Razer isn’t using CES 2022 as a moment to show off a bold, new laptop concept. Instead, it’s asserting its dominance in the gaming laptop world by announcing refreshed Blade laptops that are barely different on the outside but with marked improvements on the inside.
Starting with the biggest updates, the Blade 14, Blade 15, and Blade 17 each feature the jump to faster DDR5 RAM (Razer’s goes up to 4,800MHz), along with support for AMD’s latest Ryzen 9, or Intel’s new 12th Gen processors, depending on the model you want. Additionally, Razer’s 2022 update will offer support for up to Nvidia’s new RTX 3070 Ti and the 3080 Ti mobile graphics chip. You’re likely to find these specs in many gaming laptops being announced during this year’s trade show.
In the past couple of years, Razer has made worthwhile upgrades to the Blade lineup, including refining the keyboard layout, boosting the webcam resolution from 720p to 1080p in some models (all of the early 2022 models have a 1080p Windows Hello webcam), and finishing each of its laptops with a more fingerprint-resistant coating. This year’s across-the-board refinement — those specs above aside — includes a larger keyboard with bigger keycaps, and laser-cut speaker grills.
I’m going to dive into each of the models to cover the specs and prices.
The Blade 14 for 2022 supports up to AMD’s latest Ryzen 9 6900HX octa-core processor with 16GB of DDR5 RAM (which is soldered on, though its 1TB SSD is replaceable). It starts with the Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics chip and a 1080p IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, but Razer offers two QHD 165Hz refresh rate panel options that can be configured with the RTX 3070 Ti or the RTX 3080 Ti.
The Blade 14 has an MUX switch that lets it switch between the integrated Radeon 680M graphics and the dedicated GPU. It also now has a 61.6Wh battery and includes a 230W power adapter. It will start at $1,999.99, and preorders will open first at Razer on February 10th, with availability beginning sometime in Q1 2022.
Moving on, Razer is simplifying the naming convention for its Blade 15 and Blade 17 laptops, leaving the names at that instead of appending “Pro,” “Advanced,” or “Base,” which I’m sure confused some customers, including myself at times. Both the Blade 15 and 17 use Intel’s 12th Gen Core i7-12800H 14-core processor (and with it, gain two Thunderbolt 4 ports, whereas the Blade 14 has USB-C), and both models come with 1TB of upgradeable storage (dual M.2 slot, each supporting up to 2TB) and 16GB of upgradeable DDR5 RAM (supporting up to 64GB).
The Blade 15 and 17 each start with QHD panels and the RTX 3060 graphics chip at $2,499.99 and $2,699.99, respectively, but each can go up to a 4K IPS panel with 100 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, upgrade to the Intel Core i9-12900HK processor, and pack in Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti if you’ve got the cash to spend. The top-end Blade 15 costs $3,999.99, and the Blade 17 tops out at $4,299.99. The Blade 15 has an 80Wh battery and comes with a 230W adapter, while the Blade 17 has an 82Wh battery and comes with a 280W GaN charger.
If you want to preorder the Blade 15 or 17, you can do so starting January 25th from Razer, and both models will be available sometime in Q1 2022.
All of these changes and spec improvements seem fine, but I wish that Razer would give people the option to opt for AMD’s processors in the Blade 15 and Blade 17. The Blade 14 is a beast of a mini laptop, yet it’s unclear why its AMD partnership is limited to the company’s most niche laptop and not across its entire portfolio.