External graphics enclosures are a pretty cool edition in the age of ultra mobility. They let you take advantage of a desktop graphics card with your gaming laptop, giving you that extra graphics performance that allows you to play the latest games on a laptop that wasn’t meant to play them.
I tried out the Razer Core V2 External Graphics Enclosure with the Razer Blade Stealth laptop with a 13-inch screen. I loaded up Fortnite on the machine and soon enough I was getting killed by total strangers in Epic’s hot battle royale game.
The Razer Blade Stealth weighs slightly less than three pounds, and it has a nice black case and a 13.3-inch QHD+ (3200 x 1800) touch display with great clarity. It comes with 16 gigabytes of dual-channel memory. But it’s a productivity machine, not a gaming laptop. Because gamers have to use spreadsheets too. It can run for 10 hours on a battery charge. The machine is just a half-inch thick, and I can carry it easily with one hand. It comes with a 512 GB PCIe SSD, a quad-core Intel 8th Gen Core i7 processor, and Intel integrated graphics. You would never think that such a thin machine could ever play the latest games. And on its own, it can’t, except for less-demanding games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, or World of Warcraft.
Meanwhile, the Razer Core V2 comes with four USB 3.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet for connecting peripherals. It is made from a block of durable raw aluminum with CNC precision-milled metal. It includes a 500-watt power supply to provide power for graphics and connected devices. Cooling fans work with the graphics card, which has its own fan, to disperse heat. It works with either the GeForce 10 series or AMD Radeon 500 series cards with Xconnect technology. It’s about 8.6 inches high, 4.1 inches wide, and 13.4 inches deep.
What you’ll like
Simple to connect
You can start playing games really fast. All you do is make sure your Core V2 and Blade Stealth system software is up to date. You plug in the laptop to the enclosure via a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) connector, and you’re ready to go. It’s that simple to start taking advantage of a desktop graphics card — in my case, a Nvidia GeForce 1070 GTX card. Installation takes seconds.
You can take your laptop on the go and use it to connect to the Internet and get your work done. It has a backlit Razer Chroma laptop keyboard (with 16.8 million colors per key) that you can modify as you prefer. You can take it anywhere and show it off, and you can use it to play games as well. Just plug it into the enclosure, which you can take on the road as well or use at home. You can draw more power from the external graphics processing unit (GPU) for a much smoother gaming experience. And yes, you can play just about anything.
What you won’t like
Not so versatile
The Core V2 is compatible with the Razer Blade Stealth, the Razer Blade, and the Razer Blade Pro. It turns the Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) laptops into a desktop-class gaming machine, but if you’ve got something else, then you’re out of luck.
The graphics enclosure is lightweight and easy to carry, but you have to plug it into a wall. So that means you’re playing on the go, so long as you are near a power outlet. Yes, life comes with trade-offs, and this is one of them.
It’s a pricey combo
Razer isn’t providing cool stuff for cheap. The laptop is $1,700 and the Core V2 is $500. That means you can play games on it for $2,200, but other machines and solutions out there will let you do the same for lower prices. Soon enough, there are going to be other solutions out there, and the prices should drop.
It’s wonderful to be able to upgrade your laptop experience, as if you had a productivity mode and a gaming mode. Razer’s Core V2 turns the Razer Blade Stealth into a blazing-fast gaming machine, which you can play as a laptop or plug into a display. I didn’t see any glitches while playing games on the combined products.
I give the combination of the Razer Blade Stealth and the Razer Core V2 a score of 80 out of 100. The Blade and Core V2 are a really good bet if you want to play games on the go. As noted, we’re about to head into another refresh cycle, and so you should keep an eye out if you’re in the market. But I wholeheartedly like the idea of the laptop and a graphics enclosure.
Razer Blade Stealth is available for $1,700. The Razer Core V2 is available for $500. Razer provided GamesBeat with sample units for the purpose of this review.