The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is Razer’s smallest gaming ultrabook and is updated every year. With the 2020 version, the manufacturer installed a 120 Hertz display for the first time and thoroughly improved the hardware. How is the new version doing in the test?
The display is only 13.3 inches tall and yet there is a lot of technology under the blade of the Blade Stealth 13. Weighing just 1.4 kilograms and its compact size, it is ideal for on the go. In my test, I focused primarily on gaming – after all, the laptop was built just for that. I also tried the version of 2019 last year and can therefore compare well to what extent the Blade Stealth 13 has developed and where there are still weaknesses.
2020 Razer Blade Stealth 13 Design
The angular design of the Blade Stealth 13 looks elegant in its matt black aluminum housing. The look is reserved. There are no fancy bells and whistles like with other gaming laptops – only the colorful RGB lighting of the keyboard could reveal the ultrabook. You can change these however you like and let them shine in one color, for example. Unfortunately, the case is very susceptible to fingerprints, which is why the device always looks stained – I don’t like that at all.
Blade Stealth 13’s surface magically attracts fingerprints.
The lid of the laptop can be easily opened with one hand. A camera with Windows Hello support sits above the screen, so that you can simply log on using face recognition. On the underside, two rubberized feet protect the device from scratches. The feet also benefit the fans installed in the center, as the air can circulate better under the laptop.
The Blade Stealth 13 has two USB-C ports and two USB Type-A ports. Both Type-C connections can be used for charging with the enclosed cable. A 3.5 mm jack plug is installed on the left side. Further connections are missing.
2020 Razer Blade Stealth 13 keyboard redesign
The keyboard of the previous model had really disappointed me. This was mainly due to the unfavorable position of the right shift key. She was sitting behind the up-arrow key, which kept me moving in the line. It is all the more gratifying that Razer has responded to customer feedback and installed the full size Shift key on the 2020 model. The up and down arrow keys now share a button, which I find a good solution.
The arrow keys have been better arranged in the 2020 version of the Blade Stealth 13.
The RGB lighting of the keyboard can be configured via the in-house Razer Synapse app and can light up in different modes. The stroke of the keys is quite small, but in no way comparable to a butterfly keyboard of the old MacBooks. I personally could write this article well on the Razer keyboard. And I can’t say anything bad about the relatively large touchpad either. It takes up a lot of space below the keyboard – in contrast to the previous model, nothing has changed.
120 Hz display makes gamers’ hearts beat faster
We liked the 13-inch display. The matt surface in particular cuts a fine figure. It has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (Full HD) and is viewing angle stable. Pictures, videos and films look razor-sharp.
As mentioned at the beginning, the screen of the 2020 Razer Blade Stealth 13 has a high refresh rate of 120 Hertz. This is a special treat for all gamers – and a trend that is constantly evolving. More and more manufacturers such as MSI and Asus are currently installing screens with such high refresh rates. And especially in fast games like Left 4 Dead, Overwatch and Call of Duty, the 120 Hz has a positive effect. You can follow the picture more comfortably because everything is displayed much more fluently.
In my test, I had the experience that the high refresh rate only really comes into play in older games and competitive games. If you want new and very demanding titles like Metro Exodus or Star Wars Jedi: Playing Fallen Order with 120 Hz, the graphics performance will put a spanner in the works. That said, I could not play these games with the highest settings and a high refresh rate. The built-in graphics card cannot be compared to that of a real gaming PC.
In the video for the gaming laptop you get an impression of how games with 120 Hz look on the device.
How do you work with the Blade Stealth 13?
Compared to the 2019 model, Razer has polished up the hardware of the Blade Stealth 13. The manufacturer has switched to a more current version of both the graphics card and the processor. This change is particularly noticeable under full load. If the predecessor became even slower under high heat, the 2020 model can maintain the work ethic for much longer. As described, the graphics card reaches its limits in cutting-edge games, but otherwise works reliably.
Regardless of whether it is gaming or creative: Trackpad and keyboard cut a good figure.
Although I focused my test on gaming, as a YouTuber I was also interested in how videos can be cut with a laptop. I use DaVinci Resolve as standard, a sophisticated program for professional video editing. I was able to cut full HD videos smoothly on the device. If I had added more than three video tracks and effects, it wasn\’t as smooth. The ultrabook should be enough for hobby videographers – but it is not a real editing laptop.
The Razer Blade Stealth 13 is particularly interesting because of its compact design, but that also has its pitfalls: Razer has not changed the cooling solution compared to the previous model and the laptop gets incredibly hot while gaming – even on the desk. For ambitious games and video editing, the Blade Stealth 13 is not only very warm, but also quite loud.
Through the day with the gaming laptop
The Ultrabook lasts approximately eight hours or one working day in normal use. If you fully load the device and connect it to the power, unfortunately it does not charge very quickly. I often felt that the charge indicator stagnated while I was playing. The device is charged via a USB-C connection and an enclosed braided cable. I personally find them very nice because they don’t break so quickly.
A worthy successor?
The overall package of compact design and good computing power is impressive. The changes of 2020 Razer Blade Stealth 13 compared to the previous year are clearly noticeable – the gaming ultrabook is actually better suited for gaming. However, it should be clear that an A4-sized laptop cannot compete with a full-fledged gaming PC. In this respect, you have to be lenient with the small device when performing demanding tasks. The laptop is especially suitable for casual gamers and hobby creatives who rely on the portability of the 13-inch device.
I think it’s a good idea to connect an external GPU to increase the graphics performance. However, you have to take a lot of money in your hand again. In this respect, this variant is only suitable for people who want to afford a laptop and graphics processor. Alternatively, Razer has other gaming laptops like the Blade Stealth 15 with higher performance on offer.