It’s Jony Ive’s worst nightmare: a gigantic laptop, with Fast & Furious-approved under-lighting, a shimmering rainbow keyboard, and three 17-inch screens that fold out mechanically. A stoic slab of aluminum this is not. This is Project Valerie, by the unapologetic PC gaming company Razer. It’s a freakish “what if,” a double-dog dare of industrial design. And . . . I kind of loved it.
Project Valerie stole the show at CES this year–before Valerie was literally stolen from CES. Of three prototypes that were built, two disappeared from the show floor and have yet to be recovered. Those two, shown only behind closed doors, had working mechanical arms, but they weren’t actually playable. Unlike its siblings, the third prototype actually has working guts, but its monitors are stuck in the outward position.
When this last remaining prototype arrived at Fast Company‘s offices, it was entombed in a box as long as a small couch. I was told to be gentle with the priceless prototype, particularly when banging on its psychedelic keyboard.
Even still, in my 20 minutes with the machine, the biggest surprise wasn’t that playing Battlefield was just as spectacular as I’d imagined it on three screens, rendered in 25 million pixels 60 or so times every second. (Humanity has yet to cure cancer, but do allow the fundamental human achievement behind this remarkable benchmark to sink in for a moment.) The biggest surprise was how quickly this three-headed monster felt normal. I could almost imagine traveling with it for video editing, spreadsheeting, or gaming in a hotel room.
Is that how Hagrid felt about his puppy Fang? Perhaps. But don’t forget, Fang was still a monster–and so is Project Valerie.
Project Valerie is currently labeled a concept but, following superb public reception, is likely to be released into the future. Don’t be surprised if it’s priced starting just south of the $10,000 mark.
[Photos: via Razer]