Let's face it: it's a Windows world. When it comes to desktop PCs, Windows still dominates with around a 90% market share. However, one place Windows hasn't quite hit its stride is in the high-end productivity laptop market. Macbooks have ruled that segment for the last ten years, but many a challenger has stepped up to try and steal the throne. Enter the Razer Blade Stealth, a 13-inch form factor ultrabook that actually gives a viable alternative to Apple's powerhouse.
The Razer Blade Stealth is a bit of a departure in design for Razer. It's not a gaming laptop though it does keep some of the hallmarks of the Razer Blade and Razer Blade Pro. Instead, Razer has aimed towards the crowd that has jobs and hobbies that keep them on the go. Emphasis is placed on a balance between raw power and battery consumption, and the result is a marvelous machine that was a delightful surprise.
When I'm on the go, I've used a Macbook Pro for the last few years. It hasn't been out of any love for Mac OS; it was just the only high-end laptop that kept a charge long enough to be useful. Using the Razer Blade Stealth for the review period made me aware of several things. First, the stereotype of Windows-powered laptops being clunky battery hogs is a thing of the past. And the Windows 10 has enough polish, usability, and stability to match the viability of Mac OS in the laptop market. Lastly? This thing is absolutely gorgeous. I'd be hard-pressed to find a sleeker, more svelte portable computer out there at the moment, and the matte finish really seals the deal.
All models have a 2.5 Ghz Intel Core i7-6500U, 8 GB DDR3 SD RAM clocked at 1,600 MHz, and 1 GB Intel HD Graphics 520 onboard video. The differences in pricing get you a larger hard drive or a better screen. The Razer Blade Stealth I reviewed was the mid-range model, which goes for $1,399. It came with a 13-inch 4k (3840 x 2160) touchscreen and a 256 GB SSD. The screen is a boon and a bane here. It's absolutely gorgeous when running uninhibited, and covers 100% of Adobe's RGB spectrum. However, to get the max battery power, it's best to turn down the brightness and maybe even run at a lower resolution.
The base model runs $999 and comes with a QHD (2560 x 1440) touchscreen and a 128 GB Solid State Drive. I didn't get a chance to look at this model, but the lower resolution screen may increase battery power. The top model totals $1,599 and gets an upgrade to a 512 GB SSD. Another feature all models share is they each have keyboards with Razer's Chroma LED system built in. That means you can backlight your keyboard in any of 16.8 million colors in any pattern you can think of. You can also get effects like pulsing and changing lights, which adds a bit of a trademark Razer flare to the ultrabook. This was, by far, one of my favorite features. It lends a stylish and ultra luxe feel to the device that you just don't see enough these days.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Razer Blade Stealth, and it's a strong contender in a category in which historically Windows-based devices have lagged behind. With the base model only costing $999, those in the market for a Macbook Air or Pro might want to save a bit of money and opt for this instead. The build quality on the Razer Blade Stealth rivals Apple's flagship, and my only qualm (and a small one at that) is that the battery life can be a bit touchy if you get too trigger-happy with the screen brightness. All in all, this is a beautiful product, and one that I hope will become a hallmark of Razer's line-up in the future.