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Razer Blade 16 and Blade 18 hands-on impressions: Sharp new gaming laptops with killer displays
It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for a new slate of Razer Blade gaming laptops. The company just pulled back the covers on a pair of key upgrades coming to both the Blade 16 and Blade 18 at CES 2024. Razer’s most obvious improvement is that both of its high-end gaming machines now have 14th generation Intel Core processors, but having witnessed them in person in Las Vegas, I think the more exciting update might be the upgraded displays.
What’s new on the Razer Blade 16 and Razer Blade 18?
The first change is that the Razer Blade 16 is now the first laptop with a 16-inch, 240Hz OLED display. Razer swapped to Samsung as a display supplier for its OLED panels, achieving deeper blacks and better contrast while also securing VESA’s ClearMR 11,000 certification — a first for any laptop. Essentially, the new level of certification ensures that the Blade 16 is capable of maximum clarity with minimal blurring, whether you’re in-game or just watching a movie.
The 240Hz refresh rate also matches the bar that Razer set with the original Razer Blade 16 launched last year. That pairs perfectly with the 0.2ms refresh rate for a serious advantage in competitive games like shooters where every frame counts.
As for the Razer Blade 18, its new upgrade comes in the form of an 18-inch 4K display. Where the original Razer Blade 18 was limited to a QHD display, the new model bumps up the sharpness while also holding onto the 165Hz refresh rate. Unfortunately, the version of the Razer Blade 18 that we were able to see is still a pre-production sample. As such, I can’t really offer a good idea of how thick or heavy the final production model will be, though the rounded aluminum chassis was comfortable to carry around Razer’s suite at CES 2024.
Both new Razer Blade displays are Calman Certified, meaning they reach high standards for color accuracy, whether you’re gaming, watching a movie, or just scrolling through YouTube.
Razer Blade 16 and Blade 18 impressions: The future is bright
Unfortunately, we didn’t get any time to dig into recent triple-A titles during our session with Razer, but it was still enough time to marvel at the crisp new displays. The Blade 16 not only has VESA’s ClearMR 11,000 certification for blurring and sharpness as mentioned above, but it also carries a DisplayHDR True Black certification for depth and vibrancy. In simplest terms, the new display feels like a night and day upgrade over the original panel.
The colors were crisp and bright through all of the clips that Razer showed us in our demo session, running through a veritable highlight reel of the smooth refresh rate, deep blacks and color contrast, and solid 500 nits of peak brightness. Outside of the display, the Razer Blade 16 feels immediately familiar, with a comfortable, Chroma-filled keyboard and sizable trackpad.
Razer's vibrant new OLED panel is just begging to be unleashed on triple-A gaming titles.
There’s still no shortage of ports on either the Blade 16 or its Blade 18 sibling, but Razer also announced a new peripheral launching with both laptops — a color-matched USB-C dock. It’s available in either Black or Mercury and adds 11 total ports, including four USB-A options, a pair of USB-C ports, SD and microSD slots, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It feels a little bit like overkill when attached to a port-rich gaming laptop, but universal compatibility will make it an attractive-looking option to bring some peripherals back to your MacBook Air or Chromebook.
We’re still waiting on some key details for the Razer Blade 18, like price and availability, but you can pick up the Razer Blade 16 starting at $2,999 on January 8, 2024, with the USB-C dock going on sale the same day for $119.