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Razer Blade Stealth (2019) review: The best Windows alternative to a MacBook Pro

The redesigned Stealth might be pricey, but it's still less than Apple's high-end 13-incher and has better specs, too.

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Joshua Goldman
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Joshua Goldman

Senior Editor / Reviews

Joshua Goldman is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering laptops and the occasional action cam or drone and related accessories. He has been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 2000.

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4 min read

The 2019 Blade Stealth, the smallest laptop in Razer's lineup, strays even more than past versions from the company's image of delivering goods for hardcore gamers only. 

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Razer Blade Stealth (2019)

The Good

The 2019 Razer Blade Stealth cleans up nicely with a new streamlined design and a smaller, lighter body and the option for a beautiful color-calibrated 4K UHD display and discrete graphics.

The Bad

It's expensive, particularly with the 4K display and discrete graphics, both of which hurt battery life.

The Bottom Line

It's no bargain, but anyone looking for a Windows alternative to a 13-inch MacBook Pro should start their search with the Razer Blade Stealth.

Milled from high-grade aluminum, the 13.3-inch ultraportable has an elegant, streamlined chassis. Thinner bezels around the display helped shrink its overall footprint and further clean up its appearance. And on the iconic three-headed snake logo on the lid is now in basic black instead of glowing green. 

The Stealth isn't really for gaming, either. There are three configurations, starting at $1,399 (£1,300, AU$2,449), all of which use a quad-core Intel i7-8565U processor. The base model 8GB RAM, a 256GB SATA M.2 SSD, a 1,920x1,080-pixel full HD display and integrated graphics. Another $200 doubles your RAM, swaps the SATA SSD for a PCIe M.2 and adds a 4GB version of Nividia's entry-level GeForce MX150 graphics card. (It's also the only one that comes in a limited-edition quartz pink.) 

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Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're willing to go up to $1,899 for the config reviewed here (£1,800 in the UK and currently not available in Australia), storage gets bumped up to a 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD and the display changes to a beautiful UHD-resolution touchscreen (though you do get less battery life, unfortunately). That is definitely expensive, especially if you're simply after the most graphics power you can get for your money

However, it's still not as high as a similarly configured 2018 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro, which is hundreds more and doesn't even have the option for discrete graphics. In other words, the price isn't as ridiculous as it sounds (or at least not as ridiculous as Apple's pricing) and the performance doesn't disappoint. As far as Windows alternatives for the MacBook Pro go, none quite hit the mark like this Stealth update.  

Razer Blade Stealth

Price as reviewed $1,899
Display size/resolution 13.3-inch 3,840 x 2,160 touch display
CPU 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U
PC Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz
Graphics 4GB Nvidia GeForce MX150
Storage 512GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless; Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)
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There are two USB-A and two USB-C ports, one of which is Thunderbolt 3. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Maybe it's the metal body combined with its compact size and 3-pound weight (1.38kg), but the Stealth feels sturdy. The lid is stiff and there's no discernible flex to the base, adding to the high-quality feel. Though I know there are plenty of people out there who simply don't care about what their laptop looks like, I do, and really appreciate the clean simplicity of the Stealth. 

The displays, regardless of which resolution you choose, are factory calibrated to 100 percent sRGB, so out of the box it's ready for content creation. It's one of the best displays I've seen on a PC this size. Above the display is an unremarkable HD 720p infrared camera. While there's no fingerprint reader, you can use the camera for signing in to the laptop or websites with facial recognition using Windows Hello. 

Giving it just a touch of gamer flair, the keyboard has Razer Chroma single-zone full-key backlighting. The company's Synapse software lets you customize colors and patterns for the backlight as well as set up key macros. Rubber dome switches give the keys a softer feel, but with a nice responsive pop. The one thing I don't like about it is the tiny right shift key, which depending on how you type, can lead to a lot of corrections.  

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The keyboard is flanked by four speakers that deliver clear, loud audio that's backed with Dolby Atmos support. Turning the Atmos on helps make music, movies and games sound fuller and not thin and tinny. The new glass Windows Precision touchpad is one of the best you'll find on a laptop: large, smooth and accurate.  

Creating with a side of gaming

It bears repeating that, despite Razer's position as a gaming lifestyle brand, the Stealth is aimed more at creators than gamers. Its fine for battle arena games like Fortnite, PUBG and Overwatch, but more demanding titles will need be played at low settings. Similarly, this isn't a workstation so demanding video, image or graphics work might require some extra rendering time. That said, even this discrete entry-level GPU is way better than trying to do any of these things on integrated graphics. Plus, for professionals or gamers who want to boost performance when you need it, you can pony up for a Razer Core, its $300 external GPU box, as well as a graphics card to put in it.  

The 4K UHD display is nice to look at, but it doesn't do battery life any favors. We got 6 hours and 49 minutes on our streaming video battery test. For the best combination of battery life and performance, you'll want to step down to the full HD panel with the Nvidia graphics, while the base model will have the best battery life.  

Razer Blade Stealth 2019

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Pint-size pro power

No one buys a Razer laptop because it's a bargain. They get them because the hardware looks great and performs well, and the company has an alluring brand identity right down to its three-headed snake logo. The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is no doubt an expensive premium laptop and, yes, you can get a better deal elsewhere if you want faster graphics performance. But it just won't have the features, quality or design of this little PC. 

Geekbench 4 (multicore)

Razer Blade Stealth 16110Lenovo Yoga C930 13978Dell XPS 13 (2018) 12855Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 11983Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2018) 7870Acer Swift 7 6027
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

Razer Blade Stealth 702Lenovo Yoga C930 635Dell XPS 13 (2018) 629Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 589Acer Swift 7 263Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2018) 253
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test (Streaming)

Lenovo Yoga C930 746Dell XPS 13 (2018) 738Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 671Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2018) 646Acer Swift 7 561Razer Blade Stealth 409
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

System configurations

Razer Blade Stealth Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce MX150; 512GB SSD
Lenovo Yoga C930 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U; 12GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 620; 256GB SSD
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2018) Apple MacOS Mojave 10.14; 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8210Y; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 1,536MB Intel UHD Graphics 617; 256GB SSD
Dell XPS 13 (2018) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 620; 256GB SSD
Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620; 256GB
Acer Swift 7 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-7Y75; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 615; 256GB SSD
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Razer Blade Stealth (2019)

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 8Performance 8Battery 7