Razer digs into VR, shows flurry of Blades, Edges, Leviathans, and… Carol?

A woman playing Razer's Edge gaming portable in a dark living room

Razer’s Edge handheld was the headliner of this year’s new product showcase at CES 2023.

Razer

Razer usually uses CES to showcase its upcoming gaming peripherals and accessories for the coming year, and 2023’s expo was no exception.

While the company skipped some of its usual categories like mice and keyboards, it brought novel features to others and created a few completely new product lines.

Also: CES 2023 Day 2: The biggest reveals

Let’s take a look at what the Sneki Snek has in store for the coming year.

Razer Edge

Razer Edge with controller section

The Edge itself is technically just the tablet portion, while the surrounding controller section is the Razer Kishi V2 Pro.

Razer

Razer’s already-revealed Edge handheld was once again the star of the show, with the company providing a few more details on the Wi-Fi only and 5G-equipped versions.

We now know the full spec sheet includes a 6.8″ AMOLED display with a resolution of 2400×1080 and a 144Hz refresh rate for faster responsiveness.

It also revealed that the unit will be powered by the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform, which it designed in collaboration with the chipmaker to provide “active cooling for long gaming sessions playing top AAA titles and native games on the go without having to compromise performance .”

The Wi-Fi only version will go on sale exclusively at Razer.com in the US on January 26 for one cent under $400, while the Razer Edge 5G will be a Verizon Wireless exclusive. The wireless carrier is expected to post additional details on the pricing and release date of its exclusive 5G edition of the Razer edge on its own product page.

Hopefully Razer’s gaming portable can match the high-quality hardware we found in the Logitech G Cloud, while avoiding the software and service hiccups that ruined the experience with that device for us. But, only time will tell.

Project Carol

Razer's Project Carol speaker head cushion installed on one of its gaming chairs

Razer promises that its Project Carol headrest will take gamers into “a new world of audio and tactile immersion.”

Razer

It’s a CES tradition for Razer to bring with it at least one product that’s a bit more…out there than its usual fare. Past years have seen the company’s R&D department show off with things like PCs built right into desks (which never went into production) or COVID-19 masks that made you look like an RGB cyber ninja (which actually did enjoy a limited production run). This year’s entry from Razer’s R&D department, Project Carol, might win the award for the least intimidating name ever used. Then again, I’ve known a couple very mean Carols.

Thankfully, this Carol is here to provide “near-field surround sound for clear, pure audio, paired with 7.1 surround sound for a captivating gaming experience.” It does this via the speakers installed in the attachable head cushion, which can be installed on any typical gaming chair, Razer’s own Iskur and Enki lines included, of course. In addition to its surround-sound prowess, the device also offers real-time haptic feedback created from the sound it’s outputting via Razer’s proprietary HyperSense technology. The company claims this will let gamers “feel everything behind them, placing them firmly in the middle of the action.”

Also: Herman Miller Embody Gaming Chair review: Seating’s endgame?

If you’re worried about the hassle of having power cords or audio cables running to your chair, don’t. Project carol is powered by an 8-hour rechargeable battery and uses 2.4GHz wireless to receive sound from your PC. As with most experimental products Razer brings to CES, the pricing and availability information for Project Carol remains sketchy. Until Razer clears it up, keep an eye on its product page for the latest info on a possible release.

Razer Blades

Razer's Blade 16 and Blade 18 laptops

Razer’s latest generation of Blade laptops are very much desktop-replacement devices.

Razer

Razer showed off two new Blade laptops at this year’s CES. The latest edition of the company’s sleek gaming notebooks shifts to a 16:10 aspect, a popular move in recent laptop releases for the extra vertical screen real estate it provides. Aside from this new display orientation, the latest Blades were clearly designed to push just about every internal component as far as it can currently go, coming equipped with 13th generation Intel Core i9 HX chipsets, Nvidia’s RTX 40 series GPUs running up to 175W TGP, and upgradeable DDR5 5600MHz memory.

Those reshaped displays also saw a visual upgrade, with Razer opting for its first HDR-capable dual-mode mini-LED displays, supporting a 120Hz refresh rate in UHD+ resolution or 240Hz in FHD+ for the 16-inch model. Meanwhile, the 18-inch version pushes that to 240Hz at QHD+ resolution.

Also: What is the best gaming laptop and is there a good one for under $1,000?

Speaking of the 18-inch model, you know you’re not in for a small price tag when Razer markets it as its “most powerful laptop ever.” That level of power will apparently run you $2,899.99 and up, depending on configuration, when the laptop launches later in Q1 2023. Meanwhile, the still-mighty 16-inch model will retail for $2,699.99 and should go on sale around the same time.

Leviathan V2 Pro soundbar

Razer's Leviathan V2 Pro soundbar on a desk among its other peripherals

This soundbar knows where you are…

Razer

When ZDNET reviewed the non-Pro version of the Razer Leviathan V2 soundbar, we praised its sound quality, but lamented its lack of ports. While we’ll need to wait for the launch of the V2 Pro to see how it fares, we already know the new trick it brings to the table: beamforming surround sound with head-tracking AI technology. That somewhat-confusing phrase means the soundbar actually tracks the position of your head to make sure that its surround-sound generation is precisely tuned to keep you in the sweet spot, wherever you may fidget to.

This virtualized surround sound experience will be available from the V2 Pro in two flavors: THX Spatial Audio Virtual Headset, which offers “pinpoint positional audio previously only found in headsets,”; and THX Spatial Audio Virtual Speakers which claims a “room-filling soundstage that users would normally experience with a full home theater system.” Essentially, there’s one mode that’s better for serious gaming, and one that’s better for cinematic games and media consumption.

Pricing for the Leviathan Pro starts at $400, and it will begin shipping in February. You can find more information on it at Razer’s product page.

Kiyo Pro Ultra webcam

Razer's Kiyo Pro Ultra Webcam on a monitor

The resemblance to a full-sized camera’s lens isn’t just for show.

Razer

The new Kiyo Pro Ultra webcam has one purpose, to bring “DSLR-like” video quality to a plug-and-play webcam. Razer has included what it claims is the “largest sensor ever used in a webcam” for this purpose. The sensor in question, a Sony 1/1.2″ STARVIS 2 unit, sports aa 2.9 μm pixel size to “capture more light and image data in every pixel for exceptional detail and color.” It’s paired with a custom F/1.7 aperture lens to ultimately take in about four times the light of other webcams, Razer said.

The built-in processor also allows the Kiyo Pro Ultra to convert raw 4K 30 FPS (or 1080P 60 FPS) footage into uncompressed 4K 24 FPS, 1440p 30 FPS, or 1080p 60 FPS for streams. Other features include AI-powered face tracking autofocus, HDR support at up to 30 FPS, and the option to customize advanced settings like ISO, shutter speed, and more.

The Kiyo Pro Ultra is available now for $300 exclusively at Razer.com.

VR Peripherals

Razer's first-gen VR peripherals installed on a Quest 2

Razer’s first crack at VR accessories installed on a Meta Quest 2 headset

Razer

One area of ​​gaming Razer’s had very little influence is VR. That’s about to change thanks to it launching its first line of peripherals designed specifically for Meta’s Quest 2 headset. The company’s first attempt at VR products kicks off with its new Razer Adjustable Head Strap System, seen above, which attempts to upgrade the Quest 2’s floppy elastic strap with something more adjustable and naturally shaped to your head. Razer claims it will provide Quest 2 wearers with superior comfort and optimized weight distribution.

Next up is Razer’s Facial Interface, a replacement for the somewhat problematic default gasket that seals the Quest 2 to the user’s face. The new add-on uses “ultra-thin textured and profiled membranes” to reduce pressure on the wearer’s face, while also sticking to hypoallergenic materials to avoid skin irritation. Razer also promises that it can block light better, helping to increase immersion.

No pricing information was provided for either Quest 2 accessory just yet, but Razer did promise they will be available some time later this quarter. More info can be found at the company’s website.

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