It’s been almost two years since I reviewed the Razer Blade Stealth and an accompanying eGPU V2 enclosure, and while I found it to be a viable hybrid solution of an ultrabook and gaming laptop, it didn’t truly live up to the promise of a gaming ultrabook. If I wanted to leave my desk and game in another room or at a friend’s house, it wasn’t really possible.
With the new Razer Blade Stealth 13, however, Razer has itself a true gaming ultrabook. The Stealth 13 is still compact and fits the ultrabook mold, but tucked inside is a Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU. Forget having to use an eGPU to game on this machine – you can game anywhere you want.
There are three main configurations available from Razer. The white model forgoes a dedicated GPU, while two black models leverage the GTX 1650 and let you pick between Full HD or 4K touch display.
Here are the specifications of the Razer Blade Stealth 13 I’ve been testing:
Model: Razer Blade Stealth 13 (RZ09-0310)
Display: 13.3-inch FHD (1920×1080)
Processor: Intel Core i7-1065G7 1.3GHz, (8M Cache, up to 3.9 GHz)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with Max-Q (4GB GDDR5)
Memory: 16GB DDR4 (3733MHz)
OS: Windows 10 Home
Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Ports: 1 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C, 2 x USB 3.1, 1 x audio jack
Connectivity: Intel Wireless-AX 201 WiFi 6 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Dimensions: 11.99 x 8.27 x 0.6-inches (WxDxH)
Weight: 3.13 pounds
In many ways, the black Razer Blade Stealth 13 reminds me of my MacBook Pro. It’s small, lightweight, and the matte black finish has a simple yet elegant look to it. Overall, the Blade Stealth 13 measures 11.99 x 8.27 x 0.6-inches and weighs just 3.13 pounds. To put that in perspective, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.59-inches and weighs 3.02 pounds.
Meaning, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 is roughly the same size as the smallest MacBook Pro, but with significantly better graphics performance. Despite its small footprint, Razer was able to squeeze a total of five ports into the housing. On the right side is a USB-A 3.1 port, as well as a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port that doubles as a charging port and is capable of up to 40 Gbps transfer speeds.
On the opposite side are a headphone jack, another USB-A port, and a standard USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port that can also be used for charging.
The 13.3-inch FHD display has a matte finish and bezels on either side that measure only 4.9mm. Centered along the top of the screen is a 720p IR camera with Windows Hello support to use facial recognition to unlock the laptop.
My favorite part about the display is its matte finish. It really cut down on any reflections from overhead lights or outside light coming through a nearby window. Otherwise, it looks like typical FHD displays – crisp, clear, and colors that aren’t overly saturated.
Razer’s Chroma tech is used on the keyboard. It’s not individual key RGB, but instead, a single zone that applies your assigned keyboard effects across the board. It’d be nice to have individual RGB keys, but that surely would have required more space.
The keyboard itself, once again, reminds me a lot of a MacBook keyboard. (Only, the good MacBook keyboard from years ago – not the more recent trouble-laden version.) Keys don’t require a ton of pressure to activate, but aren’t overly sensitive, both of which are benefits when typing and gaming. Below the keyboard is a glass touchpad that’s smooth and has a reassuring click to it when pressed.
Performance and Gaming
Inside the Blade Stealth 13 is Intel’s quad-core 10th generation Core i7-1065G7, 16GB DDR4 3,733MHz memory, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU, and 512GB of storage via PCIe M.2 SSD. The memory is fixed, so you won’t be able to swap it out. Even so, that’s a beefy component list for any laptop, especially when you consider just how compact the Stealth 13 is.
Compared to the GTX 1660 and GTX 1660 Ti found on many mid-range gaming laptops, the Blade Stealth’s benchmark scores look a bit disappointing. It’s important to point out, though, that our benchmark tests are run on Ultra settings, which is more demanding than the GTX 1650 is really intended to tackle.
In other words, benchmarks don’t tell the whole story. Once I started actually gaming, I realized that the Blade Stealth 13 is a fully capable gaming machine.
I spent a lot of time playing Escape From Tarkov on the Blade Stealth 13. With settings on High, I saw an average of 50 fps. With the setting just below that, frame rates maxed out at 60 fps – the game’s current limit. Playing Fortnite, I routinely hit 60 fps, even at Epic settings. Bumping it down to High, performance jumped between 70 and 90 fps. Battlefield V was able to hit 60 fps on low settings, and Apex Legends stayed around 75 fps on High.
To sum up real-world performance: You’ll have no issues hitting 60 fps at 1080p in AAA titles, though doing so on Ultra or Max settings is out of reach for some games.
Even during prolonged gaming sessions, I never really noticed the Blade Stealth 13’s fans. Don’t get me wrong, I could hear them running, but they weren’t loud at all. The speakers easily overpowered the fans at all times.
The 500GB SSD doesn’t allow for too many games, but thankfully you can swap it out after removing a handful of screws on the bottom.
Razer estimates the Blade Stealth 13 to have 10 hours of battery life, but that’s for the white model that lacks the GTX 1650 GPU. With both models using the same 53.1Wh battery, it’s clear that 10-hour battery life simply won’t happen with the more powerful, GPU-equipped version.
After completing IGN’s movie rundown test, with screen brightness set to 50-percent and all unnecessary connectivity features (Bluetooth, GPS) turned off, the Blade Stealth 13 lasted 179 minutes, or one minute shy of three hours of continuous video playback. It’s a respectable amount of time, and nothing we can find fault in. That’s more than enough to watch a movie on a flight and should be more than sufficient for taking notes in class.
Razer continues to have a minimal amount of preloaded software on its products. The Blade Stealth 13 came with Razer’s own Synapse program installed, and that’s it, outside of the typical Windows 10 preloaded games and extras (which are easily removed).
Razer’s Synapse software controls the Blade Stealth 13’s Chroma lighting and performance settings. I didn’t spend a lot of time in Synapse, but it should be familiar for anyone who’s owned or used any Razer products. You’re able to create lighting effects, assign them to profiles, and fine-tune how you want your system to perform, for example, when a game is launched.
The real highlight here is the lack of bloatware on the Blade Stealth 13, and it’s something the Razer deserves to be commended for.
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is available on Amazon or direct from Razer. The unit we reviewed has an MSRP of $1799, but is often on sale for $1499.
This article was originally published by IGN.COM