Corsair debuts first gaming laptop with touch bar-like macro buttons

Just as Apple has dumped the Touch Bar from practically all of its MacBooks, PC makers are embracing touch bars — for gaming and streaming they say.

Corsair Voyager a1600

Corsair is more known for its peripherals or hardware, but its first gaming laptop is coming in with bang. The Voyager a1600 laptop was designed with gaming and streaming in mind, so there’s an interesting touch bar-like design that features 10 extra keys.

The 10 S-keys can be used even when the laptop is closed.Corsair

I know, I know. It’s giving all the MacBook Pro users flashbacks of the dreaded Touch Bar. But hear me out, it actually looks like Corsair’s design is decent and something that people would actually use. It’s more like 10 programmable keys with a tiny LCD screen in the middle, rather than a long OLED touch strip that is meant to display more information than just a button. Plus, it doesn’t actually replace the function keys, so you still get Esc and F keys with the Corsair Voyager a1600.

Corsair joins Dell’s XPS 13 Plus, another laptop that is trying out touch bar-like buttons on its laptops. The implementation is different, but there’s no way not to draw a direct line between these and Apple’s ill-fated Touch Bar.

It’s a “macro bar” not a “touch bar” — Corsair may have anticipated some initial hesitancy with the design, especially since even Apple looks like it’s off the Touch Bar design for now. Corsair is calling it a “built-in macro bar” that has “S-key shortcut buttons” because they’re designed specifically for Elgato’s Stream Deck shortcuts. The 10 customizable buttons are even accessible when the laptop is closed, which makes it look like a good option for a streaming hub when it’s not actually open.

The Voyager a1600 adds a little more functionality to your streaming setup.Corsair / YouTube

While the Voyager a1600 seems like a handy streaming tool, the webcam can only hit 1080p at 30 fps making it a weak choice for livestreaming; you want at least 60 fps for that. That said, the laptop’s webcam does have a privacy shade and is supported with a directional four-way microphone setup that offers ambient noise cancellation.

AMD options only — As for the actual hardware, the Voyager a1600 can be specced up to an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor, AMD Radeon RX 6800M mobile graphics, up to 64GB of Corsair’s DDR5 SO-DIMM RAM, and up to 2TB of SSD.

The 16-inch display has a 16:10 aspect ratio with a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate. The laptop is built with Cherry MX Ultra-Low Profile key switches and has per-key RGB backlighting. Corsair threw in a bunch of ports as well, including two Thunderbolt ports, a regular USB-C port, a USB-A port, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack. And, of course, there’s plenty of RGB on the keyboard backlighting.

Cherry MX switches and RGB lighting, say less.Corsair

The Voyager a1600 laptop starts at $2,700, with the most powerful edition costing $3,000. Corsair didn’t release any details on when the gaming laptop goes on sale, but said it will announce availability later on.

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