Razer Blade Gaming Laptop: First Hands-On

Get your credit cards ready, gamers: the insanely thin, super-powerful, gorgeous looking, second-generation Razer Blade is heading for Australian shores. Here's how much damage it's going to do to your wallet, and if it's even worth the cost.

The second-generation Razer Blade gaming laptop is set to go on sale on November 1 both in-stores and online. You'll be able to pick one up in person from a JB Hi-Fi flagship store in either Sydney (Pitt St Mall) or Melbourne (Elizabeth Street). If you're outside one of those cities, you're going to be purchasing online only via JB Hi-Fi online or via Razerzone.

It's $2999, making it slightly more expensive than it's going for in the US, but Razer have promised that you'll be getting an awesome customer service program to boot and a full replacement warranty to go with it. It's one of those elite purchase programs where they cater your experience to your needs, because no two gamers game the same, you see.

The Razer Blade is certainly packing a premium on something like the Alienware M17x -- a whole $800 in fact. When you look at the M117x and the Blade side by side in terms of specifications, it's not clear what you get for your extra dough. The processor, near as makes no difference, is the same, the 2GB NVIDA GTX660M is there, as is the 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 memory and a 17.3-inch 1920x1080 HD display. The only real difference is a 64GB SATA III solid state drive for caching and the fact that the battery pack on the Blade isn't as big as an Ultrabook.

The main selling point with the Razer Blade, though, isn't the specs. They're certainly impressive and competitive with the best gaming laptops on the market, but where it really shines is the design. While the M117x is semi-portable in that it's quite thick, the Razer Blade measures only the depth of a $2 coin -- half the size of the M117x with the same footpring. The Blade almost looks like a MacBook Pro with wider hips. It puts the portable back into the portable gaming laptop, and to top it off, it's also half the weight of the M117x without sacrificing the spec sheet.

Another reason for the price difference, we were told, is Razer's buying power. The company makes no secret that it's a boutique hardware vendor. Dell is one of the largest hardware companies in the world, so the fact that Razer has been able to include the gear that they have for a sub-$3000 price tag is super impressive.

The only thing more impressive than the design on the outside, is the mouse trackpad on the inside. Gaming is tough to get right on a laptop, and Razer knows it. It spent four years designing this thing just to get it right. Because Razer is primarily a gaming peripherals company, more care went into the keyboard and mouse design than anything else on the machine.

The mouse is situated to the right of the keyboard rather than centred underneath. With 17.3-inches worth of real estate to play with, Razer doesn't exactly have to economise on where it puts things.

The mouse is actually made up of two touchscreens placed on vertically on top of each other. The top screen is concealed by 10 customisable macro keys that display icons relating to their function, meanwhile, the Gorilla Glass-coated lower screen acts as a massive trackpad complete with multi-touch functionality. It also acts as a secondary screen which Razer tell us can be used for anything: viewing a YouTube video for tips and tricks, . The hotkeys can also be made use of any way you like, too. When you play Battlefield 3 your keys become action buttons for throwing grenades, reviving a teammate or switching fire modes. The same for Counter Strike: Global Operations -- you can use the macro keys to buy weapons, signal teammates or switch weapons. Or when you're desktop browsing, you can just hotkey them to your favourite sites like Facebook, YouTube, Gizmodo and Kotaku (why aren't they your homepage?).

All up then, the Razer Blade is mighty impressive, and to top it off, it's only launching in Australia and North America. We're the second launch market for a change, rather than waiting to get the our paws on it after Europe, Japan and the UK.

The only thing letting the Razer Blade down is price, but it's a premium that's well worth it for those who want portable gaming that's actually half-portable.


    You could've given your desk a wipe!

      I would have, but it was the desk in the meeting room and I was a tad pressed for time...

      Lol this was the first comment on your article. I love it :P

      Yeah you grub lol!

    not sure if its just the photo's but does it look kind of gunmetal matte grey?

    as much as id like to buy this one, i wont be in a position to afford or require a laptop until march next year
    and by then im guessing they would have announced the Third generation

    Is that drool at the bottom of the desktop shot? Looks like it :-)

    Love the laptop - and that keyboard would be awesome - just looks like that matte finish attracts fingerprints and skin oils like the plague!

    Can someone please explain to me how this is competitively priced for the specs? If roccat would pull their finger out and deliver powergrid I could have a more useful experience with better hardware for much less....

      Yeah seems pretty stupid. Theres a lenovo laptop with the same graphics card but 15.6 inch screen for $1100. 17.3 inch is way too big for being portable, just build a Mini ITX build for half the price and twice the specs.


        From personal experience, it's not the screen size that detracts from portability, it's the weight and thickness.

          Nah for me its the screen size, I travel a bit for work, and I have to say the size of the thing matters. If its this big I need to carry a second back, at 15 inches I only need one bag.

          Which is why I am looking heavily at http://www.tecs.com.au/shop/msi-ge60-0nd-046au-15-6-i7-gaming-notebook.html

          If they made a 15 inch version I would probably buy it in a heart beat, also I do actually really like the way this laptop is set up with the mousepad to the side which means I won't accidently touch the trackpad while gaming.

          Its not too big and bulky like my current laptop and it isn't expensive

        I think a lot of gamers would agree that playing a game on a 17.3" screen is a whole world better than on a 15.6" screen - quite noticeable. I don't think anywhere near as many gamers would complain that an extra 3.76cm wide and 2.12cm deep is just too much a price to pay in lost portability for the extra screen space

        But I won't defend the cost of the actual laptop itself. All I can say is that sometimes people want a Rolls Royce, even though a Toyota Camry is not only equally capable but probably better fuel consumption.

    I like the look of the Machine however it is rather expensive, bit too much at the moment haha. And also you called CS: Global Offensive, CS: Global Operations. Just pointing it out :)


    Is anyone having success gaming with a trackpad...?

    It drives me crazy and I am just no good at it. I need a mouse.

      Yeap, you have to have good technique. I play most FPS fine, its all in the fingering technique. Middle finger for the trackpad, index for left click and thumb for right click

    What an odd looking color and finish, I like it. Looks like someone made a laptop out of compressed turd. Dig it.

    another laptop to add to the pile of overpriced blinged up garbage, it can sit on the same pile as Alienware, Dell XPS and Apple...

      yeah well thats the costs for premium builds. it may not be the fastest or the cheapest compared to others but people will pay for appearances, simple as that. Call it shit, call it a waste but it will sell purely for the premium pleasure of eye candy.

    I can tell from the photos that it gets just as grubby from fingerprints as my Alienware. Although the trackpad is kind of cool but not really that practical from a gaming perspective, I can honestly say I'm glad I didn't wait for this.

    Still doesn't beat Metabox..... Razor are overpriced pieces of crap which you buy the brand, not the computer, just like Alienware -_-

      Why have I never heard of metabox? Thank you for openning my eyes to them.

        Hahaha, no problems Nick, they're great Laptops for the price and plenty of good reviews :P I'm getting a 15.6" Metabox my self next month

      Yes also look at the Horize range, which is Australia's leading Clevo manufacturer.

        Nah, AffordableLaptops.com.au are the cheaper ones to get, their base Clevo's are the same specs and $200 cheaper.

      Would you buy a metabox for portability though? If so, why?

    " It also acts as a secondary screen which Razer tell us can be used for anything: viewing a YouTube video for tips and tricks, ."

    Missing a few examples..?

    "The mouse is situated to the right of the keyboard rather than centred underneath."
    Honestly, why has no one done this before? It seems exactly the right thing to do (unless you're left-handed - but many left-handed people use a right-hand mouse anyway) since most people are right-handed and it matches how a desktop would do things.
    I particularly like the touch screen / trackpad, good features.
    I don't like the lack of numpad though.

    Would I get it though? Nope.

      Yeah, no numpad...deal breaker for me.

      It's a bit of a right-handed slap in the face for lefties though. :)
      I'm right-handed but use the house left-handed 100% so I can sympathise with them. This is a dick-move.

    You could just buy a Horize W370ET for $1299 it measures slightly larger than $2 coin, buy you would be saving around 850 $2 coins in the process. It is practically the same specifications.

    IMO, the mouse trackpad looks amazing and attractive, but not practical. http://www.canadabatt.com

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