Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2018) review

Razer’s slim, slick and slightly gameable laptop

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Here's how the Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2018) performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Sky Diver: 10,989; Fire Strike: 3,292; Time Spy: 1,247
Cinebench CPU: 698 points; Graphics: 82 fps
GeekBench: 4,570 (single-core); 16,983 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3,752 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 31 minutes
Battery Life (techradar movie test): 7 hours and 3 minutes
Total War Warhammer II (1080p, Ultra): 12fps; (1080p, Low): 28 fps
Middle Earth: Shadow of War (1080p, Ultra): 15 fps; (1080p, Low): 37 fps

The new Razer Blade Stealth 13 (2018) is every inch the contemporary ultra-portable powerhouse. That starts with the quad-core eighth-gen Intel Core i7-8565U CPU. It’s a beast of a processor for a laptop of this size. 

Slightly less beefy, but arguably inevitable given the system’s proportions, is the Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics. It’s essentially a mobile version of Nvidia’s lowest-end GT 1030 desktop graphics and packs 284 of Nvidia’s pixel-prettifying CUDA cores. For context, the likes of a GTX 1070, found in numerous serious gaming laptops, delivers 2,048 CUDA cores.

Elsewhere, our review unit is specified with a 256GB NVMe SSD, 16GB of non-upgradeable RAM and a FullHD 1080p IPS display. Connectivity is an increasingly important aspect for modern laptops and here the Stealth scores well. You’ll find a USB Type-C socket on both sides of the chassis. 

The right hand port is also Thunderbolt 3 compliant, which means four lanes of PCI Express connectivity and support for external graphics boxes for serious, if expensive, gaming action. As for the battery, it’s a 53.1Wh item and in this configuration is claimed to be good for up to 11 hours of mains-free operation.

Finally, the keyboard is a single-zone RGB backlit affair while the trackpad is generously proportioned, glass-topped and rear-hinged. From an input and tactility perspective, the Stealth certainly scores well.

But what about gaming? Is that Nvidia GPU really gaming-capable? Our benhmarks show it struggles with demanding games at high detail But it’ll play Fortnite pretty nicely at medium quality and full 1080p resolution. 

OK, the graphics set to medium look rather flat. But it’s the gameplay experience is completely acceptable. Not a ringing endorsement for a $1,599 / £1,499 laptop with gaming pretensions, but then you know what you’re getting with any laptop that runs an Nvidia GeForce MX150. 

It’s an entry-level gaming experience, to be sure. It’s also worth noting that the cooling fans get rather whiny during gameplay or any other heavy load. They occasionally kick in even when the system is idle, but can be particularly intrusive in-game.

As for the 13-inch display, it’s a honey. Punchy colors, great viewing angles and a nice matte anti-glare coating that avoids both reflectivity and annoying sparkle.

Battery life

In our battery life tests, the Stealth 13 (2018) performed pretty well in video playback, with our benchmark running a full 1080p video at 50% brightness until the battery runs out. With the Razer Blade Stealth 13, it lasted seven hours, which is a solid result. 

However, the three hours and 31 minutes it delivered in PC Mark 8 was very disappointing, but doesn’t reflect real-world usage in our experience, which will be at least five hours and usually quite a bit more, depending on what sort of tasks you're performing with the Razer Blade Stealth 13.

Final verdict

Make no mistake, this is one very appealing laptop. It looks great, feels expensive and performs well in many regards. 

The main problem is the combination of price and remit. Razer isn’t pitching the Stealth 13 as an out-and-out gaming rig, but its mediocre performance in that regard is still a little disappointing if entirely predictable. 

Meanwhile, at this price point a wide range of much higher performing gaming laptops are available. The caveat is that those laptops are all larger 15-inch systems.

All of which means the Stealth 13 is a darned desirable as a luxury Ultrabook. Think of it in those terms and the moderate gaming ability as an extra rather than a core feature and its an appealing if pricey overall package.


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