The Razer Blade Stealth Review: Razer Takes On The Ultrabookby Brett Howse on March 29, 2016 8:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Razer Blade Stealth
- Razer Core
Razer has traditionally been a company focused on gaming. In fact, their tagline is “For Gamers. By Gamers.” So when Razer announced at CES that they were building an Ultrabook – a product category whose size and power limitations are typically the antithesis of gaming – it was a bit surprising. Razer decided it was time to branch out into more of the mainstream of PC hardware, but of course with the Razer twists they are known for. The Razer Blade Stealth is not your typical Ultrabook, and one of the biggest twists of all is that it can be docked to a desktop GPU to actually enable gaming.
The Razer Blade Stealth is a stand-alone product, so we can’t assume everyone that buys it will purchase the first Thunderbolt 3 external graphics dock which Razer developed for it, but the Razer Core is certainly an interesting addition to the notebook. We’ll take a closer look at that in the future, but for now the Razer Blade Stealth must be a capable device on its own merits.
When you talk about value, it doesn’t mean low cost. The Razer Blade Stealth is not an inexpensive notebook, but when you look at what kind of technology is inside, the value proposition starts to have some merit. Razer, has traditionally offered the high quality Razer Blade 14, but it was never as inexpensive as the competition. With the Razer Blade Stealth, as well as the new pricing on the Razer Blade 14, the company appears to want to reach a much wider audience.
The 12.5-inch Razer Blade Stealth (which for the sake of brevity I'll refer to as simply the Stealth) starts at $999, which makes it one of the most inexpensive Ultrabooks available with a Core i7 processor. There are not different models with Core i3/i5/i7, but instead every Stealth ships with a Core i7-6500U. The Dell XPS 13, as an example, only offers the i7 on the most expensive models, which are over $600 more expensive. Instead of processor based models, Razer is segmenting their models by offering two different displays: a base offering with a sRGB QHD 2560x1440 panel, and a higher-end model with an Adobe RGB UHD 3840x2160 panel. There are also three storage offerings, with 128 GB and 256 GB available on the QHD model, and 256 GB and 512 GB on the UHD version. All storage is provided by Samsung’s PM951, which is a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe drive with TLC NAND.
|Razer Blade Stealth|
|QHD||UHD (As Tested)|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-6500U
Dual-Core with Hyperthreading
2.5-3.1 GHz, 4MB Cache, 15W TDP
|GPU||Intel HD 520
300-1050MHz, 24 Eus
|Memory||8GB LPDDR3-1866 Dual-channel|
2560x1440 sRGB with touch
3840x2160 Adobe RGB with touch
|Storage||128-256GB PCIe NVMe
|256-512GB PCIe NVMe
|I/O||USB 3.1 Type-C x 1 with Thunderbolt 3
USB 3.0 Type-A x 2
|Dimensions||321 x 206 x 13.1 mm
12.6 x 8.1 x 0.52 inches
|Weight||1.25 kg / 2.75 lbs|
|Battery||45 Wh, 45 W AC Adapter (USB-C)|
|Keyboard||Chroma anti-ghosting keyboard with individually backlit keys|
|Wireless||Killer 1535 802.11ac
2x2:2 with Bluetooth 4.1
Looking at the rest of the product, we can see that Razer has decided to move to Killer’s networking solution, which fits in more with their gaming aspect, but the latest Killer products have been reliable in my experience too, so I think this is not a bad move. Razer offers a single Thunderbolt 3 port over USB-C, which doubles as the charging port for the laptop. When docked to the Razer Core, this is a single cable docking solution which does the external graphics and I/O as well as laptop charging. In addition, there are two USB 3.0 ports on the laptop, along with an HDMI port, but there is no SD card reader.
The 8 GB of memory is really the minimum that would be acceptable in a 2016 Ultrabook, and there’s no option for more memory which is unfortunate. But other than that, Razer offers quite a bit of notebook for the $999 starting price. Though personally I suspect that $1199 is going to be the sweet spot, as it offers 256 GB of storage and the QHD display.
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foxalopex - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - linkI think the only difference I would like to see in this Ultrabook is a more powerful CPU / Intel GPU built in complement making it a slightly higher end mobile laptop. The external add on GPU would then make it perfect for home gaming uses. I suspect I'll have to wait for the next generation of units to see if this happens.
vanilla_gorilla - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - linkI would never buy it based on the logo alone, but I'm an adult. As long as they know they're ceding that market segment, then I wish them the best of luck.
T1beriu - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - linkTypo: " Even switching out displays for the lower-resolution sRGB UHD [QHD?] panel can't fully close the gap."
Ryan Smith - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - linkYep, right you are. Thanks.
nerd1 - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - linkReturned mine as it barely lasted 4 hours with active usage (web browsing with chrome)
And screen is too small due to huge bezel, whole laptop is fingerprint magnet due to the finish. Avoid this.
will1956 - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - linkto be fair Chrome is great but it is a resource hog
nagi603 - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - linkto be fair I could get 4 hours of browsing out of a 2004 laptop. This laptop has the price of a high-end ultrabook, but not the actual features that would want you to buy an ultrabook.
mrvco - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - linkRazer Core is the only thing that makes this laptop interesting in any sort of practical sense. I gave up on gaming laptops a long time ago and left gaming to my desktop Windows machine. If you use Windows for both work and play, then I could see the Blade Stealth w/ Core as a replacement for a separate laptop and desktop gaming PC... that is assuming you're ok with limited gaming performance when away from the desk... oh, and the combined price in the neighborhood of $2,500 once you throw in a $300'ish video card.
danjw - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - linkAre you expecting to have a review of the new Razer Blade 14? To me that seemed the much more compelling product.
zeeBomb - Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - linkY u surprise me like that