This year Razer brings us its first-ever 18-inch gaming laptop, or desktop replacement to be more accurate, featuring one of Intel’s 13th Gen Core i9 HX-series chips, along with Nvidia’s RTX 4090 mobile GPU (opens in new tab). Razer also announced that the new Razer Blade 16 will pack into a much smaller body than expected. So there’s a little bit of min-maxing going on with these next-generation gaming laptops, and from what I’ve seen, it’s an impressive feat on both ends of the spectrum.
Razer’s first installment in their 2023 gaming laptop lineup comes in the form of the Blade 16. Not only did Razer manage to pack a 16-inch panel into a chassis that’s just a tad bit bigger than the current Blade 15 – in addition to a 13th generation Intel Core i9 HX-series CPU and Nvidia RTX 40-series mobile GPU – it also announced that the Blade 16 will come with “the world’s first dual-mode Mini LED display “.
Neither dual mode nor Mini LED are new concepts for laptop panels. Combining the two effectively means the Blade 16’s 16:10 panel – another in a long line of 16:10 gaming laptops (opens in new tab) for CES 2023 – has the ability to switch from creative mode (120 Hz in 2560 x 1600, or the 3840 x 2400 resolution of the 4090 model) to a dedicated game mode. Gaming mode kicks the refresh to 240 Hz, while dropping resolution in exchange for higher frame rates. The panel will also be HDR ready, with a peak brightness of 1,000 nits and 100% DCI P3.
Now we know from our past reviews that Razer laptops tend to get a little hot during testing. The 12th generation Core i7/RTX 3080 Ti specification Knife 17 (opens in new tab) averaged at 100C CPU temps, in fact. So whether packing even more power into a smaller chassis will result in higher temperatures, or just more thermal throttling, we’ll have to wait to find out.
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However, the Razer 16 should also have a 95W/hr battery, so we hope it doesn’t need to be charged as often. And somehow the new 330W GAN adapter for this machine makes for a much smaller charger than the previous model – 60% smaller to be exact – which means that carrying your charger with this little machine doesn’t mean that much more weight is added to the experience. Always appreciated when portability is a top priority.
A big focus on portability, then, and keeping it all looking neat in that gorgeous CNC-machined chassis that we’ve come to love. Those premium production and component combinations will, of course, come at a premium price. The Blade 16’s many configuration options start at $2,700. There’s no indication of the more expensive pricing just yet, although we’re probably leaning towards the lower specs on this one, if only to avoid any potential throttling issues that could arise from such a small chassis.
Razer dwarfs the Blade 16 and brings us the “most powerful Razer Blade ever made”, the Blade 18. Pumped up to the maximum possible TGP, these beasts will come with vapor chamber cooling, a five megapixel webcam, and a 240Hz , 2560×1600 panel (again with the 16:10 aspect ratio), regardless of configuration.
Razer is going for a very desktop-like experience with the Blade 18, and as such it will offer the option to upgrade the internal components – whether this is going to be as big of a success as something like the fantastic modular Framework laptops (opens in new tab) is another matter, especially since this is a powerful gaming laptop. Given that prices start at $2,900 for the lowest spec Blade 18, I’d be a little apprehensive about voiding the warranty, wouldn’t I?
When it comes to the brand that brought you the ‘Cult of Razer’, these kinds of prices are to be expected. ‘People buy them anyway’, is the mentality. We’ll see how that plays out when you have to take out another mortgage to get your hands on a gaming laptop.