I tried an insane laptop with three screens — here’s what it was like – Business Insider

razer project valerie 1.JPG
The prototype of Razer’s
‘Project Valerie’ I tried.

Insider/Jeff Dunn

CES is a place where tech companies can throw out their wildest
ideas and see what sticks. That often leads to vaporware, but
sometimes the stranger things can be fun.

Case in point: Project Valerie, a new concept laptop from gaming
hardware company Razer has three built-in screens. Three screens!

They aren’t cheap screens, either: Each are huge 17-inch panels,
loaded up with overly sharp 4K resolutions and Nvidia’s G-Sync
tech for smoother frame rates while gaming.

Razer has no current plans to make this available to the public,
and it doesn’t know how much the device would cost if it ever
did move beyond the concept stage, so any talk about specs
is a bit beside the point.

But for what it’s showing off in Las Vegas this week, Razer has
modified the already-powerful Razer Blade Pro — what with its
mechanical keyboard, and top-of-the-line GeForce GTX 1080
graphics card — made it heavier (around 12 pounds) and twice as
thick (about 1.5 inches), and built in a mechanism that lets you
slide out and snap back the two additional displays from behind
the central one.

razer project valerie 5.JPG
The more polished version
of the laptop, which Razer says is closer to what a finished
product would look like.

Insider/Jeff Dunn

I was able to use a rough prototype of Project Valerie for a
(controlled) demo this week, and I can confirm that the whole
thing is as jarring as it looks. That said, it works. The, ahem,
battlefield of a game like “Battlefield 4” extended beyond my
field of vision when looking at Valerie straight on, but it did
make it easy to see what’s going on from way off in the distance.

That’s a good start, but Razer says any finished product like
this would use software to automates the slide-out mechanism and
let you angle the displays as needed. Anything pushing this many
pixels would likely need more than a single GTX 1080 card to run
comfortably, though what I saw stayed relatively free
of awkwardness. 

razer project valerie 6.JPGBusiness Insider/Jeff Dunn

Beyond being a feat of engineering, the idea of a multi-monitor
laptop does make some sense the more you use it. Many people,
myself included, can’t work or game without multiple monitors,
then find it annoying to lose that convenience on the road.
Having that option available — free of cables, and with the
ability to slide it back to a “normal” laptop when needed — has
appeal, even if it looks ridiculous.

Still, yes, it’s hard to get past that ridiculousness. Razer says
that it’s focusing on the power user and gaming enthusiast market
for now, but that it’s possible that it could translate the
display setup to a more portable chassis sometime down the road.
It also says that it could make it so you could only slide out
one display at a time, which would seem a little more
practical for anything outside of gaming.

None of this gets around the fact that this thing would likely be
super expensive and have terrible battery life — the Blade Pro
starts at $3,700 and lasts about 3-4 hours with one display, let
alone three. It’d also have a hard time staying cool or quiet, to
put it mildly. But for now, Project Valerie as a concept is both
intriguing and comically absurd. That’s fitting for CES.


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