“Razer’s debut nongaming laptop does almost anything right if the price tag can be put up with.”
Perfect port selection
Fantastic design and build quality
The performance is impressive
Nice 16:10 display
The battery life is not good
Razer products have never been so colorful. Take away the RGB lights and snake logo and you may not know that there is a gaming muscle under the hood.
That’s why the Razer Book 13 felt so inevitable. With the exception of the Razer logo, this 13-inch laptop finally leaves the gimmicks behind. It can’t play games, but it does Contain everything you’d expect in a modern laptop. The Razer Book 13 offers a 16:10 aspect ratio with super-thin bezels and the latest 11th generation Intel Tiger Lake processors.
Can Razer really compete with industry veterans like Dell, Apple, and HP in this category, or has the company bitten more than it can chew?
The Razer Book 13 is the company’s first true nongaming notebook, although it has already tried its hand in this category. The Razer Blade Stealth was the brand’s first 13-inch laptop, and the Razer Book looks almost identical. What’s the same They are both made of solid unibody aluminum and have very similar dimensions. They’re both 0.6 inches thick, use the same keyboard and touchpad, and have identical port choices.
The Razer Book 13, however, is a bit lighter at 2.95 pounds. That’s both thinner and lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Pro, albeit a bit more powerful than options like the Dell XPS 13 or Surface Laptop 3 13.
The Razer Book 13 is absolutely great to look at.
However, the Razer Book 13 has a few new tricks up its sleeve. The standout feature is the 16:10 aspect ratio with ultra-thin bezels. The chin is based on the Dell XPS 13 and hides part of the lower bezel using a dropped hinge.
In 2021, this design will become more common – but that doesn’t make the Razer Book 13 any less beautiful to look at. I also like the silver and white color combination.
The white keys, illuminated by the RGB backlighting per key, make the design stand out – and are a feature you would never find on a Dell or Apple laptop. Not only can the colors be adjusted via Razer Synapse, but they also have an incredible 15-level brightness control. That even affects the control Apple offers.
It’s not a big deal, but when the competition is this tight, every additional feature counts.
Another highlight for the Razer Book 13 is the port selection. Unlike the XPS 13 or MacBook Pro 13-inch, the Razer Book 13 includes some handy legacy ports that most people prefer. HDMI and USB-A are included along with two Thunderbolt 4 ports – one on each side. This means you can connect displays and power cables on both sides, unlike the MacBook Pro M1, which has both USB-C ports on the same side.
If you need a laptop to dock a monitor and some peripherals, the Razer Book 13 can handle it without the need for a USB hub or docking station.
Keyboard, touchpad and speakers
If you’ve seen or used the Razer Blade Stealth, there aren’t any surprises with the keyboard. I’ve talked about the RGB backlighting before, and the layout itself is close to perfect. The path in the keys is a bit short, but I didn’t have any usability issues after familiarizing myself with the feel of the keystrokes.
The same goes for the Windows Precision touchpad, which is large and responsive. Every millimeter of space has been maximized for the benefit of the user.
The speaker grilles are located directly on the keyboard deck and flank both sides. Although they lack any bass (as with almost all laptop speakers), they have a nice stereo spread thanks to the placement. They work in the blink of an eye, but aren’t good enough for long hours of music or film.
Razer has really stepped up its game with this laptop’s screen. Not only is it in the brilliant 16:10 aspect ratio with stripped-down bezels, the image quality is also fantastic. For a $ 1,200 laptop, you get an extremely bright 514-nit screen that is always crystal clear no matter how bright your surroundings are. This additional brightness also brings out the contrast in the colors, which is as high as that of a laptop at this price.
The color saturation and calibration are nothing special (98% sRGB, 77% AdobeRGB), but they go well with the non-4K panels you get in other laptops.
It’s not a laptop designed primarily for professional color grading, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative on the side. This also applies to performance.
The Razer Book 13 has a base configuration for $ 1,200 that comes with a Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage, and is sold exclusively through Razer’s online storefront.
My configuration was the souped-up $ 1,600 model that was upgraded to a Core i7-1185G7, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. You can upgrade to 512GB of storage, but most premium laptops offer configurations of at least 1TB. Unfortunately, you have to pay $ 2,000 to get a model with more storage. Razer actually charges the Wazoo for these more expensive configurations.
However, if you do choose the Core i7 model, you will be impressed with the performance. In Cinebench R23, it showed the best single-core performance that we tested in a 13-inch laptop (1,508). And yes, that includes the M1 MacBook Pro (1,487).
what does that mean to you? Given its excellent scores in PCMark 10, the Razer Book 13 should be a fantastic productivity and office tool. Like many Razer laptops, this one competes with larger 14-inch and 15-inch options like the Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 or the Acer Swift 3X.
When I say this really isn’t a gaming laptop, I mean it.
The Razer Book 13 is a little less impressive in terms of creative application performance. It did not do quite as well in the Cinebench R23 multi-core test (4519) and in the PCMark 10 creation test. I confirmed this in a real test in Handbrake where I encoded a 4K movie trailer for H.265. The Razer Book did the job in three and a half minutes, which is not as fast as some of its competitors. It’s only 3% behind the XPS 13, but it’s 14% behind the ThinkPad X1 Nano and 26% behind the MacBook Pro.
Photo editing, graphic design, or even light video editing shouldn’t be a problem. Just don’t expect the Razer Book 13 to encode 4K video as fast as larger laptops.
Intel’s built-in Iris Xe graphics are also included, which can support some light gaming in 1080p as long as you turn the graphics settings down a bit. I tested Civilization VI at 1080p with settings on Medium and the Razer Book 13 averaged just 37 frames per second. When I say this really isn’t a gaming laptop, I mean it.
For more gaming capabilities, consider upgrading to the Razer Blade Stealth, which packs a discrete GTX 1650 into a similarly sized laptop.
The Razer Book 13 really only has one major flaw: battery life. It’s a step behind leading battery life providers like the Asus ZenBook 14 UX425 or Lenovo Yoga 9i 41. Barely worth mentioning the M1 MacBooks, which blast all of these laptops out of the water in terms of battery life.
The Razer Book 13 only lasted a little over eight hours with light web browsing. Again, this is not a terrible result, but it is far from being a leader as it is in many other aspects.
The video playback score was also a little worrying and lasted just over 10½ hours. Battery life has always been an issue with the Razer Blade Stealth, and while Book 13 does better, it’s still not quite where I would like to see it.
You will get through most of a working day without having to join it. However, with the M1 MacBooks reducing battery life, Windows laptops are struggling more than ever.
The Razer Book 13 gets almost everything right. Among first-class laptops like the Dell XPS 13 and the HP Specter x360 13, the Razer Book 13 is well suited due to its quality and performance. It’s limited (and expensive) configurations are really just a weakness.
Are there alternatives?
The clearest competitor is the Dell XPS 13. The XPS 13 is $ 400 cheaper, although it has a more colorful screen. The HP Specter x360 13 is available even cheaper.
And let’s not forget, the more powerful MacBook Pro M1 is just $ 100 more expensive, with a higher resolution screen, more power, and longer battery life.
How long it will take?
The Razer Book 13 should last at least four or five years. It is equipped with the latest components and has the right port technology. Razer laptops come with a standard one-year warranty.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The Dell XPS 13 and MacBook Pro 13-inch are slightly stronger options, but the Razer’s unique aesthetics and well-rounded port selection are enough to make it stand out.