Razer updates Blade 16 and 18 with new displays

The Razer Blade 16 half closed seen from above.

a:hover]:text-gray-63 [&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a:hover]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-underline-gray [&>a]:shadow-underline-gray-63 dark:[&>a]:text-gray-bd dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-gray”>Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Razer is teasing a major set of display upgrades for the Blade 16 and Blade 18 gaming laptops ahead of a full unveiling of the updated laptops next week at CES.

The Blade 16 is getting what Razer says is the world’s first 16-inch 240Hz OLED panel, co-developed with Samsung, while the Blade 18 will get a 165Hz 4K LED panel with G-Sync. Both panels will be Calman Verified and individually factory calibrated. Like the current Blade display options, they’ll show 100 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut.

As an OLED panel, the Razer 16’s 2560 x 1600 display should have excellent true blacks and super-fast response time. Razer says it will have a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certification, and a VESA ClearMR 11000 rating for motion blur. (ClearMR is a measure of the ratio of clear pixels to blurry pixels during motion, and VESA’s pitch for it is that it’s supposed to be easier to understand than other measures of response time or motion blur.)

The Blade 16 currently comes with two display options: there’s a dual-mode Mini-LED panel that can either run at 1920 x 1200 at 240Hz or at 4K at 120Hz, or it can come with a 240Hz 2560 x 1600 LED panel.

The Blade 18’s panel update is a more straightforward trade of refresh rate for resolution. The current Blade 18 has a 2560 x 1600, 240Hz panel with G-Sync; the upgraded panel increases the resolution to 4K but drops the refresh rate to 165Hz. Pretty good trade, imo. Its high refresh rate, 3ms response time, and G-Sync support should eliminate screen tearing and enable smooth gameplay even at 4K resolution, which is nice.

The pitch for the Blade has always been “what if there was a gaming laptop that looked like a MacBook Pro?” By factory calibrating every panel, reducing motion blur, and emphasizing 100 percent DCI-P3 support, Razer may be trying to tempt folks who want a single machine for gaming and photo or video editing to switch from Apple.

That may be a tall order, for several reasons. First, the MacBook Pro gets bright — up to 600 nits in normal use with peaks of 1600 nits in HDR mode. Razer didn’t offer brightness info for either display, but the True Black 500 certification on the 16-inch OLED only requires 300 nits max brightness overall and 500 nits of peak center brightness. Most of Razer’s current display options max out at 500 nits. Also, Razer Blades run hot and loud, and the MacBook Pro does not.

Razer is set to announce more updates to the Blade 16 and 18 at CES 2024.

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