Razer is often labelled the Apple of gaming, and while it isn’t a perfect analogy, the company’s deliberate approach to updating its Blade laptops isn’t unlike what you see with MacBooks. At CES 2022, the company is choosing again to refresh its lineup instead of making any groundbreaking changes.
This year’s Blade 14, Blade 15, and Blade 17 are powered by AMD Ryzen 6000 series processors or Intel 12th-gen H-series chips along with Nvidia RTX graphics, including the latest RTX 3080 Ti GPU. All these numbers mean Razer supercharged its laptops, which should now deliver significantly better performance than prior models. In fact, the DDR5 memory in each of these clocks at 4,800MHz, a 50% increase in frequency over the previous generation.
The design of these systems hasn’t changed much — they are sturdy slabs of CNC-milled black aluminium glowing with RGB keyboard lighting. Said keyboard is now larger than before, and the chassis adds “laser-cut” speakers, a thinner hinge, 1080p webcams, a fingerprint-resistant coating (thank god), and new rubber feet for better ventilation.
Besides those tweaks, the Blade 15 added a new 4K, 144Hz panel (up from 60Hz) to go along with the 1080p at 360Hz and 1440p at 240Hz options. And the larger Blade 17 is getting an upgraded audio system with an eight-speaker setup, double the previous version, along with a larger 82Whr battery and 280W power brick.
These are welcome changes, but this announcement is all about bringing more power to the trio. The Blade 14, the only one using AMD chips, comes with up to a Ryzen 9 6900HX processor with Radeon 680M integrated graphics and up to an RTX 3080 Ti GPU with 16GB of vRAM. That’s a hell of a lot of power in a 14-inch chassis, though I wish this 2 kg notebook maxed out at 32GB instead of 16GB of DDR5-4800MHz memory. Storage goes up to a 1TB of PCIe SSD.
The two larger models run on Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake processors with a Core i9-12900HK CPU paired with an RTX 3080 Ti GPU (16GB of vRAM) for the most demanding users. Opting for the 15- or 17-inch models opens the door to 32GB of DDR5 RAM, which is upgradable to 64GB. Storage remains at 1TB but can be upgraded via an M.2 slot to 2TB.
So while Razer added some modern touches to its Blade lineup, the serpent-branded gaming hardware maker is relying largely on chipmakers to give people a reason to upgrade their gaming laptops. We won’t know for sure until we get these systems in, but based on what we’re hearing at CES 2022, it might just be reason enough.
That is, so long as you have the cash. The Blade 14 will be available for preorder on Feb. 10 starting at around $2,800 while the Blade 15 and Blade 17 can be ordered on Jan. 25 for closer to the $3,500 and $3,600 marks, respectively. All three laptops are expected to arrive at retailers in Q1.