Razer Book 13 review: stop gaming, and get to work – The Verge

For years, Razer has made among the finest gaming laptops in the marketplace. They’re not uniquely well-known for his or her excessive efficiency (Blades are highly effective machines however not the quickest on the market) or their costs (that are excessive). They’re well-known for his or her high-quality construct and their premium design. Briefly, Razer makes the best-looking gaming laptops in the marketplace.

Razer has determined this yr that this aesthetic shouldn’t be restricted to gaming laptops. In its first pocket book designed for productiveness as a substitute of gaming, Razer has mixed its signature appear and feel with a 60Hz 16:10 touchscreen and a lower-power processor with built-in graphics. The Razer E book goals to be a Razer Blade on the surface and a Dell XPS 13 on the within — and it principally succeeds. Razer has made a wonderful laptop computer with efficiency rivaling that of the highest Home windows clamshells in the marketplace. That mentioned, it’s expensive for what it provides, and it has a couple of drawbacks that imply it gained’t be the suitable alternative for everybody.

The Razer Book 13 keyboard seen from above. The keys display a green backlighting.

There are 16.Eight million colours on this keyboard, in response to Razer.

On the surface, the Razer E book 13 borrows lots of the Blade Stealth 13’s signature options. Razer’s three-headed snake adorns the lid. You may additionally acknowledge the customizable per-key RGB keyboard with speaker grilles on both sides. (In contrast to what you’ll see on some extra garish gaming rigs, the lighting on these keys appears to be like skilled and provides to the delicate vibe.) The chassis is CNC-machined aluminum, with a clean metallic end. This can be a fancy means of claiming it’s fairly good; the MacBook Pro is made from the identical materials, as are lots of the finest Home windows laptops together with the XPS 13 and HP’s Spectre x360 14.

However some delicate variations clarify that this laptop computer is for the workplace, not for gaming. It’s barely lighter than the Blade Stealth, at 0.6 inches thick and three.09 kilos. The port choice can be higher than that of the Stealth: there are two Thunderbolt Four ports, one USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, one HDMI 2.0, one microSD slot, and one combo audio jack. That is additionally a giant benefit the Razer E book has over the XPS 13 and MacBook Professional, each of which have comparably restricted picks.

The most important change, although, is the 16:10 contact show. This makes the display screen taller than the 16:9 panels you’ll discover on the Blade (and on nearly all devoted gaming laptops). It lends you loads of additional room for multitasking, with much less scrolling and zooming essential to see the whole lot you want to. Facet ratio apart, the 1920 x 1200 show on our evaluation unit was fairly brilliant, maxing out at 494 nits in my testing. It’s fairly vibrant as effectively, with sharp and brilliant colours. Whereas the panel has a shiny texture, it kicks again little to no glare in brilliant settings.

The ports on the left edge of the Razer Book 13’s keyboard deck.

USB-C, USB-A, headphone jack on the left.

The ports on the right side of the keyboard deck of the Razer Book 13.

HDMI, USB-C, microSD on the suitable.

Miscellaneous laptop computer stuff: the glass touchpad is roomy and fairly clean — positively one among my current favorites. The audio system sound nice, with robust percussion, although I did hear some distortion at increased volumes. And I nearly by no means get to say this, however the webcam isn’t that unhealthy; it delivers a good and pretty correct image, although there’s no privateness shutter or kill swap.

In a vacuum, I’ve only a few complaints concerning the Razer E book’s chassis. I’ll level out that I discover it barely worse than the XPS 13 in a couple of (subjective) areas. Not solely is it thicker and heavier than Dell’s flagship, however it simply appears to be like and feels clunkier, missing the XPS’s smooth portability. And whereas Razer’s keyboard and touchpad are each fantastic, they’re not as distinctive as both on the XPS; Dell’s keyboard has extra journey and a extra satisfying click on, and its touchpad is a little more snug. Most frustratingly to me, Razer offers much less storage for the worth. You solely get 256GB of storage within the base and midrange fashions and might solely get 512GB within the top-end $1,999 configuration — 512GB XPS fashions come as little as $1,399, and the $1,599 XPS has 512GB of storage whereas the $1,599 Razer Book has simply 256GB (their specs are an identical in any other case).

There’s one space the place the Razer E book solidly beats the XPS, and that’s efficiency. All Razer E book fashions are Evo-verified, that means Intel vouches for them as prime performers. And our check mannequin features a high-clocked (as much as 28W) model of one of many chipmaker’s prime ultrabook processors, Intel’s Core i7-1165G7.

The Razer Book 13 seen perpendicular from the left side.

Evo is the 11th Gen model of Intel’s Mission Athena program.

This technique flew by means of the demanding duties we threw at it. It took 9 minutes and 21 seconds to finish our Premiere Professional media check, which includes exporting a 5-minute, 33-second 4K video. That’s the quickest time I’ve ever gotten from a system with the quad-core 1165G7 (which powers lots of the finest ultraportables in the marketplace). The XPS 13 took 10 minutes and 43 seconds to finish the identical process; the extra highly effective XPS 13 2-in-1 took 10 minutes and 5 seconds.

Razer nonetheless hasn’t fairly caught Apple’s M1 programs, although. The newest MacBook Professional completed the check in seven minutes and 39 seconds. And naturally, built-in graphics can’t maintain a candle to a midrange GPU, even in a skinny and lightweight chassis. The Blade Stealth 13 with a GTX 1650 Ti knocked out the export in simply 5 minutes and 50 seconds.

The Razer Book 13 open. The screen displays the Razer logo on a green and black background.

The Razer E book’s processor is powered as much as 28W, with turbo increase speeds as much as 4.7 GHz.

In real-world efficiency, the Razer E book additionally shines. The laptop computer dealt with my pretty demanding load of Chrome tabs, Zoom calls, and different apps with no difficulty. It boots up from standby nearly immediately and really rapidly from the powered-off state as effectively. After all, the XPS 13 can be fairly good in these situations.

Whereas the E book 13 is decidedly not a gaming laptop computer, it’s a Razer-branded product, so some may marvel the way it video games. The reply is it delivers among the finest built-in graphics efficiency I’ve seen from a Home windows clamshell. It solidly beats the XPS 13 clamshell and is about on par with the extra highly effective 2-in-1. In follow, it’s most fitted for lighter gaming and heavier titles at decrease settings.

The Razer E book averaged 142fps on Rocket League’s most setting with out dipping under 125; the XPS put up 111fps with a minimal of 100. Razer additionally wins on League of Legends, averaging 219fps to the Dell’s 205fps. After all, since each machines have a 60Hz display screen, you gained’t observe a distinction within the high quality of those video games — however these numbers ought to offer you a way of the Razer E book’s energy.

Graphic efficiency will make one thing of a distinction on heavier titles. The Razer E book beat the XPS on the extra demanding Overwatch at Extremely settings, averaging 65fps to the XPS’s 48fps. It additionally averaged 32fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider at its lowest settings, the place the XPS averaged 22fps. That’s vital as a result of it means you could possibly feasibly play Tomb Raider in 1080p on the Razer E book, which might be disagreeable to do on the XPS.

The Razer Book 13 seen from the back, open.

The colour is named “mercury.”

That consequence additionally makes clear that — to reiterate — regardless of aesthetic similarity, this laptop computer is just not a Blade. The Stealth 13 averaged 45fps on Tomb Raider’s highest settings. If you wish to recreation with this manner issue, purchase the Blade. You’ll additionally get way more storage for the worth.

On the subject of cooling, the Razer E book has chops. It did a considerably higher job of preserving its CPU cool than the XPS did in my testing. In the course of the Adobe export, the 1165G7 stayed comfortably within the mid-60s to mid-70s (Celsius) with occasional spikes as excessive because the low 90s. It largely remained within the excessive 50s throughout the Tomb Raider benchmark, with spikes as much as the mid-70s. All in all, I didn’t see any throttling or slowdown, and the keyboard by no means bought uncomfortably scorching below load.

However you’re making a trade-off for all this energy: battery life. It’s not horrible, however it’s nothing to jot down house about. I bought a median of six hours and 45 minutes whereas utilizing the E book 13 for traditional workplace work with occasional Zoom calls and streaming at 200 nits of brightness. (This was within the Battery Saver profile, which you’ll be able to toggle in Razer’s Synapse software program.) Which means I can’t go a full day with out charging, although your mileage will fluctuate based mostly in your duties and settings. I’ve gotten over 9 hours placing loads of machines by means of that very same workload, together with the XPS 13.

The Razer E book 13 has loads of issues going for it, particularly for Razer followers. It’s actually probably the greatest ultraportable laptops you should buy — however whether or not it’s the finest is an advanced query to reply.

In some areas (keyboard, touchpad, portability), the Razer E book is barely worse than the XPS 13. In others (show high quality and construct high quality) it’s about on par. And it brings a couple of nifty options (the port choice and the RGB keyboard) that Dell’s clamshell doesn’t have — however I doubt these are making or breaking the buying determination for most individuals. On web, I feel Razer comes out barely worse on the chassis entrance.

However that’s not the place the Razer E book makes its case. That class is efficiency. In comparison with different Home windows clamshells I’ve examined previously yr, the Razer E book is prime of the category. It stands out in productiveness and media work in addition to gaming. However, you’re making some sacrifices for that energy, along with the hefty price ticket it carries. You will get a couple of hours extra battery life from various laptops within the Razer E book’s class (together with the XPS 13) and considerably extra storage as effectively. For folk within the E book’s meant viewers (customers searching for a transportable work or leisure driver) these trade-offs are most likely price contemplating.

In the end, the Razer E book 13 is a formidable new laptop computer from Razer with lots to love, and I’m certain many purchasers might be proud of it. However these trade-offs imply I can’t fairly name it the most effective product for most individuals.

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