The Razer Book 13 Is the Closest Thing Yet to a Windows MacBook

The Razer Book 13 Is the Closest Thing Yet to a Windows MacBook
Photo: Sam Rutherford

A few years ago, I called the Huawei Matebook X Pro the closest thing you could get to a MacBook with Windows. But now with its first-ever general productivity laptop, the Razer Book 13, Razer has just stolen that crown. The company even offers a few handy inclusions you don’t get on competing systems. So even though the Razer Book 13 might not be quite as affordable as an XPS 13 or a powerful as an M1 MacBook, Razer’s first non-gaming notebook is a great little productivity laptop in its own right.

Just based on its design, I wouldn’t fault anyone for confusing the Razer Book 13 with one of Apple’s machines, especially if you don’t notice the more subdued Razer logo emblazoned on its lid. It’s got a similar CNC unibody aluminium chassis as what you’d get on a MacBook that’s both light and incredibly stiff, but with even cleaner and sharper edges. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Razer copied Apple. But the similarities are more apparent with a silver machine compared to Razer’s traditional black-and-green colour scheme.

Razer Book 13

WHAT IS IT?

Razer's first general productivity laptop

PRICE

Starts at $2,199 ($2,999 as reviewed)

LIKE

Excellent build, 16:10 display, lots of screen options, Intel Evo certified, great port selection

DON'T LIKE

Battery life is just OK; slightly pricey

Razer did a fantastic job of including a bunch of different ports in the Razer Book 13, which means you can travel to school or work without ever needing to remember where you left your dongles. In addition to two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 (which can be used for data and charging) and a USB-A port, you also get a microSD card reader and a full-sized HDMI port. That’s basically all the ports you’d ever really need.

But on the inside is where the Razer Book 13 starts to differentiate itself from its gaming-focused sibling, the Razer Blade Stealth. That’s because instead of a 16:9 display, the Razer Book 13 gets a slightly taller 13.4-inch 16:10 display, which adds a handy bit of extra vertical real estate. Razer also offers a number of display options, including touch and non-touch full HD displays, along with a higher-res 4K touchscreen like the one on our review unit. For those who are trying to decide if more pixels is worth it, I typically like having a higher resolution, but considering the size of its 13-inch screen, sticking with full HD is a smart way to save some cash.

Photo: Sam Rutherford Photo: Sam Rutherford

On each side of the keyboard, there’s a nice sounding, upward-facing speaker, and a huge and relatively accurate touchpad dominates the lower half of the system. The Razer Book 13 isn’t a gaming laptop, but Razer still included its beautiful per-key Chroma backlighting, which by default is set to white in case you don’t want to attract quite as much attention. You can always change that to match whatever hue suits your tastes.

Inside, Razer offers a choice of 11th-gen Core i5 or i7 CPUs and Intel Iris XE integrated graphics, with 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and either 256GB or 512GB of storage depending on your config. Our review unit’s Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU performed well on benchmarks, even beating the XPS 13’s (which featured the same Core i7-1165G7 chip) time on Blender by 20-30 seconds in our CPU and GPU rendering tests.

By default, the Razer Book 13's keyboard features rather innocuous white backlighting, but you can turn on the full RGB light show if you want.  (Photo: Sam Rutherford) By default, the Razer Book 13's keyboard features rather innocuous white backlighting, but you can turn on the full RGB light show if you want. (Photo: Sam Rutherford)

It was a similar story in the Handbrake video-editing benchmark — the Razer Book 13 took 15 minutes and 32 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p, compared to 17 minutes and 24 seconds for the XPS 13. The Razer Book 13 isn’t designed for gaming and it doesn’t come with an option to add a discrete GPU like you get on the Razer Blade Stealth, but the Razer Book 13 is more than capable of handling general productivity tasks and some light video editing.

There are a couple of important factors that play into the Razer Book 13’s slightly better performance. The first is that measuring 11.6 x 7.80 x 0.6-inches and weighing 1 kg, the Razer Book 13 is ever-so-slightly larger and heavier than an XPS 13 (11.6 x 7.8 x 0.58 and 1 kg), which gives Razer’s ultraportable a slight edge when it comes to redistributing heat across its thermal mass.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

I love that the port selection on the Razer Book 13 means you never have to worry about dongles.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

Photo: Sam Rutherford, In-House Art

But more importantly, Razer also added a vapour chamber cooling system that works with its dual bottom-mounted fans to help pump heat out of its chassis. Just be a bit careful if you’re using the system on your lap, because those two fans will likely be positioned directly above your legs, and they can get toasty.

When it comes to battery life, the Razer Book 13 posted a time of 8 hours and 25 minutes, which is decent, but also rather average. On the same video rundown test, the XPS 13 lasted more than an hour and a half longer at 10:09, while Apple’s M1 MacBook Air fared even better with a battery life of 14:02.

Photo: Sam Rutherford Photo: Sam Rutherford

Still, for Razer’s first effort outside the more familiar world of gaming laptops, the Book 13 is a very solid system. Sure, it’s not quite as flashy or aggressive as a Blade Stealth, but it’s got all of the most important qualities we love about Razer laptops: powerful performance, excellent build quality, and a beautiful but still very functional design. And while the Razer Book 13 does cost slightly more than a comparably specced XPS 13, little extras like its Chroma keyboard, plentiful port selection, and vapour-chamber cooling make the Razer Book 13 a worthy alternative to Dell and Apple’s offerings — especially if you like clean lines mixed with a hint of RGB.

README

  • The Razer Book doesn’t have a fingerprint reader, but it does have an IR camera for Windows Hello face login.
  • Built-in ports include two USB-C ports (for data and charging), one USB-A port, a full-size HDMI port, and a microSD card slot.
  • The biggest difference between the Razer Blade Stealth and the Razer Book 13 is that the Book 13 has a slightly taller 16:10 display and doesn’t support an optional discrete GPU.
  • If you’ve ever wanted a laptop that has the clean design of a MacBook but runs Windows instead of macOS, the Razer Book 13 is it.
  • As an Intel Evo-certified laptop, the Razer Book 13 includes support for Wi-Fi 6, a bright screen (around 333 nits on our 4K review unit), and features like near-instant wake times.