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Latest Razer Blade Stealth gets new quad-core CPU but battery disappoints

Razer reformulated its ultraportable Blade Stealth laptop in mid-2017 with display bezels that were 50 percent thinner, a new Microsoft Precision touchpad, and a gunmetal gray variant.

Razer likes to update its laptops with the latest Intel processors, which is great for consumers who want the best, but it may rub you the wrong way if you just bought last month's model.

That's the case with the Razer Blade Stealth late-2017 edition, which trades in its dual-core i7-7500U processor for a new quad-core i7-8550U. The RAM also gets a needed speed bump.

So how does it hold up? Check out our quick re-review in the video above.

Razer Blade Stealth specifications

Not much has changed from the mid-2017 Razer Blade Stealth, which I thoroughly reviewed back in August.

CategoryRazer Blade Stealth 2017
OSWindows 10 Home 64-bit
MaterialCNC-machine aluminum single chassis design
ProcessorIntel Core i7-8550U 1.8 GHz / 4.0 GHz (Base/Turbo)
Storage256 GB, 512GB, or 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
RAM16GB LPDDR3- 2,133MHz (Fixed)
Display13.3" IGZO Touch Screen
16:9 aspect ratio
3200 x 1800 QHD+
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
PortsOne Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C)
Two USB 3.0 port (SuperSpeed)
One HDMI 2.0a
3.5mm headphone/microphone
AudioTop-firing stereo speakers
Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater Edition
WirelessKiller Wireless-AC 1535 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 4.1)
KeyboardRazer Chroma anti-ghosting keyboard with individually backlit keys
Camera720p
Battery53.6 WHr
45W USB-C power adapter
Weight2.93 lbs. / 1.33 kg
Dimensions0.52 x 12.6 x 8.1 inches
13.1 x 321 x 206 mm
Price$1,499 to $2,099

The main differences come down to the upgraded processor, which is still Intel's 15W model for Ultrabooks, but it now has four cores instead of two. That processor can also idle at lower speeds (1.8GHz) and burst to new levels (4.0GHz) compared to the older version, which idled at 2.7GHz and turbos only to 3.5GHz.

Razer has also bumped the RAM to a more performant 2,133MHz, which while minor is still welcome.

Razer Blade Stealth performance

There is nothing but good news when it comes to performance. The Blade Stealth is still very much an Ultrabook even if it looks like a proper gaming laptop. That means its Core i7 processor can handle standard Windows tasks just fine, but it will struggle when running any intensive PC game.

For those who like to game, though, Razer is hoping you'll want its external GPU system called Razer Core, which can handle up to an NVIDIA GTX 1080Ti graphics card. Running that full system will set you back a lot of money, but I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't extremely enjoyable. While it doesn't solve the problem for gaming on the go, it does let you own a premium Ultrabook that doubles as a serious gaming PC for when you're home and relaxing.

CPU

Geekbench 4.0 benchmarks (higher is better)

DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Razer Blade Stealth (New)i7-8550U4,56714,095
Razer Blade Stealth (Old)i7-7500U4,2118,333
Dell XPS 13 (9360)i7-8550U4,69014,334
Dell XPS 13 (9360)i7-6560U4,1207,829
Surface Book 2 13i7-8650U4,86214,694
Surface Laptopi7-7660U4,7149,535
HP EliteBook x360 G2i7-7600U4,4968,435
Samsung Notebook 9 15 Exti7-7500U4,3168,320

The refreshed 8th generation Intel processor boosts the single core speed by a nice amount, but it's the multi-core score that sees the biggest boost.

GPU

Geekbench 4.0 OpenCL (higher is better)

DeviceGPUCompute score
Razer Blade StealthUHD 62022,274
Razer Blade StealthHD 62020,092
Surface Book Perf. BaseGTX 965M64,108
Surface Laptop i7Iris 64031,010
Surface Pro 2017Iris 64030,678
Lenovo Legion Y720HD 63020,878
Dell XPS 13 (9360)HD 62019,410
Surface BookHD 52018,197

The Razer Blade Stealth gets a small graphics boost with the newer Intel UHD 620 component compared to the mid-2017 model running the Intel HD 620.

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (higher is better)

DeviceReadWrite
Raze Blade Stealth1,375 MB/s1,321 MB/s
Raze Blade Stealth1,281 MB/s1,330 MB/s
Dell XPS 13 93601,368 MB/s847 MB/s
Surface Book 2 131,411 MB/s1,202 MB/s
Surface Laptop423 MB/s237 MB/s
Lenovo X1 Carbon1,518 MB/s1,188 MB/s
Samsung Notebook 9 Ext1,365 MB/s1,213 MB/s
HP EliteBook x360 G21,129 MB/s916 MB/s
HP Spectre x360 151,128 MB/s862 MB/s

Our review unit is running a Samsung PM9610 SSD, which is a premium storage solution. The read and write speeds reflect this choice by Razer and it gives excellent performance.

Razer continues to use premium parts in the Blade Stealth making the overall experience enjoyable. The fast processor, RAM, and a solid-state drive (SSD) help justify the steep cost.

Razer Blade Stealth remains an solid Ultrabook

There are much cheaper Ulltrabooks on the market, but Razer has carved out a nice niche for itself with a premium, unique design and quality components. The Blade Stealth is just fun to use. Performance is great for this class, the port selection is good, you get a full Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C jack, and the display and trackpad are top notch.

Where the Blade Stealth stumbles is battery life, which falls just below eight hours. That's not actually terrible considering how thin and light the Stealth is, but it is below that of other Ultrabooks in this category. Likewise, the keyboard is a bit on the shallow side for typing, though it still ranks high for my usage.

The original Blade Stealth never impressed me, but the mid-2017 and now late-2017 editions have changed that perception. The Blade Stealth is one of the nicest Ultrabooks you can get, but it's not for everyone.

Your best bet, like all laptops, is trying to find one in a store like Best Buy or Microsoft to try it out yourself. But if you're looking for something a bit different and the feature set meets your expectations, the Blade Stealth is still forging its path. Let's just hope for better battery life next time around.

See at Razer

Pros:

  • Excellent display.
  • New Intel processor performs great.
  • Outstanding build quality and design.
  • Precision touchpad and 16GB of RAM.
  • Full Thunderbolt 3 for eGPU.

Cons:

  • Traditional laptop design.
  • There are many cheaper alternatives.
  • Battery life just below eight hours.
  • No Windows Hello.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

5 Comments
  • Decent spec bump with the new cpu - 4 cores and 8 threads. Still find it baffling that premium laptops still ship with 10 home... would have expected at least 10s with upgrade rights to pro.
  • Home is generally good enough for most users.
  • Yes it is, however at that price bracket you would expect at least 10S. It's got the features of pro, just locked down to the store. Home pretty basic at that price point, if you want a laptop running 10 home, you can get one for £150 or so, sure it won't have the space for all forced windows updates. But that's the price bracket for home (anything below £450-£500). Beyond that you would should at least get 10S. Furthermore you get more users accessing the store that way, people who buy premium laptops have a higher ratio of disposable income, therefore are more likely to buy applications at the higher end of the spectrum along side games. Therefore enabling Microsoft to provide factual evidence to developers, to get them to use the appropriate bridges to get their app into the store and in the hands of these users. This also fuels growth for the foundation on which polaris can build upon. It's not rocket science, it's a simple premise of a transitional cause and effect.
  • Is it the quad core processor what made it use more battery? In that case I wonder if it brings that much of an improvement for gaming.
  • It can burst higher. Power draw still should be 15-20W.