Editing Photos with the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop

We played with the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop at the Sony Kando trip, and it impressed us.

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop is one of the few PCs to genuinely excite me about the computing world as it pertains to photography and creativity. I’ve tried Asus, but it was nothing that would make me want to leave the cult of Steve Jobs (HE IS NOT DEAD). But the performance of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop raised my eyebrows. Coupled with the company’s initiative to target creatives, I’m optimistic that they’ll be one of the first to really win us over from Macs. Razer has catered to the gaming world for years, and as a former professional gamer, I’m ecstatic that they see the creative market as a serious one.

Editor’s Note: Our expenses for KANDO trip were fully covered by Sony. Phoblographer’s Editors are trained to resist the temptations offered by this and focus on creating content that is truthful and transparent. We also know that they have a studio edition, but that wasn’t available at KANDO.

Tech Specs

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop can come in several configurations. You can find more on Razer’s website.

Advanced Model NEW Base Model NEW
OS Windows 10
Processor Up to 9th Gen Intel Core i7
Graphics Up to GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q Up to GeForce RTX 2060
15.6” Display Up to 240Hz Full HD or OLED 4K Touch* Up to 144Hz Full HD
Storage Single Storage (NVMe) Dual Storage (NVMe + SATA)
Memory 16GB Dual-Channel SODIMMs
Keyboard Per-key RGB Chroma Single-zone RGB Chroma
Gigabit Ethernet No Yes
Footprint 9.25” (235mm) x 13.98” (355mm)
Thinness 0.70” (17.8mm) 0.78” (19.9mm)

Ergonomics

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop has a soft matte exterior. It’s very nice to the touch and doesn’t feel as cold and soulless as a Macbook Pro. This first impressions post will compare it to the Macbook often. Razer’s logo is on the outside.

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop’s screen takes up almost the entire space. There is minimal bezel–also an advantage over the Macbook. This screen is big and bright. The configuration I saw was very saturated but looked fantastic. Couple this with the ergonomic comfort of the keyboard and you’re all good for working on emails. To be transparent, you’ll need to shift the laptop over a bit. More on that later though.

One side of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop has a USB 3.1 port, USB C, HDMI, and more. But don’t worry, there is more for photographers when it comes to connectivity.

The other side has more USB 3.1 ports and another USB-C port. Plus there is a headphone jack for when you’re editing or doing admin work outside of the office.

One thing I didn’t like about the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop is the touchpad. To be fair, I’ve never liked the touchpads that PCs offer. This is no exception. What is cool is the fact that the LEDs under the keyboard change color often. However, this could affect how one perceives images on their screen while editing. There could be a way to fix them to a specific color, but I didn’t explore that in my time with the laptop.

The bottom of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop has rubber feet and fans. You’ll need to be careful because the surface can be scratched easily.

Build Quality

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop feels lighter than most Macbook Pros I’ve used. However, I believe the build quality of a Macbook Pro could be better. Part of this comes from not only the lightweight of the Blade but also the external surface. This surface is a matte texture and it smooth to the touch–it’s synonymous to a high-end magazine that doesn’t use the glossy pages. This surface is prone to be scratched. In fact, the rep said that we needed to be careful when we put it down on a table and rotated it. The Blade has rubber feet that prop it up off the surface, but it can still develop some patina over time.

The keyboard on the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop is one of the most wonderful elements to it. In some ways, it feels better than the 2015 MacBook Pro’s keyboard. I’m not a fan of the current generation of Macbook Pro keyboards and a lot of the reason why I use a laptop has to do with the ergonomics of the keyboard. The main thing one needs to do is shift their fingers over just a bit. This is due to the key placement. My muscle memory would make me press the right arrow key on a Macbook. I’m instead touching another button, and I need to shift over a tad to the left.

I very much appreciate the lightweight of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop. But, at the same time, it confirms a lot the reasons why I said goodbye to PCs in the first place. It feels like a cheaper device: one I’ll likely throw out in two years. This is my memory of PCs. My Dad and I would hide away from the ladies of the house and perform surgeries on our computers. It prevented them from becoming outdated. I learned a lot from him, but I went with Apple because I didn’t want to do that anymore. This is still a concern I have as a creative. While Reviews Editor Paul Ip and Gear Editor Brett Day have no issues modding their computers, I don’t care to spend time on that anymore. I just want to create, and the more I can focus on that, the better I’ll be.

Ease of Use

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop is a Windows machine. I still have one in my office that’s more or less relegated to playing Vermintide 2. I also don’t need to disconnect USB devices often. But when doing that on the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop, I had to remind myself about the way Windows handles USB device connectivity, which is much different than the way Apple does. Otherwise, Windows has improved over the years with their implemented universal search features and more. Unlike HP’s philosophy of targeting creatives, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop doesn’t have any special buttons or layouts for photographers. Personally, I’m pretty happy about that. Too many buttons become annoying. Most of what I use are the brightness adjustments, music controls, multitasking buttons, etc.

Additionally, using the touchpad may be a learning curve for photographers used to the way Apple’s works. Something I didn’t miss is the double-tap feature that PCs use vs. the click feature on a Mac. While Apple’s works more like an actual mouse, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop doesn’t. One could argue that I could just use the touchscreen, but I’m a photographer: the less I touch a glossy OLED screen, the better. If the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop had a matte screen, I think I’d have a change of heart.

For years I’ve been begging for a good display that covers 97%+ of Adobe RGB and a matte screen. But I haven’t yet found an option that I like.

Performance with Capture One Pro 12

I imported images from the Sony a7r III onto the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop and played with the files in Capture One. First off, the import process was much faster than on my 2015 Macbook Pro–but that’s probably an unfair comparison. I also tend to import using SD cards–but the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop doesn’t have that option. Instead, I used USB C. After the images were imported, and minor adjustment were made to make Capture One Pro 12 suit me better, I edited in C1. The editing was just as robust as it is on a Mac. It’s responsive, but with full transparency, I only worked with it for maybe 15 minutes with more basic adjustments and color channel edits. Still, though, it felt good. Capture One Pro 12 on a PC didn’t seem to slow down or crash. However, we’ll need to do more testing in the long run.

First Impressions

So far, I like the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop for editing. We’ll need to do a lot of benchmark testing and long term tests for photographers when we have a review unit in. One thing I can’t find is Bluetooth specs. Additionally, I’ll miss AirDrop a lot if I switch to a PC. But of any PC laptops I’ve tested, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced Laptop is the closest to making me want to leave Tim Cook’s cult. It’s still not completely there yet, from what I know so far. We’ll need to call it in for a full review.