Razer Book 13 review: all the Razer quality without the GPU

The Razer Book 13 will appeal to those wanting a premium Windows 10 laptop

T3 Platinum Award
Razer Book 13
(Image credit: Razer)
T3 Verdict

The Razer Book 13 is an excellent Windows 10 productivity laptop that gets just about everything right, from the quality of the display to the specs and performance. This is a genuine rival to the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Dell XPS 13 – it really is that good.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Clean and polished design

  • +

    11th-gen Intel processors

  • +

    Sharp, bright display (up to 4K)

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the thinnest of laptops

  • -

    On the more expensive side

  • -

    Doesn't do gaming much

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The Razer Book 13 finds Razer wanting to get involved in the conversation around the best laptops full stop, not just the best gaming laptops – it's a premium-level laptop for creatives, professionals, and anyone who's happy to pay for the best hardware around.

This isn't a gaming juggernaut – Razer has other laptops like the Razer Blade Stealth 13 for that – but it ticks just about every other box you could want ticking, if you're in the market for a Windows 10 computer that offers plenty of performance alongside plenty of style.

In our comprehensive Razer Book 13 review, we'll outline everything you need to know about this laptop, from the sort of battery life you can expect to how well it holds up under pressure – which should give you a very good idea of whether this is a good buy for you.

Razer Book 13 review: screen and design

Razer's laptops always look gorgeous, and while the Razer Book 13 is a bit more understated than the company's regular gaming machines, it still oozes class and sophistication from a design perspective. It's a gem of a laptop to look at, though it's something of a shame that the all-silver colour is the only one available. It's not the thinnest laptop you'll find, but it's very compact thanks to some super-thin bezels around the 13.4-inch display.

That display really impresses, with the options of a non-touch 1920 x 1200 pixel panel, a touchscreen 1920 x 1200 pixel panel, or a touchscreen 3840 x 2400 pixel (4K) panel. Our review unit came with the touchscreen 1920 x 1200 pixel display, and it's fantastically bright and crisp in use. We're also glad to see the 16:10 aspect ratio appearing on more and more laptops these days – it's much better for scrolling through long documents and webpages, even if it's not quite so suitable for widescreen movies. Viewing angles and visibility are good, even outdoors.

As for the rest of the design, the CNC-machined aluminium finish (similar to the MacBook Pros) is great to look at and great to touch, with stereo speakers squeezed in either side of the keyboard. Typing on the Razer Book 13 is a delight – the standard Razer Chroma lighting utility is on board for controlling the key backlights – and we found the (surprisingly large) trackpad very responsive too. It feels solid and premium, with plenty of nice touches like the two long rubber pads underneath the laptop for keeping it steady on hard surfaces.

Razer has managed to pack in a decent number of ports here too: you've got one HDMI, one USB-A and two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C sockets (either of which can be used for charging the laptop), as well as a 3.5 mm headphone/microphone jack and a microSD card slot. There's a decent enough webcam embedded in the top bezel above the screen, which supports Windows Hello for speedy logins, but there's no fingerprint sensor embedded in the keyboard or trackpad, which is a shame.

Razer Book 13 review: performance and features

Razer Book 13

(Image credit: Razer)

You can configure the Razer Book 13 with up to an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for internal storage, and that's the spec we got to review except for 256GB of storage replacing the 512GB option. With that processor and that much RAM, you're not going to have any serious slowdowns with this laptop, and it should be capable of getting through all the tasks you set for it without breaking much of a sweat, from chewing through video encoding to managing dozens of browser tabs.

The integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics is the best integrated graphic system Intel has put out yet, but it's still some way short of a dedicated GPU. You can play some top-tier games with the settings dialled down, but if you're at all into your gaming then one of the other Razer laptops is a much better choice.

There's vapor chamber cooling on board to keep temperatures down, and during our testing the underside of the chassis didn't heat up to anything close to a worrying level. The fans stayed nice and quiet for most of the time too, suggesting thermal management is an area that Razer has got just right on this laptop. You can actually manage fan speed and performance vs battery life balance via the on-board Synapse software, another small gaming laptop touch Razer has shifted over from the rest of its range.

Speaking of battery life, you'll get a solid 4-5 hours of general use out of this based on our testing – perhaps a touch more if you turn on the battery saver mode and dim the display brightness. With the brightness set to max and the laptop set to the default balanced mode for battery life, a two-hour video streaming session knocked the battery down from 100 percent to 81 percent, suggesting you'll get about 10 hours of binge watching per battery charge on average.

Razer Book 13 review: price and verdict

Razer Book 13

(Image credit: Future)

You can check the widgets embedded on this page for the latest Razer Book 13 prices, but at the time of writing the official prices from Razer for the three available configurations were £1,199.99 / $1,199.99, £1,579.99 / $1,599.99, and £1,999.99 / $1,999.99 – a touch on the expensive side perhaps, but still offering decent value for money, and not unreasonable considered the specs, display and build quality you get here. You can get Windows laptops for much less of course, but you usually get what you pay for.

There's a lot that impresses about the Razer Book 13 and there are very few downsides: in terms of design, performance, screen quality and user experience it's just about all top notch. Battery life could be a bit better, but we didn't test the laptop using the battery saver mode – we suspect that if you're not being too demanding on the laptop then you'll easily make it through a day away from a power socket (going for the lower resolution screen option will definitely help here too).

The Razer Blade 13 is good enough to give the Dell XPS 13 some serious competition for premium laptops at this size, and that's saying something – though we think at the moment the Dell still just edges it. Both laptops come with the Intel Evo seal of approval, a certain level of quality and performance in key areas like connectivity and performance that ensure you're getting a top-tier laptop in return for your money.

We've been consistently impressed with the laptops that Razer has put out in the gaming space over recent years, and now there's something for non-gaming power users too – complete with 11th-gen Intel processors, plenty of connectivity options, and welcome extras such as the keyboard backlighting software. If the Razer Book 13 falls somewhere in your budget then it's definitely worth a place on your shortlist as one of the best laptops you can buy right now.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.