So far, E3 2021 has all been about games, games, games and more games, but those green snakey folks over at Razer have also taken the opportunity today to show off some of their new gaming hardware today, including their all-new Razer Blade 14 gaming laptop. Not only is this the world’s thinnest 14in gaming laptop, but it’s also their first such device to come with an AMD CPU – and it looks rather lovely, if I do say so myself, especially when this super slim laptop is also going to be available with one of Nvidia’s RTX 3080 graphics chips inside it, too.
That’s pretty rare for a 14in gaming laptop. Normally, these slightly smaller gaming laptops max out at an RTX 3060 tops, with many more making do with Nvidia’s considerably slower GTX 1660 chips. After all, when you’re dealing with a smaller chassis – especially an ultra thin one – there’s less room to vent those hot GPU chips and keep everything nice and cool. Even the latest model of Asus’ ROG Zephyrus G14 doesn’t go higher than an RTX 3060, but Razer want to change this state of affairs and deliver the ‘ultimate’ 14in gaming laptop with zero compromises.
They’re not kidding when it comes to packing in the ‘ultimate’ components, either. While the RTX 3080 isn’t quite the top 16GB model we’ve seen in beefier laptops such as the 2021 edition of the Asus ROG Strix Scar 15, the 8GB model Razer have chosen is still a powerful 100W TGP model, putting it on a similar playing field to the 8GB, 105W model I tested inside the considerably larger Gigabyte Aorus 15G earlier in the year. And if that wasn’t enough, they’ve also stuck AMD’s powerful octa-core Ryzen 9 5900HX processor in there, too, which is the most powerful AMD laptop CPU you can currently get.
To achieve this, Razer have made their existing vapor chamber cooling technology even more efficient, cooling the CPU and GPU simultaneously. Of course, without having seen the laptop myself, I can’t comment on quiet / loud the Blade 14 will be under load. Razer told me during an early preview session that the Blade 14’s fans will be “noticeable, and it will generate some heat”, but it won’t “go nuts”. I’d imagine it will probably still be pretty noisy given its slim, 16.8mm thick chassis, but I really hope it’s not too deafening when I finally get my hands on one for testing. The Blade 14 will be available in other models as well, with Razer confirming both RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 GPU variants during their presentation, which with any luck might be a touch quieter. All models will come 16GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD, too, the latter of which can be upgraded if you ever need more storage.
Even more promising is the Blade 14’s battery life, with Razer claiming you’ll be able to get up to 10 hours of web browsing and media playback out of it on a single charge with the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 models, and up to 12 hours on the RTX 3060 version. They didn’t clarify what screen brightness they used to achieve this figure, admittedly, but 10 hours of web browsing is still pretty good going as gaming laptops go, and it sounds like it will be able to do a reasonable day’s work on it, which is always a big plus in my books.
Razer haven’t skimped on the Blade 14’s display, either. There will be two options – a 1920×1080, 144Hz version, and a 2560×1440, 165Hz model. The former will be able to hit a full 100% of the standard sRGB colour gamut, say Razer, but that 1440p model will have 100% coverage of the HDR grade DCI-P3 gamut, which should mean much richer, more vibrant colours across the board. That’s a very tempting set of specs when taken together with its powerful gaming innards, and both will have Freesync Premium support for smooth-tear free gaming as well at higher refresh rates, too.
Add in per-key RGB keyboard lighting, built-in upward-firing speakers with THX’s Spatial Audio certification, plus a range of ports including an HDMI 2.1 output for up to 4K 120Hz gaming on compatible displays, two USB Type-C (3.2 Gen 2) ports with power delivery, two USB Type-A ports (also 3.2 Gen 2), a combined headphone and microphone jack, and support for both Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, and that’s one very attractive laptop. It even has a Windows Hello-compatible webcam, too, for all those important working from home Zoom calls, too.
Unsurprisingly, the Razer Blade 14 won’t come cheap with all that lovely ‘ultimate’ hardware inside, as the base 1080p model with an RTX 3060 is due to start from £1799 / $1799. There will also be two 1440p models – one with the RTX 3070 and the other with the RTX 3080 – going for £2199 / $2199 and £2799 / $2799 respectively. That’s a lot of cash for such a dinky gaming laptop, and a lot of its lasting appeal will no doubt ride on its noise levels. After all, it’s all very well being an ‘ultimate’ gaming laptop on paper, but if it sounds like a jet engine every time you play a game, it probably won’t feel very ultimate in everyday use. Hopefully I’ll be able to get one in for testing soon and see for myself.
E3 2021 runs June 12th-15th, with more events around it. Please see our E3 stream schedule for more, genuinely useful information on the whole virtual shebang, and visit our E3 2021 hub to stay up to date on the news.