Hands-on with the Razer Blade Stealth
Razer formally lifted the lid on its Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook at CES 2016, and I was desperate to get my hands on one.
Fortunately, the company showed off the new high-end, super-svelte gaming notebook at the Las Vegas convention, giving me a chance to play with the new device.
The Razer Blade Stealth is a spin-off variant of the company’s core gaming laptop lineup. However, Razer has slimmed down the form factor significantly – we’re talking a thickness of 0.52-inches and a weight of only 1.25kg.
Not surprisingly, the notebook felt incredibly lightweight in the hand, and looked chic and elegant on the tabletop.
The Razer Blade Stealth ships with a 12.5-inch IGZO touchscreen. It comes in two core variants – one has a QHD panel, while the other boasts an even higher resolution 4K/UHD panel.
I got a look at the 4K version, and the display was superbly sharp. Colours appeared bright and vivid, and detail was excellent.
Following a quick play around with the operating system – Windows 10, naturally – I found the Intel Core i7-6500U dual-core processor (clocked to 2.5GHz) to offer nippy performance. There’s also 8GB of dual-channel LPDDR3-1866MHz RAM to boot.
Of course, I couldn’t try out Razer’s latest gaming fare without actually playing a game, so I tested out the Blade Stealth with Star Wars: Battlefront.
I cranked up all of the graphics settings to Ultra – the maximum available – at a QHD resolution, and the frame rate was fine. There was no stuttering at all, even in outside environments.
By this point, you may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned a built-in dedicated GPU. After all, that’s a must-have on any respectable gaming laptop, right? Not here.
That’s because Razer has an alternative – the Razer Core.
The Razer Core is a dedicated graphics enclosure that sits alongside the laptop and hosts a desktop-grade graphics card of your choice – so long as it’s either Nvidia or AMD.
Instead of the Blade Stealth powering gaming graphics, the notebook simply hooks up to the Core via a Thunderbolt connection.
Plugging the Blade Stealth into the Core via a single connection was simple, offering a superb perk – the Core has a host of ports on the rear, meaning you don’t need to clog up your laptop’s sides with cables.
Both the Blade Stealth and Razer Core are Chroma enabled. That’s Razer shorthand for integrated lighting tech, with 16.8 million colours. It’s also worth noting that the Blade Stealth features the world’s first individually backlit keyboard.
Naturally, this synchronised glowing makes the Blade Stealth and Razer Core pairing look sufficiently fearsome on any surface.
I didn’t get an opportunity to test out the laptop’s battery life – wait for the full review – but Razer tells me it will offer a minimum of six hours, although better longevity is being targeted.
Here’s a full list of Razer Blade Stealth specs (on the priciest model):
- 12.5-inch IGZO 16:9 touch display (3,840 x 2,160 UHD panel)
- 512GB PCI Express SSD
- Intel Core i7-6500U Dual-Core Processor (2.5/3.1GHz)
- Intel HD Graphics 520
- 8GB Dual-Channel RAM (LPDDR3-1866MHz)
- Windows 10 (64-bit)
- 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 4.1
- Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
- USB 3.0 ports x 2 (SuperSpeed)
- 2-megapixel webcam
- Chrome anti-ghosting keyboard with individually backlit keys
- HDMI 1.4b audio and video output
- Built-in stereo speakers
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Built-in array microphone
- 45Wh battery
Although exact UK pricing wasn’t available, the US mark-ups will range between $999 to $1,599, depending on which of the four configurations you opt for.
The Razer Core, meanwhile, will arrive in the UK in the first half of 2016.