There is something absolutely arresting about the Blade’s overall aesthetic. It’s big, but so strikingly thin at the same time, and the matte black paintjob is like a visual black hole. The overall effect is eye-catching, breathtaking, and will cause random passerby to stop and ask questions.

The design language is really, really clean and rather understated, two things you don’t expect from most gaming notebooks, while still keeping a sense of flair about it. The lid has two ribs vertically arranged on either side of the glowing Razer logo on the back, breaking up the monotony of the otherwise flat profile of the lid. Everything here is very uniformly laid out—lots of rectangles with radiused edges, no extraneous design elements, but unlike Apple’s portables, there’s no feeling of overwhelming sterility. Apple has taken the minimalist design philosophy so far that the MacBook Pro design language feels almost soulless. 

The Blade doesn’t have that problem. The flat black aesthetic is offset by green accents—lots of them. The Razer logo on the back lights up in green, the power button has a Razer logo that glows green and pulsates almost like a heartbeat, the USB 3.0 port is green, the keys on the keyboard are green, a lot of the UI elements of the Switchlade panel are green, the list goes on. The industrial design is very clean, but what’s impressive is the overall polish in the design and how the whole thing ties together. It’s the little things—the attention to detail borders on obsessive, and that’s very good to see.

No matter what you think about the specs or the price, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the Blade is a gorgeous, gorgeous device. It’s very obviously built to a high standard of build quality, with a machined aluminum unibody chassis that, even being so thin, is very structurally rigid. The lid and hinge are also pretty sturdy feeling, and the keyboard has no flex. Nothing about the look and feel of the Blade suggests anything less than a truly premium product. 

In terms of ports, the Blade is pretty sparse. There’s one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, HDMI, gigabit Ethernet, combo headphone jack/line in, and AC power all on the left side of the machine, as well as a Kensington lock on the right side. I’d definitely have liked to see an SD card slot here, along with one more USB 3.0 port, but given the form factor, you can understand why the Blade doesn’t have too much in the way of ports. The reason almost all the ports are on the left side is so that when at a desk using a mouse, gamers won’t ever run into the peripheral devices connected. Close to the back of the unit, there’s vents on either side; GPU on the right, CPU on the left.

The front is also completely clean, other than the angled cutout for opening the latch-less screen. The back of the system is dominated by the hinge, a right-angled piece that borrows from Apple’s playbook for designing low-profile hinges. The bottom of the system is also pretty minimalist, with chrome-ringed heat vents on the right and left sides, FCC information silk screened onto the body, and the Windows COA sticker. The heat vents are nice in that they are angled such that they blow air towards the rear of the notebook, away from the user. 

The LCD bezel is thicker than I’d like, but the larger footprint was probably necessitated by the super-thin form factor. Above the display, we find the 2.0MP webcam, mic, and light sensor, while below it we find the highly stylised Blade logo rendered in glossy black. Against the metallic matte black of the rest of the interior, it’s understated yet incredibly cool looking. 

The rest of the interior is pretty interesting. First things first, there’s no touchpad in the conventional sense—what happened, effectively, is that the touch-based input device got moved to where the keyboard’s number pad would be, leaving the area underneath the keyboard completely free. The keyboard and Switchblade are important enough to deserve their own page, but the rearranging of the touchpad enabled Razer to do some interesting things with the design. There’s much more space above the keyboard than you’d typically find on a notebook, something that Razer took advantage of by piping most of the heat generated by the CPU and GPU to that area. It’s not somewhere where people typically touch their computers, unlike the bottom or the palmrests, so engineering the thermal system to move heat towards the rear left corner was a good idea. Razer put vents on both sides of the Blade, but a majority of the heat is exhausted from the one on the left because the design team didn’t want hot air blowing on the mouse hand (when using an external mouse). It’s touches like this that impress—it’s rare to find this kind of polish or attention to detail in a company’s first computer. 

Razer Blade - Introduction Razer Blade - Switchblade
POST A COMMENT

95 Comments

View All Comments

  • niva - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    That system is indeed interesting. I'm really looking forward to seeing what other machines they'll put out in the future. I'm not interested in the Switchblade, but the design of this machine highly appeals to me. The usage of the black and green details, the glowing kb... very nice Razer. Now I wish I could afford something like this... Reply
  • Thefinaleofseem - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    The most hilarious thing about this laptop? It's arguably more overpriced than a 17" Macbook Pro. Compare the specs. 6770M vs 555M. They're about the same. 1080p panels with the MBP arguably having a better panel, similar form factors and weight. The Blade actually went with a bloody dual core when the MBP has a quad that turbos to about the same frequency anyway. It does have an SSD, which is a welcome change over the laughable 320GB hard drive they used to have in there and actually gives it a solid edge. It does have 8GB of RAM, although if you buy RAM anywhere other than Apple, you can get 8GB for less than $40, so that's hardly an issue.

    That leaves the little touchpad and a few extra buttons. Sorry, but that screen is little more than a gimmick. A touchpad with no tactile feedback? Utterly useless in gaming, which is the market that Razer is looking to grab with this thing. Have fun looking away from the screen periodically to ensure that your fingers are in the right place. It might be somewhat useful in slower/turn-based games, but nothing even remotely fast paced will have a use for it.

    The only solid advantage it has is the SSD. The major disadvantage it has is the laughable dual core CPU. Really, in a game that can use perhaps only two cores, the difference will be minute if it's even visible at all. In games that can use a quad? The MBP will pull ahead easily, not to mention if you're running multiple other applications with your games or want to do something else, like media compression. That leaves the SSD, which is nice, but quite frankly, when you're about on the level of what many consider to be the poster boy for overpriced, then maybe you're charging too bloody much.
    Reply
  • santiagodraco - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    I agree with much of what's you've said and also agree that this thing has missed it's mark (but as a notebook per se it's very cool).

    As for the trackpad... well that's really a non issue as anyone who calls themselves a gamer wouldn't be caught dead using a trackpad, they'll have a mouse in the bag. So from that perspective the trackpad is very cool as an information display but nothing else.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    How can you claim to be about gamers when you put a GT540 in a 17" Chassis? Psh, doesn't even count. With that price tag I expected AT LEAST a GTX560, if not GTX570. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of trying to make this type of laptop less cumbersome. But right now I can't imagine playing on anything less than the GTX560M, which I have currently in my Clevo. Overall I'm very happy with it, but I'd pay an extra 500 bucks to have a second hdd bay and cut the bulk by half. As for the specs this is as low as I'm willing to go. Get rid of the cd rom drive, fine. I honestly couldn't care any less about that. But the GT540M is unacceptable; I'm sorry. It's nice that this is thin, but I'll put up with a little extra bulk and weight to have a GPU I can actually use. If you have to do that by putting the GPU in an external "caddie" or docking station I'm fine with that too. As I don't ever game on battery power, only when it's plugged in.

    Razer, I say develop a docking station using Intels lighpeak connection and some good ol USB 3.0, and make that dock compatible with every single laptop you release, period. THAT! My friends will garner some serious customer loyalty.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    I look forward to the day when I can just slide my smartphone into my laptop, where that touchpad is now. One concern though, I have a friend who because of a skin condition cannot use anything that's capacitive touch. I'm sure this is a small segment of their target customers but every time I see capacative touch on stuff I think of that now. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    hm, see that's another things, especially for this much money, I expect to work properly. Noise, I never notice the noise of my Clevo P151. If I listen for it I can hear it, but I do not ever notice it. I paid 1100 bucks for this thing, then put a Seagate Hyrbrid drive in it. Beautiful 1080p screen. For nearly 3 times that I expect everything to be better in every single way. The physical size of the laptop just doesn't matter if it means sacraficing anything else at all about the laptop. I'd rather have a 20lb monster that runs everything I play at 1080p and doesn't make a peep than a 6lb pansy that can't even play Mass Effect 1 at 1080p smoothly. Like the SSD, ok, load times are low. That's nice. That's why I have the hybrid drive. But really I care much more about the performance IN THE application that I do how long it takes to load that application. It's a luxury item, like the size of the laptop, nice to have and I'm one of those people who are willing to pay extra for that kind of thing; I have the means. I'm just not willing to sacrafice another area of the laptop to get it. I do like the design elements and apparent attention to detail quite a lot. This looks like an excellent first try, they just got too ambititious and sacraficed on fundamentals; in my opinion. Also the price seems about 800 too high given the specs. And that's assuming noise was a non-issue. Reply
  • owan - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    We get it. You want gaming performance, you're willing to carry around a desktop with a screen bolted on. Thats great, but you're not who this laptop is for. I agree that their marketing department made a mistake saying this was "for gamers" but you don't have to harp on it. Reply
  • Immentus - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    Sure it is. It's aimed very much for him - it's a gaming laptop. Many of his points are valid considerations. Maybe you should focus on educating yourself rather than trying make your skittle fan boy comments sound valid. Reply
  • Hrel - Thursday, March 15, 2012 - link

    Lol, you sir just made my day! Thank you. Reply
  • tim851 - Friday, March 16, 2012 - link

    Not every gaming laptop is aimed at every gamer. That would be nigh impossible.

    Hrel is obviously looking for a desktop replacement, something you don't lug around every day. That's why he can live with the drawbacks, i.e. size and weight.

    Just because other gamers put more emphasis on portability and are willing to sacrifice top performance for it doesn't make them less of a gamer or a solution aimed at them less of a gaming laptop.

    There are still people playing competitive Counter-Strike or StarCraft (1) and let's not forget the millions of people living in World of Warcraft or other online games. These people are gamers, yet don't need the utmost performance.

    And some might welcome the style appeal in the Blade, which is obviously meant for people who like the MacBook Pro's design, but for whatever reason don't want one or a clone.
    So here you get the same form factor and internals in a surprisingly discrete and different design.
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now