Hands-on With the New Haswell-based Razer Blade

During E3 2013, I had an appointment with Razer to talk about the company's hot new product, the Razer Blade. Unlike other press appointments which shoved me into theaters or merely gave me a VIP pass to avoid the lines, it was a one-on-one session with Razer's CEO himself, Min-Liang Tan. What an honor that was.

He started off the session talking about the company's past, and up to where it is today. Razer has branched out from making gaming peripherals into creating first-class hardware including the Razer Edge-branded Windows 8 tablets that made their debut in 1Q13, and the laptop formerly known as the Razer Blade, the current Razer Blade Pro.

All three products are designed on one philosophy: gaming on the go. They're not laptops and tablets that are capable of PC gaming: these have been designed and built from the ground up specifically for playing high-resolution PC gaming on the go without requiring the user to lug around heavy equipment. A big difference.

The Razer Blade design has actually been around for a while, but component costs and the current level of technology has finally made it possible to move the concept from paper to product. Sporting a 14-inch HD+ LED-lit screen (16:9, 1600 x 900), it's deemed as the world's thinnest gaming laptop, and I believe it. It's crazy thin despite what's packed inside, 0.66-inches in fact, and compared to the heavy bricks I lifted at Alienware, the Razer's answer is surprisingly light without feeling brittle.

Unlike other notebook ODMs, Razer has made it simple for customers by offering just one configuration – the only customizable aspect is the local storage.  As reported earlier, the specs include an Intel Core i5-4702HQ quad-core "Haswell" processor (2.2 GHz / 3.2 GHz), Intel HD 4600 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics, 8 GB of DDR3L-1600 memory, and a built-in 1.3MP webcam.

Min-Liang Tan also pointed out that the company designed this new gaming laptop in such a way that the heat is redirected to areas where the user rarely touches. Let's back up for a second: the intake fans are on the bottom and the exhaust on the hinge area. However the heat generated from the components is redirected to the strip between the keyboard and the screen, a place where users will rarely ever touch.

That said, the model I fondled during the one-on-one session had been running a PC game (I want to say Metro: Last Light) non-stop for at least six hours. The laptop was mostly cool save for that heated area along the top of the keyboard. It certainly didn't burn my fingertips and won't fry any eggs, but it was slightly warmer than the rest of the surface, which is a good thing.

During CES, I said that Razer created a new form factor with the Edge and Edge Pro: they're not tablets or AIO PCs, but something in-between. The company has done the same with the Razer Blade: it's not a laptop or an Ultrabook, but something in-between, thus fulfilling the company's goal of creating an entirely new form factor, and not producing just another gaming notebook.

For customers who want something bigger for PC gaming on the go, the rebranded Razer Blade Pro has a 17.3-inch LED-backlit screen (1920 x 1080, 16:9), a quad-core Intel Core i7-4700HQ processor (2.4 GHz, 3.4 GHz), Intel HD 4600 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics, 8 GB of dual channel memory, a built-in 2MP webcam, and the Razer Switchblade user interface.

The Razer Blade Pro has a starting price of $2,299.99 and the Razer Blade "Slim" has a starting price of $1,799.99. Pricing is based on the amount of internal storage only.






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  • sbudbud
    I'll pass on something less costly as I don't really need all that GPU power
  • gsxrme
    765m is equal to a gtx660 non ti. Any note, im glad to see a high quality option. Heat destroys notebook.
  • soldier44
    I wish they would start making the screens edge to edge and not the same ole thing every year give us more real estate.