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Best Laptop for Photo Editing on a Budget in 2023

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Having the best laptop for photo editing gives you the greatest advantage in the competitive world of photography. A laptop that isn’t up to the job can be frustrating. You can’t run the programs you need. And you can’t produce photography work. That could be a nail in the coffin of a budding photography career.

We’ve compiled a list of the best photo editing laptops so you can find the one you need. We have Mac and Windows laptops. You can choose the operating system you prefer. And we have laptops for all budgets.

The MacBook Pro M1 Max is our top pick. Editors who have used Macs will know how smooth and straightforward MacBooks are to use. This MacBook is particularly good for photo editing. It has all the RAM you need. And it’s a convenient size for editors on the move.

Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max
Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max
This powerful laptop is perfect for photo editing, with its fast processor and high-resolution display for stunning visuals.

[Note: Readers support ExpertPhotography. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]

Finding the Best Laptop for Photo Editing

Windows and Apple both make excellent laptops for photo editing. People in the creative industries often favor Macbooks. But Windows laptops also have the processing power for professional photo editing.

The CPU, RAM, and graphics card are all important components in a good editing laptop. And you also need to think about the screen quality and size. Storage and battery life are practical features you also need to think about.

You need to know your laptop can run your photo editing applications. The best editing software needs a good computer. You want a laptop that can handle Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Luminar Neo.

Here’s an overview of our list of the best laptops for photo editing. We’ll look at each computer in more detail below. And if you need more information, go to the buyer’s guide at the end of the article. We’ll give you more details about the key specs of a laptop for photo editing.

Laptop Name
Why We Love It
Buy From
Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max
Our Top Choice
  • 32 GB of RAM, increased from 16 GB on the previous model
  • 32-core GPU gives you an incredible visual experience
  • Excellent selection of ports, six built-in speakers, and a Full HD native webcam
ASUS ArtPro StudioBook 16″ OLED Laptop
Best Windows Laptop
  • ASUS Dial saves time switching between programs and tools
  • High pixel count (3840 x 2400) gives bright and accurate LCD display
  • 32 GB of RAM and a powerful graphics card for outstanding performance
Razer Blade 17 Laptop
Best for Editing and Gaming
  • 4K resolution LCD display gives you incredible accuracy
  • Vapor Chamber Cooling system keeps it from overheating, even over long periods
  • Selection of ports includes an SD card reader for transferring photos
2022 Apple MacBook Air M2
Best Mac for Travel
  • Slim, compact, and lightweight makes it ideal for travel
  • 10-core GPU gives you a fast and detailed interface
  • Built-in Full HD webcam for meetings and streaming
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
Best for Designers
  • Intel core with 32 GB of RAM gives you excellent performance with pro editing suites
  • PixelFlow touchscreen gives you a more hands-on approach to editing
  • Surface Slim Pen included for touchscreen editing and drawing
Dell XPS 15
Best Native Storage
  • 2 TB of storage comes as standard with this model
  • The 24 MB Intel Smart Cache boosts the clock speed to 4.6 GHz
  • Built-in SD card reader for easy transfer of photos
Acer Swift 3
Best Budget Laptop
  • Excellent performance with editing software for the price range
  • Compact size makes it a good option for travel
  • Built-in HD webcam for meetings and streaming
ASUS ZenBook Duo 14
Best Multi-Screen Laptop
  • Dual screen setup gives you incredible editing options
  • 32 GB of RAM for optimal performance with editing software
  • Touchscreen gives you hands-on editing powers
Lenovo ThinkPad X1
Most Compact Windows Laptop
  • Compact size makes it a good option for travel
  • Intel core has fast 4.7 GHz clock speed
  • Outstanding battery life for hours of uninterrupted work
HP Spectre Luxury 14T x360
Best Hybrid Laptop/Tablet
  • Removable screen section doubles as a touchscreen tablet for excellent editing options
  • Reliable battery life for hours of wireless work
  • Fantastic performance and storage for a website of this size
Best LCD Screen Display
  • 17.3-inch LCD screen gives you fantastic display real estate
  • Excellent GPU gives you excellent performance with high-spec editing software
  • The cooling system allows you to work with many programs for long periods without overheating

The 11 Best Laptops for Photo Editing

We want you to find the best laptop for photo editing. But we understand the best laptop for one editor might not be the best for another. We have a wide range of laptops, including Apple and Windows machines. We also have computers that specialize in certain areas. And of course, we have laptops for every budget.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the laptops, starting with our top pick.

1. Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max

Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max
CPU Apple M1 Max 10-core
Graphics Apple M1 Max 32-Core GPU
Storage 1 TB
Screen 16-inch Retina Display with True Tone

Photo editors can’t do much better than an Apple Macbook Pro M1. They are, pound for pound, the best laptop for photo editing you can find today. It isn’t the cheapest option on the list. But it’s one of Apple’s finest laptops.

The 2022 MacBook Pro is a big step up from the previous model. As smooth and delightful as it was to use, it needed an upgrade in power. And that’s exactly what the latest MacBook Pro M1 delivers. The previous model had a maximum RAM of 16 GB. This model has doubled it to 32 GB. You’ll feel the improved performance when using photo editing software. And that’s especially true for larger programs like Photoshop.

We’ve also seen an improvement in the graphics performance. The older model had a 16-core GPU. But Apple has again doubled it to a 32-core GPU. You’ll have a beautiful display. And you’ll have even more accuracy when editing photos. You’ll see the slightest adjustments. And there will be no surprises if you print or view your work on another device.

This Apple laptop has a 16-inch screen. That’s an increase of 2 inches from the older model. The larger size might not suit some people, and you’ll need a new case. But it does give you more screen real estate. You have more space to work with. And that can improve results and save time.

Many creatives work remotely. The Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max helps you stay connected to clients and colleagues. There’s a 1080p HD camera. And there are six built-in speakers for accurate sound quality.

This model also has plenty of ports for external devices. You have USB-C ports and a headphone jack. And there’s a Thunderbolt 4 and an HDMI port. It’s an all-in-one media machine. The battery life is impressive. It gives you up to 21 hours of uninterrupted use. It’s the best laptop for professional photographers.

2. ASUS ProArt StudioBook

ASUS ArtPro StudioBook 16″ OLED Laptop
CPU Intel Core i7-12700H
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU
Storage 1 TB
Screen 16 Inch

The ASUS ProArt Studiobook is the best laptop for photo editing if you want a Windows laptop. The computer is made for creative professionals. It has the power to run big design programs like Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Pro. Lightroom and Luminar Neo are a piece of cake for this laptop.

The ASUS ProArt has a unique feature creatives will love. The ASUS Dial allows you to scroll through tools and features in programs like Photoshop. It’ll take some practice. But it’s a time-saver once you’ve mastered it. It’s the perfect partner for Adobe users.

This is a powerful Windows laptop. The Intel Core i7-12700H processor is fast and reliable. We’re impressed with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card. And the 32 GB RAM gives you all the power you need to edit photos on any program. The functionality is smooth and the display looks great.

The OLED screen is a spacious 16 inches. That’s a comfortable amount of screen space to work with. And the high pixel count (3840 x 2400) gives you a gorgeous display. It’s bright and accurate. And you can work for hours with no eye fatigue.

You get a long battery life, but it’s not record-breaking. There are plenty of ports, including two USB 3.1 ports and an HDMI port. You also have a headphone and microphone combo jack for audio. But the native camera only has a 720p video resolution. You might want an external webcam if you have a lot of meetings.

3. Razer Blade 17 Laptop

Razer Blade 17 Laptop
CPU 12th Gen Intel Core-i7 (4.8 GHz)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
Storage 1 TB
Screen 17.3-inch LCD, 4K Display

The Razer Blade 17 is one of the best gaming laptops around. You might not be a gamer. But a gaming laptop can also be ideal for creatives and photo editors. The processing power makes them fantastic photo editing laptops. And the Razer Blade 17 delivers power and performance. It can handle any professional photo or video editing software.

The Razer Blade 17 uses a 12th-generation Intel Core-i7 processor. And that’s paired with an RTX 3070 Ti graphics card and 16 GB of RAM. That’s enough power for most modern computer games. And that means it has more than enough for Adobe editing programs. You can also opt for the Razer Blade with RTX 3080 Ti GPU. That gives you 32 GB of RAM. But it’s nearly double the price.

The hard disk has 1 TB of storage. That’s enough for all your editing suites. And you get a broad 17.3-inch LCD screen with an incredible 4K screen resolution. That gives you plenty of space to work in. It’s enough to have several programs operating at once. It has an excellent Vapor Chamber Cooling system. That means you don’t have to worry about the laptop overheating.

The Razer Blade has the connectivity options of a Desktop PC. There are two USB-C and three USB-A ports. There’s a built-in HDMI 2.1 port. And it has a UHS-II SD card slot. You can transfer photos from your memory card to Lightroom with no middleman. That’s a time-saving feature for photo editing.

The Razer Blade 17 is a serious computer. It might be marketed at serious gamers. But it has everything creative professionals need. Power and performance are not something you need to worry about, especially if you go for the 32 GB option. The Razor Blade 17 is one of the best laptops for photo editing. Videographers will love it too.

4. Apple MacBook Air M2

2022 Apple MacBook Air M2
CPU 8-Core Apple M2
Graphics 10-Core Apple M2 GPU
Storage 256 GB
Screen 13.6-inch Retina Display with True Tone

The MacBook Air M2 is the best photo editing laptop if you want something portable. It’s more compact than the MacBook Pro. And while it doesn’t have the same level of performance, the MacBook Air gives you an excellent photo editing experience. It has the smooth and intuitive interface you expect from Apple products. And it has everything you need to edit photos on the go.

The 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU combine to give you an excellent user experience. 8 GB of RAM doesn’t look like much compared to previous laptops. But 8 GB is still enough to run Adobe Photoshop or Luminar Neo. You might not be able to run them at the same time. But you can still plow on with your photo editing.

The screen is only 13.6 inches. That’s the smallest on the list so far. But that’s why it’s the right laptop for the traveling photo editor. The screen quality is wonderful, with an accurate color display. The hard disk space is limited to 256 GB. But remember, the Macbook Air is meant to be portable, not a dedicated workstation laptop.

The Macbook Air has a Full HD native webcam. And there are three mics for clear sound recording. That’s excellent for Zoom meetings with the team. The port situation is strong. You have two Thunderbolt and two USB-C ports. And there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Macbook Air is one of the best laptops for casual photo editors or editors on the go.

5. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
CPU Intel Core-i7
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
Storage 1 TB
Screen 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow Touch Display

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is the best touchscreen laptop for photo editing. It’s one of the best laptops for editors with a hands-on approach to editing. But the Microsoft Surface doesn’t rely on the touchscreen as a gimmick. It has the performance professional editors expect from their laptops. It’s a fantastic hybrid laptop for creatives.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio uses an 11th-generation Intel Core-i7 processor. And there’s 32 GB of RAM for fast and smooth operation. And the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU completes a competitive hardware team. The laptop has 1 TB of internal SSD storage. It’ll have no problem running any editing software or digital art program.

The PixelFlow touchscreen is one of the major selling points. It’s a glorious 14.4-inch display. And the touch action is smooth and responsive. The refresh rate is a lively 120 Hz, so there’s no delay. A Surface Slim Pen is included with the laptop so you can get straight to work.

You can adjust the screen so that it sits in front of the keyboard. You don’t have any ports built into the main laptop body. But it comes with a surface dock with USB and HDMI ports. It also has a handy SD card slot. It has poor battery life compared to Macs. But the Microsoft surface laptop studio is the best photo editing laptop for hands-on creatives.

6. Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15
CPU Intel Core-i7-11800H 8-Core (2.3 GHz)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
Storage 2 TB
Screen 15.6-inch Full HD

The Dell XPS 15 is a fantastic all-around laptop. It’s great for everyday use. But if you go for one of the higher-spec models, the Dell XPS 15 makes a superb photo editing laptop. It’s easy to use and accessible. And it has enough power to be your workstation laptop for editing images.

Dell has a reputation for making reliable computers. And the hardware specs show us the XPS 15 continues the trend. The CPU is an 11th-generation Intel Core-i7-11800H with eight cores for fluid usability. There’s also a 24 MB Intel Smart Cache, boosting the clock speed to 4.6 GHz.

There are different versions of the Dell XPS 15, each with different specs. There are options with 16, 32, or 64 GB of RAM. And the hard disk space varies from 1 to 4 TB. You can select the option that suits you best. But we’ve gone for the one with 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of internal storage. That gives you the power you need for photo editing software. But it doesn’t inflate the price too much.

The Dell XPS has a built-in HD webcam. And there are dual array microphones for quality sound recording. It has a USB 3.2 and two Thunderbolt 4 ports. And there’s an SD card reader. That’s a handy feature for photographers.

We would like to see longer battery life. But you’ll still get hours of uninterrupted work. The Dell XPS is a good photo editing machine. And depending on the option you choose, there’s something for amateurs and professionals.

7. Acer Swift 3

Acer Swift 3
CPU Intel Core-i7-1165G7
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage 512 GB
Screen 13.5-inch LED VertiView

Many ask, “What is the best laptop for photo editing on a budget?” The Acer Swift 3 is an excellent answer to that question. It doesn’t have the specs of the pro laptops. But it’s more affordable. And you can still edit photos using programs like Photoshop and Luminar Neo.

The Acer Swift 3 has a good network of hardware. The Intel Core processor and Intel Iris graphic compressor give you a fast and easy user experience. You also get 8 GB of RAM for fast operating times. You won’t have the power to edit large 8K videos. But using photo editing software isn’t a problem.

The 13.5-inch screen makes it a portable laptop option. But you still have enough space to edit photos in comfort. You get a built-in HD webcam and microphone. And there are plenty of USB and other connection ports. The Acer Swift 3 is the best laptop for photo editing on a budget.

8. ASUS ZenBook Duo 14

ASUS ZenBook Duo 14
CPU Intel Core-i7-1195G7
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce MX450
Storage 1 TB
Screen 14-inch Main Display with 12.6-inch ScreenPad Plus

The Asus ZenBook is another hybrid laptop for creatives of all kinds. You have the main display for standard laptop functionality. But you also get the touchscreen for more creative control. It adds a new dimension to photo editing. It isn’t for everyone. But some editors will love the Asus ZenBook.

There are two options to choose from when buying an Asus ZenBook. You can go for the 16 GB or the 32 GB option. We think the 32 GB RAM version gives better value for money. It is a bit pricier, but it’s worth it for the increased performance. Of course, amateurs might not need the extra power.

The CPU and graphic processor give you a smooth and beautiful display. And there’s 1 TB of internal SSD storage. There aren’t many ports, which might be frustrating to some. And the touchscreen does reduce the battery life. But it’s a unique laptop option for photo editing and other creative activities.

9. Lenovo ThinkPad X1

Lenovo ThinkPad X1
CPU Intel Core-i7-1165G7
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage 512 GB
Screen 14-inch LCD

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is another fantastic option for photo editing on the go. It’s a compact laptop for photo editing. But it still has the power to run your favorite software suites. It’s a great option for amateurs or as a travel computer for pros.

The Intel Core-i7 has a fast clock speed of 4.7 GHz. And you get a decent operation speed with 16 GB of RAM. The display looks excellent thanks to the Intel graphics GPU. But ThinkPad X1 lacks a bit of storage with only 512 GB. It’ll run your programs. But you’ll need external storage to save your edits.

There’s a webcam and microphone so you can stay connected while you travel. And there are plenty of external ports. The battery life is also excellent. It’s one of the best laptops for photographers who travel.

10. HP Spectre Luxury 14T x360

HP Spectre Luxury 14T x360
CPU Intel Core-i7-1165G7
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Storage 1 TB
Screen 14-inch LCD

The HP Spectre is another excellent photo editing laptop for your office or travel bag. It has some of the best Intel hardware for a fast and smooth user experience. There’s 16 GB of RAM. And there’s 1 TB of internal storage. It’s more than capable of running your favorite photo and video editing software.

The screen has a 13.5-inch display that looks fantastic. And it’s a hybrid, so it doubles as a touchscreen. That’s a bonus for hands-on editors and artists. It’s well-equipped with a webcam and ports. And it has reliable battery life. The HP Spectre 14T x360 is one of the best mid-range photo editing laptops.

11. Gigabyte Aero 17

CPU Intel Core i7-11800H
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070
Storage 1 TB
Screen 17.3-inch LCD, 4K Display

The Gigabyte Aero 17 is for gaming and photo editing. If it has the power for games, it has the power for the best photo editing software. The Intel Core CPU and the NVIDIA GPU make an impressive duo. And throw in 16 GB of RAM, and you’ve got one hell of a team. 1 TB of SSD storage is another bonus.

Gaming laptops have a reputation for overheating. But the Aero solves that issue with the WindForce Stack cooling system. That allows you to run more than one large program at once.

The 17.3-inch 4K display looks fantastic. It’s bright and accurate. The Aero is well-equipped with ports like USB 3 and HDMI. It isn’t the cheapest laptop for editing photos. But you get professional performance. The Gigabyte Aero is one of the best laptops for photo editing.

Buyer’s Guide

What to Look for in The Best Laptop for Photo Editing

We’ll take a look at the most important computer specs for photo editing. You need to know what to look for in a photo editing laptop. And the best laptops need to have the power to run Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Luminar Neo.

Computer Processor/CPU

The processor is the main component of a computer’s hardware. It’s essentially the engine of the computer. It takes information from the user and interacts with other hardware to enact the user’s requests.

Computer processors used to have one core. But modern computers use several cores to increase processing power. Having more cores means it can undertake more tasks at the same time. Modern laptops have between 7 and 20 cores in one CPU.

The number of cores is something to look out for in a laptop for photo editing. More doesn’t always mean better performance. But you don’t want a laptop that can’t handle your photo editing needs.

Clock speed is another thing to note in a laptop CPU. The clock speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz). This gives us an indication of how fast a CPU can operate. The GHz reading tells us how many tasks it can handle per second.

Generally, a higher GHz level means a faster laptop. But this comparison can be difficult when looking at computers from different manufacturers. You also need to consider the computer’s age. A 3 GHz processor from 2011 won’t be quicker than a 2 GHz processor from 2022. The clock speed is something to consider. But it doesn’t tell you much on its own.


RAM stands for Random Access Memory. The amount of RAM tells us how much memory a computer has. The higher the RAM, the more information your applications can access at any one time. This relates directly to the operating speed of your computer.

More RAM means you can run more programs at one time. And it tells you it can handle large computer programs, like photo editing applications. Adobe Photoshop and Luminar NEO both use a lot of memory. That means you need a computer with more RAM for better performance.

A computer with a higher RAM count might cost more money. But a faster operating speed makes photo editing quicker and easier. And that saves you money over time.

Graphics Card

The graphics card turns computer data into the visual display you see on your screen. Despite being called a card, they are more similar to CPUs. They have several cores that allow them to perform multiple tasks at once. Again, having more cores doesn’t always equal better performance.

A better graphics card gives you a better computer display. It can increase the pixel count and improve color accuracy, making the display easier on your eyes. It’s important because photo editors need to see their work accurately. They don’t want any surprises when their work is published or printed.


This determines how much information the computer can hold. It’s measured in GB or TB, depending on the size. And it tells you how many apps and files you can store on the computer. Professionals will definitely need more storage for their editing applications and media libraries. But amateur photo editors also need to keep an eye on storage space.

You can always free up storage space on your laptop by using an external hard drive. They’re an essential piece of equipment for all digital photographers and editors.

Laptop Screen

Screen size should be your first consideration. This comes down to personal preference. Many editors prefer a larger screen as it gives them more space to work on. But people who work when they travel might want a smaller screen for convenience.

The pixel count gives a good indication of the display’s image quality. Having more pixels means a cleaner image. But you have to keep the screen size in mind. A high pixel count on a larger screen might not be better than a low pixel count on a small screen.

Some laptops now have a touch screen. This is a point of preference for the user. After using tablets, many editors like to use their laptops in a similar way. Others prefer the more traditional laptop setup.

Laptop on a table with a phone and camera lenses
© Christopher Gower (


The best laptop for photo editing is what we’re all after. But there are a few things we need to consider before we click buy. Operating system, functionality, and price are all top considerations.

The MacBook Pro M1 Max is the best photo editing laptop for Apple users. The ASUS ProArt Studiobook tops the list for Windows laptops. They are both professional computers with a price tag to match. But we’ve included plenty of photo editing laptops for amateurs and those on a budget.

Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max
Apple MacBook Pro M1 Max
This powerful laptop is perfect for photo editing, with its fast processor and high-resolution display for stunning visuals.
ASUS ArtPro StudioBook 16″ OLED Laptop
ASUS ArtPro StudioBook 16″ OLED Laptop
A powerful Windows laptop built for creative professionals. It can run any editing suite and the vibrant display allows you to make accurate and intricate edits.
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