PAX AUS 2016: Razer

I’ve been using Razer mice for quite some time now, years in fact. I used to run with the old Microsoft Intellimouse for years as it was a very lightweight mouse which I appreciated. I then went through a Logitech phase but found many of their mice (even with all of the optional weights removed) to be very heavy and not to my liking. My wife bought me my first Razer mouse for Christmas a few years back and I’ve stuck with them ever since. Comfortable, light weight, responsive and… well… pretty.

I don’t want you to think I’m writing some sort of ‘shill’ piece here though, as I still use a Logitech Keyboard, Logitech Speakers and a Plantronics Headset. I look for quality wherever I might find it. But I was pretty damn excited when I was asked if I’d like to checkout the booth at PAX, look at some of their latest products and have a chat with some of their team members.

Finding the Razer booth was easy, it was cast in a shadow which allowed for all the neon lights and glowing devices to really ‘pop’. On display were many just released or soon to be released products, from mice and keyboards to laptops and external video card docks.

The Naga Hex V2 in particular looked fantastic, vastly improved over the original in my opinion. The biggest problem for me with the original was the button layout, and Razer went back to the design board and improved it with a much more ergonomic, circular design.

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The team was showing off their latest gaming laptops as well, many of them now sporting Nvidia’s Pascal range of video cards (1060 / 1070 / 1080). A portable, light weight, gaming laptop that is capable of VR is pretty bloody amazing! Much better for moving to a larger room in your house for those lengthy VR sessions instead of playing in a cramped office or dragging your desktop out to the lounge room. How they managed to fit it all into such a slim machine though I’ll never figure out – lots and lots of engineering would be my guess.

razerlaptops

While not yet available in Australia, Razer did have one of their Razer Cores plugged into a laptop and it looked amazing. It’s essentially an external box that houses a desktop video card and allows you to connect it to a laptop via USB-C and turn it into a gaming beast. These have been wildly popular abroad and are sure to sell well when they arrive in Australia soon.

Perhaps one of the coolest things we got to play with though during our time at the Razer booth is their new virtual reality headset. The Hackers Development Kit 2.0 (HDK2) uses Open Source VR software and is geared primarily towards developers and enthusiasts. It’s also half the price of a HTC Vive! Be warned though – you will need some technical knowledge to install the software and start using your HDK2. The headset itself is completely modular and allows users to swap out lenses, screens, straps and the like. Combined with the open source software one can only imagine what the creative peoples of the world are going to do with this piece of equipment. One thing for certain though is it will be amazing.

osvr-hdk-2-hero

As someone who is a big fan of retro PC gaming I did ask if it was possible with some time and talent to create mods for older games such as Quake, Doom, Morrowind and the like, and the good news is that it’s totally plausible, provided some hardworking, smart person writes the code for it. So you (yes you!) creative smart person. Get cracking!

It’s clear from my time at the Razer booth that the team is going from strength to strength. They are listening to their customers in terms of updating existing products and they are continually pushing new boundaries with brand new product lines.

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