Photographers who labor over a photo's every pixel require a machine with speedy performance, a decent graphics card and a fast hard drive. Of course, a beautiful display capable of accurately reproducing a wide range of colors is another must. Using these criteria, we put together a list of the best photo-editing laptops.
If you don't need a laptop right away, there are several upcoming devices that could eventually make it on to this list. Those include the new Dell XPS 13 and Samsung's Galaxy Book Flex α, which flaunts a QHD display and costs less than $1,000.
For those who also dabble in video, check out our best video editing laptops. If you prefer to edit photos on a touch screen using your finger or a stylus then head over to our best touch screen laptops and best 2-in-1 pages for more specific recommendations.
Here are the best laptops for photo-editing.
The best laptops for photo editing
The best overall laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U | GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX150 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1TB | Display: 15.6-inch, 4K OLED | Size: 14.2 x 9.8 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds
There is no better laptop for video-editing than HP's Spectre x360 15. The highlight of this machine is a 15.6-inch, 4K OLED display that is exceptionally vivid (256% of the sRGB color gamut) and blindingly bright (483 nits). That panel is the only thing that will take your eyes off the Spectre x360 15's elegant chassis, which looks like something only the rich and famous could afford.
Photographers will also appreciate that the laptop's discrete MX150 GPU offers enough graphics oomph to run demanding photo-editing programs with some help from a Core i7-8565U CPU. And the keyboard on the Spectre x360 15 is one of the best around.
See our full HP Spectre x360 (15-inch) review.
The best business 2-in-1 laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 14-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 12 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 3 pounds
Lenovo took a chance with the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, the first metal ThinkPad, and it paid off. While we still love the signature matte-black carbon-fiber found on most ThinkPads, the aluminum and magnesium ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a gorgeous change of pace.
Not only does it have a slim design, but this convertible 2-in-1 flaunts a bright display that reaches 402 nits and covers 106% of the sRGB color gamut. Oh, and you get a best-in-class keyboard and long battery life. You also get loads of extra goodies, like a built-in stylus slot and webcam cover.
See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (4th Gen, 2019) review.
The best Apple laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Radeon Pro 5300M/5500M | RAM: 16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: 512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB/8TB | Display: 16-inch, 2072 x 1920 | Size: 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 4.3 pounds
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is just your type if you’ve been waiting for Apple to make a better keyboard. The Magic Keyboard on this premium laptop ditches the Butterfly mechanism in favor of a scissor switch, and the result is a much more comfortable typing experience. You also get a bright and sharp 16-inch display with slimmer bezels, powerful performance from an available Core i9 CPU and robust AMD Radeon 5300M or 5500M graphics.
You also get up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of storage if you really want to splurge. The 11 hours of battery life is another plus on this laptop, dwarfing the runtimes of its competitors. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is pricey, and Apple still doesn’t include full-size USB ports, but overall this is a very formidable workstation for creative pros.
See our full Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) review.
The laptop with the best performance
CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7/Core i9/Xeon | GPU: Intel UHD 630/Nvidia Quadro P1000/Quadro P2000 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: Up to 4TB | Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.8 inches | Weight: 4.9 pounds
The HP ZBook Studio x360 G5's 15.6-inch 4K display is extremely detailed and vibrant.Coupled with blistering workstation-class performance, this beastly machine is an excellent option for photo editors who need the most powerful setup to run demanding programs. Better yet, the x360 G5 has a rugged chassis for those times you're out in the field, and its lengthy battery life means you don't need to stay near an outlet.
The x360 G5 can be configured with premium components, including an Intel Xeon E-2186M CPU (with Quadro P1000 graphics), 32GB of RAM, and two 2TB SSDs. We suggest photo editors opt for the 4K touch screen over the FHD model.
See our full ZBook Studio x360 G5 review.
The best 2-in-1 laptop
CPU: Intel Core i3/ Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: IntelIris Plus | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB | Display: 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel or 4K | Size: 11.7 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 2.9 pounds
The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 had to be practically perfect to dethrone HP's excellent Spectre x360 13 --- and it is. Dell's newest flagship 2-in-1 packs strong performance thanks to its 10th Gen Intel Ice Lake processors. Battery life, at nearly 11 hours, is also fantastic. On top of that, you get a unique 13.4-inch (16:10 aspect ratio) display that is bright and vivid and a slim, premium chassis.
See our full Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 review.
Editor's Note: Not sure you need a convertible 2-in-1? The clamshell XPS 13 is also an outstanding laptop with a gorgeous 4K display. See our Dell XPS 13 (Late 2019) review.
The best detachable laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/TB | Display: 12.3-inch, 2736 x 1824-pixel | Size: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds/2.4 pounds (with keyboard)
Our favorite detachable just got even better with the Surface Pro 6, which significantly improves battery life and performance when compared to its predecessors. Now equipped with a quad-core CPU, the 2-in-1 can run Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom without breaking a sweat. The 12.3-inch, 2736 x 1823 resolution display is everything a photo editor could ask for — it's bright, vivid and accurate. In fact, it covers a very good 136 percent of the sRGB color gamut and reached more than 400 nits of brightness.
You'll have to buy the Surface Pen and the Type Cover separately, but they add a ton of functionality to this lightweight (1.7 pounds) tablet.
What about the Surface Pro 7? We praised the tablet in our review but can't recommend it over the Pro 6 until the price drops.
See our full Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review.
The best business laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: GeForce GTX 1050Ti | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB/64GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p or 4K | Size: 14.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3.8 pounds (FHD)/4 pounds (4K)
Photographers who want the benefits of a business laptop should look no further than the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme. The 15.6-inch laptop takes everything we love about the ThinkPad series to the next level. It has an excellent keyboard, tons of security features and a wide range of ports, all included in a sleek, durable chassis. And while its battery life could be better, the X1 Extreme is one of the fastest laptops we've ever tested.
But the crown jewel of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is its jaw-dropping 4K HDR display, which covers an outstanding 186 percent of the sRGB color gamut. That tops the displays on the Dell XPS 15, 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro and the Asus ZenBook Pro 15. The X1 Extreme's panel also reached a solid 366 nits of brightness.
See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme review.
The best gaming laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 256GBSSD, 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6-inch, 1080p | Size: 14.2 x 10.5 x 1.1 inches | Weight: 5.3 pounds
Gaming laptops are inherently great for photo editing. Why? Because they come with discrete graphics, which is a major perk when you're running GPU-intensive programs like Photoshop. An excellent balance of price and performance, the Lenovo Legion Y7000 is the best gaming laptop for photo editing— at least, for most people. The Y7000 sports a vivid 15.6-inch, 1080p display and its keyboard is up to the quality that we expect from Lenovo.
See our full Lenovo Legion Y7000 review.
The best value laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620/GeForce MX250 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 13.3-inch,1080p or 4K | Size: 12.1 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.8 pounds
The latest HP Envy 13 is an excellent all-around laptop that has a sleek, stylish aluminum chassis, fast performance and more than 11 hours of battery life (on the 1080p model). At $799, the Envy 13 is a cheaper alternative to the XPS 13 but offers some features Dell's laptop doesn't, including a webcam kill switch and a unique elevated hinge.
See our full HP Envy 13 review.
The best 13-inch laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB/16GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504-pixel | Size: 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds
The follow-up to one of our favorite laptops improves upon a winning formula in almost every way. The Surface Laptop 2 retains the original's unique fabric chassis, which gives the laptop a luxurious and inviting feel. For photographers, the 13.5-inch, 2K display is exceptionally vivid, capable of reproducing an amazing 176 percent of the sRGB color gamut. That tops the XPS 13, MacBook Pro and Spectre 13. The Surface Laptop 2 also has long battery life, fast performance and a useful magnetic Surface connector.
See our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 review.
The best 15-inch laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5/Core i7/Core i9 | GPU: Intel UHD 630/GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB | Display: 15.6-inch,1080p or 4K | Size: 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds
You haven't seen a good laptop display until you've feasted your eyes on the OLED panel gracing the newest Dell XPS 15. With exceptional brightness and color reproduction, this pricey upgrade is a photographer's dream.
The 15.6-inch laptop also gives you tons of power to run even the most demanding photo-editing software, all packaged in a chassis that can be easily transported from shoot to shoot. But our favorite thing about the 2019 model is that the webcam has returned to its rightful position, above the display.
See our full Dell XPS 15 review.
The best 17-inch laptop
CPU: Intel Core i7 | GPU: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB | Display: 17-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel | Size: 15 x 10.5 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 3 pounds
When photographers touch-up their pictures, they need to see every last detail, which is why the editing is often done on a massive monitor. But how can you get the same precision when you're on the go? Meet the LG Gram 17, a remarkably portable laptop with excellent battery life and a large, high-resolution 17-inch display.
How portable is it really? Get this: the Gram 17 fits a 17-inch display into a featherweight 3-pound chassis that's about the size of a 15-inch laptop. Another reason photographers will love the Gram 17 is for its display. The laptop's bright and vivid panel has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 and its unique 16:10 aspect ratio lets you see more content at once without scrolling.
See our full LG Gram 17 review.
The best dual-screen laptop
CPU: Intel Core i9 | GPU: GeForce RTX 2060 | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 1TB | Display: 15.6-inch, 4K 14.1-inch, 4K | Size: 14.1 x 9.7 x 0.9 inches | Weight: 5.5 pounds
Asus' ZenBook Pro Duo is unlike any laptop we've ever tested. Instead of having just one display, the Duo flaunts a primary 15.6-inch, 4K OLED display along with a secondary 14-inch, 4K panel on the deck. The dual displays are great for multi-tasking, and allow photographers to move their tools onto another screen while keeping their main canvas clear of any clutter. Combine those gorgeous displays with fast performance and adequate cooling and it's easy to see why the ZenBook Pro Duo is one of the best laptops for photographers.
See our full Asus ZenBook Pro Duo review.