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Hands-on with Razer's surprise of CES: An affordable, beautiful ultrabook

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Let's talk about that GPU enclosure, though...

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Razer's new ultrabook, called the Stealth, is an impressive piece of technology in person. It feels light and compact in the hand, weighing only 2.75 pounds and coming in at only 0.52 inches thick. It features the sort of build quality that's often lacking in Windows PCs and is so lauded in the Air line of Apple laptops. It's also powerful: every configuration comes with "the latest 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor" and 8 GB of RAM.

The press release for the system details its screen in somewhat breathless terms:

Its 12.5-in. touch display comes in two resolutions: an Ultra HD variant with an eye-dazzling 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution and 100 percent coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, and a Quad HD (2560 x 1440) resolution version. Both displays are touch-enabled and feature wide viewing angles and high-color saturation to display content with stunning clarity and accuracy.

In person the screen really is that impressive, offering beautiful colors and a huge viewing angle.

This is how most Razer demos begin: You see the product, you learn about all the interesting features, and then the price takes your breath away, and not in a good way. In the case of the Stealth, however, the systems start at $999.99, a surprisingly affordable price for a system with such impressive specs and feel.

core and stealth 3 Ben Kuchera/Polygon

On the other hand, the price does go up to $1,599.99 if you want the best display with the 512 GB SSD, but the lower-priced models are still impressive. Razer is known as a gaming company, though, and the concession to gaming is the Razer Core, a stand-alone product that allows you to add any desktop GPU to power the Stealth using a single Thunderbolt adapter. So you use the Stealth as an ultrabook when you're getting work done, and then connect the Core with one cable when you're at home and want more power for gaming.

The Core won't ship until some time in the first half of the year, however, and Razer isn't even hinting at pricing on that product until closer to launch. It's also an imposing product in person, large enough to fit even the largest desktop GPUs and featuring two cycling, colored lights. It looks like a cross between a UFO and a brick, if that's possible.

What's interesting is that Razer is moving into a non-gaming products, but hoping to bring its reputation from gaming into these worlds.

"Gaming is becoming more and more mainstream, so it's on more people's radars," Razer's director of product marketing for systems told Polygon. "I think people are coming to appreciate what gaming PC manufacturers has developed in the past few years, creating really powerful performance computers."

core razer

In other words, it's not about bringing gaming to people, it's about giving gaming people a better option. This is an interesting play from Razer, and one that's a bit surprising. The company seems to want to sharpen its claws on some rather big targets in the consumer electronics world.

"We really want to go after Apple, Dell and those guys and show you can have a premium product without having a crazy price point. That's our intention, to make it more attainable for our customers."