We now raise the qualifying mark to in the first part of this comparison to just under $1,500 and later on, we look at the best laptops for photography with now budget constraint. With the increased budget we can expect something extra, better performance, better build quality and of course better features.
You will notice that a majority of the picks in this discussion are labeled as gaming laptops. Although we photographers rarely pick a computer for playing PUBG, one can’t deny the fact that the best of features are usually loaded into a gaming platform. These include a powerful processor, powerful graphics, beefier memory, flash memory and all the other embellishments that go with it.
So, without further ado here are the best laptops for photo editing under $1,500:
✔ Top Laptop for Photography under $1,500
|#||Laptop||Price on Amazon||Rating on Amazon||Reviews on Amazon|
|1||ASUS VivoBook Pro Thin & Light Laptop N705UD-EH76 | Our Pick||$1,099.00||111 Reviews|
|2||Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop G3-571-77QK | Runner Up||$1,049.00||1,472 Reviews|
|3||Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming Laptop||$1,185.00||16 Reviews|
|4||Apple MacBook Pro MLH12LL/A 13"||No Longer Available||85 Reviews|
|5||Dell Inspiron 7000 i7559 15.6" (Certified Refurbished)||$999.77||46 Reviews|
|6||ASUS ROG Strix GL702VS 17.3"||No Longer Available||68 Reviews|
|7||ASUS FX503VM 15.6" Gaming Laptop||Check on Amazon||72 Reviews|
|8||Microsoft Surface Laptop||Check on Amazon||219 Reviews|
|9||ASUS ZenBook pro UX550VE-DB1T 15.6"||$1,399.00||49 Reviews|
👉 Jump to the section with the top photography laptops with no budget constraint.
The ASUS VivoBook is powered by an 8th Generation (Kaby Lake Refresh) Core i7-8550 processor. The processor has a clock speed of 1.8 GHz. When boosted using Turbo, it can attain a clock speed of 4 GHz. Paired with the processor is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics processor with an integrated memory of 4 GB.
Storage on the laptop is a combination of 1 TB of HDD and 256 GB of SSD. Needless to say that the SSD ensures a faster boot time and quicker loading of applications. The internal memory of the laptop is 16 GB DDR4 RAM. I love the combination of the high DDR4 memory, plus the latest 8th gen processor and the SSD drive.
However, there is a downside. This particular model from ASUS isn’t exactly perfect for easy upgrade and maintenance. There are an awful number of screws that you have to unscrew before you can get access to the memory and the hard drive units. That said, if you don’t want to take the laptop apart, the built-in configuration is good enough for most photo editing needs.
The display on the laptop is a large 17.3″ real estate with a resolution of full HD. We would have liked a higher resolution (at least UHD – 3840 x 2160) display as that would have justified the larger than standard display size.
As a gaming laptop, it is likely that the machine will have a few features which are catered towards hardcore gamers. The backlit ergonomically designed keyboard is one of them.
Connectivity includes several USB ports (USB 3.0 and USB 2.0), HDMI, RJ45, built-in Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a full-fledged gaming laptop designed for the avid gamer. It is based on a Core i7 -7700 HQ processor (7th Generation) and can clock up to a maximum of 3.8 GHz. Paired with it is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6 GB of integrated GDDR5 VRAM.
Not that it would make any difference to a photo editor, but it is pertinent to mention that the laptop is designed for the PASCAL architecture which ensures it is VR ready. The internal memory of the device is 16 GB of DDR4.
Storage comprises a 256 GB SSD unit. If you know me, I love the SSD option as it enhances the performance of the machine, reducing the boot time of the OS as well as the load time of your favorite photo editing application. That is a big thing for a laptop purchased solely for photo editing.
The display on the device is a 15.6″ screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with IPS technology. The G3-571-77QK comes with full connectivity options, including USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
Because this is a dedicated gaming laptop, there are many specifications which have been incorporated keeping the avid gamer in mind. The backlit keyboard with red accented W, A, S and D keys are one such feature. The keys have a long travel which gives a better ergonomic feel to it.
One additional feature on the laptop I love is the extended palm rest. This is very comfortable and is a nice touch especially for someone who spends a considerable amount of time editing photos etc. The only thing is that the keys are not programmable. But with Photoshop keystroke shortcuts (customizable) I don’t think this is going to be a significant problem.
Finally, the dual cooling fan design ensures that the laptop is able to manage heat dissipation issues much easier compared to other traditional laptops. Windows 10 comes preloaded in the system.
- Latest 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor 2.8GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.8GHz | Windows 10 Home...
- Latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
- 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display, Red Backlit Keyboard
- 16GB DDR4 DRAM Memory & 256GB SSD | Extra empty expandable hard drive slot for 2.5" hard drives
- Up to 7-hours of battery life
The Dell Inspiron 15 i7577-7722BLK is a 15.6″ gaming laptop powered by 7th Generation Core i7 processor. This is an older generation (Kaby Lake) quad-core processor. The clock speed of the processor is 2.8 GHz. However, when boosted, you can get a clock speed of 3.8 GHz. Paired with the processor is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics coprocessor with an integrated memory of 6 GB (GDDR5).
The system incorporates the latest Max Q design architecture from NVIDIA. This technology is all about dissipating heat and managing the overall performance of the GPU. For hardcore gamers, the Max Q architecture isn’t the best nor the most sought-after technology. For photographers, we don’t mind the balancing between heat and peak performance.
The internal memory of the device is 16 GB DDR4. We have already noted how the DDR4 RAM is miles ahead of the DDR3 RAM regarding performance. Add to this the storage option which is a combination of Solid State and traditional HDD (128 GB + 1 TB respectively). The presence of the 128 GB SSD translates into a faster booting time. Plus, the minimal waiting time for your favorite editing app to load, makes a big difference in the final scheme of things.
The display on the laptop is a 15.6″ unit with IPS technology and offers a resolution of full HD. The maximum refresh rate is 60 Hz. Though the last detail is somewhat irrelevant if you are a photographer, you would be using this primarily for image editing and for browsing and for those purposes a high refresh rate is not a necessity.
Being tagged as a gaming laptop it has a few other features that are synonymous with gaming – including a backlit keyboard. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB. Windows 10 comes preloaded in the machine.
- Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor
- 15.6" Full HD Display with Webcam
- NVidia GTX 1060 6GB Graphics
- 16GB RAM / 128GB Solid State Drive + 1TB Hard Drive
- Backlit Keyboard / Windows 10 / Wifi AC / Bluetooth
Related Post: Best Laptop for Photo Editing under $1,000
Price on Amazon: No Longer Available | 86 Reviews
Apple’s 13″ MacBook Pro is powered by an Intel Core i5 Processor with a maximum clock speed of 2.9 GHz when not boosted. This is a dual-core design. When boosted the processor can clock a maximum of 3.3 GHz. Graphics is powered by Intel Iris Graphics 550. The system comes preloaded with Mac OS Sierra. Internal memory on the MacBook Pro 13″ is 8 GB of 2133 MHz DDR3 SDRAM. Internal storage on the machine is a 256 GB PCI-e based SSD unit.
The Touch bar on this machine warrants a slightly different design than what we have seen in the other version without the touch bar. But the touch bar does give some added convenience when logging in to your device or when working.
The display on the MacBook Pro is what appeals the most. The 13″ display offers a resolution of 2560 x 1600.
The keyboard on the laptop has a backlit feature. Connectivity options include four thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports.
The Dell Inspiron 7000 i7559 is a 15.6″ laptop with high resolution (UHD) display. For someone who is a professional photo editor, being able to edit stills on a high-resolution display is great to have, and that means s/he is going to enjoy working with the Dell. By the way, UHD refers to 3840 x 2160, and that means you keep the same 16:9 aspect ratio as the full HD display. Additionally, the screen has touchscreen properties. Personally, I don’t quite fancy a touchscreen for photo editing purposes as they tend to be fingerprint magnets.
Powering the Dell is an Intel Quad Core i7-6700 HQ processor with a clock speed of 2.6 GHz. There are four cores with eight maximum threads. The processor can be overclocked to a maximum of 3.5 GHz. This is a 6th Generation Sky Lake processor. If you are looking for the latest generation Core i7 processor, then you should opt for the (8th Generation Kaby Lake Refresh) latest generation processor powered laptops.
Graphics is powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M unit with an integrated memory of 4 GB GDDR5. Storage on the laptop is a meaty 1 TB of SSD drive. There is no traditional HDD. Not that I am complaining either. Internal memory on the computer is 16 GB DDR3L SDRAM. One of the salient features of the laptop is that it comes with a maintenance hatch. You can upgrade the RAM and the hard drive if need be very quickly.
Connectivity options include built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI and the standard USB and Ethernet. Windows 10 comes preloaded in the system.
- This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes...
- 15.6" UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels) 4K LED-backlit Truelife Touchscreen
- Intel Quad Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor (4 Core 8 Threads , 6M SmartCache, up to 3.50 GHz)
- Upgraded: 16 GB DDR3L SDRAM, 1 TB HDD + 128 GB SSD
- Dedicated NVIDIA Geforce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5 | WiFi + BlueTooth | Backlit Keyboard
Price on Amazon: No Longer Available | 68 Reviews
I love a large display for editing purposes. The ASUS ROG Strix comes with a 17.3″ display. However, the thing I don’t like is that the huge monitor (for a laptop) is not backed up with a higher resolution. The system is powered by an Intel Core i7 – 7700 HQ processor with 2.8 GHz clock speed. The processor can be overclocked using Turbo to a maximum of 3.8 GHz.
Powering the graphics is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 100 graphics processor with an integrated 8 GB of memory. The internal memory of the laptop is 12 GB of DDR4 RAM. Internal storage on the laptop is 1 TB of HDD (7200 rpm). The system also comes with a flash memory option. There is a 128 GB SSD option on the laptop. The presence of the SSD unit ensures that your applications and the operating system start pretty fast.
Related Post: Best Laptops for Photo Editing in 2018 (no Budget limit)
The machine comes with the proprietary Hyper Cool Duo-Copper cooling system that makes sure that the GPU and the CPU are cooled separately. Though as a photographer you will never quite need that extreme cooling, gamers will love that feature because they can now have a dedicated cooling system which is more efficient.
The 17.3″ monitor screen is large, but it has more features for the gamer than the photo editor. I have already mentioned that the display resolution is only full HD. The display has matte g-sync technology for better (smoother) gaming experience. The keyboard is a chiclet design which is a bit too crispy for my liking. However, I am judgmental here.
Connectivity options on the device include USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RJ45, and HDMI. Windows 10 comes preloaded in the system.
Another ASUS on this list – the ASUS FX503VM 15.6″ gaming laptop. It is a mid-range gaming laptop with some handy features. But we are least concerned about its gaming capabilities. What we are interested in is how capable it is for editing images (and videos). The FX503VM is powered by a 7th generation Intel Core i7 – 7700 HQ Quad-core processor. The processor clocks 2.8 GHz when it is not boosted. When boosted using Turbo the processor can clock 3.8 GHz.
Paired with the processor is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics processor with integrated 3 GB of RAM. Internal memory on the device is a great 16 GB of DDR4 2400 MHz RAM. Storage options are a twin. There is a 1 TB of HDD as well as a 128 GB SSD (M.2). That means you can enjoy a mixture of fast performance as well as speedy boot plus the convenience of a large storage option. That said ASUS’s design architecture is so good that upgrading both the RAM and the storage is a breeze. All you need is to unscrew a single screw at the bottom panel, and a panel will slide out revealing the storage and the memory units.
Just like other dedicated gaming laptops the FX503VM also has a backlit (red) keyboard that gives you the advantage of using it in a dimly lit room. The display on the laptop is 15.6″ with a full HD resolution.
Just like most other dedicated gaming laptops the FX503VM also comes with better than standard heat management features. The FX503VM comes with a pair of copper heat pipes plus a dual fan system which ensures that the main processor and the graphics cards are individually cooled. Though you are most probably not looking for a gaming laptop and would rarely be playing Grand Theft Auto on your photo editing laptop, this is a feature nice to have when working with resource hogging photo editing applications.
Connectivity options on the laptop include USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as standard.
The Microsoft Surface makes its first appearance in this series. This one is powered by an Intel Core i5-7200U 7th generation processor. The processor clocks 3.1 GHz. Internal storage of the laptop is a decent 256 GB SSD. There is no option for a traditional hard drive. The SSD option is smaller compared to a traditional HDD, but the performance and speed of the drive is much faster. The internal memory of the laptop is 8 GB of LPDDR3 RAM.
You can further upgrade the memory to fit in a total of 16 GB of memory. There is only one slot though. Paired with the processor is an Intel HD 620 (some variations come with the Intel Iris Plus graphics option). The Surface has a 13.5″ display with a resolution of 2256 x 1504. Plus, you also get a touchscreen option as well.
Would this be the best display for photo editing? A small 13.5″ screen isn’t exactly the sort of display that I prefer. I prefer a larger display because it helps to view the image close to full resolution (though it is never quite full resolution and one would need a separate high-resolution display to achieve that).
The small display and limited editing power at your display would be good enough for small tasks like adjusting the white balance from a photo session, doing the basic adjustments which can be taken care off in batches.
Now comes the question of connectivity. The Surface comes with a USB 3.1 (no USB 2.0) a min display port, built-in Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. The machine comes preloaded with Windows 10.
9. ASUS ZenBook pro UX550VE-DB1T 15.6″
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 lightweight considering some of the other laptops that we have discussed here. It is a good unit to carry in your laptop bag while traveling 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.
- 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...
In the following section, we are covering the very best pro laptops for photo editing.
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.
Best Pro Laptops for Photo Editing in 2018 (No Budget Limits):
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.
- 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)
- Special Features: VR Ready | Aluminum Black | Killer N1550 Combo (2*2 ac)
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.
- 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...
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.
- 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 ($180 value). See description for more details.
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.
- 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
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.
- 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
15. HP Omen X 17-ap020nr
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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...
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.
- 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...
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.
- 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
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.
- 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...
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 from the perspective of a 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.
- 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)
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:
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.
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.