Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) assessment: Distinctive gaming energy in an ultraportable chassis
Gaming laptops are evolving, from hulking RGB-coated behemoths to glossy and classy esports machines – the Razer Blade Stealth 13 being a first-rate instance. This yr’s replace is as moveable as its predecessors, nevertheless it’s the corporate’s first sub-1.5kg laptop computer to function Nvidia GTX graphics, taking gaming efficiency to a complete new stage. Has the producer created the last word ultraportable gaming machine?
READ NEXT: One of the best gaming laptops of the yr
Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) assessment: What you have to know
Now in its third technology, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) is a slim and light-weight – but high-powered – laptop computer aimed toward gaming fanatics and content material creators. It’s a smaller, extra inexpensive sibling to the Razer Blade 15 (2019), though it’s nonetheless removed from low cost.
As with final yr’s Stealth lineup, Razer affords the brand new mannequin in three configurations. I examined the top-spec GTX 4K Graphics Mannequin, which is constructed on a 10th-generation Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. Because the identify implies, it additionally incorporates a 4K (three,840 x 2,160) IPS touchscreen, and it’s all backed up by 16GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD.
Then there’s the GTX FHD mannequin, which is identical aside from its decrease show decision and diminished weight. Lastly, the FHD Mercury White forgoes the discrete graphics and has a smaller 256GB SSD.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) assessment: Worth and competitors
Pricing particulars for the brand new Stealth 13 have been revealed nevertheless it’s really not on sale within the UK simply but. The GTX 4K mannequin will set you again £2,000, which is £200 greater than the 4K Graphics mannequin from final yr. The GTX FHD mannequin is a contact cheaper at £1,800, whereas the Mercury White version will value £1,500.
Proper now there is no direct competitors for the Blade Stealth 13 (2019) because it’s the primary laptop computer we’ve seen with a 10th-gen Intel Core i7, and in addition the primary ultraportable to return with GTX graphics. There are a number of different high-end 13in laptops value contemplating, nonetheless. The Dell XPS 13 (2019) we reviewed prices £1,400 from the Dell web site; whereas it has no discrete GPU, its Core i7-8565U performs fantastically properly. There’s additionally the 13in Huawei MateBook X Professional (2019), which will be discovered for round £1,800 – though Huawei’s nonetheless in murky waters with the US proper now, which could put you off.
For those who’re prepared to spend £1,800 on a laptop computer, you could possibly additionally take into account the newest 13in Apple MacBook Professional? Base-spec fashions go for £1,299. For those who’re ready to go (a lot) greater, you could possibly even decide up a £three,599 unit just like the one we reviewed final yr. Or if Home windows is a should and cash’s no object, the £2,880 Razer Blade 15 (2019) is without doubt one of the most interesting gaming laptops on Earth, due to its RTX 2080 GPU and 240Hz show.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) assessment: Design
This yr’s 13in Stealth seems to be a lot the identical because the 2018 version, and that’s no unhealthy factor. Its glossy aluminium chassis measures simply 304.6 x 210 x 15.3mm – virtually equivalent to the 2018 Stealth’s dimensions, regardless of the addition of cellular GTX graphics. At 1.47kg it’s barely heavier than the 1.31kg FHD mannequin, however the weight achieve doesn’t make a noticeable distinction. Razer has as soon as once more gone for a discreet matte black anodised end, and the dark-toned tri-snake emblem (versus the same old glowing inexperienced) is again too. It’s about as refined and classy as a gaming laptop computer will be.
Raise the lid and the sense of high quality continues. The hinge affords little resistance however nonetheless feels clean and secure, whereas the bezels surrounding the 4K panel are simply as remarkably slim as they had been final yr. Up high and centre sit Stealth 13’s infrared Home windows Hiya sensor and a webcam, which captures good 720p footage at 30fps and copes properly with excessively vibrant or low lighting.
To both aspect of the keyboard sit the Stealth 13’s quad audio system, which use “Good Amp” expertise to (supposedly) hold every part sounding crisp and clear even at excessive volumes. Personally I’m not amazed by the audio high quality: the audio system are tremendous for watching YouTube however they don’t get loud sufficient for my liking, they usually’re missing in bass, which is hardly shocking contemplating how little area they’re crammed into. For a correctly immersive gaming expertise, you’ll need to spend money on a great gaming headset.
Connectivity choices are unchanged from final yr: on the right-hand edge you’ll discover a USB Kind-A three.1 port and a USB Kind-C three.1 slot that doubles as an influence port. The left holds one other USB Kind-A three.1 port, a USB Kind-C Thunderbolt three port and a three.5mm combo audio jack. It’s not a tremendous array, nevertheless it’s sufficient to hook as much as an exterior monitor and some peripherals whereas charging. Be aware although that, whereas Steam’s VR Efficiency Check confirms the laptop computer as VR-capable, you’ll want an exterior dock with further ports so as to plug in a headset such because the Oculus Rift S or HTC Vive Professional.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) assessment: Keyboard and touchpad
It’s a yr since I final typed on a Razer Blade Stealth, however I can say with confidence that the distinctive typing expertise, with its compact format and minimal key journey, is way the identical. It’s tremendous, however it may be onerous to regulate to for those who’re used to full-sized layouts with NumPads and loads of area between keys. On the plus aspect, the keyboard plate is reassuringly sturdy, and barely depresses in any respect whenever you push on it.
And one improve since final yr is the addition of the Razer Chroma software program, which helps you to modify keyboard lighting results and sync your settings with different Razer gadgets.
As earlier than, the spotlight is the diving-board fashion touchpad. Razer actually makes optimum use of the area right here: few 13in laptops have a trackpad of such beneficiant proportions, and it’s not simply massive however superbly clean and responsive. The built-in left and proper clickers work completely too.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) assessment: Show
In contrast with the matte, non-touch show of final yr’s FHD Stealth 13, the 2019 4K mannequin has a extremely reflective touchscreen, completed in shiny Gorilla Glass. Personally I believe this can be a misstep: the sunshine reflections are distracting when gaming or watching films, and I don’t suppose a touchscreen is required for a gaming pocket book like this. If I owned one I undoubtedly wouldn’t be rubbing my grubby fingers throughout it.
As for color efficiency, the 13.3in, 60Hz, three,840 x 2,160 panel covers 89% of the sRGB gamut, with a quantity of 97.6% inside that vary. That’s respectable protection, and color accuracy isn’t unhealthy both at a mean Delta E of two.06. That’s nonetheless markedly much less correct than the 2018 FHD mannequin’s glorious rating of 1.15, which is nice sufficient for skilled content material creators.
The distinction ratio in the meantime stays at 1,365:1 – extraordinarily near the final Stealth 13 I reviewed, and about customary for premium notebooks. Darks and lights have loads of separation, so you possibly can play shadow-dense video games and nonetheless see what’s happening with ease. Luminance peaks at 354.cd/m2, which is significantly decrease than on the FHD mannequin I examined in 2018 however nonetheless loads vibrant sufficient to be used in any atmosphere wanting direct daylight.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) assessment: Efficiency and battery life
Earlier than we begin exploring the Stealth 13’s benchmark scores, we have to speak about efficiency settings. Razer’s Synapse software program permits customers to alter efficiency modes with a single click on, with out there tweaks together with handbook alteration of the fan pace and a high-powered mode that somewhat vaguely guarantees to “enhance graphics energy”. I spent a while attempting out completely different settings to get the perfect benchmark outcomes.
Sadly, it seems that tinkering with these impressive-sounding choices is a waste of time. At size, I found that the way in which to get the optimum scores from this Blade Stealth 13 mannequin is to set the fan pace to “Auto” and the efficiency mode to “Balanced”, whereas setting the Home windows energy mode to “Finest efficiency”.
Even at its finest, the brand new Razer Blade Stealth didn’t match the efficiency of its predecessor in our in-house benchmark, which supplies a measure of CPU pace, multitasking talents and thermal administration effectivity. Which may appear shocking, contemplating the newer mannequin is powered by a cutting-edge 10th-gen Core i7 CPU whereas final yr’s ran on an Eighth-gen mannequin. It is smart although, because the newer i7-1065G7 processor has a a lot decrease base frequency than the i7-8650U, in addition to a decrease turbo clock pace.
The benefit of the brand new chip is that it’s manufactured on a 10nm course of versus 14nm, and this helps it keep cooler: throughout our assessments, no core exceeded 82°C, whereas the 2018 mannequin hit highs of 91°C. And whereas the brand new mannequin might not be fairly as nippy as final time, 101 continues to be an excellent rating that’s proper up there with the speediest 13in laptops.
At first look, gaming efficiency seems to be a step behind the 2018 mannequin too: within the on-screen GFXBench Automotive Chase check, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) solely managed a mean body fee of 30.7fps, round half that achieved by the 2018 mannequin. Don’t neglect although that this unit has a 4K show, whereas final yr’s was solely FHD: when you think about that it’s drawing 4 occasions as many pixels, it’s really a formidable outcome. That’s borne out by the off-screen outcomes, which give a correct indication of the uncooked gaming energy of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU.
The 2019 mannequin’s gaming superiority once more shines by way of in additional demanding gaming assessments, such because the Metro: Final Mild 1080p benchmark. At excessive element settings it achieved a mean of 85.5fps versus final yr’s 39 – though for the reason that show has a most refresh fee of 60Hz, you received’t see any profit past 60fps.
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) does have its limits, after all. Within the extremely demanding Hitman 2 1080p Mumbai benchmark it managed simply 15fps at excessive element settings, and the sport engine’s shadowing and texturing results brought on horrendous flickering on the show. Nevertheless, taking the element settings all the way down to medium gave us a really playable 46.4fps at 1080p, and the sport nonetheless appeared improbable.
The 512GB PCIe SSD contained in the Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) is fairly speedy, clocking sequential file learn speeds of two,571MB/s and write speeds of 1,821MB/s. These aren’t groundbreaking ThinkPad-level speeds, however they’re faster than common and can help you save massive recordsdata and boot up purposes very quickly.
Imagine it or not, regardless of its fairly completely different internals and display, the battery lifetime of the Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) is all however equivalent to the 2018 version, holding out for 4hrs 39minutes in our video playback battery rundown assessments. Clearly there are laptops on the market that final so much longer, however with its 4K show and GTX graphics, this was by no means going to be an all-day machine. I am simply blissful that the upgraded hasn’t made its longevity any worse.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) assessment: Verdict
For those who’re principally into the aesthetics of the Razer Blade Stealth 13, and never so fussed about gaming efficiency, it is likely to be sensible to skip this newest iteration and purchase a 2018 mannequin as an alternative. As I write, final yr’s is on sale at as much as £270 off at Razer’s webstore, with base-spec fashions going for simply £1,030. The older designs are each bit as trendy because the 2019 fashions, and, as we’ve seen above, the 2018 FHD configuration really has a slight edge on the subject of CPU efficiency and multi-tasking, making it a tempting deal on the present value of £1,230.
On the identical time, there’s no denying that the Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2019) is an distinctive gaming laptop computer. For those who’re looking for unadulterated gaming prowess in a extremely moveable type then there’s merely nothing on the market to compete with it. My solely caveat is that I’d nudge players away from the 4K mannequin and in the direction of the cheaper FHD GTX configuration, which has a show higher fitted to gaming as a result of its decrease decision and non-reflective end.