2022 Guide To The Top 5 Chromebooks For Photo Editing

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Chromebooks may not be comparable to your typical high-end gaming laptop, but that is exactly where its strength lies. You don’t always have to opt for the most expensive, high-performance laptop, especially if you’re typically not going to maximize its capabilities.

Compared to Windows laptops, Chromebooks are designed for efficiency, both in terms of computing power and cost. This is especially ideal for traveling photo editors who need a laptop where pricing is relative to its capability as a workstation.

In this guide, we’ll go through the best Chromebooks that are ideal to edit photos with.

Top Chromebooks For 2022

EDITOR'S CHOICE

The highest-rated and most versatile Chromebook for serious photo editing

Specifications:

CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core m3, i5, or i7

GPU: Intel HD Graphics 615

RAM: 8GB or 16GB

Storage: 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB Solid State Drive

Display: 13.3in LCD touchscreen display, Full HD 1920×1080 or 4K UHD 3840×2160

Battery Life: Up to 12 hours

Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.1 x 0.5 in

Weight: 2.33lbs

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The Google Pixelbook Go is arguably among the most popular Chromebook choices. It’s a premium Chromebook with capabilities that go far beyond just photo editing and video editing. This comes as no surprise considering it’s manufactured by Google, the developer of the Chrome operating system.

As a photo editor, you wouldn’t want to work on a screen that’s too small. But if you’re going to travel a lot, you also don’t want to be carrying a laptop that’s too big. Thankfully, the Pixelbook Go features a 13.3-inch display – the screen is a solid balance between portability and size. 

The Pixelbook Go is available in Full HD 1920×1080 which is the minimum resolution you would want in a laptop if you’re a photo editor. However, if you don’t mind paying a bit extra, you also have the option to get the 4K UHD version of this Chromebook which bumps up the resolution to 3840×2160.

The beauty of this Chromebook is in the number of options Google gives you. Aside from being able to opt for 4K UHD resolution, you can also choose between 8th gen CPU core options as well as different RAM and HDD storage.

PROS

✅ Excellent build quality
✅ Long battery life
✅ Varied screen resolution, CPU, RAM, and hard drive storage sizes to choose from
✅ Incredibly lightweight considering the specs

CONS

❌ Quite expensive

 

EDITOR'S CHOICE

The best bargain Chromebook for students or casual photo editors

Specifications:

CPU: Intel Celeron N3350

GPU: Intel HD Graphics 500

RAM: 4GB

Storage: 16GB

Display: 14in display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, touchscreen

Battery Life: Up to 12 hours

Dimensions: 13.54 x 9.45 x 0.7 in

Weight: 3.74lbs

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If you prefer a more lightweight photo editing experience, the HP Chromebook has a very reasonable price considering its specs. If you compiled a list of all the cheap Chromebooks on the market, this one definitely would rank among the best.

It features an Intel Celeron processor with a base clock of 1.1GHz, but it can burst up to 2.4Ghz. To put this into perspective, photo editing apps that are on the higher end of hardware requirements (e.g. Adobe Photoshop Express, Adobe Lightroom CC, etc.) typically need at least 2.0GHz. So, this may not be the best Chromebook for photo editing on the market, but it’s pretty decent and can certainly do the job for more casual work.

One of the main drawbacks of this Chromebook is its small storage space which is only 16GB. This is especially disadvantageous if you’re also into video editing, as videos generally have larger file sizes. Of course, you could always look into a monthly subscription to cloud storage services to supplement your storage needs.

PROS

✅ Extremely affordable
✅ Good specs considering value for money
✅ Long-lasting battery life

CONS

❌ Limited RAM and CPU speed
❌ Small storage space


EDITOR'S CHOICE

The best Chromebook for screen quality

Specifications:

CPU: Intel Core i5

GPU: Intel UHD

RAM: 8GB

Storage: 128GB SSD

Display: 13.5in display, 2256 x 1504

Battery Life: Up to 10 hours and 35 minutes

Dimensions: 11 x 9 x 0.7 in

Weight: 4lbs

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The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is a competitive Chromebook for photo editing purely because of its screen quality. It sports a 13.5-inch display at 2256 x 1504 resolution. This is much higher than the standard Full HD 1920 x 1080 that most Chromebooks have. 

Additionally, instead of an aspect ratio of 16:9 which is quite standard for most modern laptops, the Acer Spin has an aspect ratio of 3:2 — that’s 18% more screen surface area than usual.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 specs are quite above-average. It has a 5th gen Intel Core processor that clocks in at a maximum of 4.20GHz, which is well beyond what you would need for the best photo editing apps. 

Since this laptop runs on Chrome OS, you can use more lightweight photo and video editing software from Google Play. There are tons of Android apps out there that are more than capable for basic photo editing.

PROS

✅ Very high-resolution screen
✅ Reasonably high performance


CONS

❌ Bulkier, and a bit on the heavier side

 

EDITOR'S CHOICE

The best Chromebook for using a stylus on a touchscreen

Specifications:

CPU: Intel Core i3

GPU: Intel UHD 620

RAM: 4GB

Storage: 128GB SSD

Display: 14in display, 1920 x 1080

Battery Life: Up to 10 hours

Dimensions: 12.9 x 12.5 x 0.6 in

Weight: 3.9lbs

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This Dell Chromebook has many of the same features as most other Chromebooks on the market. It sports a backlit keyboard, dual stereo speakers, and a 2-in-1 build, meaning you can spin it around into tablet mode. Its hardware specs are also generally what you would expect from a budget Chromebook.

Where this laptop truly shines, however, is in the responsiveness of its touchscreen. Its built-in pen experience is exceptional, especially considering the price point. This functionality is ideal if you prefer using a stylus over a mouse and keyboard for editing photos.

Beyond the touchscreen functionality, however, this Chromebook may not be ideal if you need raw performance power. It only comes with an i3 processor, which is not the most powerful Intel Core CPU out there.

PROS

✅ Highly responsive touchscreen
✅ 2-in-1 build for tablet mode

 

CONS

❌ Low processing power

EDITOR'S CHOICE

The premium Chromebook choice

Specifications:

CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, or i7

GPU: Intel UHD

RAM: 8GB or 16GB

Storage: 128GB, 552GB, or 256GB SSD

Display: 14in display, 1920 x 1080

Battery Life: Up to 10 hours and 35 minutes

Dimensions: 12.56 x 8.07 x 0.54 in

Weight: 2.51lbs

PS. We may make a small commission off purchases made on the link above.

If price is not an issue, then this ASUS Chromebook will definitely rank among the best. This is not just in terms of photo editing but for video editing as well. The spec customization for this laptop gives you options that will allow for very powerful performance and quality.

You can choose a processor up to i7, up to 256GB SSD of storage, and up to 16GB of RAM. However, even the minimum RAM of 8GB can work well for photo editing. This means you can install more hardware-demanding programs like Adobe Photoshop and not have to rely on Android apps. 

It also comes with many other premium features like a backlit keyboard and a Titan C Security Chip. However, it doesn’t come with a laptop bag – it only comes with a laptop sleeve, so you’ll have to spring for accessories if you want an easy way to carry it around.

PROS

✅ High-performance hardware options
✅ Lightweight considering powerful specs

CONS

❌ Very expensive

The Photo Editor’s Guide To Chromebooks In 2022

3 Reasons Why You Should Use A Chromebook For Photo Editing

If you get Chromebooks expecting a powerhouse of a machine, you’re going to be disappointed. Chromebooks are not known for having high hardware capabilities, but they aren’t trying to compete with high-end laptops designed specifically for gaming or 3D rendering anyway. 

That said, there are four main advantages of using a Chromebook and the Chrome OS for photo editing:

Chromebooks Are Ultra-Portable

Since Chromebook hardware is typically on the less powerful side, manufacturers are able to create laptops that are thinner and lighter. If you’re a photographer who travels a lot for work, this is highly ideal as you won’t have to lug around a big laptop bag everywhere.

Chromebooks Are Highly Affordable

Compared to high-end laptops or even general-use laptops, Chromebooks are much less expensive as the kind of tasks you would do on a Chromebook are not very hardware demanding. Even the Chrome OS itself is designed for relatively basic tasks like word processing, browsing Google Chrome, and, of course, simple photo and video editing.

The Chrome OS Is Compact And Fast

The Chrome OS is almost entirely web-based, which is why it doesn’t require so much hardware power to run it. Photographers and videographers who use the Chrome OS know you can get the most out of it by using lightweight photo and video editors. 

This is why Chromebook’s Android app support is one of its greatest strengths. You can find many of these types of apps on the Google Play Store. Many of the free versions are excellent and get the job done.

The Chrome OS may struggle to run heavier programs like Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Photo. But if you’re a photo editor who doesn’t need the many features of these high-end photo editing apps, then a Chromebook is your best bet. Sometimes, the free version of an app on the Google Play Store is enough to satisfy your editing needs.

How To Choose The Right Hardware For Photo Editing

CPU

The CPU, or Central Processing Unit, is essentially the brain of your laptop. As its name suggests, it is responsible for processing all the information needed to execute tasks. The faster your processor, the faster you’ll be able to do things like edit photos.

There are tons of different types of processors on the market, each with varying specs that can get very confusing – especially if you’re not familiar with how CPUs work. However, you don’t need to be a qualified hardware engineer to understand the baseline processing power needed to edit photos. The most important factors to consider are generation, core, and clock speed. 

In terms of generation and core, you’ll want to choose later versions over older versions. We recommend choosing a minimum of Core i5 and a minimum of 8th gen Intel Core. 

With regards to speed, Adobe Photoshop Express requires at least a clock speed of 2GHz to run smoothly. However, that is only the minimum required. If you want better performance, aim for a faster clock speed of 3.5GHz or higher.

Hard Drive Type And Capacity

Your laptop’s hard drive is where all of the information and files are stored in your laptop, including your photos. You can choose from two types of hard drives:

  • Solid-state drives (SSD): SSDs typically have lower storage capacity, faster read and write speeds, and are more expensive.
  • Hard disk drives (HDD): Generally, HDDs have higher storage capacity, slower read and write speeds, and are cheaper. 

If your work frequently calls for batch editing photos, then it’s important to choose storage that has the right balance between capacity and speed. Even the best Chromebooks generally have smaller storage capacities compared to laptops that don’t use the Chrome OS. 

If you need more storage, it is still cheaper to purchase an external storage drive or pay for a premium cloud storage service.

RAM

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. This is where your CPU temporarily stores the information it needs to process data. If your brain is a processor, think of RAM as the paper you’d use to solve an equation.

If you’re using a Chromebook for photo editing, you’ll likely be using certain programs like Adobe Photoshop Express. Typically, this program requires about 1.7GB to 3.2GB of RAM to function smoothly. 

This amount of memory may not sound like a lot, but other programs also require RAM. The Chrome OS can easily use up to 4GB of RAM for simple tasks. While editing photos, you might also be listening to music on Spotify or checking your notifications on Facebook — having these processes open will also take up RAM.

Most modern laptops are built with a minimum of 8GB RAM. This can be a sufficient amount if you’re not the type to have too many tabs open. Alternatively, you can use photo editing apps that are less memory-demanding, like GIMP. While this may not be the best photo editor, especially compared to Adobe apps, it still has all the features you need to edit photos without taking up too much RAM.

Screen Size And Resolution

The quality of a laptop screen can make a world of difference when it comes to editing photos and videos. When choosing a Chromebook, consider the ones that support at least HD resolution (1280 x 720) with a decent screen size. This is probably the lowest resolution you can get away with when it comes to editing photos. 

However, if you own a camera that supports a minimum of Full-HD (1920 x 1080), then it would be much more worth it to get a Chromebook with a screen resolution to match.

Conclusion

Chromebooks are definitely not for everyone, especially if you’re looking for a sole machine to rely on for all your photo and video editing needs. However, it all boils down to your work style. Many professionals have a main workstation at home, likely a powerful desktop PC or high-end laptop, that they use for major projects. For smaller projects that need to be done while traveling or on-site, they’ll use a Chromebook.

The laptops featured in this article are among the best Chromebook for photo editing in 2022. So, if you’re looking for a secondary laptop to supplement your roster of photo editing machines, consider the more affordable ones on this list. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something more capable but still don’t want to break the bank with a high-end laptop, then consider the more premium Chromebooks.

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