Razer Blade Stealth (Mid 2017) Assessment

Earlier this year, we reviewed the previous version of the Razer Blade Stealth and were thrilled. It featured great design, a very portable form factor, and decent internal hardware. But even though we were successful in many ways, the huge frames of the laptop put us off. Without a doubt, many potential buyers agreed and opted instead for a device that offers more screen space while taking up the same amount of space.

Razer acknowledged this criticism, and instead of just waiting for a new generation of Intel processors to release an updated version, the company released an updated Blade Stealth just months later.

You won't see any massive improvements here, but there are enough small changes to bring this laptop closer to perfection. What are these changes?

The first obvious improvement concerns the main problem: the size of the front panel. The new Blade Stealth is now available with a 13.3-inch display instead of 12.5-inch in the same housing. This means slimmer bezels and more screen space – 13 percent more to be precise – without sacrificing anything from a design perspective. The resolution of the entry-level model is also higher and ranges from 2560 x 1440 (234 PPI) to 3200 x 1800 (276 PPI).

The new Razer Blade Stealth with its 13.3-inch QHD + display is currently being sold together with 12.5-inch 4K variants from the previous generation, at least while inventory is still available. However, Razer appears to be phasing out these older, larger bezel models, despite having a higher resolution display, in favor of a single 13.3-inch display option. The expiry of this previous model makes perfect sense, because I can not imagine a reason why you want a slightly higher resolution when the screen is smaller and the frames are larger.

The new Blade Stealth also replaces the decent Synaptics touchpad of previous models with a superior Precision-certified device. This means that the trackpad is fully compatible with Windows 10 gestures and basically supports the best and most accurate tracking experience available on modern Windows computers. The new trackpad reacts very quickly and undoubtedly offers an excellent experience in all facets. The glass finish also feels great.

The other notable change concerns the configuration options available. Razer has selected all models with less than 16 GB of RAM, a Core i7 CPU and a 256 GB SSD. The $ 900 model with a Core i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD and a non-contact display is therefore no longer available.

The new entry-level model comes with a Core i7-7500U, 16 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD and brings you back $ 1,399. Unfortunately, this is a $ 150 price increase over the corresponding previous generation model. 512GB and 1TB storage models cost $ 1,599 and $ 1,999 respectively. The same price as the previous generation top-end 4K models.

Oh, and there's a new red-gray model that swaps not only the matte black finish, but also the acid green Razer logo for a more subtle gray finish with a black logo. I received a black model for review, and after seeing photos, I think I still prefer this variant to gunmetal, although it's nice to have a new color option.

In terms of design, the new Blade Stealth is essentially identical to its predecessor, except for slimmer bezels. You get the same outstanding machined aluminum unibody that looks high quality and is both slim and light. If you love previous Razer builds, love the MacBook Pro laptop, then you will love the Blade Stealth.

The keyboard is the same too, with great tactile feedback and customizable RGB lighting. Typing is a breeze. I / O ports? The same applies to Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0 and a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the left side as well as a full-size HDMI 2.0a port and another USB 3.0 port on the right side.

Let's go back and talk a little bit more about the new Blade Stealth display: a 13.3-inch IGZO LCD with a resolution of 3200 x 1800. The smaller frames have a significant impact on the aesthetics of the laptop. You won't get a Dell XPS-like frame without a frame, but I think the Razer screen to frame ratio used here is now completely acceptable.

Viewing the display performance on the Blade Stealth was difficult because Razer appears to have implemented a dynamic contrast and brightness feature that cannot be disabled. For this reason, I do not give exact figures for the performance of the display, since the performance varies considerably depending on the number of dark colors on the screen. In addition, the Blade Stealth is largely unsuitable for color-accurate work.

However, I will say that the brightness is very good and peaks above 400 nits when only white is displayed. The contrast, which is best determined under static conditions, roughly corresponds to the contrast of the previous Blade Stealth of 1100: 1. The color temperature is also good and drops by an average of 6700K, although gamma due to dynamic contrast and dynamic changes in the grayscale dE2000 – Performance is significantly affected.

As far as the colors are concerned, the IGZO panel, the glossy surface and the small distance between the glass and the display lead to fantastic viewing angles and colors that burst. The dynamic contrast function does not affect the general appearance of the display for occasional use. The color results appear to fall within an average dE2000 range of 3.0 to 5.0, which would not be suitable for color-accurate work, even if the dynamic contrast function could be deactivated. The display also covers 97.6% of the sRGB spectrum.

Compared to the previous Blade Stealth with its 1440p display, the color performance of the updated model is about the same, so that the enlarged display size or resolution has no impact. In fact, the brightness of this new display is better, which is helpful when using the laptop outdoors.

Oh, and the display is also a touchscreen, which I don't use a lot on a laptop, although it's a nice feature when touch inputs are occasionally better than a mouse and keyboard.

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