Not only do you need an engaging, clear display but also a high-performing processing compartment and the capacity to store your studio.
Computer manufacturers now cater specifically to the demands of professionals like filmmakers, designers, photographers, artists and architects.
These specially built laptops possess an audio-visual edge; some almost suffice as desktop-replacement devices. The bottom line is that they give you the freedom to be creative from anywhere.
- Picking the Right Photo Editing Laptop
- Our Picks: 10 Best Laptop for Photo Editing 2021
- 1. Dell XPS 15 9510 – Best Laptop for Photo editing
- 2. Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch)
- 3. ASUS TUF Dash 15 Budget Laptop for Photo Editing
- 4. MSI Creator Z16 Professional Laptop
- 5. HP Envy x360 15 Convertible Laptop
- 6. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4
- 7. HP ZBOOK FIREFLY G8
- 8. ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582
- 9. ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro 17 Mobile Workstation
- 10. Acer Swift 3 Photo Editing Laptop Under $800
- Final Word
Picking the Right Photo Editing Laptop
When choosing a multimedia-focused device, a stellar display is easily a top-of-the-mind requirement. At the minimum, you should look for an FHD monitor with IPS and 300-nits brightness.
A wide color gamut and accuracy during rendition are necessary for editing. Many professional-grade laptops by Dell, ASUS, etc., offer OLED and WUXGA screens with 100% DCI-P3 color and Delta-E < 2 accuracy.
The screen-to-body ratio – higher the better – is an asset for editors since it affects the external interference they have to tackle.
You must also look for competitive performance – the kind that comes with an Intel Core i5 CPU or above. RAM support of 16GB is essential, although 32GB or 64GB is preferred.
Photo editors also require a substantial amount of storage to keep heavy-duty files and run CPU-intensive applications. It is best to get at least 512GB of SSD storage.
However, it is vital not to be limited only by the display and the performance. Here are the other salient features you should keep in mind:
- Connections: Laptops for content editing must support collaboration and quick data sharing among peers and colleagues. Do not seal the deal without checking for USB ports and other connections such as high-speed Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, and SD card readers. Thunderbolt 3 ports can be incredible since they support rapid data transfer and also facilitate quick charging. A good assortment of ports will keep you sorted while connecting to external 4K or 8K displays, peripherals, and so on.
- Keyboard: A key feature you should not overlook is a well-designed keyboard with a good-quality trackpad. It is salient for long editing sessions that can otherwise lead to finger cramping and delays in your workflow. Backlighting is almost mandatory if you need to be on the move and work outside your home or office. Some keyboards integrate security solutions like fingerprint readers to convenience professionals working in shared workplaces.
- Build and design: Portability does not come naturally to many full-purpose multimedia laptops. However, you can find many options that weigh in the range of 3-5lbs and have sleek profiles. It is crucial that the chassis is robust and adheres to toughness standards so that you can travel without fear.
- Sound: If you are a filmmaker or work on projects beyond photo editing, you will require superior sound. Find a laptop that provides fine-tuned audio by Bang & Olufsen or Harmon Kardon. Some devices offer Dolby Atmos speakers for refined audio output.
Our Picks: 10 Best Laptop for Photo Editing 2021
These computers pack many specific features such as a wide color gamut and specialized heat dissipation to sustain demanding tasks. Many top brands like Acer, ASUS and HP offer multimedia editing laptops at affordable prices (less than $1000) – perfect for students.
In the list below, we have consolidated the best photo editing laptops that cater to different budgets and needs. These picks cover everything from complete creative workstations to budget-friendly everyday laptops that can double up as multimedia editors.
Best Photo Editing Laptop – Recommended Specs
|Processor||11th Generation Intel Core i7-11800H|
8-Core Processor (Up to 4.6 GHz)
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti|
4GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM
|Memory||16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM|
|Storage||512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD|
|Display||15.6″ FHD+ (1920 x 1080)|
100% DCI-P3 Adobe RGB Color Gamut
|Weight||Under 5 lbs.|
|Battery||Up to 12 Hours|
|OS||Windows 10 Home 64-bit|
1. Dell XPS 15 9510 – Best Laptop for Photo editing
Equipped with a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and a screen-to-body ratio of 92.9%, the 15.6″ Dell XPS 15 9510 is arguably the best laptop for photo editing needs.
Although expensive at $1,949.99, this powerhouse perseveres to deliver excellent performance with an eleventh-gen Intel Core i7-11800H processor, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD.
You can opt for an OLED display with a brightness of 500 nits, an anti-reflective coating of 0.65%, and a tremendous contrast ratio of 100,000:1.
A weight of just 3.99lbs and a profile thickness of 0.71″ make it ultra-portable. While on the move, you can conveniently stay connected with the USB Type-C ports, Wi-Fi 6, and the 4-element lens webcam. Notably, Dell Mobile Connect makes it seamless and quick to transfer multimedia files.
This photo-editing laptop is durable, complete with Corning Gorilla Glass and a stain-resistant coating. Sustainability comes from within as well, since the Intel Dynamic Tuning technology keeps optimizing the system based on your work needs.
2. Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch)
When it comes to photo editing, Apple retains an edge with laptops like the Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch).
It does not come cheap at $1,999.99, but it has spectacular specs. You get an Intel Core i9 CPU, 64GB RAM, and an 8TB SSD.
This MacBook offers a vivid Retina Display with AMD Radeon Pro 5300M Graphics, 500 nits of brightness, and a P3 wide color gamut.
A six-speaker system and force-canceling woofers realize an immersive multimedia experience.
Photo editors will benefit from the four USB-C ports (can connect two 6K displays) and the keyboard with a Touch Bar and Touch ID.
Additionally, this 4.3lbs and 0.64” computer can run for up to 11 hours on one charge, lending the user a considerable degree of freedom on the go. Fortunately, superior heat dissipation guarantees more airflow and a large heat sink to keep the innards cool.
3. ASUS TUF Dash 15 Budget Laptop for Photo Editing
The 15.6” ASUS TUF Dash 15 (under $1000) is a capable pick for photo editing that will suit budget-watchers. It costs $946.15 and packs in a bundle of exciting features like adaptive sync and a refresh rate of 144Hz.
Adaptive sync matches the refresh rate of the display with the frame rate of the GPU. It lowers stuttering and delays and is beneficial not only during multimedia editing but also for gameplay.
An Intel Core i7-11370H CPU runs the show here, supported by 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics. Keeping the inner components cool are five heat pipes and four heat sinks.
This laptop is quite portable with its weight of 4.4lbs and thickness of 0.8”. Plus, since it adheres to military-standard build (MIL-STD-810H), you can safely travel with it without the risk of damage.
Plenty of connections like HDMI, Type-C (Thunderbolt 4), and Wi-Fi 6 enable you to connect to peripherals such as external displays and mice.
4. MSI Creator Z16 Professional Laptop
With excellent performance and impressive thermals, the 16″ MSI Creator Z16 professional laptop, priced at $2,699.00, is a superb choice for dedicated photo editing.
The processing compartment contains an Intel Core i7 11800H CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD.
This MSI Creator laptop provides a stunning QHD+ touch display with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics and a refresh rate of 120Hz.
A P3 wide color gamut ensures that your images get meticulously rendered. It is adequate for heavy-duty multimedia needs like 3D rendering, modeling, simulation, etc.
Connectivity-wise, you can enjoy Thunderbolt 4 ports and Wi-Fi 6E to enjoy better throughput and low latency. Note that this laptop is a little heavy at 5.07lbs; the profile, however, is thin at 0.64”.
A 90Whr battery and increased airflow (with Cooler Boost Trinity) keep you going uninterrupted through the day.
A mini-LED backlit keyboard is a stand-out feature of this laptop, bringing in more brightness and increased energy savings.
5. HP Envy x360 15 Convertible Laptop
Here is an affordable computer for photo editing that delivers good performance at under $1000: the 15.6” HP Envy x360 15 convertible laptop, costing $849.99.
It is an AMD-based computer fueled by an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor and AMD Radeon Graphics. You get 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD to power your photo-editing requirements.
Since this is a convertible, you can conveniently use the 360-degree hinge to shift the device to tablet mode. It gives you flexibility while working on the move and allows for a more intuitive editing experience.
The FHD monitor employs a micro-edge design and includes an IPS panel. It lets you work from different viewing angles without experiencing image distortion. Another advantage of this convertible is the Bang & Olufsen audio; it makes your multimedia sessions and calls more absorbing.
Portability-wise, you will benefit from the battery backup of 11.5 hours and the fingerprint reader. The form factor is compact at 4.42lbs and 0.74”.
6. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4
The all-new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 looks promising as a powerful photo editing laptop for professionals.
It is powered by an Intel vPro H series processor, up to 64GB RAM, up to 4TB storage, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 discrete graphics.
The UHD+ or QHD+ display is infused with Dolby Vision and low blue-light panels.
It has a brightness of 600 nits and 100% Adobe color. Lenovo has equipped this laptop with several security options, such as the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and a fingerprint reader.
Portability does not seem to be an issue with this computer since it offers Intel Wi-Fi 6/6E. The long battery life (10 hours, 90Wh) and USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports facilitate un–tethered use. You can even opt for 5G WWAN.
Excellent sound – with Dolby Atmos speakers – is a triumph of this Lenovo ThinkPad. So is the well-designed keyboard with backlighting and anti-fingerprint paint. It is a sturdily built, military-grade laptop, weighing 3.99lbs and measuring 0.70” in thickness.
7. HP ZBOOK FIREFLY G8
With a weight of 2.98lbs and support for 5G, the HP ZBOOK FIREFLY G8 is a compact and lightweight laptop for multimedia professionals, architects or designers.
It is powerful enough for CPU-intensive tasks with its Intel Core i7-1185G7 vPro processor, up to 2TB storage, and up to 64GB RAM. This ZBOOK, priced upwards of $1500, is available in 15.6” and 14” screen sizes.
The DreamColor technology sets apart the visuals of this sanitizable device. You get as many as a billion colors, 100% DCI-P3, and NVIDIA T500 graphics. Combined with Bang & Olufsen audio, this setup lets you visualize your content precisely.
A mobile-workstation design supports collaborative work in shared workplaces – something creative professionals frequently need to do.
This promise gets support from a spate of features like long battery backup and a quiet keyboard with a light-sensing backlight. This product line, built with recycled aluminum and ocean-bound plastics, is eco-friendly and sustainable.
8. ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582
An excellent 4K OLED display with a 100% DCI-P3 color gamut makes the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582 the perfect photo editing laptop.
Designers and artists will delight in the Delta-E < 2 color accuracy, Pantone validation, and TÜV Rheinland certification for eye care.
This device offers top-grade performance: an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics.
The secondary 4K screen (ScreenPad Plus) is beneficial for creative professionals since it permits you to multitask and increase productivity.
True to the ZenBook line, it is a stylish, celestial-blue device with a magnesium-aluminum alloy body, reflective edges, and Harman Kardon audio. This military-standard computer (MIL-STD 810H) weighs 5.16lbs and has a thickness of around 0.85”.
A set of Thunderbolt 3 ports makes it convenient to plug into an external display (8K or 4K UHD). It is advantageous for visualizing and sharing your artwork. The cooling mechanism benefits from an ergonomic hinge, upping the airflow during demanding content editing pursuits.
9. ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro 17 Mobile Workstation
With a price tag of $2,849.99 and an awe-inspiring WUXGA display, the 17” ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro 17 Mobile Workstation is for committed professionals.
The screen comes with a 97% DCI-P3 wide color gamut, Delta E<2 color accuracy, and Pantone validation to enable a detailed rendition of your imagery.
It makes it ideal for filmmakers and architects. Professionals can easily use applications like Final Cut Pro and DaVinci Resolve. A 180-degree hinge simplifies collaboration and sharing.
The performance is extraordinary. Powering this mobile workstation is an Intel Xeon E-2276M CPU, up to 64GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 graphics. This configuration is well-suited to a range of creative tasks, from editing to post-production and transcoding.
Despite the power it hosts within, this laptop manages to retain a compact build. It provides an absorbing screen-to-body ratio that gives you a 17” panel in a 15” body. The build is military-grade, and the device measures just 0.72” (although the weight is about 5.3lbs).
10. Acer Swift 3 Photo Editing Laptop Under $800
If you are looking for an affordable, portable device that supports some multimedia pursuits, then the Acer Swift 3 14-inch laptop for photo editing is a reasonable choice.
It costs only $749.99 and offers an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU with 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD.
The FHD monitor does a decent job of showcasing your content, thanks to the 100% sRGB color gamut, the IPS panel, and the 300-nits brightness. At 85.73%, the screen-to-body ratio is pretty impressive.
This Acer Swift provides several connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi 6, USB 3.0 ports, and Amazon Alexa. It also has a backlit keyboard and a fingerprint reader to keep you working securely and comfortably in different surroundings.
Unplugged usage of 12.5 hours is an asset for portability, as is the light bodyweight of 2.65lbs. Since the thickness is only 0.63”, it is straightforward enough to carry this device with you.
The marketplace today is particularly spectacular for multimedia professionals and students. Multiple leading brands offer fantastic devices for creative tasks like 3D rendering, simulation, and modeling.
While choosing the right laptop for your specific needs, you should consider the display, the overall performance, and special requirements.
For instance, you might need excellent audio or a convertible form factor. If unparalleled internet connectivity is a priority for you, you will find the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4, with 5G WWAN, right after your heart.
Many photo editors like the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED UX582 adhere to military-grade requirements to allow you to work un-tethered without being afraid of damaging your device. Laptops like the HP ZBOOK FIREFLY G8 come with recycled, eco-friendly components – a nod to sustainability.
The budget you allocate toward this purchase should ideally depend upon your day-to-day needs.
You are unlikely, for example, to require a dedicated graphics card or a Pantone-validated display if you only plan to work on content editing sporadically.
But here is what is the most exciting: you can go all-out and get home a mobile workstation if your creative bone so demands. When it comes to multimedia needs, laptop makers have risen to the occasion.