Razer Blade Stealth Is a Killer $999 Ultrabook

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LAS VEGAS — Just when I thought Razer couldn't shave another ounce off of its suite of already ridiculously slim laptops, the company goes and proves me wrong with its latest creation, the Blade Stealth. Weighing a scant 2.75 pounds, the Stealth packs a 4K display, Core i7 CPU and colorful Chroma keyboard for a very affordable $999. 

The weight loss is a result of Razer ditching its discrete graphics in favor of an Intel integrated chip. But fear not, gamers, Razer is also launching its own version of a graphics amplifier dubbed the Core which will be available sometime in the first half of 2016.  

Razer let me have some quality time with both systems prior to CES, and it looks like the company has a pair of certified winners on its hands.

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Design

Razer Blade Stealth

Wow, just wow. The Blade Stealth is absolutely gorgeous. Swathed in obsidian aluminum accented by the glowing green tri-snake emblem on its lid, this beauty is the spitting image of its bigger brothers, the Blade and the Blade Pro.  The laptop measures 12.6 x 8.1 x 0.5 inches and weighs 2.75 pounds. To put things in perspective, that's lighter and slimmer than both the Dell XPS 13 (2.9 pounds, 11.98 x 7.88 x 0.33-0.6 inches, Apple MacBook Air (2.96 pounds, 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.11-0.68 inches) and the Lenovo Yoga 900 (2.8 pounds, 12.75 x 8.86 x 0.59 inches). 

Razer  Blade CoreThe Razer Core is also a looker. Adhering to the dashing company uniform, the graphics amplifier's chassis is constructed from the same aircraft-grade aluminum as the notebooks. Measuring 8.6 x 4.13 x 13.38 inches, the Core is a more compact proposition compared to the Alienware's Graphics Amplifier (6.8 x 7.3 x 13.1 inches). The amps do have something in common,  however: their use of custom lighting. But the Alienware's amp backlit zone only consists of the small alien head logo compared to the Core's interior which you can view through the large window, allowing the light to pour into the room.

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Display

Razer Blade Stealth

The Stealth's good looks don't stop at the exterior. Beneath that black aluminum lid lies a 12.5-inch 4K (3840 x 2160) touch panel. The colors were vibrant particularly when it came to the greens and blues. According to Razer, the display measures 100 percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut. For instance, when I looked at a high-resolution image of a snake, I could easily see every single scale as well the deep shadows cast from its massive coils. 

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Keyboard

Razer Blade Stealth

Instead of the usual trademark backlit green island-style keyboard, the Stealth is the first laptop with individually backlit keys. And thanks to Razer's Chroma technology, every key on the fullsize keyboard can be mapped in 1 of 16.8 million colors. Creative gamers can also take advantage of a multitude of lighting effects to create their own personal light show. 

Specs/Pricing

Historically, Razer has been known for placing its priority on performance, which makes for an ultra premium system with an equally premium price tag. The company is issuing a direct challenge to the likes of Dell and Apple, offering the same premium specs, but at an affordable price.

The base model of the Blade Stealth starts at $999 and features a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i7-6500 dual core processor, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB PCIe SSD and Intel HD Graphics 520 GPU. For the same price, you can get a 13-inch MacBook Air with an Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB Flash Storage and an Intel HD Graphics 6000.

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Core

Since the Blade Stealth lacks discrete graphics, it will rely on the Core to do its heavy lifting. Similar to most graphic amplifiers on the market, the Core is a bring-your-own-GPU situation. That means you'll have to fork out some extra cash for a desktop graphics card. But Razer has yet to announce the pricing on the Core, so there's no telling how this will affect your bottom line. 

Razer  Blade Core

In practice, the Core is easier to use than the Alienware's Graphics Amp. For example, putting in the graphics card is as simple as pulling out the chamber, installing the component and tightening a screw to secure it in place. Once, the GPU is in place, you slide the chamber back in and you're ready to go. I've encountered some difficulty prying open the Alienware's lid, but once I accessed the device's interior, it was relatively easy to place the card. 

The bigger difficulty lies in actually getting the accompanying Alienware laptop to recognize the amp once its attached. There have been times during our testing where we had to consistently detach and reattach the amp via the proprietary port to access the desktop graphics card. With the Core, you simply plug into the Blade Stealth via a USB-C port. In the demo, the computer took about 3 to 4 seconds to switch over. However, the system did not handle my unplugging and plugging it in too quickly. 

Bottom Line

Razer has spent the last few years honing its craft, creating gaming laptops that could satisfy even the pickiest gamer. However the prohibitively high price tag kept all but the most deep-pocketed players from owning a system. With the Blade Stealth's affordable price, Razer is not only expanding its consumer base, it's sending a direct challenge to ultraportable and gaming laptop manufacturers. In 2016, it's game on. 

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9 comments
  • Naql99 Says:

    I bought the new Razer Stealth ultra book for my college aged son. First USB-C charger had a defective tip. Just wouldn't snap in and charge. The tip fell out of the replacement they sent within two weeks. I assumed it was my son's fault and ordered another. Tip fell out of that charger within 3 days. So, for most of the first month and a half he's had it, the laptop has mostly been an inert brick, since it could not be charged. Now, they refuse to replace the last one. Apparently we are expected to keep shelling out $140 a pop for chargers. Not going to happen, nor will I buy anything else from them. These chargers have a build quality defect and their support sucks. Buyer beware.

  • Anthony Says:

    I've put my order in! Looks like an awesome ultrabook and I love this review too, most enjoyable one that I've read (and I've read them all)

  • Thunderf00t Says:

    So in reality it's really 1500ish dollars but they made a nice gimmick(But I guess it's a sort of legit innovation) making a portable GPU that you can plug into? So really yeah, it's 999 for a nice ultrabook but it's really not 999, that's just to hook you into getting the laptop, but to get a real gamer experience you have to dish out x which boost it to it's real price. Kinda seems baity tbh, but at least it kinda seems better than Apple products i'll give them that, it seems to be a decent ultrabook for the price and specs with it alone.

  • mark ma Says:

    very good.good performance.good ID.good game book.ultra thin.

  • Ruturaj Says:

    The QHD version is for $999.99, the UHD/4K version starts at $1399.99. Anyway, with touch screen at that resolution and 45WHr battery expect much lower battery life, non touch version would have interested me more. Would wait for skylake version of it's bigger brother. Given the specs the price is very reasonable. Hate those bezels though, manufactures should take inspiration from dell's infinity display and build laptops like xps series.

  • Sheldon Says:

    This has to be my dream laptop, only if the battery life checks out and the CPU doesn't bottleneck too much on modern games. I wish there would be a better way to put the blade away if you don't intend to use it for its screen, maybe a slot in the core where there might be a good cooling solution while you are gaming. All this needs is a quad core and the knowledge of upgradable ram slots and I am completely sold on this device.

  • Jacky Says:

    Why would you buy a gaming laptop that cant play games unless its connected to a GPU amp??? the intel HD cant handle any games esp at QHD rez. Pointless.

  • Adam S Says:

    When can we expect a review on this? Still waiting for your guys review on the Pixel C

  • Galo Egas Says:

    I think you meant the apple macbook air 13 instead of the macbook pro. This razer is awesome, I hope battery is also awesome and I'm definitely getting one

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