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Razer Blade Stealth review: This is a feisty ultrabook at an incredibly low price

Hayden Dingman | March 15, 2016
It sports the Razer look, and the upcoming Core graphics amplifier could give it the Razer chops, too.

The Razer Blade Stealth is not a gaming laptop.

I know, you’re checking over your shoulder for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. But it’s true! Despite sharing many design cues with Razer’s standard Blade and Blade Pro gaming laptops, the Blade Stealth is an ultrabook.

Familiar style

Actually, when I say “many design cues,” I mean “all the design cues.” The Stealth may occupy Razer’s MacBook Air slot, but it eschews the tapered look of most laptops in that tier. Instead, the Blade Stealth features the same sleek, black MacBook Pro-esque design of its larger siblings—scaled down to hold a 12.5-inch screen instead of the standard Blade’s 14-incher.

We reviewed the $1,399 model of the Blade Stealth, which features a 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) IGZO touchscreen. It’s beautiful, albeit surrounded by an unsightly black bezel that seems especially conspicuous when placed next to Dell’s XPS 13.

You can also buy the Blade Stealth with a 2560x1440 screen. Razer claims the 1440p version reproduces only 70 percent of the Adobe RGB spectrum, as opposed to the 4K model’s 100 percent, but unless you’re doing high-end color work you probably won’t care. At $999, it’s probably the better value—with the significant caveat that we haven’t tested it ourselves.

The keyboard is perhaps the most significant downgrade from the standard Blade. To fit into the ultrabook form factor, Razer’s significantly slashed the key travel. The resulting keyboard is extremely fast for typing, but with woefully stilted tactile feedback.

It does look beautiful, though. Razer’s included its Chroma per-key RGB backlighting in the Blade Stealth, meaning you get access to the full suite of crazy (and not-so-crazy) effects found on the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate: Spectrum Cycling, Breathing, Reactive, and a handful of others. It’s not necessary in the least, and it does mean Razer’s sort-of bloated Synapse software runs at boot, but it turns heads.

Also, the keyboard keys use a normal typeface for once—not the “VIDEO GAMES, RIGHT?” typeface currently found on the Blade, Blade Pro, and BlackWidow. More of this please, Razer.

Razer did make one annoying oversight, though. The actual functions of its various function keys aren’t lit. F1 is Mute, F6 is Play, et cetera—but it’s impossible to tell in the dark, because Razer only backlit the “F1” part, while the “Mute” icon next to it is dark. Baffling.

I also needed to tweak the trackpad out of the box. Default settings for both the pointer and scrolling sensitivity were too slow, though the fix takes an easy thirty seconds. I just cranked up the sensitivity by a few notches (which you can do through Synapse or Windows 10 itself), and the trackpad is smooth and precise enough to handle it.

 

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