Razer's latest Blade Stealth has a new design, more power, and some much-needed improvements. Those changes have the potential to turn the company's most interesting laptop into its most versatile.
The Blade Stealth is Razer's smallest, lightest, and least expensive laptop, starting at $ 1,399. Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro and Dell's XPS 13. Like other Razer laptops, it leads the way with specs: it has a fast processor, a new option for a discrete graphics card, and up to 16GB of RAM.
In addition to the spec updates, the Blade Stealth is also available in a new limited edition "quartz pink" finish. It's perhaps the pinkest laptop I've ever seen, and it's quite a departure from the typical black-and-green Razer laptop.
The Blast Stealth on an actual gaming laptop is the most expensive model you can do anywhere. At the same time, can the Blade Stealth hang with other thin and light computers when it comes to productivity?
Part of the Razer Blade Stealth's redesign has been updating it to look more in line with the Blade 15 Advanced. It is a block design with hard edges and sharper corners. Blade Stealth has the same design as the black version, except, well, it's pink.
Thanks to the Stealth's Thunderbolt 3 port, it is possible to get better performance with an external GPU. Razer Core V2 with an RTX 2080Ti and what to run Battlefield V with all of its settings maxed out on a 35-inch ultrawide display at 70 frames per second. This is an option.
Besides having enough GPU power to play games, the Stealth's 256GB of storage is too limited to easily store them. Black Ops IIII alone takes 100GB, which is almost half of the available space. Afterward, I was planning to import some RAW photos from a recent photo shoot, then realized I did not have the storage space. You can get 512GB of storage, but that requires stepping up to the top-tier $ 1,899 model with the 4K touchscreen (and forgoing the pink color option). Razer says it is possible to upgrade the internal SSD itself, which is what you probably want to do with this model for gaming.
The Stealth might be marketed as a "gaming ultrabook," but it's also very competent for productivity, at least until the battery. The large Windows Precision trackpad provides a comfortable and smooth experience that's much better than the prior model's.
The Blade's keyboard quirk: the right Shift key is sized like a normal letter keycap, and it's positioned immediately above the right directional key. I've accidentally pressed this key when I meant to hit the directional key.
Thankfully, Razer got the rest of the Stealth's keyboard right by including full backlighting across every key, anti-ghosting, and switches that are not too loud for cafes or conference rooms, even when I'm typing at full speed. Other than the terrible shift key placement, this is a solid keyboard.
Punchy bass, clear mids, and pounding the keyboard are four speakers with Dolby Atmos tuning and a companion app non-distorted highs. Compared to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, these speakers are on par with the warmth of Mac's sound (even with the "warmth" Dolby mode enabled).
The Stealth's bass really starts kicking at the higher volumes (around 70 percent), but there's no distortion or audible strain to speak of. These are really good speakers that I like to use to listen to a few songs, for games, or a Netflix marathon with others in the room.
Despite the stealth's sleek new design, improved gaming performance, and better security, there have not been any improvements to battery life and heat management. I could not get more than five hours of web usage out of the stealth, and it took less than an hour to use before I could feel the underside gently toasting my lap.
Chrome tabs open, I, with a 50 percent brightness, keyboard backlighting set to solid white, and Bluetooth off only managed to get an extra 30 minutes before the battery gave up. The Stealth's battery life while gaming is half that; it throws in the towel at two and a half hours.
If you plan on using the stealth on your lap – it is a laptop, after all – then I'd advise you to do it for short periods of time. Everything from typing this in Google Docs with multiple tabs in the background to watching videos will elicit a response from the system's fans. You can take control of fan speed in Razer's Synapse app, but it does not help much with mitigating heat from the bottom panel.
The new Razer Blade Stealth is a much more capable gaming laptop, at least for casual gaming. Razer's own base Blade 15 costs $ 1,599, and it can actually play modern games at medium to high settings.
Razer's other options, but its battery life makes it tough to rely on for a full day's worth of work. The low-end discrete GPU is not really powerful enough to rely on video encoding in apps like Adobe Premiere either, which makes the stealth a less than ideal portable editing machine for creators. The ideal setup for either gaming or video editing involves using an external GPU, but that adds a lot to the stealth's already high price. Perhaps Razer should consider selling the Stealth bundled with its external GPU option.
Even with its new design, improved graphics power, and better quality-of-life features, the Blade Stealth still occupies an awkward middle ground. It's a laptop that does not have enough battery life, and it's not really powerful enough for serious gaming or video editing.
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