Razer Blade Stealth 2017 Review: Gaming Ultrabook
So, quick story behind the Razer Blade Stealth, this device was the first Razer product I ever heard of but I never bought one myself. In fact, every time I went to the Microsoft store to go check it out I always kind of cringed at the display and the bezels. It just never spoke to me. That’s why I was super-excited back in June when Razer contacted me and told me what’s new with this device. I think it’s finally here. It’s not perfect, this is the Razer Blade Stealth I can actually get behind. So, the biggest change here for 2017 is the display. To me, it actually just looks normal now, but that is a 50% bezel reduction, and how Razer achieved that is pretty simple. This device still does have a inch 4k version, which is still available if you want that, I actually do not recommend it.
This version though is inches, so, of course, all they did was put a bigger display panel in there, which then made those bezels a little bit smaller, actually 50% smaller, and, to me, like I said, it just looks like a normal laptop now. These aren’t thin bezels at all by 2017 standards, but they look really nice. Now, this is also a QHD display, so it’s 3,200 by 1,800 resolution. Now, looking at the color calibration, it’s very good, this is 98% SRGB or 77% Adobe. Now, the display is not the brightest in the world, we’re talking about a little bit over 300 nits, it’s fine for gaming indoors, not something you really want to use outdoors, but, then again, not something that you’d really be crazy about anyway.
It is a glossy display, but, on the scale of one to 10 of glossiness I’d say it’s about an 8, it’s not the most glossy display, and I do find this overall just better than the original Razer Blade Stealth. It’s also, of course, a touchscreen, so not something you’re gonna use all the time, you can’t use a pen with it, but, if you like having touch and that ability to do it, it’s actually a very nice touch display. Coming down to the main body itself, of course, this is the black version, so, if you’ve seen Razer Blade Stealths before, this is nothing new. There is also a gunmetal gray version which is really nice, so I will talk about that in a few seconds, but first I’ll talk about the normal features here. You’re talking about a regular size keyboard, which is really nice, it is only one millimeter of travel, which is on the shallow side if you don’t know about keyboard buttons. to millimeter is usually what you aiming for for a laptop.
One millimeter is on the shallow side. Having said that, the actuation on here and the feel of the keys, their response, is very good, and, so, I’m kind of torn on this keyboard. It’s one of those, it’s very shallow, so as you’re typing your fingers are gonna bounce back quickly. But, overall, it’s a really nice experience. Of course, you have really nice back lighting here, you get that chroma back lighting with a whole range of brightness displays, so you can configure that however you want including on power or AC. When it comes to the gunmetal gray version, you don’t get the chroma option, so it’s just gonna be back lit with white keys. So, that’s one of the main difference there. The gunmetal gray version, it can be thought of as for professionals or people who don’t want a flamboyant laptop. It’s gunmetal gray, the logo on the back is not green for the snakes, it’s just black, and you do get just regular keyboard lighting so pretty nice.
Coming now to the track pad, I’m very excited about this, finally Razer is getting a board. They did this with the Razer Blade Pro, now the Razer Blade Stealth, we are talking a precision touch pad. It’s a very good touch pad, it’s very smooth, I love the feel of it. The click is pretty good, too, takes a little bit of effort, but, of course, you can do taps. You do have right and left click, not dedicated buttons, but they are zones, works very well, the precision drivers are excellent on this, I’m so happy to see Razer getting on board with that. And, you can pretty much bet, I’m going to assume, the new Razer Blade, whenever that comes out will also have precision touch drivers, so kudos to Razer for getting on board with that. For audio, you also have top firing speakers, so, this, of course, looks very much like a Mac, it’s been considered a black Mac by many people. I love this design, these speakers are very good, I’m very happy with them.
Not tinny at all, you get some pretty good bass there. I just love top firing speakers. Of course, you can use this for gaming, you’ll probably end up using dedicated headphones anyway, but, still, very good speakers. As I mentioned earlier, here is the Razer logo, it does, of course, glow, you can toggle that in settings, which is always a nice feature. If you get the gunmetal gray version, it will be blended in and a lot more conservative looking. The device is still a fingerprint magnet, so you will probably have to wipe this down a few times, you may want to put a sticker on there as well if you want to protect it. That is silver underneath if you do scratch it, but, overall, pretty solid design. Turn to the side here, you do get HDMI and a USB port. Turn around to the other side, of course, you have a millimeter headphone jack, another USB-A port and there is a USB type C full thunderbolt three specifications with the four PCI lane dedication.
That is going to be for an EGPU, the Razer Core, which I’ll talk about a little bit later on. Really nice port selection here, I love Razer’s ports, I think they do the best balance between everything. Looking at the bottom here, you have, of course, two vents for the fans. One’s intake, one’s exhaust, that is to help cool the Intel Core I7-7500U processor, so, that is, of course, the latest Kaby Lake version, seventh generation. You also get now 16 gigabytes of RAM versus the previous 8 gigabytes, so that should make a lot of people happy.
For an SSD, you do get a PM-961 by Samsung, that is also known as a 960 EVO. Very performant drive, you’re talking about 1,400 megabits per second for read and write speeds. This version here is the one terabyte version, but you can also get it in 512 or 256. Let’s talk a little bit about gaming. So, the Razer Blade Stealth is actually not really a gaming laptop although it looks like one. So, it looks a lot like the Razer Blade, but you were talking on a dual core processor and no dedicated GPU. For gaming, though, you can, of course, use the Razer Core, an external GPU solution. Razer will gladly sell you this unit for $399, and then you, of course, still need to supply your own video card, in this one I happen to have a GTX-1080TI, which is pretty awesome, but that’s about an extra $1,000.
Still, it gives you a full desktop experience and it’s all done through the magic of USB type C and thunderbolt three which is super-impressive. So, you just plug it in to the side of the Razer Blade Stealth, and now you’re going to have a full desktop experience. You plug it in and the Razer Core just kicks in and then will handle all the display output for you. It also charges the Blade Stealth, which is awesome, and you can even handle ethernet and a few more external displays and a USB port, so you get a lot of power through this one unit and this one cable, and I tell you, it’s super-neat and convenient.
So, you may be wondering, what can a dual-core ultra book actually do with a 1080TI? Well, it’s pretty impressive. Playing Gears of War Four at 2560×1440 resolution on full ultra I was able to hit 62 frames per second. That’s pretty impressive. Forza Horizons Three also looked great as well as Call of Duty. So, this is a very expensive solution, but it is super-convenient. I can’t stress that enough. You can have a very clean desktop setup. If you’re the kind of person who wants to game at home but have a professional laptop at work, well, this may be your best choice. Alright, let’s bring it all in. I really like the Razer Blade Stealth, I think they did a fantastic job here answering a lot of my concerns for the previous version. A new display at inches is the sweet spot. I also like that gunmetal gray option in case you want a more conservative laptop. You also get a really good keyboard and a precision touch pad, 16 gigs of RAM and between 256 and one terabyte of performant SSD storage. So far, so good. Battery life is alright, it’s between six and seven hours, it’s not the best in the world, but it is pretty solid.
Don’t forget, you do get USB type C charging there, which is really nice, it’s a tiny charger, and at pounds and kilograms, this isn’t a heavy laptop. I also really just enjoy the build quality. Now, don’t forget, this is not a tablet, so you can’t rotate it around, you can’t use a pen with it. It is a traditional laptop. Some people are fine with that. I’m actually one of those people, but, don’t forget, there are other choices out there including HP Specter X360, but, if you’re going to get an EGPU and you just really like Razer’s aesthetic, I happen to like the Blade Stealth a lot, and give it a recommendation.
So, there’s my review of the Razer Blade Stealth, which is now available. If you want more information about this device, make sure you head to Windows Central for my full review.