How Razer's New Ultrathin Gaming Laptop Compares To A MacBook Air

Despite the company's marketing tagline, Razer's new Blade ultrathin gaming laptop isn't really "thinner than a dime". It's thinner than a dime… that's been placed on its side. That said, it's still a pretty darned thin gaming laptop.

(And you know what, it's sort of a cute tagline. After all, a laptop truly thinner than a dime would be horrifyingly, uselessly thin.)

Yesterday, I attended Razer's announcement event for their two new gaming laptops: The more-powerful and ever-so-slightly cheaper 17-inch Razer Blade Pro and the new ultrathin 14-inch Razer Blade. If you'd like the vital stats on those machines, Mike posted the info yesterday. Short version: The 14-inch Blade sports an Intel Haswell processor, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5.

Since I had a chance to mess around with the new Blade after the presentation, I figured I'd go after the biggest question I had: How does this thing stack up to a MacBook Air, size-wise? I took out my 13" Air and shot some comparison photos:

As you can see, despite Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan's assurances that the Blade is a fraction of an inch thinner than the Air is at its thickest, the Air is certainly the less substantial laptop. It's lighter, too. But the Blade is indeed a mighty small computer, and its 14-inch, 1600x900 screen is an inch larger than my MacBook's.

And of course, most important of all is what's on that screen: high-end PC games that my MacBook Air couldn't run in its wildest dreams. (Though in the little guy's defence, he runs FTL just fine, and that's all the laptop gaming I need.)

I played a few minutes of Metro: Last Light on the Blade and it ran flawlessly on very high settings. FRAPS wasn't running, but I'd guess the game was hitting around 35-45 FPS. The gentleman next to me was running Crysis 3 and getting similar results.

Here's what I've got on two other things commenters mentioned after yesterday's announcement: battery life and the potential for crotch-scorching heat. In the presentation, Tan claimed that the Blade can get six hours of battery life, based on Mobilemark 2007 benchmarks. But as anyone who's ever bought a laptop knows, press conference battery-life claims* are generally awfully generous. I'd be surprised if this thing could really sustain an aeroplane Last Light gaming session for 6 hours, but I guess we'll have to wait until people test it to know for sure.

*Always with that asterisk.

As for the heat, the Blade I tested was certainly very warm when I picked it up, and while I wouldn't call the heat "crotch-scorching", between the types of games it will be running, the battery demands and the heat, this laptop will probably be at its best when resting on a hotel-room desk or an aeroplane tray-table.

I have no need for a powerful, hardcore gaming laptop, but if I did — if I traveled all the time or didn't have a lot of room in my apartment — I can absolutely see the appeal of either the Blade or the Blade Pro. The green branding isn't really my thing, but both machines have a clean, understated design that doesn't look garish or childish in that way gaming PCs so often can. And I have to say, it was pretty cool to play one of the most demanding modern PC games on a laptop the size of my MacBook. Even if I'll never understand how someone could hope to play an FPS with a trackpad.

If you want more nitty-gritty details on the new Razer gaming laptops, check out Mike's post from yesterday. And if you'd like to see a row of dudes testing gaming laptops at a media event, well, you're in luck:


    Why are screen resolutions going down?

      Poor software resolution scaling support. More pixels to push lower the peak graphical settings so the marketing would be a bit out the window for this machine.

      What 1600*900 on a 14" screen is too small for you? It's probably the perfect resolution for that size screen. I've used Alienware Laptops that sport a 15" screen with a 1920*1080 resolution and it makes everything it's way too tiny.

    Dirty nerd fingerprints everywhere D:

    That, to be honest, is quiet nice looking laptop. Somewhat intrigued.

    I like it. But eugh, 1800 US? Makes the Australian edition look like it might be 2200+ =/

      Worth it!
      Providing they're i7 of course :-)

        The Razer site doesn't even say. All it says is "4th gen Intel core processor" hmm.

    why is Razers logo so damn ugly. its bugged me for years. wish they would change it.

      Everything else looks really nice; it's just that shitty logo. It's still pretty sophisticated compared to most gaming laptops, though.

    The 1600x900 screen is a real deal breaker for me. However since they were able to fit a nVidia GTX 765M in it, it gives me hope that perhaps the next 13" MBP Retina will come with dedicated graphics in its next refresh.

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