Up Close with the Razer Blade 14 and Blade Pro
Following up on their announcement last week, we got some hands-on time with the new Blade laptop models from Razer.
The Blade 14, or just the Blade, as it’s officially called, is the hot new SKU. It’s a new form factor, sans-Switchblade, and it has the latest chip offerings from Intel and Nvidia. The 37W Core i7-4207HQ (Haswell), paired with an Nvidia GTX 765M GPU, makes for an extremely potent combination, especially in such a small and portable form factor. At 0.66 inches thick, two Blades stacked together would still be thinner than some larger gaming laptops.
The keyboard on the blade is a vast improvement over the original Blade layout, making for about as comfortable a typing experience as one could find in the 14-inch category. Another issue with earlier Blade SKUs, storage speed, seems to be ironed out as well. The mSATA solution in the Blade is via a Samsung part, which should make for appropriately fast SSD speeds.
The Blade Pro also got a refresh, although it’s limited largely to the internal components. Intel Haswell chips are found here as well, while the chassis remains the same. The other big improvement? The Switchblade ecosystem, which now has over 30 apps, all designed in-house. From YouTube and Gmail to Adobe Premiere and Maya, the Switchblade suite can be used with a number of different creative and productivity suites…as well as games, of course.
Razer is shipping every Blade model with Windows 8 — no Windows 7 SKU, I’m afraid. Razer reps told us that “Microsoft is not offering us that option,” as they do with other gaming laptop makers.
The Blade starts shipping in a few weeks, and the Game Front review should follow shortly thereafter. Stay tuned!