Best Professional Laptops for Photo Editing

The Best Laptops for Photo Editing (for Pros)

Finally, we are down to the business end of this long series on the best laptops for photo editing.

So far, we have covered the:

budget laptops (under$500),

mid-range laptops (under $1000) and

semi-professional notebooks (under $1500).

Now’s the turn to bring in the big boys. The best of the best. The ones that we can truly call monsters in a clamshell frame. We have left out the budget constraint for this leg of the review. There is no point in that anymore. We are looking for the best of the best so we don’t want to be bogged down by budget and other aspects. So without further ado, here are the best professional laptops for photo editing.

Our Choice as the Top Five Best Professional Laptops for Photo Editing:

  1. MSI GT75 Titan 4K-071 4K
  2. MSI 17.3″ GS73 Stealth 4K Notebook
  3. ASUS ZenBook pro UX550VE-DB1T 15.6″
  4. Gigabyte 15.6″ Aero 15X v8-BK4K4P
  5. Apple 15″ MacBook Pro MPTT2LL/A

1. MSI GT75 Titan 4K-071 4K

Price on Amazon: $4,499.00    2 Reviews

Our Pick for Best Laptop for Photo Editing in 2018: the MSI 17.3" GT75 Titan 4K Notebook
Our Pick for Best Laptop for Photo Editing in 2018: the MSI 17.3″ GT75 Titan 4K Notebook

This powerful MSI GT75 Titan 4K-071 4K laptop features specs that any photographer/photo editor will dig.

For a start, the display is a large 17.3″. The resolution is UHD / 4K. The larger resolution is something that you would enjoy working with when editing your high-resolution photos and videos. A larger resolution allows you to view an expanded video timeline.

The monitor comes with IPS display technology. A thing that we don’t like is the low res display of the traditional gaming laptops. Large screens often wasted because the processor is incapable of handling the demands of a 4K / UHD display.

The processor is the latest 8th Generation Core i9 (i9-8950 HK Coffee Lake) Hexa Core (6 cores and 12 threads). The processor is capable of clocking 4.3 to 4.8 GHz.  The processor is paired with the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with an integrated 8 GB GDDR5X RAM. Internal RAM of the laptop is 32 GB (2666 GHz). There are two slots which can be used to upgrade the RAM to 64 GB. Internal storage of the system is 1 TB of SSD (NVMe). There are 2 512 GB SSD units arranged in a Raid 4 architecture. Plus there is also a 1 TB standard SATA HDD (7200 RPM) unit as well.

This is a hardcore gaming laptop and therefore has the best features. Some of which would be inconsequential for photo editors but would be imperative for the photographers. Such as the massive cooling vents at the back on either side.

There are a complete set of communication options including USB-C which you can use for video rendering at a decent rate. There are some USB Type A ports as well as HDMI ports. However, you won’t get a DVI port either, and there are no optical drives in the machine.

The backlit chiclet keyboard is a nice touch though it is superficial for a photo editor because of the backlighting scheme. There is a four zone RGB backlight area. The lighting scheme is programmable. You can use the Steel Series engine software that is provided with the laptop. The travel distance of the keyboard and their tenacity ensures that you can use it for a considerable period. It is a keyboard shortcut users dream come true.

MSI GT75 TITAN 4K-071 4K G-Sync EXTREME Gaming Laptop i9-8950HK (6 cores) GTX 1080...
2 Reviews
MSI GT75 TITAN 4K-071 4K G-Sync EXTREME Gaming Laptop i9-8950HK (6 cores) GTX 1080...
  • Display: 17.3" UHD, 4K eDP IPS-Level | Operating System: Win 10 PRO
  • Processor: Core i9-8950HK Hexa-Core (6 Cores) 4.3 - 4.8GHz
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1080 8G GDDR5X
  • Memory (RAM): 32GB (16G*2) DDR4 2666MHz 4 Sockets; Max Memory 64GB | Storage: Super RAID 4 1TB SSD (NVMe) [512GB *2]+1TB...
  • Special Features: VR Ready | Aluminum Black | Killer N1550 Combo (2*2 ac) | Multi GIG AQC107 | Steel Series per-Key RGB...

2. MSI 17.3″ Light Gaming Laptop GS73VR STEALTH PRO-060

Price on Amazon: $2,099.00    10 Reviews

#2 Best Laptop for Photo Editing: MSI GS73VR STEALTH PRO-060 17.3" 120Hz 5ms Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop
MSI GS73VR STEALTH PRO-060 17.3″ 120Hz 5ms Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop

Another 17″ laptop and this one is from MSI. The MSI GS73VR STEALTH PRO-060 is built around a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 7700HQ processor. The processor can clock a maximum of 3.8 GHz. When not boosted the processor clocks 2.8 GHz. Graphics is powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with an integrated 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM.

The GPU integrates the PASCAL architecture which ensures a much smoother performance. The machine itself has a memory of 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. You can expect better performance compared to the older GTX 1060 GPU but nowhere near the performance of the GTX 1080 discussed above.

Storage on the device is a combination of Solid State Devices and traditional HDD. The SSD option comes with 256 GB of storage (one unit m2.2SATA) and the HDD option comes with 2 TB of HDD (5400 RPM).

Exceptionally good heat management is a hallmark of the best gaming laptops in the business. As photographers, we use resource hogging applications ourselves. And often indulge in tasks that draw the last drop of power. Thus, we need more power. But more power comes with a price – heat. The MSI’s heat management system includes 3 fans and 5 heat pipes. Though, originally designed for gamers it comes in handy for a photo editor.

Gaming laptops come with their own unique features and one of them is the backlit keyboard. The GS73VR STEALTH PRO-060 comes with a multi-color backlit keyboard.

The display on the 17.3″ laptop is full HD. As photographers and photo editors we definitely would have loved to see a higher display resolution. The one thing that seems to be missing in most of these laptops is the UHD display resolution. That said, the refresh rate, as usual, is geared towards avid gamers – 120 Hz.

To top it all the GS73VR STEALTH PRO-060 is portable. Weighing in at just 5.35 lb, it is certainly way lighter than the HP Omen X 17-ap020nr we read about before. That makes the MSI a better option if you travel quite a lot. Windows 10 comes preloaded in the system.

MSI GS73VR STEALTH PRO-060 17.3' 120Hz 5ms Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop...
10 Reviews
MSI GS73VR STEALTH PRO-060 17.3" 120Hz 5ms Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop...
  • Display: 17.3" FHD, Anti-Glare Wide View Angle 120Hz 5ms 94%NTSC | Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: Core i7-7700HQ (2.8 - 3.8 GHz)
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8G GDDR5 MAX Q
  • RAM: 16GB (16G*1) DDR4 2400MHz 2 Sockets; Max Memory 32GB | Hard Drive: 256GB SSD (1*256GB m.2SATA) + 2TB (SATA) 5400rpm
  • Special features: Ultra Thin and Light Chassis | 120Hz 5ms response time display | Steel Series RGB Backlight with...

3. ASUS ZenBook pro UX550VE-DB1T 15.6″

Price on Amazon: $1,583.60    41 Reviews

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550VE-DB71T 15.6-inch NanoEdge FHD Touch Laptop
ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550VE-DB71T 15.6-inch NanoEdge FHD Touch Laptop

The ASUS ZenBook pro UX550VE-DB1T is a 15.6″ laptop designed keeping in mind the requirement of the power user. This is system is powered by a Intel i7 – 7700 HQ (7th Generation) quad core processor capable of clocking 2.8 GHz. When boosted in turbo mode the system clocks 3.8 GHz. Internal memory of the laptop is 16 GB DDR4.

The processor on the ASUS ZenBook pro UX550VE-DB1T is paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU.  Integrated memory of the GPU is 4 GB. An extremely powerful graphics card is in the domain of dedicated gamers. Photographers rarely need that high a GPU.

Storage on the device is a single SSD unit of 512 GB. It comes with PCIe NVMe technology. There is no HDD option as such. I don’t mind that at all provided the SSD option is large. In this case, 512 GB storage may not sound much and certainly is not enough for storing all your photos or even photos from a month of photo shoots. But then it would certainly be enough for all practical purposes. That said, you will need to plug in an external hard drive and back up your photos and videos from time to time.

The GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070 mentioned in some of the above-discussed laptops push the final price tag high. It is practically needless as well as mindless to invest such a high amount of money in a technology that you would probably never use. The GTX 1050 Ti and the GTX 1060 are much ‘saner’ choices.

Finally, the weight of the device is about 1.9 kilos. That is extremely light weight considering some of the other laptops that we have discussed here. It is a good unit to carry in your laptop bag while travelling. Display on the laptop is standard (full HD). The 15.6″ display comes with touch options as well. Windows 10 comes preloaded into the system.

Sale
ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550VE-DB71T 15.6-inch NanoEdge FHD Touch Gaming Laptop, Intel Core...
41 Reviews
ASUS ZenBook Pro UX550VE-DB71T 15.6-inch NanoEdge FHD Touch Gaming Laptop, Intel Core...
  • 15.6-Inch 178 degree wide angle view Full-HD Nano Edge touch display with Windows 10
  • Latest 7th generation Intel i7-7700HQ Quad Core 2.8 GHz Processor (Turbo to 3.8 GHz)
  • Fast storage and memory featuring PCIE NVMe 512GB SSD with 16GB DDR4 RAM with NVidia GTX 1050Ti 4GB
  • Extensive connectivity with HDMI, 2x USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen2) with Thunderbolt, 2x USB Type 3.0 Type-A, 802.11ac WiFi, and...
  • Sleek 4 lbs aluminum body for comfortable portability. Built-in fingerprint reader with one-touch login via Windows...

4. Gigabyte 15.6″ Aero 15X v8-BK4K4P

Price on Amazon: $2,499.00    4 Reviews

Gigabyte Aero 15X v8-BK4K4P (i7-8750H, 16GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, NVIDIA GTX 1070 8GB,...

The Gigabyte Aero is a 15.6″ laptop designed for the photo editor in mind. It is powered by an Intel Core i7 – 8750H processor (8th Generation). The processor clocks 2.2 GHz. Paired with the processor is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with an integrated memory of 8 GB (DDR5). The internal memory of the laptop is 16 GB (DDR4). Internal storage of the laptop is 512 GB SSD (PCIe) M.2. There is no option for a standard HDD. There is 9 MB of internal cache memory.

The laptop covers 100% Adobe RGB color gamut. The laptop comes with various connectivity options. Apart from the standard USB options you also get the Type-C USB as well. Then there is the RGB Fusion software that comes along with the laptop. Using this software you can personalize the backlighting scheme of the laptop keyboard. Of course, you can also customize the keyboard for any functions that you want.

The display on the laptop is 15.6″ and has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (UHD). The high resolution ensures that you can check your photos in greater detail compared to other full HD displays. The monitor comes with an anti-glare IPS display technology which is great for working in bright light situations.

Gigabyte Aero 15X v8-BK4K4P (i7-8750H, 16GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, NVIDIA GTX 1070 8GB,...
4 Reviews
Gigabyte Aero 15X v8-BK4K4P (i7-8750H, 16GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, NVIDIA GTX 1070 8GB,...
  • Display: 15.6" IPS UHD (3840 x 2160) Anti-Glare Display (100% Adobe RGB) | Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB...
  • Processor: 8th Gen Intel Coffee Lake Core i7-8750H Six Core (2.2GHz-4.1GHz, 9MB Intel Smart Cache, 45W)
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz | Hard Drive: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64 Bit) | Warranty: 2-Year Gigabyte USA + Global Warranty Parts & Labor + Lifetime Tech...
  • PROMOTION: Exclusive Gaming Bundle (60 value). See description for more details.

5. Apple 15″ MacBook Pro MPTT2LL/A

Price on Amazon: from $1,259.00    84 Reviews

Apple 15' MacBook Pro, Retina, Touch Bar, 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core, 16GB RAM,...

The Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ (MPTT2LL/A) is powered by a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 – 7820 HQ Quad-Core processor. The processor is supplemented with an AMD Radeon Pro 560 graphics card with an integrated memory of 4 GB (DDR5). The AMD Radeon Pro 560 GPU should be faster that the GeForce GTX 960M but then when compared to the GTX 965M the performance is slower. Finally, internal memory of the laptop is 16 GB 2133 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM. The memory capacity of the MacBook, however, is not upgradable.

Storage on the laptop is comprised of 512 of SSD. There is no standard HDD on the laptop. I don’t mind that. A 512 GB SSD is more than sufficient to back up a few days’ worths of work (as long as you are not shooting videos). Of course, you will have to back up your work to an external hard drive afterward.

The display has always been the more powerful features of a MacBook, and in this regard, the 15.4″ MacBook Pro does not disappoint. The 15.4″ display comes with a resolution of 2880 x 1800. Apple calls it the Retina Display.

The flat keyboard design is something that takes a while getting used to. I personally, like a bit of an elevation for the keys. And this one surely does not comply. Then, I am subjective here. The other features of the MacBook include the highly publicized Touch Bar and Touch ID features. Mac OS X Sierra comes preloaded in the system.

Speaking of the Touch Bar, this panel sitting at the top of the keyboard offers some functionality for popular applications. For our sake, it gives easy access to Photoshop tools including layers and brushes. So, it has some applicability beyond changing brightness, volume and interacting with Siri.

Overall this is a powerful laptop, and the display resolution certainly makes it very useful compared to some of the other laptops that we have seen in this review. However the fact that the RAM is locked means you can never upgrade it.

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Apple 15' MacBook Pro, Retina, Touch Bar, 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core, 16GB RAM,...
84 Reviews
Apple 15" MacBook Pro, Retina, Touch Bar, 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core, 16GB RAM,...
  • 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB memory
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID

6. Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop (G9-793-79V5)

Price on Amazon: from $1,699.99    81 Reviews

Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop, Core i7, GeForce GTX 1070, 17.3' Full HD G-SYNC, 16GB...

The Acer Predator (G9-793-79V5) is a giant notebook powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core i7 – 7700 HQ processor which can clock 2.8 GHz. When boosted using Turbo it can clock a maximum of up to 3.8 GHz. This is a quad-core processor with 6 MB cache.
Internal memory is a 16 GB DDR4 RAM (8 GB x 2). Paired with the processor is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 processor (faster than the previous generation GTX 1060). Integrated memory on the GPU is 8 GB. This is the third version of Acer’s premium 17″ laptops aimed solely at the avid gamers.

The display on the laptop is a nice and big 17.3″ unit with IPS display technology and NVIDIA G-Sync technology. The only thing that we don’t like is the absence of a higher resolution display. This monitor supports only full HD.

Storage on the laptop is a combination of traditional HDD and a flash drive. There is a 256 GB SSD unit (actually there are two 128 GB units in RAID 0 configuration and for all purposes, it will show up as one unit) as well as a 1 TB HDD unit. I prefer the larger SSD capacity as it allows a bit more leverage in terms of storing everything that one needs on the primary drive. That way your boot time is reduced plus your photo editing applications launch quicker. Windows 10 comes pre-loaded in the system.

Gaming laptops come with a few distinct features that are different from or unnecessary when compared with traditional business or home laptops. One of them is the backlit keyboard. The unique thing about this laptop is the programmable RGB backlit design of the keyboard. There are actually four customizable backlit zones. The other thing we like is the Predator FrostCore unit that comes with the laptop. This is best used for intense gaming, but you can use it with photo editing applications as well, especially when rendering a big time-lapse or batch processing a large number of images and so on. A laptop can get pretty hot due to the resource hogging nature of these tasks.

The only thing that you would probably not like, especially if you love to work sitting on a couch, is the short battery life. Specifications suggest that the average battery life is only 3 hours. Which is very limited.

Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop, Core i7, GeForce GTX 1070, 17.3' Full HD G-SYNC, 16GB...
81 Reviews
Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop, Core i7, GeForce GTX 1070, 17.3" Full HD G-SYNC, 16GB...
  • 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor (Up to 3.8GHz)
  • 17.3" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory, 256GB SSD RAID 0, 1TB HDD
  • Windows 10 Home

7. HP Omen X 17-ap020nr

Price on Amazon: $2,099.99    10 Reviews

OMEN X by HP 17-inch Gaming Laptop
OMEN X by HP 17-inch Gaming Laptop

This is a HP Omen series laptop that is powered by an Intel Core i7 – 7820 HK (7th Generation) processor. Internal memory of the unit is 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM. Memory is upgradeable up to 32 GB.

The processor clocks 2.9 GHz normally, but when boosted it can be overclocked to a maximum of 3.9 GHz. Internal storage on the laptop is a 1 TB HDD and 256 GB of SSD. The HDD is a 7200 RPM unit with serial ATA and the SSD is a PCIe NVMe M.2 unit. The presence of the SSD unit ensures that your laptop boots up fast and when launching editing applications, there is a minimum lag time. Speaking of operating system Windows 10 comes preloaded in the laptop.

Graphics processing unit is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with an integrated memory of 8 GB GDDR5 VRAM. The GeForce GTX 1080 is even faster and more powerful than the previous generation GeForce GTX 1070 GPU. This GPU is powerful enough to handle even 4K display and so, if you are planning on using an external 4K monitor you would love the extra smoothness that it imparts to your display. This is where the GeForce GTX 1070 (which also happens to be very powerful) loses out. It combines the NVIDIA Pascal architecture for better and smoother experience (especially for gamers).

The large display of the laptop only offers full HD display. Which is a bit of a let-down. But then again you always have the option to plug in an external monitor. True to its gaming pedigree the HP Omen X 17 comes with a very high refresh rate of 120 Hz. This is, of course, unnecessary for photo editors, and we rarely need it. The display integrates IPS technology. Also, it features the G-Sync technology which reaffirms its status as a premium gaming laptop. But just like many other typical features of a gaming laptop g-sync does not mean much for photo editors.

The large display and the bulk of the laptop mean it is hardly the kind of device that would work as your standard travel laptop. This is meant to take care of your bulk photo editing work and replace your desktop.

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OMEN X by HP 17-inch Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-7820HK Processor, NVIDIA GeForce...
10 Reviews
OMEN X by HP 17-inch Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-7820HK Processor, NVIDIA GeForce...
  • Processor: 7th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7820HK, Quad-Core, 2.9GHz up to 3.9GHz.
  • Video graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8 GB GDDR5 dedicated).
  • Display: 17.3-inch diagonal FHD 120 Hz IPS anti-glare WLED-backlit (1920 x 1080).
  • Memory: 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM (upgradable with 2 accessible memory slots).
  • Hard drive and solid-state drive: 1 TB 7200RPM Serial ATA and 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 solid-state drive.

8. ASUS ROG Strix Gaming Laptop 17″ GL702VI-WB74

Price on Amazon: $2,999.11    16 Reviews

ASUS ROG STRIX Gaming Laptop, 17" Full HD 120Hz Panel
ASUS ROG STRIX Gaming Laptop with 17″ Full HD 120Hz Panel

The ASUS ROG Strix is a dedicated gaming laptop designed for avid gamers. It has features that make it a great choice for photographers (and photo editors) as well. The ASUS ROG Strix is powered by an older Kaby Lake (7th Generation) Intel Core i7 – 7700 HQ quad-core processor. The processor clocks 2.8 GHz normally but when boosted it can clock 3.8 GHz. The internal memory of the laptop is 16 GB DDR4. Cache memory is 6 MB. Paired with the processor is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with integrated 8 GB of memory.

Internal storage of the laptop is a combination of HDD and SSD. HDD unit is a 1 TB (5400 RPM) storage and the SSD unit has a 256 GB capacity. Personally, I love this because it is a practical combination of storage and performance. The SSD unit is an NVMe one which is miles faster compared to traditional HDD units as well as PCIe x2 units.

The display on the 17.3″ laptop is full HD. I don’t want to gripe again but I don’t like a large display with a low resolution. Speaking of display, the refresh rate on the monitor is 120 Hz and it comes with G-Sync technology. This is a technology aimed at gamers.

True to its billing as a gamer’s laptop the ASUS ROG Strix Gaming Laptop 17″GL702VI-WB74 comes with good heat management features. There are two fans inside the laptop which dissipate heat along with heat pipes that cool the processor and the GPU independent of each other.

Additionally, the backlit keyboard layout is geared for hard core gamers with programmable chiclet styled keys for more accurate keystrokes (long standing performance). The best thing is that the colors are programmable meaning you can select the color combination for your keyboard for a more visually aesthetic experience.

ASUS ROG STRIX Gaming Laptop, 17' Full HD 120Hz Panel, Intel Core i7 2.8GHz GTX 1080...
16 Reviews
ASUS ROG STRIX Gaming Laptop, 17" Full HD 120Hz Panel, Intel Core i7 2.8GHz GTX 1080...
  • Desktop-grade performance with Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor 2.8 GHz (6M Cache, up to 3.8 GHz) and GeForce GTX 1080 8GB
  • 17.3" Full HD Gaming wide view display with 120Hz refresh rate, G-SYNC, for smooth gameplay and fast response time
  • Powerful thermal design: cooled by duo-copper system with heat pipes and dual 12V fans for CPU and GPU
  • ASUS AURA RGB Gaming keyboard with 4-zones of lighting control, 1.8mm key travel distance, 30-key rollover
  • Robust connectivity: 1x HDMI, 1x mini DisplayPort, SD Card Reader, 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type C, 1x Headphone-out/audio...

9. ASUS ROG Strix GL703VM Scar Edition 17.3″ Gaming Laptop

Price on Amazon: $1,540.00    36 Reviews

ASUS ROG Strix GL703VM Scar Edition 17.3” 120Hz Gaming Laptop, GTX 1060 6GB, Intel...

Another ASUS system, the ROG Strix GL703VM, is powered by an Intel Core i7-7700 (7th Generation) HQ Quad-Core 2.8 GHz processor. When overclocked the processor can function at 3.8 GHz. Internal RAM of the machine is 16 GB DDR4.

Paired with the processor is a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with an integrated memory of 6 GB. This is a slightly dated GPU processor and will lose out to the GTX 1080 as well as the GTX 1070 that we have discussed in the previous laptops. But that said, this is more than enough for photo editing.

Storage on the device is a combination of 256 GB SSD and 1 TB of HDD. I keep saying this, but I love the SSD + HDD combination as that gives the best balance between cost and usefulness. The SSD stores the operating system as well as the photo editing applications and improves the overall performance of the device. Windows 10 comes preloaded into the laptop. That said if cost is not a factor then go for the dedicated SSD unit.

The 17.3″ IPS display sports full HD resolution. I would have preferred a UHD display, especially because of the large real estate of the monitor. Enough said. Just wanted to add something about the color space on the monitor. It supports 56% of the AdobeRGB and 87% of the sRGB color space.

Being a gaming laptop has its advantages. Especially, in terms of heat management and the kind of keyboard that is provided; ideal for heavy duty work. The keyboard is an Aura RGB lighting unit with 4 individual hotkeys for easy access to key functions. Though designed for the avid gamer, the 1.8mm travel of the keys and their 20 million keystroke longevity is perfect for photo editing tasks.  Heat management is taken care off by 2 heat dissipating fans.

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ASUS ROG Strix GL703VM Scar Edition 17.3” 120Hz Gaming Laptop, GTX 1060 6GB, Intel...
36 Reviews
ASUS ROG Strix GL703VM Scar Edition 17.3” 120Hz Gaming Laptop, GTX 1060 6GB, Intel...
  • Special design for FPS gamers: slim 0.9" profile with carbon fiber pattern keyboard. 17.3" 120Hz Full HD panel with...
  • 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad-core 2.8GHz (Turbo to 3.8GHz) with discrete GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics....
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD + 1TB FireCuda SSHD for combination of fast OS drive speed and high capacity storage
  • Aura RGB lighting keyboard with 4 isolated hotkeys, 1.8mm key travel, and anti-ghosting technology. 4 zones of lighting...
  • 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi (up to 6x faster than traditional BGN); Bluetooth 4.1, 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 (Type C), 1x USB 2.0, 1x...

10. Microsoft Surface Laptop (Intel Core i7) Platinum

Price on Amazon: from $684.00    182 Reviews

Microsoft Surface Laptop (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB) - Platinum

The Microsoft Surface Laptop is powered by a 7th Generation dual core Intel Core i7 processor. The processor clocks a maximum of 4 GHz. Internal storage of the laptop is comprised of a 512 GB SSD. 16 GB of RAM has been provided in the laptop. Graphics is powered by an Intel HD 620 (or Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640).

The display is small, only 13.5″ but the resolution of the laptop is very high – 2256 x 1504. That comes off as a better proposition as compared to some of the other laptops that we have seen in this discussion. At the end of the day, a better resolution and better computing power are what photo editors (and photographers) look for.

You also get touchscreen functionality on the laptop screen. That way even without a Wacom board you can do some basic editing. However, don’t pin too much hope on the editing prowess of a touchscreen and your fingers. Plus, touchscreens of laptops are susceptible to dust, dirt and fingerprint smudges. They are not your usual smartphone screen that can be easily wiped clean. It is more time consuming to clean laptop screens. Of course, you are welcome to use the Microsoft Surface Pen on it to make your edits.

That said, the small 13.5″ display is not exactly the sort of display that would move mountains. I like a 15″ display at the least. Anything larger than that would be welcome. Provided of course the display resolution is better than full HD.

Among the other features – the laptop comes with a unique Microsoft Signature Alcantara fabric decked keyboard. The company states that the keyboard is spill resistant which is nice. But more than that it is different to the traditional plastic keyboards that we normally see. Additionally, the keyboard is backlit which allows it to be easily used in dimly lit places, such as inside a long haul flight. Thanks to its long-lasting battery using it for long periods of time away from a charging point is possible.

The laptop comes preinstalled with Windows S. Windows S is the newest iteration of the world’s most popular operating system. It has advanced security features including a default mechanism that prevents the installation of programs that are not available on the Windows Store. That said Windows S can be upgraded to Windows 10 and that will remove all the limitations of the OS.

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Microsoft Surface Laptop (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB) - Platinum
182 Reviews
Microsoft Surface Laptop (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB) - Platinum
  • Microsoft Surface Laptop features a 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 512 GB of storage, 16 GB RAM, and up to 14.5...
  • Backed by the best of Microsoft, including Windows and Office
  • Sleek, elegant design; ultra-thin and light laptop fits easily in your bag
  • Luxurious Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard. Sensors- ambient light sensor
  • 3.5mm headset jack. Exterior has aluminum casing

11. MSI 17.3″ GS73 Stealth 4K Notebook

Price on Amazon: $2,599.00    3 Reviews

MSI GS73 STEALTH-014 4K Display Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop
MSI GS73 STEALTH-014 4K Display Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop

MSI has been a popular choice among gamers for many years. But of late their configuration and display resolution offerings are becoming increasingly popular among creative users as well.

Let’s take the example of the MSI 17.3″ GS73 Stealth 4K. The Stealth is a behemoth, just like the Titan detailed above. This one too is going to set you back by several thousand dollars. For that incredible price, you get one of the best professional laptops for photo editing you can buy right now.

The GS73 Stealth 4K is built around a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7 – 8750H (8th Generation) processor. This is paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with an integrated 8 GB DDR5 VRAM. The internal memory of the laptop is 16 GB DDR4. Internal storage of the laptop is a single 512 GB SSD (M.2) unit (there is an option which comes with 1 TB SSD). The laptop also comes with a 2 TB traditional HDD unit. This is a serious piece of technology that will work for you regardless of whether you are a gamer or a creative professional. The hexacore allow you to run all your favorite photo editing applications at the same time and do a video rendering just for fun; something you have never dared to before. And it would not even break a sweat.

The display of the monitor is a large 17.3″ IPS display with a resolution of 3840 x 2160. What I like about the display is that you get a high resolution which utilizes the large real estate of the display.

Apart from the display, and the processor and the GPU, and the 1 TB SSD (I am gloating here) I like something else about the GT75 Titan. And that is its fantastic keyboard. The only analogy that I can use is that of the steering wheel of a pure driver’s car. The feedback you receive after each keystroke is phenomenal. This is probably what you would feel straight away as you start typing, but is something that you will never think of when purchasing. This is one of the salient features of the laptop.

MSI GS73 STEALTH-014 4K Display Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop i7-8750H (6 cores)...
3 Reviews
MSI GS73 STEALTH-014 4K Display Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop i7-8750H (6 cores)...
  • Display: 17.3" UHD, 4K eDP IPS-Level | Operating System: Win 10 PRO
  • Processor: Core i7-8750H Hexa-Core (6 Cores) 3.9 - 4.1GHz
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1070 8G GDDR5
  • Memory (RAM): 16GB (8G*2) DDR4 2400MHz 2 Sockets; Max Memory 32GB | Storage: 512GB M.2 SSD + 2TB (SATA) 5400rpm
  • Special Features: VR Ready | Aluminum Black | Killer N1550i Combo (2*2 ac) | Killer Gaming Network E2500 | Steel Series...

12. MSI 15.6″ GE63VR Raider Notebook

Price on Amazon: $1,899.99    9 Reviews

CUK GE63VR Raider Gamer Notebook (Intel i7-7700HQ, 32GB RAM, 500GB NVMe SSD + 1TB...

I’ll include one more MSI laptop in this list. And just to clarify, I don’t get anything from the brand for doing this. MSI has been manufacturing fantastic laptops for gamers for years, and some of these laptops happen to be simply excellent for photographers and editors.

The MSI 15.6″ GE63VR Raider is powered by a 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7-7700 HQ (7th Generation) Quad-core processor. The system can be overclocked to a maximum of 3.8 GHz. Paired with it is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU with an integrated 8 GB of GDDR5 memory. The main memory of the laptop is comprised of 16 GB of DDR4. The storage of the system consists of a 512 GB NVMe SSD unit. There are no options for mounting a standard HDD unit. I don’t think anyone is going to mind that, especially when SSD is going to improve the boot time as well as the application launch time frame.

Being a gaming laptop has its advantages, and that includes a better heat management system. The Raider comes with seven heat pipes. These are distributed between the GPU and the CPU which takes care of the heat dissipation and keeps the whole system cool even when handling multiple resources hogging threads.

The other feature is the backlit keyboard. The keys can be individually programmed as per an RGB color scheme. This allows for the keys to be arranged according to your preferences whether you are a gamer or a photographer.

For all practical purposes, and that is speaking strictly in perspective of photographer/photo editor, this laptop has everything that you need. The display of the laptop is a 15.6″ unit with a resolution of 3840 x 2160. There are some connecting ports, and one of them is a USB Type-C unit.

CUK GE63VR Raider Gamer Notebook (Intel i7-7700HQ, 32GB RAM, 500GB NVMe SSD + 1TB...
9 Reviews
CUK GE63VR Raider Gamer Notebook (Intel i7-7700HQ, 32GB RAM, 500GB NVMe SSD + 1TB...
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor (6MB Cache, 2.8GHz-3.8GHz) 45W
  • RAM: 32GB RAM DDR4 2400MHz | Hard Disk Drive: 500GB NVMe Solid State Drive + 1TB 7200rpm Hard Disk Drive
  • Keyboard: Full Sized Chiclet Steelseries Per-Key RGB Keyboard with Anti-Ghost + Silver Lining | Operating System:...
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 | Display: 15.6" Full HD 120Hz 3ms 94% NTSC Color Anti-Glare Matte Screen
  • 32GB RAM & 500GB NVMe SSD Upgrades | 3-Year CUK Limited Warranty (View warranty section below for more details)

Conclusion

The MSI GT75 Titan 4K-071 4K wins the fight for the best professional laptops for photo editing hands down. The laptop comes with the latest 8th generation Core i9-8950 HK Coffee Lake processor and a large 17.3″ monitor with UHD display. The Hexacore processor, the large display resolution and the state of the art GPU (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080) and the 32 GB DDR4 RAM adds up to be a phenomenal machine that is capable of handling anything and everything that you can throw it. It undoubtedly has the pedigrees of a top-class gaming machine but also works like your desktop replacement for anything to do with the photo and video editing. This is our recommended top choice. You can’t go wrong with it.

We pick the MSI 17.3″ GS73 Stealth 4K Notebook as our next recommended laptop. Why? Because it has the second best practical configuration that ensures you can handle all your photo and video editing works. It features an 8th Generation Intel Core-i7 processor paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 GPU. Yes, it has slightly less (16 GB of DDR4) RAM to start with, but this laptop, too, has a hexacore processor. That means you can use it for handling multitasking without major issues. Speaking of major issues, some customers have reported about the laptop’s propensity to heat up very quickly. But this could be a few isolated incidents and not the norm.

That’s said the ASUS ZenBook pro UX550VE-DB1T 15.6″ is also not far off. Thought it would not rate as the best professional laptop based on the products that we have listed here, it has the practical combination of a less expensive GPU but a 7th Generation Core i7 processor. As photographers, we don’t need too powerful a GPU and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti satisfies our needs. Plus, the system has a 512 GB all SSD storage which should make OS booting and launching of photo editing applications a breeze.

We also include the Gigabyte 15.6″ Aero 15X v8-BK4K4P. The Gigabyte is yet another 4K / UHD laptop powered by an Intel 8th generation Core i7 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 CPU. Useful SSD storage option and a powerful RAM and above all the high-resolution display along with its gaming pedigree makes this an excellent laptop to buy.

Finally, we include the Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ (MPTT2LL/A) a very close fourth on this list. A few years ago the 2880 x 1800 Retina display of the MacBook Pro should have pushed it to the top of the discussion. But with the advent of 4K / UHD gaming laptops with advanced heat management and faster processors, the MacBook Pro is seriously threatened. Speaking about the display, it is better than the Microsoft Surface Laptop Platinum that we have discussed here. But what I don’t like about the MacBook Pro is that the memory cannot be upgraded. Also, the fact that the memory of the MacBook Pro comprises of DDR3 RAM means it is slower compared to the DDR4 RAM of the top 3 best professional laptops for photo editing we have discussed here.

Our Top 3 Picks: Best Laptops for Photo Editing

More Photography Notebooks Compared:

budget laptops (under$500)

mid-range laptops (under $1000)

semi-professional notebooks (under $1500)

Consider these Tech Specs when Buying a Notebook for Photo Editing Tasks:

✔  Speed and Memory

When it comes to serious photo editing work your laptop must have more than just decent computing speed and a good memory.

✔  Display Size & Color Gamut

Speed and memory are just the bare minimum, to begin with. With increasingly high-resolution cameras hitting the market, the ability to edit files in as large a display size as one can get is also a major requirement.

Note: Any serious/pro photography display should cover 90% or above of the Adobe RGB Color Gamut. Laptops in the price range under $1,000 can’t achieve those color gamut values, so consider buying a laptop in the $1,500 range and to check the color gamut values.

✔  Weight

Photographers tend to look for lightweight solutions – laptops that they can carry with them wherever they go.

What you need:

  • A high resolution large-sized screen,
  • an extremely high powered configuration capable of handling multiple applications, as well as large-sized files
  • and all this combined in a small, lightweight package;

These notebook tech specs raise a lot of opposites!

You need an off-road vehicle that handles like a sports car and gives the comfort of a luxury sedan.


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