Razer’s Windows 10 Ultrabook That Will Make Your MacBook Pro Jealous – Forbes

If you break out the checklist for an ultraportable high-end laptop, you’ll find the market is pretty much agreed on what you should be looking for: an aluminium unibody construction, a plethora of ports, island style keyboard with noticeable travel and feedback from the keys, long battery life, impressive screen, perhaps just the company logo on the top lid…

Yet this ultrabook is black, runs Windows 10, and there’s not a fruit in sight on the lid. Meet the Razer Blade Stealth.

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

Ewan Spence

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

The Razer brand name is one that is well-known in gaming circles, but it has been branching out in the last year to reach a wider group of consumers. I’d suggest that the Blade Stealth has benefited the most from this approach. This is less a gaming machine, and more using the experience of making gaming machines to make an ultrabook.

The 2017 update to the Razer Blade Stealth (to give the ultrabook its full name) offers consumers the seventh generation of Intel system on chip designs, bringing this machine smack up to date with others using Kaby Lake architecture. Razer has also taken the opportunity to offer more configuration options and it is possible to have up to 16GB of memory alongside 1 TB of SSD storage. The battery has increased by fifteen percent over the previous model to offer 53.6WH.

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

Ewan Spence

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

For me the screen is the impressive part of the package. Consumers who buy the i5 version of the machine will have QHD resolution (2560×1440 pixels) while the i7 package comes with a 4K screen (3840×2160 pixels) and 100% Adobe RGB coverage. Both screens are 12.5 inches on the diagonal with a ridiculously wide viewing angle, and are touch enabled.

AC power is supplied through a USB-C connection, along with a thunderbolt 3 port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI out port. There’s more than enough for all your peripherals, but more on that in part two of this review next week.

It might have missed a trick by not coming with an SD card slot. While gamers are unlikely to need that slot, it could have been another area where the Stealth would score a win over the obvious competition in the MacBook. Do not discount the photographers market for a portable and powerful machine that fits in with their lifestyle.

That said if you’re going to do any sort of specs comparison in terms of individual components or benchmarking, the Raze Blade Stealth is challenging for the top spot, and comfortably beats the Apple-based competition.

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

Ewan Spence

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

Razer has settled on a style not just for its laptops but for its peripherals as well. The Blade Stealth follows that literally to the letter. The CNC milled aluminium unibody has the recessed central portion on the lid which includes the glowing Razer logo, two fans can be seen on the base of the machine to help with cooling, and rather than four rubber feet Razer’s two long grip strips offers a huge amount of friction when on a desktop.

The grips create a very stable base to type on, but I also want to mention the hinge. It is a full-length hinge that reaches across all of the machine and offers a lot of welcome resistance. You won’t open this ultrabook one-handed, but the advantage is that the screen offers a sufficient level of resistant to allow the touchscreen to be used without rocking the whole machine.

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

Ewan Spence

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

Although the resolution and vibrancy of the screen is great, the area around the screen is perhaps the biggest question mark I have around the whole package. Given the space available I think Razer could have considered a move to a 13-inch screen, rather than go with the 12.5 inch screen and the frankly expansive bezel around it.

The Stealth’s keyboards a slight redesign of that found in other Razer laptops due to the smaller profile required. I can’t do a side-by-side comparison with other Razer machines, but the keys feel they have a little less travel and are a little stiffer compared to its larger laptops. That suits my style of typing – I like having a good positive feedback along with the need for positive pressure – and is one reasons I’m rating the Stealth highly.

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

Ewan Spence

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

The keyboard has another benefit from Razer’s repertoire. All the keys are backlit, but with multiple LEDs so it is possible to program each key to show a different color, to have a ripple of fire pass across the keys, to have keys react to presses, or to have different color set-ups for different apps. This is Razer’s Chroma app, and the keyboard profiles sync into the cloud. Once I signed into the service, the Stealth synced over my color settings and they were ready to go. That includes the color profiles I have set up for my games, but also for regular apps, such as my ‘jingle board’ for radio work.

Chroma also features in Razer’s peripheral range, but with the keyboard it is something that is practical if you decide to use it or it can be set up so the keyboard remains a solid colour throughout use. Not everyone will use it, but it’s far from a gimmick.

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

Ewan Spence

Razer Blade Stealth (photo: Ewan Spence)

The Razer Blade Stealth is a well-engineered laptop, and while Razer has had to make some compromises for the form factor, these are similar compromises that other ultrabook manufacturers have to face. Razer’s choice of going for the highest specification and performance possible should be measured against the competition in the same space, not the high-end gaming laptop rigs that you would normally associated with the Razer name.

Razer has sat down to make the best all-round ultrabook possible, and to me it has succeeded. It should be on the shortlist for anyone looking in this space.

While it can’t pack in a full PC gaming machine into the super slim laptop format, it can put in as much performance as possible… but it can’t break the laws of physics. The Stealth uses Intel’s integrated graphics, rather than a standalone graphics card which has a knock-on effect when playing the latest titles. Switch to an utterly demanding game and you’re going to see lower resolutions, dropped frames, and an experience that is playable but does have compromises.

Slightly less demanding games can be played directly, – the Intel HD Graphics 620 is well-known in the industry and titles like World of Warcraft have been optimised for this chipset. Can you play them on the move? For sure you can, and that’s probably the most important thing. You can play your games on this ultrabook with better performance than other ultrabooks, even if it is still not the same as your desk-bound PC gaming rig at home.

Yet Razer are gamers at heart. You know it, I know it, and they know it. So there is a way to unlock the gaming potential of the Stealth. Razer’s peripherals can take this portable laptop and turn it into a desk-bound gaming rig with ridiculous levels of performance. How? More on that next week as I look at how Razer has made sure the Stealth lives up to its gaming heritage.

For now, remember this. Razer set out to make the best ultrabook possible, and the successful result is the Blade Stealth.

Discalimer: Razer supplied a Blade Stealth for review purposes.

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