The Razer Blade Studio 2020 will make an excellent alternative to Apple products for creatives who can stomach the price and the big elephant in its room.
We had some rather nice things to say about the Razer Blade Studio 15 in 2019 when we reviewed it, and we have some great things to say about the 2020 model as well. Razer has made some important changes to the computer both on top of and under the hood, which should make this laptop a dream for creators. Does the 2020 model warrant a price increase over last year’s model, and does the average photographer need this much raw power in their laps? Find out in our full review of the Razer Blade Studio 2020 laptop.
I would hazard a guess that most photographers and creators who need this much power in a computer will normally opt for a pre-built powerhouse desktop, or they will fabricate their own computer with the specifications to their liking. If, though, you like big performance from a small laptop, take a closer look at the Razer Blade Studio 2020 with its gorgeous 4K OLED display. Is it a laptop with the heart of a supercar? Yes. Will it turn heads? Yes. Does it have a couple of issues that need to be addressed? Well, of course it does. Let’s dive into our review.
Pros and Cons
- Nice sleek design
- Well built and features a nice aluminum body
- Ridiculously impressive performance (with a caveat)
- Powerful discrete GPU blasts through tough editing jobs
- The OLED touch screen is a thing of beauty
- Improved keyboard over the last version of this laptop
- Nice RGB effects that aren’t too tacky
- Nice and easy to use trackpad
- Futureproofed with a UHS III SD Card reader
- This laptop breathes fire under certain conditions
- Can get so hot that the keys are too hot to touch
- Under load, the Razer Blade Studio sounds like a pair of GEnx Turbofan engines from a Boeing 787
- Less than impressive battery life
- Serious performance hits when not connected to the power brick
- That price though ($4,299)
We tested the Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition 2020 Laptop with the Datacolor SpyderX Pro, Blender, Capture One 20, Lightroom CC, and a bevy of other software suites like Open Office.
All of the technical specs for this laptop have been taken directly from Razer’s official website:
Model: Razer Blade 15 – Quadro Studio Edition
OS: Windows 10 Pro
Processor: 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-10875H 8-Core (2.3GHz / 5.1GHz)
Graphics: NVIDIA® Quadro RTX™ 5000 Studio Edition (16GB GDDR6 VRAM)
Display: 15.6″ OLED 4K Touch 60Hz, 100% DCI-P3, HDR400, factory calibrated
Storage: 1TB SSD (M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4)
Memory: 32GB Dual-Channel (16GB x 2) DDR4-2933MHz
Keyboard: Per-key RGB powered by Razer Chroma™
Connections: USB & Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (USB-A) x3, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C), UHS-III SD card reader
Wireless: Intel® Wireless-AX201 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax) + Bluetooth® 5.1
Webcam: Windows® Hello built-in IR HD webcam (1MP / 720P)
Finish: Mercury White with tone-on-tone logo and black USB ports
Dimensions: 0.70″ x 9.25″ x 13.98″ / 17.8mm x 235mm x 355mm
Weight: 4.85 lbs / 2.2 kg
“The hinge that the gorgeous OLED screen is attached to has a fair amount of tilt in it, which means you can find a comfortable viewing position easily.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Right off the bat, you will see that the Razer Blade Studio 15 is a sleek and snazzy laptop that will likely turn heads wherever you take it. The good thing is this particular Razer laptop is a lot more understated than their laptops geared towards gaming. So, while some heads might turn, it won’t be as many as if you were using one of their more gaudy gaming offerings.
Front and center is the simply stunning 15.6-inch 4K OLED display. This screen is a show stopper. It’s not entirely bezel-less, but it still looks very nice. Equally as impressive, the newly designed keyboard features beautiful RGB backlighting. In this image, you can also see the sizeable glass-topped trackpad and the speakers which flank the keyboard.
On the left-hand side of the Razer Blade Studio 15 2020, you’re going to find the proprietary AC adapter port, 2 USB ports, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack. Note how thin this laptop is too. It’s literally no thicker than the height of the USB ports themselves.
The right-hand side of the Razer Blade Studio 15 2020 houses the UHS III SD card reader, another USB-C port/Thunderbolt port, another full-size USB jack, a full-size HDMI port, and a security lock port.
This year’s version of the Razer Blade 15 Studio features the same mammoth 230-watt power brick as the laptop from last year, so a picture from our review of last year’s model has been used here. While this might seem like a weird object to focus on, it is needed because you will have to lug this honking chunk of plastic and electronics around with you, which will eat up some space in whatever laptop bag you’d be using. It’s not that heavy in itself, but when lumped together with your laptop in your bag, your total carry weight will hit right around the 5lbs mark.
From an ergonomics perspective, the Razer Blade 15 Studio 2020 is a nice laptop. You’re getting a whole lot of computer in a form factor that is not excessively huge; in fact, this laptop is very thin, very easy to lug around and hold, and it feels lovely when sitting in your lap or in front of you on a table.
The ports are easily accessible, which is always welcome, and the new keyboard layout, which sees the arrow keys moved to a more familiar layout (underneath the right shift key), is welcomed. Last year’s arrow keys sat alongside the shift key: it was awkward and quite cumbersome (see image above). The hinge that the gorgeous OLED screen is attached to has a fair amount of tilt in it, which means you can find a comfortable viewing position easily, and the laptop is not excessively heavy at 4.88lbs, though it’s not super light either. There’s a happy medium there.
Overall dimensions of the laptop are 0.70″ x 9.25″ x 13.98″ / 17.8mm x 235mm x 355mm, so measure up your bag before you purchase. Does this feel like a $4,299 laptop in hand? I mean, what should a laptop that costs as much a used car feel like? It certainly feels premium, but I will leave it up to you to decide whether you feel like you get your money’s worth from a design standpoint. For me, the design works, it feels nice, and it does what it’s supposed to do. If you want to salivate over the design more to justify part of the cost, more power to you.
“The solid aluminum chassis feels robust, and I am sure it will survive the daily rigors of being jostled around in a laptop bag.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
You’re not going to have anything to worry about when it comes to the overall build quality of the Razer Blade Studio 15 2020 laptop. Like many premium laptops, the Razer Blade Studio 15 2020 could easily be mistaken for a computer from a particular fruit manufacturer, and that’s not a bad thing. The solid aluminum chassis feels robust, and I am sure it will survive the daily rigors of being jostled around in a laptop bag. The Mercury White finish (which looks like silver to me) looks nice, though it is a fingerprint magnet, and you will find yourself reaching for a microfiber cloth to wipe the body down frequently.
I am not a huge fan of keyboard laptops, but I must say the keyboard on this particular computer feels rather lovely. I decided to write a few articles for The Phoblographer while reviewing the unit, and I enjoyed the experience, and the same can be said for the large touchpad as well. The keys offer excellent tactile feedback, and the slick surface of the trackpad made gliding around my virtual workspace easy. The touchscreen feels nice when being used as a touchscreen, and the hinge helps keep the screen stable.
I was hoping the power connector for the power brick would be a magnetic affair: I have had too many laptop power ports break in my time with devices like this over the years, but this is a solid plug-in type adapter. The fit is tight and secure, which is good because it means your power port will not rip out. The fit is tight and secure, which means if this cable gets pulled accidentally, it will not fly out of the laptop; instead, your $4,299 computer will turn into an aluminum frisbee. At the end of the day, the Razer Blade Studio 15 2020 is a well-built machine that will endure quite a bit. Just wipe it down, and try not to leave the cable of the power brick in a place that will be easily tripped over. If that happens, your day will turn bad really quickly.
“When you’re running on battery only, you’re limited to a balanced power mode, and as I mentioned, for photographers, this will be just fine, though I have doubts that creators who push 4K, 6K, and soon to be 8K video will be happy with this.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Ease of Use / Real World Results
Overall the Razer Blade Studio 15 2020 is just as easy to use as any other laptop to have been released since laptops were a thing. Power it up, turn it on, let it boot, log in, and away you go. You can customize your desktop as you wish, install whatever programs you want, and make it your own. Now, the differences between computers come in the form of how comfortable the keyboard is to use, how good the screen is, how good the trackpad is, connectivity options, and just how well tweaked the internal components are.
I can tell you that (apart from one caveat), the Razer Blade Studio 2020 is one finely tuned machine that will put a smile on your face whenever you use it. The system is stupid fast, even when on balanced power modes. The display (oh the glorious display!) will steal your heart the second you lay your eyes on it. Even though it’s a glossy affair, and arguably not the best for image editing, it is beautiful none the less. The keyboard and the trackpad are a joy to use too. It’s just an overall enjoyable experience. The speakers are not the best; they certainly won’t win awards from audiophiles, but they get the job done. Just don’t expect booming bass or ultra-clear vocals. Out in the real world, you’ll be happy when using this laptop.
Performance for Photographers
With the Razer Blade Studio 2020, I was able to use Capture One Pro and Lightroom CC to edit all manner of files with ease. I’m talking everything from files like easy to process RAWS from the Olympus E-M1 III, the Nikon Z50, and the Canon EOS Ra, to RAW files from the monstrous Hasselblad X1D II and the Fujifilm GFX100. I never saw any hiccups, burps, or stutters that made me raise my eyebrows. Load up your catalog and edit away; you’ll be just fine no matter what you throw at this system.
The Razer Blade Studio 15 2020 will just hum away and keep cool while doing standard editing. Do the fans ramp up from time to time while editing? Sure they do: just look at the size of the engines under the hood, but it’s all good (when on balanced power mode). You can be editing and have a dozen or so Chrome tabs open, YouTube can be playing 4K video, and so on, and you will still be fine thanks to the 10th generation Intel i7-10875H 8-Core (2.3GHz / 5.1GHz boost) CPU, the 1TB SSD (M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4), and the ample 32GB’s of Dual-Channel (16GB x 2) DDR4-2933MHz RAM. This model also sports the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Studio Edition GPU with 16GB GDDR6 VRAM. What does this mean? It means you will experience virtually no lag and incredible benchmarks while using Adobe products optimized for NVIDIA RTX Raytracing hardware. If you’re a power user, you will love this.
You’ll also not be left wanting when it comes to connections unless you need a GIGABIT Ethernet port. This laptop is Wi-Fi all the way, and by the way, it’s speedy Wi-Fi. I witnessed some of the fastest download, upload, and pings that I have ever seen on my home network while using this laptop. This is with me living in rural Oklahoma with probably 15 other devices connected to the same network when the network speed test was run. There are plenty of Thunderbolt, USB-C, USB 3.2 ports, and even a future-proof UHS-III SD card slot. (Apple, take note here.) This laptop can remove you from the dongle life. Battery life was decent, but not groundbreaking. From a full charge on balanced power modes, while editing and browsing, I was able to average 3.5-ish hours on a charge.
So, what’s the big caveat I have been going on about? If you want maximum performance from this laptop, you must be connected to the power supply. When you’re running on battery only, you’re limited to a balanced power mode. As I mentioned, this will be just fine for photographers, though I have doubts that creators who push 4K, 6K, and soon 8K video will be happy with this.
When you push this laptop, as I did via Blender benchmarking, you will get mythical levels of performance, but you pay the price for it—battery life tanks. In fact, a fully charged battery could not make it through the Blender tests on maximum (it died in less than an hour), and the amount of heat coming from the Razer Blade Studio 15 2020 made it to where you could not have this laptop on your lap. You couldn’t even touch the keys of the keyboard, and I’m not joking: the keys were that hot! The fans were maxed out and deafening. I actually sent a video of the fans running at full pelt to our Editor in Chief. They were akin to a couple of Boeing 787 Turbofans. I am not a video editor, but I would imagine rendering large video files would push this laptop to its limits, and these effects are likely what you’ll experience. I understand, on the battery alone at maximum power, the battery would die almost instantaneously, but it’s a hindrance none the less.
The following results will show you the difference in performance on the GPU in both balanced and max power modes, and the CPU in both balanced and max power modes. First up (above image) are the numbers from the GPU in balanced mode (m denotes minutes, s indicates seconds):
- BMW27: 2m51s
- Classroom: 9m3s
- Fishy_Cat 10m4s
- Koro: 13m19s
- Pavillion_Barcelona: 7m38s
- Victor: 11m45s
Here are the results for the GPU under max power settings while plugged in to the power brick (m denotes minutes, s denotes seconds):
- BMW27: 1m24s
- Classroom: 3m59s
- Fishy_Cat 2m36s
- Koro: 4m10s
- Pavillion_Barcelona: 7m35s
- Victor: 11m22s
Here are the results for the CPU under balanced power mode – battery power (m denotes minutes, s denotes seconds):
- BMW27: 5m38s
- Classroom: 17m39s
- Fishy_Cat 8m46s
- Koro: 10m40s
- Pavillion_Barcelona: 18m23s
- Victor: 33m17s
Here are the results for the CPU under balanced power mode – battery power (m denotes minutes, s denotes seconds):
- BMW27: 4m44s
- Classroom: 14m55s
- Fishy_Cat 7m19s
- Koro: 8m48s
- Pavillion_Barcelona: 15m38s
- Victor: 28m45s
Windows Pro 10 is what you will find pre-installed on the Razer Blade 15 Studio 2020. This is neither a plus nor a minus in my books. (My preferences when it comes to operating systems is not a part of this review.) Windows 10 is a robust operating system that will allow you to get the most out of this laptop. Whether or not it is the best operating system for you as a creative is a personal preference. If you’re reading this review though, we are sure you know the ins and outs of Windows 10.
Razer claims the Blade Studio 15 2020 can display 100% of the DCI-P3 color space. Out of the box, calibration showed this. After running my own calibration with the Datacolor SpyderX Pro, I can confirm that the gorgeous 4K OLED does, in fact, display 100% of the DCI-P3 gamut. After calibration, the display on this laptop showed results of 95% of the Adobe RGB gamut, 100% of the sRGB gamut, and 93% of the NTSC color gamut. The screengrabs from each calibration test are below.
When it comes to editing your images and videos you can be sure that you’re going to be pushing and pulling around accurate colors.
There’s nothing here to really mention. Apart from wiping the computer down frequently to remove smudges, fingerprints, and who knows what else, and the usual Windows 10 updates, there is really nothing you will have to do in terms of general maintenance.
- Great performance for photographers thanks to great hardware speeds and connectivity options
- The gorgeous 4K OLED display will melt your heart
- The keyboard and trackpad are enjoyable to use
- The price is enough to make a grown man cry
- You can’t get maximum performance from this laptop unless you’re tethered to an outlet
- You’ll need SPF 3000 sunscreen to protect from burns if you push this laptop to its limits
So, who is the Razer Blade Studio 2020 with a 15-inch screen for? As much as you might want one, the average photographer simply isn’t going to need this much power to get through general workloads in Lightroom and Capture One Pro. Will it make things happen in a snap? You bet it will. Can you save a couple thousand dollars and spend a few extra seconds waiting for Lightroom to export a few files? Of course. Now, if you’re a power user who needs to edit humongous batches of images day after day, week after week, and month after the month, you will likely enjoy this laptop. Over time, those extra seconds shaved off of editing and export times will add up. If you’re a videographer, an animator, a designer, or any other creative type who needs a small nuclear reactor in their lap, you too will enjoy the immense power this laptop has on tap. Use this laptop with any of the RTX based software out there and you will be in computing heaven.
When you look at the whole package, it’s impressive for sure. The screen is gorgeous, the keyboard and trackpad are great, there are plenty of connectivity options, and the sheer power is incredible, but there are the caveats of having to be tethered to an outlet to unleash the power of 1000 suns, and you’ll need a heatproof suit to withstand the temperatures coming off the Razer Blade Studio 15 2020 when under extreme loads. If, though, you need this power, have the required $4,299, and are okay with being confined to an outlet and keeping the laptop on a desk when you need the power, then you will likely be A-OK with these things.
The Razer Blade Studio 2020 with a 15-inch display scores four out of five stars. Is it a great laptop? Yes. Does every photographer out there need it? No, but those who do will be thankful for the amount of performance they can get out of a slim, ergonomically friendly laptop that has a thirst for power. Check out Amazon for the latest price.