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.
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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.
9 Best Laptops for Photo Editing
MacBook Pro 15 (with Touch Bar)
A Sleek Look and Feel Complements Exceptional Power
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 256-512GB 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 or i9 processor 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
Microsoft Surface Book 2
A Powerhouse with a Detachable Screen
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
Dell XPS 15 7590
Innovation Dialed to 11
Among the high-end high-performance laptops, XPS 12 7590 is among the smallest size-wise, but this 15.6” laptop packs one heck of a punch!
Naturally, this little beast of a laptop boasts now widely known InfinityEdge Display, which guarantees nearly perfect visuals, so necessary for photo editing or any kind of graphic design-related work.
As for what’s under the hood: XPS 15 7590 is powered by Intel processors from i5-9300H up to i9 9980hk 4.1 GHz. The laptop itself can house up to 64 GB of RAM, and can be found with 256GB – 2TB SSD, depending on the configuration.
Its integrated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card (except for the cheapest model which offers UHD Graphics 630) with 4 GB GDDR5 RAM will allow you to run even the most demanding of programs, so all you need to do is get this bad boy and start working!
- Good battery
- High-quality display
- Powerful processor
- Lightweight design with hardcore performance
- Flexibility – multiple configurations of the same model
- A tad expensive
HP ZBook Studio G5
ZBeast Strikes Again
HP has a nice habit of giving us some of the best high-end notebooks on the market, and their ZBook series is no exception. G5 model shines with reliable performance and awesome capabilities.
In its basic configuration, G5 comes with 8th generation of Intel’s Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM (upgradable to 64 GB!), and a high-quality 256 GB SSD. The processor frequency is 2.3 GHz, which is solid, but it makes up for it since you can clock it up to 4 GHz.
Integrated Intel 630 UHD Graphics is a tad weak, but it still provides a sweet 4k resolution, great for both your professional and gaming purposes.
Another important thing to mention is the fact that this workstation is one of the most secure on the market when it comes to malware protection: the HP SureView feature effectively prevents your device from being hacked!
- Super powerful hardware
- 4k resolutions
- Elegant design
- Possibility of installing Xeon processors
- Sturdy chassis
- 4K screen reduces battery time
Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L
The Budget Powerhouse
Acer’s Aspire line is full of quality budget notebooks for all purposes, and this laptop is no exception. A model for everyone’s pocket, A515 has quite a few things going in its favor, and a couple of faults as well.
Design-wise, A515 looks pretty as a picture, slick and stylish with backlit data and well implemented and organized ports. Under the chassis, you’ll find a 128 GB SSD, AMD’s Ryzen 3 3200U dual-core processor overclockable to up to 3.5 GHz, and 4 GB DDR5 RAM.
Graphics-wise, this model boasts AMD Vega 3 graphics card which easily allows HD resolutions – most beneficial to any photo and video editing and overall design work.
As for battery life, it lasts for solid 7.5 hours, though it must be noted that it drains rather quickly during more demanding work.
- Super affordable
- Excellent graphics
- Slim and light
- Stable and solid performance
- Cool backlit keyboard
- Small capacity SSD
- Battery drains easily
Huawei Matebook 13
Brave Little Soldier
Huawei already kicks serious butt in the smartphone department, but they also shine when it comes to laptops as well. Just take a look at this beauty!
When it comes to its size, this model is smaller than the rest of the models on this list. However, its 13.2” do make him significantly lighter and more portable than them.
More importantly, Huawei Matebook 13 has some pretty impressive tech stats. It comes in two variants, one with Intel’s 8th Gen core i5 and Core i7 processors, their 1.8 GHz overclockable up to 4.1 GHz, and 8 GBs of RAM.
Storage-wise, Matebook 13 is equipped with a 512 GB SSD, which provides a solid amount of storage with excellent speed of access. And let’s not forget NVIDIA’s powerful GeForce MX150 graphics card, which does a great job when it comes to both photo editing and casual gaming.
Matebook 13 brings something else to the table: its innovative Shark Fin 2.0 cooling design! Reaching 8000 rpm, we get 25% better airflow than with commonly found cooling systems!
- Lightweight and elegant
- Excellent cooling system
- Powerful configuration
- Descrete NVIDIA graphics
- Full core processing
- Solid amount of RAM, though it could’ve been higher
Razer Blade 15
Pricey, But Worth It
Razer has built up a name for itself when it comes to high-quality gear, and it’s no wonder they did one heck of a job with this model. Sure, it is pretty expensive and thus not as widely available as some of the other models on this list, but you will get your money’s worth down to every last cent.
Aluminum chassis makes it light yet sturdy, and it just looks beautiful. Under the chassis are some really impressive pieces of hardware: Intel’s 9th generation Core i7 2.6 GHz processor (overclockable to 4.5 GHz), and sweet, sweet 16 GB of RAM.
When it comes to storage, you don’t have to worry – with the combination of 128 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD, you’re all set. Add there the high-quality matt screen with 60 Hz refresh rate, and you see why Razer Blade 15 is an amazingly well-built laptop perfect for gaming and heavy-duty graphic editing.
- Awesome design
- Powerful performance
- Excellent battery life
- Windows Hello Camera
- Thunderbolt 3 technology included
- Definitely not everyone’s pocket
HP Spectre x360 13T Gemcut
An (Un)cut Gem
The new version of HP’s Spectre model is a definite improvement and brings a lot of goods.
When it comes to hardware, Gemcut is equipped with Intel’s 8th generation Core i7 1.8 GHz quad-core processor, overclockable up to 4 GHz, and with 16 GB of RAM.
Storage-wise, it comes equipped with a 512 GB SSD (upgradeable to up to 2 TB), and an additional 34 GB of Intel Optane memory!
Graphics card is integrated, but do not worry: it still allows you to do some more demanding editing, and the 13.2” screen has a touchpad feature with active stylus support, which is a great bonus for all graphic designers.
- Superior battery life
- Elegant and stylish design
- Full HD display with high-quality power-saving mode
- Excellent overall performance rate
- Excellent sound quality
- Touchpad is not as top-notch as the rest of the hardware
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
A Lightweight Notebook that Has It All
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