Razer rounds out its laptop line with the high-spec Blade 16 and Blade 18

With massive performance come equally massive price tags.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Razer is no stranger to making high-performance gaming laptops. But with the arrival of 13th-gen CPUs from Intel and 40-series mobile GPUs from NVIDIA, it really feels like the company is trying to cram as much power as it possibly can in its new Blade 16 and Blade 18 notebooks.

Starting with the Blade 16, you get a huge range of beefy components including up to Intel Core-i9 HX chips and NVIDIA’s top-of-the-line RTX 4090 graphics cards. On top of that, while some other laptop makers sometimes try to limit the power consumption of a laptop’s GPU in order to preserve battery life, Razer is throwing caution to the wind and will support a total graphics power (TGP) of 175 watts.

Interestingly, despite going big on performance, the Blade 16 isn’t that much larger than the Blade 15, with an increase in thickness of just 5mm (21.99mm for the Blade 16 vs. 16.99 for the Blade 15). The Blade 16 is also almost exactly the same width as its smaller sibling and less than half an inch deeper as well, so there’s not a huge increase in overall size despite the big jump in performance. And weighing 5.4 pounds, the Blade 16 isn’t overly heavy either.

That said, my favorite new feature on the Blade 16 (which isn’t available on the larger Blade 18) is a dual-mode 16:10 mini LED display that supports two different native refresh rates and resolutions: 4K at 120Hz or FHD+ at 240Hz. This choice of display modes is really handy because it lets you adjust your screen depending on what you’re doing. If you’re editing photos or videos, you can set the screen to 120Hz at 4K in order to view your content at full resolution, while also boosting peak brightness to a stunning 1000 nits.

While performance has take a big jump up on the Blade 16 and Blade 18, Razer's black aluminum chassis haven't changed a ton when it comes to their overall design.
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Then, when you feel like winding down with a game or two, you can set the display to operate in FH+/240Hz mode, so you can take full advantage of the laptop’s performance. The downside is that peak brightness at 240Hz drops slightly to 600 nits, though from what I saw that’s still more than enough to support vivid HDR graphics. The other minor annoyance is that when you want to switch between different display modes on the Blade, you will need to fully shut down and restart the system, which just feels clunky.

Next, we move onto the Blade 18, which Razer says is simply the most powerful laptop the company has ever made. In addition to top-notch components, the Blade 18 sports a gorgeous 240Hz QHD+ display along with a new 5MP webcam, so you can live stream in high resolution without needing to plug in an external one. Also, as Razer’s biggest and brawniest desktop replacement, the Blade 18 also comes with a booming six-speaker setup that supports THX spatial audio. And just like the Blade 16, this system offers a great selection of ports including multiple USB-C jacks with Thunderbolt 4, a full-size SD card reader, HDMI 2.1 and even an Ethernet jack (which is the one port not available on the Blade 16).

The Blade 16 features a quad-speaker setup while the larger Blade 18 sports an even more powerful six-speaker arrangement with support for THX spatial audio.
Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle for anyone considering buying either of these systems is their price: The Blade 16 starts at $2,700 while the cheapest Blade 18 will go for $2,900, with both models quickly moving well above $3,500 when fully maxed out.

Personally, as much as I like the idea of a laptop that’s more powerful than my mid-tower at home, the Blade 18 is still a bit too large for my taste. But for those who need high-end systems with sleek aluminum builds and have cash to burn, it really feels like Razer’s latest addition to the Blade family are gaming laptops in a class of their own. Both systems are expected to go on sale some in Q1 2023.

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