UL­TRA­BOOK LAP­TOP Razer Blade Stealth

SUP­PLIER www.raz­er­zone.com

Custom PC - - REVIEWS - MIKE JEN­NINGS

Razer calls it the ‘Ul­ti­mate Ul­tra­book’, and it cer­tainly looks like an Ul­tra­book, with a depth of just 18mm and feath­erlight 1.28kg weight. The well-built and stylish chas­sis is made from dark alu­minium that tapers to a slim edge, and sports smartly im­ple­mented RGB LEDs and an il­lu­mi­nated Razer logo on the lid.

Of course, you sac­ri­fice com­put­ing power to get such a svelte ma­chine. The low-power du­al­core Kaby Lake i7-7500U CPU runs at just 2.7GHz. It only has 4MB of L3 cache, and you only get In­tel’s HD Graph­ics 620 for graph­ics too. Like­wise, the 16GB of DDR3L RAM in this ma­chine runs at just 1866MHz. On the plus side, the 256GB Sam­sung SM951 NVMe SSD is faster than a SATA drive, but it doesn’t have much stor­age space.

Also, while Razer has in­stalled Killer 802.11ac Wi-Fi, con­nec­tions are oth­er­wise mea­gre. There’s no Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net – you only get in­di­vid­ual au­dio and HDMI ports along­side two USB 3 ports and Thun­der­bolt sup­port. That means no Dis­playPort, SD card slot or USB 3.1 Type-C.

You also com­pro­mise on the key­board. The shal­low but­tons have even less travel than most other gam­ing lap­top key­boards. It’s con­sis­tent and the alu­minium build gives you a solid base, but it isn’t bril­liant for gam­ing. It looks good though – each key has in­di­vid­ual RGB LEDs, and the Synapse soft­ware can cus­tomise colours, record macros and al­ter the sys­tem else­where. The touch­pad is fine though – the large sur­face clicks sat­is­fy­ingly, and the but­tons are fast and light.

What the Stealth does have is a fan­tas­tic touch-screen. Its 2,560 x 1,440 na­tive res­o­lu­tion and 12.5in di­ag­o­nal mean it has a sharp pixel den­sity, and it’s an IGZO dis­play too, which means smaller tran­sis­tors in­side the screen and there­fore smaller pix­els. IGZO screens are slim­mer and more pow­er­fru­gal than IPS screens, although they’re also more ex­pen­sive. They’re usu­ally found in smart­phones and tablets, rather than lap­tops. A ver­sion of the Blade Stealth with a 4K IGZO screen is avail­able with a 512GB SSD, but you’ll have to pay £1,760 for that sys­tem.

Ul­tra­books aren’t gen­er­ally used for gam­ing, but Razer has at rick up its sleeve here with the op­tional Thun­der bolt­con­nected Core graph­ics dock. It can ac­com­mo­date al­most any modern desk­top graph­ics card, and ef­fec­tively turns the ex­tremely por­ta­ble Blade Stealth into a fast gam­ing ma­chine when you get home.

It’s one of the best lap­top screens we’ve ever used

Per­for­mance

Not sur­pris­ingly, the Blade Stealth’s low-power CPU isn’t quick. Its CPC RealBench sys­tem score of 52,637 is un­der­whelm­ing, with the dual-core CPU par­tic­u­larly

strug­gling in our heav­ily multi-threaded Hand­brake test. These re­sults are slow com­pared with top-end gam­ing lap­tops, but they’re great for Ul­tra­books. There’s cer­tainly enough power to han­dle web brows­ing, of­fice ap­pli­ca­tions and photo edit­ing.

The low-power CPU also means the bat­tery lasted for 3.5 hours in our ap­pli­ca­tion test, and al­most nine hours in a low-power test with the screen at 25 per cent bright­ness. Ther­mal re­sults are solid too. The CPU and GPU delta Ts never went be­yond 68°C, while the ex­te­rior re­mained cool and quiet. The CPU oc­ca­sion­ally throt­tled to 1.5GHz in stress tests, but the Blade stayed re­spon­sive – and you’re un­likely to push an Ul­tra­book to peak load on the move any­way.

Mean­while, the IGZO screen’s bright­ness of 342cd/m2 is fan­tas­tic, and it’s backed up by a black level of 0.29cd/m2 and con­trast of 1,179:1 – a great re­sult that out­paces most IPS screens. Like­wise, the delta E of 2.25 is great, and the panel ren­ders a solid 93.3 per cent of the sRGB gamut. View­ing an­gles are su­perb, and bright­ness vari­a­tion is min­i­mal. The colour tem­per­a­ture of 7,586K is a lit­tle cool, but that’s our only is­sue. It’s one of the best lap­top screens we’ve ever used. The stereo speak­ers of­fer sur­pris­ingly bal­anced au­dio as well – the high end is clear, the mid-range is punchy and there’s even a lit­tle bass.

Con­clu­sion

Razer’s Blade Stealth is a high-qual­ity af­fair. Its de­sign is spot on, the screen is stun­ning and the low-power Kaby Lake CPU pro­vides enough grunt with­out killing bat­tery life – it’s a stylish, well-built ma­chine that’s de­signed for life on the move.

Of course, you sac­ri­fice key­board depth, con­nec­tion op­tions and pro­cess­ing power, but on the plus side, the Core ef­fec­tively turns Blade Stealth into a games ma­chine, com­plete with an Eth­er­net con­nec­tion and more USB con­nec­tions. This smart add-on isn’t cheap, but it al­lows the Blade to de­liver near-desk­top per­for­mance on the lap­top or on an ex­ter­nal screen.

The Razer Blade Stealth costs £1,350 and the Core costs £500 inc VAT, so they’re hardly cheap, but to­gether, they pro­vide a more ver­sa­tile setup than some gam­ing lap­tops. It’s a niche setup, but it fills that niche ex­cep­tion­ally well.

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