Best Laptop for Photoshop In 2021

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Table of Contents

Introduction


If you do a lot of photo editing and need a new laptop, you need the best laptop for Photoshop. Photoshop is the most used application among illustrators, graphic designers, and photo editors. What you need for Photoshop is a powerful and efficient system that can run this demanding application smoothly. Anything below average or even average will leave you frustrated, and will affect your productivity.

Having a good system with plenty of power, speed, and storage is essential for content creators and graphic designers to do their best work. Having a competent laptop allows you to express your creativity in your work without any hindrance. These laptops are reviewed and selected for having a powerful processor, good memory, efficient GPU, and a brilliant display that gives you detail and a crisp view of colors and elements. Let’s look at each of our selected laptops in detail. 


Apple MacBook Pro M1

  • Powerful M1 processor
  • Retina display
  • Improved keyboard
  • Robust form factor

If you are familiar with mac OS, the new Macbook Pro should be your go-to option for a laptop for photoshop.

The brand new M1 chip outperforms almost every other laptop out in the market right now, yet still offers incredible battery life on top of it.

The powerful processor allows you to work on dozens of layering and effects at a time. Adobe has also announced that they will optimize Photoshop for the new M1 chip, so expect performance to improve even more from here. 

For the display, the Macbook Pro comes with Apple’s signature Retina display, which offers both vivid, accurate colors and super high resolution at the same time. This display should make editing on the laptop far easier as you are able to see colors accurately and in high detail. 

With its redefined scissor mechanism, the keyboard is also much improved from the previous generation Macbooks. Overall, the new Macbook Pro with the M1 chip is a fantastic laptop that ticks pretty much all the boxes. 


Dell XPS 15 9500

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  • Major improvements over its predecessor
  • Updated internals
  • Huge screen given its more compact size
  • Brand new chassis

Dell XPS 15 is one of the best laptops for Photoshop and other demanding applications. Often touted as the Macbook equivalent of Windows laptops, the Dell XPS 15 lives up to its reputation in many ways.

The all new 9500 generation of the Dell XPS comes with many improvements over its previous generation, and is pretty much a brand new laptop as a whole.

It’s screen is now extended to a 16:10 aspect ratio, comes with a brand new chassis that is both sleeker yet smaller in its footprint. The keyboard is also updated with more responsive haptics and features a more modern font.

Under the hood, the new version of the XPS 15 is also updated with the latest Intel 10th gen i7-10750H, faster NVME SSD storage, RAM, and more. These components make it far better for Photoshop, and will be able to handle any complex edits or layers you throw at it.

If you have the budget to spare and want the true Macbook equivalent on a Windows laptop, the all new 9500 generation of the Dell XPS 15 should be your choice. The major upgrades that Dell has made on the XPS 15 are nothing short of incredible and you can certainly feel it when using the laptop.


Microsoft Surface Pro 7

  • Long battery hours
  • Ultra-thin bezel design
  • High-resolution display
  • Built-in kickstand

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a great option that delivers more power than ever. With its 10th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, you can run some intensive applications, including Photoshop.

The system provides a long battery and works for 10.5 hours that is not bad considering its size. The laptop features a magnesium alloy chassis that is sleek and compact. With that said, the looks of this option isn’t anything to write home about, especially since its bezels are a bit on the thicker side.

The Surface Pro comes with an amazing screen, though. Its 12.3” screen size seems a bit small, but it’s 2736 x 1823 resolution certainly makes up for it, as it provides lifelike colors with an sRGB color gamut. The display is everything that photo editors need to analyze colors and represent them with brilliant depths.

You get both USB C and USB A ports for connectivity. The laptop also supports a Bluetooth connection.

Overall, Microsoft Surface Pro offers plenty of storage and power for video or photo editing. The cover hinges back to nearly flat. It features a built-in kickstand just in case you want to use it as a tablet. You can also angle the keyboard for comfortable typing.


Lenovo ThinkPad T495s

  • Radeon Vega GPU
  • Super slim bezels
  • Ryzen Pro processor

The Lenovo ThinkPad T495s is another great option for photo editing. The laptop features AMD’s 2nd Generation Ryzen Pro processor, which offers superior performance than its Intel counterpart. The Radeon Vega GPU that comes with this laptop also packs a punch on the graphics end.

You can also take your workhorse along with you easily with its 2.8lbs weight. The display is no less stunning as well. It comes with a full HD resolution of 1920×1080 and goes up to 400-nits in brightness. The display also features an anti-glare technique as well.

On top of that, the screen also has super-slim bezels to make your display seem wider, giving you more screen real estate in a compact size.

The laptop has a sturdy build. It features a matte black chassis that looks a bit traditional but feels very secure. It also boasts up to 16 hours of battery life, which is more than enough for most people. However, the battery life depends on the usage and type of application or media you are running on your system.


HP Spectre X360

  • 360-degree screen hinge
  • Quad-core i7 processor
  • Exceptionally clear display
  • NVIDIA GeForce MX330 card

The HP Spectre X360 is one of the best compact laptops for photo editing. It can handle demanding applications like Photoshop or Illustrator pretty well despite being razor thin.

It also comes with a few nifty features, like an IR camera or biometric security system. It also includes a camera shield that ensures your camera sees only when you want it to see.

Its 360 degrees flip and fold design allow you to set the screen in your required position for editing. The 10Th Generation i7 Quad-core provides all the power your system needs for smooth and fast editing. It provides plenty of storage for all your media files with 16GB of RAM and a 512 SSD.

What distinguishes the Spectre X360 is its vivid display. The 15.6” 4K touchscreen is a WLED display, meaning it emulates the vivid colors on an OLED on the screen. The screen is also very crisp thanks to its high resolution, rivaling the clarity of the Retina screens on Macbooks.

An added bonus is the NVIDIA GeForce MX330 graphics card that should give a boost in graphics performance over other options without a dedicated graphics card. 

Also, the Spectre X360 has a fairly long battery life at 13.5 hours, which is great when you consider it’s size. It provides plenty of connectivity ports. The diverse selection of ports includes ThunderBolt, Type C, Type A, HDMI, and an AC smart pin.

Overall, it’s a great option for photo and video editors. Its rich and vivid display, speedy system, and powerful processor help you run all applications smoothly.


ASUS ZenBook Duo UX481 Laptop

  • Dual-screen laptop
  • NVIDIA GeForce MX250 card
  • NanoEdge display
  • FHD touchscreen

Here is another option from Asus with dual screens. The Zenbook Duo is designed for photographers and editors with a secondary screen pad.

The screen pad is not just for aesthetics but can be used as a tool for creative professionals. You can put tools, references, or source files on the screen pad. This way, the primary display can be used as a preview, or whatever you like to make use of the added screen real estate.

The ZenBook Duo comes with a striking design that hooks you the moment you look at it. The laptop gives stunning graphics and multimedia support with its NVIDIA GeForce MX250 card. The powerful 10Th Generation Intel 7 processor gives you lag-free performance even when you are multitasking and working on too many media files.

A stunning NanoEdge display is another great advantage of Asus ZenBook Duo. Its FHD screen looks more stunning with its four-sided frame-less design. The narrow bezels make your screen look bigger and brighter. Its Pantone Validated touch screen renders vivid colors with deep blacks. A full set of ports, including all the USB C, A, gives you dongle-free connectivity.


HP ZBook 15u G5

  • Very affordable
  • Lightweight and easy to carry around
  • Quad-core intel processor

This one from HP is a budget laptop for Photoshop and editing. It’s an affordable option for photo editors who can’t pay the high price of MacBook, Surface Pro or the Dell XPS. 

The laptop has a pretty thin and light design that is good for the price. It’s a portable design weighing no more than 1.77kg. The build quality is also good. The aluminum chassis and keyboard give it a sturdy and premium feel and look.

The Zbook features an 8th Generation Intel Core i5 processor that is slightly outdated compared to other premium options in this list, but holds its own when it comes to Photoshop performance.

Still, its Quad-Core Intel processor works great for 3D professionals and graphic designers. You can view and edit high-resolution files and keep them safe with its industry-leading safety features.

The display has a modest resolution of 1920 x 1080, but comes with accurate colors and an anti-glare finish that makes it very usable outdoors. It gives up to 14 hours of battery life that makes the laptop perfect for using on the go.Overall, the laptop is an excellent option at a more affordable price, and you should consider this if you don’t want to spend a ton of money yet want adequate performance in Photoshop. 


Buying Guide of Best Laptop for Photoshop


You should look at the following specs while choosing a laptop for Photoshop.


• Processor


As a CPU is the brain of the computer, the first thing to look for is the processor. It is measured in clock speed and cores. The higher power means you will be able to use demanding applications like Photoshop very easily.

As far as the cores are concerned, Photoshop benefits from having more cores in the CPU, but anything above 4 cores should suffice.


• RAM


Photoshop benefits from having more RAM in your system as it can access more assets at a time if they are cached in the RAM. We’d recommend a minimum of 8GB of RAM, while 16GB being optimal. Some premium laptops even come with 32GB of RAM which will be fantastic for photoshop, but are often pricey. 


• GPU


Having a dedicated graphics processing unit helps with off loading heavy graphical tasks from your CPU. A proper GPU gives more power to your monitor and helps you have a better display. For having a 4K display, you need to have a good GPU. Photoshop also uses the power for its several tools and filters as well. A good GPU is also essential if you intend to do some video editing as well.


• SSD


SSDs may not be as affordable as hard drives, but they are faster and help you open, save, or launch applications like Photoshop much faster. Having a SSD on your system makes doing everything far snappier and responsive, and we do not recommend using a computer without a SSD. 


Final Words


Having a good system at your hands is essential for showing performance with challenging applications like Adobe Photoshop. Without a good system, these applications can take too much time to open, perform, or save the files. The results can be frustrating and you can face a lack of efficiency. The rich display helps you distinguish between the nuances of colors and shades, which is a big requirement for more lifelike and breathtaking edits.

All options in our list of the best laptops for Photoshop are carefully chosen for their performance, reliability, and quality.

If you are comfortable with working within mac OS, the Macbook Pro is your best choice by far thanks to its new M1 chip. On the Windows end, the new Dell XPS 15 would be the best since it has been heavily updated with huge improvements compared to the previous generation which was already a brilliant laptop to begin with. 

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