The Best Laptops for Photo Editing 2021

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.

i5 or i7

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.

Other Considerations

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 Choice2020 Apple MacBook AirAvailable in three colors

Aluminum alloy body

Fanless cooling
4.8 out of 5 Stars

High-End Laptops for Photo EditingNewest Dell G5 Gaming LaptopUtilizes Windows 10 Home

Full-sized backlit keyboard

Waves MaxxAudio Pro speaker
4.5 out of 5 Stars

Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop i7559-763BLK6th 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 LaptopIntel 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 EditingHP ENVY TouchSmart 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop4th Generation Intel Core i5-4210M processor

8GB of DDR3L SDRAM and 750GB hard drive

Intel HD graphics 4600
3.5 out of 5 Stars

2020 HP Touchscreen LaptopUtilizes Windows 10

Responsive touch screen display

Thin and compact design
4.4 out of 5 Stars

Lenovo Ideapad 310 15.6" LaptopAMD A12-9700P
2.5GHz processor

12GB of RAM and 1TB HDD

15.6-inch 1366x768 resolution display
3.6 out of 5 Stars

Budget Laptops for Photo EditingAcer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG LaptopNVIDIA 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

ASUS VivoBookUtilizes Windows 10 Home

Metal-reinforced exterior

Thin screen bezel
4.5 out of 5 Stars

ASUS F556UA-AB54 NB Windows 10 LaptopIntel 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 EditingAcer Aspire 5 Slim LaptopUtilizes Windows 10 S

Full-sized backlit keyboard

Narrow screen bezel
4.6 out of 5 Stars

Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ 11.6-Inch Laptop11.6-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

2020 Apple MacBook Air

The 2020 Macbook Air is a giant leap for Apple. It’s the first Macbook Air to utilize the brand-new M1 chip. The 8-core CPU combines the CPU, GPU, and neural engine into one compact chip. It’s highly proficient. Not only does it process information proficiently, but it saves on battery life, too.

There’s no denying that the Macbook Air is a thing of beauty! Clad in all aluminum alloy, the laptop is lightweight, sleek, and contemporary. The external ports are minimal. There are only four USB-C ports. Fortunately, they serve many purposes. The ports can charge the battery, transfer data, or connect a slew of external accessories.

Key Features:

  • Available in three colors
  • Aluminum alloy body
  • Fanless cooling
  • MacOS Big Sur
  • TrueHarmony audio

Technical Specs:

  • 13.3-inch Retina display
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • 256 GB SSD
  • M1 chip
  • 8-core CPU
  • Up to 18 hours of battery life
  • Four USB-C ports
  • It weighs 2.8 pounds


High-End Laptops for Photo Editing

Newest Dell G5 Gaming Laptop

This latest Dell computer is nothing short of impressive. It’s a gaming-focused laptop that lets you play even demanding titles on the go. While many laptops are notorious for having inferior gameplay ability, that’s not the case with this model. With 32 GB of RAM, 1 TB of storage, and a GeForce GPU, it’s more than capable of handling your favorite games!

The laptop is a beast as far as design goes! It’s undoubtedly heftier than most streamlined models. But that means that you’re not sacrificing any part of the gaming experience! The laptop has a full-sized keyboard, tons of LED backlighting, and a simple modern design.

Key Features:

  • Utilizes Windows 10 Home
  • Full-sized backlit keyboard
  • Waves MaxxAudio Pro speaker
  • Modern design
  • Built for gaming

Technical Specs:

  • 15.6-inch screen
  • Intel Core i7 processor
  • 32 GB of RAM
  • 1 TB SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • USB, HDMI, and ethernet ports
  • It weighs 7.09 pounds


Dell 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop i7559-763BLK

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.


ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71 15-Inch Gaming Laptop

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

HP ENVY TouchSmart 15.6″ Touch-Screen Laptop

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.


2020 HP Touchscreen Laptop

This HP laptop has everything you could need for work, school, or play. It’s a well-made device that covers all the bases. You have a reliable operating system, impressive specs, and the added perk of a touch screen!

This model doesn’t convert to a tablet like some other laptops. However, the touch screen is just as responsive and helpful. Use it to navigate the operating system, make quick marks on documents, and more. It works well on games, too!

This laptop uses the 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor. This processor is fantastic for balancing performance with battery life. Despite the capabilities of this machine, the battery provides all-day juice!

Key Features:

  • Utilizes Windows 10
  • Responsive touch screen display
  • Thin and compact design
  • Full-size backlit keyboard

Technical Specs:

  • 15.6-inch touch screen display
  • 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • 512 GB SSD
  • USB-C, USB 3.1, and HDMI ports
  • It weighs 3.75 pounds


Lenovo Ideapad 310 15.6″ Laptop

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

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG Laptop

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.


ASUS VivoBook

Here’s a laptop that effortlessly combines portability with performance. The device is surprisingly sleek. It has a beautifully designed clamshell exterior with sleek lines and minimalist aesthetics. At its thickest, the laptop is a mere 0.78 inches thick!

Despite the compact nature of the device, it still offers tons of flexibility. The screen is massive, measuring 15.6 inches diagonally. Thanks to the thin NanoEdge bezels, you get a cinema-like experience no matter what you’re viewing.

The internal components are great, too. The Intel Core processor is efficient, managing both performance and battery life for the best experience possible.

Key Features:

  • Utilizes Windows 10 Home
  • Metal-reinforced exterior
  • Thin screen bezel
  • Full-size backlit keyboard

Technical Specs:

  • 15.6-inch NanoEdge display
  • Intel Core i3 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 128 GB SSD
  • USB-C, USB 3.2, USB 2.0, and HDMI port
  • Integrated card reader
  • It weighs 3.7 pounds


ASUS F556UA-AB54 NB Windows 10 Laptop

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

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Acer does it again! The Aspire 5 is a slim laptop that’s perfect for those who need to work on the go. However, Acer doesn’t use the portable nature as an excuse to sacrifice raw computing power. This model is fully capable of running intensive apps. It’s fully connected and uses AMD components to deliver reliable performance at every term.

While it’s not the most robust out there, Acer doesn’t disappoint with the specs. It’s similar to a standard desktop. So, you can use all of your favorite apps, surf the web, and get work done without any issues.

Key Features:

  • Utilizes Windows 10 S
  • Full-sized backlit keyboard
  • Narrow screen bezel
  • Amazon Alexa enabled
  • TrueHarmony audio

Technical Specs:

  • 15.6-inch screen
  • HD IPS display
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 128 GB SSD
  • AMD Radeon Vega 3 GPU
  • AMD Ryzen 3 3200U dual-core processor
  • USB 3.1, USB 2.0, and HDMI ports
  • Up to 7.5 hours of battery life
  • It weighs 3.97 pounds


Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ 11.6-Inch Laptop

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.

Related Guides:

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.

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Jamie Spencer

My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.

9 thoughts on “The Best Laptops for Photo Editing 2021”

  1. Some of the most useful information I’ve heard! Thank you.
    I’m wanting to purchase a decent convertible laptop so that I can carry it easily if I need to, but need something that will process my RAW files as my current one does not.
    What would you suggest? I have been looking at i5 but am not unsure if that will be enough. I do sports photography and always have a lot of photos!

  2. Thanks so much for writing this article Jamie. For months I have been needing to update my laptop for editing purposes but have been reluctant to purchase anything as I am so unfamiliar with the specs, I have written down your key notes and will head out now with a bit more confidence and knowledge and will hopefully find the right option:)

  3. Hey man, first of all thank u so much for the article. But including all these, I want a laptop that has less bezel. Can u suggest me a few? It would be great help. TIA

  4. which of these have the most colour accurate screen? I am a student, and I want to do both photo and video editing on my laptop..videos for my youtube channel..and, I can’t really go for high end laptops. I was thinking about the Macbook Arir, but, I found out that can produce only about 40% of the sRGB colour gamut. and I think, that won’t allow a good photo editing experience..or even video editing ..

  5. Thank you Jamie this is very helpful.

    My laptop is 7 years old and I am shopping for a new one as my day to day use as well as some light photo editing. Do you think the i7/16gb surface pro 4 would be a good option?

  6. Thanks for a very knowledgable well written concise, easy to read and easy to understand article. It’s perfect for someone like myself who has to make a purchasing decision with due diligence on an a complicated topic that has hundreds of items and thousands of techie recommendations that are all in “techie speak” to the point in listening to them you begin to wonder if it’s all about numbers and how much they are being paid to promote a brand.

    You have cut through the morass clearly and concisely. Now I can start the purchase journey well armed and knowledgeable no longer feeling overwhelmed by a million choices wondering if I was going in the right direction. WELL DONE AND MANY THANKS

    • Thanks Joanna!

      I so glad you found this article useful. I’m not a techie at all, so wanted to create something that most people will be able to easily understand and to help them make the right choice.

      All the best.



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