The Razer Blade Stealth manages to pack in Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics in a 13-inch machine, making it the smallest gaming laptop that I know of with this level of power, so how does it actually perform in games? I’ve tested 15 titles at both 720p and 1080p resolutions and also compared it against other laptops to show you the difference.
The Razer Synapse software lets you select between different performance modes, I’ve tested with Gaming mode enabled and the fan set to max speed for best performance, none of these modes apply any overclocks. There’s no option of disabling optimus here, so no G-Sync.
Anyway let’s get into the game benchmarks, we’ll start by looking at 15 titles at all setting levels at two resolutions, then afterwards I’ll compare the Blade Stealth with other laptops.
I’ve tested Battlefield 5 in campaign mode, the 720p results are shown in the red bars, and the 1080p results are shown by the purple bars. At ultra settings the performance difference was quite negligible, but at any other setting level there were big gains to be had from 720p. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the game’s built in benchmark tool, ultra settings couldn’t be run due to the 4 gig VRAM limitation of the 1650 Ti, either way low settings with 720p was needed for a fair frame rate in this heavy test. Control was playable at 1080p low settings, where it was just under 60 FPS, but it was running far better at 720p. I’d argue that for a 13-inch screen like this 720p wasn’t looking too bad anyway, I think the performance trade off for higher end games is definitely worth it. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the built-in benchmark, above 60 FPS was possible with low settings at 1080p, meanwhile 720p with highest settings wasn’t far off 60 FPS. We’ll see how other laptops compare in this game and others soon. Apex Legends was tested with either all settings at maximum, or all settings on the lowest possible values, as it doesn’t have predefined setting presets. It was definitely playable at 1080p minimum settings, but maxed out there was some noticeable stuttering, then 720p was much better. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in campaign mode with either max or min settings for the same reason. It was chugging a bit at 1080p, especially maxed out, while 720p was able to offer 60 FPS even with all settings at maximum. Fortnite was tested with the replay feature using the exact same replay file at both resolutions. 1080p was only just below 60 FPS at max, but again 720p was offering a much smoother experience, where the 1% lows at all settings but low were actually higher than the averages from 1080p. CS:GO was tested with the ulletical FPS benchmark, the difference between the two resolutions doesn’t look that big as even 1080p is still quite high maxed out. Dota 2 was tested playing in the middle lane with bots, and the difference was small here, so might as well just play at 1080p with good settings, it still runs just fine either way. Overwatch was tested in the practice range, and received big gains with the lower 720p resolution. The 1% lows at 720p were ahead of the average FPS from 1080p at all setting levels, though that said 1080p with medium still hits a 1% low close to the screens refresh rate. Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the built-in benchmark using Vulkan, again the 1% lows from 720p were higher than the averages from 1080p, so quite a big boost in performance is possible should you prefer higher frame rates above visual quality. Borderlands 3 was tested using the game’s built in benchmark, this is a heavier test, low settings was needed to reach a 60 FPS average at 1080p, while medium was well above this at 720p. Ghost Recon Breakpoint was also tested with the benchmark tool, as another heavier game I was seeing the 4 GB VRAM being a limitation here, particularly at 1080p higher settings, though low settings was only just below 60 FPS, with 720p offering some nice boosts. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is another that was tested with the games benchmark. 1080p couldn’t hit 60 FPS even at minimum settings, while medium was just under it at 720p, fair improvements are seen at 720p but not as big as some of the other titles tested. The Witcher 3 was running above 60 FPS with high settings at 1080p, much better than I expected. I don’t think stepping up to ultra gives that much extra eye candy, so might as well stick to 1080p high instead of worse performance at 720p ultra.
Now let’s take a look at how Razer’s Stealth 13 compares against other laptops, use these results as a rough guide only, as they were tested at different times with different drivers.
In Battlefield 5 I’ve got the Blade highlighted in red. For some reason the performance was down when compared to the last gen of Stealth 13 I previously tested, I’m really not sure why as I test in the same part of the game. I took an average of 5 test runs here, a couple of them were similar to the old blade, but yeah most where lower and this is the average result.
These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built-in benchmark. This time the newer blade 13 is at least ahead of its predecessor, though not by a large margin, I’d call the performance fairly equivalent all things considered.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool with the highest setting preset. The newer Blade Stealth was 1 FPS behind the last gen one, again not really sure why as we’d expect the 1650 Ti to do better than the 1650, but that’s not the case in these tests.
The gaming performance of the Blade Stealth 13 isn’t that impressive when compared to other larger and cheaper machines, but that’s because they’re able to fit more powerful hardware inside and have more space for cooling. The Stealth is the only 13-inch gaming laptop I’ve tested that still fits in discrete Nvidia graphics above the weaker MX tier, so when you factor in just how small it is this is quite impressive. You’ll only really be looking at something like this if portability is critical and you’re willing to pay more but still need some level of GPU performance on the go.
An upgrade over the last generation of Stealth 13 is that the 13 inch 1080p panel is now available with a 120Hz refresh rate, but while this sounds cool in practice, I measured the average gray-to-gray response time at around 29ms. When we look at how this stacks up against others, it’s on the lower side for a gaming laptop. I don’t think I’m that sensitive to it, but I still noticed some ghosting and blurriness when playing.
I’ve never seen a high refresh rate option at 13 inches, so my guess is there is simply a lack of panels available and that’s why we’ve got the 29ms response time. 13-inch gaming laptops aren’t exactly popular due to increased costs, and combined with the fact that we’re only just recently getting the GPUs to kind of make this happen at the lower end, it explains why there aren’t plenty of epic panels available. It’s kind of a chicken and egg problem where there are no good panels to use in a 13-inch gaming laptop, but not enough people buying to justify investing in making them.
Let me know what you thought of the gaming performance from the Razer Blade Stealth 13 gaming laptop down in the comments.