If you’re looking for the best laptop for running Photoshop on to edit your photos, there are a number of things you need to consider. The laptop is going to need to have a large, accurate, screen that you can view your photos on.
It will also need to be powerful enough to run Photoshop, which is a demanding piece of software. Dedicated graphics are worth investing in here, as the graphics card can do a lot of the heavy lifting. You also need to consider how portable you need your laptop to be.
Will you be working mainly from an office or studio? Or will you need something you can take to photo shoots and out on the road with you? Having a lighter, more portable laptop for Photoshop may mean you need to sacrifice some power for portability and longer battery life.
To make things as easy as possible, we’ve rounded up the best laptops for Photoshop that take all of that into consideration, so you can find the best Photoshop laptop for your needs.
1. Apple Macbook Pro with touchbar
The best Macbook Pro ever, now with touchbar
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – 650 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, (2,560 x 1,600) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
If you’re after the latest and greatest laptop from Apple, welcome to the 13-inch Macbook Pro with touchbar. It’s the best laptop Apple has ever made, and builds new features into the classic design. Of course the headline feature is the touchbar – it’s a thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard which can be used for any number of things, whether that be auto-suggesting words as you type or offering Touch ID so you can log in with just your fingerprint. This makes it an excellent laptop for photographers using Photoshop, and if you love Apple’s way of doing things, then you’ll love the Macbook Pro with touchbar. The touchbar has a number of Photoshop shortcuts, such as being able to quickly select a color or change the opacity of a layer by swiping your finger, features that all the other laptops on this list lack.
2. HP ZBook Studio G4 DreamColor
The best Windows laptop for Photoshop
CPU: Intel Xeon CPU | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Screen: 15.6-inch (3840×2160)
If you’re looking for the very best Windows laptop for running Photoshop on, then the HP ZBook Studio G4 DreamColor is definitely worth considering, though be prepared to spend quite a bit of cash. The highest-end model features a stunning 15.6-inch 4K DreamColor screen that can be easily calibrated to ensure that colors are as accurate as possible – essential for photo editing on Photoshop. An Intel Xeon CPU, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD and NVIDIA Quadro M1200 dedicated graphics with 4GB VRAM means this is an incredibly fast laptop as well. The keyboard isn’t the best, but otherwise this is a simply brilliant machine, and easily one of the best laptops for Photoshop on the market today.
Read the full review: HP ZBook 15 G4 review
3. Apple MacBook Pro 13″ Retina
Retina display model is still the best option for photo editing
CPU: Dual-core 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 processor | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Screen: 13.3-in IPS display (2,560 x 1,600 pixels)
Apple’s Retina display revolutionised laptop screen quality – and while the competition now sports Retina-rivalling panels, the MacBook still offers the best viewing experience. Its brightness, contrast, saturation and detail are all sublime, and Apple’s factory colour calibration is the most accurate. Although its 2.7GHz processor is technically faster than the dual-core chips in the Windows machines we have in this list, real-world performance is almost identical, and nothing very special. Our MacBook configuration lasted a mighty 12 hours 12 minutes in our video loop test, thrashing all but the Surface Book. It may be an obvious choice, but this is still a brilliant all-rounder.
Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro 13″ Retina
4. Microsoft Surface Book
An amazing laptop that does even more as a tablet
CPU: Dual-core 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Screen: 13.5-in IPS display (3,000 x 2,000 pixels)
This entry-level Surface Book features a modest dual-core processor, but its performance is comparable to the MacBook. The battery life comes close at 11 hours 10 minutes, and the screen quality is equally stunning. Only Apple’s marginally better color calibration gives the MacBook’s image quality the edge, but Microsoft fights back with a superior 3,000 x 2,000 resolution and an ideal aspect ratio for viewing APS-C and full-frame images in Photoshop. The screen’s touch-sensitive, but its real party trick is its ability to detach from the rest of the laptop to become a tablet. You even get a Bluetooth stylus pen with 1,024 pressure levels, so the device can double as a graphics tablet. We’d make it the winner, but the 128GB SSD here is prohibitively restrictive, and the lower-powered specifications can sometimes struggle with large images in Photoshop. Beats the MacBook on versatility, but Apple’s spec is better balanced at this price point.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book
5. Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW
Some say less is more, but not Asus
CPU: Quad-core 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 processor | RAM: 12GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Screen: 15.6-in IPS display (3,840 x 2,160 pixels)
The ZenBook Pro’s 15.6-inch screen sports an impressive Ultra HD resolution, resulting in very high pixel density. Image quality, however, isn’t quite up there with the MacBook and Surface Book. Color saturation and contrast are marginally less intense, and that sky-high pixel density has little real-world benefit over similar screens. The extra screen size is much more useful in Photoshop, but it contributes to the ZenBook’s relatively hefty 2.27kg mass. This beast does contain a fast processor though, and big batteries to power it. A photo editing powerhouse, albeit one you won’t want to carry too often.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW
6. Dell Precision 7720
A powerful 17-incher
CPU: Intel Core i7 processor | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Screen: 17-inch IPS display (3,840 x 2,160 pixels)
As with most of Dell’s laptops you can configure the Precision 7720 to meet your needs, and we recommend that, as the base spec is a bit under-powered for Photoshop. However, by boosting the processor, screen and GPU of this laptop you’ll get an excellent laptop for Photoshop. The 17-inch screen (which can be upgraded to 4K), is brilliant for photo editing, but it does mean that it’s a bit larger and heavier than other machines on our best laptop for Photoshop list.
7. Dell XPS 13
A great flexible laptop for Photoshop
CPU: Dual-core 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 processor | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Screen: 13.3-in IPS display (3,200 x 1,800 pixels)
This laptop’s claim to fame is being the smallest 13.3-inch laptop on the market. It’s slim screen bezel helps contribute to a svelte 304mm x 200mm x 15mm form that needs to be held to be truly appreciated. This makes it an excellent choice for a laptop for Photoshop that you can carry about with you. If you’re a freelancer that moves from studio to studio, this is especially important. The XPS 13’s screen is touch-sensitive, and it boasts a similar resolution and pixel density to the MacBook and Surface Book. Image quality is more in line with the ZenBook though, falling slightly short on color and contrast intensity compared to Apple and Microsoft’s displays. A highly portable package with little compromise other than battery life.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
8. Lenovo ThinkPad T460s
A reliable Photoshop workhorse
CPU: Dual-core 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Screen: 14-in IPS display (1,920 x 1,080 pixels)
The ThinkPad T-series is a no-nonsense design with a focus on robustness over style. Even so, the T460s’ 18.8mm thickness is within 1mm of the MacBook, and it’s actually lighter at 1.4kg. But despite packing an identical processor to the Surface Book, the T460s’ Cinebench score was 30% slower, making it the slowest on test. This means large photos you pull up in Photoshop could take a little londer to load. While the Full HD screen looks good in isolation, color saturation and contrast are noticeably more muted than the competition, and it’s less crisp. On the up side, it’s got the rare addition of an anti-reflective coating, which is handy if you’re going to use Photoshop in places where there is a lot of bright light. Good, but the same money can buy you a better screen and more power.
Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad T460s