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The new Razer Blade: hands-on with the 14-inch model

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Gallery Photo: Razer Blade (14-inch) hands-on pictures
Gallery Photo: Razer Blade (14-inch) hands-on pictures

The Razer Blade laptop line, which is just a year old and has already gone through one needed revision, has been built on the promise of significant gaming power in a thin chassis. But while the first two generations of Blades have been svelte for a 17-inch laptop, they've left us wanting for a laptop that's more refined and even a bit thinner. The new 14-inch Blade, which Razer unveiled on Thursday, just might be the device we were hoping for last year. The MacBook stylings are still in full force, particularly the nigh-identical lid and hinge, but they seem to be serving Razer well here: the 14-inch Blade is indeed thin, light, feels premium and incredibly solid, and appeared to be running games quite well for a laptop this svelte, with a crisp BioShock Infinite experience. The demanding Crysis 3 seemed to run briskly at medium settings as well.

While the keyboard is still a little stiff and shallow, like the original Blade, it felt precise and the anti-ghosting feature seems to work like a charm, continuing to take our inputs even with half of the other keys on the keyboard pressed down. The nice large keys don't feel cramped, as Razer's devoted most of the available width to the keyboard, though the mouse buttons feel a little small. There's no room here for Razer's Switchblade UI customizable LCD keys, but we're not missing them thus far.

The trackpad is incredibly smooth and accurate, definitely on par with the MacBook Air for tracking alone, though we haven't been able to try any multi-finger Windows gestures yet to see how they work. 1600 x 900 at 14 inches isn't an incredibly high pixel density for a laptop, but the colors in BioShock Infinite on a test unit here definitely seem to pop. $1,799 isn't a cheap price for a laptop, but this is clearly not a cheap machine. We're definitely looking forward to giving the machine a full review when it arrives in a few weeks.

Nathan Olivarez-Giles contributed to this report.