On August 26th, Razer announced the Blade at the PAX Prime gaming expo, categorizing it as "the first true gaming laptop." It'll retail for $2,800, and it's scheduled to launch in February.
The Razer Blade includes several key technologies originally implemented in the Razer Switchblade, the Blade's father, a small gaming laptop that only existed as a concept device to develop technologies for retail products like the Blade. Perhaps the most eye-catching feature is the LED-backlit, LCD trackpad that can double as a secondary display. Above that sits ten customizable, LCD buttons whose functions change depending on the game and the user's preferences. For example, in a game like World of Warcraft or League of Legends, the buttons would match the functionality of your character's abilities/spells/attacks, overlaying an appropriate icon on each button.
Both the LCD buttons and the LCD multi-touch trackpad create a unique gaming "peripheral" unlike anything we've seen before. We imagine apps will be updated to alter the functionality and look of the trackpad and buttons, so for example, iTunes could be configured to display track information via the secondary display, changing the look and fuction of the LCD buttons to match the media player's controls. The possibilites are numerous. Innovations in design and functionality like this open the door to creative new uses for these peripherals. This is exactly what occurred with the computer mouse, which was originally designed for merely clicking and moving icons, windows and text, though it has been renovated, innovated, re-invented and re-purposed over and over again. We can only hope the same level of innovation accompanies this revolutionary PC gaming device.
The Razer Blade ships with Windows 7, though that's quite a big and complicated OS/UI for merely playing games. Consoles have shown that people appreciate easy and simple access to their favorite games on a dedicated device, so the Blade seeks to offer that type of simple and convenient access to games in the PC realm. Naturally, Windows 7 needs to be simplified in order to achieve this, so Razer has implemented an optional, custom UI overlay that sits above Windows. It provides the user with easy, quick and pretty access to the laptop's most used games and apps while hiding the file system, system settings and other irrelevent stuff. If you ever find the need to access WIndows directly to, for example, install the drivers for that 4G LTE USB modem you got for Christmas or manually remove that nasty spyware you accidentally downloaded, fear not. Simply hide the Razer UI, and get to work.
Gamers that love to game for the sake of gaming will appreciate the capabilities of this laptop, but gamers that would be dissapointed in a machine that doesn't blow away their friends' computers in benchmark tests will not be happy with this machine.
- 2.8GHz Core i7
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M w/ 2GB GDDR5
- 17-inch 1080p display
- 8GB DDR3 RAM
- 256GB SSD
- HDMI output
- Wi-Fi b/g/n
- USB 3.0 and 2.0
- BLuetooth 3.0
- Custom LED-backlit LCD trackpad
- Custom set of 10 LED-backlit LCD buttons
- Windows 7
- Optional, custom, Razer UI overlay hides clumsy Windows UI to simplify access to games and favorite apps