The people at Razer joke that it’s a tradition to literally go all-out for CES, and this year was no different.
While they had the usual stable of hardcore-branded machines and peripherals for plebeians to drool over, Razer have taken things a few steps farther with their prototypes. They’re winning at the laptop game right now, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to turn up the crazy (or genius) on thousands of tradeshow attendees.
We begin with a prototype named Project Valerie, hence the fact that it’s more likely to be a design study than actual product within the current Razer lineup. From what we can tell, they basically took a look at their flagship Blade Pro and said, “there’s not enough panaromic screen”, and applied two additional display on each side of an existing 17.3” 4K IGZO laptop.
And that’s what the Valerie truly is, a eagerly modded Blade Pro with one hell of a 16:3 aspect ratio, with the thick lid being a obvious giveaway to extra monitors hidden within. The arrangement is surprisingly well thought-out considering its girth, with the two extra screens sliding out and hinged to the main display, by way of an “automated deployment mechanism” which snap into place without user adjustment.
This laptop is a big boy at 1.5 inches thick and weighing 12lbs. Also included is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card with a Nvidia’s own G-sync technology for refresh rate optimization, along with Intel Core i7 and a buttload of dual-channel DDR4 memory. Razer is also claiming that the Valerie is “the world’s first portable laptop with three built-in monitors”, which we believe because we doubt anyone else even bothered, but the idea is so off-the-wall that it might have merit — proof in that somebody actually stole two of them right off of the show floor.
Their second concept was Project Ariana, and this was by far the most audacious (dare I say polarizing) out of the pair. By utilizing a TV, a unique projector, and their Chroma rainbow lighting technology you’re treated something unlike anything I’ve encountered in recent memory. Here’s how it works: a ‘unique’ projector operates in tandem with the TV, splashing a visual medley of colors and expanded image of the game’s outer periphery.
Ariana is practically a virtual light show that’s cast upon your entire wall and furniture in extraordinary fashion. It literally fills the room with neon lights for an immersible gaming experience beyond typical confines. All of this is made possible with laser sensors, 4K video projection with smart ambient lighting, and various partnerships with game companies make everything compatible. For auditory engagement, Razer is also making use of their recent acquisition with THX surround sound certification.
“We see Project Ariana as the future of gaming immersion and a great showcase of what our Razer Chroma lighting technology can do,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer CEO and cofounder. I can certainly see what they’re trying to go for With Shadow Warrior 2 encompassing the room, it was interesting to watch in action, but not quite what I hoped for. The atmosphere is lively enough and resembles a rave but works less like a conventional projector, the videophile in me was a little bemused by the execution and asked them “who is the Ariana realistically aimed for?” Admittedly, Razer acknowledges the ‘wow factor’ relies on a captivating gimmick, but were confident to exploring an potentially “untapped market”. Fair enough, because it did get some ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ by people passing by the booth.
Since these are prototypes, Razer has no concrete information or guarantees for either the Valerie laptop or Ariana Chroma projector being available. According to on-site representatives though, they’re looking for feedback and may have something by the end of this year.