Notebookcheck

Razer Blade Stealth (i7-7500U) Notebook Review

J. Simon Leitner (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 11/02/2016

Successful Debut. The subnotebook for gamers - introduced at CES this year - receives an update to Intel's Kaby Lake CPU-generation. The subtle performance increase is welcome, especially in conjunction with the Razer Core eGPU. Razer recently announced the availability of the new Blade Stealth and Razer Core in Germany and many other parts of Europe - good news indeed.

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For the original German review, see here.

The Razer Blade Stealth is an upper-class compact laptop which, at the time of writing, starts at 1099 Euro (~$1210). From a price perspective, the new offering compares well to the current version of the Dell XPS 13, the Acer Aspire S13Asus UX305UA or the Lenovo 710s. Just like Dell with their XPS 13, Razer offers many different configurations. In addition to the QHD display the review notebook is equipped with, a 4K version is also an option - we took an in-depth look at this panel when we reviewed the predecessor. All configurations include the new Intel i7-7500U and 16 GB of RAM, so the user can mainly select the storage. Configurations with up to 1 TB are available, but the price then rapidly approaches 2199 Euro (~$2420). Since 10/28, the new laptop is not only available in Germany, but Austria as well.

Equipped with QHD display, a 256 GB SSD and the aforementioned i7-7500U-CPU, our review laptop is an entry to mid-level configuration retailing at 1399 Euro (~$1540).

Since the chassis remains unchanged, we'll omit this section and recommend checking out our review of the predecessor for details. For our review this time, we will take a closer look at the new display as well as performance, emissions, and battery life. 

Razer Blade Stealth (Blade Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
Memory
16384 MB 
, LPDDR3-1866MHz
Display
12.5 inch 16:9, 2560 x 1440 pixel 235 PPI, capacitive multi-touch, Sharp SHP142F (LQ125T1JW02), IGZO LED, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 1 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: headphone/microphone combo port
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
53.6 Wh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: Webcam
Primary Camera: 2 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo Speaker, Keyboard: Anti-ghosting keyboard with Chroma backlighting , Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.3 kg ( = 45.86 oz / 2.87 pounds), Power Supply: 320 g ( = 11.29 oz / 0.71 pounds)
Price
1399 Euro

 

Case

Just like the previous version, the Razer Blade Stealth features a very upscale aluminum unibody chassis. Both the build quality as well as the sturdiness are very high. The only drawback: the surfaces attract fingerprints like crazy and are hard to clean.

Connectivity

Just like the predecessor, the updated version sports a Thunderbolt 3 port, single USB 3.0 ports (Type A) on the left and right side as well as an HDMI 2.0a port on the right. While the Blade Stealth is thus up-to-date as far as those ports are concerned, users who work with photos are likely to really notice the lacking SD card reader. Another caveat: the Razer is charged and powered via the Thunderbolt port, so a possible expansions requires keeping that in mind. Special docks or eGPUs, like the Razer Core eGPU not only allow data communication, but charge the laptop as well.

We checked the functionality of the Type C port with a Kensington USB-C dock SD4600P. We were able to output 4K at 60 Hz to an external display with no issues - and the laptop was charged at the same time. Even when we used the internal display (60 Hz) and connected an additional external monitor (FHD, 60 Hz) to the dock, the Razer Blade continued working without a hitch.

Communication

The WLAN module also wasn't changed, so the Razer still comes with a Killer Wireless 1535 AC module (802.11a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 4.1). Our WiFi test attests the laptop comparatively good receive as well as send performance.

Networking
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Dell Wireless 1820A 802.11ac
579 MBit/s ∼100% +6%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Broadcom 802.11ac
570 MBit/s ∼98% +5%
Razer Blade Stealth
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
544 MBit/s ∼94%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (I219-V)
385 MBit/s ∼66% -29%
Acer Aspire S 13 S5-371-71QZ
Qualcomm Atheros QC61x4 Wireless Network Adapter
320 MBit/s ∼55% -41%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Dell Wireless 1820A 802.11ac
461 MBit/s ∼100% +9%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (I219-V)
438 MBit/s ∼95% +4%
Razer Blade Stealth
Killer Wireless-n/a/ac 1535 Wireless Network Adapter
423 MBit/s ∼92%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Broadcom 802.11ac
397 MBit/s ∼86% -6%
Acer Aspire S 13 S5-371-71QZ
Qualcomm Atheros QC61x4 Wireless Network Adapter
260 MBit/s ∼56% -39%

Accessories

Gaming power with the Razer Core
Gaming power with the Razer Core

Razer offers a lot of accessories for their systems and for game aficionados in particular. The Razer Core was designed specifically for the notebook. It consists of an external chassis, which houses a desktop graphics card and gets connected to the laptop via Thunderbolt. Even a compact subnotebook like the Stealth should now be able to achieve stutter-free frame rates when running current gaming titles at the highest details and resolutions. Unfortunately we didn't receive a Razer Core for testing, so we'll take a look at the device at a later time to determine for what games and at what settings the frugal i7-7500U Dualcore ULV CPU starts to be a performance bottleneck. The Razer Core should be available in Germany shortly as well.

Display

The Skylake version of the Blade Stealth gave us the opportunity to evaluate the high-resolution 4K display, which impressed with high brightness, good contrast, as well as good colors and coverage of the color spaces. The review laptop features the QHD+ panel, which Razer uses for the entry-level configuration.

A resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels is quite high considering this is a 12.5-inch display and leads to a high pixel density (235 ppi) as well. Subjectively, the picture is always sharp, although the desktop elements are extremely small when viewed at 100 %. We recommend 150 % to increase the readability - especially when touch inputs are used, which the display supports as well.

As far as the brightness goes, the QHD+ panel keeps up with the 4K version, although the latter has slight advantages when it comes to the contrast. For our display, we measured just under 400 nits and an excellent contrast ratio of 893:1. The coverage of the color spaces trails the more expensive sibling at 95.7 % for sRGB and 62.3 % for Adobe RGB - these are still very respectable results, however. 

Depending on what criteria are used, the touchscreen panel SHP142F from Sharp (LQ125T1JW02) sits right between the QHD+ display of the XPS 13 and the Razer with 4K screen. Overall, the performance is very decent. We encountered PWM at 200 Hz brightness settings below 30 % - because the display is pretty dim at that setting, we don't think this constitutes much of a drawback. For our test sample at least, screen bleeding is not an issue.

366
cd/m²
399
cd/m²
396
cd/m²
375
cd/m²
402
cd/m²
381
cd/m²
355
cd/m²
388
cd/m²
375
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 402 cd/m² Average: 381.9 cd/m² Minimum: 16 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Contrast: 893:1 (Black: 0.45 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.6 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 4.3 | - Ø
95.7% sRGB (Argyll) 62.3% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.1
Razer Blade Stealth
2560 x 1440, 12.5
Razer Blade Stealth
3840x2160, 12.5
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
3200x1800, 13.3
Lenovo IdeaPad 710S-13ISK
1920x1080, 13.3
Asus Zenbook UX305UA-FC040T
1920x1080, 13.3
Acer Aspire S 13 S5-371-71QZ
1920x1080, 13.3
Response Times
-43%
12%
-1%
-9%
-12%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
37
63.2
-71%
31
16%
52.4
-42%
25
32%
50
-35%
Response Time Black / White *
33.4
38
-14%
31.2
7%
23.6
29%
28
16%
29.6
11%
PWM Frequency
200
220
10%
50
-75%
Screen
19%
11%
-10%
-23%
-3%
Brightness
382
399
4%
393
3%
326
-15%
351
-8%
358
-6%
Brightness Distribution
88
93
6%
82
-7%
87
-1%
86
-2%
87
-1%
Black Level *
0.45
0.309
31%
0.33
27%
0.36
20%
0.4
11%
0.39
13%
Contrast
893
1343
50%
1345
51%
956
7%
895
0%
962
8%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.6
3.78
-5%
4
-11%
6.09
-69%
5.96
-66%
4.6
-28%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.3
3.38
21%
2.83
34%
5.36
-25%
8.93
-108%
4
7%
Gamma
2.1 114%
2.23 108%
2.05 117%
2.01 119%
2.28 105%
2.34 103%
CCT
6572 99%
7329 89%
6963 93%
7230 90%
6548 99%
7304 89%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62.3
85.1
37%
59.3
-5%
62.25
0%
60
-4%
57.9
-7%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
95.7
99.3
4%
91.4
-4%
97.54
2%
93
-3%
88.7
-7%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-12% / 6%
12% / 11%
-6% / -8%
-16% / -19%
-8% / -5%

* ... smaller is better

As far as the color accuracy is concerned, the QHD+ display trails the 4K version slightly, but still does pretty well. We measured a DeltaE of 4.3 with a maximum deviation of 5.64 (sRGB) for the gray levels; the color deviation was 3.6 with a maximum DeltaE for yellow and orange of 7.5.

Calibration improves the results significantly with the grayscale and color DeltaEs of 1 (max. 2.3) and 1.9 (max 4.3), respectively. The corresponding icc profile is linked in the plugin above.

For outdoor use it's important to remember that this is a glossy panel. Even when running on battery power, the Razer panel delivers 400 cd/m2, but depending on the position of the display, reflections can potentially be an issue.

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
33.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13.2 ms rise
↘ 20.2 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. » 84 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (27.2 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
37 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19 ms rise
↘ 18 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. » 29 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (44 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 detected 200 Hz30 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 200 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 30 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 200 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 59 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 2192 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Performance

All versions of the Razer Blade Stealth come with the brand new Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7500U. At this time, this particular CPU is the most powerful one available in the 14 watt TDP ULV segment. An Intel HD Graphics - successor to the HD Graphics 520 that shipped with Skylake ULV CPUs - is integrated as well. Depending on how well the system in question keeps the temperatures in check, the new CPU can reach up to 3.5 GHz (base frequency: 2.7 GHz). For more information, please visit our dedicated processor page.

Processor

Cinebench R15 Single-CPU
Cinebench R15 Single-CPU
Cinebench R15 Multi-CPU
Cinebench R15 Multi-CPU
Prime95 CPU-stress start
Prime95 CPU-stress start
Prime95 CPU-stress during the course of the test
Prime95 CPU-stress during the course of the test

We subject the Blade Stealth to the Cinebench R15 benchmark test. During the single-core test, the laptop achieved 139 points and trails the Medion Akoya S3409 only by a slim margin. The i7-7500U outperforms the i7-6560U in the Dell XPS 13 (9350) slightly; the i7-6500U in the predecessor is about 17 % slower.
The Stealth managed to take the lead when we ran the Multi-CPU portion of the Cinebench test and even outperforms the Akoya here. The plus compared to the i7-6560U is about 10 %; the difference between the new CPU and the one the predecessor uses is about 16 %. Note: the results of the i5-7200U in the current XPS 13 9360 are potentially flawed, as we might have ended up with a defective sample. At this time we are awaiting a new review notebook so we can repeat our tests.

Let's look at the frequencies and the temperatures under load:
The CPU starts out at the maximum of 3.5 GHz during the CB15 single-core test. The temperature increases slowly to 70 °C. The fan is whisper-quiet initially, but spools up accordingly. The temperature remains between 50 and 70 °C with the CPU running at a constant 3.5 GHz. During the multi-core portion, the CPU starts at 3.5 GHz as well, but the temperature now increases to 70 °C within a few seconds and tops out at 85 °C. At this point, the fan is maxed out and quite audible. At about 85 °C, the CPU frequency dropped slightly to 3.3 GHz and stayed there for the remainder of the test with the temperature hovering around 80 °C. 

Stress Test

As always, we subject the test candidate to our stress test with Prime95 to simulate maximum processor load over a longer period. Here, the Blade Stealth starts out at 3.5 GHz and a rapid temperature increase to 87 °C, which is followed by a CPU frequency reduction to 3.1 - 3.2 GHz. After about 10 minutes, the temperature had climbed to 90 °C, which resulted in further throttling with the frequency fluctuating between 2.7 and 3.5 GHz. When we added Furmark to stress the GPU as well, the CPU dropped to 1.5 GHz and the fan speed drops as well. For this reason, we only used Prime95 for our stress test.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel Core i7-7500U
144 Points ∼65% +4%
Razer Blade Stealth
Intel Core i7-7500U
139 Points ∼62%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
Intel Core i7-7500U
137 Points ∼61% -1%
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Intel Core i7-6560U
133 Points ∼60% -4%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
117 Points ∼52% -16%
Razer Blade Stealth
Intel Core i7-6500U
115 Points ∼52% -17%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Razer Blade Stealth
Intel Core i7-7500U
348 Points ∼19%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel Core i7-7500U
344 Points ∼19% -1%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i7
Intel Core i7-7500U
334 Points ∼18% -4%
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Intel Core i7-6560U
314 Points ∼17% -10%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
Intel Core i5-7200U
300 Points ∼16% -14%
Razer Blade Stealth
Intel Core i7-6500U
293 Points ∼16% -16%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
139 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
348 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
45.78 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.7 %
Help

System Performance

The Razer Blade Stealth not only feels fast, it actually is fast according to the synthetic benchmarks. According to PCMark 8, our configuration has excellent performance comparable to other subnotebooks like the XPS 13, the Acer Aspire S 13, or the ZenBook UX305UA. Interesting here are the results of the Lenovo IdeaPad 710s, which is - although equipped with similar hardware as the Dell XPS 13 - 15 % faster.

PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2
Lenovo IdeaPad 710S-13ISK
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
3883 Points ∼65% +15%
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Iris Graphics 540, 6560U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
3479 Points ∼58% +3%
Acer Aspire S 13 S5-371-71QZ
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, LiteOn CV1-8B512
3386 Points ∼57% +1%
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
3362 Points ∼56%
Asus Zenbook UX305UA-FC040T
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
3341 Points ∼56% -1%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
HD Graphics 620, 7500U, Phison S10C-512G
3085 Points ∼52% -8%
Razer Blade Stealth
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
2868 Points ∼48% -15%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK
2761 Points ∼46% -18%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
HD Graphics 515, 6Y30, Apple SSD AP0256
2550 Points ∼43% -24%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3362 points
Help

Storage Devices

The Razer Blade Stealth comes equipped with a PCIe SSD - in our case, a Samsung PM951 MZVLV256. The read performance leaves no doubt that this SSD is a faster PCIe drive, as we observed speeds of up to 1178 MB/s. Normal SATA SSDs read data at only half the speed. Faster PCIe drives are available, however, as a comparison with the an upgraded Dell XPS 13 (Samsungs SM951) clearly shows. The latter drive outperforms the one in our review notebook particularly when it comes to the average write rates. 

Razer Blade Stealth
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
Asus Zenbook UX305UA-FC040T
SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND)
Acer Aspire S 13 S5-371-71QZ
LiteOn CV1-8B512
Lenovo IdeaPad 710S-13ISK
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Samsung SSD SM951 512 GB MZHPV512HDGL
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-9%
-27%
-23%
-1%
115%
Write 4k QD32
302.7
245.6
-19%
274.7
-9%
211.2
-30%
311.3
3%
409.5
35%
Read 4k QD32
613.9
399.7
-35%
262
-57%
301.3
-51%
548.6
-11%
467.1
-24%
Write 4k
153.4
133.9
-13%
71.87
-53%
86.75
-43%
144.9
-6%
139.5
-9%
Read 4k
38.54
39.63
3%
28.08
-27%
29.69
-23%
42.43
10%
52
35%
Write 512
305.7
276.3
-10%
327.1
7%
389.7
27%
311
2%
1480
384%
Read 512
638.1
685.4
7%
301.6
-53%
341.3
-47%
612.6
-4%
1020
60%
Write Seq
305.4
311.4
2%
412.1
35%
418.9
37%
309.6
1%
1547
407%
Read Seq
1178
1131
-4%
469.1
-60%
502.2
-57%
1193
1%
1502
28%
Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256
Sequential Read: 1178 MB/s
Sequential Write: 305.4 MB/s
512K Read: 638.1 MB/s
512K Write: 305.7 MB/s
4K Read: 38.54 MB/s
4K Write: 153.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 613.9 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 302.7 MB/s

GPU Performance

The integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 is surprisingly fast and outperforms similarly-equipped systems when running the 3DMark benchmark tests. The Intel Iris Graphics 540 in the Skylake-generation i7-6560U offers a performance plus of 20 % and is still the undisputed leader.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Intel Iris Graphics 540, Intel Core i7-6560U
1947 Points ∼4% +19%
Razer Blade Stealth
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
1631 Points ∼3%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
1543 Points ∼3% -5%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1541 Points ∼3% -6%
Razer Blade Stealth
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6500U
1334 Points ∼3% -18%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
1186 Points ∼2% -27%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Intel Iris Graphics 540, Intel Core i7-6560U
1194 Points ∼3% +20%
Razer Blade Stealth
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
991 Points ∼3%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
924 Points ∼2% -7%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
902 Points ∼2% -9%
Razer Blade Stealth
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6500U
864 Points ∼2% -13%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
735 Points ∼2% -26%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
Intel Iris Graphics 540, Intel Core i7-6560U
9788 Points ∼6% +18%
Razer Blade Stealth
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
8289 Points ∼5%
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
7684 Points ∼5% -7%
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i7-7500U
7211 Points ∼4% -13%
Razer Blade Stealth
Intel HD Graphics 520, Intel Core i7-6500U
6151 Points ∼4% -26%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
6078 Points ∼4% -27%
3DMark 11 Performance
1801 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
6538 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
918 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The Razer Blade Stealth was primarily designed for use with the Razer Core. Even so, the HD Graphics 620 is moderately gaming-capable as well - especially when playing less demanding or older titles. Our dedicated page for the Intel HD Graphics 620 offers additional benchmark results.

We will evaluate the performance of the Razer Core eGPU in an upcoming test and will check to see if the i7-7500U CPU can keep up with potent desktop graphics cards.

low med. high ultra
Sims 4 (2014) 18256.427.618.3fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 13.92fps
World of Warships (2015) 72.9547.7823.63fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 20.212.7fps

Emissions

System Noise

After using the Razer for the first time, we noticed a subtle and irregular noise emitting from our review system. The source is not the fan system, but the electronic components - a phenomenon know as "coil whine". We had to listen pretty closely, but users with sensitive ears will definitely hear the noise.

The fans are inaudible (not running at all) when the system is idle and when performing minor word processing tasks or are spinning so slowly that we could barely hear them. Some typical (not easily explainable) Windows background tasks unfortunately cause the fans to spin up frequently with the system now being quite audible. Even under load, the Stealth seems to try to justify its name by keeping the fan RPMs in check and only increasing the fan speeds step by step at the last possible moment. We should add that although the fans aren't particularly noisy at 40.5 dB under load (Prime95), the peak frequency is quite high at 2500 Hz, which impacts the subjective impression.

Noise Level

Idle
31 / 31 / 31 dB(A)
Load
35 / 40.5 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 31 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.333.937.636.136.336.233.92533.331.330.633.934.730.934.13131.332.331.833.533.132.232.44040.541.237.438.341.837.239.15034.436.63836.935.735.735.16334.334.53735.534.531.636.68032.430.735.731.930.429.335.210028.527.93127.728.226.929.21252727.727.828.326.327.827.816025.925.226.225.725.724.925.520025.225.32524.924.623.62525024.824.824.923.724.323.124.431524.223.223.123.122.322.323.340026.123.825.223.823.422.423.750027.722.825.22321.32124.563026.821.223.721.820.820.523.280024.821.123.122.121.221.622.2100024.819.921.620.419.219.222.1125027.521.123.921.418.618.52316002720.826.723.218.618.523.720003020.926.12818.118.226.8250034.218.925.619.817.817.824.3315031.618.724.319.317.717.723.5400026.918.421.318.717.91821500024.618.220.218.4181819.7630024.118.32018.818.418.319.6800021.418.218.818.318.418.118.71000019.117.91817.91817.9181250018.4181818.11817.918.21600018.518.318.318.41818.118.6SPL40.432.335.834.131.331.235.1N3.31.82.421.61.62.2median 25.9Razer Blade Stealthmedian 20.9median 23.9median 21.8median 18.6median 18.5median 23.3Delta1.52.72.62.9322hearing rangehide median Fan Noise
Razer Blade Stealth audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (40.5 dB)
Analysis not possible as maximum curve is missing or too high

Temperature

Two very thin heatpipes transport the heat generated by the components to the two system fans. The air enters the notebook via two intakes on the bottom. During mobile use it's important to ensure that the openings aren't covered up, which isn't exactly easy, as they end up on the thighs when using the notebook on the lap. Under load, the Blade Stealth should be used on solid surfaces only.

Fresh air is sucked in through two intakes ...
Fresh air is sucked in through two intakes ...
... and expelled by the two fans at the back near the display hinge.
... and expelled by the two fans at the back near the display hinge.

We observed temperatures from a very low 30 °C under load to just above 50 °C during the stress test (worst-case scenario). The position of the main components (CPU and GPU) is towards the rear on the left side, which results in very high temperatures under load near the W-A-S-D keys, which are important for gaming. Of course this won't matter should the user decide to use an external keyboard in conjunction with the Razer Core when gaming.

Max. Load
 46.7 °C46.1 °C35.1 °C 
 39.9 °C40.2 °C30.7 °C 
 33.4 °C32.7 °C30.2 °C 
Maximum: 46.7 °C
Average: 37.2 °C
38.7 °C46 °C51.3 °C
33.7 °C39 °C39.4 °C
31.8 °C34.1 °C35 °C
Maximum: 51.3 °C
Average: 38.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  41.8 °C | Room Temperature 23.1 °C | Raytek Raynger ST

Speakers

The stereo speakers do not only get surprisingly loud at 80.8 dB, but they perform very well according to the frequency diagram. In fact, their response is similar to that of the Apple MacBook 12, which - despite the compact form factor - has been the reference thus far. The diagram shows that the speakers are capable of a pretty decent volume level even in the lower frequency range, although they can't quite match the superior response of the MacBook in the higher frequency range. All in all, the sound quality is impressive and the Razer easily surpasses most competitors in this class.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.633.9253231.43132.232.54035.435.75035.534.46335.931.78037.928.21004428.212556.326.816050.325.920062.125.225063.623.231564.822.540069.721.950073.120.763071.820.280069.920.510006519125068.618.3160073.418.4200070.218.2250067.117.5315068.617.6400069.917.4500061.317.6630062.618800061.217.71000059.817.81250060.317.71600053.217.6SPL80.930.9N51.81.5median 64.8Razer Blade Stealthmedian 18.4Delta4.62.435.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Razer Blade Stealth audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 8% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.4% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.6% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (12.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 12% of all tested devices in this class were better, 4% similar, 84% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 18%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 7% of all tested devices were better, 2% similar, 90% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 96% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 18%, worst was 41%
Compared to all devices tested
» 1% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 22%, worst was 53%

Frequenzdiagramm im Vergleich (Checkboxen oben an-/abwählbar!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Compared to the predecessor with Skylake CPU and 4K display panel, the new Stealth consumes a lot less power during idle. Only at maximum load levels the Stealth surpasses the previous version. Interesting is the fact that many 13.3-inch Ultrabooks consume much less power than the Blade during idle.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4.4 / 5.8 / 8.6 Watt
Load midlight 35.2 / 52 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC940
Razer Blade Stealth
7500U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256, , 2560 x 1440, 12.5
Razer Blade Stealth
6500U, HD Graphics 520, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D, IPS IGZO, 3840x2160, 12.5
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
7200U, HD Graphics 620, Toshiba NVMe THNSN5256GPUK, , 3200x1800, 13.3
Lenovo IdeaPad 710S-13ISK
6560U, Iris Graphics 540, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZVLV256, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Asus Zenbook UX305UA-FC040T
6500U, HD Graphics 520, SK Hynix Canvas SC300 512GB M.2 (HFS512G39MND), IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Acer Aspire S 13 S5-371-71QZ
6500U, HD Graphics 520, LiteOn CV1-8B512, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Power Consumption
-60%
18%
3%
18%
10%
Idle Minimum *
4.4
9
-105%
3.7
16%
3.3
25%
3.2
27%
4.1
7%
Idle Average *
5.8
12.8
-121%
6.1
-5%
7.4
-28%
6.5
-12%
6.7
-16%
Idle Maximum *
8.6
16.8
-95%
6.5
24%
8.2
5%
6.7
22%
7.4
14%
Load Average *
35.2
35.7
-1%
29.5
16%
36.5
-4%
30.6
13%
32.4
8%
Load Maximum *
52
39.3
24%
33
37%
43.7
16%
31
40%
32.4
38%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Razer frequently points out the increased battery capacity. And indeed: the battery offers 20 % more capacity and now supplies 53.6 Wh. During our standardized WLAN test, the system lasted about 8 hours and more than 13 hours during the Reader's test (minimum brightness, power saver profile, airplane mode).
As far as the battery life is concerned, the new Blade Stealth now compares well to many other 13-inch Ultrabooks (for the WLAN test).

The Blade Stealth offers the full CPU performance even when running on battery power, but the GPU is markedly slower. Mobile gaming is thus more or less impossible.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
13h 37min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
8h 18min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 45min
Razer Blade Stealth
7500U, HD Graphics 620, 53.6 Wh
Razer Blade Stealth
6500U, HD Graphics 520, 45 Wh
Dell XPS 13 9360 QHD+ i5
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 60 Wh
Lenovo IdeaPad 710S-13ISK
6560U, Iris Graphics 540, 46 Wh
Asus Zenbook UX305UA-FC040T
6500U, HD Graphics 520, 56 Wh
Acer Aspire S 13 S5-371-71QZ
6500U, HD Graphics 520, 45 Wh
Medion Akoya S3409-MD60234
7500U, HD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Dell XPS 13 2016 9350 (FHD, i7-6560U)
6560U, Iris Graphics 540, 56 Wh
Battery Runtime
-43%
18%
-11%
33%
5%
-22%
13%
Reader / Idle
817
437
-47%
810
-1%
1427
75%
1028
26%
722
-12%
944
16%
Load
105
76
-28%
137
30%
89
-15%
118
12%
99
-6%
96
-9%
141
34%
WiFi v1.3
498
228
-54%
526
6%
418
-16%
561
13%
472
-5%
278
-44%
436
-12%
H.264
547
486
545
243

Pros

+ high-end metal chassis
+ components are easy to access
+ highly configurable Razer Chroma keyboard
+ HDMI 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3
+ bright display with good contrast
+ good color space coverage and easy calibration
+ very good CPU performance
+ good battery life

Cons

- susceptible to finger prints
- comparatively large chassis for a 12.5-inch display
- no SD card reader
- PCIe SSD writes not reaching full potential
- keyboard could have more feedback
- review laptop suffers from "coil whine"

Verdict

In Review: Razer Blade Stealth with Intel Kaby Lake
In Review: Razer Blade Stealth with Intel Kaby Lake

With their new Blade Stealth, Razer was able to eliminate the most significant shortcoming: the mediocre battery life. With between 8 and 13 hours, the new laptop can be used away from outlets much longer and will - depending on the tasks - last the entire day. 

The chassis remains unchanged. The design is decidedly high-end and comparable to Apple's MacBooks as far as build quality and haptics are concerned. Too bad that the matte-black surface is so susceptible to finger prints, which are very hard to remove to boot.

Thanks to the Kaby Lake CPU and the larger battery, the Blade Stealth is now holding its own when compared to other subnotebooks. The Razer Core eGPU is an exciting option, but even without it, the Blade Stealth is a successful laptop in its own right.

This time around the notebook we received was equipped with a QHD+ panel. The display scores quite well and is almost as good as the 4K option. Especially when considering the small size of 12.5 inches, this particular display appears to be the better choice in most cases. The configuration with the lower-end panel is also 200 Euro (~$220) cheaper and likely contributes positively to the (lower) power consumption.

We also are impressed by the offered performance. The CPU test results are quite good, even when the system is subjected to continuous load. The Blade Stealth should work quite well with the Razer Core and should turn the combination into a bonafide gaming system. More details will follow in a subsequent review.

Razer Blade Stealth - 10/25/2016 v5.1
J. Simon Leitner

Chassis
91 /  98 → 93%
Keyboard
71%
Pointing Device
83%
Connectivity
61 / 80 → 76%
Weight
71 / 78 → 84%
Battery
91%
Display
86%
Games Performance
60 / 68 → 89%
Application Performance
86 / 87 → 99%
Temperature
87 / 91 → 96%
Noise
85%
Audio
80 / 91 → 88%
Average
79%
85%
Subnotebook - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Razer Blade Stealth (i7-7500U) Notebook Review
J. Simon Leitner, 2016-11- 2 (Update: 2016-11- 3)
Bernhard Pechlaner
Bernhard Pechlaner - Review Editor
Ended up in the IT sector in the 90s more or less accidentally and have remained in the industry (as a sysadmin) ever since. Always been interested in laptops - first purchase was - if memory serves correctly - a Toshiba Satellite T2115CS with DX4-75 processor, 4 MB of RAM and 350 MB hard disk drive (and Windows 3.1). To this day, laptops appeal to me - much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn’t seem understand why we need 5-10 of them at any given time ;-).