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Razer Blade Stealth review: A Kaby Lake champion

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The Razer Blade Stealth is everything you could possibly want from an ultraportable laptop. It’s lightweight, packs a punch and is well worth showing off to the other less fortunate travellers on your morning commute. This Kaby Lake-powered beast is a MacBook Pro equal in many ways, but does it leave Apple’s latest lagging behind?

The second in Razer’s Stealth line is a surefire winner. This 12.5in Ultrabook is gorgeously slim at just 13mm from top to base, and it weighs a mere 1.29Kg. A departure from the old chunky Razer laptops of old, this is a laptop that’s just as happy in the office as it is in the living room.

It’s a tough, rugged-feeling laptop as well, with its all-metal aluminium chassis barely flexing a millimetre when I attempted to twist it and bend it.

Buy the Razer Blade Stealth now from Razer

Chroma keyboard and touchpad

It’s the awe-inspiring Chroma keyboard that really catches the eye, though. While other manufacturers have scrambled to shoehorn keyboards able to display a mere three or four colours, Razer has gone above and beyond. Each and every individual key on the Razer Blade Stealth’s keyboard can produce an incredible 17 million colours. I don’t say this very often in reviews, but this is one keyboard that drew admiring glances from whomever happened to catch sight of it.

Each key is incredibly bright, so bright in fact, that I’d recommend toning down the brightness when you’re in a dark room to save you from eye strain. You can do that in the cloud-based Synapse driver software, but that’s not the only thing you can adjust.

Fancy a burst of rainbow colours as you type? You can do that. And in a sly dig at Apple’s lost Function key row, holding down the Function key turns off all the keyboard lights, highlighting all F-keys in a bright white gleam. It’s marvellous little touches like these that almost made me go out and buy one for myself.

And yet, for all the gimmicks, the keyboard itself is perfectly usable. The layout is wonderfully spacious despite the small footprint and although key travel is just a touch too shallow for my taste (it’s eerily similar to Apple’s butterfly switch keyboard on its latest MacBook Pro), this is not an insurmountable problem.

Not convinced? Find out the best laptops you can buy in 2016

Its sizeable touchpad is also worth an honourable mention. It takes up plenty of space below the keyboard, and has a wonderfully smooth glass surface. My fingers glided across it without any glaring issues, and clicks felt just as responsive as you’d expect from a laptop so exquisitely appointed in every other area. There are no discrete left and right mouse buttons here, but the Razer Blade Stealth’s touchpad is among the best and again, perfectly competent.

Display and speakers

The Stealth’s 12.5in, 2,560 x 1,440 display, like the rest of the laptop is top-drawer. The Quad HD IGZO panel delivers 96.9% sRGB colour gamut coverage, and produces some wonderfully radiant images. Contrast is brilliant at 1,073:1, and while a peak brightness of 316cd/m2 isn’t as blindingly bright as the MacBook Pro 13’s 542cd/m2, it will serve you well outdoors so long as you aren’t sitting in direct sunlight.

It’s not only the visuals that impress, though. The stereo speakers that run along either side of the keyboard pack a punch, too, with a hefty, bassy kick. Charles Bradley’s “Dusty Blue” trumpet clamour sounded remarkably crisp with wonderful clarity and warmth. Sound does get a little tinny and distorted at high volumes, although not distractingly so.

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