques to keep the machine cool. It has a compact, flat 250-watt AC adapter. That adapter isn’t as ridiculously big as the power bricks that come with some of the big machines from past years. So Razer hasn’t simply taken the brick out of the laptop and put the brick in the cable.

The device has Thunderbolt 3 via USB-Type-C connectivity and a Killer Doubleshot pro as well. It has three USB 3.0 ports, a HDMI 2.0 port, a SD card reader. And it has a Killer Doubleshot Pro networking connection that prioritizes game traffic over other traffic. These are the kind of connectors and features you need if you are serious about replacing your main working machine in the house.

Razer Blade Pro circuit board.

Above: Razer Blade Pro circuit board.

I took a look at the circuit board, and it’s interesting to see that the three fans take up a huge amount of the space inside the housing. But those fans and the heat sinks attached to the main chips are key to making the device cool enough so that it gets a decent battery life and thin enough to have a profile that is less than an inch thick. When you get under the hood like this, you can see that Nvidia shouldn’t get all the credit for making a real gaming laptop possible. It takes some real engineering to make it happen, and Razer has made its own contributions to this dream of desktop replacement.

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Here’s the best way for cord cutters to watch football live this fall

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

71yh8nitejl._sl1000_So you’ve cut the cord, and you love your Roku, but you still want to watch “The Bachelor”, “Masterpiece Theatre”, and the Super Bowl in real time, on your big screen TV, in crystal clear 1080p. What do you do?

Well, you turn to technology that’s been around for decades, and pick up your own antenna. You’ll have access to major networks like CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS, and the like, alongside local stations, with comparable, if not superior picture quality to cable, and no regular fees.

The trouble with TV antennas

Which antenna you should buy, however, is a much more complicated question – especially if you’re looking at one of the many indoor, “set-top” antennas that are most common at retailers. Frankly, it’s one that can’t be answered with any succinctness, the way you might say “just buy an iPad” or “check out the XPS 13.”

That’s because the Earth and society exist. No one antenna will acquire every broadcast signal with perfect clarity for everyone on its own. At least, no affordable one you’d find in stores will.

Instead, it’s largely dependent on your location – if you have lots of hills, buildings in the way of your nearest towers, those’ll naturally interfere with the signal. The direction each broadcast tower is pointing plays a role, too, as does the weather, where the antenna is situated in your TV room (higher is always better), how your home is constructed, and a range of smaller factors you probably can’t account for.

Who this is for

Because of all this, my search to find a serviceable indoor antenna was highly subjective. I used each one on the eastern edge of New Jersey, around 10 miles from the nearest broadcast towers in Manhattan. So, not that far. I set everything up as high as I could in a window facing the most significant cluster of signals. That didn’t make them super elevated, but, as best I could tell, my path wasn’t especially obstructed.

Thus, this guide can only be directed toward a narrow niche of people. Generally speaking, it’s for those in urban, suburban, and/or mostly well-populated areas, who live relatively close to signal sources. That kind of environment is usually the most passable for indoor antennas, which I chose to focus on because, again, they’re the ones these users are most likely to come across when shopping. They’re also the ones most likely to have user feedback relative to their region, which isn’t insignificant during that process.

Aside from that, I’m presuming you want an antenna that’s easy to install and move around, and that you’d rather tape a lighter thing to a wall or window than mount a bulkier thing to a roof or attic. I focused on passive devices, too – stronger, amplified antennas can be helpful picking up more distant signals, but they aren’t always necessary for this use case, and they often aren’t the cure-all they’re advertised to be.

I also put some weight into aesthetics; if you’re really close to your towers, an old-school loop and rabbit ears could do the job, but it’ll be a little unsightly. Finally, I’m guessing you don’t want to break the bank, so I stuck to mostly affordable models.

More things to know

There are a few more miscellaneous notes to keep in mind before we jump into the picks. Let’s run through them quickly.

  • The number one thing you should do before buying an antenna is check out resources like TVFool and AntennaWeb. Neither are perfect, but they’ll give you mostly accurate representations of what the signal strength situation is like in your area, and they’ll help you see which channels you should expect to pull in reliably with a set-top antenna like the ones here.

  • Almost by nature, very few indoor-only antennas are capital-g Good. Compared to a heavier duty option that might go on a roof, they’ll attract less channels and suffer more broken signals. For instance, AntennaWeb claims 71 channels are available in my region. But even in that not-too-stressful environment, the most I got was 67 (with the Mohu Leaf 30). The majority settled in the mid-to-high 50s or low 60s. As we’ll see, my picks didn’t cause much harm with casual use, but that’s not to say you can’t do better. The idea here is to get enough, in a more convenient package.
  • It’s worth learning which networks near you broadcast in the UHF and VHF bands. The sites above can help you see the divide. Without getting too deep into the physics involved, most indoor antennas do much better with UHF, which most of the popular networks use. All of the models below were still able to pick VHF networks near me (like ABC, PBS, or the CW) without much issue, but it’s no coincidence that, on the few occasions I did experience breakup, those were usually the ones to have trouble. While most of the users this guide addresses should be fine, it’s something to be aware of.

  • Don’t put much stock an antenna’s advertised mile range – they’re best seen as broad generalizations that are quickly rendered obsolete by the many disruptive elements mentioned above. TVFool founder Andy Lee says: “There are no standards for how [manufacturers] specify the mileage rating, so usually if they have one, it’s just kind of a shot in the dark. It’s pretty random and doesn’t mean anything.”

Keeping all those disclaimers in mind, here are a few indoor antennas worth looking into:

Mohu Leaf


The Mohu Leaf is easily the most popular indoor antenna on the market, and while it’s far from perfect, it does enough to merit that fanfare for the kind of user being addressed here.

Again, it’s all relative, but the Leaf 30 was the strongest performer in my testing. As noted above, it pulled in the most channels, with the major networks all coming in at a crisp and smooth 1080p, the lesser networks being perfectly usable, and virtually no instances of stuttering. The only hang-ups were two quick instances of FOX taking an extra moment to load.

While some user reviews say otherwise, and while the nature of these things suggest it might have trouble picking up VHF band signals, the Leaf was just about ideal for me. That goes extra given that it’s $20 cheaper than the Eclipse model it most readily compares to.

The Leaf popularized the flat paper look you’ll find on many indoor antennas. For the most part, it’s aged well. Like the Eclipse, it’s omnidirectional, meaning you have less of a chance of needing to angle it toward a specific spot. (Though there’s a good chance you’ll still have to, and you’ll likely have a harder time picking up especially distant signals.) It’s not ugly, it doesn’t feel as cheap as some of its knockoffs, and it’s certainly not bulky. Its white half gives it a better chance of blending in with your wall, too.

It’s about par for the course in terms of setup, though – if you don’t want to rest it somewhere, you can use tape or put an included set of pins in its little cutouts to keep it stuck against the wall. Moving it around isn’t complicated, but it’s more of a process than the Eclipse as a result. I’m a little iffier on the included coax cable, too: It’s sturdy and detachable, but weightier and slightly shorter than the other options here.

One small detail I did appreciate about the Leaf, and all Mohu products in general, was its tidy packaging. Everything in the box is laid out clearly, and includes a simple directions pamphlet and a customer support number if you’re having trouble. You shouldn’t run into too many issues, though.

Mohu Leaf, $37, available at Amazon.

Winegard Flatwave


The Winegard Flatwave wins no points for originality, but as far as the Leaf-inspired alternatives go, it’s respectable. It didn’t pick up as many channels as the Mohu or Eclipse, and it suffered from pixelation a couple more times, but all in all it was more than solid.

You might want the Flatwave over the Leaf for a couple of reasons. First, while it lacks any cutouts for pins, its 15-foot coax cable is thinner and longer, which may make it less annoying to place around the living room. (It’s not removable, however.) Two, it’s a little cheaper. If you ever see it on sale, and you’re in sync enough with your towers, you should be fine saving some cash.

Winegard Flatwave, $34.99, available at Amazon.

Mohu Curve


On the other end, the Mohu Curve is an appealing option for those with money to burn. It’s overpriced, but if you’re short on discreet spaces, it may also be the only antenna you’d enjoy showcasing around the house. It’s got a pleasing sense of heft to it, it’s easy to mount on its included stand, and its slight contours come off as well-crafted. It’s more “minimalist” than “basic.”

That said, the lack of flexibility here means the Curve isn’t as simple to pop in a window as its thinner rivals. That likely lead to it performing slightly worse than the Leaf or Eclipse; again, it was largely dependable, but it pulled in a handful less channels, and at times I noticed some breakup with a major network like NBC (which used the more favorable UHF band). If there’s more in between your signals, it’s worth noting.

Nevertheless, while the idea of a “luxury indoor antenna” is goofy, the Curve could be worth the premium if aesthetics genuinely matter.

Mohu Curve, $48.98, available at Amazon.

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What 1.5M Pins Taught Us About Pinterest Marketing: Common Words, Popular Times, Plus 4 Experiments to Try

How active is your brand on Pinterest?

With 150 million monthly active users spending an average of 98 minutes per month using the platform, Pinterest can be an underused network for some, while a primary source of website traffic for others.

Earlier in 2016, we did a study on brand marketing (studying over 16 million social media posts from 100,000 brands) and learned that Pinterest, in particular, holds a lot of potential for brands. This inspired us to dive even deeper into what’s happening on Pinterest.

We looked at over 1.5 million pins, all sent in 2016, to see what patterns we could find: when pins were sent, when people were pinning, and what words they were using.

I’m excited to share these findings with you and hope they can help you start, or enhance, an amazing Pinterest marketing strategy.

Let’s jump right in!


The top 4 Pinterest insights we discovered: When pins are posted, common words, and best times for engagement

About the data

Before we jump into our findings, I’d love to share some details about the data we used for this study:

  • We analyzed 1,577,234 pins sent from 20,319 Pinterest profiles
  • 99% of the pins we studied contained an image, 0,3% a video and around 10% included links
  • The data was taken from January 1st, 2016 until August 23rd, 2016

When are pins being posted?

Personally, I had estimated that people might be pinning the most on weekends, but I was completely off on this one!

We looked at patterns for days of the week that pins were being posted. The most pins are posted on Mondays and Tuesdays.

In fact, pins are twice as likely to be posted on a Monday or Tuesday than on a Saturday or Sunday.


According to our data, 32% of pins get posted on Monday or Tuesday (~ 16% each day). The least popular days for pinning are Saturday and Sunday where around 7% of pins are posted respectively.

When are people engaging on Pinterest?

Alongside the most popular days to share content, it also felt important that we take a look at when people are engaging with content on Pinterest. Here’s what we found…

Turns out, the most popular days that people are liking and repinning on Pinterest are very similar to the days when pins are being posted. For engagement, Monday and Saturday are the most popular with Monday taking a slight lead.

Here’s the breakdown, by day, of average likes per pin on Pinterest:


And here’s the daily breakdown for average repins per pin, where Monday and Saturday are both in the lead:


What words are people using most on Pinterest?

We were super curious about the words that people are using on Pinterest as it speaks to both the images they are sharing and what they think about them.

Here are the top nine words, ranked by volume:


Looking at the top nine words used most frequently in Pinterest captions, it’s neat to see the top three are Make, Design and Logo. This hints that the most engaging content might be rather creative and related to design (maybe even digital design with the word logo making an appearance).

After those three, the other top words are: new, love, get, one, free, day.

Make, the most pinned word we found in this study, appeared in 63,293 pins – that’s around 4% of the 1.5m pins we analyzed.

What are the most common words for the most popular pins?

After looking at the most common words in general on Pinterest, we wanted to tie these words into engagement, e.g. which words are being used in only the most popular pins.

The difference is interesting here. Make is still the lead, followed by One, Easy, Recipe, Free, Chicken, Paleo, Great and Love.


How to use this data: 4 Pinterest experiments you can try today

We’re grateful for the large amount of Pinterest marketing tips out there online. And I’d love to share with you four brand new experiments we came up with based on data from our study. You’re welcome to grab any of them if you’re keen to put this data to use (we’d love to hear how it goes for you, too).

1. Experiment with using fewer words

We found that the average character length for pins was 98 characters. With Pinterest being a visually driven platform, very few characters are shown when scrolling through the feed. In our experience, our pin captions are truncated around 50-60 characters, with the rest of the caption viewable once someone clicks or taps into a pin.

This gives us the sense that it’s incredibly important to choose those characters wisely.

In this example, Kylee only uses 4 words (18 characters).


Experiment to try: Using fewer words in pins and making them short, sweet, and catchy.

On Pinterest, your image is essentially the headline, and it’s most likely a user will stop scrolling when a visual catches their eye rather than the supporting text. What’s important, though, is that your text gives added context to your posts and helps to illustrate what the image is showing. I really love the example we shared above and its caption. In just four words – “Correct use of words” – Kylee manages to explain exactly what the image is telling us.

When it comes to writing your caption, think about what you need to say and try not to be too elaborate. Our hunch is that “simple = better” when it comes to copywriting on Pinterest.

2. Experiment with the days you post to Pinterest

Posting at the right time is a key part of any social media strategy, and it’s no different on Pinterest.

Our study found that most pins are sent on Mondays and Tuesdays and most engagement (likes and repins) comes on Mondays and Saturdays. There are a couple of ways you could look to interpret this data:

  • You could look to post your pins on Mondays and Saturdays when you know engagement could potentially be higher.
  • Or, you could look to post on days when fewer pins are shared in the hope there’s more chance to stand out. For example, Sundays tend to see fewer pins shared than any other day.

There’s no hard and fast rule here and our best recommendation is to set up a few experiments and see what works best for your brand. Luckily, it’s super simple to get an experiment like this up and running…

How to experiment with your posting schedule 

It’s super easy to set up a schedule for your pins within Buffer and then track how they’re each doing using our Analytics tool.

From the Schedule tab within Buffer, you can toggle different days of the week on and off to experiment with posting on various days and you can also select various times on each day. Here’s a quick peek at how the scheduling tab looks; you can see we’re currently set up to share pins every day at 12:37 a.m. and 11:10 a.m.:


Once you’ve tried this for awhile and are ready to analyze and learn from your results, head on over to the Buffer Analytics tab and try sorting by “Most Popular” to see patterns as to which days of the week are getting the most traction.


Experiment to try: Change up your schedule and test various days to see which ones your audience is most active on and where you get the most engagement.

3. Try sharing creative Pins

Pinterest has become a go-to place for finding and sharing creative ideas. And our data appears to back this up.

Diving into the most used words on Pinterest, and especially the most used words on popular pins, words like make, one, easy, design, and new seem to suggest that creative content does well on Pinterest.

If you’re a regular Pinterest user, pins like the below example will probably look quite familiar:


A number of successful pins tend to show users how to create something step-by-step, and this could be no matter what your industry. This opens up some exciting content opportunities and ways for your brand to stand out. These types of pins are also good examples of how to drive traffic back to your website from Pinterest. In the above example, you can see the steps taken to create the table decoration.

These types of pins are also good showcases of how to drive traffic back to your website from Pinterest. In the above example, you can see the steps taken to create the table decoration, but by clicking on the post and visiting the accompanying Huffington Post article, you’ll get the full story and even more ideas for creative ways to make your dinner party memorable.

Experiment to try: Test out getting creative with pins, doing a how-to photo or using imagery that inspires creating and designing.

4. Offer a free resource to Pinterest followers

One word that appeared in both the most commonly used list of words and the words commonly found in the most popular pins is “free.” And who doesn’t love high-quality, free content?

Pinterest is a great place to share resources and guides with your followers, and if you’d like to get some more attention and drive some added engagement to your pins, letting Pinterest users know in the text (or even the pinned image) that the resources are free could be a great way to do so.

In this example, a free crochet pattern is being shared. It’s also a great example of using Pinterest to drive traffic back to your website where the content is hosted.


Experiment to try: Use Pinterest to give away content, resources, ideas, and anything else you can think of giving away, and ensure you let your followers know it’s free.

Over to you

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you found the study interesting and I’d love to hear how our findings feel to you…

  • How do you use Pinterest?
  • How many times do you post per week? And which days drive the most engagement?
  • What type of content gets the most engagement for you on Pinterest?

I’d love to hear what’s working for you and any thoughts you may have in the comments below. Excited to keep the conversation going.