Razer Blade Stealth (13-inch, 2017) review – CNET

Razer laptops have always looked like gaming machines, even when they haven’t been. The Razer Blade and Blade Pro include high-end graphics cards from Nvidia, and match that with matte black designs accented by a neon green triple-snake-head logo and a highly customizable multicolored keyboard lighting system.

In other words, typical gaming laptops.

The same aesthetic extended to the Razer Blade Stealth ($1,224.98 at Amazon.com), a slim MacBook-like Windows laptop that skipped the gaming components, but kept the ready-to-frag look. If you didn’t dig the Razer design, it was a shame, as the Blade Stealth was a well-made, premium-feeling laptop that managed to offer high-end components, like a Core i7 CPU and large SSD hard drive, at a pretty reasonable price.

Razer Blade Stealth (13-inch, 2017)
Sarah Tew/CNET

The latest version of the Stealth takes a couple of big steps forward (and maybe one step back). The 2017 update to the Razer Blade Stealth now comes in an understated matte gray, and even the snake-head logo has been rendered in a subtle tone-on-tone contrast with the gray lid. No more neon green. Lost in the transition, however, is the multicolored lighting system, replaced by a simple white keyboard backlight.

The screen also gets a boost from 12.5 to 13.3 inches. The resolution on the new touch display actually drops from 4K (3,840×2,160) to a mere 3,200×1,800 pixels, which is more than enough for a 13-inch laptop and should help battery life.

The gray Stealth starts at $1,399, £1,349 or AU$2,199 for a seventh-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. A 13-inch MacBook Pro with the same specs, minus the touchscreen, comes out to $1,999, £1,899 or AU$2,999. Larger hard drives are the only step-up options offered and the configuration tested here had a 512GB SSD for a total of $1,599, £1,549 or AU$2,499.

Razer Blade Stealth (13-inch, 2017)Razer Blade Stealth (13-inch, 2017)

The Razer Blade Stealth next to a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Sarah Tew/CNET

And if you just absolutely, completely can’t live without the classic Razer multicolored Chroma keyboard, there’s some good news. You can get the same specs for the same price in the old black-and-green color scheme, with the full million-plus-color keyboard backlighting system. (Another option — a couple of configurations of last year’s 12.5-inch, 4K version are also for sale at a slight discount right now.) 

Razer Blade Stealth (13-inch, 2017)

Price as reviewed (US, UK, Australia) $1,599, £1,549, AU$2,499
Display size/resolution 13-inch, 3,200×1,800 touch display
CPU 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U
Memory 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz
Graphics 128MB Intel HD Graphics 620
Storage 512GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1
Operating system Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

A decolorized keyboard

The backlit keyboard was one of the most notable features of the Razer laptop line. Taking much of its DNA from the Chroma light features built into many of the company’s keyboards and other accessories, it offered a dazzling array of color options, taking millions of possible colors and arranging them in a series of patterns, from cool to distracting to just plain trippy.

And you can still get that rainbow effect in the black version of this laptop, but the more serious-looking gray version has only a white backlight. The intensity of the light is adjustable, as are parameters for turning it off or on depending on wall versus battery power, or when the laptop hits a certain percentage of battery life.