Razer is once again proving it’s capable of squeezing a lot of power into a tiny space with the debut of the 2015 Razer Blade, the latest in the company’s series of flagship laptops that put an Apple-like spin on the gaming segment.
Last year, Razer turned its already-slick Blade into a Retina MacBook Pro competitor by doubling the number of pixels in each dimension on its 14-inch screen, bringing its resolution to a whopping 3200 x 1800. That’s not quite 4K, but compared to the screens most people on the Windows side of the fence are used to, it was huge.
The only problem is that playing modern video games at that resolution requires a hefty rig. People who spent the $2,199 on the Blade generally had to turn down texture quality, shaders, or other settings in order to get decent frame rates. It was that, or turn down the resolution and waste the fancy display.
That’s not going to be as much of an issue on this year’s Blade. The graphics chip is getting a bump from last year’s Nvidia Geforce GTX 870M to the the new 970M, which handily beats its predecessor in raw power and performance-per-watt. It’s not going to play every new game that comes out at High settings at the laptop’s native resolution (and it would be unfair to expect it to), but most games will look absolutely stunning.
Razer boosted specs across the board so as to not bottleneck the new GPU. Along with a bump from 8 to 16 GB of RAM, last year’s CPU has been swapped for a Haswell Core i7 usually reserved for larger laptops. That might not do wonders for the laptop’s battery life, but it should make for a better experience in CPU-bound games and apps.
For those with a slightly tighter budget, Razer is also offering a model with 8 GB of RAM and a non-touch 1080p screen for $1999. There are very few situations where I’ve benefitted from the touch screen on gaming laptops I’ve tested recently, and with the CPU/GPU from the higher-end model you’ll be able to play most games at max settings at 1080p, even with half the RAM.