Corsair, after having been a leader in the desktop space for decades, is releasing its first-ever gaming laptop. The new Voyager a1600 is an AMD powerhouse, equipped with both Ryzen 6000-series processors and AMD Radeon RX 6000 series. The device is Corsair’s first venture into mobile hardware after acquiring the enthusiast PC builder Origin in 2019.
We don’t know with complete certainty what this device will look like yet since the pictures Corsair has provided us with are only renders, and we only got a brief peek during AMD’s Computex keynote. Still, take a look and one feature will likely jump out at you: there’s a touch bar.
This row of shortcut buttons above the keyboard deck isn’t actually called a “touch bar,” of course. Corsair described it to me, specifically, as “ten easy-access customizable S-key shortcut buttons.” The good thing is that this row of 10 easy-access customizable S-key shortcut buttons adds extra keys to the keyboard — it doesn’t actually replace the function row, which is a choice some... other manufacturers have made with mixed reception.
These S-keys are powered by Elgato Stream Deck software, which means you’d likely be using them for various live streaming controls, including switching scenes, launching media, and adjusting audio. We wouldn’t necessarily expect a laptop to be the device of choice for many streamers, but it’s still an interesting idea that’s unusual in the gaming space — and can also work well as a Zoom meeting controller.
Also, it appears that you can access these touch controls while the laptop is closed. I do like that you could see the battery indicator before opening up the thing, but I wonder about buttons potentially being bumped while the laptop is in a backpack or something. We’ll know more about how these buttons work when we get our hands on the device (which should be sometime in July, Corsair says).
Elsewhere, the Voyager will include a full-size Cherry MX low-profile mechanical keyboard with per-key RGB backlighting as well as a 1080p FHD webcam. I’m seeing what looks like a physical webcam shutter in these renders, which may be a good sign that Corsair is putting some effort into this area (which not all gaming manufacturers do).
Prospective Voyager buyers will be able to choose between a Ryzen 7 6800HS and a Ryzen 9 6900HS — both configurations come with a Radeon 6800M GPU. You can get up to 64GB of RAM (Corsair Vengeance DDR5, of course) and 2TB of storage. The device has a 16-inch 2560 x 1600, 240Hz display and two Thunderbolt 3 USB 4.0 ports, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, one SDXC 7.0 card reader, and one audio jack.
It’s not surprising to see Corsair following in the footsteps of Razer, another gaming hardware company that expanded into the enthusiast laptop sphere after a building and buying spree. Corsair has made a number of recent acquisitions, including Elgato, peripheral manufacturer Scuf Gaming as well as Origin, and it seems poised to expand its reach to users who don’t necessarily want to build their own systems.
The quality and success of this laptop may be our first clue as to how well that expansion is going to go. Origin has made decent PCs in the past and is particularly notable for the customizability of the systems they sell. It will be interesting to see how configurable the new Corsair machine is and how well these design choices go over in the enthusiast space.