Razer Blade Stealth (2016) review: The gaming ultrabook just got even better

Is the new Razer Blade Stealth an even better gaming ultrabook for those who enjoy firing up titles and participating at LAN events? Yes. Yes it is.

Razer Blade Stealth 2016

The Blade Stealth from Razer was certainly no slouch, featuring an Intel Core i7 6th-gen processor, a stunning display and gorgeous design. But as noted in our comprehensive review, the ultrabook for gamers was held back by mediocre performance in demanding tasks and battery life. The company took these complaints on-board, threw in new components, worked some black magic and we've got the new 2016 Razer Blade Stealth.

So, question is, is it any better? Read our review to find out whether or not you should pick one up.

It lasts longer

So what exactly is new in this refreshed Blade Stealth? Intel has new processors out and Razer took on-board feedback that was provided by reviewers and owners who forked out for the predecessor. In our detailed review of the Stealth we noted how the battery could be improved, and this is exactly what the company has achieved thanks to a combination of measures.

You have the new CPU, as well as a larger and more energy-dense battery (upgraded from 45Wh to 53.4Wh). I managed to get around 7 hours of charge through regular usage — web browsing, email, light video viewing, and communication clients. That's pretty much it, though. Everything else is the same as the older Razer Blade Stealth and that's absolutely fine.

Razer Blade Stealth 2016

What I enjoy most about the Razer Blade Stealth (2016) is the overall design and build. The machined-aluminum construction of the chassis is absolutely gorgeous. The black and green Razer color scheme is stunning in all light levels, although you will have to battle fingerprints that tend to show up even after lightly touching the laptop. The keyboard backlight feature is also a joy to customize and gaze at.

The latest from Intel

Razer Blade Stealth 2016

The specifications of even the entry-level Blade Stealth are actually fairly powerful. You have an Intel Core i7 processor, matched with at least 8GB of RAM and a QHD display with touch-screen support. Sure, there's only Intel HD Graphics 620 onboard, and we would have liked to see a GTX 1060 on this machine, the company has opted for maximum portability and this is where the Razer Core comes into play.

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CategorySpecification
Display12.5-inch IGZO 16:9 1440p, 4K touch-screen
CPU7th-gen Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7GHz dual-core
GPUIntel HD Graphics 620
Storage128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB PCIe SSD (QHD)
512 GB / 1 TB PCIe SSD (UHD)
RAM8GB, 16 GB Dual-Channel (LPDDR3-1866MHz)
OSWindows 10 (64-bit)
Wi-FiKiller Wireless-AC (802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
Bluetooth 4.1
PortsThunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
USB 3.0 port x 2 (SuperSpeed)
HDMI 2.0a
3.5 mm headphone/microphone port
WebcamBuilt-in webcam (2.0 MP)
SecurityTrusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) security chip
Battery53.6Wh lithium-ion polymer
Up to 9 hours of battery life
Dimensions13.1mm (H) x 321mm (W) x 206 mm (D)
Weight1.29 kg / 2.84 lbs

Intel's 7th-gen Kaby Lake processors really lend a hand here when it comes to photo and video editing, and the integrated Intel graphics can even handle some of the more recent titles at decent frame rates (so long as you don't go for the 4K display and attempt to render games at that resolution). Thankfully, this also means the laptop runs rather cool and you barely hear the fans. I noticed they weren't even spinning for most of my web browsing and general usage.

Bang for your buck

Razer Blade Stealth 2016

Razer is usually associated with expensive hardware and peripherals for gamers, but looking at the Blade Stealth will reveal quite the bargain when you consider what's included and how competitors match up. Looking at Apple, for the same price you'll be able to walk out a store with the MacBook Air. Unfortunately, this is a downgrade with an older Intel Core i5 processor, as well as Intel's HD 6000 graphics.

They've certainly nailed the opening price for the Blade Ultrabook family of laptops, and there's also the option to configure just how much storage and RAM you require, as well as whether or not to upgrade from 1440p to a 4K display. It's actually a well thought out line-up, ensuring that even those who select the $999.99 Blade Stealth will be able to power through tasks every day, with the added bonus of hooking up a Razer Core to take advantage of a dedicated GPU.

Should you buy one?

Razer Blade Stealth 2016

The Razer Blade Stealth was already a solid ultrabook worthy of consideration, but Razer's improvements here have made the 2016 model an even more capable and compelling machine. The display, specifications, backlit keyboard, connectivity with the Razer Core, build quality, and overall bang for your buck makes the Blade Stealth a superb portable gaming laptop.

There are a few things we'd like to see addressed, mainly the keyboard itself. It's more comfortable to use than other ultrabooks on the market right now, but I would like slightly more travel (if at all possible). You also have to take into consideration that while this is an $999.99 laptop, for gaming you'll need to fork out for the Razer Core, as well as a dedicated GPU, which could easily take the overall investment above $1500.

If you're into some serious gaming, need something super-portable, frequently attend LAN events, and don't enjoy heavier gaming laptops (or have the funds for the Razer Blade Pro), the Blade Stealth is a really good option. Should you do some video editing on the go and other more demanding tasks, you may want to look at the Razer Blade with the dedicated GTX 1060 GPU.

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Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

20 Comments
  • Can we get some benchmarks with and without connecting to the Razer Core. I love the idea of an external GPU on an ultrabook / Surface type of device, but does it really allow you to do serious gaming off of it, or is it more of a slight bump. Sony tried this like 2-3 years ago, and it failed.
  • Intel HD 620. Not for serious gaming without the Core.
  • Intel HD 620. Not for serious gaming without the Core, especially at the higher resolutions. You may be able to get away with 1080p GTA V on medium or lower with reasonable framerates. Your performance with the Core is dependent on whatever GPU you load up into it. Throw in a 1080 and it's practically VR-ready. Put simply, this is an ultrabook that can dock into a gaming PC setup. Not a gaming laptop.
  • I don't have a great GPU (Sapphire Dual-X R9 270), but I get excellent results playing League of Legends. The limiting factors with the Core and the Razer Blade Stealth are: 1: CPU - The RBS's CPU isn't the greatest for gaming.
    2: Thunderbolt 3 - If you use the Core to play a game on the laptop's screen, then the total throughput is a big factor. If you plug a monitor into the GPU on the Core, then it mitigates some of the throughput issues.
  • I would have strongly considered this laptop if the Core was priced more reasonable.  Can't wait for the refreshed Razer Blade review, that's the one I'm more interested in.
  • We may have that review later this week depends on the whole holiday thing.
  • And when you'll stop gaming on it and start reviewing it eh Dan
  • Wow, so I checked, and the Razer Core is 500$!! That's a very, very steep price, considering the Alienware Graphics Amplifier is 150$.
    I was really considering this, but now it's off the table. Looking elsewhere for my new purchase.
  • I agree that the price is steep, but it barely compares to the Alienware Amp. With the Amp, you must restart the device after connecting the Amp, since it's a direct PCI link. The Core can connect to any Thunderbolt 3 PC, so it's a bit more versatile. Also, Razer drops the price a bit if you bundle it with the laptop (unless that's done with).
  • Was torn between this and the x360. What had me settle on the x360 was someone tested it with the Razer Core and it worked out of the box. That and the fact that the x360 has Windows Hello sealed the deal for me (I use Hello daily at work and just appreciate the convenience too much).
  • oh wow it works with the razer core? that's great. I'm excited for products like razer core, but I'm also nervous about what the range of compatibility is with different laptops/2-in-1s and the range of graphics card you can put in it. Like would you be able to put in the newer nvidia 10xx series cards?
  • Guys, let's be honest ... this is not a gaming laptop. You will need over $1000 for the Core and a decent graphics card to game on this.
  • I was about to say the same thing. A computer cannot be a gaming computer without a discrete GPU. You will not be able to do any real gaming on this on the road.
  • So buy the Core and a GTX 1080 and a $999 Stealth and you pretty much have a Razer Blade Pro without the specs of a better processor, more memory and more ram (but did you mention the $100.00 off the Core on Razer's site if you buy a bundle)?
  • How do you get to $1000 for the Core and a "decent GPU"? A decent GPU costs way less than $500, and the Core is $400 if bought through the bundle.
  • Baby got bezel!
  • I realize it's meant for light gaming or for decent gaming with the Razer Core, but 7 hours still seems totally inadequate for battery life. If the Surface Book with Performance Base can get 16 hours with a 6th gen Intel, this should be able to get more than 7 hours with a 7th gen Intel.
  • I doubt the Surface Book can get 16 hours, even though that's what Microsoft lists. I suspect it's closer to 12, which is still really good. Most electronics products don't get their advertised battery life. I know my iPad Air2 doesn't.
  • Dual core processor is going to bottleneck the performance significantly. This is a no buy for me until they throw in a quad core.
  • if only my laptop had a thunderbolt port