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Chillblast Photo OC Mobile 5 4K test

Posted on Oct 10, 2018

If you want a laptop for your photography, visit any major department store or electrical retailer and you will find plenty to choose from. But what you won’t see on offer are laptops customised for photography – and that’s where award-winning computer brand Chillblast has the upper hand. It specialises in building computers – desktops as well as laptops – for gaming, business use and imaging.

Its latest laptop is the Photo OC Mobile 5 4K, a machine that is designed to provide desktop performance on location.

At this unit’s heart is a 6-core i7 processor running at speeds of up to 4.1GHz for superfast handling of large files, supported by 16GB of RAM. There are two internal hard drives, a 250GB Samsung SSD and a conventional 1TB hard drive, so there’s plenty of storage on hand, which is especially important when you’re shooting away from base.

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The laptop’s screen is an impressive 15.6in PLS, high resolution 3840x2160pixel panel that shows images in stunning detail, and covers 72% of the NTSC colour gamut. The screen does come at a cost, and at 2.5kg is a substantial unit – but it is well-built. Handily, the keyboard is blue backlit so there are no issues working in the dark. As a right-handed user, the trackpad, positioned left of centre, was not ideal and slightly awkward. It’s left-sided due to the presence of the number pad section, which is not actually for numbers by default but a four-way/navigation pad.

So, whether you want computing power on the move or prefer a space-saving laptop as your main home computer, this Chillblast machine gives you that choice. I tried both options with a model that was loaded with Lightroom CC as well as Photoshop CC.

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For my home work station I have two 27in BenQ screens with mini display port leads, so this Chillblast unit slotted in perfectly and I didn’t have to swap any leads over – with one HDMI and one USB-C interface, there are plenty of connection options.

At a time when certain computer brands (Apple!) are eschewing card readers with their laptops, having the facility on this Chillblast is very welcome. The SD card slot, using a Samsung Endurance PRO 128GB Micro SD card in an adaptor, took 213 seconds to write 16GB of images.

To give an idea of how quickly large files are handled, I opened a 1GB Photoshop file. It took 15 seconds – and that included the time it took to open the software, which is very impressive.

In best-performance mode, screen brightness of 50% and with the lower screen brightness deselected, the laptop ran for 150 minutes until battery power level dropped to 20%. This was with Explorer, Lightroom and Photoshop CC open, with regular switching between the last three. From 20% charge it took just over two hours to reach 100% charge.

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Verdict:
The Chillblast Photo OC Mobile 5 is an excellent value, high performing unit with a fast processor and an impressive screen. Image editing and large files are fundamental to modern imaging and the ideal computer is one that enables a smooth, efficient workflow, with capacity to spare. That’s what this Chillblast unit offers, so it comes highly recommended.

Pros: Speed, interface options, great value, storage capacity, screen
Cons: Left-sided trackpad position, battery life, weighty

Price From £1349.99
Memory 16GB DDR4 2133MHz, configuration 2x 8GB
Solid state drive 250GB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 Solid State Drive
Hard drive Seagate 1TB 2.5in Slim Hard Drive
CPU Intel Core i7-8750H Coffee Lake CPU, 6 Cores, 2.2 – 4.1GHz
Optical drive None
Operating system Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Display 15.6in 3840×2160 resolution PLS widescreen, 72% of NTSC colour gamut
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
Audio Intel High Definition Audio, 2x built-in speakers
Networking LAN 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
Other features Kensington lock support, six-in-one card reader, HD webcam
Interfaces 1x USB 3.1 type C, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x RJ45 LAN Port, 1x HDMI port, 2x mini display port, 2x audio jack
Battery Six cell smart lithium-ion battery
Dimensions  378x267x24.9mm
Weight 2.5kg
Warranty Five-year warranty, two years 
collect and return (UK only), lifetime tech support by Chillblast

As featured in issue 58 of Photography News.

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