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Up close and personal with Razer's Project Christine


And some details on how it works
Jan 08
// Dale North
At CES today, Razer snuck us in to get a closer look at their newly unveiled modular PC concept, which they've codenamed Project Christine. We got to talk to them about how this odd looking tower of blocks would work, and then we got to get up close to take some pictures.  I got in trouble for touching it!

Razer wants to reinvent the gaming PC as we know it

Jan 07 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
[embed]268603:52122:0[/embed]
Modular gaming PC photo
The world's most modular PC
I'll give you a second to take in the image of Razer's new modular PC concept. Project Christine is a "revolutionary new concept design that will change the way users view PCs." Basically, the system will allow for anyone to ...

Review: Razer Kraken Forged Edition headphones

Dec 09 // Dale North
Razer says that the Kraken Forged are hand-assembled, made out of matte-finished aircraft-grade aluminum. I believe them. The finish on these babies? Incredible. Damn, these are great-looking headphones.  The headband is soft and flexible, contrasting with back of the the ear cups, which are cool to the touch with their all-metal build. They're almost all matte aluminum, save for black grills and a bit of chrome trim. Even the extension band that comes out when sizing them looks nice.  The cups fold inward, making the Kraken Forged pretty portable. The padded semi-hard case holds the headphones nicely, though its design adds quite a bit of bulk. I'd carry them in a soft bag instead. A port on the bottom of the left cup lets you change out cables, picking from the included audio-only and audio/in-line mic cable sets. As cables wear over time, having the ability to eventually replace them is always nice. The in-line mic worked nicely for a test phone call over the holidays, and it plugs in and works perfectly through the PS4 controller's mic/headphone jack. It's too bad they passed on including a splitter cable for other gaming uses, but these are inexpensive and can be purchased easily.  The Kraken Forged are pretty comfortable. I was a bit worried that their metal build would have them being too weighty in use, but I used them for hours on end during my Gran Turismo 6 review session this week, never feeling like I needed to give my head or ears a rest. You do feel that there's a fair bit of weight on your head, but between the headband and the soft, deep earcups, it's fine. Weak-necked gamers should test out a pair first, though. The Kraken Forged Edition headphones are purely analog, which will be music to the ears of any audiophile. Their tuned 40mm neodymium drivers are putting out pure, high-quality audio, with none of the digital blues to bring them down. I like the sound they offer up, but there's a definite emphasis on the lower frequency range. Razer says that the drivers are custom tuned, and I expect that they're geared to meet the needs of both gamers and music lovers, so a big low end makes sense. Explosions boom and ring out, and kick drums resound cleanly in the ear. The 250-300Hz range -- where everything from bass guitars to car motor sounds resides -- is a bit thick for my tastes, though. While this tuning is perfect for cinematic action, situations where both music and sound effects overlap might have this range sounding a bit muddy.  The very high end of the frequency range (these are rated 20 – 20,000 Hz) is clean, which is nice to hear as a lot of gaming headsets can be fatiguing in this range. I suspect that some of the mid-highs are scooped out a bit, which is why some voices and dialogue sat back in the mix a bit. I personally prefer a flatter response for my headphones, but I think most gamers will dig how explosive the sound can be with this set's pronounced low end. Know that the low end is clean and impressive, thanks to the quality drivers Razer uses. So, are the Kraken Forged Edition headphones worth $299? They could be for the right person. I thought they sounded great with drum-heavy music, and they impressed when the big explosions and car crashes hit in games. But if Razer was aiming at the audiophile audience, its over-emphasis on the low end and its scooping out of the high-mids seems like an odd move. Music that uses the full frequency spectrum, like orchestral music, sounded a bit less impressive to my ears. I think they're a better fit for the gamer that wants a really, really nice, well-made set of headphones. But, even then there's only so far you'll get with the audio and in-line mic cabling. If you're okay with that, the Kraken Forged are beautifully made, and their sound is full and immersive. If you play a lot of action or shooter games, and listen to a lot of hip hop or rap, you might really dig these.
Razer Kraken phones photo
Fancypants
Niiiiice. That's what you'd expect to say trying out a premium set of audiophile-quality headphones, especially when they're priced at $299.00. Razer's Kraken Forged Edition music and gaming headphones are certainly nice in both form and function.  But are they $299 nice? Do they have a look and sound so good that you'd be okay eating ramen for the next month?

Razer Edge photo
Fiddling around with that tablet PC gaming thing
Your old buddy Jim Sterling has borrowed a Razer Edge with which to do all sorts of videogame things. You can watch me have a bit of a play on Skyrim, Crysis, Castle Crashers, and Darksiders II if you want. I try to make it ...

Razer photo
Razer

Razer's lack of PS3 products due to CEO's gaming habits


CEO 'doesn't spend time' with his PS3
Jul 08
// Chris Carter
You may have noticed that Razer doesn't produce any products for the PS3. It's kind of a mystery, and some gamers contended that a deal was struck between Razer and Microsoft to bring peripherals exclusively to the 360 -- but...

Review: 14-inch Razer Blade

Jul 02 // Dale North
[embed]257360:49414:0[/embed] Razer Blade 14-inch (2013)Processor: Core i7-4702HQ 2.2GHzStorage: 256 GB SSDGraphics: Nvidia GTX 765MRAM: 8GB DDR3L-1600HMz Price: $1,799 (as reviewed: $1,999) You'll be glad to take the 14-inch blade with you as it's quite a looker. Predecessors also looked great, but there was always at least one aspect that held them back from totally winning me over in the looks department. That's definitely not the case now. Every inch of the machine is matte black in color, save for the green key backlight and the matching Razer logo. The power button is now an understated black metal key -- a welcome change. Even the large touchpad and speaker grills manage to work towards its sexy, powerful looks. There isn't one corner of the Razer that doesn't look the part -- even the bottom side looks sharp with its fan grilles and non-skid rubber bar feet. Again, this is a ridiculously beautiful machine, from edge to edge.  From my experience, the 14-inch Razer isn't just a pretty face. There's enough meat under the bun to do just about anything I threw at it proud. Our review unit centered around an Intel Core i7-4702HQ running at 2.2 GHz, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M supplying muscles to the party. 8GB of DDR3L-1600MHz and 256 GB Samsung hard disk round out something that looks a bit like a gussied-up MacBook Pro Retina on paper, but proves to be more than you'd expect in use. The base machine comes with a 128GB SSD, priced at $1,799. Now, you won't quite get high-end desktop performance -- you shouldn't expect that from the GTX 765M. But you will get something comparable, and definitely falling in line with other high-end gaming laptops out there. Even with some iffy video drivers, 3DMark's read on the system says that it falls in line with gaming laptops out now. There's certainly enough under the hood to make full use of the 14-inch 1,600 x 900 screen the Razer sports, which means that current games will run at its top resolution maxed out perfectly fine. It's no 1080p, but you're getting HD resolution at great frame rates. I ran through a couple of levels of both Resident Evil: Revelations and Remember Me, with graphical settings set on max, with a frame rate of 60 frames per second locked in. Play was consistently buttery smooth in both cases. Alan Wake and Dishonored looked great, though the latter showed frame rate dips in places at top settings. I ran the same benchmark test I did with the last Razer Blade machine in Hitman: Absolution and managed to get much better frame rates, with the 14-inch averaging 53 FPS, beating out the 17-inch's 15 FPS. Keep in mind that the max resolution is quite different for the two machines. Finally, Metro: Last Light played admirably at the Razer's top resolution, though I know from experience with my own gaming rig that it probably wouldn't fare as well at 1080p.  Well, they looked great graphically, but the display itself won't knock your socks off. While the resolution is nicely matched with the machine's graphical horsepower, it lacked color vibrancy and deep blacks. The viewing angle is sufficiently wide for the 16:9 format screen, but move too far any one way and you'll see the colors dim even further. Given its design and build, the Blade begs to be compared with Apple's MacBook Pro Retina. It stacks up nicely until you get to the display; from there it's a letdown. All that said, the display does its job. Maybe a future version will come with a nicer screen. Razer did a fantastic job with the input devices, though. They ditched the Switchblade UI, but you won't miss it. The keyboard is a dream -- fast and responsive. The touchpad is the best I've used on a Windows computer with its smooth feel and crazy fast responsiveness, though the pad's buttons are a bit short for this thumb presser.  On the slim edges of the Blade you'll find USB 3.0 ports, an audio jack, and an HDMI port, but there is no Ethernet jack.  The new Blade machines only come as Windows 8 builds.  I found myself continually impressed with how quiet the 14-inch Blade ran. Even after several hours of continual gaming at full throttle, the Blade's thermal system kept things quiet and cool. I had to put my ear up to the machine to hear its cooling at work, and even then I could barely hear it. Only once did it have to spin up to a higher speed to cool things down, and that was only for a minute or so. I could definitely feel some heat dissipating through the Blade's aluminum body, but it never became too hot to touch. I can only imagine the design work that went into making this possible. Very impressive. Some might be impressed by the battery life, too. Razer worked in bigger batteries and better power management to squeeze out some extra minutes of play in the new models. The 14-inch let me replay the first few chapters of Resident Evil: Revelations for about three hours before having to plug in. And the Blade is delightful when used as a premium work/internet machine. I answered emails, filed stories, watched YouTube videos, and surfed from the comfort of my couch on battery power, nearly doubling my gaming time. While this total general use time falls short of some of the Ultrabooks and newer MacBooks out there, when you consider what's running under the hood, it's still respectable. And when you compare the three hours of gaming time to its predecessor's miserable hour or so, the 14-inch comes out smelling like a rose.  The new 14-inch Blade is plenty powerful, and it comes a package that is much smaller than your typical gaming notebook. It's the smallest, lightest, and sexiest PC gaming rig out there, and a fair bit cheaper than its predecessors at its $1,799 starting price. While we've seen other Blades before, this new one is sort of a dream machine as it would serve wonderfully during the day as a premium portable notebook with plenty of power and battery life. Then, after work, you'd have a killer gaming machine that handles even new titles with confidence. Can you get more for the money? For raw horsepower, yes. Definitely. But when you figure in the engineering, styling, portability, and performance, the 14-inch Razer Blade is one hell of a deal. 
Razer 14
Smaller, faster, less expensive
By now you know Razer's game when it comes to laptops: custom builds of handsomely outfitted specialty gaming machines that cost a pretty penny. Their latest outing, the 14-inch Blade, hits all of those marks. ...

Razer Surround photo
Razer Surround

Razer Surround: Virtual surround to stereo sets, for free


Get the best performance out of your audio equipment and help a good cause
Jun 28
// Steven Hansen
Did you know that Razer has more software engineers than hardware engineers? While the company is known for its high-end (read: pricey) peripherals and daftly sleek gaming laptop, it does equally wild work on the software sid...
I'd buy that for a dollar photo
I'd buy that for a dollar

Razer price shaving newest laptop for successful indies


Just a little off the top
Jun 04
// Steven Hansen
Last week, Razer unveiled the world’s slimmest gaming PC. The original, impressive, expensive Razer Blade has been rebranded as the Razer Blade Pro and received some expected upgrades and a small price decrease (down to...
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Super-thin Razer Blade laptop now available for pre-order


$1,799 ( ゚ Д゚)
Jun 04
// Dale North
That wafer thin laptop computer from Razer that everyone is talking about is now available for pre-order. The new 14-inch Blade gaming laptop is 0.66 inches thin, and rocks a Core i7 processor, SSD, and 8GB of RAM. Gamin...

Razer unveils world's thinnest gaming laptop

May 30 // Alasdair Duncan
[embed]254874:48874:0[/embed] Razer also announced a new 17" version of the laptop that Dale reviewed last year. Aimed at combining gaming with audio/visual work. The Pro features a touchpad that can be loaded with apps for software like Photoshop, Maya and GIMP. The specs are roughly similar to the 14" Razer Blade, but a much more powerful Intel Processor is installed and as expected the price is higher, starting at $2,299. Razer Blade 14" features: Future 4th gen Intel® Core™ processor (formerly codename ‘Haswell’) 8 GB Onboard Memory (DDR3L – 1600 MHz) NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 765M (2 GB GDDR5) & Intel HD4600 Windows® 8 64 Bit 128 GB SSD, with optional 256/512 GB SSD (mSATA)  Qualcomm® Killer™ NIC N1202 (802.11a/b/g/n + Bluetooth® 4.0) 14.0 in. HD+ 16:9 Ratio, 1600 x 900, with LED backlight Built-in stereo speakers 3.5 mm audio microphone/headphone combo jack Array microphone (3x) USB 3.0 port (SuperSpeed) HDMI 1.4a audio and video output Dolby® Home Theater® v4 7.1 Codec support (via HDMI) Built-in full HD webcam (1.3 MP) Compact 150 W Power Adapter  Built-in 70 Wh Rechargeable lithium ion polymer battery Razer™ Anti-Ghosting Keyboard (with adjustable backlight) Razer™ Synapse 2.0 Enabled Kensington Lock 13.6 in. / 345 mm (Width) x 0.66 in. / 16.8 mm (Height) x 9.3 in. / 235 mm (Depth) 4.135 lbs. / 1.876 kg Razer Blade Pro features: Future 4th gen Intel® Core™ processor (formerly codename ‘Haswell’) 8 GB DDR3L (2 x 4 GB 1600MHz) NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 765M (2 GB GDDR5) & Intel HD4600 Windows 8 64 Bit 128 GB SSD, with optional 256/512 GB SSD (mSATA) Qualcomm® Killer™ NIC N1202 (802.11a/b/g/n + Bluetooth® 4.0) 17.3-in. Full HD 16:9 Ratio, 1920 x 1080, with LED backlight Stereo 2.0 speakers 3.5 mm audio microphone/headphone combo jack HD Webcam (front-facing, 2.0 MP) Array microphones (3x) USB 3.0 port (SuperSpeed) Codec supports 7.1 (via HDMI 1.4) Dolby® Home Theater® v4 Razer™ Anti-Ghosting Keyboard (with adjustable backlight) Razer™ Switchblade User Interface Razer™ Synapse 2.0 Enabled Built-in 74 Wh Rechargeable lithium ion polymer battery Kensington Lock 16.8 in. / 427 mm (Width) x 0.88 in. / 22.4 mm (Height) x 10.9 in. / 277 mm (Depth) 6.58 lbs. / 2.98 kg
World's thinnest laptop photo
A new 17" Blade Pro also revealed
[Update: Razer also announced a new version of their 17" Razer Pro series, detailed below.] Razer have unveiled an ultra-slim, gaming laptop called the Razer Blade. The specs are seriously impressive; a 14" HD screen, a 4th ...

Razor phone update photo
Razor phone update

Razer mice updated to work as phones


Go ahead and try it
Apr 01
// Joshua Derocher
Tired of not having your phone with you while you are gaming? Razer has released an update for its Naga line of mice to make them work as a phone. Now you will always have your phone handy while you're playing hardcore video...
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Razer Edge up for preorder March 1


Prepare to spend all of the money forever
Feb 26
// Jim Sterling
The Razer Edge -- a gaming tablet designed to play full PC games and use physical controls -- is available to preorder from March 1. The system will cost you $1,299.99 for the 128GB model, and $1,449.99 for the 256G...
Razer Blade photo
Razer Blade

Crysis 3 can be run on the Razer Edge


Which is an interesting thing, I suppose
Feb 23
// Conrad Zimmerman
Razer's Edge gaming tablet thing has been pretty interesting on the whole. The early prototype we saw running Skyrim last year was impressive, for sure. Now, Razer has published a video showing yet another demanding gam...

Review: Razer Taipan gaming mouse

Feb 22 // Patrick Hancock
Product: Razer Taipan Gaming MouseManufacturer: RazerInput: USB MSRP: $79.99  Regardless of any amount of gizmos or doodads, comfort is a big key factor for a gaming mouse. The Taipan is incredibly comfortable for me, as someone who uses the aptly named "palm grip" on his mouse. Both the left and right sides have rubberized grips running up towards the front which feels nice and also helps with gripping the mouse for extended periods of playtime. The Taipan is also suited for lefties since its design isn't biased on either direction. The grips and mouse buttons on the left side are also on the right side, so no features will be missed for lefties using the Taipan due to this symmetry. I've had long gaming sessions playing games like Dota 2 and Path of Exile that rely heavily on mouse movements and constant clicking, and never did I start to feel uncomfortable while playing. Careful attention was paid to make this mouse ergonomic and it shows. [embed]246380:47133:0[/embed] The Taipan mouse is wired with a braided cable. The braided cable looks and feels neat, but in practice it may be a bit of a nuisance. I've been using this mouse for about two months and the wire still isn't exactly straight like a rubber wire would be, and still has slight kinks from how it was wound and packaged. The braided wire has also begun to fray as it rubs against the edge of my desk. Not exactly the best sign for the longevity of the device. Beyond the standard left, right, and middle mouse buttons, there are two buttons on both the left and right sides and two buttons below the mouse wheel, for a total of nine buttons. The box calls them "hyperesponse buttons" but they feel like regular ol' buttons to me. By default, the side buttons will go forward and backwards in browsers while the two below the mouse wheel will adjust the sensitivity of the mouse on the fly. There are up to five sensitivity stages that can be set, all of which are completely customizable with a maximum of 8200 dpi. Being able to customize the stages as well as adjust the dpi as needed is a strong addition, though on a few occasions I did find myself accidentally hitting the top sensitivity button nearest the mouse wheel. As a righty, I have also hit the buttons on the right side of the mouse when simply moving the mouse to the left and eventually ended up disabling them altogether in the software. There is also a "Dual Sensor System" in place, using both a laser and an optical sensor in order to provide good tracking capabilities on any flat surface. It works as well as expected on the flat surfaces I could find; just don't use a shag rug as a mouse pad and you'll be satisfied. The software used is the Razer Synapse 2.0 and it works quite well. Of course, it allows you to remap any of the buttons on the mouse, and will even make sure that a “left click” is always assigned to prevent getting stuck without one and bricking the device. Macros can be recorded and set, liftoff range can be adjusted, and the colored lights in the mouse wheel and top of the mouse can be turned on or off (though they are not color customizable). Profiles can be saved and then accessed on any other machine without setting them up again using the almighty cloud service. This is meant for players going to tournaments and such, but it's a nice feature to have for more casual gamers, too. The Razer Taipan is a great middle ground for those who like to play competitively, regardless of whether or no they're playing in actual tournaments. It's simple enough as to not be overwhelming, while at the same time having plenty of features that the more hardcore players want to see, such as quickly adjustable dpi settings and macros. Priced at $79.99, it's hard to recommend it over the very popular DeathAdder, but the Taipan is still a great mouse to handle most competitive gamers' needs. The braided cord can definitely be a cause for concern, but the mouse feels great, the software works with no issues, and it's as customizable as anyone could want.
Razer Taipan mouse review photo
Taking the middle ground
Until recently, I had always used the same mouse forever: the classic, three-button optical mouse with nothing special about it. It was, and still is, passable, but my competitive gaming needs are a bit higher these days. Usi...

Review: Razer Orbweaver Gaming Keypad

Feb 07 // Chris Carter
Product: Razer Orbweaver Gaming KeypadManufacturer: RazerInput: USBMSRP: $129.99 Despite the overall complexity of the device on paper, once you actually open it up, the design is fairly simple. The Razer Orbweaver is a keypad with a wired USB connection, and 20 mechanical keys (including an eight directional, non-analog thumb-stick). It weighs about 10 ounces, and the keys require a minimal amount of pressure to activate (50g of force, technically). The non-braided cables are lower quality than what Razer has done in the past, but they don't feel super cheap, either. Out of the box, WASD is configured to buttons 8, 12, 13, and 14 respectively (the arrows are shown on the pad), which is a nice touch. The backlit keys help for late night gaming sessions, and although you can't customize the color outside of green, you can choose to turn the lights off, constant, or pulsing. The keys have a feature called "anti-ghosting" which allows for every key stroke to be recognized by the system, regardless of whether or not you hold down or press multiple keys at once. In terms of form factor, the Orbweaver is actually pretty comfortable, despite how awkward it may look. The palm rest is rubberized and didn't become grating after hours of gaming. It's also fairly compact with its one USB cord, which makes it really easy to carry with you if you're gaming on the go with a laptop. Both the thumb and the palm rest are adjustable to conform to your hand, should you need it. The improvements to the Nostromo are fairly small, seeing as it only has four more buttons, and a more ergonomic design. So if you already own a Nostromo, you probably don't need to upgrade. You also have the option of Logitech's G13, if the Orbweaver's price is too steep (although the G13 is not mechanical). As previously mentioned, it does work out of the box by mapping WASD and some standard gaming keys (like left shift and E) across the numpad, but you're going to want to take advantage of the full macro capabilities of the device through Razer's software. So while you don't necessarily need it, Razer’s Synapse 2.0 utility suite needs to be downloaded in order to enhance your experience with the device. The guide is also available online should you need assistance figuring out how to use the thing. Synapse 2.0 allows you to configure a near unlimited amount of profiles through the use of cloud technology, which means that you'll be able to pick up your scheme on multiple machines -- which again, is useful given the portable nature of the device.For those of you who may be turned off at the thought of more software, even if you opt to use both the keyboard and the Orbweaver without bothering with Synapse 2.0, it is doable. The vast majority of games have an alternate key setting that will allow you to utilize the secondary controls without screwing up your keyboard mapping. When you're setting up multiple profiles, a colored indicator on the side shows your current map profile selection, and you can dynamically change your profile to create more. The ideal situation is to configure a game in windowed mode in tandem with Synapse 2.0, then link the program to the Razer dashboard so it keeps that profile forever. For the purposes of this review, I tested the following games: League of Legends, The Binding of Isaac, Diablo III, Call of Duty: World at War, Frozen Synapse, Torchlight II, Dungeonland, Guild Wars 2, From Dust, Wizardry Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. For MMOs and RTS titles that can utilize a near limitless amount of macros, I found the Orbweaver to be pretty invaluable. I was able to pretty much craft anything I could ask for control-wise within the confines of Synapse 2.0, which came in handy once I learned how to use it. The more complicated the game, the better the Orbweaver will serve you. One particular use I found is for pet classes in World of Warcraft. Being able to utilize multiple summoned minion abilities in swift succession completely trumped relying on a keyboard -- and I have to say, after playing with mechanical keys, their responsiveness makes it hard to go back. The D-pad is also a huge plus for many games, eliminating the need for WASD use in some cases. There's also nothing stopping you from using your keyboard in tandem with the Orbweaver, the latter of which can function as a separate macro-enabled numpad, to so speak. But for certain types of games, it may be too much. For instance, League of Legends (or other MOBA games for that matter) don't need a complex control scheme when you only need to micro-manage one unit (barring summoning classes), and a few skills. FPS games as a general rule also don't need complex control schemes, and the standard WASD setup with a few outliers will probably cut it without the need for the Orbweaver. Of course, there are exceptions, as some games in either genre happen to utilize more than a few keys. Despite the tough learning curve, after a few days of constant testing, I started to acclimate myself to using it for even menial tasks in my daily PC life outside of games -- specifically, image-editing. I found that using Synapse 2.0 made it fairly easy to program macros for Photoshop, and allow for quicker editing through the use of the directional thumb-pad. All in all, I don't see myself using the Orbweaver for absolutely every game I own, but I keep it hooked up to my PC all the same, next to my keyboard. I've found that for basic image editing required for my writing career, and my frequent MMO habits, it suits my needs fairly frequently. I've created a number of profiles for a few MMOs I play, and one for a few image touch-ups that I'll be using for the foreseeable future. If you don't play a lot of PC games I don't see a need for splurging here given the high price point, but for everyone else, it's a decent investment.
Razer Orbweaver photo
Fits like a glove
Do you really need multiple methods of control outside of a mouse and keyboard? Well, in today's PC climate with the vast amount of games available at a moment's notice for pennies, it's never be a bad thing. Between bluetoot...

Review: Razer Sabertooth

Jan 21 // Dale North
Product: Razer Sabertooth controller (Xbox 360)Manufacturer: RazerMSRP: $79.99 I was impressed from the moment pulled the Sabertooth controller out of the included carrying case. Throwing my thumb and fingers around the controller and mashing all of the buttons at once had the Sabertooth emitting sharp and fast little clicking noises -- even unplugged I could tell that the buttons would be very responsive.  My favorite of the vast button selection on the Sabertooth are the A, B, X, and Y face buttons. They have very little travel distance and weight, and they click quickly when pressed with their microswitches. They are a million miles away from the slow, mushy standard Xbox 360 controller face buttons in both feeling and use. I tried them in everything from heavy action games (DmC: Devil May Cry) to fighters to puzzle titles (Lumines, Super Puzzle Fighter) and they never failed to impress. In short, they move fast and that makes you feel fast, so you end up playing a bit better. Their shorter travel distance may throw some off at first, though. Once I got used to this, I really liked it, and found that using the standard Xbox 360 felt sluggish in comparison.  My second favorite set of buttons are the bumpers and triggers. The right and left bumpers have more travel distance than the face buttons, but they're almost as fast and clicky, and feel amazing when, say, pulling off fighting moves, or throwing grenades. Again, a quick side-by-side comparison with a standard controller, even unplugged, says volumes. When it comes to responsiveness, the Sabertooth is in a completely different league. I'm nowhere even close to a competitive gamer, but I can clearly see how using this controller would give players a marked advantage.  The d-pad isn't a nasty floating disc, and for that I'm grateful. Sticking your finger in an electrical socket is better than the standard Xbox 360 d-pad, so merely saying that the Sabertooth's version is better isn't doing it justice. Four separate press-able buttons that have no connection to each other let you hurl out quarter-circle forwards like nobody's business, making it great for fighting games. My go-to Xbox 360 d-pad testing games, Dig Dug and Lumines Live!, were more enjoyable than ever with this PS3-style alternative.  Speaking of advantages, the Sabertooth has several assignable buttons and functions for full customization. On the top edge of the controller, placed just between the bumpers and triggers, are left and right assignable mulit-function buttons. These buttons can be assigned to anything you wish using any of the controller's other buttons or sticks. On the rear of the controller, you'll find two crescent-shaped rockers that Razer calls multifunction triggers. Both the left and right triggers rock up or down to give you four more assignable controls. In use, they're extremely responsive, though they're easy to accidentally nudge if you're not actively using them as they fall directly where your middle fingertip would rest. An included screwdriver lets you remove these triggers if you don't intend to use them.  The braided USB cable is also removable. And it looks really nice. An OLED display along the bottom edge of the controller lets you quickly load one of two user profiles to game with by pressing a little button to the left of it and then pressing up or down on the d-pad to select one.  Another button on the right side of the display lets you customize any of the above-listed assignable buttons to your desired function. It's easy: simply select the assign function, hit an assignable button or trigger, and then press the standard button you'd like it to function as. I used simple assignments at first, like pulling down on the trigger buttons to drop blocks in puzzle games, but broke into more creative uses later on. Doing a sort of reach-around finger wiggle in the place of button mashing for QTEs was a revelation.  In action games, the triggers are great as they let you copy the functions of the face buttons, allowing you to keep your thumbs on the sticks.  The customizability of this controller and the fantastic performance of its buttons and sticks would definitely appeal to professional and competitive gamers, but I fear that the $79.99 MSRP will prevent some from jumping in. That would be a shame as the d-pad and face buttons alone were enough to win me over. I'd love to see a version of this controller that drops the customization and OLED screen for a lower price point.  Still, the Sabertooth is a first-class controller. If you've got the cash to spare and don't mind playing with a corded controller (bonus: PC compatibility) you won't be disappointed.
Razer Sabertooth review photo
A third-party controller worth checking out
I've tested many third-party game controllers in my day, and while I've liked quite a few of them, I always end up going back to the stock console controller. At the end of the day there's never enough there in these third-pa...

Win a Razer Edge photo
Win a Razer Edge

Razer giving away the first Edge Pro gaming tablet


$1,299 too rich for your blood? Try FREE
Jan 17
// Mr Andy Dixon
Hot on the heels of the recent news that their Edge gaming tablet won the Best of Show award for CES 2013, our friends at Razer are celebrating with a pretty sweet giveaway. From now until January 22, you can hop on over to t...
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The DTOID Show: Cyberpunk 2077, Fallout, & The Razer Edge


MERLIN DURL, in a GAME. WHAT could be BETTER?!
Jan 11
// Max Scoville
Hey gang, welcome to the party. And by "party" I mean "Destructoid Show." I'm sincerely sorry for any confusion I might have caused by referring to it as a "party." Today, we talked about a Fallout-related Tweet. Then, the to...
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CES: Small but powerful: Hands-on with Razer Edge


Tablet-sized Windows 8 gaming rig
Jan 10
// Dale North
Remember Razer's Project Fiona from last year's CES? That's now an official product called Razer Edge, which is a tablet, PC, and console all wrapped up into one. Last year it was a Windows 7 screen with console-like controls...
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CES: Razer's Project Fiona launching as Razer Edge


More specifics on the versatile gaming tablet
Jan 08
// Jordan Devore
A year ago at the Consumer Electronics Show, Razer announced an unusual-looking tablet called Project Fiona. Described by the company as being a tablet, PC, and console, the device is now called the Razer Edge and will be rel...

Handheld gaming PCs aren't the future (yet?)

Jan 07 // Allistair Pinsof
I don’t live a very portable life. When I’m on a plane, I like to stare at a book. Not necessarily read it, but stare at it very intently in hopes that an attractive girl will spot me doing so, recognize the book, and then ask me what’s it about. Then *hopefully* she’ll know the book so I can just ask her what it’s about. Soon, we’ll be having a kind of deep, meaningful conversation. That’s the idea, at least. Hasn’t happened yet. (I don’t actually do this but I don’t doubt there are many that do.) But, there was one time where I played Unreal Tournament 2004 on my MacBook during a red eye from New York to Houston. That was kind of neat, because I had the whole plane to myself. I’d do that again if the same conditions were met, but red eyes and empty planes are variables that don’t often repeat, especially not together. It will take some serious brain juice, but I’m going to imagine that I’m the person that really wants to play World of Warcraft on a tiny monitor with a tiny keyboard -- perhaps I'm just a tiny man -- or Xbox-like controller while traveling on planes, riding on buses, and waiting in lines at midnight movie premieres. OK, now that I’ve imagined being this person, all I want to do is kill myself. Disregarding my total lack of interest in WoW, I can’t possibly fathom why you’d want to play games designed for the home environment outside the home. There is a novelty in playing Darksiders 2 while outside the home, but it's just not worth sacrificing the big screen, comfort of your living space, and a proper audio setup. Not to mention that most PC games you’ll find on Steam don’t cater to those with only a small amount of time to commit. I feel like I need a spare lifetime to sit down and dig into Dark Souls, not a spare 15 minutes. As such, puzzle games with low time commitments are the only portable games that have resonated with me over the past decade. When stuck at the airport, I start playing Valkyria Chronicles 2, realize it's a poor approximation of its previous console entry, turn it off, and pick-up my book. Are people going to buy these cutting edge handheld gaming PCs to play Dark Souls, only to discover all they really play is Bejeweled 3 on them? Japan was obsessed with pocket PCs in the ‘90s and they were right in feeling that way: Not many things had as great of an impact in cutting costs and time as the rise of the pocket PC in the workplace. Now Frito-Lay can pack those delicious snacks at a rate that our forefathers could only dream of snack goods being packaged at. These devices by Fujitsu, Sharp, and other leading electronics manufacturers didn’t cater to snaggletoothed hunchbacks waiting in line for the midnight premiere of The Hobbit, unable to socialize or even breath in the direction of another human being without contemplating what they must look like naked and/or dead. So, the Fujitsu AcutTote 3000 wasn’t really made with them in mind.Disregarding sad versions of Tetris and popular board games appearing on PDAs, it wasn’t until 2010 that we got a glimpse of a real handheld gaming PC. Panasonic’s Jungle. Yeah, I didn’t remember this thing either. First of all, it’s called Jungle. Second, it’s by the manufacturer that gave us the 3DO. It looked like a cheap Taiwan netbook with a mini-DJ set for your iPod next to its miniature keyboard designed for elves that make cookies in a tree. Naturally, it was marketed toward MMO players that just couldn’t get enough of that, uh, Battlestar Galactica MMO (apparently this existed.) A 720p screen would be nice but RuneScape on the toilet is still going to play like RuneScape on the toilet. Jungle never arrived and Panasonic’s brief flirtation with gaming handhelds was soon forgotten.(Ok, so I lied: I played a fair amount of Beavis and Butt-head in Virtual Stupidity and Jagged Alliance 2 on my netbook at the airport. I did this mostly out of a wish that some heavyset man with a ponytail and goatee, wearing a promotional T-shirt for some obscure, defunct tech company, would see me and recognize my work. Maybe even give me a fist bump.You know, keep the dream alive. I also played a fair bit of FTL on it while visiting Vancouver.) Later in 2010 came OpenPandora. At long last, a console made for homebrew enthusiasts by Koreans that want to make money off homebrew enthusiasts while cutting every corner possible. One thing OpenPandora has over Jungle is that it was released, though that may not be, in fact, a positive. Somewhere in a landfill outside a town in China is a kid breathing the fumes of discarded OpenPandoras burning, slowly attributing to the Elephant Man-size tumor growing on his forehead. OpenPandora looks like an aborted Nintendo DS that somehow merged with one of those weird, massive all-in-one-card readers that my university’s film lab used to have -- I swear it even had a Zip Drive somewhere on it. Like most Korean handhelds, the device focused primarily on console emulation and it didn’t even do a good job of that. (Although it doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of these, I feel a need to mention the Visteon Dockable Entertainment device. This highly dockable system was basically one of those seemingly titanium-plated “portable” DVD players, except you could play GBA games on it. This whole novelty of watching movies on a dedicated player seemed obscene to me in 2003-2004. After all, I could watch DVDs on my laptop which wasn’t much bigger than these devices. Nevertheless, my brother bought one of these things so he could watch Eyes Wide Shut while running at the gym. He would do this after midnight, which I’m not sure makes it more or less creepy. I always saw a future in a portable device that plays DVDs, but I had the foresight to wait for that device to come in a more convenient form, as in phones and tablets -- which, yeah, I didn’t know that was coming but I did know that THIS couldn’t be the future.)After a botched effort by Panasonic and a Korean piece of junk, Nvidia and Razer stepped in to show the world what handheld PC gaming could be: not much better. Both of these PC hardware juggernauts are taking a different approach to making the PC mobile. Razer has touch controls and a smart keyboard that reconfigures itself to fit each game. Nivida's Shield has a controller that could be mistaken for a Xbox 360 third-party peripheral. The main difference between these two, beyond default input options, is that Nvidia’s streams games from your PC to your handheld. According to reports from CES, the device worked -- at least, it worked on a high-end PC in a very controlled environment. Disregarding price and the likelihood of these ever reaching retail, I’m still not sure where these devices fit into my or anyone else’s life. Do I really want to play the best PC gaming has to offer on a screen that isn’t much bigger than a clamshell? Do I want to cramp my fingers trying to play an action game on a keyboard that is half the size of my netbook’s? No and no, which is why these devices are always promoted to niche audiences. Like this make believe audience that doesn’t know how to connect an HDMI cable from their PC to their computer, so instead they buy a Nvidia Shield that does all that hard work for them. Or the make believe audience that is so hopelessly addicted to WoW that they need it in portable form, but not actual portable form, just a portable device that squishes it down so it could slide in the big pockets of a tiny giant’s Levi's. OK, so that audience actually exists but I like to pretend it doesn’t. So these devices don’t exactly “blow my mind six ways from Sunday” (Engadget actually wrote that about the Switchblade and weren’t alone in their enthusiasm). They are the games industry toothing, much like those silly DVD players that emerged right before the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD battle was won. Soon, our tablets and phones will be offering us the latest Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty with graphics comparable to a high-end PC in 2012. We’ll have Bluetooth keyboard, mice, and controllers to play them with. It’s the only logical place things can go. Having a controller tied to a tiny monitor or a touch-controlled netbook is a road that takes us far away from logicville, a very lonely place where the Jungle and OpenPandora await any and all possible neighbors.I don’t listen to music through my iPhone’s speakers and I don’t watch films on my iPod’s screen. There are limits to how we consume our media. The technolust that pumps through the veins of CES reporters has a way of clouding their judgement, forgetting this axiom. But when they all come home from the war, they'll regret the hyperbolic headlines they wrote about these misguided devices that serve a non-existent audience. If not, we'll just have to remind them on Twitter. To bring us back to the topic (which I never really established but please do pretend that I did and did a very good job at it), the Fleshlight has evolved as much as it ever will need to evolve. We are at the brink of Fleshlight technology -- the time and place where we start applying the tech to the labias of dragons and other mythical beasts. If you buy a Fleshlight today, you know damn well that you are also buying the Fleshlight of tomorrow (hopefully one that you have maintained through proper use [see here]). So, go buy a Fleshlight and have a crafty wank on your next plane trip, while some millionaires sort out the future of portable gaming.
Fleshlight > Handheld PC photo
No, really
If tech reporters seem excited today about the prospect of Project Shield, a new handheld PC gaming console by Nvidia, it’s probably because they are at CES where there is little else to be excited about within the co...

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Razer's new Sabertooth controller has so many buttons


Customizable Xbox 360 controller out now
Jan 03
// Jordan Devore
Razer's Sabertooth Elite Gaming Controller for Xbox 360 might not look all that different based on its front side, but on the back, there are six extra configurable buttons. Designed with competitive play in mind, this device...
Razer Contest photo
Show us your skillz and win this aural delight!
[Update: Contest over! Winners are Porkins, FierstArter, HammerShark, BillyTheK1dd, and Flamoctapus.] Our friends at Razer have kindly bestowed upon us five of their awesome Tiamat 7.1 elite gaming headsets to give away to th...

Review: Razer Electra Headset

Dec 10 // Aerox
Product: Razer Electra HeadsetManufacturer: RazerInput: 3.5mm jack (inline mic requires a 3.5 combined audio/mic jack, or a separately-sold splitter)MSRP: $59.99 The most important quality in headphones, for me, is how long I can wear them comfortably. My ears are on the larger side, and I've experienced some fairly serious discomfort from other headsets after even just 45 minutes of use. Even with my big ears, I was able to wear the Electras for extended listening sessions without problems. Large, wide leather cushions around the ear cups kept things comfortable, and while I occasionally wanted to adjust them when I felt my ears getting warm, I was able to avoid the pressure I often get with other headsets. The ear cups also do fairly well in keeping out external noise. They won't completely block unwanted sound, particularly if you're out and about in the city, but typical background noise won't make it through. A close second in terms of importance, of course, is sound quality, and the Electras perform well for a $60 headset. The bass is solid, though serious dubstep fans will likely not find it powerful enough, and the treble comes through crisp and clear. While the audio won't stand up to the kind of quality you'll find in more expensive headsets, the Electras seem comparable to other headsets I own in the sub-$100 range. One disappointment is the lack of controls on the in-line mic -- surprising given that the headset is mainly designed for phones. There's no way to raise or lower volume, or to accept an incoming phone call, without reaching into your pocket. The microphone itself, however, is about what you'd expect from an in-line microphone. When I called people to test it out, they could hear and understand me fine, and felt the volume levels were appropriate, but noted that my voice sounded rather tinny, and that it was lower quality than if we were just regularly speaking on the phone. Finally, the headset itself is somewhat thick and bulky, and may not be easily transported. Given that these are designed for use with cell phones, it's a shame the Electras don't come with some sort of carrying case or bag. While the headphones themselves are certainly sturdy, I'd be wary of just tossing them into my already packed laptop bag. On the whole, it's hard to recommend the Electras for "gaming," simply because I'm of the opinion that there's not really a need for gaming audio equipment for mobile devices at this time. If you're in the market for some nicer headphones for listening to music on your phone, though, the Electras are a solid choice that are priced right, as long as you don't mind reaching into your pocket every now and then to answer calls and adjust the volume.
Razer Electra Headset photo
Decent headset, fair price
The Razer Electra is an oddity. It's billed as a "music and gaming headset," but is primarily designed for use with mobile phones -- the headset is specifically made for iPhones, HTC phones, and Blackberries (and any laptop t...

Review: Razer Blade

Nov 21 // Dale North
Razer BladeProcessor: Core i7 2.2GHzStorage: 500GB 7200 RPM,64GB SSDGraphics: Nvidia GTX 660MRAM: 8GB Price as reviewed: $2,499 This year's Razer Blade looks similar to last year's, but they've upgraded it here and there, and have dropped the overall price. You're getting a quad-core i7 (2.2 GHz) Windows 7 machine tucked into a beautiful, slim (not even 1-inch thick) casing, topped with a matte 17.3" screen. Graphics are pumped through the 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M and 8GB of system RAM, and all of your goodies are stored on a dual drive solution, which uses both a 500GB standard hard disk and a 64GB SSD drive. The left edge of the unit is lined with 3 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and a audio jack. All of this costs $2,499, which is huge heap of cash to drop on a machine of this specification.  Oh, and there's no optical drive. But in this world of Steam and other digital distribution outlets, who needs that? There's more to the Razer than just its innards, of course. You're also paying for the design work that Razer put into the Blade. Its sleek design and glowing lights may not speak to all of the gaming masses, but I'm certain there are some out there that want the sharpest, thinnest thing available for gaming, and the Razer would certainly fit the bill. Practical? Not really. But it's not trying to be. The Blade is like sparkling water over flat tap. It's designer clothing made of the finest fabrics over discount department store t-shirts. It's that high-end sports car in a parking lot full of economy compacts. People will definitely notice a Razer Blade. Attention to detail is what speaks loudest when it comes to the Blade's design. Its dark metal and rounded corners makes for a very attractive machine. The backlit keyboard and flat style help out in that department, too. Overall, there's very little in the way of seams and screw holes to be found. On the bottom, rear feet slightly raise the back of the unit from the surface it sits on, keeping the really sharp-looking, silver-rimmed cooling ports free from obstruction. Even the power adapter is thin. Razer didn't miss a mark as far as appearances go. All the looks in the world won't make a damned bit of difference in a deathmatch, though. As you can see from the specs, the Razer is not the fastest thing out there. Its specification and performance are certainly respectable, but it's not to hard to find more power for less money. The 2GB 660M is enough to make full use of the system's 1080p display, however you shouldn't expect to run the latest games on high settings and get a great framerate. Newer games, like Dishonored and Hitman: Absolution, ran fine on moderate settings. I had no problem running games like XCOM: Enemy Unknown or Alan Wake at all. Coming from my gaming desktop to the Razer had me missing a bit in the framerate department, but for the most part, it held up respectably.  Street Fighter X Tekken showed the Blade getting 31.243 frames per second at 1080p and 2x anti-aliasing. If you get a chance to run Hitman: Absolution's benchmark for comparison's sake, know that the Blade scored around 15fps at 1920 x 1080 and on medium settings overall. The game ran much better than that, mind you. These aren't blow-your-face-off numbers, but they're respectable, working out to be more than enough for current games.  The screen also holds up nicely, though it doesn't come close to comparing to the screen on a MacBook Pro Retina. It feels huge at 17.3 inches, and it's plenty bright enough to where you don't feel like you're missing anything. Colors are good and blacks are deep enough that you're not cursing the display. Expect to be pleased more than blown away. Overall, it's a really nice, matte screen that had every game I put on it looking great. The speakers are sadly a case of form over function. The thin black grill near the screen hinge of the system looks the part, but whatever is under it doesn't sound all that great. Even moderate-to-high volume settings had the speakers distorting. Midrange sounds, like voices and gunfire, come through clearly, but the low end is nonexistent.  I'm a fan of the Blade's keyboard, which uses the flattened-style keys. They feel great, and backlighting makes them look great in the dark. I don't love the tiny half-sized up and down directional keys, but they're not deal breakers, either. When the lights come up, you'll see your finger grease on the black keys -- there's no getting around that. You'll also see your finger grease all over the Blade's most standout feature, the Switchblade UI. The Switchblade UI is an attractive idea, but it doesn't do as much as you'd like it to. It is 10 assignable keys with individual displays and while its display/touchpad capture the imagination, in practice you'll find that you just aren't doing much with them. The touchscreen makes a fine, responsive multitouch touchpad after you get used to how slick it is. It works as standard touchpad until you go poking around one of the 10 buttons. Poke the number pad one and the touchpad turns into a 10-key touchscreen. Tweet, surf, check your Facebook or email, and even watch YouTube on the little screen if you'd like with other buttons. This all sounds fun until you really think about how silly it is to do these things on that small screen when a big, shiny 17" screen sits directly above it. The pre-assigned functions are a novelty at best. Razer lets you customize any of the buttons with your own functions and images, meaning that you could potentially configure the Switchblade to be really useful. But with both Switchblade UI devices I've had in my office this year, it never worked out that way. While seeing a flying corgi image under the touchpad every time I booted up was always delightful, it was never useful for more than a giggle or two. A major fault in the thinking behind the Switchblade UI is the need to be logged in to access settings. No internet? No settings! In fact, a red banner is displayed across the top of the touchpad if you're not logged in.  I can't understand the decision behind this choice. I never imagined that one day I'd have to log into a pointing device.  Razer provides a few dedicated gaming applications for the Switchblade beyond this. Games like Battlefield 3 and Counter-Strike get game-specific buttons and functions for the keys. Although it's a neat concept, as of now there's just not enough game support to make Switchblade a must-have feature for a gaming system. As for battery life, no gamer is ever going to try to economize and use the minimum amount of power, so I didn't either while testing it. Playing Dishonored at 1080p, high settings, with near-full brightness and volume most of the way up lasted only one hour and nine minutes. It's a good thing that the power adapter is nice and small. As for non-gaming use, an afternoon of surfing the web at moderate brightness got more than three hours, though Windows had me believing that I'd get much less.  Practical? At $2499? No. Not at all. But there are those out there that desire a super thin, beautifully designed, respectable spec'd machine that they can carry around and play anywhere. The Razer Blade is exactly that. And in this world of shrinking devices, it's getting harder and harder to find something portable with a 17" screen.  If you game at home, the Blade makes no sense for you. As we said earlier, you can get so much more power for less money. But for those that are always on the go, or for LAN-loving gamers, the Blade is worth considering. If your pocketbook can handle it, that is. I was really bummed to send the Blade back to Razer this week. Again, there was something very satisfying about having a thin, sleek and reasonably powerful gaming rig that I could fold in half to be 0.88" thick. During my test period, I quickly fell in love with the idea of having a portable rig like this -- having something under my arm with all my games on it, and enough horsepower to run them all. 
2012 Razer Blade photo
Revised 2012 model
Stop. I already know what you're going to say. It's too expensive, right? You could build a rig for much cheaper, or some other manufacturer has a better price on a similar configuration. Something like that. And I get you.&n...

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Upgraded Razer DeathAdder mouse available now


Improved 4G sensor
Nov 21
// Dale North
Razer's DeathAdder gaming mouse has seen some improvements in this latest version, and should be hitting stores right about now. The biggest change is that the 4G sensor has improved performance. Razer says it's the world's m...

Review: Razer Kraken Pro Headset

Oct 26 // Chris Carter
Product: Razer Kraken Pro HeadsetManufacturer: RazerInput: PC Audio/Mic splitter, or standard 3.5mm jackMSRP: $79.99 Since this is being advertised as "the most comfortable headset ever," I had to put that claim to the test. To trial the comfort factor, I wore them for two lengthy sessions, among other shorter bursts -- one five hours and the other, eight. In these power sessions, I tried it on a variety of content: PC games, portables, music, films, TV shows, and everything in-between. At some point during both of these experiments, I forgot I was even wearing them. The top headband is so cushioned that I can barely feel it unless I'm thinking about it, and the headphones are fairly light at 0.65 lbs. At times, the side-cups make themselves aware and you'll have to re-position them, but they were never uncomfortable. Speaking of the cups, they're built with plush circumaural padding, which provides a decent (but not shockingly good) amount of noise isolation. Unless you have elf ears, you should find that your listening devices fit fairly well into the comfy cups. When compared to other headets, I have to say; I own around ten pairs of non-bud sets, and I've found that the comfort factor actually works out as advertised. Since I review games fairly often, long gaming sessions are normal for me, and where other headsets would get muggy or itchy after a while, the Pro feels great. Specifically, this should speak to MMO fans, who find themselves on long raids in need of a comfortable headset with a mic. So if you're tired of scratchy or bulky feeling headphones, this is your huckleberry. As far as looks go, the Kraken is a fairly sexy headset, but the bright green may be a little too flashy for your tastes: especially if you work in a professional office environment. The green may not literally light up and look too ridiculous, but odds are, you will be noticed with these on (which, depending on your personality, you may enjoy). Thankfully though, the mic is retractable (and flexible), so if you don't need it, it doesn't look ridiculous popping upwards like every other headset. You can also get the Pro in black. In terms of functionality, the Kraken accomplishes everything it sets out to do, but just be aware that it does lack some features found in higher-range headsets. For instance, the Kraken doesn't have inline volume control, mic control, Bluetooth, console support out of the box, or handset/phone call controls -- so if you're looking for a more versatile headset, you may want to look at something else, like the Tiamat. Since they're primarily meant for PC gaming, they come with an audio/mic splitter so that you can chat/podcast/Skype to your heart's content. The standard audio cable is 4.27 ft., which isn't a whole lot of slack, but you also have the extended 6.6 ft. length of the splitter. There's also no software drivers here: just plug and play.  As previously mentioned, the mic is retractable, and pulls out very easily without having to take the headset off. It might take a few times to get used to position when you're pulling it out, but with a good two-handed grip you can easily retract it. The material for the mic and mic-stem feel sturdy enough that it won't snap if you apply too much force, and should last you a long while. The audio itself comes in both clear, and loud. I tried comparing it to a few comparable Turtle Beach and Astro headsets in the same price range side by side, and I found that the Kraken Pro was capable of a higher sound output. The only downside is that the lows are crazy powerful, which may either be a good or bad thing depending on the person; so you might need to hit your EQ. Otherwise, I have no real complaints for a headset that lacks on-board volume control. The audio quality itself also isn't worthy of truly calling it "surround," and from what I can tell, it only supports 2.1. I enjoyed my time with the Kraken Pro headset, and look forward to busting it out during lengthy gaming sessions for the foreseeable future. While console support tout of the box would be nice, it still works great with mobile handsets, portables, and of course, as intended, any PC. The Pro is listed at $79.99, but you can pick up the non-Pro (with no mic and no included splitter adapter) for $59.99.
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Release the Kraken!
Choosing a headset can prove to be mighty difficult in today's era. There's a ton of options; whether it's comfort level, sound quality, or functionality. Usually headsets tend to favor one factor over the other, leaving you ...

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Razer is giving away a custom Star Wars-themed Blade


One-of-a-kind gaming laptop up for grabs
Oct 17
// Jordan Devore
The Razer Blade is one of those products that I'll likely never own, but damn if it isn't fun to daydream about. This custom-made Star Wars: The Old Republic Blade doesn't exactly help the tech envy. One lucky person will win...

Review: Razer Deathstalker Ultimate keyboard

Oct 08 // Dale North
Product: Deathstalker UltimateManufacturer: RazerInput: USBMSRP: $249.99 Razer took the Switchblade UI from its lovely gaming laptop and stuck it in a keyboard. You can't not see this thing when first looking at the keyboard, especially when there's something running on its little LCD screen. What's crazy is that you can touch (multitouch, with full support for gestures) this screen, using it like a notebook's touchpad. Or, you can set it to be more virtual buttons, or even a secondary screen. I did everything from checking my email to watching YouTube videos on this little screen. Everyone that has entered my office this last week has been forced to watch a tiny 4" corgi music video on it. But how useful is this Switchblade UI beyond the novelty of tweeting on a little screen built into a keyboard? Ideally, you'd use the touchscreen and the programmable 10 display keys to their fullest potential with games that fully support it as a device. For example, Battlefield 3 has you accessing supplies and switching weapons using dedicated keys. Or in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you can diffuse bombs or swap gear with a button press. These functions come by way of a dedicated app, and Razer says that more of these will be available for the keyboard soon. Outside of these dedicated apps, you can self-configure the keys with your own associations, macros, or whatever else you might need, in any game. You can even customize the key displays and touchpad to match your assigned function, dropping in images from any source. For me, that was corgi blogs and videos. For you, it could be porn. Whatever's game.  Ultimately, the Switchblade UI is entirely customizable, making it an incredibly powerful tool should you want to put in the effort.  The Deathstalker Ultimate's keys are high quality and impressively responsive, but they're the low-height notebook style keys, which might bum out fans of mechanical keys (like those of Razer's BlackWidow Ultimate). In extended play sessions of games like Batman: Arkahm City and Dishonored, the keyboard keys performed so nicely that I hated disconnecting this loaner unit to plug my previous board back in.  Every one of the keyboard's keys are backlight, and you can use the included Synapse software to tweak the color of that backlight to any shade you wish. Or, for that lava lamp kind of feeling, set it to spectrum cycling to have the keys rotate through many colors. There are some standard keys that do special things, too. A dedicated Razer key turns on the app side of the Switchblade, letting you pick which app you'd like to run. The recording key lets you record macros, while the dedicated gaming key lets you disable the Windows key.  Under all of the keys is a really nice rubber wrist rest. It's not raised or squishy, but it did feel nice against the base of my palms as I typed this review. It is fixed, so if you hate wrist rests, you're out of luck here. It's all very nice, but $250 is a lot to drop on a keyboard with a built-in touchscreen and display buttons that you may not use that often. While the Switchblade side of the keyboard speaks to my technolust, my right hand was always on my gaming mouse during play, making me feel a bit guilty for not using the main draw of this accessory. I loved checking Facebook and watching YouTube videos on it, but that charm will probably wear off soon, and I'll be back to using a proper-sized monitor to do those things. Maybe the Switchblade side would be more useful if I played MMO or strategy games; I could definitely see assignable keys being useful in those cases. But even then, you'd have to take your hand off your mouse to access the Switchblade screen and buttons, as they're fixed on the right side of the keyboard.  Is the Razer Deathstalker Ultimate the ultimate PC gaming keyboard? Maybe for you. For me, the best gaming keyboard is one with dependable WASD keys and a space bar that isn't bouncy or noisy. I love the Switchblade trackpad and assignable buttons, but they're a luxury that I can't see myself using often enough for the outlay. 
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What would be the ultimate keyboard for PC gaming? No, bigger. Like, ultimate ultimate. Holograms and laserbeams and sh*t? That stuff is not possible yet, but how about a multitouch screen display and 10 programmable buttons ...

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TGS: Razer shows off Xbox 360 Arcade Stick prototype


Sep 21
// Dale North
Razer is working to get their upcoming Xbox 360 Arcade Stick absolutely perfect. The units they have on display at Tokyo Game Show this year are from their beta program, and are the 13th iteration of the sticks. 200 fighters ...

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