Razer Blade Stealth Review: Ultrabook meets a desktop
What happens when a gaming company makes a consumer ultaportable? One word EPICNESS!
If you have not heard of RAZER before that's ok up till now they have been predominantly a gaming focused company their slogan reinforces this "For Gamers, by Gamers" but now they have made the brave move into the wider consumer market with an ultra portable laptop aimed straight at the MacBook Air market.
The first thing you notice when you see the machine is just how thin it is, coming in at just 13.1mm it is a whopping 4mm thinner than the 13in MacBook Air (17mm). However if you think that for it to be this thin they would have to compromise on other things like strength you would be so wrong. The Stealth is made from milled aerospace grade CNC aluminium and there is almost no flex in the body at all. Anther nice feature is the hinge it is about as solid a hinge on any laptop i have ever used you can open it with one finger without the base lifting 1 micron off the table, now it may not seem like much but it just goes to show that the build quality of this thing is off the wall. There is one thing that you will come to notice is that it is a bit of a fingerprint magnet and you will find yourself constantly rubbing it down to get rid of the pesky critters (sent my OCD off a few times) but Razer ship it with a handy dandy micro fibre cloth that does just the trick.
The Stealth is very clearly modelled off its older siblings scaling down to a 12.5inch screen over the standard Blade's 14inch. It also comes in 2 screen variants the base model comes with a QHD (2560x1440) screen but you can also go up to a full 4K (3840x2160) if you so desire. Razer claims the 4K panel reproduces 100% of the Adobe RGB spectrum while the 1440p only 70% but unless you are going to be doing extremely detailed high-end colour work you probably wouldn't notice the difference. Its also worth mentioning that the 4K panel will drain your battery a lot faster than the QHD version so if 4K isn't 100% necessary I would opt for the QHD version for better battery life. Both screens are IGZO multitouch screens and for the most part I actually found myself using this feature which I had previously ignored on other touch screen laptops I have used. The one thing I can say about the screen is that the screen is quite reflective which can be a bit annoying in direct light, but apart from that I had no issues at all.
Razer have also manager to slip in the world first full chroma keyboard, with individual key cap lighting with the option of 16.8 million colours too choose from, go crazy. To be able to work all of that into such a slim body they have had to reduce the travel on the keys to a miniscule 1mm and that takes a little while to get used to as there is very little tactile feedback but once you use it for a while you find yourself smashing the keys with no issue at all. Either side of the keyboard are the upwards facing stereo speakers, these were fine for everything I put them through and didn't really suffer from any distortion and had a good range.
On the port side of things there is a full size HDMI 1.4 port and a USB 3.0 Type A port on the right hand side and on the left a second USB 3.0 Type A port as well as a combo headphone/mic port and the real star of the show the Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C which handles the charging as well as data transfer (it also connects out to the Stealth's partner in crime the Razer Core an external GPU that turns this understated ultrabook into a graphics and gaming power house but more on that when it is released in a few months).
Now for the engine room, what makes the Stealth stand apart from its competition is its hardware specs. Razer being foremost a gaming company understands the hardware side of the business like few others and that is reflected in the choices that have been made in this machine. To start off there is only one CPU option for all models and that is the 2.5Ghz Intel Core i7 6500U, Intel’s HD 520 integrated graphics, 8GB of DDR3/1866 RAM (non upgradable), and a PCIe SSD starting from 128GB all the way up to 512GB. This pretty much out-specs all the competitors in the ultrabook class for this price. Razer have really done a bang up job of having top notch hardware at an affordable price.
Now lets talk price the base model with the QHD panel and 128GB PCIe SSD will run you $1549 AUD which is great value for a machine of this calibre you can upgrade to the 4K panel with 512GB SSD for $2,449 AUD which again for an ultrabook which won the coveted "Best of CES" this year is great value.
All in all the Stealth is an amazing ultrabook and is now officially my new daily driver, it performs all its day to day tasks as well as any other ultrabook but has the added benefit of being amazingly thin, light weight (1.25kgs) and when paired with the Razer Core it turns into a complete gaming rig. If you are in the market for a new ultrabook then get online and go the Razer store and get yourself one of these puppies right now, you will not be disappointed.