Razer Blade Stealth 13 (OLED) ReviewJanuary 31, 2021
Razer Blade Stealth 13 – Specs
Here are the specifications of the Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020) I’ve been testing:
- Model: Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020) (RZ09-0327)
- Display: 13.3-inch FHD OLED (1920 x 1080)
- Processor: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 2.8GHz (12M cache, 4.7GHz Max Turbo)
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti with Max-Q (4GB GDDR6)
- Memory: 16GB 3733Mhz DDR4
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- Storage: 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD
- Webcam: 720p, Windows Hello compliant
- Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
- Connectivity: WiFi 6 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.1
- Dimensions: 11.99 x 8.27 x 0.6-inches (WxDxH)
- Weight: 3.26-pounds
- Price: $1,999
Razer only offers two different builds of the late 2020 Blade Stealth 13. There’s the $1,999 model I’ve been testing with an OLED display, or the $1,799 120Hz model. Outside of the display differences, you’re getting the same exact build. In other words, you can save a bit of money and get a standard display with a faster refresh rate, or spend a little more and stick to a 60Hz display, but an OLED panel at that.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 – Design
The best way, I think, to describe the Blade Stealth’s design is to say that it’s understated. It’s effectively a matte black slab of glass, plastic, and aluminum. But it’s a very small black slab that has a premium feel to it that grows on you the longer you use it.
Even the typically neon green Razer logo is murdered out on this Stealth, and it looks fantastic. The only color, outside of the backlit keyboard, comes from the green inside two USB-A ports on either side of the deck. You know Razer was going to figure out a way to work that green in there somehow, right?
The Blade Stealth 13 measures 11.99 x 8.27 x 0.6-inches, keeping its title as one of the thinnest gaming laptops I’ve ever tested. To put that into perspective, Apple’s new M1 MacBook Pro (which uses the same design as the Intel version) measures 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61-inches. That’s right, the Blade Stealth 13 is ever-so-slightly thinner than the MacBook Pro.
To be fair, it weighs slightly more than the MacBook Pro, coming in at 3.26 pounds versus 3.00 pounds.
That roughly quarter of a pound difference isn’t likely to have a big impact on your daily use if you’re carrying it on a commute or around the house. It’s there, sure, but using both of those laptops side by side, I can’t really tell a difference in weight.
Under the lid is a black keyboard with single-zone RGB lighting and a touchpad below it. The display has slim bezels on either side, measuring just 4.9mm according to Razer. Along the top is a thicker bezel to make space for the 720p IR webcam that works with Windows Hello to unlock your PC using facial recognition.
On the left side, you’ll find one of the Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, a USB-A port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the opposite side, you’ll find another Thunderbolt 4 port, along with the other USB-A port.
Either Thunderbolt 4 port can be used to charge the laptop’s battery, leaving you with three available ports to connect accessories and peripherals. Indeed, it’s not a lot of ports to connect everything you’d likely want to game with, but that’s one of the tradeoffs for this type of design. At least it’s not left with just two ports like the new MacBook Pro, right?
The OLED panel is reflective, not matte like the Blade Stealth I previously reviewed, so reflections will be something you have to deal with. That said, I didn’t find them terribly overbearing or intrusive. The touchscreen portion of the display is something I tested, but only reluctantly. The display is gorgeous and the last thing I wanted to do was put my grimy fingerprints all over it. Alas, for testing purposes, I tapped and swiped on it and found no issues.
The keyboard is a joy to type on, with each keypress offering just enough feedback to let you know it’s been registered, and then the keys spring back into place. I do still wish the keyboard had individually lit keys, instead of one lighting zone. Another tradeoff for the smaller form factor, I’m sure. The touchpad below it is plenty responsive to gestures and clicks, but I do wish it was slightly bigger.
Razer has truly nailed the ultrabook design, even if it’s a tad reminiscent of a murdered out MacBook Pro.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 – Performance and Gaming
Tucked inside the Blade Stealth 13’s housing is an 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7, Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti with Max-Q GPU, 16GB 3,733Mhz RAM, and a 512GB SSD. That entire kit combines to provide enough horsepower for video and photo editing, as well as somewhat intense gaming sessions — as long as you’re open to adjusting your settings to accommodate.
Here are the benchmark results for the Blade Stealth 13 (late 2020) compared to a GTX 1650 and the Blade Stealth 13 I reviewed earlier this year.
As you can see, performance, overall, isn’t all that impressive. Yet another tradeoff you make for such a small design.
That said, as is usually the case, the benchmarks don’t paint a complete picture of the overall performance. While there were times when the Blade Stealth 13 seemed to hang or feel sluggish – particularly during initial setup while installing multiple games and updates – when it comes to gaming, the Blade Stealth 13 is more than capable of hitting 60 frames per second in most AAA games.
In fact, I was able to get 60 FPS in Warzone, and the new Call of Duty Black Ops. Of course, neither of those games were running at Ultra or even High settings, but at Medium settings, 60 FPS was within reach – respectable for the ultrabook form factor. And to be honest, I didn’t see much of a difference between even Medium or Low settings. I think that’s partly because of the OLED display.
I have a love hate relationship with OLED panels on gaming laptops. I love them because they look clear, crisp and the colors are bright and vibrant. I hate OLED displays because they make it really difficult to go back to a standard LCD display.
The speakers are found on both sides of the keyboard, and offer plenty of volume and depth, even when gaming. The fans, naturally, kicked on the moment I launched a game, but never got loud enough that I couldn’t hear what was happening in the game. In fact, I was a little surprised by how quiet the fans were overall.
As for the storage – 512GB isn’t a lot, so you’ll want to have an external drive for larger files in order to make room for games.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 – Battery life
I put the Blade Stealth through our standard battery benchmark test consisting of setting the display brightness to 50-percent, turning off the keyboard backlighting, and all extra wireless connections except Wi-Fi. I then ran PCMark 10’s Modern Office battery test, and it lasted 7 hours and 7 minutes before turning off.
That’s good enough for a near-top spot out of the gaming laptops we’ve tested this year, and nearly enough to get through a full day of use without needing to be plugged in.
Razer Blade Stealth 13 – Software
Razer makes it known that the company doesn’t preinstall any extra apps, services or bloatware on its products. And it’s true. Preinstalled on this Blade Stealth was Razer’s Synapse software that’s used to control the keyboard lighting, fan speed, and power modes.
Other than that, only what Windows includes in a standard Windows 10 installation is found on the Blade Stealth out of the box. It’s refreshing to not have to deal with uninstalling random crapware or antivirus programs on a $1,999 laptop.
As for Synapse, I still struggle with understanding how to properly use it. The tabs and categories along the top are simply confusing to me. If you’re a seasoned Razer user, you’ll feel right at home. However, if this is your first Razer product, there’s going to be a learning curve.