Greetings to all photographers and editors, welcome to our buying guide for the best cheap laptops for photo editing. If you are a photographer or aspiring photographer, owning a laptop for photo editing is important in the development of your career or hobby and for this reason we made this article to recommend the best laptops for photos or photo editing on the market.
Buying a photographer’s laptop becomes a difficult decision with such magnificent contenders vying for our attention. Clicking the photo from the best possible angle deserves countless praise. But adding those magic touches to an image to make it more realistic also has its part to contribute in the overall photo beautification process.
Photo editing can be a very attractive activity when we have the wings of a laptop suitable for flying. But with time and numerous advances in technology, the software programs used in the photo editing process have undergone considerable changes.
Along with widespread development, there has been a constant need for extensive hardware support to ensure smooth operation. Newer photo editing programs come with a number of features like high-precision editing, high-definition file uploading, and large-scale photo manipulation.
But to use these features to the fullest, you need to have a photography laptop that can handle the same thing. Having a laptop can be of great help, since in such cases photographers do not need to wait to get home to start their editing project.
Factors to consider
Better quality work demands a high-resolution, color-accurate display along with an ultra-fast processor. However, traveling with bulky photography equipment requires lightweight laptops that have a long battery life.
At the same time, storing countless high-resolution images smoothes out the requirement for a large hard drive. The best ones are the ones with 1 TB of storage space. However, for budget buyers who don’t want to splurge so much, everyone can count on the cloud storage service and save money to buy an external storage drive in the next few days.
In our article today, we’ve listed some of the best photo-editing laptops that work in perfect sync with high-end software like Corel PaintShop , Adobe Photoshop, and more. Good screen resolution is a prerequisite for photo editing.
Laptops that have a resolution below the 1920 x 1080 mark do not fall into this category. A minimum Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM are required to ensure an end-to-end photo editing experience.
Most of the newer offerings come well-equipped with state-of-the-art features, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get them. Mid-range products may be sufficient for hobbyists, but higher-end products are necessary for complex professional tasks .
Our top picks for the best cheap laptop for photo editing 2021
HP Spectre X360
- 360° Flip-and-Fold Design, 1.8GHz 10th Gen Intel i7-10510U Quad-Core (up to 4.9GHz)
- 15.6″ Diagonal 4K UHD WLED Touch Display (3840 x 2160) 340 nits, NVIDIA GeForce MX330 Graphics (2GB)
- 512GB SSD + 32GB Intel Optane, 16GB DDR4 SDRAM, SD Card Reader, Bang & Olufsen Quad speakers
- Windows 10 Home, Intle Wi-Fi 6 AX 201(2×2) + Bluetooth 5.0, Backlit Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, Fingerprint Reader
- 13.5 Hours Battery Life; Ports and Slots: 1 x Thunderbolt 3 Type-C; 1 x USB Type-C; 1 x HDMI 2.0; 1 x USB Type-A; 1 x AC smart pin; 1 x Headphone/Microphone combo; 1 x Media Card Reader
Dell XPS 9570
- This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, a minimum 90-day warranty, and may arrive in a generic box. Only select sellers who maintain a high performance bar may offer Certified Refurbished products on Amazon.com
- 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H 6-Core Processor (2.2GHz, up to 4.1GHz with Turbo, 9M Cache) with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Graphics
- 32GB DDR4-2666MHz RAM Memory – 1TB PCI-E Solid State Drive
- 15.6″ Ultra HD 4K InfinityEdge Touchscreen Display (3840 x 2160) with HD (720p) Webcam
- Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-Bit)
ASUS F512JA-AS34 VivoBook 15
- 15.6 inch Full HD (1920×1080) 4-way NanoEdge bezel display with a stunning 88% screen-to-body ratio
- Compatible with Google Classroom; run Google Classroom on Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer 11
- Latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU (4M Cache, up to 3.4 GHz)
- 8 GB DDR4 RAM and 128 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- Ergonomic backlit keyboard with fingerprint sensor activated via Windows Hello
- Exclusive Ergolift design for an improved typing position
- Comprehensive connections including USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 3.2 Type-A, USB 2.0, and HDMI; Gigabit Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) (USB Transfer speed may vary. Learn more at ASUS website)
- Windows 10 in S mode exclusively runs apps from the Microsoft Store. To install an app that isn’t available in the Microsoft Store, simply switch out of S mode in three easy steps. There’s no charge to switch out of S mode
New Apple MacBook Pro
- Apple-designed M1 chip for a giant leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
- Get more done with up to 20 hours of battery life, the longest ever in a Mac
- 8-core CPU delivers up to 2.8x faster performance to fly through workflows quicker than ever
- 8-core GPU with up to 5x faster graphics for graphics-intensive apps and games
- 16-core Neural Engine for advanced machine learning
- 8GB of unified memory so everything you do is fast and fluid
- Superfast SSD storage launches apps and opens files in an instant
HP ZBook Studio x360 G5
- Intel Core i7-8750H 2.20GHz Processor (8th Gen, upto 4.10 GHz, 9MB Smart Cache, 6-Cores) ; 64GB DDR4 SODIMM RAM
- NVIDIA Quadro P1000 Integrated Graphics
- 15.6″ 4K UHD (3840×2160) Touch Display; 802.11ac Wifi, Bluetooth 5.0, 720p HD Webcam, Backlit Keyboard, Active Pen, Silver Color
- 2TB SATA SSD; 2xUSB3.0, 1xHDMI, 2xThunderbolt, SD Reader, 3.5mm Combo Jack.
- Windows 10 Pro-64, 6-Cell 94 WHr Battery, 1 Year Manufacturer warranty from GreatPriceTech (Professionally upgraded by GreatPriceTech)
LG Gram Laptop 17Inch
- 17” WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS LCD Screen
- Windows 10 Home (64 bit)
- Intel 10th Generation i7-1065G7 CPU To Iris Plus graphics
- 16 GB DDR4 RAM and 1 TB M 2 NMVe SSD (512 GB x2)
- 80WH Lithium Battery (up to 17 hours)
- 6 Surge-protected outlets supply complete, 2-line AC protection
Huawei MateBook X Pro
- World’s First FullView Display: Immersive 13.9-inch 3K touchscreen with 91% screen-to-body ratio, only 0.57-inch thin and weighs only 2.93 lbs., perfect for at-home or on-the-go computing
- Powerful Inside: Windows 10 Home Signature Edition with no bloatware. 8th Gen Intel Core i7 8550U processor + NVIDIA GeForce MX150 – boosts performance up to 40% over its predecessor
- Home Theater: 3K touchscreen with 3, 000 x 2, 000 resolution, 1500:1 contrast ratio and 260 PPI allow you to see vivid details when viewing HD content. 2nd Gen Dolby ATMOS for immersive audio
- One Touch Power Button: Enabling users to power on the notebook, finish identity authentication through Windows Hello and access the desktop in less than 8 seconds. Bluetooth – Bluetooth 4.1
- Includes compact Mate Dock 2.0: USB-A port, USB-C port, HDMI port and VGA port. Includes 1 year Office 365 Personal and 1 year manufacturer warranty.60Hz refresh rate
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme
- Processor Manufacturer: Intel
- Processor Type: Core i7
- Processor Generation: 9th Gen
- Processor Model: i7-9750H
- Processor Speed: 2.60 GHz
Best Laptops for Photo Editing
Powerful Processors, Impressive Displays, and Portability – Best Photo Editing Laptops for Photoshop and Photographers
Choosing the best photo editing laptop used to be simple – you get the most expensive MacBook you can afford! However, this was not just due to brand snobbery, as Apple’s Retina display technology was almost unmatched in the PC laptop industry, meaning if you wanted ultra-sharp images with the contrast-angle of more consistent vision, had to try Apple.
ut these days, almost every major laptop manufacturer offers a model with a high-spec 4K display with 100% sRGB color space coverage and wide contrast to keep highlighted and shaded details constantly visible.
Right now, we think the latest Macbook Pro is still the best laptop for photographers, as its Retina Display with Apple’s True Tone ambient light monitoring is stunning to behold and also highly accurate in color. But don’t rule out options like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon , specified with Lenovo’s excellent 4K Dolby Vision certified display. And if you like to play games and edit photos, the Razer Blade 15 has you covered.
Of course, the laptop that’s right for you depends on exactly how you plan to use it. Will this be your primary machine, for example, or is it a secondary device for getting around? How important is power and speed versus portability and battery life? We recommend a 15-inch screen size as the best balance between portability and having a versatile Photoshop workspace, but consider a slightly smaller 14-inch laptop if you want to travel really light.
Recommendations on a laptop for photo editing
When purchasing a laptop to edit or produce photos, we recommend these features for the best performance:
- Processor: Intel Core i5 or i7
- Memory: 16 GB RAM (32 GB preferred)
- Storage: 128GB SSD disk and 500GB / 1TB hard disk
- Integrated graphics card: only if you work with high resolution photos (2 GB or better)
Apple / Mac / iOS Laptop:
- Processor: Intel i5 or higher
- Memory: 4GB RAM (preferably 6GB)
- Storage: 128GB SSD disk + 500GB / 1TB hard disk
- Mac OS X 10.10 or later
The Laptop: A Key Tool for the Photographer
The main tool of the photographer is his camera, obviously. Without it the conception of art would not exist. But all art is hardly perfect without modifying details a little; it happens in the cinema, music, painting, literature, to name a few.
After the camera, comes the laptop: in it we can download the memory of our camera, we can better observe the photos we have just taken, choose the ones that we will decide will be the chosen ones and proceed to edit them in the best possible way to enhance what that we want to convey with the image.
That is why we need a laptop that allows us to function calmly while we carry out this process, which can be tedious if it takes us longer than expected. The size of a photo taken by a professional camera can easily exceed tens of MB. Editing programs need a good amount of RAM and available hard disk memory to be able to run without the laptop crashing.
Therefore, the computer that we are going to use to edit our photos , whether for work or hobbies, must meet certain specifications to ensure that we will not spend more time than is convenient on our photos.
Here are the variables that you should take into account when deciding whether or not to buy a laptop for photo editing. We also bring you from the best laptop for professional photographers as well as for beginners, with various budgets suitable for all budgets
Today, there are different operating system options that we can use. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, but at the end of the day we must choose the one that best suits us and has compatibility with the photographic editing programs that we are used to using. Most photo editing programs have versions for Windows and Mac, so if you want a “laptop for photoshop” you will not have major problems choosing any of our comparison.
Something that we must take into account is the type of system that our laptop uses. There are currently two types: 32-bit and 64-bit.
The big difference between these two is that a 32-bit system has more limited RAM usage than a 64-bit one. Even if our computer has 16 GB of RAM, if it has a 32-bit system, it can only take advantage of up to 4 GB.
Otherwise with 64-bit systems, which are able to fully use the laptop’s RAM.
And as for software as such, two of the most used and commercial are Windows and macOS. Apple has exclusivity with macOS while Windows can be run on many laptop brands.
The recommendation that we give you is that if you opt for Apple, look for a laptop that has macOS v10.12 Sierra or higher. And if you are a Windows user, make your choice Windows 10.
In case you didn’t know, RAM (Random Access Memory) is responsible for retaining the momentary data that applications need to be executed. This type of memory is volatile: the information it saves is lost when we turn off our laptop.
Photo editing programs such as Photoshop or Lightroom run on a lot of RAM. This is due to the fact that the non-permanent data they handle is very large and that is why they need more space to process it.
When choosing a laptop for photographic editing it is important to look at the amount of RAM it has, if it is an optimal amount for our plans, and if not, if it is possible to expand it.
To work normally, 8 GB of RAM will be sufficient because it is recommended by developers of photo editing programs . We recommend laptops between 8 GB and 16 GB of RAM, since they will be enough for our work.
The processor is the body of our laptop and the main architect of the execution speed of the programs. Over time, faster and faster processors have been manufactured, reaching frequencies of up to 4.6 GHz. It is a very important point, along with RAM, that we must take into account.
Another aspect of the processor that we must consider, in addition to its frequency, is the number of cores it has. The more you have, the more powerful it will be. The minimum recommendation is to purchase a processor with at least 2 cores. More than this amount, we will be buying a real machine in terms of processing.
When we talk about storage we refer to the non-volatile memory capacity that our laptop has. Do you remember volatile memory? Well, non-volatile memory is the opposite: it is the amount of data that we can keep on our laptop permanently, even if it is turned off.
As we are talking about laptops for photo editing , the data that we want to store will not be light. As I mentioned earlier, very good quality photos can easily be many MB. In a photo session, more than 200 photos can be taken quietly, so each session can “weigh” several gigs.
If we take high-quality photos, we will need our laptop to allow us to view them in the best way. That is why we must take into account the graphics that the computer supports.
The graphics card is what makes the colors look more vivid, not opaque or without intensity. We do not want that when we review the photos we have just taken, they decrease their resolution.
Our laptop must have a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) which is the graphics processing unit, which separately supports graphics only. In other words, a unit dedicated to making our photos look in the best possible way, without losing any color from reality.
If we only had our laptop for photo editing and not an external screen, we should have a few inches to see the details in an acceptable quality. This is important because the larger the size, we will not have to move the image to view it in full and the resolution will be better.
A laptop with 15.6 “is a good option. It is recommended that our laptop has this amount or greater of inches.
The best thing would be to do our photo editing work in a place where outside light does not interfere with the way we view our photos. And to be able to contemplate our work with an excellent RGB perception (Red, Green, Blue), which is the way that the pixels of our laptop show us color, the screen must have a good resolution.