When I reviewed Razer’s debut Blade Stealth ultrabook two years ago, I thought it would usher in a wave of imitators. Small, sleek, with an all-metal chassis that rivaled Apple’s finest MacBooks, it was one of the best laptops I’d ever used.

And now? Well, not much has changed. I’ve been using the Blade Stealth’s most recent revision for a bit now, and while there are certainly some excellent alternatives, Razer’s machine (available via Amazon) remains near the top of the pack. There’s still room for improvement—particularly the battery life—but it’s an impressive machine.

Note: This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

Looks can be deceiving

razer blade stealth lid Adam Patrick Murray/IDG

The new Razer Blade Stealth’s chassis offers some subtle improvements over its predecessor’s.

It’s tempting to write off the latest Blade Stealth as an incremental update. Internally, that’s certainly the case—we’ll talk performance later. But even a surface-level glance gives the appearance that not much has changed. It’s still the same Blade aesthetic Razer’s used for the last five or six years now—black aluminum chassis, rounded corners, glowing green logo on the back—just shrunk down a bit. 

This latest Blade Stealth is technically larger than its predecessor, though—or at least, the screen is. The actual laptop dimensions are the same as before, stretching 12.6 x 8.1 inches, and barely a half-inch thick. But the old 12.5-inch screen has been replaced by one that’s 13.3 inches. 

It’s barely a difference, but I complained that the previous Blade Stealth had unsightly bezels around all four sides of the screen—a trait that was particularly noticeable placed next to Dell’s sleek, almost bezel-free XPS 13 line. Those bezels are mercifully smaller on the new Blade Stealth, making an already beautiful machine look even better. And yet, they are just large enough to fit the webcam in the traditional top-center space also, which is a rarity on an ultrabook.

The only downside? There’s no 4K option. The old 3840×2160 IGZO touchscreen has been replaced by one that’s 3200×1800. Note: I say “downside” with a fair amount of sarcasm. Color reproduction is top-tier, and with screens this small it’s doubtful you’re going to notice the missing pixels. Still, a trade-off has been made.

I suspect it relates to battery life. That was the other big complaint with the original Blade Stealth, which only lasted 5 hours, 37 minutes in our rundown test.

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