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The slim, powerful Razer Blade gaming laptop is getting its biggest design overhaul to date.

We've always really liked the 14-inch Blade for its subtle design, multicolored backlit keyboard and general gaming chops. But the display had a thick bezel that felt a little dated, and the GPU topped out at an Nvidia GTX 1060 -- fine for mainstream gaming, but not exactly top-of-the-line.

For the new version of Razer's flagship laptop, the 14-inch display in the Blade is getting an upgrade to a 15-inch screen, while keeping roughly the same footprint. In fact, Razer says this is the "world's smallest 15.6-inch gaming laptop."

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The biggest difference to me right away is the much thinner bezel around the screen, which gives the new Blade a more modern look. If you compare the older and newer models side by side, you'll also see it's moved from the traditional rounded corners to a more modern-looking squared-off look with sharper edges.

The screen comes in 60Hz 4K or 144Hz 1,920x1,080 versions, and the body is milled from a single piece of aluminum, much like a MacBook ($639 at Amazon), and fitted with a much larger touchpad than previous models.

The components get updated as well, to an eighth-gen Core i7-8750H and your choice of Nvidia 1060 or 1070 GPUs. To keep things cool, it has a vapor chamber for cooling, which is a kind of sealed liquid-cooling heat pipe.

Of course, since this is a Razer laptop, there's a highly customizable backlit keyboard. Like other Chroma-powered products, the individual keyboard lights can reproduce 16.8 million colors, and patterns and designs can be programmed via the Razer Synapse app.

And if you want to show it off, there's also a new Razer Chroma Laptop Stand, which is exactly that -- a laptop stand that lights up in all kinds of crazy colors.


The new Razer Blade sitting on a Chroma stand. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you've got a laptop that doesn't have its own GPU, Razer also has a new, less expensive version of its Core external graphics enclosure. The new Razer Core X is basically a big box with a single slot for your graphics card and a hefty 650-watt power supply. Plug it into your laptop via Thunderbolt 3 and you've got an instant gaming rig. It skips some of the features of the more expensive Razer Core V2 ($400 at Amazon), like colored lights and some extra ports, so it's only $299, plus the cost of a graphics card, of course.

The new 15-inch Razer Blade is available to order now starting at $1,899 or £1,699. Australian pricing isn't yet known, but the UK price converts to roughly AU$3,000.

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