The Best Laptops for Photo Editing on a budget

TL;DR: Here’s a list of my top laptop recommendations for photographers, photoshop and photo-editing in general:

Important
I highly recommend getting an additional 8GB ram and SSD for maximum performance (especially for budget choices).

A photographer’s first love is their camera. But what comes after that? That would be their laptop (think: for photoshop.

Moreover, for intensive photo-editing tasks, you need a laptop that has the juice to handle it and user-friendly so the usage is also simple. Now once you understand this, the problem which arises is, what photo-editing laptop should you get?

Well… there are so many out there, and it’s quite frankly different to narrow down on one. But, you need to understand that each laptop has its flaws as well.

Bottom line? A  laptop should be one that fits your needs and preferences and not due to branding and fancy-schmancy marketing.

Wait! Why am I qualified to write this article?

You need to take everything you read on the internet with a pinch of salt.

So, what makes me compatible to write this review?

Well.. for starters I’m a digital nomad who’s been traveling and working remotely from my laptop for a good 7 months.

I purchased the Asus Vivobook Pro after a ton of research and can confidently say I made the right decision.

Bottom line? I’ve researched a ton to buy a budget laptop for medium to high-intensity tasks (think: photo-editing, website design, etc) and thus have some insight that could help you.

Laptop in an Airbnb

And that’s me working from my laptop in an awesome beach-side villa.

Quick Answer: What is the best laptop for Photo-editing?

ZenBook-Ultra

ZenBook-Ultra

Best overall Windows laptop for photographers with a slighly higher budget.

Check Customer Feedback>>

Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Pro

Best MacBook for high-intensive photo-editing tasks with a slightly higher budget.

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Dell-i7-8750H

A high performing laptop for photographers on a budget (think: under $1000).

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Asus Vivo Book Pro ReviewA great laptop for photo editing on a budget (think: under $1000).

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Acer Aspire E15  Review

Another great laptop for photoshop on a budget (think: under $500).

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Now, if you want to further understand what makes a good laptop for a photographer — I recommend reading below.

In this article, I will cover some of the top laptops and furthermore tell you exactly what makes them both bad and good for a photographer.

So, let’s get started!

What should photographers look for in a laptop for Photoshop?

As a freelancer, a laptop is of central importance. With all the pictures that need to be edited and posted, you want a laptop that has better functionality with photo editing as well.

Do you know what works for me? Google!

Do your research before investing in any laptop that you think will have the best features for photoshop software, a brand does not mean it is the best.

Don’t look for the name of the laptop. Take a look at its features.

Below I’ve listed a few features to look for in a freelancing laptop:

#1: Processor (CPU)

This is an obvious factor when you go out to look for a laptop that is best in photo editing. After all, photo-editing is a highly intensive process and necessitates the use of tools like Photoshop and Adobe.

However, if you’re on a budget it would be difficult to get your hands on the latest and greatest 7th/8th generation processors.

Recommended: At least a 6th generation i5 processor

#2: Ram

A freelancer into photo editing and like you tends to work on many programs simultaneously. That’s obvious; you are a professional photo editor.

Your laptop needs to have a smooth flow while you are editing photos. You surely don’t want it to get frozen when you are on a deadline.

Most budget photo-editing laptops come with 8GB Ram which should be just about enough for basic photo-editing tasks

Recommended: Minimum 8GB Ram

#3: Storage

15 MB! Isn’t that the average size of every picture that you capture from your DSLR.

You are an avid photographer, so this must be the case with every picture that you take. This means you will need a lot of space to store all of your photographs.

Recommended storage: 1TB HDD

#4: Graphics (GPU)

Do you need a graphics card on your laptop for photoshop? Not really.

Integrated graphics on far more newer processors handle intensive software like Photoshop without any issues.

You couldn’t lose to have at least 2BG of dedicated graphics while you edit high-resolution pictures. But if you work with extremely high-resolution pictures and also deal with video editing work occasionally, then you should think about going for a better graphics laptop.

#5: Crisp display (with good color balance)

The display of the laptop needs to be bright for using tools like photoshop. What’s more, you need an array of accurate colors so that it can track fine details.

Go for a laptop that will have complete HD resolution ( 1920×1080) for editing work, but if you have to edit pictures with very high resolution, then you will have to go for a laptop with 4K display

Portability of best lightweight digital nomad laptops

#6: Portability

Another important feature to look for in a photographers laptop is the portability. Yes, a laptop for a photographer is much more intensive than a compact writers laptop, but it’s still important to get a light laptop for convenience.

#7: Recommended Add-ons:

Photo-editing is a highly intensive process and thus requires a ton of juice from your laptop. Add to this intensive chrome multi-tasking, and you’re looking at a lot of power requirements.

For this reason, I highly recommend getting your hands on these add-ons:

Additional 8GB Ram:

8 GB Ram

It is common for any photographer/designer to multi-tasking between highly intensive processes. This is where having that additional 8GB ram (giving you a total of 16GB) can most definitely help keep things lag-free and efficient.

Additional SSD

Now, a few of my recommendations come with SSD so, you won’t require this unless you go for a super-budget laptop.

Nonetheless, SSDs are a great addition to any laptop as they significantly increase the write/read speed of the laptop and make pretty much everything super fast. This reduces boot time and ultimately increases battery life.

To summarize, these are the factors to prioritize when picking a laptop for remote work:

Reviews of Best Laptops for Photo Editing on a Budget

Now that we know what we want to look for in photo editing laptop, let’s dive deep with simple but effective reviews.

You honestly don’t need to spend hours researching and breaking your head over what laptop is great. Just make sure you have the features mentioned above and you’ll make the right decision regardless of your choice!

#1: Asus Zen Book Ultrabook Review

ZenBook-UltraA premium windows laptop with the most well-balanced specifications (think: ultralight meets maximum performance) that don’t mind spending a little bit extra for top-notch specifications.

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PROSCONS
  • Affordable for freelancers and students.
  • Full HD display with excellent color and wide viewing angles.
  • Portable and good battery life.
  • No touch screen variant

Best Reasons to get this laptop?

A laptop that sweeps into every list. The superior quality of this product in terms of performance is exceptional. The ASUS ZenBook is a 13-inch ultra slim notebook. It is affordable for a freelance. It is powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U processor.

Reason 1: Best Affordable Laptop

The Zenbook one of the most popular laptop series from Asus. But despite the fame, the ZenBook UX331UA is priced reasonably low. Especially if you consider some the top-notch specifications (ultra slim body paired with powerful specs).

Reason 2: Well-balanced set of features

A full HD display of 13.3 inches with a vast array of color and viewing angles. Powered by the 8th Gen Intel Core i5 with an 8GB RAM. Additional features include a fingerprint sensor, and a Harman Kardon administered audio is used on the laptop.

Bottom line? This laptop is one of the most balanced in terms of performance and usability.

Reason 3: Remote work friendly

The ultra-slim body and compact form make this laptop super easy to carry along in a backpack. Additionally, the top-notch features (and battery life) make this laptop great for photographers looking to work on the go.

Side note
On another note, I recommend checking to get a waterproof laptop backpack to keep your laptop safe.

#2: Asus Vivo Book Pro Review

A great budget-friendly laptop for photographers that value portability and powerful performance. In fact, I personally use this laptop and can confidently recommend it.

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PROSCONS
  • Affordable Price
  • Good display
  • Battery life is not good.

Why should you get this laptop?

The Asus Vivo Book is well within the budget of a freelancer. It gives excellent value for your price. As a photographer, you would not want to compromise on features.

Reason 1: Within your Budget

Most of the current laptops which possess a 4K display will cost more than $1500. But that’s not the case with the Asus Vivo Book. At around $1000, it suits a freelancers budget.

Reason 2: Competent Processor

The Asus Vivo Book comes with the 7th Generation 28 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 along with a 16GB RAM

Reason 3: Capable Performer

It possesses an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU which makes it a great performer when it comes to intensive media creation and constant editing process.

#3: Acer Aspire E15 576G Review

A budget-friendly laptop for photographers that want a decent photo-editing laptop under $500.

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PROSCONS
  • Brilliant for a freelancer who is under budget.
  • Battery last 12 hours
  • Easy usage
  • The display is not the best

Why should you get this laptop?

The most recommended laptop for those who are on a budget. The Acer Aspire is below $500 and is easily used. It is designed for quick use with an 8GB RAM, and a full HD LED display. It is a delight to work with.

Reason 1: Perfect under Budget

For a freelancer who does not have much money at the start, this laptop is excellent for you. If your budget is around $500, then the Acer Aspire is all yours.

Reason 2: Speed and Portability

The Acer Aspire is designed especially for speed, mobility, and easy usage. It has a light chassis which makes it easy to carry around as you work. It also looks great.

Obviously, it is made from polycarbonate plastic.

Reason 3: Battery Life

The one problem that every freelancer faces?

Battery life!

Fortunately, The Acer Aspire has a battery life that is beyond any comparison. It is a great buy.

#4: Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Review

A lightweight laptop for photographers that value extreme portability while still being able to get work done.

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PROSCONS
  • Flexible and Portable
  • Great with heavy applications
  • Great battery life
  • The extra cost for photographers who want a laptop experience. They will have to buy a separate keyboard.

Why should you get this laptop?

It is the best kind of versatile laptop which has way more power with an 8th Generation Intel Core Processor. The battery lasts for 13.5 hours on a single charge. It is like a powerhouse. .It handles heavy applications, multimedia and graphics seamlessly. It even offers bonus features which you will love.

Reason 1: Flexible and Productive

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 comes along with tablet-like features along with the productivity of a laptop which is ideal for photographers like you.

Reason 2: Great Display

The display has a wide range of viewing angles. It covers a broad color spectrum. It has a 12.3-inch Pixelsense pressure sensitive display with a resolution of 2736 x 1824 pixels.

Reason 3: Great Battery Life

The laptop lasts for 13.5 hours on a single charge. You can travel without the worry of charging the computer always.

#5: Dell G5 Review

A powerful laptop with top-notch specification (think i7 processor, etc.) that’s capable of running highly intensive photo-editing tasks with maximum efficiency.

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PROSCONS
  • affordable pricing (under USD$1000)
  • Gret build qualtiy that prevents overheating issues
  • Extremely powerful specifications for efficient Image editing & video editing
  • The display is not bright and colorful.
  • Slightly bulkier as compared to competitors

Why should you get this laptop?

The Dell 5 is ideal when you are on a budget. It is below $1000 with the best performance features which make your life a cakewalk. 8GB RAM with the latest 8th Generation Intel Core i5. A photographer’s best friend.

Reason 1: Within your Budget

Freelancers are on a budget, and the Dell 5 is the best in photo editing with a budget below $1000. That’s not all, even with this price it gives you the best performance and has features which make a photographer’s life comfortable.

Reason 2: Does not get heated

Don’t you always get worried when your laptop becomes as hot as a frying pan?

The Dell 5 can handle the pressure of your work without getting heated because it comes in a licorice black plastic and metal built chassis.

What’s even better is it revolutionary thermal cooling technology.

Reason 3: Ideal for heavy graphics

The Dell 5 gets better. Since you are using your laptop regularly for heavy graphics, it fits in. It is a powerful and efficient graphics performer.

#6: Dell XPS 9570 Laptop Review

An affordable photo-editing laptop with a well-rounded set of features that’s capable of running intensive photo-editing tasks.

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PROSCONS
  • The display is the best for photo editing
  • Can handle intensive photo and video editing
  • Solid multitasker
  • Small screen

Why should you get this laptop?

There seem to be no flaws in the Dell XPS 15. It is a perfect laptop if you are merely looking for plain old perfection. The display is its USP giving it a headstart to the best laptop for photo editing.

Reason 1: Display is MINDBLOWING!

A 4K resolution which has a color spectrum of 10% of Abode SRGB. It is the best in the field of professional photo editing.

Reason 2: Powerhouse

The configuration of the laptop is the form of an Intel Core i7 hexacore processor. 16GB RAM for efficient multitasking and 512GB of SSD storage.

Reason 3: Intensive Photo Editing

The hardware is such that it can bear the most massive kind of photo and video editing. A 4k display is the best in the market as of now.

#7: HP Spectre x 360 Review

A highly portable laptop with an excellent user-friendly interface and great specifications that work great for efficient photo-editing workflows.

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PROSCONS
  • Best convertible laptop for photo editing
  • Stylus for precision
  • Reliable battery life
  • 512 SSD
  • Price slightly above those on a budget

Why should you get this laptop?

The HP Spectre is a stunning laptop which has a unique hexagonal shape.it has a robust set of hardware which gives it an upper hand in comparison to the other laptops. Its reliable battery life adds to its praise.

Reason 1: Exquisite Hardware

A six-core Intel i7 processor with a frequency of 4.14 Hz with an 8GB RAM and 256GB of SSD for storage. It suffices the requirements of a photographer to run a photo editing software smoothly on a laptop.

Reason 2: Stylus

It comes along with a Stylus supporting the Windows Ink which surely is compatible with one another. The Stylus allows the edit to happen with perfection.

Reason 3: Reliable for Photo Editing

With a display of HP X 360 and a vivid 15.6 inch 4K IPS panel, it brings out the colors of the image on the screen.

#8: Microsoft Surface Book 2 Review

Another portable laptop with an affordable pricing perfect for photographers that value high performance.

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PROSCONS
  • Detachable Laptop
  • Surface Pen facility
  • Hardware that is a photo editors delight
  • Price is not suitable while on a budget.

Why should you get this laptop?

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a detachable laptop which also supports a Surface Pen and a Surface Dial as well.

With the 8th Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processor with 16GB RAM and 1TB of SSD storage.

Reason 1: Detachable Laptop

Microsoft Surface Book 2 can be used as a laptop when the keyboard is detached. It comes in two sides of 13 and 15 inches, as per your requirement.

Reason 2: Surface Pen

The image editing skills of the laptop are a notch higher not because of its specifications or form but the Surface Pen. It makes editing fun and all the easier.

Reason 3: Hardware- First Class!

The newest 8th Generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors give the Microsoft Surface Book 2 a considerable head start when you compare it to its contemporaries. Added plus points for its 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage. It can handle Lightroom and Photoshop.

#9: LG Gram Review

LG Gram ReviewA new laptop that’s got some of the best specifications on the marketing, but it’s more expensive than most competitors.

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PROSCONS
  • Portable for photographers on the go
  • Colorful display
  • Standard PC look

(17 inch IPS display)

  • Suitable to use Photoshop or Lightroom but video editing is a problem.
  • Expensive for freelancers

Why should you get this laptop?

As a photographer, you look for a laptop where every inch of your picture is visible. The 17 inch IPS display is perfect for you. A massive 16 GB RAM adds to the bliss. Along with it being portable.

It couldn’t get better.

Reason 1: Large Display

Coming out of the PC era, you don’t miss it much. The 17-inch display is large and powerful hardware. Your pictures will be easier to edit with better visibility.

Reason 2: Portability

The chassis is made of a special kind of alloy metal which is why it is perfect for photographers who tend to travel a lot and edit pictures while going. Plus it is lightweight so you won’t feel like you are carrying a 17-inch laptop.

Reason 3: Strong Configuration

The Lg Gram has a powerful configuration which makes it a great photo editing laptop as you use Photoshop or Lightroom without any problems.

#10: Apple MacBook Pro 15 Review

If you’re a photographer and love the Mac then there isn’t any other laptop that’s more compatible than the MacBook Pro. It’s slightly more expensive than its windows counterparts but definitely among the best.

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PROSCONS
  • Handles high-end graphics tools
  • Seamless multitasking
  • Powerful photo and video editing tools
  • Exorbitant price for those on a budget

Why should you get this laptop?

A MacBook is the most used laptop among professionals. It provides high-end graphics tools which enable seamless photo and video editing. With a 16GB RAM and latest generation six-core Intel Core i7 processor. It has a very reliable storable option.

Reason 1: High-end graphics tools

Professionals look towards MacBook for its premium high-end visual tools for processing video and images. It has a stunning 15.4 inch True Tone Retina display with a resolution of 2880×1800.

Reason 2: Multitasking and Storage

Powered by the latest generation six-core Intel Core i7 processor. Add that to a 16GB RAM and 258GB SSD storage.

BAZZINGA all the way!

Reliability is its forte.

Reason 3: Overall Performance

The laptop has an all-metal unibody chassis which makes the MacBook look sleek and of high quality. It has a vast array of photo and video editing tools.

Added features include a large trackpad and touch bar above the keyboard.

(P.S This helps A LOT in Photoshop)

Winding up on Best Laptops for Photo Editing on a Budget

Together we traveled across the ten laptops which are the best in its field.

The pros and cons lie before you. Choose a laptop that fits your needs. Don’t fall prey to any fancy features or even the brand name.

Some are lightweight for your travels; some are detachable; some are within your budget while others might not be. From the above list choose what you need best.

Your high resolutions pictures need seamless performance.

I hope you can choose the best for your need with the help of my article.

Mark Quadros is a Content Marketer for SaaS and Online-business. He also runs 'The Real Mark', a blog about travel, remote work, and online marketing. Affiliate Disclosure.

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