Razer Blade Stealth review – probably the best ultraportable $999 can get you


  1. Brock

    February 4, 2016 at 2:33 am

    You talked about customers upgrading the SSD, what is about RAM upgradability?

    • Derek Sullivan

      February 4, 2016 at 3:09 am

      It’s not upgradeable unfortunately.

    • Kev

      August 8, 2016 at 6:53 am

      You have made things so clear to someone like me that does not have much computer knowledge. I have also learned a lot. Thank you so much for your contribution and unbiased opinion. I believe you should be a benchmark in tech comparison and reviews. Clean, clear cut, and unbiased.

  2. Joshua

    February 5, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Am planning to buy this once it gets released in my country in March/April, but one key thing I’d like to know is the SSD upgrade. Razer recommends you not do it due to potentially voiding the warranty, but no one who has had it for review has tried upgrading yet. Would be great if you could have a small section where you look at that and see if it’s an easy job for the average person, or if it’s only worth doing if you’re a professional/or warranty has ended.

    • Derek Sullivan

      February 5, 2016 at 11:11 am

      I plan on upgrading mine once I’m satisfied I won’t have to RMA it. When I do, I’ll likely do video of it. I can say up front, it’s not to bad of a task. Once you get the cover open, you’ll see an L shaped silver ribbon cable, just under the fans. The SSD is underneath that. All you have to do is pop off the ribbon cable(maybe with a plastic opening tool or spudger) and then remove a screw holding the SSD in. It’s a tight fit, so it’ll take a little patience getting it out.

      I personally don’t believe Razer would enforce voiding a warranty over replacing a SSD, but I could certainly be wrong. Their CS reps will tell you it “may” void it but I think they are just referring to the risk of damaging something during the repair, which of course would be your responsibility. It’s more likely they will void the warranty on your SSD, that ribbon cable and any physical damage to the internal components if you decide to upgrade it. There’s no warranty stickers or warnings anywhere on the laptop and the fact it has screws pretty much implies that is serviceable, in my opinion. I think they are just vague about it in order to discourage it.

      • Circuit.Board

        February 5, 2016 at 2:52 pm

        Thanks for the great infos, man! I already ordered UHD 256GB, $1400 model but have worried about warranty seal or sticker, or something similar.
        And also I’d like to inform you about that stuff. The SSD in your $999 model is Samsung PM951, M.2, NVMe supported SSD but pretty more inferior than SM951 which is high-end, applied on MacBook Pro 13″. But I don’t know whether Razer applied PM951 on all of their lineup($999 to $1599). I’ll notify you when I received mine.
        And the Wi-Fi and BT module in the stuff is Killer 1535, M.2 interface.

  3. Brandon

    February 7, 2016 at 12:52 am

    Hi! Great review! I’m curious as to whether or not you think the UHD 4K screen would be worth the extra money? I do a lot of photo and video editing for school, and would be pretty content with the base model QHD screen, but do you think it necessary for “future proofing” to purchase the UHD model instead?
    I do game a bit on the side, but I doubt any kind of graphics card would be able to push high settings and 4k on the laptop with the core attached, not that I know much about graphics cards in general though.

    Do you think its worth the extra money? or is QHD sufficient enough?

    • Derek Sullivan

      February 7, 2016 at 1:59 am

      It’s tough to say for sure because I don’t have it for a direct comparison. I can say that my wife is a serious photographer and has never had any issue using a normal gamut screen with sRGB 90+%(equates to aRGB 70%). I personally have never cared for more color either but maybe I just don’t know what I’m missing. Many factors killed the deal for me on the UHD screen though.
      1) cost
      2) battery life – Razer explicitly states the QHD gets up to 8 hours but he UHD only gets 6.
      3) scaling issues
      4) UHD and QHD are virtually indistinguishable at the viewing distance I typically am at(see here: http://isthisretina.com/)
      5) Gaming at UHD is not practical while QHD is to a point.

      I still want to see one for comparison and see what all the hype is about. I’m also interested if the max brightness is better because that might sway my opinion somewhat.

      • Matt

        February 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm

        Great review. I have the UHD 256 model and agree with everything that was said (though note, there is an option in Synapse to turn off the lighting to the logo on the lid). My issue with the UHD is that the Windows desktop is so tiny, as is the text in some apps that don’t scale (Synapse) that I can hardly read it at times. Also, screen refreshes occasionally seem taxing for the 520 (ie., tabs in Firefox, but maybe that’s a browser issue I should test). So I am considering RMA to exchange for the QHD since it seems that screen is adequate, probably more readable, plus a boost in battery life. Question is do I have the patience to return it and wait all over again… I ordered on day 1 so believe I got one of the first to ship, but it was still an agonizing 3-4 weeks. Thanks again for the super thorough and quality review.

      • Derek Sullivan

        February 11, 2016 at 3:00 pm

        Yeah, the RMA process will probably take a while considering it’s still on backorder. Might be best to wait a week or so and see if other options open up. Thanks for the feedback on the UHD screen though – that’s what I was thinking the issues would be. I’m curious if you can tell the difference in colors as opposed to a normal gamut IPS screen?

        Can you also please tell me where the option to turn the logo off is? I saw the option to turn something off but it only turns off the LED. The backlight still illuminates the logo for me though. It’s a LOT dimmer than the older Razer Blades which I like but if there’s an option to turn it completely off, I would rather have that.

      • Matt

        February 11, 2016 at 7:35 pm

        My bad, you are correct. The option for logo illumination is in the chroma lighting tab of Synapse, however I didn’t realize the screen backlight kept it lit (dimly) even if turned off. I had to go into a dark room to confirm. Unfortunately I don’t have a normal gamut IPS screen to compare against, but honestly not sure my eyes are good enough to discern anyway. I gambled on the UHD since there were no reviews or comparisons at the time and didn’t want to regret getting an inferior screen later if that was the case. Oh well. Now i just need to decide quickly if i can live with the type. Going to call Razer now for that firmware update though.

  4. John G

    February 8, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Ahh I really need some help from you guys! So right now I am typing from my Samsung Ativ book 9 spin which I just recently bought, and I really like it………………….but I am not sure if I want to keep it or not.

    Sorry for commenting on the wrong post, but I saw this is your latest article and has your last comments.

    So price is really not a huge issue, although the $1300 price tag for the book 9 spin was a bit more than I wanted to pay. Overall I really think this laptop is awesome, but I am not sure it it exactly what I am looking for.

    I been following your guys reviews for a while now and I got to say there is no other review site out there that does a better job! I guess my only criticism (and really this is if I am reaching) is that you guys haven’t done many reviews on the laptops that are just now coming out in the new year and at CES. I think this is part of why I am a bit hesitant to keep this laptop. I am not sure if this is the best product for me and I am not sure if I should wait a bit and stick with my current laptop to upgrade.

    So a bit about my current laptop…this thing is a mammoth. It weighs in at around 11 lbs, but it is pretty maxxed out spec wise. It runs kind of an older i7 but still does the job. I upgraded the ram (to 16gb) and ssd (to 512gb) on it as well.

    My whole reason for upgrading was to try and bridge the gap a bit between portability and performance. I think something under 5lbs is probably where I would max out, but really I think my preference is under 4. This is where I am starting to have some issues. So I am really looking for something that is as good/better performance wise from my current laptop but is way less bulky.

    I landed on the book 9 spin after reading a ton of your guys articles/comments. I was looking at the yoga 900 and the hp spectre as well which seem like similar builds, but overall it seemed like the book 9 spin was the “winner” in the most matchups between the 3.

    I have had this laptop for about a week now and I gotta say this thing is pretty cool. I am almost amazed at the performance for how light it is! But this is where things are starting to get a little tricky for me. After having my mammoth of a laptop I was ready to do a complete 180…aka look for something as small as I possibly could while still being able to handle very high performance.

    My old laptop ran this: cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-2630QM+%40+2.00GHz
    and the spin has the 6700u: cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-6500U+%40+2.50GHz

    Technically my old computer’s processor runs faster which I wasn’t really happy about. I guess if I had to bottom line it, I am looking for something that outperforms my old laptop, has one of intels skylake processors (probably would need to be a quad core or a 6700u), and is under 4 lbs.

    Can you guys please pleaseeeee help me here? I would so much appreciate anything you can do to point me in the right direction. Sorry if I went off on random tangents there, but I just want you guys to see where my head is at when I am looking at these newer laptops. Thanks for taking the time to read all this as well!

    • Andrei Girbea

      February 9, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Hi and thanks for the kind words.

      What exactly are you running on that laptop and are you sure the Core i7-6500U is not enough to handle it?

      There are plenty of options with Core i7-6700HQ processors out there, but not in 13-inch form factors, so not as light or as sleek as that Spin. One of the most compact ones is the Dell XPS 15 9550, but you can find other options in here: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/8162-skylake-ultrabooks/ . You’ll also sacrifice battery life or have have to pay a hefty premium for the sleekest 15-inchers with HQ Skylake processors.

      So my advice: don’t count on a benchmark that much and base you decision on what this laptop needs to run. Also, there’s more to take into account that just the CPU’s raw performance, there’s also the GPU, Storage…

      • John G

        February 10, 2016 at 9:19 pm

        Obviously I have some commitment issues here :p. I guess I just have really really high demands for what I want and it’s kind of hard to put into words. I want a laptop that’s light, powerful (cpu), decent graphics (which is kinda why i was aiming more towards the i7 hq because of the integrated intel iris vs whats on the i7 6500u), and has at least 8gb ram (although 16 is preferred). Memory wise (and I am assuming you mean harddrive memory) I guess is just not really a huge concern to me…memory is cheap/easy, and I can put stuff on a portable HDD if I need to. (Actually what I really loved about the spin was the fact that the mem card is flush w/ the laptop so I can just grab a huge microsd card and use that if needed).

        What really turned me off on the spin (and again I am just being picky which is what’s causing me so much stress in deciding) is it’s graphics capabilities. So I don’t really play many games, but I will boot up the occasional game of civ 5 etc. Also I end up connecting to an external display a lot of times and when I did that with my spin, it was a bit choppy playing video.

  5. Tae-Hun Yun

    February 13, 2016 at 10:21 am

    I just received my UHD 256GB model stealth and confirmed below:
    1. Samsung PM951 SSD
    2. UHD panel name is SHARP LQ125D1JW33
    3. Audio Codec is Realtek ALC298

  6. Matt

    February 15, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Just posted on the Insider forum and thought I would share:
    FWIW, I’m at the end of my two week return period so I just RMA’d my UHD model and exchanging it for a QHD. When I ordered I thought the 100% gamut would be key, but it doesn’t really matter if I can’t even read the text on some apps that don’t scale (ie., Diabo 3 launcher… have to literally put my eyes right up to the screen to barely be able to read). That, plus the overall better battery life others are reporting on the QHD made the [difficult] decision for me, because otherwise I really love this thing, have no bugs, and don’t want to go through the RMA process and wait 3 weeks to get a replacement with the chance that it may have other bugs. Se la vi.

    • Derek Sullivan

      February 15, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      Yep, I’ve experienced the same stuff with UHD which is why I try to avoid them now. Even on a 15″ it’s tough, so I can only imagine what 12.5″ is like. To this day, the launchers for Origin and Blizzard are still not hiDPI compatible. It’s been that way for over 2 years now… On top of that, if you use older Windows apps, the scaling makes them impossible to use. Flashtool for smartphones for example.

      • Matt

        February 15, 2016 at 7:13 pm

        Thanks for your feedback, Derek. Can you at least confirm these would be “better” on the QHD? Hate to go through all this just to find out I’ll have the same issue. This is my first foray into hiDPI screens as I’ve always had 1080P on a minimum of 15″ screens up until now and never had to deal with scaling issues.

      • Derek Sullivan

        February 15, 2016 at 7:24 pm

        The QHD is fine for me. I’ve always found that 240-250ppi is the top limit of my toleration for Windows scaling. That’s why I’ve disliked the 4k screens on 15.4″ laptops and even Razers QHD+ screen on the RB 14″. Everyone’s eyes are different though. If you have a store nearby, go look at a 1080p 10″ screen laptop – it’s about the equivalent for the RB Stealth QHD in terms of scaling. I use this website for decision making on screens: http://isthisretina.com/ It really gives a better understanding on whether or not higher dpi screens are worth the plunge.

  7. Matt

    February 15, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    OR is it reasonable to expect that the industry will catch up with the ubiquity of 4K screens now and these issues will resolve over time? In which case the frustrations with UHD scaling my be shorter term.

    • Derek Sullivan

      February 15, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Well a couple years ago I assumed Blizzard and Origin would update their launchers to compensate. I also assumed Solidworks would update their libraries. I also assumed Windows 8.1 and then Windows 10 would fix the issues. Fast forward two years and the issues still exist. So I’m not going to assume anything anymore. :) Solidworks says they will have hidpi support in 2016 though.

  8. Gavin

    February 20, 2016 at 5:35 am

    Hi Derek,

    You seem to love this, you seem to love the Yoga 900…

    Want to lean one way or the other for me?


    • Derek Sullivan

      February 22, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      I’ve never actually handled the Yoga 900 – That might have been Andrei. Both are really good machines but I’ve had some issues with Lenovo in the past in regards to the input aspects of the laptops. So I’d be a little more skeptical of the Yoga 900, but if the customer reviews were good I might still give it a shot. It seems kind of pointless to have a laptop like that and not have pen support though.

      • Gavin

        February 22, 2016 at 11:15 pm

        Thank you. Leaning toward the Razer. I have an older lenovo with some quality issues

  9. Duncan

    February 26, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Hey! Fantastic review.

    I was looking at the various options within the Stealth Family, but was originally leaning towards the 4K 512gb version (mostly for the storage…)…

    But after reading your review above, I’m thinking of rather saving some cash, going with the base 128gb and getting a bigger SSD to throw into it.

    Any suggestions as to what model/brand to use?

    • Derek Sullivan

      February 26, 2016 at 11:44 am

      I was planning on getting the 950 Pro, p/n MZ-V5P512BW

  10. michael montelibano

    March 7, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    i have the 4k 256 model… i love this thing..
    but if i turn the brightness below 30 % the screen flickers alot…. it will show whatever is on the screen but it goes bright dark bright dark etc…. does it need to be RMA… or is it a driver issue i hae done updates on it

    • Derek Sullivan

      March 8, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      It shouldn’t flicker. I’d RMA it for sure

      • michael montelibano

        March 8, 2016 at 6:13 pm

        Damn that sucks I got this for the sole purpose of using it for my programming class… Thanks tho

      • Derek Sullivan

        March 8, 2016 at 6:20 pm

        There are some Intel graphics settings that are power related that might also cause it to fluctuate. Nothing I would describe as flickering – more like subtle fluctuations. Try disabling them and see. I think they only apply while on battery too.

  11. qwertzy

    March 9, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Do you know the Delta E?

    Does a lower number means better picture quality since it has more realistic colors?

    • Derek Sullivan

      March 9, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      I think you just want it to be close to 1, which means it’s hard to tell the difference between the colors. My tool doesn’t measure it afaik, sorry.

  12. S

    March 9, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Got the 4K model from microsoft store.

    a) CPU throttles at full load (hovers around 2.6ghz most of the time)
    b) Color gamut is too wide, making everything super saturated.
    c) Key travel is almost nil. Maybe slightly better than 12″ macbook though..
    d) Battery BARELY LASTS 3 HOURS. I repeat, 3 HOURS.
    e) Bezel too large… the laptop could easily house 13.3″ screen.
    f) Whole case is fingerprint magnet. I literally had to wash my hands every time I touch the laptop.. and it still gets dirty (which is VERY noticeable unlike other laptops)

    I wonder why they put core i7 (which throttles and has no advantage over i5), crazy high resolution display (meaningless at tiny 12.5″ screen), wide gamut display (everything’s oversaturated, and it’s too underperforming for serious RAW work anyway)

    It’s a nice laptop to show off (I like the design and colorful backlight) but really not practical at all.

    • Derek Sullivan

      March 10, 2016 at 1:46 am

      Thanks for posting all that. I was wondering about how the 4k screen worked and how the battery life was. That’s terrible though. You can probably fix the saturation a little in the Intel settings, but that’s just how wide gamut is from what I’ve read. Razer claims that panel uses a lot of bezel space though, which is why it’s so large. I kind of wish they just picked a normal panel considering the 4k model comes with so many sacrifices.

      I’ll have to look into the throttling more but I don’t think I’ve experienced it much. In your case, turbo is just turning off though. Have you tried turning them up with HWmonitor to see if that helps? I’m really hoping Razer starts opening up the fan control. They actually advertise that we will have control of the fans but there’s nowhere to control them from except through third party software.

      • S

        March 10, 2016 at 7:32 am

        XPS 15 4K model also has wide gamut display (100% adobe RGB) with almost no bezel at all, so their excuse is just a excuse. And I saw the cpu clock *briefly* hit 3Ghz for a very short time when I ran prime95.

        It would be great if they have put i5 processor, 13.3″ FHD display and slightly larger battery instead.

      • Derek Sullivan

        March 10, 2016 at 1:44 pm

        Ahh, that’s why I didn’t see what you were seeing. I stopped using Prime95 to benchmark Ultrabook CPUs so I never did it on this one. After reading your comment yesterday, I did take a closer look with some games. I was able to hold at 3.1Ghz for the most part but it did turn turbo off a couple times for a second and dropped to 2.6Ghz. It wasn’t due to heat though unless it’s designed to kick off at 70C.

        Have you typically had good success with Prime95 on ultrabooks? My experience it is heats up the processors very quickly and is unrealistic since no normal programs will ever draw that much power.

      • S

        March 12, 2016 at 11:52 pm

        I always run prime95 to test whatever laptop/tablet I buy. Most laptops do not throttle at full CPU load alone. Adding 100% GPU load makes most laptops throttle though (some good gaming laptops – like asus ones – do handle 100% CPU and GPU load!)

        I tested Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book (both i5 versions). SP4 did not throttle, and SB throttled very little (kept 2.8-2.9Ghz out of 3.0Ghz max turbo) which was incredible considering the extremely thin case.

  13. Joseph C Castrence

    March 23, 2016 at 9:47 am

    8mb ram…..what is this 2006?

    • Derek Sullivan

      March 23, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      8GB is pretty much the standard for Ultrabooks, but yeah, it’s kind of low if you intend on using it for gaming a lot. I wish they would have at least put an extra slot in there…

  14. mike

    March 24, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Thank you for such a thorough review! It’s much appreciated, and the best I’ve seen yet. About to buy one of these, I believe!

    • Derek Sullivan

      March 26, 2016 at 2:40 am

      Good to hear! I just added a small update at the bottom on some quality issues I had, if you want to take a look.

  15. Naql99

    March 26, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I bought the new Razer Stealth ultra book for my college aged son. First USB-C charger had a defective tip. Just wouldn’t snap in and charge. The tip fell out of the replacement they sent within two weeks. I assumed it was my son’s fault and ordered another. Tip fell out of that charger within 3 days. So, for most of the first month and a half he’s had it, the laptop has mostly been an inert brick, since it could not be charged. Now, they refuse to replace the last one. Apparently we are expected to keep shelling out $140 a pop for chargers. Not going to happen, nor will I buy anything else from them. These chargers have a build quality defect and their support sucks. Buyer beware.

  16. Bob Fritz

    May 11, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Great review and THANK YOU for being honest, so much hype about these systems…

    I did HEAPS and HEAPS of research into my next laptop before I finally decided between a Dell XPS 13 or a Razer Blade Stealth – loved the look of the Stealth but there was WAAAAY too many complaints about this system – heating issues, fan noise whine, plugs falling out, random crashes etc etc. In an interview the CEO mentioned how they devote heaps of resources to QC so no idea why these QC issues are not being picked up. Despite that I went cash in hand to my local electronic retailer only to be advised they WILL NOT stock Razer systems due to complaints regarding overheating issues and poor QC…I eventually got the DELL and have not looked back..sure DELL might have duds but they are a bigger company and seem to fix problems quicker / replace etc.

    Do your research and if you insist on getting this system do it thru Microsoft Store as their after sale support is great (imo).

  17. Luffy

    July 4, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Can it runs engineering software like Autocad?

    • Derek Sullivan

      July 4, 2016 at 10:21 am

      It’ll run it, although I can’t say how well. It totally depends on how detailed your drawings are. I’ve used Solidworks on the i7-6500U and it runs ok for the most part but when the models get really complex, it starts to show it’s limitations. I could live with it I guess but a dedicated GPU would certainly be better. It might be something you’ll want to try in a store to make sure. Any laptop with the same CPU should offer a similar experience to the Razer Blade Stealth.

      • Luffy

        July 4, 2016 at 10:29 am

        I’m planning to buy a laptop like razer blade stealth to run mostly engineering software, what laptops will you recommend?

      • Derek Sullivan

        July 4, 2016 at 1:57 pm

        Pretty much any laptop with a dGPU will perform better than integrated graphics. I’m told Skylake Iris is good enough for CAD although I haven’t specifically tested it yet. I’d say anything with a 950m or better would be sufficient enough. I currently use the Razer Blade 14, but it’s expensive and probably overkill. If you don’t play games at all though and only plan on doing engineering, you might want to focus on a workstation graphics card since they are specifically designed for CAD. The MSI WS60, for example, is the engineering version of the MSI GS60.

      • Luffy

        July 4, 2016 at 4:35 pm

        But there’s almost no high-end laptops with dedicated cpu and gpu which weights below 2kg and thin. Maybe i cant find though. Any recommendations?

      • Derek Sullivan

        July 4, 2016 at 4:38 pm

        What are your thickness and price requirements?

      • Luffy

        July 4, 2016 at 4:50 pm

        Below 2cm and price around $1100

      • Derek Sullivan

        July 4, 2016 at 8:15 pm

        Honestly, it’s going to be tough finding something that thin with a dedicated gpu at that price point. Maybe the Asus UX303LN if you can find one on a discount somewhere. Either that or try to pick up a Broadwell model.

        If you’re patient, you might be able to pick up an XPS 13 with iris graphics at that price but Dell hasn’t had that sale in a couple months now. Again I’m also unsure how well iris will handle CAD.

  18. Luffy

    July 4, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Can it run engineering software like autocad?

  19. Danish

    July 19, 2016 at 1:32 am

    Would you still recommend this, now that its nearly end of August? I am thinking this (QHD) or the Dell XPS 13 with touch and infinity display, which seems to have upgraded their specs if I am not mistaken, recently.

    • Derek Sullivan

      July 20, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      Depends on the cost of the XPS 13, but yes I still would recommend it. I’m not sure what specs you are referring to but Skylake has been out for some time. There’s not much else coming that would significantly upgrade wither model anytime soon.

  20. Brian Tilker

    September 3, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    I have received 2 Razer Blade Stealths thus far. The first one had some serious internal issue that resulted in the laptop shutting down frequently and the WiFi didn’t always work. The second one that I got had 2 keys that didn’t light up but a software update fixed that. Another issue with the second one is that the fan is too loud. I’ll be sending this one back and likely getting a Dell XPS 13 if they don’t give me a discount or some sort of store credit.

  21. Kyamil

    November 14, 2017 at 4:02 am

    Please update this for the 2017 13 inch version with gen8 CPU. :))

  22. Matthew

    May 13, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    See I think you all make the mistake of putting the Razer laptops as "Gaming" laptops. They have poor thermals because they go for the ultra-thin and sleek look, they have little upgradeability seeing as they are so thin and things must be scattered on. They are ultrabooks at their finest never the less; a mid-range battery, incredibly strong specs and ultra light and thin. Don't make people confused as nowhere does razer advertise these as a gaming laptop.

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