There's a certain finesse to designing PC gaming equipment. Whether it's the neon glow from all the LED lights, chunky weight or boxy frame — you can immediately tell when a desktop rig or laptop is built specifically for gaming. Razer's beastly Blade takes all the Alienwares, Maingears and XPS laptops out there and raises the bar, not just in terms of raw power, but with features like 10 adaptive and programmable keypad buttons (a design carried over from the Switchblade) and a multitouch LCD trackpad that doubles as an separate screen.
Borrowing a page from Apple's minimalistic MacBook Pro laptops, Razer's managed to make an all matte 17.3-inch laptop with a 1080p resolution that combines gorgeous design, portability and uber power in a chassis less than one inch thick and weighs under seven pounds.
Who said PC gaming was dead?
Meet The Blade
For the last year and half, I've been wanting to build a gaming PC of my own, especially since it's so cheap to do so these days, but always fell short on my attempts out of sheer laziness. I've been a laptop guy for a good decade and have never looked back. I need portability and settled on Sony VAIOs, MacBooks and MacBook Airs. I've never considered a bulky gaming laptop because they're just too — for lack of a better word — "gamer-ish" for my tastes, with their neon and angular shapes (look at any Alienware).
The Blade changes all of that. Despite a ball-breaking $2,800 retail price, Razer's laptop sacrifices nothing. The gaming peripheral company worked closely with Intel to make sure the Blade sets your pants on fire if you attempt to put this thing on your actual lap (not literally).
Inside of the Blade is a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 2640M processor, 8GB of 1333MHz DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M and Integrated Intel graphics for "mobile mode," 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 video RAM, HD webcam, 320GB 7200 RPM hard drive and a 60Wh battery. That's along with the three USB ports (one of which is a 3.0 one), HDMI, ethernet, 3.5mm backlit keyboard and the aforementioned LCD trackpad/secondary screen with a 800x480 resolution.
Of course, the huge selling point of the Blade is going to be those 10 adaptive buttons, which look like this (click to enlarge):
All those buttons are programmable for in-game commands, so you'll have one-button hotkeys a finger press away. And you wont have to remember which command is mapped to which button because an image can be assigned to the button's screen. We haven't had any time with the buttons, but if they're anything like the ones on the prototype Switchblade, they're going to be stiff. Prove us wrong Razer!
Sure, I can probably pick up a Toshiba Qosmio laptop for half the price and still get away with playing World of Warcraft and Diablo 3 (when that arrives), but I can't flaunt it. I can't make others jealous. I can't boast about how my Toshiba is only 0.88-inch thick laptop and doesn't look like a huge blocky brick.
"World's First Gaming Laptop"
Razer calls the Blade the "world's first gaming laptop." But wait, that's a lie, isn't it? Gaming laptops already exist. According to Razer, not if you've got a 10 pound desktop replacement, it doesn't count. The Blade is built to be portable and have a large screen (the Alienware M11x is small and lightweight, but it's screen is hardly fit for detailed gaming).
Although Razer is championing the Blade as a beauty and a beast, and it certainly looks fantastic on paper and in the official press shots, the Blade doesn't use a Solid State Disk (you can install one yourself) or have a 3D screen (glasses or not) — two features that vastly enrich PC gaming. The SSD would allow for breakneck bootups and decrease game loading times and the 3D, well, for 3D — the so called "added intensity."
Razer hyped the Blade with a full page Wall Street Journal ad/tease last week. Looks like it worked. "PC Gaming is NOT dead" proclaimed Razer — not by a long shot if the Blade succeeds. The Blade is slated for a Q4 launch this year. Hopefully it'll make it in time for the holiday rush. I might be a MacBook Air guy right now, but that doesn't mean I can't ask Santa for a Blade to suit my gaming needs.