Razer Blade Stealth 13 (late 2019) full review

Ultrabooks are not made for gaming. Designing a PC that’s as slim and lightweight as possible is almost entirely at odds with building one that’s got the space for both high-spec components, and the thermal systems to keep them cool.

Nobody told Razer that.

The company has updated its Razer Blade Stealth 13 to throw in an Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card without adding any serious bulk. This won’t be the sort of graphical powerhouse that’ll tempt anyone away from a behemoth like the Alienware Area-51M, but it’ll push modern games to 60fps at decent settings - and for a 13in ultrabook that’s really something.#

The Blade Stealth 13 won our Best in Show award at IFA 2019. Find out what else won awards.

Price and availability

The new Razer Blade Stealth 13 isn’t out yet, but should be soon, and you can sign up for updates from Razer. The base model - which comes in white, and lacks the dedicated graphics card - is expected by the end of September and should cost £1499/$1499.

If you want the GTX 1650 GPU you’ll have to spend £1799/$1799 for an HD model or £1999/$1999 for a 4K touch display - either way you’ll have to wait until some time in October to grab it. The GTX models are also currently only available in black.

Check out our guide to the best gaming laptops to see how Razer's offering stacks up in the market.

Portable power

It’s been a long time since buying an ultrabook meant seriously compromising on performance, but even so the new Razer Blade Stealth 13 packs a lot more punch than you’d expect from a laptop this size.

Let’s start with the obvious: that graphics card. No, the GTX 1650 won’t let you play many games on ultra, but it is a proper gaming graphics card, and should be a considerable step up from the MX150 and MX250 GPUs that were as good as you could get in a 13in laptop until now.

The base model doesn’t include the GTX - it relies on the integrated Intel Iris Plus graphics instead - and has 256GB storage instead of 512GB, but every version comes with the same 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. The latter is a particularly welcome inclusion as some manufacturers are still trying to get by on just 4GB, which really isn’t enough these days.

Razer says that all of that will let you hit high settings on Forza Horizon 4 or mid settings on Wolfenstein: Youngblood, with either hitting a stable 60fps in full HD. I didn’t see Forza in action, but I did get a chance to see Wolfenstein running smoothly and on the strength of that, Razer’s performance claims seem to be legit.

Of course the real question is cooling. Sure, it can run Wolfenstein at 60fps - but for how long, and how hot will it get along the way? Razer didn’t share details about the cooling set-up, or how much it might have to throttle the core components to keep the Blade Stealth from overheating, but this would be a pretty good reason to wait until we’ve had the chance to fully test and review the laptop before you take the chance on buying one.

Seriously small

So just how compact is the Blade Stealth 13? While it’s ever so slightly bigger than it used to be - a whole 0.5mm thicker, bringing it to 15.3mm thick - this is still firmly in ultrabook territory.

The base model is just 1.32kg/2.92lbs - but throwing in the graphics card and 4K glass panel brings it up to 1.47kg/3.24lbs. That is, well, still incredibly light for what you’re getting here, and this is definitely the sort of laptop you won’t mind carrying around with you.

Slim bezels along the top and sides of the display help keep the laptop’s profile petite, though there’s a bit more space below the panel, which adds to the footprint. That at least leaves space for an expansive trackpad and full-size keyboard though.

The glass trackpad felt smooth and responsive, while the keyboard is unsurprisingly excellent, with short travel and a great spring to it - though the RGB lighting is single-zone rather than per-key, which is apparently a concession to battery life.

The cheaper two models rock a full HD matt display, while the 4K touch model uses glossier glass - all our IPS-style. I got to play around with the 4K version, which looked beautiful even in tricky tradeshow lighting, which deep blacks and vivid colour. Even so, for most people the HD panel will be the better bet unless you really want touch controls, as running games at 4K will probably tax the internals a little too much anyway.

Ports are respectable for the size - two USB-A, two USB-C (one with Thunderbolt 3, one for charging), and a headphone jack - while Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 6 mean the wireless connectivity is top notch too.

Early verdict

The Razer Blade Stealth 13 could be a phenomenal piece of kit for anyone who wants to game on the go - as long as it actually keeps up with Razer’s performance claims and doesn’t burn your lap in the process.

As with any Razer tech, the only other thing to pause over is the price, but for power like this you will have to pay.

Specs

Razer Blade Stealth 13 (late 2019): Specs

  • 13.3in FHD or 4K Touch IPS-level display
  • 10th gen Intel Core i7-1065G7
  • Intel Iris Plus graphics or Nvidia GTX 1650
  • 16GB RAM
  • 256/512GB PCI M.2 SSD
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 2 USB 3.0 port
  • 2 USB-C 3.1 port
  • stereo speakers
  • HD webcam
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • Single-zone RGB keyboard
  • 53.1 Wh lithium-ion battery non-removable
  • 305 x 210 x 15.3 mm
  • 1.32/1.39/1.47 kg