Razer Guns For Mac Users With Stealth Note­book

SmartHouse - - REVIEW - Writ­ten by Fer­gus Hal­l­i­day

Razer are mostly known for their gam­ing mice, key­boards and ac­ces­sories but their new­est ad­di­tion to their Razer Blade note­book range, the Stealth, rep­re­sents an in­ter­est­ing turn for the com­pany.

It’s an at­tempt to take a stab out­side the gam­ing niche they forged their brand with. More di­rectly: the Stealth note­book is a move squarely aimed at the MacBook crowd. Picky power-users torn be­tween the form-fac­tor of an Ap­ple note­book and the fa­mil­iar func­tion­al­ity of Win­dows 10.

That form fac­tor was very much the first thing that struck me about the Stealth. Like the Ap­ple lap­tops it’s aim­ing to dis­place, it strikes a great balance feel­ing light­weight to hold but solid enough that it doesn’t feel like it’ll break apart at the smallest tum­ble. This im­i­ta­tion even con­tin­ues to the Stealth’s slick cover, which fea­tures a backlit Razer logo.

Again, rem­i­nis­cent of older MacBooks, the cover of the Stealth fea­tures a stylish dark matte finish. How­ever, despite this, the note­book’s cover ended up feel­ing like a mag­net for smudges and scratches in a way that came close to eclips­ing any aes­thetic ben­e­fits yielded by the sheen. A fear of de­fac­ing the smooth sur­face haunted me from pretty much the sec­ond the Razer Stealth left the pack­ag­ing.

Mov­ing un­der the cover, it should come as lit­tle sur­prise that the key­board proves one of the stand­out com­po­nents of the Razer Blade Stealth. In­cor­po­rat­ing the tech from their Chroma key­board range, it man­ages to prove both en­gag­ing to look at, use and cus­tomise. The base of the note­book helped keep key­strokes feel­ing heavy – lend­ing them a sat­is­fy­ing weight – and the back­light­ing al­lowed for plenty of cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions.

Un­for­tu­nately, as a re­sult of these strengths, the touch­pad feels sur­pris­ingly finicky in com­par­i­son. It’s not al­ways as re­spon­sive as you need it to be. Of course, the ideal setup in­volved you us­ing it with one of Razer’s tac­tile mice. The Stealth’s dis­play does come equipped with mul­ti­touch ca­pac­i­ties, how­ever, so that’s al­ways an al­ter­nate op­tion. In fact, the dis­play is prob­a­bly the sec­ond-great­est fea­ture the Stealth is pack­ing. Despite the 12.5inch screen oc­ca­sion­ally feel­ing a lit­tle cramped, it’s as bright and re­spon­sive as its Ap­ple coun­ter­parts – fea­tur­ing both UHD and 4K. In fact, it’s bright enough that it came across is pretty clear in al­most all the en­vi­ron­ments we tested it in. How­ever, that ver­sa­til­ity is ul­ti­mately sti­fled by the Stealth’s big­gest weak­ness: bat­tery life.

The Stealth’s su­perb per­for­mance (courtesy of an In­tel i7 pro­ces­sor) and crisp dis­play are un­de­ni­ably com­pelling but the price you pay for them is al­ways felt. There’s a lot to like here – but it comes with some pretty ma­jor lim­i­ta­tions that hold it back from reach­ing its po­ten­tial.

The Razer Blade Stealth has been de­signed for use with Razer’s‘Core’ac­ces­sory – an ad­di­tional prod­uct that al­lows you to con­nect an ex­ter­nal graph­ics pro­cess­ing unit for games. This con­ceit means that the Stealth is pack­ing pretty much ev­ery­thing it needs for gam­ing sans a ca­pa­ble graph­ics card. As a re­sult, the bat­tery life here lasts around five or six hours at best and closer to three at worst. As you’d ex­pect, it very much de­pends on how you the ma­chine.

Un­less we’re talk­ing about indies or last-gen ti­tles, the Razer Blade Stealth doesn’t quite cut it for gam­ing (at least on its own) and when it comes to us­ing it for more ev­ery­day pur­poses, it feels very pinned down by the bat­tery life.

The con­cept of us­ing the Ra­zor Core to bump the graph­ics ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the ma­chine up is a promis­ing one but one that’s hard to eval­u­ate in a tech­ni­cal sense. The Stealth is al­ready a pretty pricey propo­si­tion and stack­ing a Core and GPU on top of that de­rails the sense of value here.

You’re pretty much left with a note­book which tries to do jus­tice to both gam­ing and ev­ery­day user. As a re­sult, it comes off as only a lit­tle above aver­age very good for ei­ther – at least with­out in­vest­ing in a Core and sac­ri­fic­ing porta­bil­ity en­tirely.

There are def­i­nite ar­eas where the Razer Blade Stealth hits things out of the park – but on the whole it falls short of the slam dunk it prob­a­bly needs to be. Still, there’s plenty to like here and if you’re look­ing for a premium note­book ex­pe­ri­ence it’s well worth a look.

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