Looks like our grandiose next generation Intel UltraBook Platform prediction was wrong. Instead, the just announced Razer Blade is a slim 17-inch notebook equipped with an underwhelming Intel Sandy Bridge Dual Core Processor and Nvidia GT555M GPU, going for a not very competitive US$2799. Where is the salvo against "shoddy console ports and sub-par console graphics"?
Disappointing. Where was the "stand against shoddy console ports and sub-par console graphics"?
For a US$2799.99 "console-killer" and in a not so mobile-friendly 17-inch form factor, we expected it to have at least a Intel Quad Core processor, 120Hz 3D screen, a decent SSD and a higher-end GPU (or even SLi/Crossfire dual graphics like some gaming laptops in the market today) for acceptable framerates during 1080p HD gaming. The 60Wh battery and 35W standard voltage CPU does not inspire much confidence about its battery life either.
At its price tag and specifications, the Razer Blade is hardly competitive against the following Quad Core 17-inch offerings:
Apple's MacBook Pro 17-inch (US$2499, AMD Radeon 6750M)
HP's Envy 17 3D series (US$2048, AMD Radeon 6850M, 1tB 5400RPM)
Alienware's M17x-r3 (US$2809, 16GB of RAM, a beastly AMD Radeon 6990M and 750GB 7200RPM Hard Drive).
ASUS's G74 (US$1749, 12GB of RAM, Nvidia 560M, 1.5tB Hard Drive)
Razer cultists might argue that we are overlooking the "revolutionary" SwitchBlade User Interface (10 adaptive tactile keys and multi-touch LCD), the much vaunted selling points thinness (0.88 inches) and "light" weight (6.97lbs, 3.13kg) – these are nothing a real gamer or mobile warrior would sacrifice for the essentials (being CPU/GPU horsepower or Battery Life/Portability).
To put things in perspective, my soon to be replaced 1-year old Acer Aspire TimelineX 3820TG (13-inch, Intel Dual Core 2.4ghz, AMD Radeon 6570M, 6 hours Battery Life, 1.8kg, aftermarket Intel X25-M G2 SSD) which cost just over US$1000 last year, has almost the same gaming performance as the Blade, is more road warrior friendly and still has better battery life. And I know for a fact it can only run Battlefield 3 with most graphical options turned down..
I guess there's still a reason why not every company can make a notebook – or should for that matter.
Specifications of the Razer Blade:
2.8GHz Intel® Core™ i7 2640M Processor
8GB 1333MHz DDR3 Memory
17.3" LED Backlit Display (1920×1080)
NVIDIA GeForce® GT 555M with NVIDIA® Optimus™ Technology
2GB Dedicated GDDR5 Video Memory
Built-in HD Webcam
Integrated 60Wh Battery
320GB 7200rpm SATA HDD
Wireless Network 802.11 b/g/n Compatible
16.81" (Width) x 10.9" (Depth) x 0.88" (Height); 6.97lbs (Weight)
North America Q4 2011