Razer jumps into the gaming laptop market with 17-inch Blade

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Accessory-maker Razer today unveiled what it claims is the "world's first true gaming laptop," a 17-inch (1920x1080) system encased in a full aluminum chassis that's surprisingly thin and light for the category it competes in; coming in at 0.88" thick and weighing 6.97lbs. Developed in partnership with Intel, the Razer Blade is powered by a 2.8GHz Core i7 2640M CPU, 8GB of 1333MHz DDR3 memory and 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M graphics with Optimus technology.

Razer's gaming laptop comes with a 320GB 7200RPM hard drive for storage and the usual array of connectivity options, including USB 2.0 and 3.0, HDMI-out, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0.

Perhaps its most notable feature -- besides the thin profile -- is the so-called Switchblade UI, which brings 10 customizable keys and an LCD screen to the right of the full-size keyboard. The latter can display in-game information when a mouse is in use or function as an ultra-sensitive, multi-touch panel designed for gaming on the go.

Razer took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal to announce its entry into the laptop market after building up a bit of suspense with its "PC Gaming is not dead" campaign earlier this month. As a manufacturer of PC gaming gear, it's clear that the company has a vested interest in the future of PC gaming, and now they're taking it to the next level.

In terms of hardware the Blade will not break any performance records as far as gaming notebooks are concerned, but we have to applaud Razer for trying out something different with its debut machine. As you'd expect, the Razer Blade won't come in cheap, though. The system is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2011 for $2,800. It's unclear if Razer will be offering any hardware configuration options to customers.

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