Long gone are the days when Apple was the only company producing good looking, powerful mid-range laptops. Today it has many competitors, including the likes of Razer. But what if we pit the Razer Blade Stealth vs. Apple’s MacBook Pro? Which is the better laptop for the money?
One of the biggest differences between mid-range and entry-level laptops is that over $1,000, they tend to look a lot nicer and have much better features. That’s certainly the case with both the Razer Blade Stealth and MacBook Pro. Razer’s new laptop sports a sleek, aluminum exterior in an attractive, compact package, that actually comes in slightly slimmer and trimmer than the Apple alternative.
That’s not the case with the display bezels though, which are much sleeker on the MacBook Pro. That gives it a distinctly more modern look than the Blade Stealth, despite similarities in overall styling. The somewhat lacking-in-purpose, MacBook Pro Touch Bar is also something that differentiates the two, though that does come at a $300 premium on the Apple laptop.
In terms of connectivity, there’s quite a stark difference between the two notebooks. Where the Razer Blade Stealth has a single Thunderbolt 3 port, alongside a pair of USB-A 3.0 ports, and an HDMI output, the MacBook Pro goes all-in on the future with four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. All of them can be used for charging, but that does mean that you’ll need to get an adapter if you want to use older, USB-A devices.
While we can debate the need for different USB ports, one area where the MacBook Pro clearly under-performs compared to the Blade Stealth is its keyboard. We found the low-travel distance uncomfortable for typing over long periods, while the Blade Stealth’s RGB backlit keyboard was fantastic in comparison. Both laptops feature excellent touchpads, however.
Despite the more mainstream marketing of the Razer Blade Stealth, it’s internal hardware is impressive. It sports an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and up to a terabyte of M.2 solid state storage (SSD), all for $1,400. While it lacks a dedicated graphics chip, Razer does promote the Blade Stealth as having an optional external graphics card through the use of its officially-supported Razer Core v2 graphics enclosure.
The MacBook Pro’s hardware is a little older, though more varied. At the entry-level $1,300 price point, you get yourself a seventh-generation Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD space. If you’re willing to spend up to $2,600, you can configure the system to have a dual-core Core i7 CPU instead, with 16GB of RAM and a terabyte of SSD space.
Those configurations put the MacBook Pro far behind the Blade Stealth in terms of raw power. Where the MacBook Pro’s older CPU sports just two cores, the Blade Stealth’s has four, and with hyperthreading, support for eight threads. With double the amount of RAM in most configurations and a more modern onboard graphics chip, the Blade Stealth easily outstrips the Apple competition, and does so with a lower price tag.
That said, the 2,560 x 1,600 IPS display the MacBook Pro ships with is beautiful. Its color accuracy is fantastic, and it has a broad support for the various color gamuts. In comparison, we found the Blade Stealth lacking in the AdobeRGB space, though at a higher resolution of 3,200 x 1,800, it does have a crisper picture.
In our review of the MacBook Pro, we found one of its biggest disappointments to be the reduction in battery size over its predecessor. Cutting it back by almost 35 percent resulted in a drop in overall life, though it still managed more than 10 hours in our video loop test. In comparison, the Razer Blade Stealth only managed eight hours. While it does have higher-powered hardware that no doubt contributes to the shorter battery life, the noticeable drop does make the Blade Stealth less useful when away from a charge point.
Physical portability of both laptops is comparable. Where the MacBook Pro measures in at 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.59-inches, the Blade Stealth is 12.6 x 8.1 x 0.54-inches. There are a few hundredths of a pound in weight difference in the Blade Stealth’s favor, but neither that nor the dimensions are disparate enough to make much of a difference.
What’s more important, power or software?
The question of whether to buy one of these laptops over the other is both easy and hard to answer. If you want the better laptop by the numbers, the Razer Blade Stealth is the better piece of kit. It’s much cheaper, has a higher-resolution display, and more powerful. It will still feel snappy in a few years time, and if you want to add an external graphics card to make it into a decent gaming laptop, you can do that too.
But none of that really matters if you want an Apple laptop running MacOS. That’s still the biggest selling point of the MacBook Pro in this head to head, even if its battery life does outstrip the Blade Stealth’s by a noticeable margin. You will certainly pay a premium for it, though, as the top MacBook Pro costs double that of the Blade Stealth.
While we’d certainly recommend the Blade Stealth over the MacBook Pro, if you do find yourself intrigued more by the Apple notebook, make sure to buy it without the Touch Bar, as that gimmicky gadget has no particular use and only increases the price tag unnecessarily.