Category: Electronic Product Reviews

The new Razer Blade gaming laptop is sharper than ever – CNET

Sarah Tew/CNET

The slim, powerful Razer Blade gaming laptop is getting its biggest design overhaul to date.

We’ve always really liked the 14-inch Blade for its subtle design, multicolored backlit keyboard and general gaming chops. But the display had a thick bezel that felt a little dated, and the GPU topped out at an Nvidia GTX 1060 — fine for mainstream gaming, but not exactly top-of-the-line.

For the new version of Razer’s flagship laptop, the 14-inch display in the Blade is getting an upgrade to a 15-inch screen, while keeping roughly the same footprint. In fact, Razer says this is the “world’s smallest 15.6-inch gaming laptop.”

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The biggest difference to me right away is the much thinner bezel around the screen, which gives the new Blade a more modern look. If you compare the older and newer models side by side, you’ll also see it’s moved from the traditional rounded corners to a more modern-looking squared-off look with sharper edges.

The screen comes in 60Hz 4K or 144Hz 1,920×1,080 versions, and the body is milled from a single piece of aluminum, much like a MacBook ($1,599.99 at Best Buy), and fitted with a much larger touchpad than previous models.

The components get updated as well, to an eighth-gen Core i7-8750H and your choice of Nvidia 1060 or 1070 GPUs. To keep things cool, it has a vapor chamber for cooling, which is a kind of sealed liquid-cooling heat pipe.

Of course, since this is a Razer laptop, there’s a highly customizable backlit keyboard. Like other Chroma-powered products, the individual keyboard lights can reproduce 16.8 million colors, and patterns and designs can be programmed via the Razer Synapse app.

And if you want to show it off, there’s also a new Razer Chroma Laptop Stand, which is exactly that — a laptop stand that lights up in all kinds of crazy colors.

The new Razer Blade sitting on a Chroma stand. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you’ve got a laptop that doesn’t have its own GPU, Razer also has a new, less expensive version of its Core external graphics enclosure. The new Razer Core X is basically a big box with a single slot for your graphics card and a hefty 650-watt power supply. Plug it into your laptop via Thunderbolt 3 and you’ve got an instant gaming rig. It skips some of the features of the more expensive Razer Core V2 ($499.99 at Amazon.com), like colored lights and some extra ports, so it’s only $299, plus the cost of a graphics card, of course.

The new 15-inch Razer Blade is available to order now starting at $1,899 or £1,699. Australian pricing isn’t yet known, but the UK price converts to roughly AU$3,000.

Great games for your non-gaming laptop: No GPU? No problem. The best games to sneak onto your work laptop. 

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JBL Go 2 review: A mini Bluetooth speaker that offers maximum portability – CNET

JBL sells a wide range of wireless Bluetooth speakers and its Go line, now on the second generation Go 2, is the smallest and least expensive of the bunch.

Truth be told, the original JBL Go speaker looked and felt a little like a toy speaker, weighing in at a mere 130 grams. This new version, which comes in many color options and costs $40, has been bulked up a bit — it weighs 184g — and has its corners rounded off. It’s also fully waterproof, with an IPX7 rating. That means it can be fully submersed in 3 feet of water (1 meter) for up to 30 minutes).

The original Go (left) compared to the new Go2 (right). 

Sarah Tew/CNET

While the speaker is a little heavier, it’s very similar in size to the original and is designed for maximum portability. It takes up little room in a backpack, laptop bag or purse, and will even fit in a lot of pockets. Overall, it feels more substantial and more like a real speaker than child’s plaything. 

Battery life, like the original, is rated at 5 hours at moderate volume levels (that’s not great) and the power rating on this speaker, for what it’s worth, is 3 watts. It also performs reasonably well as a speakerphone (there’s a built-in microphone).

On top of the speaker you’ll find volume controls, a pause/play button and a dedicated Bluetooth button for pairing the speaker to your phone or another Bluetooth-enabled device. A 3.5mm audio input and the Micro-USB charging port (it takes 2.5 hours to charge the speaker) are tucked underneath a gasket on the right side.