Razer has officially decided to enter the scene with the book Razer 13, and it has been a long time since it was released. In recent years Razer has repeatedly introduced the Blade series, which can be used for both work and leisure, but so far they have never made anything exclusively for everyday use.
I’m sure there have been previous attempts, such as the first Razer Blade Stealth. But this model was still meant for games, and the bright green logo made it totally unprofessional. The Razer Blade Studio was another attempt, but it was more focused on creatives and graphic professionals and was terribly expensive.
The Razer 13 book is for everyone, for those who are not hardcore gamers or creative people. It does this in a good way because it is more affordable than the other alternatives that Razer offers, while also containing a lot of hardware and features that most users would want. It also looks like something you’d like to wear at the office, which is a small criticism of the Blade line since I own and use a Blade 15.
I was only able to spend a few weeks with the Razer Book 13, but I had enough time to pass all the tests and get a solid opinion about the model. There was also some confusion about the model I got at first, so I could consider two of the three options: FHD Touch and UHD Touch.
I would say you can’t go wrong somehow, but I think the real value is in the FHD model, and I will explain why in detail below.
|Book Travel 13 UHD+ Touch – 2020|
|Screen||13.4 inch, 3840 x 2400 pixels, 16:10 aspect ratio, IPS equivalent, 60 Hz, touch screen with Gorilla Glass 6 and anti-reflective coating
FHD+ touch and FHD+ matte display also available.
|Processor||Intel’s Ice Lake i7-1165G7 quad-core processor, 11th generation. Generation, 2.8 GHz (4.7 GHz Boost)|
|Video||Intel Iris Xe Graphics (28W)|
|Memory||16 GB LPDDR4 4267MHz (soldered)|
|Storage||512 GB M.2 NVMe (Samsung PM981 MZVLB512HBJQ)|
|Link||Intel Wireless-AX 201 Wifi 6, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Ports||1x USB-A 3.2, 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.0, headset/microphone|
|Battery||55 W, charger 65 W|
|Size||295.6 mm or 11.6 inches (W) x 198.5 mm or 7.8 inches (D) x 15.15 mm or 0.6 inches (H)|
|Weight||1.40 kg (3.09 lbs)|
|Besides..,||Chroma RGB keyboard, large touchpad, Windows HiFi HD webcam, stereo speakers, microSD card reader|
Design and ergonomics
The design of Razer Book 13 is well known, because it is very similar to the Razer Blade Stealth. It’s a bit smaller in width and depth, but unless you put the two models next to each other, it would be pretty easy to confuse this model with the other (especially since the Stealth 13 models had Mercury White last year).
As Razer’s first official laptop, part of me expected something more, such as a 360-degree hinge or maybe even a pen bracket. But given the reception of the stealth model, it is logical that they would repeat what has worked in the past.
The laptop’s manufacturing quality is exactly what I expected: excellent. The monocoque design is very robust because it consists of one piece of aluminium. The design is very rectangular, but the balance and symmetry are perfect for transport and travel.
The cover is quite simple, except for the light relief of the Razer logo. I praise this design on the Stealth model, because I appreciate it more than the bright green logo that can be found on Blade 15 and 17. But I think I should be more critical with this model. If this logo really is to be used as a productivity tool in a business environment, Razer must realize that most people still have no idea what the logo is. I prefer a blank cover, but I accept a smaller logo, or better still a text, in the corner. It just reduces the number of questions you get from people. Maybe Razer wants the attention, but I don’t. That’s why I always cover my Razer laptop after I’ve bought it.
The lid can be lifted with a finger, but to do this properly, you must press firmly on the lid at all times. It’s not the hinge that’s the problem, it’s the recessed fingers. I usually only use two hands on the corners to open them. The good news is that the band is really strong and high quality, especially because you might want to use the touch screen.
After opening, the very narrow edges around the 13.4-inch screen are immediately visible. We’ll talk more about this later, but you’ll also notice a small Windows Hello webcam in the middle above the screen. There’s a Razer logo in the middle at the bottom, but it’s almost impossible to see it unless the room is very bright. Very subtle – very beautiful!
The main chassis consists of a keyboard with a very large trackpad for a 13-inch unit. There are a pair of upward facing speakers on the sides of the keyboard. The power button is located in the upper right corner, where normally the delete button is located.
In terms of ports and I/O, it is a fairly minimalist laptop. But he’s got everything you need. On the left edge is a USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port, a USB-A 3.2 port and a headset/microphone.
To the right there is another Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, an HDMI 2.0 port and a microSD card reader. Honestly, I’d rather have a different USB-A port than the microSD, but I’ll take it. In addition, these two USB-C ports can be used for charging.
The bottom of the laptop is also quite clean, but it has a few long feet and a few openings for the inlet of the CPU cooler. The exhaust is located between the loops and explodes upwards towards the screen. Very typical design for Razer laptops.
In short, I loved the design of the Razer Blade Stealth, so I like this one too. Yes, I would have liked another USB-A port, because I had to disconnect the mouse several times, but at least they contain a microSD drive and an HDMI port, both of which are missing in the Stealth. But the logo has to go.
All in all, Book 13 is a practical, sturdy and lightweight book. I’d like to hire him as my daily driver.
Keyboard and touchpad
When I first looked at the keyboard, I immediately thought it was the same as the Razer Blade Stealth. It’s close, but I think there are some subtle differences you should be aware of.
The provision is also exactly the same. Almost every button has the right size and in the right place. The only button that looks different on the new Razer client is the location of the delete button, which is located next to the power button (where the delete button should be).
I accidentally pressed the on/off button a couple of times instead of Del, but fortunately the default on/off button doesn’t put the laptop to sleep.
All in all, it’s a good keyboard. I did my typical typewriter test and typed 46wpm with 9 errors, which is a bit low for me. The biggest problem is I missed a few hits. During my use I was able to solve the problem by typing a little more than I am used to on my personal laptop (Blade 15). It’s something I think will improve over time if I keep this laptop.
When I first saw the white colour of the silver keys on the keyboard, I immediately thought there might be a problem with understanding the contrast of the key. But that is not the case, because it has never been a problem for me, day or night, or even with white backlighting.
Talk about backlighting: The keyboard features Razer’s RGB Chroma effects on the backlight key. Synapse allows you to change the color of each button into millions of different color variations. If you’ve ever had a Razer device, you’ve probably seen it before, but if Razer is new to you, you’ll enjoy it because Razer is probably better than any other brand when it comes to backlit keyboard software.
I kept the color of my teeth because I found the contrast optimal, without it being too bright. But I see the advantage of coloring some media buttons in different colors so you can use them in your peripheral vision without looking directly at them.
The only criticism I have about the marking is that it is a bit uneven on some keys, for example the Caps and Enter keys, where not all text is marked. It’s not a breach of contract, just an observation I quickly made.
The trackpad is exactly what I expected, because it is about the same as all the samples of Razer’s items for the last two years. They’ve really perfected their trackpad recipe, so there’s no reason to change anything.
It’s as big as you can make it without your palms getting in the way. Sweeping with the fingers is soft and precise. All my multisensory gestures were recorded as planned. Even compression on zoomed-in pictures looks natural and accurate, although you can use the touch screen for this on this model.
These are click pads, which means that you can click almost anywhere to record a left mouse button, and a right mouse click is made when you click on the bottom right corner. Personally I use single and double sampling because nowadays it is universal for all trackpads. Both methods work very well.
The Razer Book 13 has a 13.4-inch 16:10 screen with FHD+ or UHD+ IPS panel. UHD+ is manufactured by Sharp, with part number LQ134R1JX48. Instead of the usual 16:9 ratio, Razer opted for a 16:10 ratio, which gives a total resolution of 3840×2400.
Overall, it’s a great panel and it meets all the criteria for me. The edges are very thin, the viewing angles are perfect, and I didn’t notice any bleeding from the backlight. It is clearly designed to compete with the XPS 13, and it looks very good on screen.
The maximum brightness I could achieve was 387 nits, which is sufficient even for outdoor use. However, if the panel is made of glass, sun protection is to be expected, even with an anti-reflective coating. The contrast ratio was also excellent, reaching 1678:1 at maximum brightness.
I did some specific measurements on my xRite i1 Pro sensor and got the following results:
- The device identification of the panel : Sharp SHP1528 – LQ134R1JX48 ;
- Coverage: 100% sRGB, 78% NTSC, 83% AdobeRGB ;
- Measured range: 2.2 ;
- Maximum brightness in the center of the screen: 387 cd/m2 per power supply unit ;
- Contrast at maximum brightness : 1678:1
- Local white spot : 6300 K ;
- Black at maximum brightness: 0.23 cd/m2.
As I said, it’s a phenomenal screen with few drawbacks. Originally I was going to test the FHD+ touch model, but fortunately they sent me the UHD version first. After a few days of using the device, I definitely see an advantage, depending on the type of user you are.
The only disadvantages of this panel are usually the lower refresh rate and the costs. The refresh rate is fixed at 60 Hz for all configurations. So if you have faster screens, you should choose another laptop such as. B. Razor Blade Stealth.
Upgrading the UHD model costs more – $400 more. Understand that the higher configuration also has a larger SSD, but you will probably swap 256GB or 512GB SSD anyway, so it doesn’t matter. Besides, aren’t SSDs cheap these days?
Honestly, I can’t justify spending so much money on a 4K screen, but some of you might disagree. Note that this configuration also does not have 100% aRGB color coverage like the 15/17 inch Razer 4k models. However, it is close to and better than the FHD+ model. So if you do color-sensitive work, go for 4k.
After playing with the UHD version for a few days, Razer and I realised that I should have taken the FHD version instead. So they were kind enough to deal with me, and I spent the rest of my trial period with this model.
The FHD display also has a touch screen, assuming you get a mid-range model and not the base model, which gets the same panel but in a non-touchable matte version. The resolution is 1920×1200, also 16:10.
Here are the measurements I took with the FHD+ model:
- The device identification of the panel : Sharp SHP1528 – LQ134N1JX48 ;
- Coverage: 98% sRGB, 70% NTSC, 72% AdobeRGB ;
- Measured range: 2.2 ;
- Maximum brightness in the center of the screen: 527 cd/m2 per power supply;
- Contrast at maximum brightness : 1670:1
- Local white spot : 6000 K ;
- Black at maximum brightness: 0.3 cd/m2.
After checking my measurements, my first assumption was correct. The UHD display has a slightly better colour than the FHD model. But frankly, I prefer the FHD mode because it still gives a very good picture, with excellent contrast and no bleeding of the backlight. The maximum screen brightness is also incredibly high!
Whichever screen you choose, make sure that both are calibrated in the factory field. By recalibrating the screens before the measurements, I hardly noticed any difference between my profile and the performance of the devices.
The last thing I should mention is that both screens I tested have a touchpad. The touch functionality worked very well with the programs I used it for. It’s pretty standard on a lot of laptops now, so I can’t describe it better than to say it works. The hinge is strong enough to support the touch screen.
Note that the only model I haven’t tested is an economy model that has the i5 and FHD+ without touch screen. Probably the same panel, but with a matt finish and a plastic frame.
Equipment, performance and upgrades
The Razer Book 13 is equipped with a quad-core Intel Tiger Lake Core i7-1165G7 processor and 16GB of RAM, such as the Razer Blade Stealth that was released in late 2020. The main difference between the models is the absence of a special GPU on the 13. But it doesn’t matter, because this machine is for performance, not gaming, so the processor is what it’s all about.
The good news is that the processor is very powerful for this class and has to meet almost all requirements. Almost all the programs I used on this laptop worked well, including the more intensive ones like Solidworks. I wouldn’t say I recommend it for demanding software, but if small size really matters to you, then this laptop is not a failure. For 95% of us who only use laptops for typical everyday tasks, that’s more than enough power for just about anything. Alternatively, a Raisen laptop may be better suited to your needs.
The RAM is welded and therefore cannot be upgraded. This is the LPDDR4x 4267Mhz, which really caught my attention because it is an extremely high clock speed. But my excitement subsided when I saw the lap times, with a 36 second delay for the CAS! If you perform the calculation, it means that the actual delay is 16.87ns, which is about an average. To put this into perspective: The Razer Blade 15 I tested a few months ago has 2933 MHz RAM with a lower CAS latency, which gives a lower actual latency of 14.32 ns – slightly better. In short, the RAM of this model seems faster, but it is not.
My 4K model came with a 512GB Samsung PM981 drive, which is quite standard on today’s high-end laptops. The FHD+ version only had a 256GB option, which is a bit small if you ask me. See my crystal beacon for a speed reference. There is only one SSD M.2 lock. So expect to upgrade the entire hard drive if you need more space.
Personally, I can’t find more than 512 GB, let alone 256 GB, so replacing them would be the first thing I would do. Fortunately, SSDs are pretty cheap these days, and there is no point in buying PCIE 4.0 drives because this processor doesn’t support them very well anyway. Replacing the SSD is easy: simply remove all Torx screws at the rear, replace the drive and reassemble everything.
Since there is no GPU, game performance is limited even with the integrated Intel Iris Xe chip. However, it is decent and probably good for light use. And if you’re one of those who prefer to play at home, you can always use a Thunderbolt 4 port for an external GPU like the Razer Core.
However, let’s take a look at the benchmarks and see how it actually works. Here are my results with some synthetic tests I’ve done. All this was done in balance mode in Synapse:
- 3DMark 13 – Shooting : 4983 (Graph – 5583, Physics – 11778) ;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy : 1748 (Graph – 1585, CPU – 4224) ;
- Motor Overlay – 1080p Extreme : 1072 ;
- Uniengine Overlay – Environment 1080p : 3106 ;
- PCMark 10 : 4828 (E: 9812, P. 6710, DC: 4641) ;
- GeekBench 5.0 64-bit : Mononuclear: 1529, multi-core: 5517 ;
- Cinebench R15: Processor 746 kb, single-core processor 226 kb ;
- CineBench R20 : Processor 1863 kb, single-core processor 537 kb ;
As you can see, the processor is quite powerful. However, the iGPU is rather limited. Therefore this book 13 is the most powerful Tiger Lake configuration we have tested here on the site.
Here is the same test in performance mode:
- 3DMark 13 – Shooting : 5205 (Graph – 5707, Physics – 14420) ;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy : 1792 (Graph – 1610, CPU – 5016) ;
- PCMark 10 : 4878 (E: 9895, P. 6538, DC: 4869);
- GeekBench 5.0 64-bit : Single core: 1538, multicore: 5812 ;
- Cinebench R15: Processor 937 kb, single-core processor 190 kb ;
- CineBench R20 : CPU 2212 kb, single-core CPU 552 kb ;
Next we will see how the Razer Book performs in the Cinebench R15 cyclic test with the Performance and Balanced profiles.
And that’s how Book 13 compares to some other mobile platforms currently available at both Intel and AMD. As said, this is the fastest Tiger Lake laptop we have tested for this CPU load. This is a major upgrade to Intel’s previous generation Ice Lake i7, yet the 4C/8T I7-1165G7 is still not compatible with existing AMD Ryzen 5/7 U alternatives.
I also did some game tests to get a better perspective on the games. I know this laptop isn’t necessarily meant for gaming, but if you’re a casual gamer, you can expect that.
|Wolfenstein Old Blood ( Medium, FHD+)||45-60 frames per second|
|Wolfenstein Old Blood( High, FHD+)||29-47 frames per second|
|The Turing test (Ultra, 1080p)||55-60 frames per second|
|Star Wars Squadrons (Low, FHD+)||40-48 frames per second|
|Skyrim(High, FHD+)||31-37 frames per second|
|Skyrim (Ultra, HD+)||27-32 frames per second|
|An eternal destiny||will not be executed.|
Note that one of my games does not work at all due to lack of driver support. The others, however, provided decent performance with low to medium graphic parameters. Expect most older games to perform better, but it all depends on your graphics settings.
Honestly, if you buy this device to play games, you’re buying the wrong laptop. If that’s your thing and small size matters, get the Razer Blade Stealth.
This laptop is designed for the average user who doesn’t play a lot and needs a portable device for all his daily tasks. If that’s you, that laptop’s doing great. All you have to do is upgrade the little SSD when you get it.
The last thing I can cover with performance is an SD card reader. This only applies to microSD cards, so you’ll still need a dongle if you’re using full-size cards. The mechanism is resilient, making it easy to insert and remove cards. The playback speeds seem to be perfect, because I have USB 3.0 speeds from the tested SD card. Look at my results on the graph.
Sound, heat, communication, speakers and other
The cooling system in Razer Book 13 is pretty good. The heating is a steam chamber located directly on the processor. The chamber is connected on both sides to a pair of small fans that suck in air from the pancreas cavity and discharge the warm air through the hinged openings.
To put it bluntly: I have usually tested this module in Balanced mode in Synapse. My reasoning was simple: when I switched to performance mode, I only got slightly better (and sometimes even worse) results.
The main reason for this is the thermal melt that occurs when working in performance mode. In this way, the CPU switches to lower clock speeds faster than when you leave the Synapse in Balanced mode, and the fans need more time to catch up. As a result, CPU performance peaks are generally more frequent and larger.
In balanced mode, the internal temperature was not too bad for normal use. Expect the temperature of the processors to rise until the 1960s. But if you do heavier things and you are connected to a wall, the processor can reach 92C before the fans stabilize.
In performance mode, the typical indoor temperature was mainly in the 1970s. Heavier applications will result in power peaks of up to 99C, and they will occur more frequently. In this mode, the CPU fan was also more audible until the CPU temperature stabilized.
This is mainly due to the small heat sink and the fact that the fans do not always run at the speed needed to dissipate heat when introducing a large load. Temperatures tend to stabilise in the 1970s and 1980s under prolonged heavy loads. Hot, yeah, but about what I’d expect from a slim laptop with a powerful processor.
Now, let’s talk about the temperature of the case. I took a few measurements, typical and taken from the game, and this is what I got:
*Daily use – Streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, whisper mode, fan set at 0-33 dB
*Games – Balanced mode – Play Wolfenstein : Old Blood for 30 minutes, fan at 41-42dB.
The laptop gets a little hot during the usual tasks, but nothing serious. However, the laptop gets warm at the bottom during competitions and tougher tasks. If you plan to lift heavy loads, rest on a flat surface instead of sitting on your lap.
The noise emission level of this device was significantly lower. The fans were barely working in normal operation, and if they were working, I couldn’t hear them. Even when they turned the wheel, they could hear almost nothing, about 35 dB (the sound in my room is 33 dB) measured with my phone.
It was much noisier during competitions and tougher tasks. On average I measured about 37 dB at the ear and 40 dB at the device. But sometimes, during very intensive sessions, it could reach peaks of 42 dB at ear level and 50 dB per unit for a short period of time before the fans could catch up. This is to be expected given the design of the material and the slenderness of the housing.
For sound, there are a pair of speakers facing up on each side of the keyboard. I measured 78 dB at maximum volume, which was pretty good and loud enough for my use. However, the speakers lack bass because the bass seems to disappear at about 100 Hz.
Connectivity is provided by an Intel Wireless-AX 201 module, which offers excellent WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. I have 560 Mbps at a meter distance from the router. I’ve increased the distance to over 50 feet and I’m still getting 120 Mbps. I just received a Wifi 6 router and I’m not sure the range is as good as the range of my AC wireless router it replaced, so your experience may vary.
The webcam is incredibly small and sits in a small frame with a microphone and a set of sensors. It is compatible with Windows Hello and works well as a primary source of biometric data. A webcam is enough in decent light, but not so great in dim light. Images appear too dark or very grainy when the programmed light corrects them.
Given the current state of the world and the 1000% increase in the use of webcams, if I had to choose a new laptop, I would definitely look for one with a good webcam. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. For a gaming laptop, I accept this level of quality, but for a device designed for performance, I expect more.
The Razer Blade Stealth is equipped with a 55 watt battery. I took my measurements for each model for comparison. Here are my results for the 4k model:
- 4.1 W (~13 h 25 min. usage) – at rest, longer battery life, 0% display, Wi-Fi ON;
- 6.8 W (~8 hr 5 min. usage) – Enter this note in Microsoft Word, best battery mode, screen set to 50%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 10.0 W (~5.30 hours usage) – 4k Youtube full screen in Chrome, longer battery life, screen set to 50%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 8.4 W (~6 hours 33 min. usage) – Full screen 1080p Netflix video in Chrome mode, longer battery life, screen set to 50%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 20.1 W (~2 h 44 min. usage) – Chrome Navigation, Advanced Power Mode, Screen set to 50%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 29.8 W (~1 hour 51 min. usage) – Games – Wolfenstein, maximum power, screen set to 50%, Wi-Fi ON.
Here are the results for the FHD+ version:
- 3.3 W (~16 h 40 min. usage) – at rest, longer battery life, display set to 0%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 5.2 W (~10 h 35 min usage) – by typing this review in Microsoft Word, best battery mode, screen set to 30%, Wi-Fi ON ;
- 6.1W (~9hrs 1min usage)-1080p full screen YouTube in Chrome mode, best battery mode, 30% screen, Wi-Fi ON;
- 7.0 W (~7 hr. 52 min. usage) – Full screen Netflix video in 1080p in Chrome mode, longer battery life, screen set to 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 15.9 W (~3h 27 min. usage) – Chrome Navigation, Advanced Power Mode, Screen set to 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 21.2 W (~2h 35 min. usage) – Games – Wolfenstein, maximum power, 30% screen, Wi-Fi ON.
As expected, the FHD+ version was more efficient than the UHD+ version. Yet both models are extremely efficient and last long enough without recharging.
The notebook comes with a compact 65W charger instead of plugging it in via the left or right USB-C port, a trick few other notebooks offer today.
Prices and availability
The Razer 13 book is available on Amazon as well as in the Razer Store.
The two models discussed in this article are available on Amazon: $1599 for FHD+ and $1999 for UHD+ at the time of review, and you should follow this link for updates at the time of reading.
There is also a $1199 budget template, which is currently only available on the Razer Store. I’m not sure it’s worth sacrificing features to save $300 on the next model, as the economy model has an i5, no touch screen and only 8GB of system RAM.
My last thoughts on the subject are quite simple. If you like Razer products and you want something you can use for normal daily tasks, then Razer Book 13 is a pretty good choice. It has solid performance, both indoors and out, and does just about everything I expect from an ultrabook.
Key features include screen selection, excellent battery life, good input devices such as trackpad and touch functionality, and excellent build quality. It’s also nice to have such a strong performance in such a small package.
There are some areas that could be improved and should be considered. The keyboard, for example, should be polished a little more. I would also like to see a second USB-A port, as I always have a lock that is occupied by a mouse button. Last but not least, I really think Razer needs a more subtle logo for his professional models. The last one can only be me…
But if you can live with it, it’s just a laptop you can count on. The only thing to take into account are the costs, which I think are quite high, especially for the 4k version. As mentioned earlier, I haven’t seen the $400 extra value of a $4,000 FHD model.
The price of $1,599 is still higher than some of the other competitors, but Razer has offers that others might miss, such as a Chroma keyboard and a Star trackpad. Nevertheless, if you can afford it, I think you will be very satisfied with the FHD model I have tested.
I’m happy to answer your questions in the comments below, whether you forgot something or want to know more about what I’ve been looking at.
Disclaimer : Our content is supported by our readers. If you make a purchase through certain links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. Read more.
Derek is not only passionate about technology, he also works as a biomedical engineer. He likes to take things apart, understand how they work and find ways to make them better. His other hobbies include spending time with his family, projects such as home automation and management.
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