As a photographer, the most important equipment apart from your camera is your laptop. You need a reliable machine that not only offers you peak performance but also has all the right set of features that you need. But what are the features you should look at? right from CPU and GPU performance to available memory, compatibility with software, etc. can all get overwhelming. To help you find the best laptop for photographers, we have compiled a list of the things to consider and the top laptops in the market.
Best laptop for photographers and artists buying guide
Before we talk about the best laptops for photography in the market, you must know what to look at. What features are vital and what must be included in your laptop? Questions like these are exactly what we will try to answer ahead.
When you start searching for the best laptop for artists and photographers, the processor is where you should put most of your budget. You need at least a quad-core processor, though 6 cores are the best to have. Unless you are a power user, you will see little benefit in terms of performance to go beyond 6 cores.
Graphics Card (GPU)
If your primary focus would be photography, you would see little benefit in going for a high-end graphics card. You are better off in investing that in upgrading the CPU. However, if you plan to go for video editing or have a dual 4k-monitor setup, a high-end graphics card may serve the purpose.
Do not just pay attention to the hard disk capacity- pay equal attention to the type as well. SSD or Solid State Drives are the newer and advanced versions of existing Hard Disk Drives or HDDs. In simple terms, your laptop will be quick to boot up and load programs in an SSD, and once you have used an SSD-powered laptop, you will not want to switch back. SSD is almost always the better choice regardless of what type of user you are.
The display is key when choosing the best laptop for photographers.
4k may seem like the obvious choice- but it is not.
Go for color accuracy and consistency over resolution. 2560 x 1440 resolution with high color accuracy will probably serve a photographer better than just 4k resolution.
IPS Displays are more color accurately calibrated than OLED Screens.
Look for Terms Like Adobe RGB or sRGB accuracy.
When choosing the OS, the Mac v/s Windows question is inevitable. Both the operating systems are almost equally powerful and you will not feel that you are lacking anything in either. It all comes down to personal preference and aesthetics. Artists like having beautiful things, and macOS is almost always the better choice when it comes to appearance and aesthetics.
With that, you now have an idea of the features to look at while searching for the best laptop for artists and photographers. Lets now see which are the best laptops in the market and what they offer.
Best Overall: MacBook Pro (2020, 13 inch)
- Intel Core i5 8th Gen (6-cores) or i7 10th Gen (8-cores)
- Intel Iris Plus 645 GPU
- Up to 32GM RAM, 256GB-4TB SSD
- 13inch True Tone Retina Display
For those who want the best overall laptop for artists or photography in general, the MacBook continues to be a perfect choice. Along with one of the best displays which display accurate colors what your best lens has caputured on to the sensor , you get Apple’s iconic design with the Touch Bar that gives you context-specific buttons depending on the app you are on. The 2020 variant also comes with an improved keyboard and updated processors with better RAM performance. You have the option to upgrade the RAM and processors on the higher-end model. All these come together to make it a powerful laptop for photo and video editing.
- Retina display with high color accuracy
- Touch Bar with context-sensitive menu
- SSD improves performance and user experience
- Apple’s iconic stylish design
- Only Thunderbolt 3 Ports so need separate connectors for USB and Type-C
- 8th gen intel processors
Best Windows Laptop: Microsoft Surface Book 2
- Intel Core i5 or i7 CPCU
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 100- Intel HD 620 Graphics
- 8GB-16GB RAM, 256/512/1TB SSD
- 3000×2000 PixelSense Touchscreen Display
For those who want all features of the Macbook without the OS, Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 is the best laptop for artists and photographers. The 13.5-inch variant comes with Photoshop installed and has one of the most powerful GPUs in our list. You can use it as a laptop or as a tablet, with the display being a touchscreen. It has a 3000×2000 resolution that provides the perfect aspect ratio to view full-frame and APS-C Camera images. The Surface Pen Stylus (to be purchased separately) makes the screen a versatile tool for artists and photographers.
- Windows OS compatible with a range of tools
- Quality display with high color accuracy
- Portable and can be used as a tablet
- Adobe Photoshop is preinstalled
- Costly compared to other Windows laptops
Best Budget Laptop: Acer Swift 3 (14-inch display)
- Intel Core i5 (2 core) or Core i7 (4 cores)
- Intel HD 620 HD Graphics
- 8GB/16GM RAM, 256GB to 4TB SSD
- Retina Display, 14 inch
If you are looking for the best laptop for photographers in a budget when you are just starting photography journey, then the Swift 3 from Acer can be a laptop to consider. It has an aluminum chassis and available in several colors. With a quad-core processor and 8GB RAM, you get significant processing power. The 14-inch display of this laptop uses IPS backlighting that provides you better color accuracy and viewing angles. The display also supports 1920×1080 FHD resolution. There is a variant available with a 4k display too.
- High processing power
- The display has high color accuracy and excellent viewing angles
- Available in several colors and 100% aluminum chassis
- Thick frame
Best 15-inch display Laptop: Dell XPS 15
- Intel Core i7 processor (6 or 8 core)
- GeForce Nvidia GPU
- 8 GB RAM, 1TB HDD with 32GB SSD
- 15.6” FHD Display, 1920×1080 with 100%sRGB Infinity Edge
For those who prefer a 15” laptop, the XPS 15 from Dell comes across as the best laptop for artists. The display is almost bezel-free and provides one of the best qualities and color accuracy across laptops. You get a dedicated Nvidia GTX GPU on all variants. The minimum you get in its processors is 8 cores allowing you the power for processing large RAW or image files. You also have the choice of going for the 4k display variant of this laptop.
- Excellent display
- Powerful CPU and GPU
- Sleek design and portable despite 15” display
- 4k display option available
- Higher capacity SSD option not available
Best Portable Laptop: Razer Blade Stealth
- Intel Core i7 CPU
- Intel 540 HD GPU
- 8GB RAM, 512 GB SSD
- 12.5” 4k display,100% Adobe RGB
For those looking to get a portable and compact and best laptop for beginner photographers, the Razer Blade Stealth offers it all without any compromise on specs or performance. This laptop has a 0.52” ultrathin aluminum chassis and weighs just 2.5 lbs. It has a 12.5-inch 4k display with a touchscreen. You get an Intel i7 GPU along with a 540 HD graphics card. 8GB RAM gives you enough power to run multiple programs without any lag. This laptop also has an ‘individually backlit keyboard’ having 16.8 million options for each key.
- Lightweight and compact
- Powerful CPU
- Display with 4k and touchscreen
- Backlit keyboard
- RAM cannot be replaced or upgraded
Best for Beginners: Asus Zenbook 13 UX331FA
- Intel Core i5 CPU
- Intel UHD GPU
- 8GB RAM, 512 GB SSD
- 13.3-inch display with full-HD
For those just starting, the Asus UX331 Zenbook offers the ideal blend between features and budget for digital storytellers. You get a laptop powered by Intel’s Core i5 CPU and the UHD GPU. The Zenbook has a 15” display with NanoEdge bezel and full-HD, making it the right choice for both artists and photographers. It has a sleek build and weighs just 2.5 lbs. The 512GB SSD with 8GB RAM is enough for all your design and photo editing needs. You get Windows 10 pre-installed with this laptop. It also has a back lit keyboard along with a fingerprint scanner for extra security. You also get a year of Asus Damage Protection with this laptop.
- Almost bezel-free full HD Display
- 512GB SSD
- 1 year of accidental damage protection
- Portable and lightweight
- Speaker quality is not at par with other laptops in this range
Best Convertible Laptop: HP Spectre x360
- Intel Core i7 processor
- Nvidia GeForce 4GB MX150 Graphics
- 512 GB SSD, 16GB RAM
- 15.6” touchscreen with 3840×2160 resolution
The HP Spectre X360 is for those who are looking for a convertible laptop with a good display. At 15.6” and 4.82 lbs, it may not be the most portable laptop but is the best in terms of convertibles. You get an Intel Core i7 CPU along with 4GB of Nvidia’s GeForce Graphics. The versatility and power on this laptop more than make up for its bulky form factor. It is powered by 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD. Though there are lower combinations of RAM and hard disk, this is the recommended one for photo and video editing. You can easily flip this from laptop to tablet mode and work as you like.
- Can use as a laptop or tablet
- GPU and CPU are ideal for photo and video editing
- 512GB SSD provides a lot of speed
- 94% sRGB coverage display
- Bulky form factor
Best Color Variety and Accuracy: Alienware M15
- Intel Core i7 CU
- Nvidia GeForce GTX, 6GB
- 512 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM
- 15.6” FHD display with 4k OLED panel, 256% sRGB Gamut
For the best color accuracy, Alienware’s M15 is the laptop you must go for. Being a gaming laptop, it is high on specs, performance, and display quality. You get a 15.6” OLED 4k display that scores the highest in class 256% on sRGB gamut. With 6GB of Nvidia’s GTX graphics and 16GB RAM, processing even the largest of image files and video editing will be a breeze on this laptop. If you are someone who likes gaming as well, then this laptop may just be what you need to take care of all your needs.
- Display with unmatched sRBG Gamut
- A powerful combination of GPU and CPU
- Excellent power management and cooling mechanism
- 60Wh 4 cell battery
- No media card reader
Best Video Editing Laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1
- Intel Core i7
- Nvidia 1050 Ti GTX GPU
- 1TB SSD, 16B RAM
- 14.0” 4k display
The Lenovo X1Carbon is a laptop with 4k display, 16 GB of RAM, and Nvidia’s GTX GPU, all of which come together as the perfect combination for quality video editing. While there are variants with lower RAM and SSD, this is the recommended configuration for editing videos. The 4-core CPU provides enough power for running even the heaviest of software with ease. This laptop also has 2 Type–C Thunderbolt ports and 1 HDMI port. A portable data hub with USB 3.0 is also included with the laptop, something which other laptops without USB ports do not offer.
- USB hub included with the laptop
- Good battery life
- Intel Core i7 processor
- SSD with 512 GB Capacity
- Outdated design
Best Laptop with Large Display: HP Envy 2019
- Intel Core i7 or i5 10th GenCPU
- Nvidia 4GB MX 250 Graphics
- 16 GB RAM, 1TB HDD and 32GB SSD
- 17.3 inches FHD Touchscreen Display
The HP Envy 2019 offers a 17.3-inch display for those who want large screens for their artistic and photography projects. This laptop is powered by an i7 10th gen CPU with a 4GB MX 250 GPU from Nvidia. It has 16 GB of RAM with 1TB HDD and a 32 GB SSD. The display comes with ‘crystal clear’ FHD and 1920×1080 resolution. It is a 3-way edge display with a touchscreen. The laptop is backlit and also comes with a numeric keypad integrated into it.
- Large UHD Display
- Backlit keyboard with keypad
- 16 GB RAM
- Large storage space
- SSD limited to just 32 GB
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As you search for the best laptop for photographers and artists or the pixel maniacs in general, you now will know what features to look at and which are the best laptops in each segment. Do not let any single feature or requirement be the deciding factor- consider everything as you check out the top 10 laptops that we talked about, and you are sure to find one that gives you the best value for your money along with great performance.