isn't the only one capable of creating an epic buzz for a product launch. Gaming peripheral maker Razer
on Monday put the world -- and especially the console community -- on notice
that PC gaming is far from dead, and those who claim otherwise can stick their obituaries where the sun doesn't shine. The language wasn't quite as confrontational as that, but pretty close, and the outfit even took out a full spread in The Wall Street Journal
giving gamers a heads up that on August 26th, "we shall remind you -- that PC Gaming is NOT dead." So what was the big reveal.
As many suspected it would be, Razer today announced its Switchblade gaming notebook with a new name. It's being launched as the 'Razer Blade,' quite the clever name, and this is quite the clever laptop. In fact, Razer is pitching it as the world's first true gaming laptop
"The PC industry today has never looked bleaker. The world’s largest PC-maker Hewlett-Packard just announced their intention to explore the separation of its PC business. With PC manufacturers increasingly abandoning design and technology in lieu of outsourcing and cost-cutting, the PC industry has seen a severe dearth of innovation in recent years," Razer laments. "Gaming consoles have also taken advantage of this innovation slump in the PC industry to garner attention from game developers and gamers alike, to the extent that now PC versions of cross-platform games are often sub-par ports of their console counterparts.
"Razer, the world leader in high performance gaming hardware, introduces the Razer Blade – a full aluminum chassis gaming laptop featuring true portability, incredible performance, and an all-new revolutionary user interface. With the introduction of the Razer Blade – a feat of modern-day systems engineering and technology, Razer is reinvigorating technological and design innovation for the entire PC industry, and encouraging gamers and developers to return to the PC as the primary gaming platform of choice."
More than just marketing speak, this is exactly the kind of rhetoric PC gamers worried about their platform of choice need to hear, and nobody has really stepped up to the plate... until now. Before we get to what makes the Razer Blade so special, let's take a look at the spec sheet:
- 17-inch LED backlit display (1920x1080)
- Intel Core i7 2640M processor clocked at 2.8GHz
- 8GB DDR3-1333 memory
- Nvidia GeForce GT 555M graphics with Optimus technology
- 320GB SATA hard drive
- HD webcam
- 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
- 60Wh battery
That's a solid set of hardware, but there's more here than just modern day components clumped into a chassis. The chassis is actually one of the things that sets the Razer Blade apart. While this is a 17-inch gaming notebook, it measures 16.81 (W) x 10.9 (D) x 0.88 (H) inches and weighs less than 7 pounds. It's significantly more portable than most other gaming notebooks that sometimes check in at over 2 inches thick and upwards of 10 pounds. Those machines, while aimed at gamers, are really just desktop replacements, Razer says, whereas the Razer Blade is a true portable gaming machine in every sense of the word.
"The Razer Blade was designed to give gamers a laptop they could truly use on the go," said Min-Liang Tan, CEO and Creative Director, Razer. "Its sleek, lightweight aluminum construction makes it the thinnest 17-inch gaming laptop available today."
Min-Liang Tan puts on his serious face in the above video and goes into a little more detail about the Razer Blade, including its potentially awesome Switchblade User Interface. The Razer Blade sports 10 dynamic adaptive tactile keys to quickly issue in-game commands, with an LCD sitting just below. When using your mouse, the LCD displays in-game information, and there's also a second mode that functions as a multi-touch panel for gaming on the go.
In short, the Razer Blade is a powerful, lightweight, portable gaming machine with a unique keyboard and layout. Is it enough to shake up the PC gaming landscape? Time will tell. The Razer Blade will ship in Q4 for $2,800, which also raises the question of whether PC gamers at large will be willing to plunk down nearly three grand on a gaming laptop.