Our first look at the amazing new Razer Blade gaming laptop
Razer's back with a new, full-fat Blade. Here's our first look.
PC and console gaming giant Razer recently released the Razer Blade Stealth, a very sleek ultrabook computer that we'll be reviewing soon. The Stealth sacrifices gaming power for portability, though it can also connect to the upcoming Razer Core for the full desktop gaming experience. Some will want real PC gaming power on the go though, and for them, Razer has just announced the new Razer Blade.
The new Razer Blade packs some impressive gaming specs, including a 14-inch QHD screen, a 6th gen Quad Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M GPU with 6GB VRAM, Chroma keyboard, and Razer Core compatibility. And all for a surprisingly affordable price. Read on for full details on the 2016 Razer Blade, plus our hands-on video from GDC!
The previous Razer Blade gaming laptop launched at the beginning of 2015. This year, Razer has taken the Blade's sleek design and updated it to be better, faster, and more powerful than ever. And even though this model packs more horsepower than before, it measures a scant 0.7 inches thick and weighs only 4.25 pounds. The military-grade aluminum chassis surely aids with that portability.
The Blade still includes a 14-inch screen, now a QHD touchscreen. To go along with that vibrant display, the anti-ghosting keyboard has been upgraded to utilize Razer's Chroma technology. Users are no longer limited to customizing the keys with just one color. You'll now be able to change the color of every single key and select a variety of color effects. Developers can even create standalone apps for the keyboard such as music visualizers. Razer even has a portal to download and/or develop Chroma apps.
Most of the Blade's other components have been upgraded as well:
- Processor: 6th Gen Intel i7 Quad Core capable of speeds up to 3.5 GHz
- Graphics: nVidia GeForce GTX 970M GPU with 6GB VRAM – twice as much VRAM as last year's model
- Memory: 16 GB DDR4 dual-channel RAM (twice as much as the old mode)
- WI-Fi: Killer Wireless AC for an improved Wi-Fi connection
- Expansion: One Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type C port (Transfer rates up to 40 Gigs/second)
Despite those beefed up specs, Razer promises the new Blade will run cooler than the previous model thanks to improved thermal management. High temperatures were a sore point for some Blade owners, so this laptop's superior cooling should be most welcome.
With an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M, one of the best mobile graphics cards in town, the new Razer Blade is no slouch in the graphics department. But it's always nice to have more power, and the Blade has that option. Thanks to its Thunderbolt 3 port, this year's Razer Blade will support the Razer Core external graphics enclosure.
With a Razer Core, users will be able to install and tap into a full-sized desktop graphics card such as an NVIDIA GTX 980. The Core also adds four USB 3.0 ports and an Ethernet jack. So you can play games on the go, come home, and plug in your Razer Blade for a full desktop experience. The Razer Blade Stealth offers the same option, but the new Blade boasts even better specs.
Since the Blade has a beefy GPU of its own and Core users will be able to equip it with an even stronger desktop graphics card, you might wonder whether the two GPUs can be paired up for yet more graphics power. Razer tells us that a software tool will allow users to configure which GPU is used at a given time, but it doesn't sound like we'll get to use both GPUs simultaneously at launch.
The new Razer Blade will come with two solid-state storage options:
- U.S. $1,999 – 256 GB PCIe SSD
- U.S. $2,199 – 512 GB PCIe SSD ($500 cheaper than last year's Razer Blade Pro)
Like the Razer Blade Stealth, Razer is pricing the new Razer Blade quite aggressively. Compared to the top-of-the-line Alienware 15 for instance, the 512 GB Razer Blade is thinner, weighs less, and wields double the VRAM. As for the 2015 Razer Blade, it has been discontinued. Expect to see some deals on the retired model in the weeks and months to come.
Preorders for the 2016 Razer Blade open up March 16 on Razer's site, and the Blade will begin shipping in April. Stay tuned for more Razer news (and video from our man Jonathan Dollison) from GDC!
What do you think of the new Razer Blade's specs and price? Leave a comment and let us know!
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Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!