3.25.2012

Razer takes over where Voodoo left off...


I wanted to write something about my Razer Blade experience, but instead of going into a typical hardware review, I’d rather talk about the company first.

Lately it’s rare I see something so unique and relevant in PC hardware that I almost had to pinch myself when Razer sent me their new Blade notebook. This is the first time since I left Voodoo that I’ve seen a PC company build something that’s so close to perfect, I’m proud to carry it.

Since leaving HP-Voodoo people look at me cross eyed when I carry something “normal”, and yet when I use a Macbook Pro I feel somewhat guilty. Regardless of where I work, I prefer using Windows – I grew up using it – and even when I use Bootcamp or Parallels on the Mac it’s just not the same as a PC. Razer has presented power users like me an opportunity to get the best of Windows with incredible hardware design. When I pull it out in a meeting the room goes bonkers. ...and I seriously can't wait to see what they have in store for Windows 8.  

The Razer Blade is a total departure from anything on the market right now, they have something special and I’m not sure that they themselves fully appreciate it.

Besides the amazing crafstmanship, the quality of materials, unique ID, beautiful packaging, and the fit and finish, the Razer brand is something else. Razer built their brand on a thriving community, they have evangelists all over the world who live and breathe their products very similar to Apple in their early days. People overlook this important ingredient too often, the small community Apple once fostered became a movement that helped make them who they are today. 

Razer’s community is made up of hardcore gamers from all over the world; they built their business by creating really interesting gaming accessories for Xbox and PC. Now they’re raising their own bar by creating halo products that pull people higher into their brand ecosystem.

I believe Razer has a chance of creating a similar “Apple-esque” movement in the Windows PC space. Though it will be on a smaller scale, no one should underestimate the power of a thriving ravenous community. There are many strategic plays here, one just has to use their imagination.

What about the Razer Blade?


From the moment you open the outer box you’ll instantly appreciate the construction and beauty of the packaging. The packaging reminds me of the original Voodoo Envy, from the contrasting color tones, to the use of textures and forms vs 4 color print. Razer even went as far as to create a beautiful yet subtle carbon fiber look in the packaging, and they cut a blade-like edge into the box.

It’s so hot you want to display the box on a shelf.

When you lift the cover of the package you’re greeted with your Blade, beautifully wrapped in a cellophane cover. This notebook is exactly the same thickness as a Macbook Pro, it has a slightly wider footprint due to the large interactive touchpad and multi-function keys on the right hand side of the keyboard.


I’d like to do a video blog on it and I will – for now I’ll just say the Razer team did an outstanding job, they didn’t cut corners. They backlit the keyboard, backlit the logo on the back of the lid, kept it thin and light by using the right materials.  No fingerprints! The key action is awesome! They used quality hardware throughout – and even included an LED display keyboard and touchpad with some very useful functions. There are a few nitpicks I have, and I shared them with Razer, including the speakers - I wish they were better..but you can't have everything.

Oh my goodness, did I mention the power adapter? It's super thin, super light, hardly noticable. I know I've been out of hardware for a couple of years, but this power adapter is ridiculous, I don't know how they did it.


..and yes it can play Crysis and every other game you can throw at it.  I have a pretty loaded Steam account and I've been trying game after game - and I have yet to break this thing.  The gaming experience is fantastic, I really love using the Switchblade to record macros and quick browse while I'm in game mode.

So overall is it worth the ~$2800? - *@#! yes it is.

Anyone who compares this to your average “thick-brick-super-hot-loud-laptop-with-faster-hardware” doesn’t have a clue what they’re missing.

I can honestly say if Razer keeps this formula up they have a chance to ignite the PC industry in a way that hasn't been done in years. …and Min if you’re reading this, don’t sell your company to anyone – ever.

If you’re interested in an in-depth review of the hardware, check out Anandtech, they went through this thing with a fine tooth comb.