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Razer Blade 16 hands-on: a dream gaming laptop

Razer has given us a first look at the Razer Blade 16 and Razer Blade 18, which will be released in the coming months. And I will say right now: I am impressed.

The Blade 18 is the largest and most powerful Razer Blade ever released, which is neat in itself. But I’m actually even more excited about the Blade 16, which debuts with some never-before-seen on a Razer Blade.

First, there is a Mini LED screen. And it looks big. On screen, some shades looked dazzlingly bright against a black background, where they might look washed out on other game screens. Black areas, speaking of, looked beautifully black.

In addition to the Blade 16 model in its demo area, Razer actually had a separate panel made of mini-LEDs that mirrored what the Blade 16 was doing. When local dimming zones on the Blade brightened and dimmed, the corresponding diodes on the panel brightened and dimmed. (I know it’s hard to imagine, but you can see what I’m talking about in the photo below.) We were told the Blade 16’s screen had 1,000 local dimming zones, which feels like a large number on paper – but this panel really highlighted (heh) just how many tiny independent lights are crammed into that laptop and how much work they all do.

We couldn’t actually play titles on these Blade models, as they were pre-production units – Razer just showed us a game footage video. This meant I couldn’t try out the intriguing toggle feature (which lets you easily switch between 4K/120Hz and 1920 x 1200/240Hz modes), but my colleague Cameron Faulkner wrote about that earlier today if you want to know more.

A Razer Blade 16 with the Razer Blade 16 logo next to a mirrored Mini LED display.

Here’s the Blade 16 with the little dot panel next to it. Each of those little dots is a local dimming zone that can brighten and dim independently.

I’m excited too – enthusiastic, I’m telling you – that these laptops have 16:10 screens; it really makes the 16-inch panel seem endless compared to Blades I’ve used in the past. As a bonus, the larger screen allows for a longer chassis, giving Razer room for a large 95.2Wh battery – which, with all the fancy screen features this device needs to power, might just be a real necessity.

I was also able to try out the keyboard and touchpad, and I can confirm that they’re the same old, big, chunky keyboard and touchpad we’ve seen on Razer Blades before. Inside, configurations come with Intel’s 13th Gen Core i9-13950HX and up to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card. The Blade 16 starts at $2,699.99.

Now, all of these additions come with a total of one change that I consider a compromise. That’s the size. The Blade 16 is 5.4 pounds and 13.98 x 9.61 x 0.87 inches. That’s almost a full pound heavier and more than a tenth of an inch thicker than last year’s Blade 15 (which doesn’t necessarily replace this, but they’re clearly in a similar category).

This is a heavy piece of equipment; it was a pain for me to lift, and it certainly doesn’t feel as slim and streamlined as the Blade 15 last year. But that’s a compromise that some people will be willing to get this Mini LED screen to get (as well as the improved performance the Blade 16 offers), and that’s fair enough.

Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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