Razer Blade review (14-inch, 2013): smaller, faster, lighter
Razer’s 14-inch Blade is its most powerful laptop to date, not to mention its most affordable. Strong internals, an attractive build and long battery life make it a solid option for gamers and non-gamers alike.
- Fast and powerful
- Excellent trackpad
- Stellar battery life (for a gaming machine)
- Slim, compact and thoroughly attractive
- Middling screen and audio quality
- More expensive (and less powerful) than other machines
Most companies refresh their products on an annual basis, carefully timing development and release schedules to match consumer demand, product obsolescence and component upgrades. It's the norm, an expected pattern that most PC, smartphone and tablet manufacturers follow. Razer, however, completely ignores this cycle, as exemplified by its Blade line of gaming laptops -- already on its third generation in less than two years. This would be less impressive if the firm wasn't a relative newcomer to the game; before it announced the Blade, Razer was known primarily for creating keyboards, gaming mice and console controllers. A fully fledged gaming PC was a jarring departure for the humble peripheral maker.
Even so, here we are: reviewing the third-generation Razer Blade gaming laptop. This, too, is a departure from what we've grown to expect from the company -- a smaller, thinner device bereft of the previous model's signature Switchblade interface. For some PC manufacturers, a 14-inch machine might be just another SKU in the catalog. But for Razer, it's almost a mark of progress: not only is the Blade popular enough to necessitate successive generations, but also multiple form factors. It's also the company's lowest-priced laptop yet, not to mention its first to include Intel's new fourth-generation CPU -- but at $1,800 for the base model, it still isn't cheap. Read on to see if the new Blade has enough charm to be worth its lofty price tag.