Best Laptop For Photo Editing: The Top Picks Of 2021

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With Photoshop and other photo editing software, you can edit images anywhere – even on your smartphone!

However, more advanced editing work requires an equally advanced computer. 

If you’re a photographer on the go, a photo editing laptop may be the best option. In this list, we’ve compiled our best laptop for Photoshop picks! 

But if you find yourself with editing work that’s just too tough to do – even with the best computer for photo editing – you can always call a professional. If you’re having difficulties retouching old photos of treasured memories, get in touch today to get bespoke photo restorations for an extremely affordable price!

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What You Need In A Photo Editing Laptop

While it sounds simple, photo editing can’t be done on any computer. Because image editing and graphic design can take up a lot of resources, you need a powerful computer to match that demand for power – usually more power than what a budget laptop offers. 

Most laptops’ internal parts cannot be modified or replaced, so you need to make sure that the computer you buy fits your needs perfectly. In this section, we’ll break down the key requirements for your photo editing laptop.

Processing Power

A computer’s processing power is governed by a central processing unit (CPU). The CPU acts as the brains of your laptop, making sure that your input is processed properly to provide the desired output. 

Photo editing uses many components of your computer to process your inputs, make changes to the image, save it to disk, and display it on your screen. Therefore, you need a relatively powerful CPU on your photo editing laptop.

Monitor Specifications

Screen size is an essential consideration when getting your photo editing laptop because you need to balance between portability and ease of editing. Most laptops have screens sized between 11 and 17 inches, measured from the top corner to the opposite bottom corner.

A larger screen helps you see images better and makes it easier to access editing tools, but you’ll be sacrificing mobility because of the larger body and heavier weight. Likewise, small screens trade ease of editing with portability. As a compromise, we recommend getting a 13-inch or 15-inch photo editing laptop to balance screen size and portability.

Another important consideration is the screen’s resolution – a measure of how many pixels exist on the screen. The more pixels you have, the sharper your image will look. A 1920×1080 resolution – otherwise known as 1080p HD – is the minimum you should be looking for on laptops for photo editing. 

HDD/SSD Storage Drive

All the data in a computer is stored on a disk. They come in two major types: solid-state drive (SSD) and hard disk drive (HDD). 

HDDs use mechanical disks read by magnets. These offer larger storage for cheaper prices, but they tend to be slower. SSDs, on the other hand, have no moving parts and are much faster, although they’re much more expensive compared to HDDs.

If you want your laptop to read and write files faster, we recommend you choose a laptop for photo editing that comes with an SSD drive. If you’re worried about an SSD-only laptop being too small in terms of space, some laptops offer the option to have a small SSD and a larger HDD in one computer.

RAM Capacity

In addition to a hard drive, a computer also has random access memory (RAM) storage. Any data stored in your RAM is deleted once you turn off the computer, so they’re typically used to store data needed from moment to moment. Without enough memory, the computer will use the hard drive to store this temporary data – slowing down your computer.

Most modern laptops are packaged with 4 to 16GB of RAM, but more advanced laptops can have up to 64GB. You’ll likely need at least 8GB to edit photos so you can guarantee stable performance. However, if you’re going to edit very large photos and raw files, you may benefit from upgrading your memory so your laptop for photo editing can load the larger files easier.

Graphics Card Performance

A laptop’s graphics card or graphics processing unit (GPU) controls what your screen displays. Most laptops for photo editing usually offer you the choice between a discrete graphics card or an integrated graphics card.

If you choose an integrated graphics card, your CPU will be the one that does the work to display images for you. While this is enough for the average user on a budget laptop, it may not be enough if you frequently edit large images and videos. In that case, you may need a discrete graphics card that takes the workload off the CPU and helps your laptop for photo editing run faster.

However, discrete graphics cards may take up more power and can lower your battery performance. Because it’s an added component on your laptop for photo editing, this can also make your computer more expensive. While discrete GPUs can be useful, you’ll need to consider whether the performance increase is worth trading off your laptop’s battery life and lower price.

Availability Of Ports

To provide connectivity with other devices, laptops use ports. These ports can range from USB ports for storage to headphone ports to HDMI ports for external connection. 

The availability, number, and types of ports can make or break a laptop purchase. For example, you may find that a laptop doesn’t have enough ports to plug in your USB mouse and external hard drive at the same time. You may also find that a laptop doesn’t have an HDMI port, so you can’t plug in your external monitor.

Our Favorite Laptops For Photo Editing In 2021

We’ve scoured the laptop market for the best photo editing laptop, and here are our top picks!

Apple MacBook Pro 16 Inch (2019)

Key Specifications

  • Screen: 16-inch Retina display
  • Processor: 9th gen Core i7
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: AMD Radeon 5300M

2019’s entry in the long-running Apple MacBook Pro line remains one of the best laptops for photo editing. This edition of Apple MacBook Pro features improvements in heat dissipation to allow its Core i7 processor to run even faster. The Retina display on this MacBook Pro also boasts a 3072×1920 resolution, ensuring the greatest detail for photo editors. Additionally, Apple has improved the battery life on this MacBook Pro, promising 11 hours of battery life doing non-intensive tasks on its 100Wh battery. 

Improving on previous editions, Apple gives the 2019 MacBook Pro 16-Inch an improved and more reliable keyboard based on the iMac’s Magic Keyboard. This MacBook also features Apple’s signature Touch Bar that replaces the function keys on Windows laptops. The bar’s display changes with the programs you’re running and serves various purposes, and you can also access Siri using this bar. 

One caveat of the 16-inch MacBook Pro is its weight – at 4.3 pounds, it may be slightly weighty compared to other Apple laptops like the MacBook Air. 

Dell XPS 15 (2020)

Key Specifications

  • Screen: 15.6-inch 4K
  • Processor: 10th gen Intel Core i7-10875H
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • RAM: 16GB 
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti

The most recent entry in the Dell XPS line remains one of the best laptops for photo editing in the 15-inch class. The Dell XPS 15 features 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD, and a 10th-generation Intel Core i7 processor. For better graphic processing performance, it comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics card.

Dell also offers the option to modify the hardware configuration of your Dell XPS 15 laptops. All you need to do is to go to their online store and choose the specifications you need. This means you can either shell out more cash for a more powerful laptop or tune down the specifications for affordability.

While its weight of 4.5 pounds may be on the heavy side, it features an advantage over the previous year’s model by having a smaller chassis. Another thing that you may need to keep in mind is that the laptop fans may sound too loud when doing more intense photo editing. It also tends to run a little hotter than most laptops.

If weight and size are your concern, they also offer the smaller Dell XPS 13. While the smaller laptop is slightly less powerful than its larger cousin, the Dell XPS 13 still features respectable performance, and some models even come with a touch screen.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 (2020)

Key Specifications

  • Screen: 14-inch FHD
  • Processor: 10th gen Intel Core i5-10310U
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • RAM: 8GB
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics (integrated)

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is another worthy competitor in our list of best laptops for photo editing. While it’s not a Retina display, the 14-inch screen laptop features an FHD display with a touchscreen option. 

Its base model features an Intel Core i5, 8GB of memory, and a 256 SSD, but you can spend more to increase its performance. The keyboard on this laptop still upholds the terrific ThinkPad standards, with snappy typing that also gives you the option of using a touchpad or a mini joystick. An addition not typically found on other touchpads is that it features three mouse buttons instead of the regular two.

Featuring the signature matte-black look of the ThinkPad series, Lenovo boasts that this laptop has passed 810G torture tests against shock and vibrations. Despite its slightly bulkier frame, its weight of 4 pounds is lighter than its close competitor, the Dell XPS 15. This laptop, however, can stand to improve its battery performance. Compared to the XPS 15 and MacBook Pro, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon still falls behind on battery life.

If you’re looking to upgrade from the X1 Carbon, Lenovo also offers the more powerful Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme featuring the stronger Intel Core i9 CPU for better performance.

HP Spectre X360 (2020)

Key Specifications

  • Screen: 13.3-inch 4K AMOLED
  • Processor: 11th gen Intel Core i5-1135G7
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • RAM: 8GB
  • GPU: Intel Iris Xe (integrated)

For extra portability and convenience, you can consider 2-in-1 laptops (also known as convertible laptops). This type of laptop can be converted into tablet form for working on-the-go. The HP Spectre X360 is the quintessential example of how powerful a 2-in-1 laptop can be. 

This laptop features a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor complemented by 8 GBs of memory. While it may be somewhat smaller than most laptops in its class, its 13.3-inch screen still delivers 4K-quality images perfect for photo and video editing.

True to HP’s focus on portability, this laptop is small and lightweight, clocking in at only 2.87 pounds. Its size allows you to hold it in one hand without being cumbersome. However, the small size does come with the trade-off of higher heat when processing complicated tasks – this may become uncomfortable when you have it sitting on your lap. 

If you can look past its shorter battery life and potential heat issues, you’ll find that the HP Spectre X360 is one of the best laptops if you’re a photographer that seeks a lightweight and portable option. However, keep in mind that you may need to shell out more for this laptop compared to its closest competitors like the ThinkPad.

Razer Blade 15 (2020)

Key Specifications

  • Screen: 15-inch FHD
  • Processor: 10th gen Intel Core i7-10875H
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 200

As one of the premier names in video gaming accessories, this gaming laptop features a lot of power in its chassis. The Razer Blade 15 comes with an 8-core Intel Core i7 processor boasting 16GB of memory and a high-powered Nvidia GeForce RTX 200 graphics card. Because it’s built to be a gaming powerhouse, this 15.6-inch laptop is a top contender for one of the best photo editing laptops due to its high performance.

If you require a laptop for more demanding tasks (like processing high-resolution photography), you can also customize its hardware and opt for more powerful options – including a new graphic card, a 1TB SSD, and a touch screen. The Razer Blade also features a simple design that sets it apart from other gaming laptops. 

All the power under the hood does hurt its battery life. Testing the laptop with everyday tasks shows that the battery only lasted a little over 5 hours – you need to pack a charger wherever you go. However, the Razer Blade 15 is a great option if you need excellent processing power for photo editing…and the occasional gaming session.

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581

Key Specifications

  • Screen: 15.6-inch OLED Ultra HD (main screen), 14-inch Ultra HD (Screenpad)
  • Processor: 9th gen Intel Core i9-9980HK
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • RAM: 32GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060

At first glance, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 may be one of the most striking laptops on this list due to its second screen complementing its main 15.6-inch display. Called the Screenpad Plus, this extra 4K touchscreen display can act as an extra display for your photo editing programs. For example, you can be working on Photoshop on the main screen and open your emails using the bottom screen.

The ZenBook is also one of the best photo editing laptops on this list in regards to power thanks to its 8-core Intel Core i9 processor paired with 32GB of RAM. Its powerful Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU ensures peak graphical performance, while its 1TB SSD makes sure you have enough storage space. 

However, this power and extra screen feature come with some drawbacks. Weighing in at 5.51 pounds, this laptop is bulkier and heavier than its peers. It also comes with a higher price tag compared to other laptops of its class.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Key Specifications

  • Screen: 12.3-inch PixelSense
  • Processor: 10th-generation Intel Core i5-1035G4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • RAM: 8GB
  • GPU: Intel Iris Plus (integrated)

For a smaller 2-in-1 laptop, you can opt for a Microsoft Surface Pro 7. With its quad-core Intel Core i3 and integrated graphics unit paired with 4GB of RAM, the base model may not be as powerful as the HP Spectre. However, its 12.3-inch screen and 1.7-pound weight make it the better option for portability. 

The touchscreen is responsive and sharp, but it’s somewhat outdated and lacks common features like HDR as well as better color gamut coverage. The bezels on the display are also thicker than most of its peers as well, giving you a smaller screen to work with.

The battery life and outdated screen may work against it, but it’s excellent for photo editors who want portability for light editing work. With the new addition of a USB-C port for versatility, the Surface Pro is still the best laptop for photo editing if you’re frequently out and about.

Benefits Of Hiring A Professional Photo Restoration Expert

The best laptop for photo editing is no substitute for skill and years of practice. If you’re looking to restore an old photo to make it look like it was taken yesterday, it’ll take a lot of effort. And even if you can do it, there’s no guarantee that it will look its best. 

That’s why we recommend that you get professional help to restore your treasured memories. 

Our team at Image Restoration Center is here to help! Photoshop wizards and historical advisors with years of experience can assist you in restoring your prized images, so it looks brand new. Using the latest methods and applications, we make sure that your memories will be remembered vibrantly for years to come. 

In addition to image restoration, we also offer many other services! Our restoration and recoloring services begin at $35 per photo, which also includes an unlimited amount of revisions. If you’re not 100% satisfied with the outcome, we also offer a 100% money-back guarantee.

Get Your Photos Restored In Three Simple Steps!

Our affordable restoration services couldn’t be simpler – these three steps are all you need to do!

Send Us Your Photos

You don’t need to send us the physical photo – you just have to take a picture of the photo you want us to colorize or restore, then upload it to our secure servers. For the best results, we recommend that you provide a high-quality scan.

Let Our Team Do Their Magic

Once your photo is uploaded, your part is done! Now, you can wait while our team works their magic. Our photo editors will restore the photo based on the recommendations of our history advisors. You can expect this process to take from 24 to 72 hours.

Receive Your Photos

When it’s done, you’ll receive the photo as a high-resolution JPEG in your email inbox. If you have revision notes on your image, feel free to send us a message! 

We can also print the image so you can frame it on your wall. While it may take several days to arrive on your doorstep, you’ll be cherishing your treasured family memories before long!

Closing Thoughts

The best laptop for photo editing for you needs to balance performance and portability – this ensures that you can still edit on the go while being powerful enough to execute demanding tasks. However, a great editing laptop still needs experienced photo editors to guarantee the best results.

If you’re finding it tough to restore your treasured family photos, Image Restoration Center is the best way to do it!

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