Review: Razer Guns For Mac Users With Stealth Notebook
Razer are mostly known for their gaming mice, keyboards and accessories but their newest addition to their Razer Blade notebook range, the Stealth, represents an interesting turn for the company.
It’s an attempt to take a stab outside the gaming niche they forged their brand with. More directly: the Stealth notebook is a move squarely aimed at the MacBook crowd. Picky power-users torn between the form-factor of an Apple notebook and the familiar functionality of Windows 10.
That form factor was very much the first thing that struck me about the Stealth. Like the Apple laptops it’s aiming to displace, it strikes a great balance feeling lightweight to hold but solid enough that it doesn’t feel like it’ll break apart at the smallest tumble. This imitation even continues to the Stealth’s slick cover, which features a backlit Razer logo.
Again, reminiscent of older Macbooks, the cover of the Stealth features a stylish dark matte finish. However, despite this, the notebook’s cover ended up feeling like a magnet for smudges and scratches in a way that came close to eclipsing any aesthetic benefits yielded by the sheen. A fear of defacing the smooth surface haunted me from pretty much the second the Razer Stealth left the packaging.
Moving under the cover, it should come as little surprise that the keyboard proves one of the standout components of the Razer Blade Stealth. Incorporating the tech from their Chroma keyboard range, it manages to prove both engaging to look at, use and customise. The base of the notebook helped keep keystrokes feeling heavy – lending them a satisfying weight – and the backlighting allowed for plenty of customisation options.
Unfortunately, as a result of these strengths, the touchpad feels surprisingly finicky in comparison. It’s not always as responsive as you need it to be. Of course, the ideal setup involved you using it with one of Razer’s tactile mice. The Stealth’s display does come equipped with multitouch capacities, however, so that’s always an alternate option.
In fact, the display is probably the second-greatest feature the Stealth is packing. Despite the 12.5-inch screen occasionally feeling a little cramped, it’s as bright and responsive as its Apple counterparts – featuring both UHD and 4K. In fact, it’s bright enough that it came across is pretty clear in almost all the environments we tested it in. However, that versatility is ultimately stifled by the Stealth’s biggest weakness: battery life.
The Stealth’s superb performance (courtesy of an Intel i7 processor) and crisp display are undeniably compelling but the price you pay for them is always felt. There’s a lot to like here – but it comes with some pretty major limitations that hold it back from reaching its potential.
The Razer Blade Stealth has been designed for use with Razer’s ‘Core’ accessory – an additional product that allows you to connect an external graphics processing unit for games. This conceit means that the Stealth is packing pretty much everything it needs for gaming sans a capable graphics card. As a result, the battery life here lasts around five or six hours at best and closer to three at worst. As you’d expect, it very much depends on how you the machine.
Unless we’re talking about indies or last-gen titles, the Razer Blade Stealth doesn’t quite cut it for gaming (at-least on its own) and when it comes to using it for more everyday purposes, it feels very pinned down by the battery life.
The concept of using the Razor Core to bump the graphics capabilities of the machine up is a promising one but one that’s hard to evaluate in a technical sense. The Stealth is already a pretty pricey proposition and stacking a Core and GPU on top of that derails the sense of value here.
As a result, you’re pretty much left with a notebook which tries to do justice to both gaming and everyday user. As a result, it comes off as only a little above average very good for either – at least without investing in a Core and sacrificing portability entirely.
There are definite areas where the Razer Blade Stealth hits things out of the park – but on the whole it falls short of the slam dunk it probably needs to be. Still, there’s plenty to like here and if you’re looking for a premium notebook experience it’s well worth a look.
The Razer Blade Stealth retails for an RRP of $1549