Hands-on with Razer’s impressive new RTX 4090 Blade 16/18 laptops, more at CES 2023

razer ces 2023 blade 16 18 laptop

Today at CES 2023, Razer is announcing a slew of new gaming-focused products. Leading the way is a new lineup of Razer Blade laptops, with refreshed sizing all around as it now sports either a 16- or 18-inch display. Plus, the Leviathan V2 Pro is the “world’s first beamforming sound bar with head tracking technology.” Having recently tried out both products at CES 2023, here’s what all you can expect from Razer’s latest gaming lineup.

Razer takes things up a notch with CES 2023 releases

Let’s start things off with my personal favorite release from Razer at CES 2023: the Blade 16. Both the Razer Blade 16 and 18 feature very similar tech specs on the processor and graphics card side of things, as they each pack the i9-13950HX processor that features 24 cores and 32 threads with a max clock speed of up to 5.6GHz and a total TDP of up to 110W in the Blade 16 and 120W in the Blade 18. Yes, you read that right, a 120W TDP processor in a laptop. But, that’s not where the insanity ends for the power available in this laptop. Should you opt for the RTX 4090 (yes, you also read that right), then you’ll get a graphics card capable of up to 175W TGP … also in a laptop. At full tilt, the latest Blade lineup from Razer can use up to 295W of total power between just the graphics card and processor, and that’s insane.

Now, while we don’t yet have battery-life estimates, in our limited use with the Razer Blade 16 RTX 4090 model, the power is absolutely there. It’s impressive. In fact, one of the demos we were able to test consisted of Assetto Corsa being displayed on three large 4K TVs with ultra settings, and the laptop handled it like it was nothing. It was a very smooth experience, and if I didn’t see the laptop plugged in, I would have thought there was a desktop powering the system.

However, impressive power isn’t the only thing Razer pulled out of its hat at CES 2023 for the Blade lineup. The Razer Blade 16 specifically features a few different display options, with the most interesting one being a dual-mode mini-LED screen capable of 1,000 nit peak brightness and both 4K120 and 1080p240 native resolutions. You also read that right. Dual native resolutions. Exactly how Razer is pulling this off, and how well it works in the real world, we have yet to see, but it’s more than just changing the display resolution. We asked Razer how it worked, and they told us that it’s a setting inside of Synapse on the laptop and requires a reboot to take effect. Razer positions this feature to make the 100% DCI-P3 HDR1000 display focused toward either creatives in the 4K120 mode or gamers with the 1080p240 mode. We’re excited to test this feature, which is exclusive to the Razer Blade 16 (the Blade 18 comes with a 1440p240 display only.)

Another big release this year is the refreshed Leviathan V2 Pro sound bar, which also very much surprised us at CES 2023. Normally sound bars, particularly “gaming” sound bars, aren’t the best when it comes to actual sound quality, but Razer really stepped things up here. The standard stereo mode of the Leviathan V2 Pro isn’t anything special and sounds like a typical sound bar. However, the virtual sound bar and virtual headset modes were quite impressive. There’s an IR camera on the Leviathan V2 Pro that tracks your head and “wraps” the sound around you. I was originally skeptical of the feature, but it works quite well. When sitting in front of the sound bar, it really does a good job at tracking your head movement and keeping you in the “center” of the audio, both horizontally and vertically. There’s a point where you fall outside of the range of the IR camera, and there are some LEDs on the sound bar that start to sequence in order to let you know that you need to move a bit.

Continuing on with Razer’s announcements we have the Kiyo Pro Ultra, which is a 4K webcam that features the “largest sensor ever” in a webcam for “DSLR-like quality” video, and it stands up to the task. The autofocus was great, which previous Kiyo models weren’t the best at, and it supports 4K30 or 1080p60 footage into 4K24, 1440p30, or 1080p60 feeds for your stream. For streamers or those in meetings, you’ll find the AI-powered Face Tracking auto-focus perfect for always staying tack sharp even when moving around. Also, when at 30FPS, you’ll find HDR support. When we tested the Kiyo Pro Ultra, the lighting wasn’t the best, but it still had fantastic depth of field thanks to the f/1.7 aperature and the massive 1/1.2-inch Sony STARVIS sensor. So, if you’re looking for a way to give your streaming setup a visual upgrade this year, then the Kiyo Pro Ultra is a great choice.

Closing out the major announcements from Razer’s CES 2023 announcements is the VR peripherals for the Meta Quest 2. These aren’t ground-breaking but will bring additional comfort and durability to your VR experience. The replacement facial interface was co-designed with ResMed, which allowed Razer to create a more comfortable experience than the standard interface. The head strap is also more adjustable and robust than the stock version that’s included with purchase, so if you’re having a problem with the included strap, then Razer’s could be a great upgrade.

Pricing for the Razer Blade 16 starts at $2,699.99, and the Blade 18 begins at $2,899.99. Both are slated to be available sometime in Q1 of this year. As for the Kiyo Pro Ultra, it will cost $299.99, which, while expensive for a webcam, delivers impressive quality without having to invest in a DSLR. For the VR peripherals, they’re slated to also launch in Q1.

9to5Toys’ Take

While the power of the Razer Blade 16/18 laptops is insanely impressive, I’m most intrigued by the dual-mode display. I still can’t wrap my mind around how a single screen can be both 4K120/1080p240, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like in person. But, all of the Razer announcements from this year’s CES 2023 will be a solid addition to any gaming setup. Be sure to keep it locked here to 9to5Toys for more coverage of the Razer gear as well as all of the other CES 2023 announcements!

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