CNET First Look
Razer Blade gaming laptop hands-onThe new second-generation revision to the Razer Blade has the same 0.88-inch-thin, 6.6-pound design; crisp, matte 17.3-inch 1,920x1,080-pixel display; and experimental touch-screen Switchblade UI touch pad, but a vastly different set of specs under...
-Hi. I??m Scott Stein. And if you like your gaming laptop super expensive and ultra stylish, well, the new Razer Blade might be for you. We reviewed the Razer Blade last year, actually earlier this year, in its first configuration. And it was a thin but very expensive 2,800-dollar laptop that had specs that didn??t quite match up to the types of cutting edge gaming laptops that we've been reviewing, but it did offer some interesting interfaces and designs, had a really cool touchscreen trackpad called the Switchblade UI that was futuristic, but didn??t quite have that many apps. Now, in late 2012, the Razer Blade has been upgraded and the price has been dropped down to $2,500 and what you're getting is a very improved set of internal specs. You have Quad Core i7 processor. You're getting NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M graphics. And you're also getting a larger amount of hard drive space 500 gigs instead of 256. Now, once again, like the previous Razer Blade, there's no optical drive. This is a superthin laptop. It's actually nearly as thin as a Retina Display MacBook Pro. And hey, this had the idea before the MacBook Pro did in terms of introducing a very thin initially solid state based laptop with high-end specs as opposed to going the ultra book route. When you fold this down, this is about 0.8 inches thin. It??s very thin, although it??s over 6 pounds. And it will feel a little heavier than your average laptop and it??s wide. So, this kind of surf laptop will not fit in to your average backpack. Be forewarned, but if you're a hardcore gamer, you're probably used to that. Now, what you're getting here is a lot of design, this beautiful metal chassis. Again, a fantastic 17-inch screen and you??re buying into that Switchblade UI. Now, instead of a trackpad on the bottom, you??re getting a touchscreen trackpad over here with 10 programmable LED buttons above. Fancy stuff, but what is it really used for? Well, the first time we wondered where were the apps? There are about 10 built-in apps ranging from Facebook apps to browser apps to a calculator, nothing tremendously exciting. Now, there are 4 games that are supported with apps. Star Wars, the Old Republic, Counter Strike, Team Fortress II, and Battlefield III. And what does it amount to? A really more like customizable button sets that you could bring up with a touchscreen interface on the bottom. Very useful when you??re playing a game like Battlefield III perhaps, but not really true second screen gaming they you may be seeing perhaps on the Wii U coming out. Now, it's a nice touch, but is it worth buying into? There are more apps that are going to be on their way and you can program these top buttons yourself and add either your own graphic assets or an increasing library that Razer provides, but that's a little bit of a hobby type experience. And in terms of an out-of-the-box support of library, we're still waiting for more games. That brings us to the question of Windows 8. Well, this is not a Windows 8 laptop, although it will be Windows 8 supported. Razer promises that they will be updating new drivers for this in time for Windows 8 launch or shortly thereafter, but if you're buying into this laptop as a cool futuristic laptop, just remember that there are going to be a lot of interesting cool laptops coming out in the next month or two; a lot of them with touchscreens, a lot of them that flip into crazy origami shapes, or lighter laptops. Those are gonna be maybe even more interesting to show off, but if you want a cool gaming laptop, one that is specifically meant for gaming, well, this is probably the most stylish and interestingly designed one that's out there because let's face it a lot of gaming laptops are pretty conservative looking. And they are a little thick and heavy and they opt for power over cool factor. All in all, it??s an improved product, although maybe you might have an issue with no optical drive and a hybrid hard drive instead of SSD. I like the extra storage space and I also like the extra performance. This is the New Razer Blade for late 2012. I??m Scott Stein.