Searching for the best laptop or Photoshop (or an alternative photo editing software? We're here to help. Here, we've picked the top laptops for photographers or anyone who wants to edit images on their device.
Choosing a laptop to run Photoshop is vital if you want to work on your images while out and about. Sure, Photoshop isn't the most demanding software but there are still benefits to using a powerful machine and we've tested the laptops on this page to make sure they can handle the task of being both portable and powerful (and a big screen is obviously crucial, too). Check out how we test laptops for how we chose these.
So you can use Photoshop to its highest capability, you need power, a modern processor and plenty of RAM (we think 16GB as a minimum is ideal). Plus, if you're going to use newer features like Neural Filters and Sky Selection, you need a GPU from Nvidia or Apple to make sure the AI and machine learning can automate the once time consuming tasks.
Of course, not everyone has money these days for spending a lot of cash on expensive laptops, so we've made sure to include several great budget choices as well. While these laptops won't be able to run any of the advanced machine learning tools, they'll be perfectly suited to general photo editing using Photoshop (or an one of the best photo editing software choices).
If you're planning to hook your machine up to a second screen for a productivity boost, make sure you pick up one of the best monitors for photo editing too, and if you're a student on a budget, you should also check out our best student laptops.
The best laptops for Photoshop available now
The latest MacBook Pro has worked hard to reclaim its crown as the most popular workstation laptop on the market, but it's done so with a flourish. It's had a complete redesign since 2019 that has reintroduced built-in ports that were binned off back in 2016, now featuring three Thunderbolt 4 ports, one HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a MagSafe 3 port.
You can configure it to your exact needs, with a choice between either an M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC (system-on-a-chip), that combines the CPU and GPU together, though it's unlikely you'll need to max out the component options to run something like Photoshop. Whatever you pick, this is an absolute powerhouse that can run any application you throw at it, making it ideal for digital illustrators, photographers and video editors.
In our review, we were particularly impressed by the 14.3-inch 120 Hz mini-LED display, which is one of the best we've ever seen on a laptop, offering crisp, accurate colour and delivering up to 1,000 nits of sustained, full-screen brightness, and 1,600 nits of peak brightness.
If you need multiple displays for your work then you can connect up to three Pro Display XDRs and a 4K TV with M1 Max, or two Pro Display XDRs if you opt for the M1 Pro.
For more details, read our MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) review.
The Dell XPS 17 (2021) is one of the best portable workstations on the market, especially so if you're not a fan of macOS. Dell already makes some of the best Windows products you can buy, but its XPS range is favoured by creative professionals thanks to its superior build-quality and powerful components.
You can get up to an 11th generation Intel i9 processor, 64GB of memory and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card to power through any demanding renders. Plus, for a 17-inch laptop, as well as being impressively thin and light to boot.
This is a shining example of just how great a Windows device can be for creatives, and you even have the option of buying with Windows 11 preinstalled. We found that the 16:10 aspect ratio screen is ideal for photographers as it offers more vertical space than standard 16:9 widescreen displays, and it can be configured with a 4K Ultra HD+ resolution of 3,840 x 2,400.
Perhaps most importantly, the screen supports 100% Adobe RGB and 94% DCI-P3 colour gamuts, which means this offers accurate colours as well. This means it's an excellent choice for professional photographers or anyone who wants their photos to look their very best when editing them in Photoshop. Read more with our full Dell XPS 17 (2021) review.
The Surface Laptop studio can be considered as a Windows-based rival to many of the popular macOS products on the market, and with Microsoft having spent so much time developing the Studio range these last few years, it's little wonder why. Offering Windows 11 compatibility and some seriously powerful hardware, this laptop has been well received by creatives across various backgrounds, from digital illustrators, writers and photographers.
It's got a thin and light design that rivals Apple's best devices, with a gorgeous screen that we found working in Photoshop a joy, plus excellent battery life so you can edit photographs or illustrate without worrying about being near a power outlet. But what most stood our for us when we used Photoshop on this laptop is the touch screen and stylus support that comes with the two-in-one form factor. You can slide the screen down to turn the laptop into a large tablet and then use the Microsoft Slim Pen 2 to draw or mask directly on the screen. A joy for photo-editing and illustration in Photoshop. See our full Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio review for more details.
The new Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) is a fantastic thin and light laptop for running Photoshop on, and comes with a range of improvements over the previous model, including a new 1080p webcam and a larger, brighter screen. That larger screen is particularly useful for photographers who want to see their snaps in the best possible quality while editing them in Photoshop.
It also packs the new M2 chip from Apple, which is a powerful bit of silicon that makes using the MacBook Air a real joy. It can also handle AI-powered tools in Photoshop thanks to that new M2 chip - which is the same as the one found in the more expensive MacBook Pro 13-inch.
Best of all, the MacBook Air (M2, 2022)'s battery life is amazing, lasting over 16 hours in our tests. So, you can work on this throughout the day without worrying about being plugged into a power source.
It's not all good news, though, as it is quite a bit more expensive than the previous model, which means it's not quite as good value for money. The 2020 model, with an M1 chip, is still a fine laptop, and is still on sale. It's definitely worth checking out if the M2 model is too pricey for your budget. Find out more in our full MacBook Air (M2, 2022) review.
Apple may make excellent laptops for Photoshop, but its old rival Microsoft has brought out a brilliant device with the Surface Laptop 4, which gives the MacBooks above a run for their money.
So, what makes this laptop so good for Photoshop? Not only does it have a gorgeous design that's thin and light, but it has an excellent PixelSense touchscreen that will make your photographs look incredible. It's also got an excellent keyboard, powerful specs (including cutting-edge integrated graphics from either Intel or AMD, depending on the configuration you go for) and incredible battery life.
It's a fantastic showcase for Windows 10, and it's more than capable of running any graphic design app you want. Now that Windows 11 is out, it can also be upgraded for free.
Also read our Surface Laptop 4 review
The latest Razer Blade 17 is a fantastic laptop for Photoshop, featuring cutting-edge Intel 12th generation processors, along with Nvidia's latest Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU.
This is the most powerful GPU you can get in a laptop without spending a seriously huge amount of money, and while it does mean that for many people, this laptop is probably overkill, if you use Photoshop's AI and machine learning tools a lot on ultra-high resolution photos, the Razer Blade 17 will make short work of even the most arduous of tasks.
It's very expensive, but for your money you're getting some of the best mobile tech available right now. Combined with a great build quality and stunning 17-inch screen, this is a brilliant creative workstation for people who need a lot of power.
Read our Razer Blade 17 review for more information.
Yet another MacBook on this list, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is a brilliant laptop for Photoshop, coming with Apple's powerful M2 chip, and can be configured with up to 24GB of unified memory, and this means it is an excellent, easily portable, laptop for photo editing.
It comes with the Touch Bar across the top of the keyboard, giving you quick access to tools and shortcuts, and can dramatically speed up your workflow, and it supports Adobe Photoshop. The boosted Neural Engine in the M2 chip means the AI features of Photoshop work extremely well, and can save you a lot of time by automating previously time-consuming tasks.
The new MacBook Pro 13-inch also boasts an incredibly long battery life. We've tested it ourselves and it's seriously impressive, allowing you to work all day and still have battery life left. It's not as powerful as the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch models, but it's more affordable, making it a great purchase for many photographers who'd rather spend their budgets on camera upgrades.
Read our MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review for more information.
The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) may not have all the raw power needed for 3D rendering, but it's ideal for students and photographers on a budget who want to get an M1-powered macOS device without spending all that cash on a Pro laptop. Given it's rocking the same Apple silicon as the previously mentioned MacBook Pro (2020), this is the first affordable MacBook Air that can go toe-to-toe with a MacBook Pro when it comes to Photoshop performance.
When we reviewed the MacBook Air, we found we could quickly open and edit high-resolution photos and projects, and swap between apps, with ease, all without listing to any noisy fans thanks to its fanless design. And of course, as this is technically a general consumer device rather than a creative workstation, it looks incredibly stylish to boot.
As with previous MacBook Airs, it features a gorgeous thin and light design that makes it easy to carry around with you, and also rocks a 2560 x 1600 screen that maxes out at 400 nits of brightness.
Also, for the first time in a MacBook Air, the latest model supports the P3 colour gamut, which means the screen can display accurate colours, a consideration that is incredibly important for photographers using Photoshop. While the new 2022 model, with improved M2 chip, is now available (and sits higher up in our list), the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) remains an excellent laptop for photo editing in Photoshop, and is now better value than ever.
For more info, read our MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review.
The Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro is another powerful creative laptop that is a brilliant choice for running Photoshop on. It features high-end Nvidia RTX graphics, which makes it an excellent choice for people looking to make use of Photoshop's AI and machine learning-powered tools. The Pantone-validated 4K IPS screen is also by far one of the best we've seen in a laptop, and when we reviewed it we found our photos looked better than ever - before we even fired up Photoshop to start editing!
It's expensive, and it's not the thinnest or lightest laptop on this list, but it's well worth investing in if you're looking for a real workhorse to edit your photos on. See our Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel Pro review for more.
The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED (2022) offers cutting-edge components, including a 12th generation Intel processor and also features an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti 4GB graphics card, which means it'll have no problem at all running Photoshop.
The 14-core processor and 32GB of RAM also means this is an absolute beast when it comes to multitasking, which can seriously speed up your workflow. However, the most eye-catching feature of the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED (2022) has two screens - a 14.5-inch 120Hz OLED mains screen, which looks fantastic, and a 12.7-inch IPS screen above the keyboard.
Think of that second screen as a super-charged Touch Bar, allowing you to move apps and tools to the bottom screen, giving you more space to work with on the main one. This works brilliantly with Adobe Photoshop You can also use a stylus on the second screen, turning it into a great drawing tablet. It's expensive, and the battery life isn't the best, but it's an incredible machine for working on.
Read more in our Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED (2022) review.
What makes a laptop good for Adobe Photoshop?
Photoshop is a creative application beloved by Photographers and digital artists alike thanks to its varied toolset and wide range of features. It's far from the most demanding piece of software available, but it's certainly one of the beefiest for photo editing. This means not every laptop can do a decent job of running it, but there are a few things to look out for when buying a laptop specifically for Adobe Photoshop.
Firstly, you'll want a modern processor. Both Intel and AMD list CPUs in numerical order regarding power, and the rule is generally 'the bigger, the better' so a 9th generation Intel i5 won't perform tasks as efficiently as an 11th generation Intel i9. We recommend at least a 9th generation Intel i5 or a Ryzen 5 3600.
Memory, or RAM is also important so look for a minimum of 8GB (though 16 GB is preferred), and even a dedicated graphics card if your budget can stretch to it.
A laptop with a large SSD hard drive is also recommended, as it means you can store all the photos you're editing on the device, while the speed of an SSD (compared to a slower traditional hard drive) means you can load up and edit the photos in a matter of seconds.
Because you'll be spending lots of time working on your laptop, you'll want to make sure it's comfortable to use, so the trackpad and keyboard need to be well built, without adding too much bulk to the laptop. If you're going to need a laptop for Photoshop to edit photos while traveling, a thin and light laptop should be your priority.
A 2-in-1 laptop can also be very advantageous as it combines the fluid editing benefits of a graphics tablet with your laptop, though these tend to be less powerful than a larger, design-optimized laptop.
New developments have also appeared in recent months too, with more 4K OLED displays appearing on laptops specifically created with photographers and creatives in mind. An OLED screen will provide rich, deep blacks and beautiful colors, so while they might be expensive, it's worth every penny to get one if you can splash the cash.
What laptop do most photographers use?
This is entirely down to the personal preferences of each photographer. Many choose MacBook Pro devices as they were one of the best optimized laptops on the market for creative professionals. these days, Windows based laptops and 2-in-1's have come a long way, but Apple still reigns as the top choice.
This is thanks to a mix of great optimisation and that beloved Apple ecosystem, making it much easier to use other Apple devices like iMacs Mac Pro desktop computers and iPad Pro tablets together in harmony.
Of course, if you don't have a bunch of other Apple devices laying around your home, Windows hardware is still a fantastic option for photographers and digital editors alike, especially if you're not experiences using macOS. Apple also has yet to release a true 2-in-1 device or convertible laptop, which gives Windows an advantage for folks looking to leave a graphic drawing tablet at home and instead use a stylus directly with their laptop.