Notebookcheck

Display Check: Razer Blade Stealth (13.3 QHD+, i7-7500U)

Now with a bigger screen. Razer has updated its Ultrabook and now offers two different panel sizes in the same chassis. We have tested the new 13.3-inch model. What are the differences and which display should you get?

For the original German review, see here.

Razer has updated its compact Ultrabook and now offers two different panel sizes in the same chassis. The 12.5-inch 4K screen (here in review) is still available and offers more pixels (3840x2160) as well as a wider AdobeRGB gamut. So far, there has also been another 12.5-inch screen with the QHD resolution (2560x1440 pixels, here in review), which is now replaced by a larger 13.3-inch QHD+ screen (3200x1800 pixels). Both models are based on the IGZO technology and support touch inputs; a non-touch option is not available anymore.

The design of the two machines is identical, but you can see the difference when you open the lid. The black bezels are not as huge as on the 12.5-inch version, which can be clearly seen on the two pictures below. However, the Razer Blade Stealth still features wider bezels compared to the Dell XPS 13, for example.

Razer Blade Stealth with 12.5-inch display
Razer Blade Stealth with 12.5-inch display
Razer Blade Stealth with 13.3-inch display
Razer Blade Stealth with 13.3-inch display

The new 13.3-inch model starts at $1399 (i7, 256 GB), while the price of the 4K model (i7, 512 GB) has been reduced from $1599 to just $1349. We tested the new panel and the effect on the battery runtime. The other features including the chassis are identical to the versions we have reviewed before; the new 13.3-inch system is just a tad heavier. We recommend our two previous reviews for information on all the other review sections:

Razer Blade Stealth QHD i7-7500U (Blade Stealth Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
16384 MB 
, LPDDR3-1866, soldered
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 3200 x 1800 pixel 276 PPI, Sharp SHP1493 (LQ133Z1JW26), IPS IGZO
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Networking
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n/ac)
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 13.1 x 321 x 206 ( = 0.52 x 12.64 x 8.11 in)
Battery
53.6 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Additional features
Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.33 kg ( = 46.91 oz / 2.93 pounds), Power Supply: 320 g ( = 11.29 oz / 0.71 pounds)
Price
1599 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Display

Subpixel array QHD+
Subpixel array QHD+

The new 13.3-inch touch screen replaces the old 12.5-inch QHD panel. It is bigger and has more pixels (3200x1800), which results in a pixel density of 276 PPI. Subjectively, the touch screen leaves a very crisp impression and there are no problems with backlight bleeding. The panel is provided by Sharp and the designation SHP1493 is familiar. A similar panel is used for the current Dell XPS 13 9360 and we can detect CABC on the Razer as well.

CABC (content adaptive backlight control) is an adaptive brightness control based on the screen content. You can clearly see it during the transition between bright and dark contents. We have already had an in-depth look at CABC in our review of the Dell XPS 13. We asked Razer about it and the manufacturer’s decision to use CABC is to compensate for the higher consumption of the larger panel and achieve similar runtime figures on both Razer Blade Stealth SKUs. We will obviously have a closer look at this later in this review. Unlike Dell's XPS 13, however, Razer's support will provide a firmware update to deactivate CABC upon request.

The display also uses PWM and we can already determine flickering at the maximum brightness level. However, the frequency is extremely high at more than 19 kHz, so even sensitive users should not have a problem.

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 detected 19380 Hz ≤ 100 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 19380 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 100 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 19380 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9705 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

344
cd/m²
341
cd/m²
354
cd/m²
366
cd/m²
406
cd/m²
394
cd/m²
367
cd/m²
375
cd/m²
407
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 407 cd/m² Average: 372.7 cd/m² Minimum: 15 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 84 %
Center on Battery: 402 cd/m²
Contrast: 1624:1 (Black: 0.25 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.5 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 5.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
95.4% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 61.3% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.11
Razer Blade Stealth QHD i7-7500U
Sharp SHP1493 (LQ133Z1JW26), IPS IGZO, 3200x1800, 13.3
Razer Blade Stealth QHD i7-7500U
Sharp SHP142F (LQ125T1JW02), , 2560x1440, 12.5
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
IPS IGZO, 3840x2160, 12.5
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
Sharp SHP144A, , 3200x1800, 13.3
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
Sharp SHP144A, IPS, 3200x1800, 13.3
Screen
-7%
9%
2%
1%
Brightness middle
406
402
-1%
415
2%
444
9%
396.2
-2%
Brightness
373
382
2%
399
7%
393
5%
357
-4%
Brightness Distribution
84
88
5%
93
11%
82
-2%
84
0%
Black Level *
0.25
0.45
-80%
0.309
-24%
0.33
-32%
0.266
-6%
Contrast
1624
893
-45%
1343
-17%
1345
-17%
1489
-8%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.5
3.6
20%
3.78
16%
4
11%
3.9
13%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.2
7.5
9%
7.2
12%
7.7
6%
7.58
8%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.2
4.3
17%
3.38
35%
2.83
46%
4.16
20%
Gamma
2.11 104%
2.1 105%
2.23 99%
2.05 107%
2.31 95%
CCT
7709 84%
6572 99%
7329 89%
6963 93%
6514 100%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
61.3
62.3
2%
85.1
39%
59.3
-3%
57.5
-6%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
95.4
95.7
0%
99.3
4%
91.4
-4%
88.7
-7%

* ... smaller is better

All three Razer models are pretty much on par in terms of brightness and the two QHD+ panels in the Dell XPS 13 are also very similar. One advantage of the new 13.3-inch panel over the old 12.5-inch QHD model is the much lower black value, which obviously improves the contrast ratio as well. The result is almost doubled at more than 1600:1 and the new panel can also secure the top spot within our comparison group.

CalMAN Grayscale (before calibration)
CalMAN Grayscale (before calibration)
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps (before calibration)
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps (before calibration)
CalMAN ColorChecker (before calibration)
CalMAN ColorChecker (before calibration)
CalMAN Grayscale (after calibration)
CalMAN Grayscale (after calibration)
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps (after calibration)
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps (after calibration)
CalMAN ColorChecker (after calibration)
CalMAN ColorChecker (after calibration)

We did not like the cool color temperature and the visible blue cast ex-works. Our calibration (icc-profile linked in the box above) improves the performance of the panel significantly. Only yellow & orange still show DeltaE-2000 deviations above 3 after the calibration.

vs. sRGB: 95.4%
vs. sRGB: 95.4%
vs. AdobeRGB: 61.3%
vs. AdobeRGB: 61.3%

The color gamut has not improved with the new panel. Both the previous QHD as well as the new QHD+ model almost cover the full sRGB gamut, and the more demanding AdobeRGB reference still by around 62%. The smaller 4K display performs a bit better at ~85% 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
31.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18.8 ms rise
↘ 12.4 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. » 79 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.4 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
46 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 25.6 ms rise
↘ 20.4 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 636 (maximum) ms. » 72 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (40.7 ms).
Viewing angle stability
Viewing angle stability

The viewing angle stability of the IPS IGZO panel is decent; you can notice only a slight contrast drop from wider angles. The outdoor capabilities are obviously affected by the glossy surface of the touch screen. However, the Razer Blade Stealth still performs reasonably well thanks to the powerful background illumination. It will depend on the visible reflections and whether you can avoid them.

In the shade (with reflection)
In the shade (with reflection)
In the shade (without reflection)
In the shade (without reflection)
In the sun (with reflection)
In the sun (with reflection)
In the sun (without reflection)
In the sun (without reflection)

Battery Runtime

WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime

The battery capacity is still rated at 56.3 Wh. We have already mentioned the use of CABC (content adaptive backlight control) to compensate for the higher power consumption of the bigger panel. Razer has tried to achieve similar battery runtimes for both models.

Our practical WLAN test runs for almost 6.5 hours, which is not a particularly good result. The comparison with the previous 12.5-inch QHD model is not completely fair since the latter had a smaller screen with fewer pixels. However, the two XPS 13 models (with a slightly bigger battery) still manage 30% longer battery runtimes despite the same resolution (and CABC), so Razer can definitely improve the consumption.

Unfortunately, we cannot confirm whether the two available models actually manage comparable battery runtimes. We reviewed the 4K model (Skylake) back in March 2016, and it was still equipped with a Skylake processor and the smaller 45-Wh battery. Considering the additional battery capacity and the more efficient Kaby Lake processor, the runtimes might actually be similar.

Note: We will check the battery runtime with CABC turned off and update this section as soon as we get our hands on the firmware update from Razer.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Edge 40.15063.0.0)
6h 26min
Razer Blade Stealth QHD i7-7500U
53.6 Wh, 13.3, 3200x1800
Razer Blade Stealth QHD i7-7500U
53.6 Wh, 12.5, 2560x1440
Razer Blade Stealth UHD i7-6500U
45 Wh, 12.5, 3840x2160
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
60 Wh, 13.3, 3200x1800
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
60 Wh, 13.3, 3200x1800
Battery Runtime
WiFi v1.3
386
498
29%
228
-41%
526
36%
516
34%

Verdict

In review: Razer Blade Stealth 13.3". Test model courtesy of Razer Germany.
In review: Razer Blade Stealth 13.3". Test model courtesy of Razer Germany.

Razer follows the current trend to equip existing devices with bigger screens. The Blade Stealth is now available with a bigger 13.3-inch panel in the same chassis. The bigger panel improves the design and gets rid of the huge bezels we know from the 12.5-inch 4K screen. However, the bezels are still not as slim as on the XPS 13, for example.

So which is the better panel? Except for the slightly lower AdobeRGB gamut, which is not overly important for a gaming laptop in the first place, the new panel only has advantages or no serious disadvantages, respectively: More screen space, slightly lower resolution, very similar measurements and even faster response times. The CABC control of the display might be an issue, but it did not really bother us in practice. Razer even provides a firmware update upon request. We will check the effect on the battery runtime as soon as we get the update.

Razer obviously acknowledges that the new 13.3-inch is the better choice, too. The price for the smaller 4K model was reduced from $1599 to $1349 (i7, 512 GB). The 13.3-inch SKU starts at $1399, but only with a smaller 256 GB SSD; the 512 GB model is $200 more expensive.

Pricecompare

Read all 6 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Display Check: Razer Blade Stealth (13.3 QHD+, i7-7500U)
Andreas Osthoff, 2017-08-16 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.