Razer Raises Eyebrows with the Raptor Monitor
Gaming brand Razer has a reputation for over-the-top lighting and equally outlandish prices. So it was a pleasant surprise to hear a representative at CES say that the company's upcoming gaming monitor, a first for Razer, will be priced at around $700.
I was expecting the 27-inch panel, tuned for gaming and colored like a stealth jet with rainbow ground effects, to cost over $1000. But assuming that Razer holds on to its projected price when the “Raptor” launches sometime later this year, it will be competitive with most of its contemporaries that match its specs.
The 27-inch monitor uses ra—uh, paper-thin bezels on three sides, with only a slightly thicker bottom that's still slimmer than most gaming monitors on the market. That's not the only difference: Razer is using an IPS panel for the 2560×1440 display. That resolution is a popular choice for gamers (ideally juggling sharp visuals and GPU strain), but the panel type is not. IPS is more vibrant and accurate, but slower, so gamers ten to go for VA panels with sub-5ms input lag. Razer says it's tuned the Raptor IPS panel to have just 1ms of response time, among the best on the market of any panel type, while keeping the widest possible color gamut for HDR and 400 nits of brightness. The refresh rate goes up to 144Hz.
And speaking of refresh rates, the monitor does include G-SYNC…sort of. Technically it's adaptive sync, more commonly branded “FreeSync” with AMD's Radeon cards, since it doesn't include the expensive extra processing chip from NVIDIA to enable G-SYNC and its tear-reducing frame syncing tech. But here at CES NVIDIA announced a “G-SYNC Compatible program” that certifies a very select group of adaptive sync monitors for its standard. The Razer Raptor is the first monitor that will be built from the ground up to pass these tests and be G-SYNC compatible out of the box, no extra hardware required.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the monitor's styling. The Chroma-compatible LED lights integrated into the base are actually the least interesting thing about it: Razer sells mousepads and coasters with the same feature. No, it's the stand that caught our attention. A single line of aluminum sweeps up from the rectangular base to the back of the screen in an appealing display of minimalism.
Which isn't to say that the stand lacks features. While the screen has no VESA mounts, it can slide up and own for about five inches, and tilt forward and backwards to generous degrees. We especially love Razer's cable management system, which accommodates power, video, and data cables in dedicated grooves that would make a data center architect green with envy. The contrasting cables are a nice touch—and yes, they come in the box. The input panel accepts HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C, with power delivery for USB-C laptops and an old-fashioned passthrough for two USB-A ports.
One of the more subtle touches is the rubberized finish of the thin screen's back. Running your hands along it feels like the grippy bottom of a nice mousepad. And you'll be doing that a lot if you're adjusting for different games, made easier with a joystick OSD controller on the back (see recent Samsung gaming monitor designs for a similar feature).
The overall package is undeniably appealing, even if you're not a member of the self-described “Cult of Razer.” If Razer can keep to its estimated price and deliver on its claim of a 1ms IPS panel, expect the Raptor to adorn many a gamer's battlestation later this year. Don't be surprised to see smaller and larger Raptor variants pop up, too.