Which Razer Laptop Is Right for You? Blade vs Stealth vs Pro
Razer’s laptops are like MacBooks for gamers. They're chic, just as slim, and more powerful than anything that comes out of Cupertino. Plus, these are some of the few gaming laptops that can pass in a business meeting as well as a LAN party.
So which laptop in Razer's stable is right for you? Is it the surprisingly potent 13-inch Stealth, the new 15-inch Blade or the 17-inch behemoth that is the Blade Pro? The following guide will help you decide.
The Blade Stealth: For Those Always on the Move
Pros: Designed to take on the likes of the Dell XPS 13 and Apple Macbook (12-inch), the Razer Blade Stealth serves up power and speed. Starting at $1,399, this svelte little beauty (2.9 pounds, 12.6 x 8.1 x 0.5 inches) is made of the same stunning CNC aluminum, gorgeous QHD display and captivating customizable Chroma keyboard as its bigger brethren. The system is one of the latest to roll out Intel's new 8th-gen processors. In our early tests, we've found the new chips perform about 76 percent better than their predecessors. Designed to appeal to mobile professionals the notebook ships in gunmetal-gray aluminum and swaps out the glowing snake logo for a more demure black emblem. It also switches the multicolored Chroma keyboard for office-friendly white backlighting.
In the interest of retaining those ultraportable dimensions, the base model of the Blade Stealth is only equipped with an integrated graphics card. While you'll be able to play less-demanding titles like Dirt 3, games like Witcher 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider or Grand Theft Auto V are pretty much out of the question. However, the slim stunner can support Microsoft's Mixed Reality headsets including the HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset V1000-100 and the Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101 headset.
We recently got an exclusive hands-on with the latest update of the Stealth. Dubbed the Advanced Model, the $1,599 system has a new retro-chic aesthetic and a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU with 4GB of VRAM. It's the first in the Stealth line to feature a discrete GPU, making it much more gaming-capable than the same system with integrated graphics. In our subsequent review of the system, we were impressed with the performance as well as the audio, although the keyboard leaves much to be desired.
For those fed up with all black everything, Razer has just introduced the limited edition Quartz Pink version of the Blade Stealth. Available for a $1,599, the notebook is a welcome pop of color.
However, you can transform the Stealth into a full-fledged gaming system if you invest in the $499 Razer Core V2, the company's second external GPU and first to feature a dual Thunderbolt 3 internal controller design. That means it has separate lanes to support quickly rendering those gorgeous frame rates for your game as well as supporting a 4K display. All you need is the right desktop graphics card and boom! You've got a lean, mean gaming machine that will give a bonafide gaming laptop a run for its money. But if you don't need all the bells and whistles, there's also the $299 Core X. A stripped-down version of Razer's previous eGPUs, the Core X only has a Thunderbolt 3 port and the power input. However, its bigger chassis accommodates even the largest GPUs on the market.
The 12.5-inch Blade Stealth has been discontinued, but the site does offer refurbished models. You can also check out Amazon, Newegg and the Microsoft store if you're determined to get a Stealth at this size point.
Cons: Although it's big on speed, performance and, of course, looks, the Blade Stealth is lacking in the battery department. The 12.6-inch system lasted only about 6 hours on our battery test while the 13-inch lasted a little over 5 hours. Both results are below average for an ultraportable notebook. The keyboards are also a bit shallow for our tastes.
The Blade: For Gamers Who Play on the Go
Pros: The crown jewel in Razer's lineup, the 15-inch Blade offers an alluring mix of power, portability and longevity that makes it perfect for gaming on the go or settling in for a long quest on your couch. Weighing just 4.6 pounds, and measuring 0.68-inches thick, it's one of the thinnest VR-ready laptops on the market.
We recently reviewed one of Razer's latest configurations to its 15.6-inch beauty. Starting at $1,599, the so-called base mode offers an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB of VRAM and a 1920 x 1080 display. In a first of for Razer laptops, the laptop also boasts a 1TB hard drive and a Gigabit Ethernet port. And if that's not enough to pique your interest, Razer's also shaking things up by introducing a new color. The base model will also be available in a lovely, limited-edition Mercury White CNC aluminum chassis that's simply a show stopper when paired with Razer's Chroma keyboard.
When we reviewed the base model, we were impressed with the design, audio quality and performance. But the biggest surprise was the battery life with the system lasting over six hours, putting the base model on a par with Alienware systems.
The standard version of the Blade 15 isn't a slouch by any means. During our review of the new system, we were impressed by the squared-off design with its incredibly slim bezels as well as the powerful performance including a GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU packed into a 14 x 9.3 x 0.7-inch chassis. Plus, you still get that lovely customizable Chroma keyboard.
In terms of games, the Max-Q 1070 GTX GPU will deliver over 60 fps on most titles on High. And if you're feeling up to it, I definitely recommend plugging in an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and taking a walk on the virtual side. But, ultimately, the Blade is ideal for gamers that don't want a massive desktop replacement taking up valuable space, but still want to play games at high framerates. And if you need it to, the Blade can definitely pull its weight as a productivity machine.
However, gamers looking for more power should wait for the Blade 15 Advanced Edition, powered by Nvidia's new RTX GPUs, the laptop will deliver considerably more oomph on the gaming front. And if that wasn't enough, the company showed off some early models of its stunning OLED displays. It's a major step up from Razer's ISP panel and promises richer colors (particularly deeper blacks) and finer details.
Razer's retired the 14-inch Blade in favor of the 15-inch system. So if you're looking for that form factor, you'll have to search Amazon and Razer's sites for refurbished models as new models are out of stock. The 4.2-pound, 13.6 x 9.3 x 0.7-inch laptop is outfitted with a 7th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, a full GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM and a 1920 x 1080 display. We're in the process of reviewing the latest iteration of the Blade 15, which has been updated with Nvidia's powerful new RTX graphics. Stay tuned.
Cons: Thanks to that aluminum frame, the Blade can feel as hot as it looks. And with a chassis this compact, something had to be sacrificed. In the case of the Blade, the speakers aren't as loud as I'd expect, so you'll want to have a good headset or external speakers handy. In the case of the 15.6-inch Blade, the full-HD display wasn't particularly bright and with 1 millimeter of travel, the keyboard wasn't very comfortable.
The Blade Pro: For Creative Professionals and Gamers with Deep Pockets
Pros: Back in the day, the 17-inch MacBook Pro used to be the end-all, be-all for creative professionals. But that system has gone the way of the dodo, leaving a 17-inch hole in many a video editor, music maker and game creator's heart. Fortunately, Razer has the solution with the Blade Pro.
With a starting price of $3,499, the latest Blade Pro serves up a crazy vivid 4K Nvidia G-Sync display along with THX-certified audio. You also get an overclocked Intel Core i7-7820HK processor with 32GB of RAM and a Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU -- currently the most powerful mobile GPU available -- all in a chassis that's 0.88-inches thick and a manageable 7.7 pounds. The system also comes with a pair of lightning-fast PCIe SSDs and a programmable scroll wheel. Keep an eye out for the Blade Pro getting an 8th Gen processor update courtesy of Intel. While we're betting that Razer will add a Core i7 option, we're hoping for the more powerful Core i9.
With the GTX 1080 and the G-Sync display, you can expect some seriously high framerates minus the unsightly tearing that can sometimes occur when the display fails to keep pace with the GPU. And like its smaller brother, the Blade Pro is more than capable of supporting VR. But outside of gaming, this laptop is made to create, whether it's music, video, gaming or even designing a building.
Razer recently launched a more affordable iteration of the Pro. Starting at $1,799, this Pro has a GTX 1060 GPU with a Core i7 processor with 16GB RAM and a 1920 x 1080 display. The laptop also switches out the ultra-low profile mechanical keyboard for regular scissor switches.
Cons: At $3,999, this bad boy is crazy expensive, so only deep-pocketed creative professionals and gamers need apply. However, those of us on a tighter budget should also consider the cheaper $2,299 version. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of the premium version, but it's still a solid option.
|Razer Blade Stealth||Razer Blade Stealth (13-inch)||Razer Blade (15-inch)||Razer Blade Pro|
|Screen||12.5 inches, 2560 x 1440 / 3840 x 2160||13.3 inches, 3200 x 1800/3840 x 2160||15.6 inches, 1920 x 1080||17.3 inches, 1920 x 1080/3840 x 2160|
|CPU||Core i7-8550U/ Core i5-7200U / Core i7-7500U||Core i7-8565U/Core i7-8550U||Core i7-8750H||Core i7-7700HQ/Core i7-7820HK|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 620||Intel HD Graphics 620/Nvidia GeForce MX150||GTX 1060 (Max-Q)||GTX 1060|
|RAM||8 - 16GB||16GB||16GB||16GB|
|Storage||128 - 2TB SSD||256 - 512GB SSD||256GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HHD||256GB SSD + 2TB HDD|
|Size||12.6 x 8.1 x 0.5 inches||12.6 x 8.1 x 0.5 inches||14 x 9.3 x 0.68 inches||16.7 x 11 x 0.88 inches|
|Weight||2.8 pounds||2.9 pounds||4.6 pounds||7.7 pounds|
|Color||Black||Black, Quartz Pink||Black, Mercury White||Black|