The Razer Blade 15 Advanced is a powerful photo and video editing machine with a premium design and a premium price tag to match.

All product photography by DL Cade.

Razer products – with their glowing green snake logo and RGB accents – are synonymous with gaming, but unlike many gaming-focused companies, Razer puts just as much emphasis on the build quality and design of their products as the gamer-y tweaks and high-end hardware. That makes their Blade laptops particularly compelling for creatives who want top-of-the-line performance and premium design.

The thin aluminum chassis, clean lines and quiet(er) operation do mean that you occasionally leave a bit of performance on the table, but we’re talking about seconds, not minutes. What we have here is a photo and video editing powerhouse with an exceptional display and build quality that is unmatched among PC laptops from other brands.



Key specifications:

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced that we’re testing sits in the middle of the Blade 15 lineup: just above the base model Blade 15 and just below the top-shelf “Studio” edition.

Razer Blade 15 Razer Blade 15 Advanced Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition
CPU Intel Core i7-10750H Intel Core i7-10875H Intel Core i7-10875H
GPU

NVIDIA RTX 3070

8GB VRAM

NVIDIA RTX 3080

16GB VRAM

Quadro RTX 5000

16GB VRAM

RAM 16GB DDR4-2933MHz 32GB DDR4-2933MHz 32GB DDR4-2933MHz
Storage 512GB M.2 SSD 1TB M.2 SSD 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD
Display

15.6-inch QHD 165Hz LCD

100% sRGB

15.6-inch 4K OLED Touchscreen

100% DCI-P3

15.6-inch 4K OLED Touchscreen

100% DCI-P3

Price $2,200 $3,300 $3,800

Don’t let the “Studio Edition” moniker fool you; for photographers and video editors, the Blade 15 “Advanced” is the model that you’ll want to buy. Other than the option for a silver finish, the Studio Edition’s only advantage over the Advanced is the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 graphics card, which adds significantly to the price without adding much in way of photo and video editing performance.

As you can see from the spec breakdown, basically everything else about the two computers is identical.

The Advanced is currently available in a few different configurations that feature different GPUs, the option of 16 or 32GB of RAM, and a choice between a 360Hz Full HD display, a 240Hz QHD display, or a 60Hz 4K display. For creators, we recommend going with the version we’ve been testing, which features 32GB of RAM, an NVIDIA RTX 3080 graphics card, and a gorgeous 4K OLED touchscreen that covers 100% of the DCI-P3 spectrum.

What we have here is a photo and video editing powerhouse with an exceptional display and build quality that is unmatched among PC laptops from other brands.

It’s the most color accurate of the three options and the build that’s most obviously aimed at creative work as opposed to pure gaming.

The latest refresh of the Blade 15 Advanced – which features 11th generation Intel CPUs –was announced in May, but they only just started shipping, so our review unit is still using a 10th Gen Intel chip. That’s something we’ll come back to again and again when we get to the benchmarks.


Design, build and usability

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced features a thin aluminum design, excellent keyboard and trackpad, and a stunning OLED display.

When it comes to the design and build quality of Razer’s laptops, there’s a lot to praise and very little to complain about. My cons list is short: the matte black finish is a horrendous fingerprint magnet, and it’s the only color option unless you want to spend more on the Studio Edition I mentioned above.

I’m also not crazy about the large external power brick and Razer’s proprietary power plug, but I understand the necessity. Thunderbolt/USB-PD simply can’t push enough wattage to run both the CPU and GPU in this laptop at full speed.

Finally, even if you go into Razer’s Synapse software and turn off the glowing logo on the outside of the case, the green color of the logo and the green accents on the USB ports give the Blade 15 a residual “gamer-y” aesthetic that I’m not fond of. It’s a small gripe, but in a client meeting full of lemmings on MacBooks (I’m usually one of those lemmings), these little details could come off as unprofessional.

The glowing three-headed snake logo on the Blade 15 has a distinct “gamer-y” look that won’t appeal to everyone. You can turn off the glow, but it’s still going to stand out.

That’s it for my complaints. Everything else about the design, build and usability of the Blade 15 Advanced is a rave.

Starting with the build quality, the aluminum chassis has absolutely no deck flex and feels as solid as a piece of military hardware. Every element is what you would call “luxury-grade,” which is good, since you’re paying a pretty penny for just that.

This attention to detail extends to the very large, glass trackpad and the low-profile keyboard, both of which are fantastic. The keyboard has just enough travel (and per-key RGB lighting) and the trackpad has a silky smooth texture and excellent response characteristics. In my experience, only three companies make a multi-touch trackpad that feels this good: Apple, Microsoft, and Razer.

There’s also a Windows Hello 720p webcam with a separate IR camera. It’s nothing special in terms of image quality, but it’s nice because it enables you to log in using facial recognition.

The Blade’s keyboard and trackpad are both phenomenal, but the matte black finish is a horrendous fingerprint magnet.

In terms of design and usability, the star of the show is the 4K OLED display. With a super thin 4.9mm bezel on the sides and top, perfect per-pixel contrast (thank you OLED), and true 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut, this screen is a stunner. It’s so bright, sharp, and accurate that it’s kind of ruined other laptop displays for me.

Every element is what you would call “luxury-grade,” which is good, since you’re paying a pretty penny for just that.

We profiled the screen using an i1Display Pro Plus and DisplayCAL software, and found that the screen can indeed hit 99.9% of DCI-P3, as well as 90.4% of AdobeRGB, at a maximum Delta E of just 1.3. That’s just plain fantastic.

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced features an exceptional 4K OLED display with 99.9% coverage of DCI-P3 and 90.4% coverage of AdobeRGB.

In part because of the screen, the battery life is pretty miserable. If you intend to actually use the CPU, GPU, and OLED display to their full potential, you’ll chew through the 80Wh battery in two hours, tops. In balanced or battery saver mode, you might be able to squeeze out 5 hours, but that’s really not how this laptop is intended to be used.

Beneath the gamer-y exterior is rock solid design and a laser focus on the quality of the materials and parts that Razer has chosen to use.

Lastly, the I/O selection on this laptop is excellent, with plenty of ports to help you avoid the dongle life.

On one side you have an SD card slot, a Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB-A port, an HDMI 2.1 port, and a Kensington lock; on the other, you get an audio combo port, a USB Type-C port (not Thunderbolt, but can still be used for charging), two more USB-A ports, and the proprietary power adapter plug. All of that inside a laptop that’s only a fraction of a millimeter thicker than the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

The left side of the laptop includes a headphone jack, USB Type-C port, 2x USB Type-A ports, and the proprietary power connector.
The right side of the laptop includes a Kensington lock, HDMI 2.1 port, another USB Type-A port, a Thunderbolt 3 port, and (yay!) an SD card slot.

I’ll readily admit that the Razer’s jet black aesthetic with neon green accents and per-key control of your keyboard’s RGB backlight is a little… extra. But beneath the gamer-y exterior is rock solid design and a laser focus on the quality of materials and parts.

This is what sets the entire Blade laptop lineup apart from its more affordable competitors offering similar specs inside of plastic housings with dinky little trackpads, mushy keyboards, and displays that often trade color accuracy for speed.

Back to top


Performance benchmarks

Our review unit was slightly held back by its 10th Generation Intel processor, but it still flew through most photo and video editing tasks without breaking a sweat.

In terms of photo and video editing performance, the Blade 15 we tested is an extremely powerful laptop that suffers slightly due to its 10th Gen Intel processor. The 11th Gen Tiger Lake H-series CPUs in the refreshed model should help substantially, but the 10th Gen Intel processors can’t keep up with AMD Ryzen in most benchmarks – they run slower, hotter, and they soak up more juice in the process.

All of that said, the Blade 15 is still an exceptionally powerful system, especially in programs that can take full advantage of its RTX 3080 laptop GPU with 16GB of VRAM. That means faster exports in Capture One 21, better Photoshop performance on certain GPU accelerated tasks, and accelerated rendering and encoding in Premiere Pro.

The Blade 15 Advanced is an extremely powerful laptop that suffers slightly due to its 10th Gen Intel processor.

For this review, we compared the Blade 15 against the AMD-based 2021 ASUS G14 and the M1 iMac that we reviewed recently. You can see the specs of our three test machines below:

M1 iMac Blade 15 ASUS G14
CPU M1 (8-core) Intel Core i7-10875H AMD Ryzen 9-5900HS
GPU M1 (8-core)

NVIDIA RTX 3080

16GB VRAM

NVIDIA RTX 3060

6GB VRAM

RAM 16GB Unified Memory 32GB DDR4 2933MHz 32GB DDR4 3200MHz
Storage 512GB NVMe SSD 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD
Display

24-inch 4.5K Retina Display

100% Display P3

15-Inch 4K OLED

100% DCI-P3

14-inch WQHD LCD

100% DCI-P3

Price

$1,900 $3,300 $2,000

Lightroom Classic

In Lightroom Classic, we import, generate 1:1 previews, and export heavily edited variants of 100 identical raw files from four different cameras: the Canon EOS R6, Nikon Z7 II, Sony a7R IV, and Fujifilm GFX 100. This is a great test of CPU and RAM performance, since Adobe has confirmed that the GPU plays no role in these tasks.

Import and preview generation is a great indication of raw CPU performance, especially with smaller file sizes. The 10th Gen i7 takes a beating here, losing every category until we get to the huge Fuji GFX 100 files, where the iMac runs into the limitations imposed by having just 16GB of RAM:

Canon EOS R6 Import Nikon Z7 II Import Sony a7R IV Import Fuji GFX 100 Import
Blade 15 1:55 3:23 3:52 8:26
ASUS G14 1:38 2:59 3:30 7:35
M1 iMac 1:44 2:55 3:06 8:40

Lightroom Classic export times show off the capabilities of your system’s CPU and RAM working together. The more RAM a computer has, and the faster that RAM is able to move data, the faster you can export large raw files into full-resolution 100% JPEGs.

The 10th Gen i7 inside our Blade is limited to 2933MHz maximum for its RAM, but it has 32GB. That means it should lose to an AMD Ryzen laptop with the same amount of faster 3200MHz RAM, like our ASUS G14, but it should pull ahead of the iMac once file sizes become large enough, because the Mac is limited to 16GB of (albeit faster) unified memory.

And that’s exactly what we see in our testing:

Canon EOS R6 Export Nikon Z7 II Export Sony a7R IV Export Fuji GFX 100 Export
Blade 15 4:25 9:41 12:50 30:38
ASUS G14 3:58 8:55 11:41 23:40
M1 iMac 4:10 9:24 14:43 38:29

Capture One 21

In Capture One, the Blade 15’s top-of-the-line NVIDIA RTX 3080 laptop GPU – which draws up to 95W of power and comes with its own 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM – takes center stage, giving the computer a huge boost in export speed, which we’ll get to shortly.

Since Capture One creates smaller 2560px previews by default, with no option to create 1:1 preview like Lightroom Classic, RAM plays a smaller role when importing and generating previews. As a result, the Blade’s 10th Gen Intel Core i7 falls behind both the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS and the Apple M1 SOC across the board:

Canon EOS R6 Import Nikon Z7 II Import Sony a7R IV Import Fuji GFX 100 Import
Blade 15 00:49 1:10 1:25 2:02
ASUS G14 00:40 00:59 1:12 1:50
M1 iMac 00:44 1:05 1:19 2:01

But when it comes time to export all of those Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fujifilm files as heavily edited 100% JPEGs, assuming you have hardware acceleration enabled, you can expect a whopping 50% to 70% improvement in export speed over Lightroom Classic, which doesn’t take advantage of the GPU at all during import, preview generation, or export. Now, the beefy RTX 3080 in the Blade 15 begins to flex its additional CUDA cores and leaves the iMac behind.

The rest of your hardware isn’t irrelevant. You’ll notice that the ASUS G14 with its weaker NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU but faster CPU and faster RAM still takes the crown in every category. But at least the Blade 15’s powerful GPU isn’t going to waste like we see in Lightroom Classic. The iMac, on the other hand, simply can’t keep up:

Canon EOS R6 Export Nikon Z7 II Export Sony a7R IV Export Fuji GFX 100 Export
Blade 15 2:01 4:21 5:09 8:51
ASUS G14 1:35 3:12 3:50 6:53
M1 iMac 2:15 5:31 6:56 12:48

This performance should only improve in the latest Blade 15 Advanced, which trades the 10th Gen Core i7 processor for 11th Gen i9. According to our own internal testing so far, that 11th Gen chip offers a substantial boost in performance thanks to its larger cache, support for PCIe 4.0, and support for faster clock speeds for system RAM.

Photoshop

Photoshop performance, as measured in PugetBench from Puget Systems, falls in line with what we expected given the Blade’s combination of CPU, GPU, and RAM.

Tasks like Photo Merge require moving lots of pixels in and out of memory, giving the iMac and ASUS G14 an advantage thanks to their faster RAM. It also falls short of the raw CPU performance that we see from both AMD Ryzen and Apple’s M1. It makes up some ground in the GPU category, but even there, it can’t beat the ASUS.

Overall General GPU Filter PhotoMerge
Blade 15 827.8 87 84.5 72.1 95.6
ASUS G14 873.6 99 97.3 86.9 115
M1 iMac 1010.4 99.6 82.2 82.1 141.8

These numbers don’t look particularly impressive when you consider the fact that the M1 iMac doesn’t even have a discrete GPU and the ASUS G14 is more than $1,000 cheaper than the Blade 15. But this is ultimately a tale of an under-performing CPU and an app that can’t take full advantage of the GPU.

As with Capture One, if Photoshop could take better advantage of the GPU, the RTX 3080 would help close the Intel vs Apple and Intel vs AMD gap. As it stands, Photoshop only uses GPU acceleration on a few choice filters and tasks.

Premiere Pro

The results from Premiere Pro are perfect example of why video editors should keep an eye on the GPU in their system. Thanks to CUDA hardware acceleration, the Blade 15 beats every other computer we tested in each of the three export tasks we set.

Whether you’re simply compiling previews into a master file, encoding H.264, or encoding HEVC, the Blade 15 eked out a few percentage points over the AMD-based ASUS G14 and a significant 18% to 25% lead over the 2021 iMac. It’s also faster than the M1 when rendering, though both the ASUS and Blade fall short of the iMac when applying Warp Stabilize to a 15-second clip.

Render All Export Master File Export H.264 Export HEVC/H.265 Warp Stabilize
Blade 15 6:47 00:12 6:05 5:57 3:24
ASUS G14 6:40 00:15 6:06 5:59 2:33
M1 iMac 7:40 00:16 7:28 7:16 2:06

Back to top


The takeaways

Looking at the benchmarks above, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced – especially the version we tested with the 10th Gen Intel CPU – is a perfect example of how different kinds of creative apps prioritize different hardware.

If you’re a video editor who does all of their work in Premiere Pro, Adobe has actually optimized that app to take advantage of more powerful NVIDIA GPUs like the RTX 3080 inside of the Blade 15. In that case, the extra cost of a laptop with a 3080 may be worth it (Razer or otherwise). Capture One demonstrates similar results, using the GPU to significantly speed up exports over a computer like the iMac that has no discrete graphics card.

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced is a perfect example of why you should tailor the hardware you choose for the work you intend to do.

If you’re using Lightroom and Photoshop exclusively, then your money is probably better spent chasing CPU performance and upgrading your RAM. For now, your best options are probably AMD Ryzen and Apple M1. The 11th Gen “Tiger Lake” processors should close that gap and bring Intel back into the mix, but we would stay away from 10th Gen Intel devices.

Of course, the goal of these benchmarks isn’t soley to recommend the top performer. We want to try and provide a clear picture of the entire experience, including import and export times, so you can adjust your expectations and budget accordingly. Other factors like the build quality of the computer itself, and especially the quality of the display, should rank high on your priority list.

Back to top


Conclusion

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced delivers solid performance for photo and video editing, but the real stars of the show are the design quality and the OLED display.

What We Like What We Don’t Like
  • Solid performance
  • Stunning 4K OLED display
  • Built like a tank
  • Top-shelf keyboard and trackpad
  • Lots of ports, including an SD card slot
  • Windows Hello webcam
  • 10th Gen Intel CPU falls short of AMD
  • “Gamer-y” green logo and accents
  • Poor battery life
  • Fans are very loud under full load
  • Matte finish is a fingerprint magnet
  • Expensive

Nobody in the PC world builds a laptop quite like Razer. Lenovo makes laptops are equally rugged, MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS make laptops are equally fast, and there are plenty of PCs out there that boast some combination of the above. Some gargantuan gaming laptops like the Alienware Area 51m can take you even further up the performance ladder by packing desktop components into a massive chassis.

But Razer owns the sweet spot at the intersection of powerhouse performance and premium design.

That might not seem important, but as someone who regularly switches between laptops with identical specs but drastically different build quality, I can say with confidence that it impacts every little thing that you try to do. A bad keyboard, a crappy trackpad, a plastic chassis, a mid-range display where the white point shifts dramatically as you increase brightness – these are things that you’ll notice at least as often as the raw performance of your CPU and GPU.

Razer owns the sweet spot between powerhouse performance and premium design.

That’s why the Blade 15, even this one with the 10th Gen Intel chip that underperforms AMD’s Ryzen in many applications, earns 4 our of 5 stars from me. The couple of minutes I’d lose every week waiting for an export to finish are worth it if it means higher-end components and top-shelf components, an impeccable display, and build quality that I can trust.

If you’re on a budget, this laptop is not for you – there are cheaper PCs out there that will get the job done. But if you have the means, and you want a rugged laptop with a spectacular display that can conquer the heaviest of photo and video editing tasks with ease, you’ll want to give the Blade 15 Advanced a very close look.

Back to top

Author: Go to Source