Apple and Razer typically offer rather different products to one another and as such, typically have rather different user bases too. However, as Razer has trimmed and tightened its laptops into sleek gaming machines, today both companies offer low weight, great looking laptops of various sizes.
That means new buyers may find it increasingly tough to pick which path to go down, which is why we’re pitting the Razer Blade 15 vs. MacBook Pro, to see which would be the better choice.
There’s a reason we call Razer the “Apple of gaming” in our recent review of the Blade 15 — because typically its hardware looks like black-painted MacBooks. That’s changed up in the latest design though, with the Razer Blade 15 having a more boxy look while maintaining the sleek lines and low-profile form-factor of its predecessors. Its bezels have been trimmed down for this generation of hardware too, making for a seamless-looking display. Razer did have the forethought to retain a larger top bezel though, which means the webcam remains mounted up top where it belongs.
The MacBook Pro is as always, a beautiful design and its silver paint job does make it look starkly different to Razer’s usual black aesthetic. It’s also thinner and lighter than the Razer Blade 15. It doesn’t offer quite so much versatility in port selection though. While some MacBook Pro versions can have up to four USB ports, they are all Type-C, whereas the Blade 15 has a single USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port and three USB-A 3.1 ports. It also has an HDMI and Mini DisplayPort for hooking up external displays.
Keyboards are also noticeably different between the two. We found the latest generation of MacBook Pro frustrating in its keyboard design (which has a tendency to fail). While better than its predecessors, the low-profile “butterfly” switches are not something we were enamored with. The Razer Blade 15, on the other hand, has a fantastic keyboard, though Razer did make one arbitrary change its layout which took some getting used to.
The MacBook Pro does have the Touch Bar as an alternative input, but we found that rather gimmicky with no real purpose.
Considering one of the laptops in this head to head is designed for gaming and the other isn’t, it’s no surprise to learn that the Razer Blade 15 is the more powerful machine — even if the Pro is the best MacBook available. The entry-level model starts at $1,900 and packs an eighth-generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU with 16GB of RAM under the hood. It also has an Nvidia GTX 1060 Max-Q graphics card for gaming on its 1080p IPS monitor. For those with deeper pockets, there are options for up to a GTX 1070 graphics card, a 144Hz 1080p display, and a 4K option, though prices close in on $3,000 at the top end. There’s also always the option of expanding its graphical capabilities with an external GPU using Razer’s Core V2 external graphics enclosure.
The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, starts at $2,000 with a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and no dedicated graphics at all. Optional upgrades let users opt for a higher CPU clock speed and Radeon Pro graphics, but that won’t hold a candle to the Razer Blade’s offerings. One advantage the MacBook does have though is in its default display. All Pro versions have a 2,880 x 1,800 display, which looks beautiful. It doesn’t support high-refresh rates, but that’s of less benefit on a non-gaming system anyhow.
The MacBook offers better storage options for potential buyers too. Where the Blade 15 can only offer up to 512GB of PCIe storage, the MacBook Pro can come with up to 2TB of solid state space.
One of the classic problems with gaming laptops is that they aren’t the most portable. Razer’s Blade 15 is its best effort yet but it still comes in heavier than the MacBook Pro. The Blade 15 is 13.98 x 9.25 x 0.66-inches and weighs in at 4.56 pounds, while the MacBook Pro is 13.75 x 9.48 x 0.61-inches and 4.02 pounds. The difference there isn’t huge and you’re unlikely to notice day to day, especially since you have to accept slightly weightier hardware at the 15-inch form factor.
The Razer Blade has the larger battery by the numbers at 80-watt hours, but its heftier hardware does mean it’s not quite as efficient a machine as the Apple alternative. It managed just over seven-hours in our video loop tests and just under four and a half hours in our web-browsing test. Apple claims around 10 hours of general usage for its 15-inch MacBook Pro, which was something that played out in our review of the 13-inch version. Much like the weight and size, what you get with the Razer is impressive considering its internal hardware, but it’s fair to say that the MacBook Pro is still a little bit more portable.
Bang for buck
When it comes down to it, the Razer Blade 15 offers a lot more for your money than the MacBook Pro. While the Apple laptop is a beautifully designed piece of kit, with a gorgeous display, decent battery life, and a slightly lighter frame, the Blade 15 is just so much more capable. Its battery life and weight are close enough to not be major factors, it looks stunning, and has a better keyboard. But on top of all those close-run races, it destroys the MacBook Pro in terms of performance at a competitive. Its processor is a six-core powerhouse that steams ahead of the Apple’s older hardware offerings and the on board graphics card has real gaming power, unlike the MacBook’s Radeon GPU.
While some may opt for the MacBook Pro because of a passionate interest in Apple’s MacOS platform, there is little reason to otherwise. The Blade 15 is an all round better piece of kit.