Unable to wait for E3, Razer held its own private event in San Francisco yesterday to announce its newest Blade gaming notebook, a 0.66-inch thick computer forged of aluminum and coated with a stealthy black finish that makes you wonder if the thing is really made for gamers, or for the military. The future of gaming laptops is here, and it's thin, powerful and mobile.
A year ago, Razer announced its plans to release the 17-inch Blade laptop, an impossibly sleek gaming laptop built "for gamers, by gamers" that included revolutionary new adaptive buttons with tiny displays in them. The deal-breaker was its price: $2,800.
The new Blade is smaller, lighter, ultra fast, and starts at $1,800.
Built To Scream (For Gaming And Work)
We're not gonna skirt around the bushes here. If you're reading this, chances are you're a gamer, and well, you probably go crazy for specs that scream. Here's what the Razer Blade is packing: 13.6-inch 1600 x 900 matte (YES!) display, fourth-gen quad-core i7 Intel Core processors (Haswell chips), 8GB of RAM, the newest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M graphics chip with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM paired with an Intel HD4600 integrated graphics chip, and 128GB of SSD (upgradable to 256GB and 512GB).
Other specs include "Killer Wireless-N" Wi-Fi (whatever that means), three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack, Kensington lock (why not?), Dolby Home Theater v4, anti-ghosting keyboard with adjustable backlight and a 70Wh battery that's said to last up to six hours. Six hours of gaming. And of course, it's running Windows 8 64-bit.
To provide a comparison on how thin and light the 14-inch Blade is, Razer's gaming notebook is only 4.1 pounds compared to the nearest competitor, which is the now clunky 6.45 pound Alienware M14x.
The only thing missing from the 14-inch Blade is the Switchblade UI that featured the adaptive programmable buttons and the LCD trackpad. That's not necessarily a bad thing, considering how slippery those buttons were on the 17-inch Blade (now renamed Blade Pro — see below). A proper trackpad is a welcome change over an LCD one.
Original Blade Laptop Now Cheaper
The new Blade may be the new hotness, but the old 17.3-inch Blade is still getting some love. For starters, it's now rebranded as the Blade Pro and starts at $2,199 instead of $2,499.
With the exception of a higher 1920 x 1080 resolution display, the Switchblade UI and LCD trackpad, the Blade Pro has the exact same specs as the 14-inch model. Naturally, the battery is slightly bigger, too, 74Wh versus the 70Wh in the Blade and the entire thing weighs more due to its larger chassis — 6.58 pounds to be exact.
Pre-orders for both the new 14-inch Blade and 17-inch Blade Pro start on June 3, well ahead of E3. With sexy new gaming laptops, two new next-gen consoles, and countless Android gaming solutions (Ouya, GameStick, etc.), what kind of gamer are you gonna be this year? Honestly, that's going to be a very tough decision to make this year, not just for new gamers, but for existing gamers as well.
(All hands-on images by Evan Ackerman for DVICE.)