3 laptops for photo editing
Bigger pixel-packed screens and enough oomph for Photoshop – buying a laptop for photo editing
Photographers and creatives need processing power and screen quality from their laptop.
Some prefer larger, 15-inch screens. We spoke to a designer who said bigger screens were ‘better for doing cut-outs in Photoshop’. While others want to blend screen size with portability with a 13.5-inch screen for working on the go.
If you’re planning to do most of your photo-editing at home or in the studio here’s what to look for to get the best from Photoshop.
- Screen size – the bigger the better. See more of your project at once with a larger display
- Screen resolution – when working up-close in Photoshop, detail is key. Look for laptops with high-resolution screens
- Processing power – Photoshop is a demanding application and you’ll need Intel Core i5 and i7 processors to get the best from it
- RAM – Photoshop uses lots of your computer’s RAM (internal memory). Look for a minimum of 8GB
- SSD (solid-state drives) – thin, lightweight hard drives with no moving parts. Faster at booting up and working in programs. Look for 256GB or above
- Graphics – look for a minimum of integrated Intel Iris graphics or NVIDIA GeForce graphics or even dedicated graphics
Dell XPS 15
In a nutshell: Large screen that goes edge-to-edge, powerful processor and 1 TB hard drive for storing your pictures
This premium Windows 10 laptop makes a great home photography studio.
Its large 15.6-inch screen gives you a better overall view of your project and is surrounded by a narrow bezel of just 5mm – making it the world’s smallest 15.6” laptop.
The screen offers Full HD resolution too, so detail will be clear when working up close in Photoshop. Colour accuracy is good thanks to LED backlighting, while you can work on a bright day with anti-glare technology. Power-wise, you can work comfortably in Photoshop with the Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB RAM. Handle stylish image blurring and effects like Liquify with the integrated NVIDIA GeForce graphics.
The XPS 15 uses what’s known as SSHD. That means you get a smaller chunk of SSD (sold-state drives with no moving parts that get stuff done quickly) but also a large 1TB traditional hard drive for storing loads of photos.
When it comes to connectivity, it has the latest USB Type-C port – for faster transfers when getting photos onto your laptop.
Microsoft Surface Book
In a nutshell: Powerful laptop with a super-sharp screen that can be detached and used as a tablet – it comes with a digital pen too
The Surface Book looks and feels like a premium Windows 10 laptop with its shiny magnesium casing and minimalist features. But there’s a hinge connecting the screen to the laptop’s body that allows you to completely detach the two. The screen can then be used as a touchscreen tablet, because of this, it’s slightly smaller, with a 13.5-inch screen.
But what’s it like as photographer’s home studio?
Well Photoshop will run smoothly and efficiently with the Intel Core i7 processor and 256 GB SSD, with 8GB RAM making it easier to work on larger files.
Certain Photoshop features like Spin Blur, which lets you add a spin effect to a wheel, work with the integrated NVIDIA Ge Force graphics. The touchscreen opens new doors for photographers. Pinch your fingers to zoom in, or use the Surface Pen to sketch and edit directly onto the screen.
The tablet mode and the Surface Pen are a dream combination for photo-editing on the go – on a packed train or between meetings. Your photos will look good on the screen too – rich, colourful and detailed. Its resolution (3000x2000) is 4 times that of a ‘normal laptop’.
Lenovo IdeaPad 510
In a nutshell: Plenty of processing power, dedicated NVIDIA graphics and a Full HD IPS screen
This high-end Windows 10 laptop has everything a photographer needs. Work comfortably in Photoshop with the powerful Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB RAM.
Dedicated graphics cards have their own memory rather than relying on the laptop’s RAM. Photoshop is less dependent on graphics than video editing and 3D modelling software, but the 2GB dedicated NVIDIA GeForce graphics will still deliver enhanced performance when photo editing.
Your projects will look detailed and rich in colour on the large 15.6-inch screen with Full HD resolution and IPS technology for wider viewing angles and less screen glare. There's plenty of space to save your projects too with the large 1TB hard drive.
Find your perfect portable photo-editing studio with the right laptop