A Complete Buyers Guide For Laptops That Are Ideal For Creative Photoshop Graphic Designers & Photographers
Over time, the software programs used to edit photos have undergone significant improvements, and photo editing has become an activity that anyone can do. As the software for editing photos becomes more advanced, it will require better hardware for smooth operation.
Many of the newest photo editing programs can load high-definition files, perform very precise edits and manipulate photos on a grand scale. To take advantage of these innovative features, you need to have a laptop that can handle them. Laptops are very convenient for photographers because they make field editing possible.
If you have a laptop, you can snap some incredible photos, and you don’t have to wait until you get home to edit the pictures.
Unfortunately, you’ll almost never get the same level of performance from a laptop or a 2 in 1 hybrid laptop, that you’d get from a desktop for the same price, but you should understand that you’re sacrificing a small portion of computing power for portability, which is a huge benefit for photographers. If you’re looking for the best laptop for photo editing, you need to know what to look for.
What to Look For When Buying A Laptop For Photo Editing & Photoshop Work
A high-quality photograph contains many fine details, and to display these details properly, a significant amount of computing power is needed.
The laptop or CPU inside of your laptop is what handles the processing, so to get faster processing, you need a faster CPU. Although the other components are important, the processor within your laptop holds the greatest importance because it will handle most of the tasks associated with photo editing.
Many modern laptops come with an integrated graphics card, which is built into the CPU or motherboard. The GPU inside of your laptop is the graphics card, and it’s not nearly as important as the CPU. To make edits to HD pictures, you need the fastest processor that you can get for your budget.
The i5 or i7 Processors
Many of the newest laptops come with an i5 or i7 CPU, and these are two of the best types of processors available. After looking at the base clock speed, it’s quite common for consumers to believe that all i7 processors are automatically faster than i5 processors, and the reality is that several i5 processors offer faster processing than their i7 counterparts.
It’s important to consider the year that the processor was made because it’s important for determining the true speed of the CPU. The chip architectures that are used in modern computer processors are always changing, so an i5 processor that was made one year ago is likely to deliver faster processing than an i7 chip that was made four years ago.
Most people don’t realize that there is a secret to getting the best price on a laptop. You can always purchase the laptop that has the newest CPU, but the CPU might only be marginally faster than a CPU that costs half the price.
It’s almost always better to choose a laptop that doesn’t have the newest CPU on the market because it can save you a lot of money. The i5 and i7 CPUs are very popular, and they should provide plenty of power for photo editing, but you can always get a laptop that has an AMD processor or older Intel CPU. The performance from an older model might not be as smooth as possible, but it should be enough to accomplish your photo editing goals.
Storage Capacity and RAM
The newest cameras can snap stunning digital photos, and some of the best cameras are built into the latest smartphones. If you’ve ever unloaded your smartphone photos onto your computer, you might’ve notice that the files are quite large and require a lot of space on your hard drive.
For most photo editing purposes, 8GB of Ram should be plenty, and it is enough memory to hold large editing projects. However, if you’re planning to carry out a lot of Photoshop editing, then you might want to consider upgrading to 16GB of RAM.
The amount of money needed to upgrade a laptop beyond 16GB of RAM is almost never worth the boost in performance that you’d get from the memory. Most modern laptops come with two slots for RAM and can hold up to 8GB per slot.
Photos that are created with several different layers tend to use up the largest amount of space, so they require a large hard drive to store them.
The best laptop for photo editing should have about 1TB of space, which is 1,000 Gigabytes. With a 1TB hard drive, you’ll have a professional laptop, and you shouldn’t have any trouble storing massive amounts of photos.
However, if you don’t want to spend the money, you can consider using a cloud storage service, and you can wait to purchase a larger hard drive. There is also the option of purchasing an external drive, which can hold huge amounts of photos.
Resolution and Screen Size
When it comes to choosing a monitor for your laptop, you’re stuck with the built-in screen. The monitor that a laptop uses is built-into the computer, and while this can be very convenient, it also makes it nearly impossible to choose your own screen.
When searching for the best laptop for photo editing, you’ll find several different screen sizes to consider. Whether you realize it or not, the screen size has a major impact on the overall size of your laptop. It’s always nice to have a bigger screen, but you might have to sacrifice some of the convenience that comes from having a smaller screen.
Most laptop owners enjoy a screen size between 12 to 15 inches. When it comes to choosing a screen, resolution is very important because it allows you to make edits to the finest details of your photographs. The color produced by your laptop screen determines how much correction you can do for each photo.
Considering Your Budget
When shopping for the perfect laptop for photo editing, you should consider your budget. If you’re considering photo editing as a professional career, then you’ll need a laptop in the mid to high-end range. To save money and get the best deal, mid-range computers are the best products.
Many consumers choose to spend a large amount of money upfront because they want to avoid having to spend money on future upgrades.
For hobbyists, some of the best laptops for photo editing reside in the low to mid-range categories. You can always start out with a cheaper model, and later, spend some money to upgrade the components. However, you should also know that laptops can be quite difficult and costly to upgrade.
Mac Versus PC
Almost all modern computers come in the form of a Mac or PC, and when it comes to photo editing, most professionals prefer a Mac over a PC.
Apple is well-known for releasing excellent software programs for their operating systems, and the company spends a lot of money on the development of display technology. In other words, most Apple products are known for having a bright, vibrant display.
Mac computers use the proprietary Retina brand, which gives photographers a much better look at their photos. By choosing a Mac, you can almost always expect better photo editing. If you’re looking for raw computing performance, Windows PCs tend to offer more than a Mac.
The problem that many consumers have with Mac computers is the price, which tends to be significantly higher than what you’d pay for a comparable PC.
A laptop computer can help you to unlock the full potential of your digital photos, and with some of the latest software programs, you can turn boring images into stunning works of art. Although Apple is the preferred brand for photo editing, Windows computers offer a variety of free applications for editing.
If you’re looking for the best value, consider getting a laptop with an AMD A10 or Intel Core i5. These processors can handle extensive editing, and they’ll allow you to edit several images at the same time.
A 1TB hard drive can hold many large image files, but it won’t be as fast as a Solid-State Drive, which costs more money. Some final considerations to make relate to compatibility. You should consider getting a laptop that has multiple USB and card readers because you’ll need a way to transfer photos from your digital camera to your computer.
Although it’s not nearly as important as the other features, battery life is worth considering. Below, you’ll find reviews for some of the best laptops for photo editing. By choosing one of these hand-picked products, you can save time and money.
|Jamie's Best Choice||Apple MacBook Pro MJLQ2LL/A 15-inch Laptop||256GB PCIE-based flash storage, 16GB RAM, 2.2GHz quad core processor (max 3.4GHz)|
Graphics - Intel HD 530
|3.9 out of 5 Stars|
|High-End Laptops for Photo Editing||Apple MacBook Air MJVG2LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop||1.6GHz (clocks up to 2.7GHz max) intel Core i5 processor|
4GB of LPDDR3 RAM
|4.6 out of 5 Stars|
|Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop i7559-763BLK||6th Generation 4 Core Intel i5-6300HQ Processor|
8GB of DDR3L RAM and 256GB SSD
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5 graphics card
|4.1 out of 5 Stars|
|ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71 15-Inch Gaming Laptop||Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz processor|
16GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive
15.6-inch FHD display
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card
|3.8 out of 5 Stars|
|Mid-Range Laptops for Photo Editing||HP ENVY TouchSmart 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop||4th Generation Intel Core i5-4210M processor|
8GB of DDR3L SDRAM and 750GB hard drive
Intel HD graphics 4600
|3.5 out of 5 Stars|
|Acer Touch V3-372T Ultrabook Intel i7||13.3-inch display|
Intel HD graphics 520
8GB of DDR3 memory and 512GB Solid State drive
|3.0 out of 5 Stars|
|Lenovo Ideapad 310 15.6" Laptop||AMD A12-9700P |
12GB of RAM and 1TB HDD
15.6-inch 1366x768 resolution display
|3.6 out of 5 Stars|
|Budget Laptops for Photo Editing||Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG Laptop||NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 2GB|
8GB of DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD
Backlit keyboard and long battery life (up to 12 hours)
|4.1 out of 5 Stars|
|Apple MacBook Air 11.6 Inch Laptop Computer||Intel i5 processor 1.6 GHz (can clock up to 2.3GHz)|
2GB of RAM and 64GB SSD
11.6-inch screen and Intel HD graphics 3000
|2.7 out of 5 Stars|
|ASUS F556UA-AB54 NB Windows 10 Laptop||Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5GHz processor|
8GB of DDR4 and 256GB SSD hard drive
Several different USB slots and a card reader
|3.9 out of 5 Stars|
|Cheap Laptops for Photo Editing||HP 14-an013nr 14-Inch Notebook||AMD E2-7110 QC 1.8GHz processor|
4GB of DDr3L SDRAM and 32GB Hard Drive
14 inch display
|3.8 out of 5 Stars|
|Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ 11.6-Inch Laptop||11.6-inch HD IPS screen|
Intel Celeron N2840 2.16 GHz processor
2 GB DDR3L RAM, 16 GB Internal Storage and Intel HD Graphics
|4.1 out of 5 Stars|
Jamie’s Best Choice Laptop For Photo Editing
If you’re not on a tight budget and want a high-end laptop for photo editing, the Apple MacBook Pro MJLQ2LL/A is our top pick. With a 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 processor, this laptop can rip through multiple high-definition image files and provide the smooth performance needed for professional editing.
The quad-core processor has a base speed of 2.2GHz, but since it has Turbo Boost technology, it can reach speeds up to 3.4GHz.
It comes with 16GB of 1600MHz memory, which is important for photo editing. It has 256GB PCIE-based flash storage, and for vivid editing, it features Intel Iris Pro graphics. The flash storage is particularly useful because it offers speeds up to 22 times faster than a standard hard drive.
The Apple MacBook Pro MJLQ2LL/A is designed for superior performance, and for long-term reliability, it’s engineered to use less power than comparable laptops while delivering superior performance.
High-End Laptops for Photo Editing
Most media professionals prefer Apple computers, and the Apple MacBook Air MJVG2LL/A is a great example of a high-end product. Since it offers long batter life, you get the convenience of being able to edit digital photos from almost anywhere.
The Apple MJVG2LL/A is designed to be powerful, light and thin, which increases convenience. It comes with support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and provides all-flash storage.
When compared to standard hard drives, flash storage devices are significantly faster, and some of the latest flash devices are 22 times faster than a traditional hard drive. With a 1.6GHz intel Core i5, this MacBook offers smooth photo editing, and the processor can use Turbo Boost technology to reach speeds up to 2.7GHz.
It has 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM and features a 13.3-inch display. The resolution is crisp enough to edit the finest details of your photos and helps to reduce eye strain.
Many of the latest gaming laptops work well for photo editing because they’re built for performance. The Dell i7559-763BLK features a 6th Generation Intel Core i5-6300HQ, which contains four powerful computing cores.
With a maximum clock speed of 3.2GHz, the i5 processor inside of this laptop can crunch some serious editing projects. The i7559-763BLK comes with Windows 10, and it has 8GB of DDR3L RAM.
For the smoothest image editing, it comes equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5 graphics card. Although the 256GB Solid-State Drive doesn’t have an enormous amount of storage space, it’s significantly faster than a traditional hard drive, and if you need more storage space, you always have the option of purchasing an external hard drive.
For convenient photo downloading, this laptop has a 2-in-1 media card reader, and it uses the latest USB 3.0 technology. To maximize your photo editing experience, it has a 15.6-inch FHD display.
The ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71 has several features that make it suitable for photo editing. For starters, it has an Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz processor, and to make it much easier to manage huge image files, it comes equipped with 16GB of RAM.
The primary storage device in this laptop is a 1TB hard drive, which operates at 7,200 RPMs. The 15.6-inch FHD display shows the finest details in every image, and it offers a full HD resolution. With an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card, this laptop is just as useful for gaming as it is for photo editing.
It comes with the latest USB technology, which offers the fastest image downloading and uploading. For a solid feel, the ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71 is made with 100 solder points, and the built-in keyboard is engineered for maximum comfort.
Mid-Range Laptops for Photo Editing
You don’t need to have a high-end laptop for photo editing, and the HP ENVY TouchSmart laptop proves this point. It comes with a 4th Generation Intel Core i5-4210M processor, which operates at a base clock speed of 2.6GHz.
Since it’s equipped with a 64-bit version of Windows 10, it’s compatible with a many of the latest versions of photo editing software. For smooth, efficient multitasking, it has 8GB of DDR3L SDRAM. Although it doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, the Intel HD graphics 4600 should be enough for most photo editing projects.
To make sharing photos easier, the HP ENVY TouchSmart comes with a built-in 802.11ac wireless card and Bluetooth interface, and with a 750GB hard drive, there is plenty of room for large image files.
The Acer Touch V3-372T is another mid-range laptop to consider, and it features an ultra-thin design. It comes with the latest version of Windows 10, and since it’s built with an Intel Core i7-6500U processor, it can handle the latest software applications for photo editing.
The CPU has a clock speed of 2.5GHz, but with Turbo Boost technology, it can reach speeds up to 3.1GHz. The 13.3-inch display allows you to view your photos in full HD, so you shouldn’t have any trouble editing the finest details of any image.
This laptop doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, but the integrated Intel HD graphics 520 should be enough for most editing purposes.
The Acer Touch V3-372T comes with 8GB of DDR3 memory, which can be expanded to 16GB. A 512GB Solid State drive gives you plenty of space for your photos, and the SSD is much faster than a traditional hard drive.
Here we another mid-range laptop for photo editing, and unlike many of the other products on this list, this computer is powered by an AMD A12-9700P processor.
With a base clock speed of 2.5GHz, this AMD processor has no trouble handling demanding photo editing applications. Since it comes equipped with 12GB of RAM, it’s very useful for multitasking, and it will allow you to simultaneously edit several different photos.
The 15.6-inch display features LED backlighting and delivers a resolution of 1366×768. It comes with Windows 10, so you can enjoy a wide range of different software applications for image editing.
The Lenovo Ideapad 310 features impressive sound and performance, and it’s designed with 802.11ac wireless connectivity, which allows you to quickly share your finished photos. It has integrated AMD Radeon graphics and delivers enough storage for thousands of images.
Budget Laptops for Photo Editing
If you’re on a tighter budget, consider the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG. With an Intel Core i5-6200U processor, this laptop offers enough performance for most photo editing applications.
The base speed of the CPU is 2.8GHz, and it’s designed to be compatible with Windows 10. It has a 15.6-inch full HD display, which is very important for photo editing.
To back up the powerful display, this laptop comes equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 2GB graphics card. Since it has 8GB of DDR4 memory, you can multitask and enjoy a variety of applications while you’re editing your favorite photos.
The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG comes with Windows 10 Home, and a backlit keyboard makes it possible to edit photos at night, which is a huge benefit for astrophotography. With a six-cell Li-Ion battery, this laptop will run for 12 hours on a full charge.
Here we have another budget laptop for photo editing, and it features an Intel i5 processor, which has two independent operating cores. The CPU runs at a base speed of 1.6GHz, and with the Turbo Boost technology, it can reach speeds up to 2.3GHz.
Since this laptop falls into the budget category, it comes with only 2GB of RAM, which is enough memory for basic photo editing needs. It comes with a 64GB SSD HD, so you might want to consider purchasing an external drive with it.
The Apple MacBook Air has an 11.6-inch screen and delivers a resolution of 1366×768. It has Intel HD graphics 3000 and runs on the Mac operating system. Although the 64GB flash storage device is small, it’s much faster than a traditional hard drive.
The ASUS F556UA-AB54 NB Windows laptop is equipped with an Intel Core i5-7200U, so it’s a great choice for photo and image editing.
The 2.5GHz processor is powerful enough to edit several photos at the same time, and it almost guarantees that most video editing software applications will run smoothly.
For even smoother multitasking, this laptop comes with 8GB of DDR4 memory. It can boot up and load files at lightning speeds because it features a built-in 256GB SSD hard drive.
With several different USB slots, the ASUS F556UA-AB54 NB is compatible with most small devices, and it allows you to upload and download photos quickly and efficiently. It also has a card reader, which is needed to read the SD cards that most digital cameras use to store photos on.
Cheap Laptops for Photo Editing
Most people don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a new laptop, and the HP 14-an013nr is one of the cheapest laptops that you can buy. One of its best features is the 14-inch full HD IPS display. The screen delivers full HD resolution, and for optimal brightness, it’s illuminated with LED backlighting.
To satisfy the needs of most photo editing programs, this laptop is equipped with an AMD E2-7110 QC processor, which operates at 1.8GHz.
The CPU is a tiny powerhouse, and it operates with a total of four cores, which is especially important for photo and video editing software. It comes with 4GB of DDr3L SDRAM, so you can be much more productive while editing your favorite photos.
The HP 14-an013nr ships from the factory with Windows 10 and gives you plenty of options for image editing software. Although it’s not the best choice for professional photo editing, it’s capable of handling the basic needs of the average consumer or hobbyist.
If you’re searching for the cheapest laptops for photo editing, the Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ is a popular choice. Since it’s equipped with an Intel Celeron N2840 2.16GHz processor, it can be useful for editing images.
However, it’s not a great choice for large Photoshop projects. With 2GB of DDR3L SDRAM, it has enough memory for basic functions, but it’s not the best choice for larger editing projects.
Since it only has an internal storage capacity of 16GB, you might want to consider purchasing an external hard drive to use with this computer.
Although the raw performance isn’t terribly impressive, the Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ has a beautiful 11.6-inch HD IPS screen, which is powered by Intel HD graphics. On a full charge, the battery will last for nine hours, so you’ll have plenty of time to finish editing while away from home.
Photo editing can be a lot of fun, but you need to have a suitable laptop for the job. You can use editing to enhance beautiful photos and make them look even better.
Many of the newest laptops are equipped with more than enough computing power to handle demanding photo editing applications, but it’s important to remember that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get a great laptop.
If you’d like to save money, you’ll find most of the value in the mid-range products. You can use almost any laptop to get started with photo editing, but to operate on a professional level, you’ll want to consider upgrading or purchasing one of the high-end products.
What good is having a great laptop when you’re sitting in an uncomfortable chair? Have a read of my guide on the best ergonomic chairs to get an idea on what you should be looking out for when buying a comfy office chair.