The gaming laptop that made a splash last year is coming to Australia, but with all new bits inside.
Australia is now the second country to receive the Blade, with the US being the first. Although it features a TN-based, 17.3-inch, 1920x1080 screen, the Blade only measures 22mm high and weighs 2.99kg.
There's only one SKU available, featuring a Core i7 3632QM with a 2.2GHz base and 3.2GHz turbo, 8GB of RAM, a GeForce GTX 660, a 500GB 7200RPM primary drive and a 64GB cache SSD. Razer has also managed to jam in dual-band 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0, and fits the Blade out with three USB 3.0 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI out and a headset jack. The hardware won't fit everyone's needs, but with Razer's focus on portability and the need to keep the price somewhat in check, a balance had to be struck.
The biggest attraction, aside from the portability, is the Switchblade UI — a touchscreen to the right of the keyboard that doubles as a touch pad, but can also show customised images, browse YouTube or Facebook, run timers or, in combination with the 10 customisable buttons above it, becomes a smart way to run macros. Even the buttons above are tiny screens, and an SDK has recently been released to allow users to create their own apps and interfaces. In the meantime, quite a few multiplayer games are already supported, with the buttons and screen changing depending on the context.
If you need access to more function buttons, a triple-finger swipe can "scroll" to the next set, putting to rest the problem of never having enough macro buttons.
Another standout is the power adapter, which Razer claims is one third of the size of a typical gaming laptop adapter. While we didn't have a ruler on hand to check the claims, it's certainly impressively small.
The Blade will be available on 1 November, and is being stocked in limited quantities at JB Hi-Fi at Pitt Street Mall (Sydney), JB Hi-Fi in Elizabeth Street (Melbourne) and RazerZone.com for AU$2999. We hope to have a review unit in shortly.