Best laptop for photo editing in 2023 – our top picks
If you’re on the hunt for the best laptop for photo editing, we’ve got you covered right here with our top picks and guide to finding the right one for you.
Photo editing itself can place some quite strenuous demands on a laptop, so generally speaking, they tend to be more premium models with high-end CPUs, GPUs, and storage.
On top of this, color accuracy, contrast, and brightness are all very important when editing photos – especially if you’re creating work for print. Again, screens that deliver on this tend to have the latest technology – and yes, that includes OLED too.
While many (including us) tend to lean towards the MacBook Pros for all things creative, there are some other alternatives that you may not have considered. Even the best gaming laptops can handle photo editing with ease from a system perspective but may not have the color accuracy needed for most editors out there.
As there are hunters of laptops available in the market, it can be difficult to select the right one. To help you kick off your search in the best possible manner, we’ve selected some options we think are the best laptops for photo editing. These laptops were selected based on their components, features, and the value for money they offer.
So, without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the best laptops for photo editing you can get today.
Early Christmas laptop deals
Before we continue, we’ve spotted these early Christmas laptop deals, which could be good options if you want to save some money on your new purchase.
- MSI GF63 15.6″ 144 Hz Gaming Laptop – $608 (Save $391)
- Lenovo LOQ Gaming Laptop, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 – $1,379 (Save $360)
- ASUS ROG Strix G15 (2022) Gaming Laptop – $879 (Save $120)
- Acer Aspire 3 A314-23P-R3QA – $349 (save $100)
Products at a Glance
How we picked
We’ve used our expertise to find and research the best laptops for photo editing. These laptops have been selected while keeping several things in mind, such as their CPUs, GPUs, RAM, storage, display, and other notable aspects. We’re also constantly looking for new options, so make sure to check back here soon to explore more laptops for photo editing.
Best laptop for photo editing in 2023 – our top picks
- Powerful processor and GPU
- 32GB of RAM
- Gorgeous OLED screen
- Storage may be low for some users
The Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 is a great all-rounder option that can take pretty much any task you throw at it – and then some. The components featured by the laptop are meant for serious productivity tasks, so it won’t let you down when it comes to performance. After all, it is one of the best OLED laptops.
For the processor, the laptop comes equipped with the Intel Core i9-13980HX CPU processor, which is a part of the 13th-gen lineup from Intel. This processor has 24 cores and 32 threads, and its Max Turbo Frequency can help you push through the most demanding tasks swiftly. On top of that, the CPU is paired with the powerful RTX 4070 GPU.
On the outside, we have a 16-inch 3.2K OLED touch display. It is bright and vibrant enough to clearly show off any image, with a slim bezel-free chassis and a max brightness of 500 nits. The 4K technology means this laptop can handle video editing too
The Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 comes with 32GB of DDR5 RAM paired with a 1TB SSD for storage. For even better processing speeds, the RAM can be upgraded up to 64GB, while you can take up the storage up to 8TB. The laptop also has an SD Express 7.0 card reader, thanks to which you can quickly empty your memory cards into it. However, it does have a short battery life, as it can last for around six hours after a full charge. But overall, the Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 is the best Windows laptop for photo editing.
- Impressive color gamut coverage
- Vibrant, large display
- Good storage
If you’re editing photos and want to either stick to, or step into, the Apple ecosystem, then the latest MacBook Pro is the one for you.
Many creatives lean towards Apple products as they have outstanding displays with excellent color accuracy, as well as powerful components that can handle even the most demanding editing tasks. With the MacBook Pro 2023, you get the excellent M2 Max chip, which boasts a 12-core CPU and 30-core GPU. You’re also getting a stunning 14.2 Liquid Retina XRD display, which has a slight leg-up over even OLED screens, thanks to its high brightness, wide color support and, as mentioned, incredible color accuracy.
Photos, Photoshop files, and videos take up a lot of space, so it’s important to have a laptop that can handle this without being bogged down. This MacBook Pro packs a whopping 32GB Unified Memory and 1TB SSD – a potent combination for building and accessing a library of creative work.
Photo editing isn’t always done from an office too, with many editors moving around or working remotely, so it’s great that this laptop also has up to 22 hours of battery life. And, since people working in photography generally have a good eye for design, you can’t deny how good this laptop looks. It’s super sleek, well-built, and will look amazing wherever you take it.
Overall, it’s the very best Apple laptop you can get right now, and it goes without saying that its also one of the best laptops for video editing too. It’s pricey for sure, so we’d say go for this if you’re taking your photo editing to the next level.
- Powerful GPU
- 2-in-1 design
There aren’t many 2-in-1 laptops available in the market that can be considered great for photo editing. However, this laptop does not disappoint its users when it comes to performance thanks to the components it features. In fact, we think that the Microsoft Surface Pro Studio 2 is currently the best 2-in-1 laptop for photo editing.
The laptop comes with different RAM, GPU, and storage options. The one we selected features 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM paired with the NVIDIA RTX 4050 GPU. If you want to transform it into something more powerful, you can opt for the versions with either 32 or 64GB of RAM paired with the RTX 4060 or RTX 2000 Ada GPU. The storage can be upgraded to up to 2TB. For the processor, it has the 10-core Intel Core i5-1235U.
On the outside, we have a stunning 14.3-inch display with a resolution of 2400 x 1600. If you’re planning to use the laptop outdoors or in bright settings, you’ll benefit a lot from the display’s max brightness of 650 nits. On top of that, the display has a high refresh rate of 120Hz, which ensures smoother scrolling. For connectivity, we have two USB-C 4.0 ports, a USB-A port, a microSD card reader, and Surface Connect for charging.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 does not disappoint when it comes to battery life, as it can last up to 18 afters after a full charge. Overall, if you’re looking for a 2-in-1 laptop for photo editing, there is no better choice than this laptop. Its overall design, paired with powerful components and great battery life, makes it an excellent companion for creators. We even think that it deserves to be one of the best laptops for working from home.
- Budget laptop
- No SD card reader
- Storage can be low for some users
If you’re looking for the best budget laptop for photo editing, we suggest you check out the Apple MacBook Air 2023. Though it may not be as powerful as the other options on our list, it is still something that can help get the job done – that too on a budget.
The laptop is powered by the M2 chip, which boasts an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU. When it comes to RAM and storage, the Apple MacBook Air 2023 comes with 8GB of RAM paired with a 256GB SSD for storage. If you can throw in some extra bucks, we’d recommend upgrading these to 16GB and 512 GB. But if you’re tight on a budget, 8GB of RAM will do fine but don’t expect it to do wonders.
For the display, the laptop sports a 15.3-inch Liquid Retina screen, which offers support for one billion colors. The display is also pretty bright and can be used in well-lit settings, including outdoors, thanks to its 500 nits of max brightness. For connectivity, we get a MagSafe power connector, two USB-C ports, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Unfortunately, there is no SD card reader.
Overall, the Apple MacBook Air 2023 is a cheap laptop for photo editing. For the price, it delivers exceptional performance and features a battery life of up to 18 hours. This, paired with its 3.3-pound weight, makes it very portable. In case you want to explore more budget options, check out our top picks for the best budget laptops.
- Packs the most powerful GPU around
- Stealthy design
- Impressive 4K screen
- Designed more with gamers in mind
- High refresh rate better for editing video
- Very expensive if used just for photo editing
If you’re looking for the best gaming laptop for photo editing, we’d have to say that the Razer Blade 16 (2023) takes the cake.
Now this is a super powerful machine that packs one of the very latest Nvidia graphics cards, and we think it’s a strong contender for one of the best RTX 4090 laptops around. For gaming, it’s incredible and will handle even the most demanding AAA titles, which is good if you fancy blowing off some steam after spending hours editing photos.
But as we mentioned earlier, gaming laptops like these are also commonly used for creative work. The CPU, GPU, and storage are all there to handle photo editing, but even the screen itself is up to the task. What you’re getting here is a 4K, mini-LED display that boasts a whopping 1000 nit brightness and 100% DCI-P3 color accuracy. That is on par with some of the best laptops for creatives around.
What we really like about this, though, is its ‘stealthy’ design. Razer creates laptops that don’t look like your traditional gaming machine. In other words…they’re pretty understated and sleek. Not bad if you ask us, especially if you’re working with people with somewhat discerning tastes!
Overall, it’s an excellent choice for photo editing, but it is very expensive. After all, it is one of the best 4K laptops out there. Treat this as you are investing in your career and also scoring a portable high-end gaming PC at the same time.
Features and Considerations
What should you look for when deciding on a laptop for photo editing? There are a few things to bear in mind.
A higher number of cores and threads translates to better multitasking capabilities and a smoother editing experience, especially when working with large, high-resolution images. Additionally, the clock speed of the CPU plays a significant role in determining how quickly it can process tasks. A faster clock speed will lead to quicker response times and better overall performance.
Storage and RAM
You’d want to go for a laptop that has a good amount of storage so you can store plenty of data without worrying about deleting the old one. If you’re not dealing with lots of data, a 512GB or 1TB SSD will be more than fine. However, aim for at least 2TB of storage if you’re creating new content daily. For the RAM, make sure to go with at least 16GB of RAM, as anything lower than this will deliver slow performance.
A good quality screen is essential to the photo editing process. Consider getting high-resolution screens such as one capable of 1080p and 4k content. Solid color reproduction is also important. So, consider models that are capable of replicating the true image colors.
A laptop with a good battery will make your life easier, while the one with a poor battery life will make you regret your purchase. Like some of the best battery life laptops, the one you get for photo editing can last for anywhere between 12 to 18 hours. However, the ones that are packed with powerful hardware often feature a battery life of around 6 to 8 hours.
If you’re planning to do photo editing on the go, you’d want to pick a laptop that is not heavy. A heavy laptop can hurt your neck, shoulders, and back after you carry it around every day, so you’d want to avoid that at all costs. But if you’re going to stay at home most of the time, the weight won’t matter that much. In case you want to explore laptops that weigh less, check out our top picks for the best lightweight laptops.
Make sure the laptop you’re getting for photo editing has plenty of connectivity ports, such as USB-A, USB-C, and HDMI ports. On top of that, getting a laptop with an SD card reader will make your life extremely easy, as it will allow you to quickly empty your memory cards into the laptop.
How much RAM should a laptop have for photo editing?
Ideally, a laptop should have a minimum of 16GB RAM if you are using it for photo editing. Any less and you probably won’t have the space necessary for the various programs you’ll need to edit your images. Plus, you’ll need lots of space to store the photos themselves.
Is 32GB RAM overkill for photo editing?
If you are a creative professional, 32GB of RAM will not be overkill for photo editing. In fact, it’s a minimum requirement for many photo editors and designers, especially if they have a lot of clients or use more heavy duty programs.
However, if you are just a hobbyist, you probably don’t need 32GB of RAM.
We think that the MacBook Pro with the M2 Max chip is the best laptop for photo editing. It’s a portable powerhouse for photo editing and has practically everything you could need for even the most heavily demanding tasks. It’s an investment for sure, and there are older generations that will still be able to perform very well too, but we’d say the 2023 version would be the best bet if you’re looking for the the ultimate machine.