Updated, 21 October, 2016:
It’s been a long wait, but the Razer Blade Stealth and the new 2016 Razer Blade are all now available to order in the UK and Europe direct from the Razer store.
The Razer Core graphics dock still only has a ‘notify me’ option available, but Razer have told us that should be available to order very soon.
Original story, 6 January, 2016:
Have Razer found the perfect gaming laptop pairing, with the svelte Razer Blade Stealth and the beefy Razer Core?
Last year, we ran a list of the best lightweight gaming laptops you can buy. It wasn’t a very long list, and unfortunately some of the things on it are no longer made or unavailable to purchase, which is a shame.
One of the stand-out devices on the list – and in the field in general – has been the Razer Blade (and its bigger brother, the Razer Blade Pro) but historically they’ve been as hard to source as hens’ teeth in the UK and Europe. The Blade would have easily topped our list, if it was easy to get hold of outside of Razer’s native US.
It is with a mix of excitement and trepidation, then, that we greet the announcement of the Razer Blade Stealth, a stunning new Ultrabook from the specialist gaming hardware manufacturer.
Razer Blade Stealth
The first thing you notice about the Razer Blade Stealth is its form factor: this is one of the best-looking notebooks we’ve ever seen, bar none.
It’s perhaps a fraction chunkier than some of its Ultrabook class rivals, but that’s not a criticism. It looks purposeful and powerful compared to its waif-like contemporaries. The Razer Blade Stealth, with its jet black CNC-milled aircraft-grade aluminium chassis – topped off with some gaming touches, like a colour-changing Chroma keyboard and striking Razer-green USB 3 ports – is every bit as beautiful as a MacBook Pro or Dell XPS 13. Perhaps even more so, depending on your design proclivities.
To say it’s chunkier than a minuscule Ultrabook like the XPS 13 or Lenovo X1 Carbon isn’t to say the Razer Blade Stealth is particularly large, though. It’s far from it in fact, tipping the scales at a paltry 1.25 kg (that’s 2.75 lbs for our American cousins). It’s also filled with a cracking spec for an Ultrabook – including a 4K UHD touch screen option, an Intel Core i7 processor and a raft of SSD options – but that doesn’t leave a great deal of room for one key component in the Razer Blade Stealth: a discrete graphics card.
So how can Razer, the gaming hardware manufacturer, claim that the Stealth is a genuine Razer Blade gaming system? Enter the Razer Core.
We’ve seen graphics docks before – a desktop adapter that allows you to bolster a laptop’s gaming performance by docking a full-size graphics card – but they’ve never really set the world alight.
This lack of market penetration may be down to the proprietary nature of the hardware, akin to those toothy docking stations for business laptops with custom connecting modules. The Alienware Graphics Amplifier is definitely a good bit of kit, but you can only use it with the most recent generation of Alienware laptops, and they already carry a high price; around £1000 for the lowest-spec model, with the cost of the Amplifier and the high-end GPU on top.
The Razer Core therefore has two key advantages over the graphics docks that have gone before:
- Its designated companion Ultrabook – the Razer Blade Stealth – is modestly priced to begin with, starting at $999 US (around £680 GBP) for a spec that still includes a Core i7 processor, all-SSD storage and a QHD display.
- In theory the Razer Core – with its 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 connectivity – is compatible with any Thunderbolt-enabled laptop, provided it’s running a motherboard that fully supports Intel graphics switching, meaning you’re not tied in to one vendor and may be able to use existing hardware.
It sounds like the Razer Blade Stealth and the Razer Core could be the mobile gaming tag-team we’ve been waiting for, but we were worried that – as with previous Razer systems – we might struggle to get hold of them in Europe. We asked the question of Razer, and got the following piece of good news in response:
“On the Blade Stealth, we will be getting allocation for the UK,” explains Nick Haywood, PR Specialist with Razer, “but as it’s just announced, I don’t yet have any idea of the timescale. Stealth, when it hits retail, will absolutely have Core available as an option.”
Which is all rather exciting. Nick had one further piece of good news for the UK too, pointing out that the current-gen Razer Blade and Razer Blade Pro are already available on their UK store.
Game on, Razer.