IF YOU WANT a slim machine you can slip inside your messenger bag, tote to the coffee shop, and peck out a few emails on, there are plenty of those. Go ahead and get an iPad and a keyboard cover. Maybe even a MacBook or a Surface Pro if you can handle the extra ounces.
But if you want the kind of high-octane monster that can power a frickin’ Oculus headset, weighs as much as a child’s bowling ball, and is the laptop version the guitar riff in Ain’t Talkin Bout Love, here comes the damn business.
The 2016 version of the Razer Blade Pro laptop is here. And it vapes.
The new Razer Blade Pro does not seem like a real laptop. It seems like an April Fools’ gag from Power Computing Magazine circa 2003. While Razer has been making high-performance gaming laptops with shockingly slim frames since 2011, none of them have been as over-the-top loaded as the new Blade Pro. The laptop’s tagline is “The desktop in your laptop,” and it’s an understatement.
Where’s the Beef?
It all starts with a 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU that overclocks to 3.5GHz, which is easily the most modest thing about the laptop. After all, there are newer and more expensive Core i7 processors available, and everything else about the Razer Blade Pro screams MORE THINGS FASTER THINGS STRONGER THINGS.
This kind of power doesn’t come cheap. The Razer Blade Pro starts at $3,700.
For example, it has 32 gigs of 2133MHz DDR4 RAM. Its 17.3-inch IZGO touchscreen is a 4K display that can handle the full Adobe RGB colorspace. On its sides you’ll find three USB 3.0 ports, a card reader, and a Thunderbolt/USB-C jack. Its 99-watt-hour battery is the largest-capacity battery that’s legally allowed on an airplane. Storage space is flexible: there’s a configuration with a 2TB PCIe SSD packed into it. And of course, it’s the company’s latest machine with “Razer Chroma” mood lighting, which means the keyboard backlight system can be configured as a user-customizable rainbow light show.
Arguably, we haven’t even gotten to the really good stuff yet. While the Razer Blade Pro is insanely thin for the amount of power packed into it—it’s just 0.88 inches deep—it has a low-profile mechanical keyboard. Razer makes its own switches, and it’s used the same low-travel but highly enjoyable switch in the Blade Pro as it did in its excellent mechanical keyboard case for the iPad Pro.
Another unique feature is the placement and design of the laptop’s touchpad. Unlike your average boring-ass laptop, it’s super big and set to the right of its super-clicky set of keys. And even though it feels like a bigger version of the glass-topped touchpad on a MacBook Pro, there are some extra navigation options right above it: A scrollwheel that clicks down for your selection needs, as well as media keys for playing and navigating music.
But here’s the really cool part. Well, two really cool parts. One, this is the thinnest laptop out there with a desktop-class Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, which is bolstered by 8 gigs of GDDR5X VRAM, and two, Razer had to design a thermal-management system from scratch to cool it. Packing so much power into a machined-aluminum frame less than an inch thick required Razer to use a vapor-chamber cooling system to keep its internals chill.
Vapor-chamber cooling in a laptop isn’t unique: Razer is calling it the world’s thinnest such system rather than the first. Last year’s G752 gaming laptop from Asus had a similar system, but that laptop was nowhere near this svelte. And a vapor-based system also doesn’t mean you’ll see vapor wafting out of the back of the laptop: The vapor chamber is an enclosed system in which coolant fluid inside reaches a boiling point, then vaporizes. All of that action moves heat away from the components and into the laptop’s exhaust system.
A pair of internal fans help route heat out of the back of the laptop and away from places like the wrist rest. There’s a third fan on the underside of the motherboard that doesn’t feed hot air into the vent system; it’s just there to keep things circulating and eliminate wrist-singing hot spots.
While the Razer Blade Pro is crazy-thin, it certainly isn’t a featherweight laptop. It clocks in at nearly 8 pounds, but it’s powerful enough to be VR-ready for both the Oculus and HTC Vive. Razer says that’s important, as VR game developers are looking for a single portable powerhouse they can develop and play games on. The company also hopes the laptop appeals to more than gamers, as it has the horsepower and screen resolution to appeal to hard-core video and photo editors.
This kind of power doesn’t come cheap. The Razer Blade Pro starts at $3,700, and that’s for the piddly 512GB SSD configuration. Ramping up to 1TB will run you $4,000, and the top-of-the-line 2TB model sets you back $4,500. Other than the storage space, all those other bad-ass components are the same, and they’ll all be available in November.