Photo editing takes a toll on your processor and GPU, which means it’s important to have a good computer if you want the process to go smoothly. You should look for a good display with a powerful processor and graphics card, among other things. Here are some of our picks for the best laptop for photo editing.
Apple MacBook Pro
When you’re talking about doing anything artistic on a laptop, the Apple MacBook Pro is likely to come up in conversation. Not only does Apple make some of the sleekest laptops on the market, they pack them with powerful hardware and an easy-to-use operating system that gives you the power to create.
The biggest draw to Apple products is macOS, the primary alternative to Windows operating systems. Many users find macOS better suits their needs in terms of productivity, plus you still get access to popular Windows software like Photoshop.
The newest version of the Apple MacBook Pro features eighth-generation Intel core processors—you have your choice between both 4-core and 6-core processors. Seeing as the Intel Core processors are some of the most popular models on the market when it comes to gaming, they’re more than powerful enough to handle photo editing. A minimum of 8 GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory gives you more power and is upgradeable to 16 GB if you want more.
One of the best parts about choosing the MacBook Pro is the display. Whether you choose the 13″ or 15″ model, you get a 2560×1600 resolution at 227 pixels per inch (ppi). The only downside to all this is that the display is powered by Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 or 655, both of which are low-power, integrated graphics cards.
Dell XPS 15 9570
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a laptop but still want something sleek and powerful, Dell’s high-performance XPS laptops are an excellent choice. You get a powerful processor, a beautiful display and speedy storage, all packaged with one of the best operating systems money can buy: Windows 10.
Dell designs its XPS laptops to provide the performance you need to game, edit photos and videos and do just about anything else you can do on a computer. The Dell XPS 15 9570 comes equipped with a quad-core Intel Core i5-8300H processor with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 4.0GHz, giving you plenty of power. The 8 GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM is a nice step up over the MacBook Pro, especially since it comes at a lower price point.
The base models of the XPS 15 9570 come with a 15.6″ IPS screen with a 1920×1080 resolution, a pretty noticeable step down from the MacBook Pro. However, if you’re willing to spend a bit more on the upgrade, you can get a 4k touchscreen monitor in your XPS laptop. Unfortunately, you’re also going to be stuck with Intel UHD Graphics 630 unless you pay for the upgrade to a GTX 1050 Ti.
Acer Aspire 7 A717-72G-700J
Most of the laptops you’ll find on the market today are either 15.6″ or 13.3″. As nice as these smaller laptops are for portability and battery life, having a larger screen is a huge plus when it comes to photo editing. The Acer Aspire 7 A717-72G-700J offers the power you need at a reasonable price with a 17.3″ screen to give you more space to work with.
One of the best parts about opting for a 17″ laptop over a 15″ or 13″ model is the fact that you generally get much more powerful hardware for the same price. This 17″ Acer Aspire 7 is no exception, offering powerful performance photo editing thanks to its Intel Core i7-8750H processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB) graphics. Combined with the 16 GB DDR4 RAM and 256 GB SSD that come standard in this laptop, performance shouldn’t be an issue when editing photos.
The display is obviously the biggest selling point with this laptop, and there’s a lot to love about it. The only real downside to the 17.3″ display on the Acer Aspire 7 is the fact that it only supports resolutions up to 1920×1080. Still, this is one of the best laptops for photo editing.
Our Pick: Dell XPS 15 9570
Of our three choices for the best laptops for video editing, we feel the Dell XPS 15 9570 is the best choice. As great as the MacBook Pro and Acer Aspire 7 are, they’re simply no match for the XPS 15 when it comes to value, all-around performance and customization. Here are some of the reasons we picked the XPS 15 9570 over the other two laptops:
- Optional 4k display
- Excellent battery life
- Killer Wireless
- Great value for the price
- M.2 SSD for fast storage
- Sturdy construction
- Various models available for different budgets
Arguably the biggest thing that makes the XPS 15 9570 better than the competition is the optional 4k display. This might not be a huge deal to everyone, but it should be a big deal if you’re looking for the best laptop for photo editing. Essentially, your screen’s resolution determines how large of a full-scale image you can edit. With a 4k display, you aren’t likely to come across a lot of images that won’t fit on your screen naturally. The only things to remember are that the 4k display does cost extra and a higher resolution requires more power from your graphics card and processor.
Battery life and wireless are huge if you’re working on the go, and you won’t have a problem with either of those things with the XPS 15 9570. Older XPS models had a 56Whr battery while the 9570 features a 97Whr battery, giving you nearly double the battery life of its predecessors. Killer Wireless gives you fast internet speeds even when you aren’t connected via ethernet—although the gigabit ethernet will always outperform it.
Hard drives have steadily dropped in price because they’re becoming a thing of the past; instead, SSDs are the tool of choice when it comes to modern computer storage. The M.2 SSD the 9570 is equipped with (and even the solid state hybrid drive found in the cheapest model) will give you a big boost in performance over traditional hard drives. This means things like copying, saving and moving files will go much faster than it did before. In addition to improving the performance of some of your software, it will also help that software install quicker.
The construction of a laptop is always important, and you’ll be happy to know Dell went all out for this XPS laptop. The XPS 15 9570 features a sturdy aluminum chassis that protects the precious components inside while giving you a far sleeker look than plastic. Despite this, the laptop has a starting weight of only 4 lbs before upgrades.
Once you’ve found a laptop that meets all your criteria, it’s time to determine whether it’s a good value or not. While they’re excellent laptops, MacBooks aren’t generally a great value because you can find the same hardware in a Windows laptop for far less.
Thankfully, Dell gives you a great deal no matter which model of the XPS 15 9570 you choose. The base model starts at $999 and gives you everything you need for basic photo editing, while the $1,919 model offers all the bells and whistles in addition to a 4k display. In addition to being a great value, we chose this laptop because it gives you lots of options depending on your budget.
The Dell XPS 15 9570 is a great choice whether you’re looking for a laptop for under $1,000 or searching far and wide for the fastest 4k laptop money can buy.