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October 14, 2023

Razer Switchblade User Interface

The razer switchblade user interface

Razer has built a second color LCD screen into the touch pad of its Blade laptop, adding ten customizable LED buttons that display their own programmable functions and icon graphics and work like extra hot keys on a gaming mouse. It’s a pretty neat idea, and the company has backed it up with a surprisingly extensive suite of apps. But it’s not a practical solution for gamers, except perhaps for early adopters and LAN partiers who need to check Twitter between bouts of Counter-Strike or MMORPG action.

The touch pad’s second display is powered by Synaptics’ EV200 multitouch gesture sensor. Razer’s software lets you customize the ten LED buttons’ programmable functions, and it includes a set of in-game icons from Electronic Arts’ Star Wars: The Old Republic and Red 5 Studios’ Firefall. It also has a calculator app, a mini Web browser for browsing the Internet without exiting a game (it works fairly well, though not as smoothly as one would hope), and YouTube for watching videos.

Razer’s Synapse 2.0 configuration software lets you program both the Switchblade keys and the keyboard’s default keys with macros and custom settings. You can even assign a picture file to an individual button, though Windows ICO files don’t seem to work. Although you can use the touch pad to recognize standard Windows multitouch gestures, the Switchblade touchpad can be finicky, sometimes ignoring your fingers unless they’re perfectly lined up.