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Razer Blade Stealth 13 Review


The Razer Blade Stealth 13 combines solid performance with a discrete GPU, but the battery life takes a hit. It’s the first in Razer’s mobile professional line-up to feature a discrete Nvidia GPU. Granted, it’s not the most powerful in Nvidia’s arsenal, but it does mean you do some gaming on the road sans clunky eGPU. Let’s find out more.

Design

When it comes to design, Razer doesn’t rock the boat much. The Stealth is hewn out of a block of CNC aluminum and painted black. Since the Stealth is meant to target professionals, Razer’s three-headed snake logo that normally glows an ethereal green is done in a semi-glossy black. I say “phooey” to the whole thing, let your gamer flag fly 24/7! But then, what do I know? Either way, it’s a downright bewitching system. The inside of the laptop reveals a sea of multicolored glittering keys set between two speakers. A healthy touchpad sits just below the keyboard. Razer is working on shrinking the display bezels as evidenced by the side and top bezels. However, that chin is still mighty fat, especially for only a small Razer logo to sit there. Weighing 3.1 pounds, the 12 x 8.3 x 0.6-inch Stealth is a tad heavy for an ultraportable. The Stealth is a laptop of few ports, but what it has is capable of powering a decent battle station. On either side you’ll find a USB 3.1 Gen. 1 Type-A port and a Thunderbolt 3 with a headset jack on the left.

Display

The Stealth’s 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel matte display isn’t as vibrant as its bigger brothers, but it gets the job done. When I watched the trailer for Glorias, actress Lorraine Toussaint’s jaunty burgundy leather chapeau drew my gaze, serving to accentuate her warm brown skin. The fine hairs of her fur-lined jacket were clearly visible as were the dark brown coils in her neatly coiffed afro. Our iteration of the Stealth has a panel with 120Hz refresh rate. While it makes reading the news better, the panel is at its best when gaming. Testing for color reproduction capabilities, the Stealth registered 79.9% on the DCI-P3 gamut. It’s better than the Spectre’s 77.4%, but not the 82.9% premium laptop average. The XPS 13 (81.3%) and MacBook (80.9%) also did better.

Performance

Razer outfitted the Stealth with a 1.3-GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD. I launched 25 tabs in Google Chrome with some playing YouTube videos, some streaming Twitch and others running Google Docs or Tweetdeck, and the Stealth pushed through without any signs of slowdown. The Stealth took 17 minutes and 20 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p.Stealth’s SSD got a transfer rate of 910.4 megabytes per second. Behold, the first Blade Stealth with a dedicated graphics card. That’s right, Razer loaded up the notebook with a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q GPU with 4GB of VRAM. It’s not the most powerful GPU in Nvidia’s arsenal, but it gives the Stealth the graphical oomph ultraportables dream about. The Stealth lasted only 7 hours and 3 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test. It’s below the 10:01 premium laptop average. The Spectre clocked in with a time of 13:19 while the XPS 13 and MacBook tapped out at 12:39 and 10:21, respectively. As pretty as that CNC aluminum chassis is, it’s not great for heat dissipation. After playing a fullscreen video for 15 minutes, we measured key points on the frame. The touchpad was cool enough at 86 degrees Fahrenheit. But the center and bottom of the system measured 105 and 110 degrees, which is above our 95-degree comfort threshold. The Stealth’s 720p webcam does great on color, capturing my chocolate complexion, gold shirt, and blue and black chair. Finer details were hard to make out although we managed to see the thin white stripes in my shirt.

Conclusion

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 has a lot to offer with its Nvidia GPU and Intel CPU. It allows you to work and play (within reason) without sacrificing that beautiful, lightweight chassis. However, for this price, there are a lot of sacrifices to be made in the name of that discrete GPU, including below-average battery life, middling overall performance and chassis that’s hot in looks and feel. If you want a laptop that can work, game and everything in between, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 is a good choice.

Yay!

Slick, attractive chassis

Good gaming performance

Surprisingly powerful audio

Nay!

Mixed performance

Below-average battery life

Runs hot


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