Razer announced the Blade 16 and Blade 18 gaming laptops two days ago at CES 2023, but it shared much more information today on the two new sizes. This is the biggest shake-up to Razer’s popular, well-designed Blade lineup in a while, going well beyond processor and GPU spec improvements. Their screens are taller with a 16:10 aspect ratio, so you’re getting more screen real estate, plus the display “chin” near the bezel is significantly smaller. This change has some positive knock-on effects, such as allowing Razer to fit in bigger batteries compared to last year’s Blade 15 and 17. More on that below.
Every configuration comes standard with Intel’s high-end 13th Generation Core i9-13950HX 65W CPU, while both models can be upgraded to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 mobile graphics. The Blade 16 starts at $2,699.99, while the larger size starts at $2,899.99. They’ll all release sometime in the first quarter.
Certain pricey configurations of the Blade 16 have an intriguing Mini LED screen that can toggle between 4K (3840 x 2400) and 1080p (1920 x 1200), providing different refresh rates depending on the resolution. Razer intends 4K mode to be used by creators, and it tops out at 120Hz, while the lower FHD res doubles it to 240Hz. Razer claims this Mini LED screen can boost up to 1,000 nits at peak brightness when displaying HDR content or up to 600 nits for SDR content. Other manufacturers have Mini LED options for 2023, too, like Acer with its Helios 16 and Helios 18. Razer hasn’t shared a price for this upgrade, but don’t expect it to be cheap.
Even if the Mini LED upgrade isn’t in your budget, the other displays for the Blade 16 and 18 sound great. They’re all IPS panels with a QHD (2560 x 1600) resolution, a 240Hz refresh rate, and 500 nits at peak brightness, which should be bright enough for most use cases. Each supports Nvidia G-Sync variable refresh rate tech, has a 3ms response time, and supports 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color spectrum.
Design-wise, not much separates the Blade 16 and 18 from other Blade laptops. They look understated and serious as ever with huge trackpads, just in new sizes with smaller bezels surrounding their screen. But there are many more year-to-year spec shifts to cover. Both laptops start with 16GB of DDR5-5600MHz RAM and 1TB of PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD storage and both support user-replaceable RAM and storage. You can upgrade to 64GB of memory with their two slots. The Blade 16 supports up to 4TB of storage with two slots there, while the 18 can go up to 8TB.
Both laptops feature a Windows Hello webcam, but Razer is making a bigger deal out of the QHD 5MP webcam built into the Blade 18. Personally, I’m still not expecting miracles; it’s probably best to get an external webcam if you really care about video quality. Strangely, the Blade 16 has a physical privacy shutter, while it’s omitted on the Blade 18.
Razer didn’t shake up the ports much, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They have one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, one Thunderbolt 4 port (with 100W charging support), three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, HDMI 2.1, a headphone jack, and a UHS-II SD card reader. Both of their USB-C ports can carry a video-out signal to monitors. However, only the TB4 port can output via the discrete Nvidia GPU while the USB-C port can output video from the integrated graphics. The bigger Blade 18 adds a little more, including a 2.5Gbps ethernet port.
The Blade 16 and 18 chassis designs are longer from front to back than the Blade 15 and 17, and it allowed Razer to pack in some bigger batteries. While last year’s 15 and 17 had 80Wh and 82Wh batteries, respectively, the Blade 16 has a 95.2Wh battery and the Blade 18 has a 91.7Wh battery. Given that Nvidia’s RTX 40-series GPUs claim to offer a lot of power in an efficient manner, these models might deliver surprisingly good battery life.
2023’s gaming laptops may have some big changes internally, but it seems like the industry’s major players are dancing to a new beat when it comes to sizing. Sixteen- and 18-inch laptops are in, and companies like Alienware, Acer, and others are playing ball here, too. Any mention so far of 15- and 17-inch laptops that were once a mainstay in most lineups have been rare. (Razer wouldn’t comment as to whether its Blade 15 and Blade 17 would receive some of the same upgrades coming to the newer machines.) I’m fully onboard with this shift, especially if we get bigger batteries and potentially more ports in addition to bigger screens.
Even though I’ve tested plenty of 16-inch gaming laptops, I’m particularly interested to check out Razer’s attempt. In the past few years, other companies have come closer to eclipsing its stellar Blade design, so I’m happy to see it making some effort to maintain its lead.
Update January 5th, 2023, 1:00PM ET: Razer provided more information on the Blade 16 and 18, so we’ve overhauled this post with specs and more pictures.