The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is Razer’s smallest gaming ultrabook and gets a makeover every year. With the 2020 version, the manufacturer has installed a 120 Hertz display for the first time and has thoroughly improved the hardware. How does the new version fare in the test?
Razer Blade Stealth 13 Review
The display is only 13.3 inches and still there is a lot of technology under the hood of the Blade Stealth 13. At just 1.4 kilograms and its compact size, it is ideal for on the go. In my test, I mainly focused on gaming after all, that’s exactly what the laptop was built for. I also tried the 2019 version last year and can therefore easily compare to what extent the Blade Stealth 13 has developed further and where there are still weak points. In the video you can also see the ultrabook in action.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 Design
The angular design of the Blade Stealth 13 appears noble in its matt black aluminum housing. The look is reserved. There are no fancy bells and whistles on other gaming laptops, only the colorful RGB lighting of the keyboard could give away the ultrabook. However, you can change these as you wish and, for example, have them glow in one color. The case is unfortunately very susceptible to fingerprints, which is why the device always looks stained and I don’t like that at all.
The lid of the laptop can easily be opened with one hand. A camera with Windows Hello support sits above the screen, so you can simply log in using facial recognition. On the underside, two rubber feet protect the device from scratches. The feet also benefit the fans installed in the center, as this allows the air to circulate better under the laptop.
The Blade Stealth 13 has two USB-C ports and two USB Type-A ports. Both Type-C connections can be used for charging with the enclosed cable. A 3.5 mm jack plug is installed on the left. Further connections are missing.
Razer Blade Stealth 13: Good keyboard with a pleasant redesign
The keyboard of the previous model really disappointed me. This was mainly due to the unfavorable position of the right shift key. It sat behind the up arrow key, which kept me slipping in line. It is all the more gratifying that Razer has responded to customer feedback and has installed the shift key on the full-size 2020 model. The up and down arrow keys now share a button, which I think is a good solution.
The RGB lighting of the keyboard can be configured using the in-house Razer Synapse app and can light up in different modes. The key travel is quite short, but in no way comparable to the butterfly keyboard of the old MacBooks. Personally, I was good at writing this article on the Razer keyboard. And I can’t say anything bad about the relatively large touchpad either. It takes up a lot of space below the keyboard in contrast to the previous model, nothing has changed.
I really liked the 13-inch display. The matte surface in particular cuts a fine figure. It has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (Full HD) and has stable viewing angles. Pictures, videos and films look razor-sharp.
As mentioned at the beginning, the screen of the Razer Blade Stealth 13 has a high refresh rate of 120 Hertz. This is a special treat for all gamers and a trend that is currently evolving. Currently, more and more manufacturers such as MSI and Asus are installing screens with such high refresh rates. And especially with fast games like Left 4 Dead, Overwatch and Call of Duty, the 120 Hz have a positive effect. You can follow the picture more comfortably because everything is displayed much more smoothly.
In my test, I made the experience that the high refresh rate only really comes into its own in slightly older games and competitive games. If you want to play new and very demanding titles such as Metro Exodus or Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order at 120 Hz, the graphics performance will thwart your plans. That said, I couldn’t play those games with the highest settings and a high frame rate. The built-in graphics card cannot be compared with that of a real gaming PC.
Razer Blade Stealth 13: How do you work with the Blade Stealth 13?
Compared to the 2019 model, Razer has revamped the Blade Stealth 13’s hardware. The manufacturer has switched to a more recent version of both the graphics card and the processor. This change is particularly noticeable under full load. If the predecessor slowed down even more in the heat, the 2020 model can maintain work ethic much longer. As described, the graphics card reaches its limits in cutting-edge games, but otherwise works reliably.
Although I put the focus of my test on gaming, as a YouTuber I was also interested in how videos can be cut with a laptop. By default, I use DaVinci Resolve, a sophisticated program for professional video editing. I was able to cut Full HD videos smoothly on the device. If I added more than three video tracks and effects, things didn’t go quite as smoothly. The ultrabook should be enough for hobby videographers, but it is not a real editing laptop.
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is particularly interesting because of its compact design, but that too has its pitfalls: Razer has not changed anything in the cooling solution compared to the previous model and so the laptop gets incredibly hot when gaming – even on the desk. The Blade Stealth 13 is not only very warm in ambitious games and video editing, but also quite loud.
Gaming laptop through the day
This ultrabook lasted around eight hours or a working day with normal use. Unfortunately, when the device is fully loaded and connected to the power, it does not charge very quickly. I often had the feeling that the charge indicator stagnated as long as I was gambling. The device is charged via a USB-C connection and an enclosed, braided cable. Personally, I find them very nice because they don’t break that quickly.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 is a worthy successor?
The overall package of compact design and good computing power is impressive. The changes compared to the previous year’s model are clearly noticeable and the gaming ultrabook is actually better suited for gaming. It should be clear, however, that an A4-sized laptop cannot compete with a full-fledged gaming PC. In this respect, you have to be lenient with the small device for demanding tasks. The laptop is especially suitable for casual gamers and creative hobbyists who rely on the portability of the 13 incher.
I like the possibility of connecting an external GPU to increase the graphics performance. However, you have to put a lot of money into your hands for this. In this respect, this variant is only suitable for people who want to afford a laptop and graphics processor. Alternatively, Razer has other higher-performance gaming laptops such as the Blade Stealth 15 on offer.