CNET First Look
Razer Blade 14: slimmed-down gaming laptop hotrodWafer-thin, super-powerful and tremendously backpack-friendly, the Blade lives up to its name. But its non-touch display leaves a bit to be desired.
I'm Scott Stein and this year is the Razer Blade 14. Razer's newest gaming laptop edition to a landscape that was pretty experimental before this. You had some crazy gaming tablet that came out, the Razer Edge. They also had the Razer Blade before this, which had a touchscreen-- little too hicky on the side here called the Switchblade UI that allows you to touch and click at the same time-- didn't have a lot of games that supported it. So what now for Razer? Well, a pretty traditional gaming laptop. This really kinda looks like a MacBrook Pro Retina display dipped in black and made available for your Windows 8 pleasure. And that's not such a bad thing. It's all aluminum. It's really sexy-looking. It's compact. It's pretty thin and it packs very new processor technology, a quad-core core i7, 4702 HQ processor, 2.2 GHz. And it's also got an Nvidia GForce GTX 765M graphics, 2 gigabytes. That's a lot under the hood here and it performs as well as you'd expect considering those specs. Eight gigs of RAM and it plays games very, very well. There's no real compromise here. It plays games like Bio Shock Infinite, Metro: Last Light, really smoothly, maybe not as nicely as the super high-end gaming rig. But look how thin this is, design that can pack into a backpack and go with you and also gonna be your everyday laptop, which is a really nice direction for Razer going to. The price is expensive. It's $1,799 for this base configuration with only 128 gigabyte SSD storage. If you want more, you're gonna have to pay up 256 cost $2,000 and 512 cost $2,300. But still, you can actually upgrade the drive in here yourself, just voids the warranty and apparently there's a second bay. Let's get to some of the down sides on this. Well, first of all, there's no touchscreen. I don't know why but gaming laptops now are for some reason ditching touch-screens and this Razer Blade 14 is part of that world. It is a 1,600x900 display, no touch. And the screen quality is probably the least impressive among any high-end laptop that we've seen recently. The viewing angles not that great. The other downside here is again, so little storage on-board and the ports are limited. There's 3 USB 3.0, HDMI and that's it. No Ethernet, no SD card slot even. But you're getting a good battery life here, really good performance, really compact size and a traditional form and at least the processors and the graphics are up to date. Razer is on to something here. Just get that screen a little bit better and you probably had a world-leader in the gaming laptop space. I'm Scott Stein and that's a little look at the Razer Blade 14, now available pretty hot little number.