Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook Laptop REVIEW
I was taught to love games of all kinds from a young age, but it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I really found something I love — playing games with friends. We sort of majored in tabletop gaming and I fell in love with games like Hero Quest and Arkham Asylum and couldn’t wait for the weekends when we would play. Our core group of friends loved games of all kinds but the guys really got into online gaming and loved to set up LAN parties. At the time, I only had a MacBook and even though Steam was available, it was hard to find games that would be both enjoyable and compatible with both my Mac and all their PCs. It was a very rare occurrence that the two conditions were actually met. Because of those experiences, I have really taken an interest in gaming laptops — PCs in particular.
This Razer Blade Stealth laptop is really a beautiful machine. I was immediately struck with the immaculate design when I removed it from its box. In fact, the box itself was a work of art. When you open the outside brown cardboard box, you will see the black Razer-branded box of the laptop. There is a second smaller box that contains the power cable that completes the package. When you open the black box that is the home for the laptop, you will also find the packet of information that includes a sticker, a soft cloth for cleaning, and the user manual. Upon opening the laptop, I was greeted by the familiar Windows 10 interface.
As is important with any computer system, the Razer Blade Stealth has some very impressive specs under its hood. First of all, the laptop is available in either black or gun-metal. I had the black finish and it was very slick-looking. Second, the battery life is quite impressive. Razer claims that the machine will last up to 10 hours on a single charge. You can add the Razer Power Bank for an additional 5 hours of use time on the laptop. The Razer Blade Stealth is equipped with a 13.3″ QHD+ Touchscreen with a resolution of 3200 x 1800. The screen is quite responsive to tactile taps and it’s compatible with styluses as well. Here is a more in-depth look at what’s inside:
- Processor: Quad-core 8th Gen Intel Core i7–8550U (up to 4.0 GHz)
- Memory: 16GB dual-channel
- Graphics Card: Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
- Keyboard: Razer Chroma (on black models of laptop — white backlighting, anti-ghosting in gun-metal models) features 16.8 million colors, individually backlit keys, fully customizable lighting effects
- OS: Windows 10
- Input/Output: Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), USB 3.0 port x 2 (SuperSpeed), HDMI 2.0a audio and video output
- Camera: 720P web camera
- Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone/microphone port, Array microphone, Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater Edition, 7.1 Codec support (via HDMI)
- Power: 65W USB-C power adapter
BASIC COMPUTING TASKS
Even though Razer is known for its gaming prowess with computers, I can’t ignore that most people want a machine that can serve many purposes. After all, when you make an investment like this, you want it to work well on many levels. Because of its compact size, I could see the Razer Blade Stealth (RBS) being used as a daily commuter especially for college students. With that in mind, I decided to use the RBS to type and just walk through some basic computing tasks. As a writer, I probably compose 2–3 articles per day each having 1,300 words or more on average. That’s a lot of typing for one person in a day. Even so, it’s enough for me to be able to definitively make comments on the feel of the keyboard.
The RBS keyboard is a Razer Chroma keyboard (on the black model of the laptop). That means it’s a full RGB, programmable keyboard. The keys are built on a membrane keyboard and not mechanical. My regular personal computer is a 2016 MacBook Pro which features butterfly switches under its keyboard. Even though they technically aren’t considered ‘mechanical’ they have a more mechanical feel than a membrane keyboard. As a result, I found myself tapping quite a bit harder on the Razer’s keyboard and that meant that I was spending more time with traveling around the keys than I did on my MBP. To test the theory, I looked up a basic typing test to find out how many words I was typing per minute on each computer. As it turns out, I was quite a bit faster on the MacBook Pro than when I was on the Razer Blade Stealth — 65WPM versus 51WPM. You can see the results of the typing test below. The first screenshot shows the Razer Blade Stealth and the one below that shows the MacBook Pro results.
CPU/GPU & OVERALL PERFORMANCE
I was impressed with the overall speed at which the laptop ran. It was very responsive and it was able to handle any task I threw at it. To measure the performance of the CPU and GPU, I used two different benchmarking tools — Geekbench 4 and NovaBench.
Geekbench 4 Results
The Razer Blade Stealth ended up with a single-core score of 4151 and multi-core score of 13919. It also returned an OpenCL score of 22298. According to the current results on Geekbench, here are the top 5 machines and where the Razer Blade Stealth ranks in conjunction with them. I did limit the results to only include computers with the Intel Core i7–8550U running Windows 64-bit with 4 cores.
Single-Core Score Multi-Core Score LENOVO 81C3 5093 12035 SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. 940X5N 5088 14372 HP HP Pavilion Laptop 15-cc1xx 5075 14314 Timi TM1701 5066 16068 SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD. 900X3T/900X3U 5061 15242 Razer Blade Stealth 4151 13919
The average score for an Intel Core i7–8550U (1.8GHz, 4 cores) was 4197/12941. Even though other computers with similar processors had a higher ranking than the RBS, it was still inline/slightly above the average score for the processor.
The next test from Geekbench was specifically looking at the GPU performance — OpenCL. The Razer Blade Stealth has an Intel(R) UHD Graphics 620 built-in graphics processor. The average ranking for this graphics processor is 19844. The Razer Blade Stealth’s score of 22298 was well above the average.
Novabench does a similar type of testing on your system but provides you with a different set of scores and analysis than Geekbench. I don’t know that one type of testing is better than the other — they are just different. The nice thing about this system of testing is that it gives you a Percentile Ranking of where your system ranks within other computers in the Novabench database. The percentile is the percentage of results in our database, for the exact same part (CPU/GPU) or configuration, that have scored lower. The overall score of the Razer Blade Stealth with Novabench was 1432 and ranks in the 42nd percentile for CPU score and 34th percentile in GPU score. The full results can be seen in the screenshots included below.
According to the specs, the battery should provide enough power for a 10-hour day. Because this is an important factor to me (and others who work in remote locations), I decided to run the Razer Blade Stealth through some battery endurance testing. The day I was running the benchmarking tests, I captured battery percentages at different times during the day. I have noted them in the chart below. To see how battery life would suffer from different types of use, I tried a few different options while checking the battery percentages.
Battery Percentage Conditions of Testing 8:00 a.m. 100% Began benchmarking tests 8:48 a.m. 89% 9:14 a.m. 83% Started a video loop on YouTube 9:34 a.m. 78% 10:38 a.m. 62% Turned up the brightness to 100% 11:50 a.m. 44% Video loop was playing for 2h 30m 12:26 p.m. 34% Stopped video loop at 3h 3m, Put laptop to sleep 1:46 p.m. 32%
By my calculations, if you are a heavy video user, the Razer Blade Stealth will only last around 6.5 hours on a full charge — it was around the same percentage even with the brightness turned up to 100%. With regular computing tasks, I estimate the battery might last up to 8.3 hours. I think that if you are using the laptop moderately with periods of rest throughout a 10-hour day, the battery may last that long.
Hard Drive Speed
One of the final tests I wanted to complete was on the speed of the hard drive. The black model of the RBS comes with a 1TB PCIe SSD. The gun-metal model also has 512GB and 256GB hard drive options. Depending on the brand of the hard drive, you can expect to get up to sequential read/write speeds up to 3500MB/s and 2100MB/s. I used CrystalDiskMark to test out the hard drive speed of the Razer Blade Stealth. The test results are listed below. Overall, I was impressed with the results. While the sequential read/write speeds weren’t quite up to spec, I thought it was still within an acceptable range.
During my time with the Razer Blade Stealth, I did enjoy a few games. One was Dead Maze, a multiplayer zombie game (2D MMO) where you move your character through expansive maps, collecting items that might help you along the way. You do end up fighting off zombies and making friends with other players and characters along the way. While it’s not what I would consider a ‘graphics heavy’ game, I did feel that the game played very smoothly. My little female heroine moved to and fro with no effort. I didn’t experience any lag or issues with the game underperforming due to the computer. The other game I concentrated on was a city builder game and while I wasn’t as enthused about that game as I was Dead Maze, I did note that it did not seem to be impaired by the Razer Blade Stealth. I didn’t try any FPS games, but I feel that maybe they would run quite as well as the 2D MMO did.
The Razer Blade Stealth is a fabulous multipurpose laptop. Even though it’s built by a gaming company, I don’t think it’s really fair to class it with other gaming laptops based off of the test results I compiled. After a bit of research, it appears that one of the main reasons for the Razer Blade Stealth is to be paired with the Razer Core, an external graphics enclosure. The Razer Core is designed to transform a laptop into a full-sized gaming machine. It’s Thunderbolt 3 compatible and VR ready. Here is how the product’s description reads on the website:
The Razer Core V2 Thunderbolt 3 external desktop graphics enclosure enables the full transformation of your compatible laptop into a VR-Ready desktop-class gaming or workstation setup. The new Razer Core V2 features an all-new internal design with improved headroom for larger graphics cards. The world’s first dual Thunderbolt 3 design provides dedicated lanes for both graphics and I/O ensuring fluid gameplay. Connect to the future with the most advanced and versatile eGPU solution available.
So if you are looking for a powerhouse, standalone laptop for gaming, the Razer Blade Stealth is not what you are looking for. But if you want a solid all-around laptop that can be used for occasional gaming, the RBS is perfect.
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Originally published at macsources.com on February 22, 2018.