Notebookcheck

Razer Blade Stealth Subnotebook Review

Allen Ngo, 02/29/2016

Extra sharp. Razer has honed its ultra-thin design philosophy even further to provide the sleekest 12.5-inch Ultrabook yet for just under $1000 USD. It's a genuinely compact notebook from a gaming-centric company that even non-gamers will want to consider purchasing.

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The 12.5-inch Razer Blade Stealth is the company's third notebook form factor following on the footsteps of the 14-inch Blade 14 and 17.3-inch Blade 17 Pro. As expected, it borrows heavily from its bigger siblings in terms of design philosophy for an ultrathin chassis without necessarily sacrificing quality.

In what can be considered an unexpected move from a company that markets largely towards gamers, the Blade Stealth lacks dedicated GPU options and comes equipped with a ULV Core i7-6500U CPU and integrated HD 520 GPU across all SKUs. Thus, the notebook is clearly aimed at the general subnotebook category alongside competitors like the recent MacBook 12 or XPS 13 and even convertibles like the Yoga 900 or Spectre x360 13. This also prevents any market overlap between the Blade Stealth and gaming-centric Blade 14 while opening up to a potentially wider audience.

The Blade Stealth starts at $999 with a QHD (2560 x 1440) panel and 128 GB SSD. Our test model is the higher-end SKU with a 4K (3840 x 2160) panel and 256 GB SSD. It's worth noting that the only differences between the current four SKUs are the display and storage size - everything else (including the 8 GB RAM and individually backlit keys) is identical.

Razer Blade Stealth (Blade Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 520, 20.19.15.4331
Memory
8192 MB 
, 930.6 MHz, 14-17-17-28, Dual-Channel, DDR3
Display
12.5 inch 16:9, 3840x2160 pixel, Capacitive, IPS IGZO, ID: Sharp SHP144D, Name: LQ125D1JW33, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Skylake PCH-H High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Ambient light
Networking
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 13.1 x 321 x 206 ( = 0.52 x 12.64 x 8.11 in)
Battery
45 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Primary Camera: 2 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Razer sticker, Cleaning cloth, Quick Start guide, Razer Synapse, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.28 kg ( = 45.15 oz / 2.82 pounds), Power Supply: 260 g ( = 9.17 oz / 0.57 pounds)
Price
1200 USD

 

Case

We can rave for paragraphs about how ludicrously thin and sleek the Blade Stealth is, but we're not here to shower it with praise for the sake of advertisement. More importantly, we want to know how the sharp metal chassis and smooth matte surfaces hold up against twists and depressions. Both the base and display are more rigid than what their thin builds would otherwise suggest. It takes a moderate amount of force to visibly twist the base and even more to cause slight creaking, so owners need not worry about having a cheaply made chassis. Pushing down on the center of the keyboard with a moderate amount of force will warp it just slightly.

The display exhibits excellent rigidity due to its wide hinge, small size, metal lid, and glass touchscreen. While the jet black chassis gives the impression of a unibody design, the hinge is actually plastic and consequently houses the antenna for the WLAN module. Nonetheless, the bar hinge is sufficiently tight and with no display rocking all the way up to its maximum angle of roughly 150 degrees.

When compared to other notebooks of similar size, the 12.5-inch Razer is just as thin as the 12.0-inch MacBook 12 while having a larger footprint than both the Apple and the recently released 13.3-inch XPS 13 9350. There's no denying that the Blade Stealth has quite the wide display bezel at about 23 mm compared to just 7 mm on the XPS 13, so it's unsurprising that it can be as long and wide as some 13.3-inch notebooks. Razer tells us that the larger dimensions are necessary in order to properly integrate the high-end touchscreen. Nonetheless, the Blade Stealth is naturally portable and lighter than the MacBook Pro Retina 13 (1.6 kg vs 1.3 kg). The 12.5-inch EliteBook Folio 1020 is slightly lighter (1.2 kg vs. 1.3 kg) due in part to its weaker hardware.

Connectivity

Ports are limited, of course, but we appreciate the fact that the system ships with USB Type-C Gen. 2 instead of Gen. 1 like on the MacBook 12. This means that the Blade Stealth supports Thunderbolt 3 natively for a wide array of extensions provided that you have the adapters for it. This same port handles charging as well, so connecting various USB Type-C accessories may prevent the system from running on mains.

The system lacks a SD reader of any kind just like on the Blade 14. This is compared to the 12.5-inch EliteBook Folio 1020, which manages to at least integrate a MicroSD reader.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4
Right: USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Left: USB Type-C Gen. 2, USB 3.0, 3.5 mm audio
Left: USB Type-C Gen. 2, USB 3.0, 3.5 mm audio

Communication

The dual-band M.2 Killer Wireless-ac 1535 WLAN card provides theoretical transfer rates of of up to 867 Mbps with integrated Bluetooth 4.1. We experienced no connectivity or unexpected dropout issues during our time with the test unit. There are unfortunately no WWAN options, which would have made the Blade Stealth an even better travel companion.

Accessories

Included extras are almost non-existent outside of the power adapter, Razer sticker, Quick Start guide, and small cleaning cloth. USB-to-RJ45 and other adapters would have been a neat addition like on the Asus Zenbooks or even a small carrying case like on the Spectre x360 13.

Razer offers a wide range of branded accessories, though most (if not all) do not yet make use of the USB Type-C port.

Maintenance

The bottom panel pops out surprisingly easily with just a single T5 Hex screwdriver. Users are granted direct access to the CPU, fans, M.2 2280 SSD, battery, and M.2 2230 WLAN card. The RAM modules are soldered and non-upgradeable.

Warranty

Manufacturer warranty is 12 months with the option to extend for a total of 24 months. It's worth noting that Gigabyte offers 24 months as its global standard as do a number of resellers in the United States.

Easy access to internals via just 8 screws
Easy access to internals via just 8 screws

Input Devices

Keyboard

Razer is one of the first (alongside Lenovo and Aorus) to launch a notebook with individually backlit keys. Thus, the feature is a unique aesthetic selling point for the Blade Stealth as the lighting effects and colors (16.8 million per key) are unlike anything currently available in this form factor.

Aside from the admittedly fun Chroma features, the keyboard is functionally standard fare with no dedicated auxiliary keys and unfortunately half-sized Arrow keys. Furthermore, secondary key functions (with either fn or Shift) do not light up, so keys for brightness control, volume control, and others can be difficult to see.

As for tactility and feedback, the keys provide very shallow travel even for a notebook this size. This is especially true when compared to the XPS 13 where the keys protrude higher, have deeper travel, and with a firmer and quieter feedback. While the typing experience is far from bad, it is very light and a step below most other Ultrabooks in terms of comfort.

Touchpad

The smooth plastic touchpad (10.5 x 6.5 cm) provides ample surface area for scrolling and multi-touch gestures. It is, however, ever so slightly smaller than the touchpad on the MacBook 12 while being larger than on the EliteBook Folio 1020. The Synaptics software can recognize up to four fingers and we experienced no major issues with movements or inputs with the touchpad surface.

The two integrated mouse keys on the bottom half of the touchpad are shallow in travel as expected, but with satisfactorily firm feedback and auditory clicks. The center of the bottom edge is more difficult to press in order to better separate the left and right keys. Still, we find it easier and more accurate to simply double-tap on the touchpad to click.

Standard keyboard with no dedicated auxiliary keys
Standard keyboard with no dedicated auxiliary keys
Very shallow travel
Very shallow travel
Color code each and every key to fit your style or application. Note that the secondary key icons do not light up.
Color code each and every key to fit your style or application. Note that the secondary key icons do not light up.
Discussion

Display

4K resolution (3840 x 2160) on a 12.5-inch panel is absolutely insane in the best and worst ways possible. Its PPI of 352.5 is one of the densest for its notebook size class. Razer is promising 100 percent AdobeRGB coverage (or 70 percent for the QHD SKU) and our own measurements show contrast levels deeper than 1000:1 with a brighter backlight than many of its competitors. Combine this with the mandatory touchscreen option and almost no uneven backlight bleeding and it becomes obvious that Razer has put in a lot of effort into providing a high-class display.

A quick search for its Sharp LQ125D1JW33 panel shows that the same (or at leasy very similar) IGZO panel is also used on the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 P20W. The drawback to such a dense pixel count is that while Windows will generally scale correctly, there will always be a handful of applications that do not and will appear incredibly small onscreen as a result.

Essentially no uneven backlight bleeding
Essentially no uneven backlight bleeding
Standard RGB subpixel array
Standard RGB subpixel array
390.2
cd/m²
383.9
cd/m²
396.6
cd/m²
401.7
cd/m²
415
cd/m²
403.9
cd/m²
406.7
cd/m²
405
cd/m²
388.3
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 415 cd/m² Average: 399 cd/m² Minimum: 14 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 93 %
Center on Battery: 415 cd/m²
Contrast: 1343:1 (Black: 0.309 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.78 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 3.38 | - Ø
99.3% sRGB (Argyll) 85.1% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.23
Razer Blade Stealth
12.5, 3840x2160
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
13.3, 3200x1800
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
13.3, 3200x1800
HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1
12.5, 2560x1440
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
12.0, 2304x1440
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-DH74T
13.3, 3200x1800
Response Times
29%
40%
18%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
63.2
40
37%
38.8
39%
44.4
30%
Response Time Black / White *
38
30
21%
22.4
41%
36
5%
PWM Frequency
4900
1316
1389
Screen
-12%
-32%
-10%
3%
-58%
Brightness
399
281
-30%
302
-24%
297
-26%
325
-19%
270
-32%
Brightness Distribution
93
90
-3%
88
-5%
80
-14%
90
-3%
84
-10%
Black Level *
0.309
0.18
42%
0.835
-170%
0.3141
-2%
0.324
-5%
0.954
-209%
Contrast
1343
1583
18%
383
-71%
974
-27%
1065
-21%
305
-77%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.78
4.89
-29%
2.68
29%
3.01
20%
1.62
57%
4.63
-22%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
3.38
5.16
-53%
2.35
30%
3.13
7%
1.88
44%
5.65
-67%
Gamma
2.23 108%
2.15 112%
2.09 115%
2.33 103%
2.55 94%
2.16 111%
CCT
7329 89%
7106 91%
6975 93%
6484 100%
6411 101%
6320 103%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
85.1
59
-31%
57
-33%
62
-27%
61.8
-27%
55.2
-35%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99.3
93
-6%
88
-11%
95.5
-4%
85.2
-14%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
9% / -3%
4% / -18%
-10% / -10%
3% / 3%
-20% / -43%

* ... smaller is better

Our own measurements with an X-Rite spectrophotometer reveal an AdobeRGB and sRGB coverage of 85 percent and 99 percent, respectively. The manufacturer claims 100 percent AdobeRGB coverage with the Sharp IGZO IPS panel, but the gamut itself is off-centered at least according to the ICM profile produced by our spectrophotometer. Thus, measured coverage is less than advertised.

Colors are still incredibly deep with a wider gamut than the displays on most (if not all) consumer subnotebooks. The Blade Stealth rivals panels found on larger high-end mobile workstations such as those from the HP ZBook series or custom panels on certain Clevo barebones.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. Apple MacBook 12 Retina
vs. Apple MacBook 12 Retina
vs. Dell XPS 13 9350 QHD+
vs. Dell XPS 13 9350 QHD+

Further display analyses show good grayscale and excellent AdobeRGB coverage. A quick calibration is recommended to both improve grayscale and color accuracy even further. The display appears to be slightly less accurate when representing lighter colors than deeper colors out-of-the-box.

Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Grayscale post calibration
ColorChecker AdobeRGB
ColorChecker AdobeRGB
Saturation Sweeps AdobeRGB
Saturation Sweeps AdobeRGB

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
38 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 8 ms rise
↘ 30 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 93 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (27.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
63.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 27.6 ms rise
↘ 35.6 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 250 (maximum) ms. » 94 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (42.7 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 59 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 489 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 10420) Hz was measured.

Working outdoors under shade is not difficult due to the bright backlight and IPS panel. In fact, the Blade Stealth is probably the best glossy consumer notebook for use outdoors if viewability is a top concern. The backlight is not powerful enough to overcome direct sunlight, however, so eyestrain can still occur under such conditions.

Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz
Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz

All current Blade Stealth SKUs make use of a dual-core Core i7-6500U CPU with integrated HD 520 graphics. This ULV Skylake processor is becoming very popular on the latest Ultrabooks and convertibles including the XPS 13, Envy 13, Yoga 900, and ZenBook UX303. In the Razer, the Intel core can run as low as 500 MHz in Power Saver mode all the way up to 3.1 GHz for single-threaded operations.

RAM is fixed at 8 GB DRR3 dual-channel with no options for DDR4 or even 16 GB.

 

Processor

Raw processor performance according to CineBench benchmarks is roughly 10 to 15 percent behind the Core i7-6650U in the high-end Surface Pro 4 tablet. The processor also shows healthy leads over the previous generation i5-5200U Broadwell core and especially the i5-4200U Haswell core. Standard voltage processors still show significant leads over the i7-6500U including older quad-core models like the i7-4700HQ.

An important distinction between the Blade Stealth and the MacBook 12 is that the latter is limited to weaker Core M class CPUs of much lower TDP. Thus, Razer shows even more significant gains over Apple in terms of raw CPU performance.

More comparisons and benchmarks on the Core i7-6500U can be found on our dedicated CPU page.

CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R10 32-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
115 Points ∼62%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
125 Points ∼68% +9%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
132 Points ∼71% +15%
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
113 Points ∼61% -2%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
91 Points ∼49% -21%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
99 Points ∼54% -14%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256 (OS X)
98 Points ∼53% -15%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256 (Windows 8.1)
98 Points ∼53% -15%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
293 Points ∼19%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
490 Points ∼32% +67%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
342 Points ∼22% +17%
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
291 Points ∼19% -1%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
257 Points ∼17% -12%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
223 Points ∼14% -24%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256 (Windows 8.1)
211 Points ∼14% -28%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256 (OS X)
205 Points ∼13% -30%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
1.33 Points ∼5%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
1.46 Points ∼5% +10%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
1.51 Points ∼6% +14%
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
1.15 Points ∼4% -14%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
1.03 Points ∼4% -23%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.14 Points ∼4% -14%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256 (Windows 8.1)
1.15 Points ∼4% -14%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256 (OS X)
1.02 Points ∼4% -23%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
3.42 Points ∼5%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
5.29 Points ∼7% +55%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
3.8 Points ∼5% +11%
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
1.75 Points ∼2% -49%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
2.83 Points ∼4% -17%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2.49 Points ∼3% -27%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256 (Windows 8.1)
2.3 Points ∼3% -33%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256 (OS X)
2.09 Points ∼3% -39%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
4816 Points ∼68%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
4999 Points ∼71% +4%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
5223 Points ∼74% +8%
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
4339 Points ∼62% -10%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
4168 Points ∼59% -13%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3725 Points ∼53% -23%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256
3668 Points ∼52% -24%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
10347 Points ∼30%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
14329 Points ∼41% +38%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
11564 Points ∼33% +12%
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
1810 Points ∼5% -83%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
6550 Points ∼19% -37%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
7580 Points ∼22% -27%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256
7846 Points ∼23% -24%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
481.807 s * ∼6%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
323 s * ∼4% +33%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
445.593 s * ∼5% +8%
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
530.237 s * ∼6% -10%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
567.765 s * ∼7% -18%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
790 s * ∼9% -64%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
675.153 Seconds * ∼3%
Lenovo IdeaPad Y50
GeForce GTX 860M, 4700HQ, Western Digital WD10S21X SSHD 1TB + 8GB SSD-Cache
569.349 Seconds * ∼3% +16%
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Core i7
Iris Graphics 540, 6650U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
612.745 Seconds * ∼3% +9%
HP Spectre x360 15-ap011dx
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
715.051 Seconds * ∼3% -6%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
818.369 Seconds * ∼4% -21%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
849 Seconds * ∼4% -26%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256
998.058 Seconds * ∼4% -48%

* ... smaller is better

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
7994
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
10347
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4816
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
35.7 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.42 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.33 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
36.6 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
293 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
115 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark benchmarks rank the Blade Stealth in the same ballpark as its SSD-based 13-inch competitors. The EliteBook Folio 1020 falls behind by more than a few steps due to the much weaker Core M CPU.

We experienced no hardware or software issues specific to the notebook during our time with the test unit.

PCMark 7
PCMark 7
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
5197 Points ∼65%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
5672 Points ∼70% +9%
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
5478 Points ∼68% +5%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-DH74T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, CUK Cyclone SSD 1TB
5135 Points ∼64% -1%
HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y51, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
4045 Points ∼50% -22%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
3603 Points ∼59%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
3438 Points ∼56% -5%
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
3863 Points ∼63% +7%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-DH74T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, CUK Cyclone SSD 1TB
3862 Points ∼63% +7%
HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y51, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
3217 Points ∼53% -11%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256
3488 Points ∼57% -3%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
3795 Points ∼44%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
4470 Points ∼52% +18%
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
3709 Points ∼43% -2%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-DH74T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, CUK Cyclone SSD 1TB
3837 Points ∼45% +1%
HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y51, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
2644 Points ∼31% -30%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256
3276 Points ∼38% -14%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
2868 Points ∼51%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
2928 Points ∼52% +2%
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
2837 Points ∼50% -1%
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-DH74T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, CUK Cyclone SSD 1TB
2918 Points ∼51% +2%
HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y51, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
2191 Points ∼39% -24%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256
2671 Points ∼47% -7%
PCMark 7 Score
5197 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2868 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3795 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3603 points
Help

Storage Devices

A single M.2 slot is available with no options for secondary storage. Our unit is equipped with a 256 GB Samsung MZVLV256 NVMe SSD that easily outperforms SATA III-based SSDs found in most other competitors. Sequential write speeds, however, are rather average at just under 300 MB/s. The 512 GB NVMe SSD in the Dell XPS 13 offers nearly double the write rates of the Razer and generally better performance across the board.

See our table of SSDs and HDDs for additional benchmarks and comparisons.

CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark
AS SSD
AS SSD
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
Transfer Rate Minimum: 617.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 923.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 840.7 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 157.9 MB/s
CPU Usage: 6.9 %
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y51, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-DH74T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, CUK Cyclone SSD 1TB
AS SSD
64%
-12%
-46%
-48%
-31%
Copy Game MB/s
289.17
752.57
160%
298.73
3%
176.73
-39%
392.83
36%
Copy Program MB/s
224.27
271.82
21%
249.62
11%
158.29
-29%
233.66
4%
Copy ISO MB/s
304.03
1040.98
242%
364.49
20%
258.73
-15%
464.34
53%
382.51
26%
Score Total
1898
3158
66%
1129
-41%
931
-51%
1556
-18%
882
-54%
Score Write
418
664
59%
429
3%
275
-34%
168
-60%
373
-11%
Score Read
1010
1679
66%
458
-55%
438
-57%
927
-8%
333
-67%
Access Time Write *
0.034
0.031
9%
0.039
-15%
0.044
-29%
0.051
-50%
Access Time Read *
0.055
0.046
16%
0.054
2%
0.137
-149%
0.228
-315%
0.14
-155%
4K-64 Write
280.81
492.01
75%
302.97
8%
174.05
-38%
94.44
-66%
261.11
-7%
4K-64 Read
834.66
1496.74
79%
374.84
-55%
361.11
-57%
838.02
0%
256.89
-69%
4K Write
108.09
116.49
8%
80.56
-25%
77.89
-28%
26.26
-76%
71.32
-34%
4K Read
38.03
38.29
1%
32.29
-15%
26.13
-31%
17.55
-54%
25.99
-32%
Seq Write
295.04
559.47
90%
454.57
54%
229.53
-22%
475.84
61%
409.84
39%
Seq Read
1371
1442.49
5%
504.97
-63%
507.39
-63%
716.29
-48%
504.52
-63%

* ... smaller is better

GPU Performance

Raw graphics performance according to 3DMark benchmarks is slightly above the HD Graphics 5600 and well below the Iris Graphics 540, which is exactly where we expect the HD Graphics 520 to be. Mainstream Nvidia GPUs from the 800M or 900M series will still outperform the integrated Intel solution found on the Blade Stealth.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Unlimited
Ice Storm Unlimited
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
1334 Points ∼3%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
1898 Points ∼4% +42%
MSI GT72
HD Graphics 5600, 5700HQ
1431 Points ∼3% +7%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 20DK002EPB
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
1023 Points ∼2% -23%
Fujitsu LifeBook E554
HD Graphics 4600, 4210M, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
912 Points ∼2% -32%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
868 Points ∼2% -35%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
1504 Points ∼6%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
2039 Points ∼8% +36%
MSI GT72
HD Graphics 5600, 5700HQ
1651 Points ∼7% +10%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 20DK002EPB
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
1162 Points ∼5% -23%
Fujitsu LifeBook E554
HD Graphics 4600, 4210M, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
1040 Points ∼4% -31%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
988 Points ∼4% -34%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
4792 Points ∼29%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
5064 Points ∼31% +6%
MSI GT72
HD Graphics 5600, 5700HQ
9263 Points ∼56% +93%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 20DK002EPB
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
4963 Points ∼30% +4%
Fujitsu LifeBook E554
HD Graphics 4600, 4210M, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
4482 Points ∼27% -6%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
4017 Points ∼24% -16%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
864 Points ∼2%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
1193 Points ∼3% +38%
MSI GT72
HD Graphics 5600, 5700HQ
991 Points ∼3% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 20DK002EPB
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
781 Points ∼2% -10%
Fujitsu LifeBook E554
HD Graphics 4600, 4210M, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
708 Points ∼2% -18%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
710 Points ∼2% -18%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
816 Points ∼3%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
1114 Points ∼5% +37%
MSI GT72
HD Graphics 5600, 5700HQ
944 Points ∼4% +16%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 20DK002EPB
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
732 Points ∼3% -10%
Fujitsu LifeBook E554
HD Graphics 4600, 4210M, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
653 Points ∼3% -20%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
632 Points ∼3% -23%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
3367 Points ∼9%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
3379 Points ∼9% 0%
MSI GT72
HD Graphics 5600, 5700HQ
6720 Points ∼17% +100%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 20DK002EPB
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
3501 Points ∼9% +4%
Fujitsu LifeBook E554
HD Graphics 4600, 4210M, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
3149 Points ∼8% -6%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
2812 Points ∼7% -16%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
6151 Points ∼4%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
9392 Points ∼6% +53%
MSI GT72
HD Graphics 5600, 5700HQ
7757 Points ∼5% +26%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 20DK002EPB
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
6511 Points ∼4% +6%
Fujitsu LifeBook E554
HD Graphics 4600, 4210M, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
6374 Points ∼4% +4%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
5971 Points ∼4% -3%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
5196 Points ∼14%
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe 512 GB
6730 Points ∼18% +30%
MSI GT72
HD Graphics 5600, 5700HQ
7499 Points ∼20% +44%
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 20DK002EPB
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
5466 Points ∼15% +5%
Fujitsu LifeBook E554
HD Graphics 4600, 4210M, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
5192 Points ∼14% 0%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
4778 Points ∼13% -8%
3DMark 11 Performance
1504 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
42940 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
5196 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
816 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
369 points
Help

Gaming Performance

Gaming options will be limited to less demanding titles as the Blade Stealth is not a gaming machine. Newer or more intensive titles are essentially unplayable on even the lowest of graphical settings let alone anything on the native QHD or 4K resolution. If your gaming habits consist of LoL, DotA 2, or Starcraft II, however, then the integrated Intel graphics will be satisfactory on lower 1080p settings.

See our dedicated GPU page on the HD Graphics 520 for more benchmarks and comparisons.

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
1366x768 High AA:on
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
74.2 fps ∼43% +136%
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
31.4 fps ∼18%
Asus Q302LA-BHI
HD Graphics 4400, 4030U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
23 fps ∼13% -27%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
21.3 fps ∼12% -32%
1366x768 Medium
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
Maxwell GPU (940M, GDDR5), 6300U, Samsung MZFLV256 NVMe
141.2 fps ∼87% +143%
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
58 fps ∼36%
Asus Q302LA-BHI
HD Graphics 4400, 4030U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
42 fps ∼26% -28%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
36.2 fps ∼22% -38%
low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 6835.123.5fps
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013) 171.95831.417.6fps
Thief (2014) 25.315fps

Stress Test

Thin notebooks tend to be more sensitive to throttling issues. The Blade Stealth exhibits higher core temperatures than usual when under high loads at 80 C or above to better maintain Turbo Boost for both the CPU and GPU. Unigine Heaven stress, for example, sees the GPU maintaining a steady clock rate of 1000 MHz whilst the CPU fluctuates with an almost always active Turbo Boost. Users will not need to worry about performance throttling when running intensive applications other than certain benchmarks with unrealistic loads. Prime95+FurMark, for example, will cause the CPU to reach 90 C before throttling kicks in to prevent even higher temperatures.

Running on battery power will not reduce CPU or GPU performance. A 3DMark 11 run on batteries produced Physics and Graphics scores of 4325 points and 1377 points, respectively, compared to 4373 points and 1334 points when on mains.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Prime95+FurMark stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Stable Clock Rates and Temperatures Under Stress
CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Average Core Temperature (C)
Prime95 Stress 2.8 -- 80 - 85
FurMark Stress -- 900 83
Prime95 + FurMark Stress 1.4 800 - 850 83
Unigine Heaven Stress 2.4 - 3.0 1000 79

Emissions

System Noise

Twin fans spinning in opposite directions and two asymmetric heat pipes make up the cooling system for the Blade Stealth. While larger than expected, this was likely necessarily to reduce the chances of throttling as a single fan solution (like on the XPS 13 or Spectre x360 13) probably proved insufficient based on the already high core temperatures in our stress test section.

The fans never idle, but are nonetheless almost inaudible when browsing or during low loads. Heavier loads like Unigine Heaven will bump fan noise only slightly to a measured 33.1 dB(A) while maximum load with Prime95+FurMark will bump the fans to 34 dB(A). The fans can be even louder up to almost 39 dB(A), but this is only temporary with Prime95+FurMark before CPU throttling kicks in to reduce heat output and fan speed down to the 33 dB(A) range. In general, fan noise is low no matter the real-world workload despite the superthin build.

Some alternatives like the MacBook 12 and EliteBook Folio 1020 G1 have no active cooling with weaker processor options to compensate.

We were able to notice very slight coil noise (electronic whining) only when connected to mains. This may or may not be specific to our test unit and some users may not notice the high-pitched noise.

Dual 40 mm fans
Dual 40 mm fans
Generally low fan noise (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: Unigine Heaven, Green: Prime95+FurMark)
Generally low fan noise (White: Background, Red: System idle, Blue: Unigine Heaven, Green: Prime95+FurMark)
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 P20W-C-106
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN256HCHP
Acer Aspire R13 R7-372T
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, 2x Hynix HFS128G39MND M.2 (RAID 0)
Noise
-6%
-0%
-6%
-13%
-9%
Idle Minimum *
29.3
31.8
-9%
29.7
-1%
31.5
-8%
32.5
-11%
31.5
-8%
Idle Average *
29.3
31.8
-9%
29.8
-2%
31.5
-8%
32.6
-11%
31.5
-8%
Idle Maximum *
29.3
34.8
-19%
30
-2%
31.5
-8%
32.6
-11%
31.7
-8%
Load Average *
33.1
34.8
-5%
32
3%
35.9
-8%
41
-24%
39.7
-20%
Load Maximum *
38.8
34.8
10%
38.5
1%
38.2
2%
41
-6%
39.4
-2%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
29.3 / 29.3 / 29.3 dB(A)
Load
33.1 / 38.8 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 28.9 dB(A)

Temperature

Surface temperatures when idling are generally cool with noticeable hot spots directly adjacent to the heat pipes and CPU on both sides of the notebook. Due to the positioning of the cooling system and processor, the left half of the notebook will always feel warmer than the right half. The delta is fortunately never large enough to be uncomfortable during everyday use.

When under unrealistic maximum loads (Prime95+FurMark), we were able to record surface temperatures reaching over 55 C on the bottom surface closest to the processor. The physically smaller XPS 13 is even warmer under the same extreme conditions while others like the Yoga 900, EliteBook Folio 1020, Satellite Radius 12, and MacBook 12 all manage to stay under 50 C at all times.

Power Saver (Top)
Power Saver (Top)
Power Saver (Bottom)
Power Saver (Bottom)
Prime95+FurMark (Top)
Prime95+FurMark (Top)
Prime95+FurMark (Bottom)
Prime95+FurMark (Bottom)
Max. Load
 47.1 °C40.3 °C35.8 °C 
 38.2 °C35.6 °C31.1 °C 
 35.6 °C32.2 °C32 °C 
Maximum: 47.1 °C
Average: 36.4 °C
37 °C44.1 °C55.4 °C
34.8 °C39.2 °C40.8 °C
33.9 °C36.5 °C37.7 °C
Maximum: 55.4 °C
Average: 39.9 °C
Power Supply (max.)  60.4 °C | Room Temperature 22 °C | FLIR One

Speakers

Very weak bass reproduction (Yellow: Background, White: White noise, Pink: Pink noise)
Very weak bass reproduction (Yellow: Background, White: White noise, Pink: Pink noise)

The stereo front-facing speakers are sufficient for audio playback considering the size of the unit. However, quality is ordinary and nothing special with measurements showing a clear lack of bass. Louder volume settings will not introduce any unattended static. Maximum volume is softer compared to larger notebooks, but will be more than satisfactory for the sole user.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Power draw (with keyboard backlight disabled) is noticeably more demanding than other notebooks in the same category in almost all tested conditions. This may simply be due to the denser screen or the system's better Turbo Boost resilience under stressful conditions. The Zenbook UX303UB draws more power under load than the Blade Stealth since it carries a dedicated Nvidia GPU.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.14 / 1.9 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 9 / 12.8 / 16.8 Watt
Load midlight 35.7 / 39.3 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y51, Samsung PM851 Series MZMTE256HMHP
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 5300, 5Y31, Apple SSD AP0256
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
GeForce 940M, 6500U, Micron M600 MTFDDAK512MBF
Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core i5, 128GB
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung MZFLV128 NVMe
Power Consumption
23%
55%
55%
17%
42%
Idle Minimum *
9
6.8
24%
3.4
62%
1.7
81%
3.2
64%
4.4
51%
Idle Average *
12.8
10
22%
6.7
48%
5.3
59%
7.6
41%
9
30%
Idle Maximum *
16.8
10.5
37%
7.5
55%
6
64%
8
52%
10.7
36%
Load Average *
35.7
30.2
15%
14.6
59%
18.5
48%
47
-32%
19.6
45%
Load Maximum *
39.3
33.6
15%
18.4
53%
29.3
25%
55
-40%
19.9
49%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Runtimes are disappointing at just under 4 hours of constant WLAN use (150 nits setting, Balanced profile, looping browser script, keyboard backlight off). Competing 12-inch and 13-inch notebooks can last for hours longer under similar conditions. The similarly equipped Toshiba Satellite Radius 12 lasts for roughly as long as our Razer. The shorter runtimes correlate well with the generally higher power consumption readings.

Charging from near empty to 100 percent will take roughly 2.5 hours. Its 45 W power adapter is very compact at just ~11 x 3.5 x 2.7 cm.

Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
7h 17min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
3h 48min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 16min
Razer Blade Stealth
45 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9350 WQXGA
56 Wh
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
66 Wh
HP EliteBook Folio 1020 G1
36 Wh
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
40 Wh
Asus Zenbook UX303UB-R4100T
50 Wh
Battery Runtime
47%
79%
83%
142%
88%
Reader / Idle
437
604
38%
844
93%
660
51%
1407
222%
997
128%
Load
76
128
68%
128
68%
164
116%
155
104%
118
55%
WiFi
WiFi v1.3
228
311
36%
403
77%
412
81%
456
100%
410
80%

Pro

+ individually backlit keys with 16.8 million color options per key
+ QHD and 4K display options with complete sRGB coverage
+ good performance under heavy loads; no throttling
+ full CPU and GPU performance on battery power
+ USB Type-C gen. 2 with Thunderbolt 3 support
+ mostly metal chassis; strong build quality
+ thin, lightweight, sharply designed
+ very bright backlight; no PWM
+ quiet under everyday loads
+ easily accessible internals
+ NVMe SSD

Cons

- no matte option; mandatory touchscreen
- average battery life; high power draw
- light keyboard keys; shallow travel
- slow White to Black response time
- non-expandable RAM; no DDR4
- system fans are always active
- only one USB Type-C port
- average SSD write rates
- wide display bezel
- no SD reader

Verdict

In review: Razer Blade Stealth. Test model provided by Razer US.
In review: Razer Blade Stealth. Test model provided by Razer US.

The Blade Stealth injects a big dose of Razer's signature style into the ultrathin subnotebook market. Everything about it exhumes character in ways that make "normal" Ultrabooks from manufacturers like Lenovo or Dell feel envious. On top of all this, Razer has managed to bring individually backlit keys to a category of notebooks that most other manufacturers will likely never introduce.

Look beyond the polished aesthetics and you get a quality chassis that easily matches what veteran manufacturers offer in this screen size. The display itself is in a league of its own as it provides a brighter backlight and with deeper colors than essentially all of its competitors currently in the market. The former makes the notebook that much easier to use outdoors while the latter will be appreciated by professional digital artists.

What's preventing this from being a must-own Ultrabook is the average battery life and keyboard feedback. Current 12- and 13-inch alternatives in the market can easily outlast the Blade Stealth on a single charge. Key travel and tactility are too shallow and light, respectively, and will only make it more difficult for desktop users to make the transition. We find the XPS 13, MacBook 12, and Yoga 900 to be comparatively easier to use for this reason.

As for performance, we appreciate the fact that the system won't throttle when subjected to heavy loads and won't artificially drop CPU or GPU performance when running on battery power. However, you can only get so much out of a ULV dual-core processor, so more power-hungry users who tend to do heavy multi-tasking, editing, and/or Photoshop work on the otherwise beautiful display will be yearning for a bit more hardware oomph.

Outside of a few drawbacks, the sub $1000 starting price makes the Blade Stealth surprisingly competitive in the subnotebook space. In fact, we would recommend the less expensive QHD SKU just to alleviate the inevitable scaling issues and to squeeze out longer runtimes than our 4K SKU test unit. The very high AdobeRGB coverage of the 4K SKU is overkill for basic applications like word processing, browsing, and light gaming.

Razer's latest subnotebook offers a couple of unique hardware features not found anywhere else for its size. It's a respectable alternative to what's currently available with a sleeker and more aggressive design to boot.

Razer Blade Stealth - 03/03/2016 v5
Allen Ngo

Chassis
92 /  98 → 94%
Keyboard
67%
Pointing Device
84%
Connectivity
60 / 81 → 74%
Weight
72 / 78 → 86%
Battery
74%
Display
87%
Games Performance
59 / 68 → 87%
Application Performance
83 / 87 → 95%
Temperature
87 / 91 → 96%
Noise
94%
Audio
60 / 91 → 66%
Average
77%
83%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Razer Blade Stealth Subnotebook Review
Allen Ngo, 2016-02-29 (Update: 2016-03- 1)