The best laptop for photo editing does not necessarily need to be the most expensive model on the market. Basic editing of photos such as cropping, resizing and applying filters will not slow down any modern laptop. Also, making small changes to images captured with one of the best cameras does not require a powerful laptop.
However, if you want to take your editing to the next level then powerful laptops will be very handy. In addition, using complex functions and advanced plugins such as Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite, low-end laptops will not be very effective. Therefore, working with extreme file size and uncompressed images at ultra-high resolutions will require high power.
Best Laptops for Photo Editing 2021:
- MSI Creator 17M – Best for Professionals
- Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 – Best Dual Screen Laptop
- Lenovo Yoga C930– Best 2 in 1 Laptop 2021
- ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 – Best Overall Laptop
- Microsoft Surface Pro X – Best Affordable 2021
- LG Gram 14 – Best Lightweight Laptop
- Gigabyte AERO 15 – Best 240Hz Laptop 2021
- HP Zbook Studio X360 – Best Touchscreen
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme – Best for Thunderbolt 3
- ASUS ZenBook 15 – Best 4K Laptop
Our Top 3 Picks
1. MSI Creator 17M
Display: 17.3 (1920×1080)
2. Lenovo Yoga C930
Display: 13.9 (3840×2160)
3. LG Gram 14
Display: 14 (1920×1080)
Which one is Best for Photo Editing: Desktop OR Laptop?
Most of the people are confused and can’t decide whether to go for a desktop or laptop so, let’s discuss it here that which will be the right choice for you.
- If you are a traveling photographer then definitely a laptop is the best option because it is very portable and traveling with a desktop is not possible.
- On the other hand, if you are working from a fixed place then a desktop is more advantageous because it is cheap, powerful and easy to upgrade.
Don’t get me wrong, laptops are also very powerful but their processors are mobile variants hence, they work at lower speeds to deliver a better battery backup. But if the processor of your laptop is of the newer generation then this won’t be a problem at all.
Now knowing your profession and work, decision-making will be a lot easier for you. So, if you have finally decided and looking for the best laptop for photo editing then our list of top ten photo editing laptops will solve this problem too.
Best Laptop for Photo Editing 2021 Reviews
1. MSI Creator 17M
The Creator series by MSI, as the name suggests is specifically designed for content creation. In the event that you are doing photo editing, video editing or graphic editing, the Creator 17M is here to turn your ideas into reality. Crafted in a brushed aluminum chassis, the overall design is pretty decent. If you are concerned about the durability and reliability, then you will be pleased to know that this product meets the criteria for MIL-STD-810G durability.
Get the superior pictures regardless of what you are watching. Since the 17 inches, Full HD display offers notable color accuracy with the MSI True to Color Technology. Whereas with a 120Hz refresh rate, your action appears on the screen faster. Moreover, the best laptop for photo and video editing is powered by the 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti GPU and 512GB SSD. Certainly, the powerful configuration and gorgeous display will open new doors of creativity for you.
With 4.85 pounds weight and 0.85 inches thickness, the 17M is an ultraportable notebook in its class. Plus, the connectivity is also satisfying with a USB Type-C port, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, 3 USB-A ports and separate jacks for headphones and microphones. Going towards the battery life, the system can last up to 7 hours which is impressive. Above that, to get all this, you have to just spend around $1300. Hence, any photographer who wants to take his creativity to top-level, MSI Creator 17M is the best choice.
2. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581
The latest model from ASUS, the ZenBook Pro Duo with two 4K touchscreens is a sensational option for creativity and multitasking. The manufacturer has put itself into the photographer shoes while designing it. So, when you open the lid, the deck slightly rises for comfortable typing and an optimized cooling system. However, the keyboard is located in the space where you will see the palm rest on other laptops. If you are worried about this, don’t, because you can attach a detachable palm rest included in the box. Whereas the touchpad is outfitted at the right corner of the keyboard deck that also converts to a digital Num pad.
The best laptop for photo editing 2021 features a 15.6 inches 4k OLED display for sharp details. Surrounded by Nanoedge bezels, nothing distracts your immersive viewing experience. Plus, at the top of the keyboard, there is a second 4k screen that runs the length of the deck. The matte ScreenPad is as admirable as the main display though not as vibrant. Since both the screens are touch-sensitive, thus ASUS has included S Pen for natural writing and drawing. Made up of aluminum and run by an AAAA battery, the Pen can last up to 10 hours.
Measuring 0.9 inches thick and weighing 5.5 pounds, Zenbook Pro Due offers acceptable creativity is somehow convenient to carry around. However, the powerful configurations like 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU and 1TB SSD is above all. Furthermore, you will have a Thunderbolt 3, audio jack and a USB Type-A 3.1 accompanied by an HDMI 2.0 port and another USB Type-A on the right and left side respectively. In addition, up to 4 hours of battery life is agreeable. Thus, professional photographers in search of a perfect laptop for themselves, Zenbook Pro Due is simply the best.
3. Lenovo Yoga C930
The latest 2020 model of Lenovo Yoga C930 offers more performance, an incredible 4K display and solid battery life than its previous version. The Yoga C930 is packed in a compact design. As it’s 2-in-1, so shifting between a laptop and tablet mode is quite convenient. With 3.04 pounds of weight and 0.6 inches thickness, you can easily carry it with you. While with the aluminum build quality, C930 is not just portable but durable also. The backlit keyboard with 1.3mm of key travel and requiring a solid actuation force of 75 grams is an additional treat. Alongside the keyboard, the precise touchpad accepting various operating system gestures is equally worthy.
The 13.9 inches 4K UHD display of the convertible laptop delivers sharp and detailed images. Since the panel is IPS, so viewing angle is wide and viewing from perspective won’t shift the picture quality. Also, content creation on the touchscreen is made pure fun by the included pen. Besides the best budget laptop for photo editing sports Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD to run demanding applications smoothly. Furthermore, the Intel Turbo Boost technology provides additional power during heavy workloads.
Don’t expect plenty of ports from Yoga C930 because the notebook is packed in an extremely slim chassis. Still, the ports are decent since you will see two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a USB 3.1 port and a headphone jack. Happily, there is a separate pen slot at the back to keep the pen safe and secure. Furthermore, over 10 hours of battery life gives you worry-free working on the go. Hence, if you want a powerful 2-in-1 laptop, Lenovo Yoga C930 is worthy enough to spend on.
4. ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701
Discrete graphics card and powerful processor make Zephyrus S an outstanding machine for both works and play, though it comes at a high price. Designed to be as light and this as possible, it has surpassed the bigger and heavier competitors quite easily. With super-narrow bezels around the screen, you won’t see any built-in webcam. Happily, a detachable webcam is included which is an even better option. In addition, 0.7-inch thickness and 5.9 pounds weight makes it pretty portable.
The 17.3 inches display is bright and vibrant with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. With a 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time and outstanding color accuracy, the display gives you a new level of realism. This machine is powered by the Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU, 16GB of RAM and 1TB SSD for lag-free multitasking. More, the ROG Active Aerodynamic system keeps GX701 cool under intensive tasks. So, anywhere you go it’s ready to dominate with the compact design and powerful configurations.
The best laptop for photo editing features all the ports you need for secondary connections despite the slim chassis. The left side holds a USB 3.1 Type-C/DisplayPort 1.4, a USB 3.1 Type-A port and an audio jack. While the right side houses a pair of USB 3.1 Type-A ports and a USB 3.1 Type-C port. If you are thinking about audio quality, the dual speakers deliver an ear-pleasing sound. The only sad part of GX701 is shorter battery life lasting for up to 4 hours only, but keeping the powerful configuration in mind it’s agreeable.
5. Microsoft Surface Pro X
Longer battery life and solid configurations make Pro X the best laptop for photo editing. This laptop can be used in three primary modes that are tablet, laptop and studio with the kickstand extended manually. The only complaint about the design is that the laptop bounces around when typing on it in your lap. With 3.6 pounds of weight, Pro X is not just portable but the aluminum build material makes it durable too. In addition, the black exterior does a nice job in resisting fingerprints and providing excellent grip.
The 13 inches PixelSense display of Pro X is one of the best you have seen on any 2-in-1 laptop. Alongside this, the display is not just colorful but with 2880 x 1920 resolution it’s extremely sharp and detailed. Since Pro X is specifically designed for creativity on the go, so with 417 nits brighter screen watching it under bright conditions won’t be a problem. Moreover, the Microsoft SQ1 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD make Pro X an ideal choice for editing ultra-resolution photos.
Measuring only 0.3 inches thin, the ports are also minimal like the chassis. You will only have two USB-C port on the right, while a single Surface Connect port for charging your machine sits on the left side. The best part of Pro X is battery life as it can last up to 13 hours. In addition, the front-firing speakers give a loud and clear sound that can fill a medium-sized room without distortion. Hence, professional photographers who travel frequently will benefit from this 2-in-1 laptop the most.
6. LG Gram 14
The new 2020 model of LG Gram 14 is a 2-in-1 laptop, providing excellent performance and a solid battery in a lightweight and lasting chassis. It weighs only 2.5 pounds and its thickness is 0.7 inches. Due to such lightweight, you will barely feel it in your backpack while carrying around. Being 2-in-1, the twin 360-degree hinges enable you to shift between laptop and tablet mode with minimal effort. More, the keyboard is exceptional and the power button performs a dual function of turning the laptop on/off as well as a fingerprint reader.
Gram’s 14 inches touch screen FHD display offers beautiful color and crisp details. Plus, viewing your content under bright conditions won’t be an issue since the panel can hit 306 nits of brightness. Moreover, the laptop is completed with power and speed given by the 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM. Along with this, the 1TB (2 x 512GB) SSD comes with a transfer rate of 391 megabytes per second.
For taking clean notes and detailed sketching you will need a pen, fortunately, LG Gram comes with its Stylus Pen, enabling you to handle finer details. Going towards secondary connections, you will have a USB 3.1 port, an audio jack, a microSD card slot and a lock slot on the right side. Simultaneously, on the left side, you can have another USB 3.1 port, a USB Thunderbolt 3 port and a full HDMI port. On top of that, over 16 hours of battery life is more than enough for the whole working day. Hence, long battery life, powerful performance and lightweight make it the best laptop for photo editing.
7. Gigabyte AERO 15
Gigabyte Aero 15 comes with an outstanding design, robust performance, and colorful display. With solid aluminum build quality, it’s not just stylish but durable too. Open the lid to see the superslim bezels around the screen. Not only this, the RGB backlit keyboard is another luxury for you that provides an outstanding typing experience with 1.6mm key travel and 71 grams actuation force. The touchpad is equally worthy since it’s not only responsive but also contains a fingerprint sensor for effortless sign in.
Featuring a 15.6 inches FHD screen, the display is vivid and razor-sharp. Surely, the perfect color-accurate display makes Aero 15 an ideal choice for the content creator and photo editor. Plus, the panel covers a 200% sRGB color gamut and emits 357 nits of brightness. The real power of it is due to the Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD. Over and above that, the effective cooling system keeps the Aero 15 cool under intense activities.
Measuring 0.8 inches thin and weighing 4.4 pounds only, Aero 15 isn’t just portable but also offers a good selection of ports. The left side is decorated with an HDMI 2.0 port, an RJ45 port, an audio jack, a USB 3.1 port, and a USB 3.1 Type-C (DisplayPort 1.4). Whereas an SD card slot, a Thunderbolt 3 port, and a pair of USB 3.1 ports sit on the right side. Along with this, up to 9 hours of battery life is astonishing for an FHD display laptop. Hence, if you want the best laptop for photography, Gigabyte Aero 15 is unbeatable.
8. HP Zbook Studio X360
Zbook is an outstanding 2-in-1 laptop from HP with excellent display and comfortable keyboard. The solid aluminum hood is silky gray in color and the keyboard is 50 times darker. The screen size is 15.6 inches, side bezels are thin but the top and bottom bezels are a bit thicker. As Zbook is 2-in-1, so it can be folded and used in a tablet mode as well. Due to 4.9 pounds weight and 0.8 inches thickness portability is in the middle range, but it is very durable and can withstand a drop up to 2.5 feet.
Due to the touch-sensitive nature and 3840 x 2160 (4k) resolution, the display looks astonishing. Also, coverage of 135 percent sRGB color gamut gives additional pleasure. This best laptop for photo and video editing is powered by 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM provides lag-free multitasking. So, however intensive the task is, this machine won’t get slow. What will please you the most is 512GB SSD, which along with huge storage space offers faster responses. For Intense gaming, you will have Nvidia Quadro P1000 graphics card with 4GB of VRAM.
Going towards the secondary connectivity options, on the left side, it has 2 USB 3.0 ports, a sim card slot and a security lock slot. Simultaneously, on the right side two USB Type-C ports, an HDMI port, an SD card reader and an audio jack is present. Furthermore, four Bang & Olufsen speakers provide next-level sound quality. On top of that up to 9 hours of battery life is impressive for such a mighty machine. In the nutshell, if you can afford the price, no one can beat this powerful beast.
9. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
FHD display, powerful processor and discrete graphics, X1 certainly lives up to the name “extreme”. It is a sleek, thin and business laptop having matte black carbon-fiber chassis with a soft-touch finish. If you lift the lid, the same smooth material will be found on the black deck. When you rest your wrist on such a soft surface while typing, it will feel very comfortable. 15.6 inches screen size and the thin bezels around it reduce the laptop’s overall footstep. In addition, 3.8 pounds of weight and 0.7 inches thickness make X1 portable compared to its direct competitors.
The display is touch-sensitive and comes with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. Along with this, the panel covers 186 percent sRGB spectrum. Performance of the best laptop for photo editing 2021 is extremely fast due to the Intel Core i7-8750H processor. Moreover, 32GB of RAM enables you to load up to 15 Google tabs and run multiple 1080P videos on YouTube without any hesitation. For storing data, you will have 1TB SSD, which is not only mighty but faster as well.
Many slim laptops screw-on ports but not X1 Extreme because it offers a wide range of connections. As you can see on the right side two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a Kensington lock, optional Smart Card reader and an SD card reader. Meanwhile, on the left side, 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI port and a headset jack are present. Its battery lasts over 6 hours which is impressive. So, if the price is not a concern for you, then this laptop is an amazing choice.
10. ASUS ZenBook 15
Zenbook 15 is one of the best laptops for photo editing that offers almost every feature, from 4K display, solid internals, ScreenPad technology to long-lasting battery life. And above all, this powerful laptop is a mid-range budget laptop. Speaking of its design, the Icicle Silver and thin bezels around the screen gives it a stunning look while at the same time, the laptop is very durable as it has passed MIL-STD 810G military grades tests. Further, it measures 0.7 inches in thickness and weighs 3.7 pounds which makes it one of the portable and slim laptops.
Going towards the 15.6-inch display, the resolution offered by the best laptop for video and photo editing is 3840 x 2160 (4k), due to which text, photos, and videos look sharp. In addition, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU gives you a tear-free screen which makes editing more convenient. On top of that, a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor provides as much power as you need for editing ultra-high resolution images. Moreover, 16GB DDR4 RAM prevents lagging no matter how intensive the tasks are. While the 512GB SSD will make responses even faster along with providing huge storage space for your data.
Furthermore, the keyboard of Zenbook 15 is quite large and typing on it is quite comfortable because of the snappy and well-spaced keys. Plus, the keyboard has also housed a Numpad. What will amaze you and also makes this laptop great for multitasking is the touchpad which also works as a secondary screen named “ScreenPad 2.0” by Asus. ScreenPad 2.0 is quite large, accurate, and responsive. You can easily switch between the touchpad and the ScreenPad. More, the secondary screen just works like the main screen thus increases your productivity. Moreover, if you are thinking about the secondary connectivity options, it has 2 USB 3.1 ports, one USB Type-C, an HDMI port, an SD card reader, and an audio jack. As for the battery life, it comes with a backup of over 8 hours despite of the two screens. Hence, professional photographers for whom budget is not an issue, Asus Zenbook 15 is the best laptop for photo editing 2021.
How to Choose the Best Laptop for Photo Editing 2021
Professional photographers and designers know that when a picture is clicked only half work is done. To complete it you will definitely do some editing, only then your picture will be the best. In doing so, you will need a laptop. Here a question comes in your mind that which laptop will suit you the most?
Although choosing a laptop is a difficult task for many people but if you keep some important factors in mind then the selection will become easy. Hence, if you have made your mind, consider the following factors before making the final decision.
Mac OSX or Windows 10
Until now Mac OSX was considered the best operating system for photo editing. Professional photographers were paying a premium for higher resolution, stability and security. Although Mac is still preferred for sophisticated editing, now Windows 10 is offering all these at a much low price. Also, both Mac and PCs can run major applications such as Adobe Creative Suite and offer a wide range of configurations. Keeping your budget and needs in mind, chose the operating system accordingly.
Screen Size and Resolution
The recommended size and resolutions are at least 15.6 inches and 1920 x 1080p respectively. Also, make sure that the screen is coated with an anti-glare layer in order to reduce eye strain. Moreover, a touch screen is not necessary, though it is usual for those who prefer to work with a Stylus Pen.
In terms of resolution 1920 x 1080p is the starting point. The higher the resolution, the better you can edit photos. So, demanding photographers should opt for 2560 x 1440p or higher resolutions like 4k.
The photo editing requires a powerful processor because the software can’t run without sufficient horsepower. You can know the power of a processor either by the number of cores or by the frequency in GHz. Both are important but a number of cores are the best way to calculate power. Thus, a greater number of cores mean more power, so if you want the best quality pictures go for the best performing processor.
Frequency or clock speed should also not be ignored because the higher will be frequency, the better the chip will perform. So, the best frequency range of a processor for photo editing is from 2.5GHz to 3.5GHz or higher.
Graphics Card or GPU
If you are doing casual editing then an integrated graphics card will do the work, but if you are a demanding photographer then the graphics card should be such that it offers 60 FPS or more.
But, what is the need for a GPU in photo editing? GPU minimizes the load of the main CPU, provides faster performance and better display. Also, it enables you to move objects faster around the editing workspace. Some of the famous GPUs for photo editing are GTX 960M, GT840 and GTX 980M.
For photo editing, the RAM should be at least 8GB. If the RAM is above 8GB then the editing process will become further smooth and efficient. Higher memory enables you to run powerful programs with adequate speed. Also, photo files can run quickly and multitasking can be performed without any lag. On top of that, it will prevent accidental shutdown.
For storage, a laptop has either HDD, SSD or hybrid SSD. So, if the laptop has HDD, it should be 1TB with 7200RPM. If SSD then it should be 512GB and in the case of hybrid, SSD should be 128GB.
If storage is insufficient it will slow down the editing and image uploads. Similarly, for storing thousands of high-resolution images, you will need a larger storage capacity.
Between HDD and SSD you should go for SSD because along with storage it offers faster responses. But you should know that SSD does not offer as huge storage space as HDD. So, make sure that the storage offered by it is enough for you, otherwise, opt for HDD or hybrid SSD.
The last thing that you should consider before making the final decision is the secondary connectivity options. So, a laptop should have an SD card reader, 2 or 3 USB 3.0 or 3.1 ports, a display port, an HDMI port and an Ethernet slot.
Simple is that you should prefer such a laptop which offers as many inputs and output as possible. In this way it will allow you to move photos easily into your laptop, also you can store them in an external hard drive. In addition, you can connect an external large monitor, tablet, ergonomic keyboard and mouse. Thus, the editing process will become a lot more convenient and comfortable.
This article will guide you in the right direction in order to choose the best laptop for photo editing. Our list includes a wide range of laptops, both on the basis of a budget as well as performance. Thus, whether you are a professional photographer or casual, you can benefit from it equally. On top of that we shall be updating our list, so keep visiting for future updates.