The Razer laptop is always slim, but the ultraportable Stealth Blade ($ 1,399.99 / £ 1,299.99 to start, $ 1,599.99 / £ 1.99.99 as tested) is more elegant than before. Thinner and smaller than the previous model, with a stylish black-and-black logo to boot. And now, it has discrete graphics with MX150 and 4GB VRAM. But while the Stealth Blade finally began to overcome the old shortcomings, such as short battery power, it was running too hot to make it comfortable for some people.
RAZER BLADE STEALTH
- Sleek new design
- Excellent touchpad
- Good enough for light gaming
- USB Type-A and Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Runs hot
- Shallow keyboard
- Single-zone backlighting
The Razer Blade Stealth is a sleek ultraportable with a nice port selection that’s excellent for productivity and even some light gaming--but it runs too hot.
Specifications Razer Blade Stealth : Slimmer, With More Muscle
- Display 13.3-inch FHD matte display
- CPU Intel Core i7-8565U CPU
- Graphics Nvidia GeForce MX150 (25W) 4GB, GDDR5
- Memory 16GB, 2133MHz, LPDDR3
- SSD 256GB PCIe M.2
- Networking 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
- Video Ports Thunderbolt 3
- USB Ports 2x Thunderbolt 3, 2x USB 3.1 Type-A
- Audio 4x speakers and smart amp
- Camera 720p camera with Windows Hello
- Battery 53.1WHr
- Power Adapter 65W
- Operating System Windows 10 Home
- Dimensions (WxDxH) 12 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches / 304.6 x 210 x 14.8 mm
- Weight 2.9 pounds / 1.4 kg
- Other Single-zone RGB keyboard lighting
- Price (as configured) $1,599.99 / £1,499.99
Design Laptop Razer Blade Stealth
Razer has brought the language of its new design to ultraportabel premium. We saw it a little earlier this year with the Razer Blade 15, but now the style is getting slimmer and meaner. Gone is the focus on rounded edges and sleek lines, all supporting straight edges and matte-black aluminum. This is not interesting, with Razer's three-headed snake in reflective black in the black cap. This is good in my opinion because the Razer logo is still a game icon on the lower back of the game icon, so anything that makes it unclear for everyday use. Aluminum is a fingerprint magnet. That might attract more attention than the logo.
The screen is surrounded by a thin bezel just 4.9 millimeters on the side. It's a little thicker at the top to allow web cameras and infrared cameras for Windows Hello. I hope the bottom frame is thinner, although many of my colleagues don't seem to mind.
The speaker flanks a single zone RGB keyboard, and the deck is also made of black anodized aluminum. Each side of the laptop is home to a single Thunderbolt 3 port and a Type A 3.1 USB port, and there is a headphone jack on the left side.
At 12 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches (304.6 x 210 x 14.8 mm) and 2.9 pounds, Stealth is tiny. The Huawei MateBook X Pro is slightly larger at 12 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches and 2.9 pounds, and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 has a larger footprint of 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches but is lighter 2.7 pounds. Only the Dell XPS 13 is smaller and lighter, at 12 x 7.9 x 0.5 inches and 2.7 pounds.
Laptop Gaming and Graphics
I’m not going to pretend that the Stealth’s MX150 with 4GB of VRAM is enough for gaming on high settings, but it is possible to play games on it. (Many other systems with the MX150, like the MateBook X Pro, use just 2GB of VRAM.) This model also has a 25 watt TDP versus the usual 10 watts. I played Overwatch on the high graphics preset, and it ran between 50 and 72 frames per second (fps) on a Payload match in Dorado. I could’ve squeezed out higher frame rates by turning the settings down. The fans, however, ran loud and non-stop to keep up.
On the Dirt 3 benchmark, the MX150 in the Blade Stealth earned a score of 164 fps, more than twice the premium laptop average (72 fps). The MateBook was second best at 117 fps, while the XPS 13 and Surface Laptop 2 fell behind with their integrated graphics.
With its Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, it’s no surprise that the Blade Stealth is one hell of a workhorse as far as ultraportables go. In my use, with more than 20 tabs open in Chrome and a 1080p video streaming via YouTube, I didn’t have any trouble at all.
On Geekbench 4, the laptop earned a score of 15,878, beating the premium laptop average (12,285) and the competing laptops: the XPS 13 and Huawei MateBook Pro with Coffee Lake i7s and the Surface Laptop 2 with a Coffee Lake Core i5.
The Blade Stealth took 20 seconds to transfer 4.97 GB of mixed-media files, a rate of 254 MBps. That’s not as quick as the average (515.4 MBps) or the XPS 13 (508 MBps). It’s just slightly behind the MateBook X Pro but faster than the Surface Laptop 2
On our Excel macro test, which pairs 65,000 names and addresses, the Stealth finished in 1:34, just a second ahead of the category average. The MateBook X Pro was slower at 1:49, but both the XPS and Surface were speedier.
The 13.3-inch, 60 Hz, FHD resolution display on the Stealth is more than bright and colorful enough to get by, though some of its competitors are better. When I watched an FHD trailer for Avengers: Endgame, I could see the individual raindrops on Hawkeye's face, and a purple sunrise popped behind Thanos’ armor.
Razer’s display covers 120 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is higher than the 117-percent average and more than the XPS 13, but lower than the MateBook X Pro and Surface Laptop 2.
The Blade Stealth’s display measured an average 346 nits of brightness, which is higher than the average (320 nits) and the Surface, but not as luminous as either the XPS or the MateBook.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Razer keyboard is a mixed bag. With only 0.8 millimeters of travel and 67 grams of actuation style needed to type, it must feel superficial. But there is enough reflection in each key to be productive. I typed in 108 words per minute on the test typing 10fastfingers.com, but my error rate doubled from the usual two percent to four percent.
Also, the keyboard has a few smaller buttons on the right side, including backspace, backslash, enter and - the most annoying - shift key. The right shift key is to the right of the up arrow, and I find myself often hitting the direction key when I want to type uppercase letters.
The 4.3 x 2.8 inch glass touchpad is smooth and accurate, thanks to its precision Windows drivers. This is one of the most comfortable touchpads I've used for a long time, rivaling them on Apple's MacBooks and maybe even better.
Razer had dropped the backlight per key from Stealth for single zone lighting. The company told me that this helps achieve a longer battery life. However, it's also a feature that defines Stealth, so I'm sad to see it go.
When I listened to Mumford & Sons's "Guide Lights", banjo and guitars were different and clear from each other, like vocals and drums. The sound is rather weak at the bottom, but the volume is impressive for small ultraportables. That's right at least when it's right in front of him. The song filled our lab, but it felt more quiet than just a little further.
There's not much upgrading to be done here. The RAM in the Razer Blade Stealth is soldered down, so you can only upgrade the SSD. It can be difficult to get in there, though. The laptop is held tight by 10 Torx screws (I used a Torx T5 to open it), which I often see on laptops. Bright side, the bottom panel pops right off without any prying.
The screw to remove the SSD is covered by a thermal pad, but once you back it up it's easy to replace the drive.
Historically, the Razer Blade Stealth has had bad battery life. But this model finally hits an acceptable level of an endurance. The 2018 model ran for 8 hours and 5 minutes on our battery test, which browses the web, runs OpenGL benchmarks and streams video continuously at 150 nits over Wi-Fi. That’s up from 5 hours and 21 seconds in the last model.
But that time is still behind the premium laptop category average of 8:22 and more than an hour behind the Surface Laptop 2 and MateBook X Pro. And the XPS 13 lasted an incredible 11:59
Razer includes a single additional program on the Stealth: Synapse, its all-in-one app for Chroma lighting, performance optimization, macros and customizing peripherals.
Software and Warranty
However, there is some junk built into Windows 10, including two versions of Candy Crush, plus Netflix, Fitbit Coach and Phototastic Collage.
Razer sells the Blade Stealth with a one-year warranty.
ConfigurationsRazer divides the Blade Stealth line into three models: the base model, graphics model and graphics 4K. I tested the middle option, with an Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, Nvidia GeForce MX150, 16GB of RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD and FHD display for $1,599.99 (£1,499.99).
The $1,399.99 (£1,299.99) base model has the same processor and display but uses integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620, a 256GB M.2 SATA SSD and 8GB of RAM.
For an upgrade, the 4K graphics model costs $1,899.99 (£1,799.99) and has a 4K display, 512GB and PCIe SSD, but it is otherwise identical to our review unit.
The Razer Blade Stealth is as gorgeous a laptop as the company has ever made, now in an ultraportable laptop that is impressively thin. The graphics performance from the MX150 is passable for some light gaming, and the trackpad is one of the best I’ve ever used. If you can deal with the shallow keyboard, it’s really just the heat that may cause you to worry.
If you can give up some full-size USB ports and want longer battery life, the Dell XPS 13 is a better bet, but you’ll lose some graphics performance. Dell’s machine, however, is even smaller. The Huawei MateBook X Pro also has discrete graphics but with less power. That laptop, however, has longer battery life than the Razer Blade Stealth.
But if sweet black-on-black looks, a solid selection of ports and decent graphics on a true ultraportable are your goal, the Blade Stealth is for you. Just be sure to keep it on a desk and not your lap.