Smartphones have changed the way people work with photos and photography in general. Not too long ago, professional quality photo’s required expensive photography equipment and years of professional experience. Today, almost anyone can be video and photo editor.
However, professionals and non-professionals alike still need to ensure that they are using the best tools to guarantee a perfect result. Among the wide range of features and models, knowing how to choose among the best laptops for photo editing is crucial.
How to Choose the Best Laptop for Photo Editing
Random Access Memory (RAM) is the memory that is used to open files and run programs. It is able to pull information from hard drives or Internet browsers and then make it available for quick access.
When the amount of RAM is not enough the information has to be accessed directly from hard drives and it slows down the whole process. RAM is volatile and all the information stored there is erased after you turn off the laptop.
Photo editing programs such as Photoshop require at least 4GB of RAM to perform well, but that assumes a fast processor also. In addition, it is common that you use other programs simultaneously with Photoshop which impacts the amount of RAM available. In general, 8GB would be ideal to have a good performance.
Professionals that handle big workloads should get 16GB. Fortunately, many models on our list include 8GB by default and many offer the option to upgrade it. Understanding your requirements will help you determine the exact amount of RAM you require.
Processors are also very important. They are like the brain of your computer. They are in charge to solve all the problems; therefore, the more power they have the faster and the faster they are; the better your laptop will work. It’s recommended to go for at least i5 processor for photo editing tasks.
The screen is the most visible part of a laptop. However, people are not aware of its importance to get the best images. For screens, the most important aspect is the number of pixels.
The most common option includes High Definition (HD) with a resolution of 1920×1080. If you want to go further then pick a 4K Ultra HD with a resolution of 3840×2160.
Once you’ve chosen your laptop based on performance and screen features, you can then further drill down into the aesthetics of the device. Following is our list of the best laptops for photo editing that will give you everything you need.
1. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
With 12.3-inch pixel sense display screen and an extremely light weight this model is one of the lightest and most portable laptops for editing photos and videos.
It stands out for its versatility as it can be converted from laptop to tablet or studio modes.
The Screen resolution of 2736×1824 pixels plus Intel UHD Graphic Card 620 provide a bright and neat image.
- Ultraslim and ultralight
- Versatile with several modes of use (studio, tablet, and laptop mode)
- Includes Windows 10 Home
- Average battery life is only 6 hours
- Surface Pen and Surface dial are sold separately
2. HP Spectre x360-13t
If I had to choose between a regular laptop for photo editing and one that can be folded in several positions (without lowering the specs), I’d probably choose the latter.
The Spectre x360-13t from HP is exactly that: a powerful laptop that can be used for advanced projects (and gaming, why not?) and can be folded as needed due to the 360-degree hinge. It features a 13.3-inch FHD IPS WLED-backlit touchscreen (1920 x 1080 pixels resolution) protected by Corning Gorilla Glass that can be used with the HP Active Stylus.
Moreover, even though the design is ultra-thin, the laptop is well-equipped when it comes to ports. There is a Thunderbolt 3 port that can be used for high-speed data transfer (up to 40 Gb/s) and charging, 1xUSB 3.1, and one headphone/microphone combo.
As such, the laptop can be used for video calls, chatting, gaming (not very advanced), and various work projects that require powerful resources. You also benefit from a well-designed configuration: 8th Gen Intel i7-8550U (4 cores and 8MB cache), Intel UHD Graphics 620 (16 GB), 16GB DDR4, and 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD for storage.
To make life on the go easier, the HP Specter features two connectivity possibilities: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. Overall, the Specter is a laptop designed for portability and comfort while working on various projects.
- Beautiful design
- Thin profile
- 360-degree hinge
- Impressive touchscreen
- Corning Gorilla Glass
- Good configuration
- Multiple connectivity possibilities
- Comes with Windows 10 Ink
- Fans are a bit loud
- The battery life is rather short
- The power cord is a bit flimsy
- The case is easily dented
3. Razer Blade Stealth 13 4k
If you’re looking for a laptop that will provide the power to work on advanced projects while on the go, the Razer Blade Stealth 13 is the one!
The design is rather simple, with a black case with a texturized finish. The laptop is thin and sleek in appearance, and the CNC aluminum frame case feels durable.
But once you open it, it’s easy to tell this is no ordinary device. First, you’ll see the ergonomic Chroma keyboard and precision touchpad, which is larger so you can use it for photo editing, gaming, or other activities that need fine-tuned control.
The display is absolutely gorgeous, with a thin bezel around the 4K touch display that supports 100% Adobe RGB colors. The display is powered by the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (25W) graphics with 4GB GDDR5 RAM memory, which means it will work smoothly for both gaming and image/video editing.
Under the hood, the laptop is equipped with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM memory and 512GB storage space (upgradeable). The battery is designed to last up to 8 hours of use, but it depends on the type of programs you are running.
Finally, the laptop is equipped with 4 Stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos boost and clarity. So, it’s the perfect device for work and fun!
- Thin & durable design
- Chroma keyboard
- Precision touchpad
- Gorgeous 4K display
- Supports sRGB colors
- Thunderbolt 3 port
- Windows Hello IR camera
- Complete connectivity
- The keyboard layout is a bit different
- The Core X only works on the Thunderbolt 3 port
- Some occasional coil whine
4. Huawei MateBook X Pro
Ranked as one of the best budget laptops of the year this model is an exceptional bang for the buck. This model combines portability and power with an Intel Core i7 process at its heart and 16GB RAM.
The accessories include a type-C charger and Mate Dock with HDMI, VGA and USB-A ports all of which make it perfect for travel and work.
- Complimentary software and accessories are included
- 1-year manufacturer warranty
- It includes 2nd Gen Dolby ATMOS
- The fan can be a little noisy
5. Acer Aspire E 15
Acer Aspire E 15 is the best laptop for photo editing on a budget. Despite its low price it still offers an amazing performance with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor. Its 15.6” Full HD widescreen display provides an excellent visual experience while editing.
Windows 10 Home is included and 15-hours of battery life allows you to complete long sessions of photo editing.
- Clean and smooth look
- 8 GB RAM
- 256GB SSD
- Only available in black
6. HP ZBook Studio G3
This is a complete mobile workstation that offers unique features for photo and video editing.
It works perfectly well with the HP expansion base “Zbook Dock” which includes 2 ports of Thunderbolt technology and HDMI which allow connecting multiple devices and quick transfer of documents and photos.
With the HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS) it is possible to collaborate remotely in real time and access graphic Apps located on other workstations or servers.
- It includes Remote Graphic Software (RGS) for free
- 1-year standard warranty
- 15.6 inches full HD display
7. Dell XPS 9570
This model stands out for its wide 15.6¨ screen size along with a 4K Ultra HD display. It is complemented with an Infinity Edge Anti-Reflective Touchscreen to offer the ultimate visual experience while editing photos.
The Dell XPS 970 is powered by the Intel Core i7-8750H Processor. Similar to the Microsoft Surface Book, the Dell also has an NVIDIA video card, but this time it’s the GeForce GTX 1050Ti with 4GB GDDR5.
With 32GB RAM and a 1 TB Solid State Drive (SSD) onboard, it is one of the best windows laptops for photo editing.
- Infinity edge display
- The fingerprint reader
- It includes 1 HDMI 2.0 port
- no optical drive
- The keyboard doesn´t have a number pad
8. Microsoft Surface Book 2
It includes the best technology to ensure the highest performance with an Intel Core i7 processor. With a very impressive 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB HDD this device has the speed and storage you need. The graphics performance is further enhanced with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050.
It offers a 13.5-inch screen and is a lightweight and portable device that easily adapts to the way you create. It is possible to improve the interaction and the editing process by adding Surface Precision Mouse, Surface pen and the innovative Surface Dial.
- USB-C Port
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
- 17 hours of battery life
- Surface Precision Mouse, Surface Pen, and Surface Dial are sold separately
- It does not have HDMI port
9. MacBook Pro 15 (with Touch Bar)
Being part of the family of MacBook laptops is already an advertisement for why this model is one of the best laptops for photo editing. Its fast 512GB of SSD memory is perfect to store large photo libraries or import large files.
It offers a unique visual experience with a Retina Display with true tone technology. With bright LED backlighting and a high contrast ratio, it delivers cleaner and crisper colors with deeper blacks and brighter whites. Even the smallest details of the photos become clear with it.
The Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.3Ghz makes it ideal to handle big volumes of work in short periods of time.
The original Touch Bar conveniently placed at the top of the keyboard ease the work by displaying relevant tools and Apps controls adapted to what the user does. It might possibly be the best laptop for Photoshop as it offers great shortcuts for selecting many of its functions.
The Touch Bar also makes it possible to control brightness, browse through content and add smart typing features such as emojis and predictive text.
- Touch Bar is handy
- One of the highest prices of the market