It is surprising that Razer is not popular with casual laptop buyers. While the company is best known for its gaming peripherals and hardware, Razer has been launching highly polished laptops on the market for several years. Sure, Blade and Blade Pro are powerful systems designed for portable games rather than everyday work, but Razer has a laptop that competes strongly with ultraportables from Dell, HP, Apple, Lenovo, and Asus.
The Blade Stealth is the smallest and most elegant notebook in Razer's product range. It has a 12.5-inch display and powerful but efficient hardware. You won't find a dedicated GPU in this computer, but you'll get the latest Intel U-series core processors and other high-end components typically found in other ultraportables of this size.
Combined with an elegant, well-designed housing, the Blade Stealth is a laptop that should be on your radar.
The first generation of Blade Stealth was presented at CES 2016 as a unique gaming laptop / ultrabook hybrid. The idea was that players could carry this portable laptop around with them and then plug it into the Razer Core – a Thunderbolt 3 graphics card case – to turn it into a slot machine at home. It was a clever idea, but the core didn't do as well as Razer would have liked, mainly because of its high price.
With the new Blade Stealth, Razer focuses more on the strengths of the device as an ultra-portable laptop for a wide range of consumers, not just gamers on the go, and calls it "the ultimate ultrabook". The design is largely the same as the previous model, but with a practical internal upgrade of the Intel Kaby Lake processors and a larger battery.
For the most part, the exterior of the Blade Stealth did not require an update. Razer has mastered the design of beautiful black metal outdoor spaces. Your laptops are among the most attractive and best built on the market. The Blade Stealth is heavily inspired by MacBook Pros and is characterized by a simple, but noble and high-quality design that looks and feels like an expensive piece of hardware. Spending more than $ 1,000 on a product is the kind of experience you expect.
Razer uses aircraft grade aluminum for almost all of the Blade Stealth's CNC machined chassis. This creates a nice, uniform look around the base and lid of this laptop, and the (mostly) one-piece construction contributes to its seamless look. The only parts of this laptop that are not made of metal are the glass display, the rubber feet and the keyboard keys made of plastic.
Usually Razer products offer a good balance between player elements and a more stealthy design. The Blade Stealth falls into the latter category because the completely matte black finish of this laptop is appealingly reserved. The only highlights are the striking illuminated acid green logo on the lid and the green inserts on the USB ports. This color combination looks great, especially since most laptops these days choose one of many silver tones.
The disadvantage of a completely black laptop is that it quickly becomes a fingerprint magnet. The lid, the keyboard bezel and in particular the touchscreen made of glossy glass quickly collect visible finger grease that has to be cleaned constantly. The glass is relatively easy to keep in pristine condition, but the metal parts are harder to maintain. Someone frustrated with a dirty laptop won't enjoy the Blade Stealth's sleek finish.
Although Razer has not tried to break portability records like the HP Specter or Asus ZenBook 3, the company has nevertheless developed a very slim and light laptop. The Blade Stealth weighs 1.29 kg and is 13.1 mm thick and slimmer than the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 13. It has a battery comparable to the MacBook Pro and a slightly smaller cell than the XPS 13 .
The Blade Stealth offers a basic selection of connectors. On the left is a Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C port for charging, connecting to the Razer Core and for use as a general Thunderbolt port, as well as a USB 3.0 Type-A port and a 3.5mm -Audio jack. On the right is another USB 3.0 port and, surprisingly, a full-size HDMI 2.0a port that allows the Blade Stealth to be easily connected to external displays. I might have wanted an SD card slot and an additional USB port, but in general, this port selection is sufficient.
This laptop turns on via a centered power switch above the keyboard, while speakers flank the keyboard on both sides. Many laptops these days are equipped with either side or floor speakers. That's why I appreciate Razer's work of integrating these speakers so that they actually point to your ears as you work. Like most laptops, these speakers don't have a long range, but are acceptable and produce good volume.
The cooling solution of the Blade Stealth is simple. It consists of two small vents on the bottom of the laptop and a row of vents near the hinge assembly. There is only one fan on the right side, which sucks in air from below and releases the hinge. This fan is mostly off and therefore quiet during regular use, although it becomes a quiet whine when the workload is high. Though the fan isn't used too often, the Blade Stealth's metal case doesn't feel hot, indicating that the passive cooling system in this laptop is well designed.
The only major complaint I have with the Blade Stealth is the huge bezels surrounding the 12.5-inch display. This ultraportable is clearly a 13-inch case, but the display looks small and is dominated by solid black bars on each side. A 13.3-inch display and possibly even a 14-inch display would easily fit in the space allocated to the current 12.5-inch panel, and this is a change that Razer will hopefully make in future models becomes. Smaller bezels look better and offer a better experience.