Finding the best laptop for photo editing can sometimes feel like juggling. On the one hand, the machine must be powerful enough to handle the best photo editing programs. On the other hand, it must be portable enough to be carried around for every task.
Photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom can be resource intensive – so. As with the best graphic design laptops, photographers need a powerful photo editing laptop to maintain a flawless creative workflow. But they also need to be beautifully designed and portable so you can easily work from home, in the studio, in the office, or at your local coffee shop.
1. MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)
The MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) is our pick for the best laptop for photographers. It’s a beautiful machine that performs well even with resource-intensive creative applications. And that’s just the beginning of the laptops for photographers and editors.
From the inclusion of an SDXC and 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, to an impressive display with a very wide color gamut, not to mention its incredibly powerful internals, it’s a joy to work with. It also has excellent battery life and won’t slow down your performance when unplugged, so it’s also great for use in the field.
When we tested the device, we were impressed to find a laptop tailored for creative professionals. While it’s not as portable as the 14-inch MacBook Pro, it’s a fair compromise for better battery life and an incredible screen.
2. MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)
With the introduction of the 14-inch (2021) MacBook Pro and its 16-inch version, the MacBook Pro has truly completed its radical transformation as the laptop for creative professionals.
It might be a little too powerful for your everyday document and browser use. But for photo editors, photographers, music producers, and videographers, you can’t go wrong with this beauty.
Powered by the new M1 Pro and M1 Max, this compact laptop impresses with jaw-dropping performance – the performance the most intense creative workloads deserve – and equally astounding battery life.
3. Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021)
The Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) is one of the most powerful mobile workstations on the market, offering plenty of power, a beautiful display, and plenty of ports.
In our review, we were impressed with the build quality of the machine—not only is it incredibly slim, but it also feels great in the hand.
Most importantly, though, it’s priced well below lesser-performing competitors, making it a better deal even if your budget is more flexible. It’s by no means perfect. For example, battery life might need a little boost. It’s also not the best choice for a gaming laptop or for running 3D modeling software, which can sometimes get hot—although you’ll find plenty of tools for tweaking the hardware’s performance.
4. Dell XPS 15 (2020)
The Dell XPS 15 might be enough to appeal to hardcore Mac users. It’s easily one of the best photo editing laptops out there, and in many ways the best laptop of its time.
Combining stunning performance with a sleek, thin and light body, this laptop doesn’t hesitate when it comes to internal components and features that elevate the overall computing experience.
These amazing features include a gorgeous bright display with 500 nits of brightness, an extremely comfortable keyboard, impressive speakers, and an excellent trackpad. Battery life is excellent, and the new Intel Alder Lake processor and RTX GPU inside are a great addition for those looking to get creative.
5. 13-inch MacBook Pro (M2, 2022)
Although it doesn’t look like it – it originally retained the existing design – the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) is more powerful than its M1 predecessor, and the M2 chip offers improvements in both performance and battery life. Our tests show it offers The performance is more than enough for video editing, not to mention photo editing and photography.
Plus, it can handle intensive tasks like photo editing while remaining quiet. Fans rarely step in to keep your cool and minimize disruption to your creative process. Of course, battery life is better than ever, lasting more than 15.5 hours in our tests.
Creative workflows are unique – so we scored each workflow on its merits and how well it met the expectations of its target users. For example, the Dell XPS 13 is great for users who frequently edit on the go, while the 16-inch MacBook Pro is better for those who need serious creativity.