The Razer Blade Stealth 13 tries to combine the portability of an ultrabook with the graphical oomph of a gaming laptop – two ends of the spectrum that are completely opposite to each other in terms of size and performance, so it's an interesting goal.
Razer succeeds too, up to a point – obviously you can't fit a heavy duty graphics system inside a lightweight laptop, but the Blade Stealth 13 seems to find a good balance of compromises and trade-offs to bring you something that's well placed in the middle.
It's important to note that we're testing the 4K touchscreen version of the laptop here, which is the one that's focused more on creativity than gaming. It's probably best to think of it as a very stylish laptop for professionals, with a bit of gaming available on the side.
If gaming is more of a priority, you probably want the Full HD 120Hz panel rather than the 4K 60Hz one we're reviewing here, but a lot of the other specifications are the same. In this Razer Blade Stealth 13 we'll tell you exactly what you can expect from the laptop.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 review: screen and design
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is a wonderfully constructed slab of a laptop, which despite a few gaming design touches – including RGB backlighting on the keys – can easily do double duty as a business laptop. The computer is finished in aluminium, which together with the black colouring gives the device a very premium, upmarket feel. Razer has a long history of well-designed portable computers, and that continues here.
The laptop is available with a number of screen configurations: the 4K, 60Hz touchscreen option on our review unit is going to appeal to creatives, while the Full HD panels you can also get on the Razer Blade Stealth 13 will be a better fit for gamers. In all cases you have a 13.3-inch display with pleasingly thin bezels around the side, and we had absolutely no complaints with the crispness, brightness or responsiveness of the screen.
That the screen has 100 percent DCI-P3 compatible colour support is another reason to choose the Razer Blade Stealth 13 for any kind of image or video work. The 4K resolution means that there are plenty of pixels to work with (Windows will automatically rescale the interface so you can actually see everything clearly), and you can of course hook up a second display if you need to.
As usual with Razer, you can go to town in terms of the lighting on the keyboard and any compatible accessories. In terms of ports, you're looking at two USB-A ports and two USB-C ports (one of which does double duty as a Thunderbolt 3 port). There's also a 3.5mm audio port that can take either a microphone or a set of headphones. All in all, it's a very impressive package.
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Razer Blade Stealth 13 review: performance and features
Several configurations of the Razer Blade Stealth 13 are available, but our review unit came with a 10th-gen Intel Core i7 1065G7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD drive for storage. Graphics power is provided by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti. That's a competent if not class-leading set of specs, reflecting the laptop's positioning as a computer suitable for a bit of gaming and a bit of everything else.
Everyday performance is impressive, and we were unable to trip up the laptop with any heavy duty image editing or dozens of browser tabs. As with everything else about this laptop, the keyboard and the trackpad have a luxury feel to them, and it's perfect if you prefer your typing experience to be on the softer, quieter side. We were also impressed by the audio coming out of the stereo speakers (with Dolby Atmos support included).
Despite the dedicated GPU, you won't get a huge amount of gaming grunt from the laptop, as a relatively low 3DMark Time Spy score of 2913 showed. We did get a solid 50-60 frames per second in Grand Theft Auto V though, on pretty decent graphics settings, which is very respectable. The laptop does get rather hot when gaming, but it stays quite quiet, and if you opt for the 4K display make sure you scale down games to 1080p for best results.
Battery life isn't particularly brilliant – we were typically only getting three or four hours between charges. That's a bit on the disappointing side but to be fair it's also par for the course for gaming laptops. If you tweak the display brightness and battery saver settings you might be able to eke a bit more time from the battery, or just make sure it's plugged in all the time. This is not a laptop you can rely on to last all day away from the office or the home (or the home office).
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Razer Blade Stealth 13 review: price and verdict
You don't often get gaming performance chops in a 13-inch laptop, so if you're looking for something that's compact and capable of running the top titles out there, this is instantly one of your best options – and indeed one of your only options. To a large extent, Razer achieves its aims with the Blade Stealth 13, and we like the idea of a laptop that's capable of handling creative tasks as well as gaming. It's well designed, it's got enough power for a lot of people, and it's got a gorgeous 4K screen as well.
The fact that you can find better components in other laptops might put some people off buying the Razer Blade Stealth 13, and its rather steep price is another reason for looking around at alternatives. Battery life isn't very good, but then you pretty much have to accept that if you're looking for a gaming laptop. It really depends what's most important to you and how much you've got to spend.
Thinking particularly about our 4K touchscreen model, it's very much something for creatives and power users who need a laptop that won't collapse in a daze when you try and run games on it. It's not world-beating in terms of resolutions and frame rates when it comes to running the most demanding video games out there, but it will run them, and run them smoothly – something you can't say about the MacBook Pro or the Surface Pro.
We really enjoyed our time with the Razer Blade Stealth 13 – the look and feel of the laptop, the power inside, the quality of the screen. Heat and battery life are a bit of a problem, but acceptable trade-offs. While you can find lighter ultraportables, and more powerful gaming machines, this could be the perfect compromise for some users.
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