Razer’s Blade Stealth 13 inch gaming laptop has been updated with Intel's latest 11th gen Processors, so how well does this newer model with 1650 Ti Max-Q GPU perform in games? I’ve tested 15 titles at both 720p and 1080p resolutions and also compared it with other laptops to show you the differences.
Thunderbolt 4 / eGPU
This is my first Thunderbolt 4 laptop, I’ll also test it with an external GPU in an upcoming review too so make sure you’re subscribed for that one. The Razer Synapse software lets you select between different performance modes.
Software settings / drivers
I’ve done all testing with gaming mode enabled with the fan set to max speed for best performance, but this doesn’t apply any overclocking to the graphics. There’s no option of disabling optimus for a speed boost, so no G-Sync either. Anyway let’s start by seeing how 15 games perform then afterwards I’ll compare it with other laptops and check out screen response time.
15 games tested at 720p and 1080p
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested in the games benchmark tool. I’ve got the 1080p results shown by the purple bars, and the 720p results shown by the red bars. 720p was still able to pass 60 FPS even with the highest setting preset, while low settings were needed for similar results at the higher 1080p resolution.
Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode. Max settings at 1080p provided very inconsistent results and wasn’t really usable, high settings was better, while medium was only just below 60 FPS. 720p on the other hand was running fine even with the highest setting preset, which was reaching 70 FPS.
Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested with the game benchmark tool. This game needs more than 4 GB of VRAM to run with settings at ultra, so I wasn’t able to test that here. High settings weren't that great in any case, medium was more usable.
Watch Dogs Legion was tested with the games benchmark. 1080p wasn’t even able to reach 60 FPS with low settings, while high settings at 720p was only just slightly under this. That said, I don’t think this game needs a high frame rate to enjoy, so 1080p at lower settings would be ok.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was also tested using the games benchmark, and again although this one doesn’t need ultra-high FPS, 1080p is only really going to go well at lower setting levels, 720p was just capable of above 60 FPS at low settings. Apex Legends was tested with either min or max settings as it doesn’t have built in presets. There were big differences here, even the 720p results were reaching 1% lows above the average FPS from the 1080p results. That said, 1080p was still running above 60 FPS with all settings maxed out which is still ok, though minimum was closer to the screen’s 120Hz refresh rate.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare was also tested with minimum or max settings for the same reason. 1080p wasn’t quite able to get to 60 FPS even with all settings at minimum, however max settings at 720p was able to get us there. Control was almost running at 60 FPS 1080p with the low setting preset, so definitely usable as this game doesn’t need a super high frame rate to play well, plus I still think it looks decent even at low settings. 720p on the other hand was still pretty usable even with the high setting preset, and at 13 inches in many cases 720p doesn’t look too bad. CS:GO was still reaching high frame rates even with 1080p, even at max settings the average frame rate was higher than the screens refresh rate, though 1% lows dip down quite a lot in this test due to the smokes. Dota 2 also runs on basically anything, and there are hardly any differences at all between 1080p and 720p at the lower setting levels. Even at ultra the difference still isn’t that big, 1080p is still running with an average frame rate higher than the screen’s refresh rate. Fortnite is another game that doesn’t need high-end specs to run well. That said, 1080p wasn’t quite reaching 60 FPS with the highest epic setting preset, but it was still usable, and high settings would get us there for even the 1% low. 720p was otherwise near 100 FPS with max settings.
Overwatch is another esports title, so it was also doing well. Above 60 FPS max settings with 1080p, while even high settings was above the screens refresh rate, but max settings 720p was also above 120 FPS, but I’d prefer 1080p high settings personally, given it’s still playing nicely.
Rainbow Six Siege was tested with the games benchmark tool. 1080p max settings was still near 100 FPS, while the 1% lows from 720p were higher than the averages from 1080p, so quite a large improvement. Even the 1% low from high settings at 720p was above the screens refresh rate. The Witcher 3 wasn’t quite at 60 FPS with 720p at ultra settings, though 1080p was able to get passed this at high settings, but again like some of the other titles tested, the 1% lows from the 720p results were ahead of the average FPS from 1080p.
Borderlands 3 was tested with the games benchmark tool. Every time I test this game there tends to be big improvements stepping down just one level from high to medium, and 1080p was a little under 60 FPS with medium settings, but 720p was able to get to 80 FPS.
Compared to other laptops
Now let’s take a look at how the 11th gen Razer Blade Stealth 13 compares against other laptops, use these results as a rough guide only, as they were tested at different times with different drivers.
I’ve tested Battlefield 5 in campaign mode at ultra settings, and the 11th gen Blade Stealth 13 is highlighted in red. It’s just a little ahead of the 10th gen model I tested a few months ago, but interestingly both were behind the even older model with non Ti graphics just ahead of it. All three models had some fairly inconsistent results in this test though, so it may just be that this title with max settings is difficult to use for comparison purposes on lower end hardware.
These are the results from Far Cry 5 with ultra settings in the built in benchmark. This time the 11th gen blade stealth was about where I’d expect to see it relative to the other machines. It was only about 1 FPS ahead of the 10th gen model though, I honestly expected better as this is a CPU heavier test and the performance differences between 10th and 11th gen is actually fairly large, but I’ll compare that in an upcoming video so make sure you’re subscribed.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was also tested with the games benchmark tool with the highest setting preset. Again just 1 FPS ahead of the last gen blade stealth 13 with 10th gen processor and same graphics, which was 1 FPS ahead of the blade stealth prior to that with non Ti graphics. That’s not too surprising though, I’m working on a 1650 vs 1650 Ti comparison video at the moment, and it really seems like Ti isn’t worth it, but again make sure you’re subbed for that.
Other options / who is this for?
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.
Screen response time
The Blade Stealth 13 that I tested had the same 120Hz panel as the 10th gen model that came out earlier this year, and while this sounds cool on paper, the average grey-to-grey response time is on the lower side when compared against others. I don’t think I’m that sensitive to it, but I still noticed some ghosting and blurriness when playing. Apart from this panel that Razer are using, I’ve never seen a high refresh option at 13 inches, so my guess is there’s simply a lack of panels available and that’s why the response time isn’t amazing. 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 happens at the lower end, it explains why there aren’t lots of options. 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 13-inch gaming laptops to justify investing in making them.
Basically Razer can only use the panels available in the market as they don’t make them themselves, but yeah this is definitely a big downside for the 120Hz screen. Let me know what you thought of the gaming performance from the Razer Blade Stealth 13 gaming laptop down in the comments.