Razer Blade Stealth 13 (Late 2020) Review – Better But Not Yet Perfect!
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
The new Razer Blade Stealth 13 is an engineering marvel of a laptop with improved performances over its previous model, but it is in a rather niche or awkward position right now.
The Blade Stealth 13 (late 2020) is a smaller laptop compared to Razer’s Blade 15 and Blade Pro 17 laptops and can be purchased right now. One key difference from the older model we reviewed in 2020 is that the 2021 model is powered by Intel’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake processor, specifically, the Core i7-1165G7 – the same CPU we now see in several gaming laptops. Aside from that major difference, the new Blade Stealth 13 retains much of the older model’s features; the latest model still comes with 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q for graphics, and the similarly performing 512GB NVMe SSD.
With Tiger Lake powering the new Blade Stealth 13, you get a few nifty little upgrades such as Thunderbolt 4 support on both the USB type-C connectors on either side of the laptop. The Blade Stealth 13 also implemented new things such as THX spatial audio with much improved speakers and an option for an OLED touch panel.
In Cinebench R20, the Tiger Lake processor is definitely a step above its previous iteration. It was able to score 2,353 on a multi-thread workload and well above 500 on a single-thread workload. Remember: this is still a processor with just four cores and eight threads. It gave a solid and definite improvement with just a slight architectural upgrade.
In DaVinci Resolve 16, the new processor registered a definite improvement. a 10-minute 1080p project took just about 12 minutes to complete, while a five-minute 4K project took approximately 33 minutes. When compared to the older Blade Stealth 13 model, the difference is actually quite amazing.
Of course, when you’re talking about Razer, gaming is where it’s at. PUBG and Apex Legends ran at over 60fps when the games’ graphics settings were set on high and running at 1920×1080 resolution with no anti-aliasing. CSGO ran at 164fps on the same settings while AAA games like Devil May Cry 5 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider registered 88fps and 49fps respectively. Genshin Impact, everyone’s favourite gacha game at the moment, will easily hit the max fps cap of 60.
Temperatures are extremely well-maintained as both CPU and GPU are hovering at the mid-70-degrees celsius at best even during extended hours of gameplay. To top that off, the cooling fans weren’t that loud either, which makes the laptop doubly impressive.
Gaming with the laptop is rather impressive thanks to the GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q that powers it. Despite those high-end components, the laptop can manage over six hours of battery life with casual use.
But, this is where everything gets quite tricky.
The model with an OLED panel costs S$3,299, and for about that price, you can pretty much buy the Blade 15’s base model with the new Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070. If you want to save quite a bit, you can also get the Blade 15’s base model with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060. No matter how you slice it, you’ll be getting much more performance for your money; perhaps double or even triple that.
As mentioned earlier, the Blade Stealth 13 is in a niche position in the market. It is a laptop that has extremely good build quality, compact, lightweight, superb performance for its class, a beautiful display, a great keyboard and trackpad, powerful speakers, and a decent port selection. However, because of these qualities, you do have to pay a premium for them.
The new Blade Stealth 13 is a serious feat of engineering and we believe that only Razer has pulled off something like this successfully. However, we can’t recommend this laptop just yet at least for now because of AMD.
With the announcement of the AMD Ryzen 5000 series for mobile at CES 2021, we really think that the Ryzen 7 5800U processor with eight cores and 16 threads should be the configuration for the Blade Stealth 13. If the laptop could take a 28-watt CPU, we’re pretty sure it can handle a 15-watt CPU with ease with perhaps room for overclocking.
You will lose Thunderbolt four support but personally, we’re willing to trade that feature for twice the amount of cores and threads.
If the Blade Stealth 13 keeps everything else and trades the CPU for AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800U, with possibly a refresh of the 3000 series of Nvidia down the road, that laptop would really hype us up.
The new Razer Blade Stealth 13 is far from bad, but it’s just in an awkward position right now. If Razer can make the changes mentioned earlier, then the resulting laptop would be the best in its class.