Over the past couple of years, the Razer Blade Stealth has caught our eye as one of the most attractive ultraportable Windows laptops on the market. While not the most affordable metal unibody laptop you can get, Razer has historically included top-end hardware to go with their top-end design, leaving buyers with a great product.
For 2018, Razer has updated the Blade Stealth, and while the design isn’t overhauled in this improved version, we are getting Kaby Lake Refresh CPUs inside. Here, the Core i7-8550U is standard, bringing significantly improved performance thanks to the jump to four cores and eight threads. It’s a chip we’ve covered in detail before with more than one flagship thin and light sporting it already.
The battery capacity remains at 53.6 Wh, however with the new processor inside we may see a few changes to battery life. Razer also bumped the memory speed from LPDDR3-1866 up to LPDDR3-2133, at the same 16GB capacity.
Every other aspect to the hardware is the same, including the 13.3-inch 3200x1800 IGZO LCD, Killer networking gear and SSD options that range from 256GB to 1TB.
There are some very minor changes to the laptop’s dimensions, but they fall into the sub-1mm range and the weight is basically unchanged. As a result, the beautiful metal chassis is nearly identical to the version I reviewed back in September, so for my full thoughts on this design, check that review.
As a quick recap, the metal unibody construction is solid, well built and looks stunning, particularly with the slimmer bezel that was new for 2017. The black model looks fantastic, but there’s also now a gunmetal grey option that’s equally as awesome, and perhaps a tad more stealthy.
I/O has always been a key selling point of the Blade Stealth, so this new model doesn’t change anything. You still get Thunderbolt 3 and a full-sided HDMI port, along with two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone jack. That’s pretty much all you need, and the laptop charges via USB-C for added convenience.
There has been no change to the individually RGB LED backlit keyboard or the touchpad, and both remain very good on this laptop. The trackpad in particular is one of the best I’ve used in a ultraportable: it works so well and feels great to use.
The display is also the same, I did retest this unit just to make sure, but nothing new to report aside from some minor adjustments to white balance and gamma correction. The display is still very good as a result, and I love how the 3200x1800 high-resolution option is now standard.
Before digging further into the Blade Stealth’s performance, I wanted to briefly mention price because the newest Blade Stealth has launched at $100 more than the last-gen model, moving from $1400 to $1500 for a Core i7, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
Considering the new CPU only costs OEMs a few dollars more than the old one, this seems a little unreasonable, however it is still cheaper than equivalent high-end laptops like the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre. Unlike these systems from Dell and HP, Razer doesn’t have an ‘entry-level model’, hence the higher base price.