Razer Blade Stealth Thirteen (2020) evaluation: huge gaming on the bolt
If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement. The biggest question about the Blade Stealth 13 isn’t actually about the Blade Stealth 13. It’s about the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, the best ultraportable gaming laptop ever made. For a while, that title belonged to the…

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The biggest question about the Blade Stealth Thirteen isn’t actually about the Blade Stealth Thirteen. It’s about the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, the entirely ultraportable gaming notebook computer ever made.

For some time, that title belonged to the 2019 Blade Stealth Thirteen. Sooner than final three hundred and sixty five days, it develop into extremely irregular to observe any GPU more grand than an MX 150 in a thin and gentle machine. (The motive rhymes with “training.”) That Razer stuffed an Nvidia GTX 1650 correct into a chassis that develop into valid 3.Thirteen kilos and 12 x Eight.3 x zero.6 inches develop into phenomenal to observe. There develop into nothing take care of it on the market.

That’s no longer perfect anymore, resulting from the Zephyrus, which no longer entirely houses a sturdy GPU (up to an RTX 2060 Max-Q) and CPU (up to AMD’s eight-core Ryzen 9 4900HS) in a chassis that weighs valid over 3.5 kilos, nonetheless it’s furthermore aggressively priced: the tricked-out model is valid $1,449. After spending time with that system, it develop into anxious for me to take note recommending the leisure else for gaming on the bolt. Razer’s work develop into slit out for it.

In a vacuum, the $1,799 Blade Stealth Thirteen is an enchancment over final three hundred and sixty five days’s model: the chips are more grand, there’s a sooner cloak, and Razer made a grand-requested tweak to the keyboard. Nevertheless resulting from Asus and AMD, this three hundred and sixty five days’s opponents is grand stiffer. The Blade is never any longer the evident (entirely, actually) desire that it broken-down to be. Nevertheless there are undoubtedly folks for whom the Blade is a higher desire than the Zephyrus. Whether you’re certainly one of them depends on what you care about basically the most.

One evident space the place the Blade has the Zephyrus beat is the webcam — particularly, there is a webcam. (Asus didn’t build one on the Zephyrus.) Some folks will care about this and some won’t. Nevertheless allotment of the allure of a notebook computer with this affect part is that it can perchance without difficulty double as a driver for each day work or for messing spherical with chums on Zoom. The webcam makes the Blade that grand more versatile for non-gaming capabilities. Plus, it supports Dwelling windows Hi there facial recognition, which is useful for speedily and simple logins.

The Razer Blade Stealth Thirteen from the aspect.

One USB-C, one USB-A, and an audio jack on the left. One USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) and one USB-A on the supreme.

The totally different part that distinguishes this from the Zephyrus is the salvage. Don’t salvage me nasty: the Zephyrus appears to be like elegant. Nevertheless no longer entirely is the Blade Stealth Thirteen certainly one of the crucial entirely-taking a thought gaming laptops on the market; it’s certainly one of the crucial entirely-taking a thought laptops on the market, duration. It’s a world some distance off from former gaming notebook computer designs take care of that of the Dell G5. The chassis is gentle (3.eleven kilos) and compact (eleven.ninety nine x Eight.27 x zero.6 inches), which makes it very discontinuance to the size of the Thirteen-crawl MacBook Pro (eleven.Ninety seven x Eight.36 x zero.sixty one inches, 3.1 kilos). This Blade appears to be like and feels take care of a top fee ultrabook, and it undoubtedly wouldn’t be out of space in a college or space of business environment. If I didn’t know the leisure about laptops, I’d be skittish to hear that it develop into designed for gaming.

There is one feature that rather presents up the game (pun supposed): the colourful keyboard. In Razer’s Chroma Studio instrument, it is seemingly you’ll perchance perchance customise each form of results, colors, and speeds. The keys aren’t personally backlit, so that it is seemingly you’ll perchance perchance’t rise up to the leisure too love. Nevertheless I deem the subdued lights actually augments the Blade’s reputable shiny. Where garish RGB setups take care of that of the Gigabyte Aero 15 evoke a disco membership, this keyboard has the vibe of a worldly bar.

Razer has made a few necessary upgrades to final three hundred and sixty five days’s Blade Stealth Thirteen model. The first feature to be taught about is the blow their personal horns. It’s seemingly you’ll perchance also now configure the Blade with a 120Hz panel, which is the supreme refresh fee Thirteen-crawl cloak it is seemingly you’ll perchance perchance salvage. (There’s furthermore a 4K touchscreen option. Obviously, you won’t desire that one for the entirely gaming results.) I measured brightness at up to 357 nits, covering ninety nine % of the sRGB spectrum and Seventy 4 % of Adobe RGB. The cloak delivers a superior characterize, with shiny colors and welcoming limited print. Response times were first fee, but I did watch more ghosting than I’d wish to observe on a excessive-stay gaming notebook computer.

Because it did on totally different Blade models, Razer has furthermore made a welcome alternate to the Stealth’s keyboard. Earlier generations of Blade and Blade Stealth tried to squeeze an up arrow correct between the supreme Shift key and the question mark key. This made it very easy to unintentionally hit the up arrow whenever you supposed to hit Shift. No longer: Razer has prolonged the Shift key and wedged 1/2-top arrow keys under. As someone who uses the Shift key higher than I employ the up arrow, I grand take grasp of it this intention. The trackpad is furthermore pretty valid and extremely gentle, clicking with a superior aloof thunk.

The totally different peripheral that’s price declaring is the speakers. Handle final three hundred and sixty five days’s Blade, this notebook computer has upward-facing speakers on each aspect of the keyboard. The audio they carry is impressive for a notebook computer of this dimension, though it lacks solid bass (as notebook computer audio tends to). I felt cosy the employ of the Blade to blast song through my mattress room and lounge with none form of external speaker. It sounds higher than the G14, and is slightly on par with the Thirteen-crawl MacBook Pro, though the Pro does a higher job with bass.

I tested the Blade model that has an Nvidia’s GTX 1650 Ti with Max Q salvage, as well to a quad-core Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The GTX 1650 Ti is a shrimp step up from the final Blade Stealth, which had a GTX 1650. Nevertheless we wouldn’t question it to carry virtually the an analogous energy as the RTX 2060 that might perchance perchance near within the Zephyrus G14. That bore out in our testing. The Stealth ran Shadow of the Tomb Raider on its very best settings at a mean of 45fps. That’s playable adequate, and likewise you’ll undoubtedly hit 60 whenever you’re willing to diminish the settings. Nevertheless, it’s an extraordinarily much worse body fee than we got from the G14, which ran the an analogous benchmark on the an analogous settings at 74fps.

The Blade furthermore did a elegant job on our Premiere Pro take a look at, which involves exporting a 5-minute 4K video. This unit carried out the project in 5 minutes and 50 seconds. That’s a significantly higher result than we got from the MacBook Pro Thirteen (which lacks a discrete graphics card) as successfully as the Thirteen-crawl Ground E-book 3 with a GTX 1650 Max Q.

For certain, on a notebook computer with this cloak and dimension, most folk are likely spending more time on each day productiveness work than on heavy media enhancing. For usual space of business projects, the Blade does valid elegant. I broken-down it to jump between 12 to Sixteen Chrome tabs, Slack, Spotify, and Zoom, as successfully as miscellaneous projects take care of downloading files, copying folders, and batch processing photos. Everything develop into gentle, and I didn’t stare any efficiency difference between the Blade and bulkier rigs take care of the G14.

The Blade’s followers were usually spinning, but they entirely got annoyingly loud under heavy loads of Chrome tabs or totally different anxious applications (take care of video games). The underside of the chassis develop into usually heat on the lap, but never sizzling adequate that I needed to transfer it.

Battery life develop into valid, but the profile you are taking out has a serious affect on results. On the Dwelling windows Better Battery and Battery Saver profiles as successfully as Razer’s Battery Saver profile, I got (on average, from a desire of runs) valid over seven hours of employ. Our battery take a look at contains working the notebook computer through our same old workday (mine is detailed above) at 200 nits of brightness. On the Dwelling windows Better Performance profile and Razer’s Balanced environment, I entirely tended to salvage spherical five and a 1/2 hours. I didn’t watch a huge efficiency difference between any of the battery presets (and likewise you’ll wish to paddle in when gaming anyway), so I’d valid employ it on Battery Saver in sigh for you a day of juice.

That battery life is slightly valid as gaming laptops bolt. Seven hours is akin to what I got working the XPS Thirteen throughout the an analogous workload and better than what we got for the MacBook Pro Thirteen. They don’t pretty build the Blade on the highest of its class, though; the Zephyrus lasted Eight hours and 50 minutes on the an analogous take a look at. I’m rather upset that this Blade didn’t live grand longer than the Zephyrus, given the latter’s more grand chips, nonetheless it’s a stable result on the different hand.

Razer’s 2020 Blade Stealth Thirteen is a competent and perfect-looking out computer. Nearly all the pieces about it is some distance valid. The topic is that in the case of its main enchantment — gaming — there’s a good 14-crawl rig on the market that valid shellacks it. No longer entirely that, nonetheless it’s a few hundred greenbacks more cost effective. From the Zephyrus to the Dell G5 and the Envy x360, most sleek AMD programs possess speed circles spherical Intel programs within the price-to-efficiency sport. That’s why I’m in a position to’t, in valid judgment of right and wrong, point out the Blade as the entirely moveable gaming notebook computer for most folk. Asus and AMD possess that crown for now.

That said, there are rationalization why someone might perchance desire Razer’s notebook computer as a replace. One is the constructed-in webcam. But some other is the subtle shiny, which is a trademark of the Blade Stealth, along side the sublime colourful keyboard. And one more is the affect part. At the stay of the day, the Blade Stealth Thirteen is nonetheless basically the most moveable gaming experience it is seemingly you’ll perchance perchance acquire. The G14 is rather bigger and noticeably heavier. In case you’d take grasp of to sacrifice some gaming efficiency in replace for a notebook computer that’s outstanding in these areas, the Blade Stealth Thirteen is for you.

Photography by Monica Chin / The Verge