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Razer Blade Stealth 2019: The Cost of Commitment

Razer Blade Stealth (2019):

The latest Razer Blade Stealth has a new design, more power and some much needed improvements. Those changes have the potential to make the company’s least interesting laptop the most versatile. The Blade Stealth is the smallest, lightest and least expensive laptop from Razer, starting at $ 1,399.

It occupies the same space as thin and light computers, such as Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro and Dell’s XPS 13. Like other Razer laptops, it leads the way with specifications: it has a fast processor, a new option for a discrete graphics card and up to 16GB of RAM.

In addition to the specifications updates, the Blade Stealth is also available in a new limited edition “pink quartz” finish. Maybe it’s the pinkest laptop I’ve ever seen, and it’s a great departure from the Razer laptop in black and green.

As configured, the mid-level unit I’ve been testing costs $ 1,599 and includes the dedicated Nvidia MX150 (25W) graphics options of 4GB and the pink colorway limited edition. It is the most economical model you can obtain with a discrete graphic card.

The most important question here is: do these updates finally make the Blade Stealth a real gaming notebook that you can take anywhere and play with confidence? At the same time, can Blade Stealth hang with other thin and light computers when it comes to productivity? I’ve spent the last weeks with a pink quartz Blade Stealth to find out.

Edge score

Good material

  • Lightweight, stellar construction quality
  • Clear and vibrant screen
  • Excellent touchpad

Bad things

  • A 25-watt MX150 is not yet a high-end GPU
  • Battery life is still unsatisfactory
  • Expensive for only 256 GB of storage

Part of the redesign of the Razer Blade Stealth has been updating it to make it look more in line with the Blade 15 Advanced. It is a much more blocked design with hard edges and more defined corners.

As a result, the black variant of the new Stealth is an image of its larger brother, while the pink quartz Blade Stealth edition has the same design as the black version, except that it is pink. “Pink is my new favorite color for laptop games.”

The 1080p screen I’ve been testing has vibrant colors, crisp text that does not look too processed and a moderately bright panel that complements around 346 nits. Its 60Hz refresh rate is not as fast as you can get in larger gaming laptops, but it’s pretty standard for 13-inch laptops. Razer also included an antireflective coating (on a matte screen) that does a decent job of avoiding interior light, but direct sunlight can make perfect visualization difficult.

Design of Razer Blade Stealth (2019):

 

In general, it is not a designer monitor quality, but Razer individually calibrates each screen in its factory. This screen supports 100 percent of the sRGB range but only about 61 percent of Adobe RGB. I’m also glad that Razer did not use black bezels around the 13.3-inch screen. Instead, it combined with the pink, making the design of the Stealth look cohesive.

The Stealth chassis is a solid and unibody design that does not bend on the screen, the palm rest or the keyboard. Razer’s improvements in construction quality in past generations are evident with just stealth handling between meetings. Everything is more buttoned than it used to be.

A big part of Stealth’s appeal is its weight: it only weighs 2.89 pounds, compared to the more than four pounds of other Razer laptops. That is considered extremely light in the world of gaming laptops.

But compared to other thin and light, it is simply average. Stealth watches are a bit heavier than the new Dell XPS 13, but only slightly less than a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Of course, none of those computers has a discrete graphic card.

Still, with less than three pounds, the Blade Stealth is ideal for work, and I had no trouble adjusting to a backpack or a laptop sleeve. In addition, the Stealth has a better selection of ports than other ultrabooks.

On the left, you’ll find an audio connector, USB 3.0 and a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port (with four PCI Express lanes). On the right side, there is a USB-C 3.1 and a second USB 3.0 port. Only one of the two USB-C ports is compatible with Thunderbolt 3, but both are capable of charging the Stealth battery.

The best hardware update here is the new webcam that comes with Windows Hello facial recognition as a standard feature. You will no longer need to type a long password or PIN to enter the Blade.

Graphics of Razer Blade Stealth (2019):

Graphics of Razer Blade Stealth (2019):

I had no problem recognizing myself in different lighting situations, such as with my lenses on / off or at different angles. I used it almost exclusively as a reliable login method. On the other hand, the 720p webcam is not that good. The image is grainy, discolored and looks even worse in rooms that do not have bright light. I would be better using your smartphone for video conferencing.

If it looks like a gaming laptop, it sounds like a gaming laptop and its price is a gaming laptop, does that make it a gaming laptop? Unfortunately, not. The discrete GPU MX150 25-watt Stealth is up to four times more powerful than the integrated graphics that you can find in other ultrabooks, but it is not yet powerful enough for high level games.

Its performance in the real world is really limited to feeding external monitors, using it for creative tools such as Lightroom and Photoshop, as well as for occasional or old games that do not require too many graphics. “Finally, a laptop Blade with Windows Hello.” Playing Black Ops IIII at native resolution (1080p), Stealth could keep Blackout mode of the game locked at 60 frames per second, in the lowest possible configuration. However, playing Battlefield v on the MX150 felt desperate, reaching just 40 fps in its lowest configuration.

Older games, such as League of Legends, are easy for the MX150, with a constant stroke of 60 fps in maximum graphical configuration. Similar, Overwatch (another game that works well on low-end hardware) has frame rates in the mid-60s while running in medium settings at native resolution.

You will not play AAA games on an MX150

Thanks to the Thunderbolt 3 port of Stealth, it is possible to obtain better performance with an external GPU. I connected it to a Razer Core V2 with an RTX 2080Ti and I was able to run Battlefield v with all its settings to the maximum on an ultra-wide 35-inch screen at more than 70 frames per second.

Obviously, this is a costly solution, but if you want a truly portable laptop with the option to run high quality AAA games, this is an option. In addition to not having enough GPU power to play, the 256 GB of Stealth storage is too limited to store easily.

Black Ops IIII only takes 100GB, which is almost half the space available. Then, I planned to import some RAW photos from a recent photo session and then I realized that I had no storage space.

You can get 512 GB of storage, but that requires upgrading to the $ 1,899 top model with the 4K touch screen (and giving up the pink option).

Razer says it is possible to update the internal SSD, which is something you probably want to do if you plan to use this model for games.

The Stealth could be marketed as a “gaming ultrabook”, but it is also very competent for productivity, at least until the battery runs out.

Keyboard of Razer Blade Stealth (2019):

Keyboard of Razer Blade Stealth

The keyboard of the Blade has good travel and comments, but it has a frustrating design peculiarity: the right Shift key is the size of a normal letter key and is located just above the right directional key.

I cannot say how many times I accidentally pressed this Shift key when I intended to hit the directional key. Fortunately, Razer hit the rest of the Stealth keyboard by including full backlighting on all the keys. Apart from the terrible placement of Shift keys, this is a solid keyboard.

Flanking the keyboard are four speakers with Dolby Atmos tuning and a complementary application. It is a pleasant surprise to find speakers for small laptops with powerful bass, clear media and undistorted treble. Compared to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, these speakers are on par, but they lack the warmth of Mac sound (even with Dolby’s “warm” mode enabled).

The bass of the Stealth really starts firing at the highest volumes (around 70 percent), but there is no distortion or audible tension to talk about. These are really good speakers that I do not mind using to listen to some songs, for games or a Netflix marathon with others in the room.

Despite Stealth’s new sleek design, improved gaming performance and better security, two features that have not been improved are battery life and heat management.

I could not get more than five hours of Internet use off of the Stealth, and it took me less than an hour of use before I could feel the bottom gently toasting my lap. That’s with the Stealth in its default mode “Best performance”, with 50 percent brightness, keyboard backlighting set to fixed white and Bluetooth off. Even when I used a more energy-conscious battery plan and kept Chrome tabs open less, I only got 30 additional minutes before the battery gave up.

Battery of Razer Blade Stealth (2019):

The duration of the Stealth battery during the game is half; throws the towel around two and a half hours. If you plan on using the Stealth in your lap, after all, it is a laptop, so I advise you to do it alone for short periods of time.

Everything, from writing this in Google Docs with several tabs open in the background until you see videos, you will get a response from the fans of the system. You can take manual control of the fan speed in the Razer Synapse application, but it does not help much to mitigate the heat of the lower panel.

Compared to previous versions, the new Razer Blade Stealth is a much more capable gaming laptop, at least for casual games. But if you’re serious about playing games and do not mind a thicker and heavier laptop, the Razer Blade 15 also costs $ 1,599, and you can play modern games in a medium or high configuration.

“A classic of all trades, master of no situation.” The Stealth can perform a dual task as a productivity laptop that can play the occasional game better than the other Razer options, but its battery life makes it hard to rely on a full day’s work.

Perhaps Razer should consider selling the Stealth package with its external GPU option. Even with its new design, improved graphics power and better quality of life features, the Blade Stealth still occupies an uncomfortable intermediate position.

It’s a laptop that does not have the battery life of many other thin and light computers, but neither is it powerful enough for serious games or video editing. It is a classic connector of all trades, master of no situation, which makes it difficult to recommend it instead of another thin and light or full laptop.

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