Edited by Pat Bitton
November 11, 2019
The 6 Best Laptops for Photo Editing
Taking your photography to the next level requires a powerful laptop that can comfortably handle complex graphics and plugins availed by advanced photo editing software such as Adobe Creative Cloud. It is especially important if you have acquired a high-end camera that churns out massive uncompressed images in ultra-high definition formats.
However, a powerful laptop with high-octane processing power does not necessarily have to break the bank. Affordable laptops are now common, and you can find one combining relatively powerful features with a pocket-friendly price. You can still get your hands on the best laptop for photo editing on a budget, especially on the Windows platform.
Whether expensive or cheap, the best laptop for photo editing should have the following specs:
- At least 8GB of RAM
- An Intel Core i3 minimum, but a Core i5 or i7 would be preferable
- On-board storage of no less than 256GB, preferably SSD
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The Best Laptop for Photo Editing on a Budget
If you need more storage capacity and a top-notch processor to realize your dream of professional photo editing, you may need to keep in mind that machines with such specs don't come cheap. But you can always keep your eye out for offers on Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays.
Here is a compilation of six of the best laptops for photo editing in 2019.
The Apple MacBook Pro is an all-round machine for photo editing, featuring a gorgeous IPS screen to lend a fantastic look to your images. 32GB of RAM makes for a super-fast performance while the 1TB onboard SSD storage makes it the best MacBook for photo editing.
The proprietary MacOS that comes installed on this device supports most popular and powerful image editing apps. You will also love the fact that this machine packs enough power under its hood to handle any photo editing tasks you toss at it. The Touch Bar, a slim OLED display running along the top of the keyboard, makes things even easier for photographers as it avails context-sensitive buttons and shortcuts to enhance the photo editing process.
With all these spectacular features, you don't expect this MacBook to come cheap. But you can still lay your hands on this best laptop for photo editing without pawning an arm and a leg. A cheaper version with 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD storage is available, and it can accomplish what its hefty counterpart can.
The ZBook features an amazing 15.6-inch 4K display which couples with the blistering workstation-class performance to propel the HP model onto the list of the best laptops for photo editing for both beginners and professionals. If you can manage the price, you can be sure that it will serve you for as long as possible, thanks to its rugged chassis that lends military-grade durability to this laptop.
The versatile design and long battery life mean that you can comfortably use it in the field, and won't have to worry about staying away from the power outlet. It is one of the best options if you need a powerful machine to run complex programs, such as handling 4K videos and pictures.
A full HD touchscreen, a four-core i5 processor with speeds of up to 3.4GHz, and a massive 8GB of RM are the hallmarks of this powerhouse from Dell. This 2-in-1 laptop features a backlit keyboard and runs on Windows 10, the latest operating system from Microsoft. It is relatively affordable, being the first entrant in the under $1000 category.
With a battery life of nearly 11 hours, coupled with its lightweight design, this laptop is convenient for photographers who are constantly on the move. However, the 256GB SSD storage may be a limiting factor if you have a large number of uncompressed HD video and photo content to process.
Featuring an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD onboard storage, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is a pure delight for photographers working with advanced photo editing tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. You would give anything for the 12.3-inch 2736 x 1823 resolution screen, a perfect match to the MacBook Air from Apple. The colors are vibrant, bright, and accurate.
However, though it comes in at the under $1000 category, you may not like the sluggish SSD and the lack of USB-C port which assures superfast transfer of content between devices. But you will appreciate the whole-day battery life and a snappy keyboard.
This behemoth from Lenovo lives up to its name: it is an extreme laptop. A whopping 16GB of RAM, a massive 1TB of SSD on-board storage and the 15.6-inch 4K UHD touchscreen boasting of 3840 x 2160 pixels, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme has everything you will ever want in a heavy-duty laptop for video and photo editing.
Featuring a fantastic keyboard, light-weight and durable chassis, and blazing performance, thanks to the 8th generation core i7 6-core processor, the X1 Extreme is one of the best laptops for editing photos you can ever find on the market.
But you may have to contend with its weight: at nearly 4 pounds, it is one of the heaviest machines you may find out there. Lenovo could also do well to improve its battery life and work on mechanisms to cool the system after prolonged use. Not many people would fancy a laptop that runs warm. It also bears a hefty price tag, a sacrifice you have to make if you want to lay your hands on those extremely high-end features.
Yet another behemoth, but this time from Asus. A mind-boggling 32GB of RAM, a whopping 2TB of SSD storage a Core i9 Intel processor and 15.6-inch UHD 4K touchscreen — features that may go well beyond your wildest dreams. But the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo is not a dream if you can raise enough wherewithal to cover its hefty price tag.
With the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB graphics cards, you can be sure this laptop has much more up its sleeve than just image editing. It is well equipped for handling 4K content with ease, and the top-notch screen resolution makes for a vivid and more realistic representation of colors.
Nevertheless, this laptop is not for photographers on a budget. If you are operating on a tight budget, you would be better off considering cheaper alternatives with specs powerful enough for your regular photo editing tasks. This machine is also quite heavy, weighing in at 5.5 pounds, not quite convenient for regular traveling. And with such powerful processors and features, don't expect its battery to last you through the day.
You could still get your cheaper, under $500 laptops to perform above par with minimum but powerful features. Be sure to calibrate your laptop screen, especially if it isn't 4K, for the best results. If you need a photo editor to turn out excellent photos despite the specs on your laptop, consider installing Movavi Photo Editor on your device.
Movavi Photo Editor
The easiest way to turn any snapshot into an eye candy
- Improve quality and retouch blemishes
- Add effects and filters
- Crop, straighten, and flip pictures
- Change image backgrounds and remove objects