With only a few short weeks before Christmas, Razer prepares to take preorders on their dedicated gaming laptop, the Razer Blade. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan explains what's changed since the "world's first true gaming laptop" was revealed in August, and talks about the Army origins of the laptop's sleek and sexy design.
Announced earlier this year with a release date of Q4 2011, the Razer Blade dedicated gaming laptop could be in your hands before Santa makes the rounds this year. It's the sort of rapid deployment one might expect from a device modelled after one of the Army's fastest and most reliable weapons: The KA-BAR combat knife.
"When I served in the army, I was sent for survival training in the dense jungles of the tropics. We carried only the most essential gear and one key item in my kit was my KA-BAR combat knife" explained Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan.
"It was simple, minimalist and utilitarian — and we used it for everything from hunting, to preparing food, cutting rope and building floats. Every night after setting up camp, I would spend my time sharpening it during watch. It was one of the finest knives I've ever used — clean, cold. supremely balanced and lethally sharp.
"The high carbon steel blade was matt black, cold to the touch and the beautiful silver edge was one of the images that always stuck in my mind for years."
He sounds like a man obsessed, and that obsession translates directly to the design on the Razer Blade. "Together with Stephane, the lead industrial designer on the Razer Blade, we brought to life the Razer Blade in the spirit of the knife."
Seeing the two side-by-side the inspiration is obvious. The colours are similar. The spine of the unit actually aligns with the spine of the KA-BAR. Even the vents on the underside of the unit are edged in silver, like the blade of the knife. "This is one of the design elements I really like about the Razer Blade — most PC manufacturers have a horrible underside surface — we designed the Razer Blade to be beautiful both on the outside and inside."
They went as far as to have a system start-up sound inspired by the noise of a blade being pulled across a whetstone. It's almost scary.
Speaking of scary, the unit's price tag remains firm at $US2799.99, but the company has managed to pack at least one major upgrade into the Blade without altering the price thanks to the buzz generated by the laptop's announcement.
"Prior to the announcement of the Razer Blade, we had to deal with sceptical component suppliers who were convinced that no one wanted a well-designed gaming laptop — and that all the users cared about were cheap and mass produced laptops. To convince them to supply us, we offered a premium over their listed prices for the components" said Tan.
"After the announcement of the Razer Blade, they were floored with the response from the press and the community and we managed to negotiate a price down for the components. We were able to convince them to bring the cost down and with the cost savings; we decided to upgrade the 320GB HDD to a 256 SSD drive."
It's a little less storage, but I'd take a 256GB solid state drive over a plain old 320GB hard disk drive any day of the week.
So when's this new and improved Razer Blade shipping? It already is, technically. Min-Liang Tan said that select friends and game publishing CEOs have already received their units. As for the rest of us, preorders should be starting up within the next few days at the Razer Zone website, with units expected to ship out before Christmas.
Who's ready to take a $US2800 gamble?