Razer, makers of gear for gamers have recently announced the updated Blade gaming laptop, version 2.0 is upon us. To celebrate the occasion Razer has also created the Star Wars: Old Republic Blade, a one of a kind prize.
The Blade still remains the most portable and stylish 17 inch gaming laptop on the market, now the second generation has appeared to tempt us all further.
Keeping the brand current and fresh Razer have left perfection alone (the Swtichblade interface) instead upgrading the internals only. Faster GTX graphics and the latest Intel CPU have turned the portable casual gamer into an application and gaming workhorse on the go. Razer’s Blade gaming laptop is still undeniably spectacular and the laptop we all think of when shopping for the laptop we can afford.
While most gaming laptops sacrifice weight and dimension for performance, the original Blade laptop took a different approach. By turning the performance down slightly Razer were able create a far leaner gaming machine. The second generation Blade increases gaming performance from the previous Blade’s while maintaining the same slim sleek lines and Switchblade UI that have made this the most desirable gaming laptop on the market.
The changes to the outer design of the Blade have been minor, a few minor vent tweaks. Under the hood though the Razer has received a major upgrade. The 250GB SSD has been replaced by a 500 GB SATA / 64 GB SSD combination. Graphics have been given a boost shifting from the Geforce GT 555M to the GTX 660M, still not leading edge but a big improvement. The brand new hot off the presses CPU from Intel has also been shoe-horned into the one piece aluminium case, the Core i7-3632QM @ 2.2GHz to be precise.
The remaining specifications of the system stay unchanged. The 17.3 inch HD display can display 1920×1080 resolution and 8GB of RAM is still the standard.
The incredible SwitchBlade interface stays in place as your new right hand man. Placed where a numeric keypad might normally be are the Blades 10 dynamic display keys and 4 inch touch screen pad. Support for the interface is continuing to grow, more games are providing key images and layouts while apps are also appearing for the touchscreen. Twitter, Facebook and GMail have apps that use the touch display, generally similar to the mobile variant of each. The interface is continuing to win acceptance from software companies and will only get better with age.
The backlight keyboard is fast and responsive, the oddly square flat keys are unexpectedly comfortable and well spaced.
All three USB ports running down the left side of the Blade are now USB 3.0. Joining the USB are HDMI, Ethernet and power. Audio jacks are on the right. No optical drive is present, sacrificed for the .8 inch / 2cm height and slim lines. Weight remains at 6.6 pounds / 3kg, still by far the most portable 17 inch gaming laptop.
While the gaming performance is good the stand out is productivity speed. With Intel’s latest CPU under the bonnet the Blade blasts through number crunching tasks, clocking in a PC Mark score of 4,500, second only to the Alienware M17x R4. Battery life is also a pleasant surprise with a long 4 hours of run time which is an hour ahead of most 17 inch gamers.
Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan during the launch of the second generation Razer stated that his company will be aiming to do an annual refresh of the Razer Blade gaming laptop. This hopefully will be the first of many Blade refreshes.
The Star Wars Edition….
Razer are also celebrating the second generation Blade with a competition. Working with LucasArts and BioWare on the Star Wars Blade represents the ultimate in exclusivity. As the first prize for the sweepstakes draw the Star Wars Old Republic Edition Blade is a one of a kind. The very limited edition varies little from the standard Blade 2.0 except for the Star Wars branding.
While the Blade may not break your back to carry it will break your bank account, quality doesn’t come cheap and at $2,500 USD neither does the Blade.
Razer have found the perfect portable gaming formula with the Blade, sleek light and powerful. Here at Highpants we suspect it will continue to sell out for some time to come. Taking the title as the most desirable laptop in the world Razer continues to keep the Blade fresh, and sharp.
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