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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Thin and light
Powerful for its size
Great keyboard with RGB backlighting
Premium build quality
Not as powerful as a gaming laptop
The Razer Book 13 is an ultra-portable laptop that’s ideal for productivity but also has the capacity for fun.
Razer provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for their full take.
An ultrabook is typically a thing of compromises, and if you want a laptop that’s thin and light, power is often sacrificed. However, the Razer Book 13 challenges that stereotype and offers a sleek and attractive alternative to other high-end ultra-portables. I tested it for 40 hours to find if it can live up both to its stunning ultrabook looks and Razer’s prowess in building high-powered gaming laptops.
Razer is known for their flashy gaming-focused laptops, mice, and keyboards that are clearly marketed towards gamers, but they have always also employed a certain degree of restraint over some more exuberant gaming products. With the Book 13, that restraint is pushed even further with only a few tasteful reminders of the laptop’s gaming heritage—the twisted snaky Razer logo on the top, and of course RGB backlighting for the keyboard.
Though you can make the RGB as garish as you like, it’s completely customizable so you could make it a simple white backlight if you so desire. I particularly appreciated that when the Fn key is pressed, the corresponding keys light up and differentiate themselves from the rest of the keyboard. It’s a small touch, but it’s something I found myself missing when using other keyboards.
The overall build quality is just fantastic, as the Book 13 feels solid and robust and is built to last.
The keyboard itself has white keys on a silver aluminum background with speaker grilles to either side. It offers a great typing experience that is both comfortable and effective. The trackpad is similarly great, being expansive and accurate, and I found that it easily stands up to the level of quality set by Apple and Dell.
For such a thin laptop, there’s a surprising amount of ports included with the Book 13.
The overall build quality is just fantastic, as the Book 13 feels solid and robust and is built to last. The screen hinge is solid as a rock, yet smooth to operate. My only complaint might be that the soft edging around the screen's bezel might not be as long-lasting as the rest of the laptop, though it’s hardly a critical component. I noticed some wear, particularly at the indent where you open the laptop, after just a month of use.
For such a thin laptop, there’s a surprising amount of ports included with the Book 13. You get 4 Thunderbolt ports, a USB type-A port, HDMI port, a microSD slot, and a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo port. Such a versatile array of inputs is not to be taken for granted these days, and is a big point in the Book 13’s favor.
There’s not a lot to say about setting up the Razer Book 13. It’s just a standard install of Windows 10 Home with no surprises along the way so you can be up and running in just a few minutes.
The Razer Book 13 configuration we tested comes with an absolutely gorgeous 13.5-inch UHD 60Hz display that is both very color accurate and provides stunning visuals. This is great for both creative tasks that require color accuracy, and for media consumption. The 16:10 aspect ratio is definitely tailored for productivity. The bezel is attractively thin, and the screen is made of Gorilla Glass 6, making it highly scratch resistant.
The Razer Book 13 surprised me by how much power it has despite the fact it doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card. It’s a great machine for photo editing, light video editing, and other creative tasks, and is even a reasonably capable gaming machine. Inside you’ll find an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor and 16GB of RAM.
It’s a great machine for photo editing, light video editing, and other creative tasks.
These produced a GFX bench score of 14,256, which while not insane by gaming PC standards, is more than you’d expect from an integrated GPU. In PC Mark 10, it achieved a score of 4,608, which is certainly respectable.
I was able to play Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel at low settings and have a consistent experience, and in DOTA 2 I was able to max the graphics settings out if I bumped the resolution down to 1080p. This makes the Book 13 perfectly capable for competitive games, and even some AAA titles if you don’t mind dropping the settings down. For such a stylish, compact laptop this is truly impressive.
The Book 13 is equipped with a 512GB SSD. This is good enough, but it would have been nice to have a full terabyte of storage.
I’m pleased to report that the Book 13 is pretty much free of bloat. Aside from the usual bits and bobs you get with Windows 10 Home, the laptop does come with Razer Synapse installed, which is absolutely essential as it allows you to control the customizable RGB backlighting in the keyboard, among a few other useful functions.
With Wi-Fi 6, the Book 13 had no trouble taking full advantage of my home network. It provides a fast and reliable connection, and Bluetooth 5.0 is available as well.
Razer claims a battery life of up to 10 hours or even a bit more, and I found this to be accurate. The Book 13 should get you through a day at the office without needing to recharge, depending upon use, of course.
You wouldn’t expect to get good audio out of such a small laptop, but the Book 13 does quite well in this regard. It features THX spatial audio and delivers a remarkably good listening experience. It’s certainly loud enough to deliver sound at max volume without noticeable distortion. 2Cellos cover of “Thunderstruck” is my go-to song for testing speakers and headphones, and I also listened to their new cover of “Livin’ on a Prayer.” The Book 13 rendered them both beautifully.
It’s particularly good in the mids and highs, but as you’d expect, loses something in the bass range. However, it’s more than adequate for listening to music, gaming, or watching movies.
The webcam on the Book 13 is about average for a laptop. It captures 720p video and is perfectly acceptable, though not exceptional in any way. Video quality looks decent, even in relatively challenging situations.
The configuration of the Razer Book 13 I tested is definitely pricey at $2,000. That’s a decent chunk of change, and you could certainly buy a laptop with more graphical power for the money, but the Book 13 isn’t made for high-end gaming.
Between its solid design, attractive aesthetics, and nice little touches that tie the whole package together, this is one awesome little ultrabook.
This is a premium, ultra-portable device designed more for professional work, and its ability to game is basically a nice bonus. Considering the competition from Dell and Apple, it’s not unreasonably priced.
There are a few big competitors that the Razer Book 13 is going up against, and perhaps the most significant is the excellent Dell XPS 13 7390 2-in-1. Dell’s XPS laptops are great, and the 13 2-in-1 is no exception. Its main advantage over the Razer is its ability to transform into a tablet, but the Razer wins over in terms of raw power, and of course the Book 13 features that wonderful RGB backlighting.
A laptop with great looks, compact design, and remarkable power.
There’s a lot to love about the Razer Book 13, and not a lot of negative things to say about it. It’s not a graphical powerhouse, but the fact that it’s able to game at all is remarkable. Between its solid design, attractive aesthetics, and nice little touches that tie the whole package together, this is one awesome little ultrabook.
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