Just a few months ago, Razer refreshed its baby 13-inch Blade Stealth with a new design, updated specs, and a lovely pink colorway. Now, it’s the big boys’ turn for new improvements, including updated components for both Blade and Blade Pro, and an all-new chassis for its 17-inch flagship.
Let’s start with the 15-inch Blade. While its slim, boxy chassis remains the same, its performance is getting a substantial upgrade in the form of new 9th-Gen Intel Core-i7 9750H CPUs, featuring six cores with a max turbo clock speed of 4.5GHz, along with a new Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 wireless card.
On top of that, Razer also spruced up the $2,000 base model of the Razer Blade with a new full HD screen featuring a 144Hz refresh rate, a spec that is quickly becoming standard on premium gaming laptops.
The Razer Blade Advanced is also getting beefed up and split into two different variants: a $2,400 model with a 15-inch full HD 240Hz display, and an even pricier model with a 4K OLED screen.
The arrival of Razer’s new screen options combined with what Asus is doing with its new ROG lineup (also announced today) highlights how hard the gaming industry is pushing high refresh rate displays. That said, after checking them out in person, I found myself more drawn towards the model with the OLED panel.
Yes, it’s wildly expensive, and unlike the Blade Advanced with the LCD screen, the OLED panel’s refresh rate only hits 60Hz. But damn do those colors dazzle. For the OLED Blade Advanced, Razer is claiming a color gamut that covers 100 percent of the DCI-P3 spectrum, one of the main color spaces used in film making, support for HDR 400 with True Black certification, and a response rate of just 1 millisecond. (Also, the OLED Razer Blade is the only one of the bunch that has full touchscreen support.)
Just a few years ago, it seemed like every major laptop maker including Dell, Lenovo, and others tried making at least one notebook with an OLED display, before quickly abandoning that idea once they realized the tech behind OLED screens larger than a smartphone display wasn’t quite mature yet. But now OLED screens on laptops seem to be making a comeback, and while it would be exciting to see the cost for OLED come down and refresh rates go up, it’s nice to at least have the option, especially for photographers or video editors who might not have the same need for 120 or 144Hz.
As for the 17-inch Blade Pro, Razer is finally giving its biggest gaming notebook a facelift to match the recent redesigns for the 13-inch Blade Stealth and 15-inch Blade. That means no more built-in scroll wheel and awkward offset touchpad that lives off on the right side of the system. Instead, you get a more traditional layout with a slimmed down, more angular frame that Razer says is 25 percent smaller than the outgoing model.
The new Blade Pro also comes with a new 144Hz screen (up from 120Hz), two additional USB Type-C ports (one of which supports Thunderbolt 3), 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet, a new vapor chamber cooling system, and even an open M.2 slot you can use to add extra storage. And like the 15-inch Blade, the Blade Pro is also getting a new 9th-gen Core i7CPU, and your choice of Nvidia RTX 2060, 2070, or 2080 Max-Q GPUs.
But with a new body and faster components comes a slightly higher starting price, as the Blade Pro now starts at $2,500. That said, for anyone who has followed the cost of Razer’s big laptops, a price tag like that probably isn’t a big surprise.
Both the Razer Blade and Blade Pro will be available later this spring, with the 15-inch Blade going on sale later this week (April 24th), and the Blade Pro following sometime in May.