Best Laptops for Photo Editing under $1,000 (Top 7 Picks)

In this second part of this series on best laptops for photo editing, we look at the upper entry-level segment or the more aptly titled ‘mid-range’ laptops. What we missed in the budget (under $500) segment laptops, in the first part of the series, are computing power, the lack of an SSD and higher resolution display (barring just the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM which incidentally won the title of the best laptop under $500). These will hopefully be addressed in this second part of the series which deals explicitly with the best laptops for photo editing under 1,000 dollars.

The best laptops for photo editing under $1,000 are entirely a batch of machines that are powered by either Intel’s Kaby Lake Refresh chips (the 8th Generation Core i5 and i7’s) or the older (7th Generation) processor powered units. The Kaby Lake Refresh chips are speedy. You can expect around 50 – 90% faster performance when compared with the older 7th Generation (Kaby Lake) units. Of course, you also have to doll out more cash.

Overview: Best Laptops under $1,000 in 2018

#LaptopsPrice on AmazonRating on AmazonReviews on Amazon
1ASUS VivoBook$509.99878 Reviews
2Acer Aspire E15$599.99633 Reviews
3Acer Swift 3from $899.9980 Reviews
4ASUS ZenBookfrom $799.99265 Reviews
5Dell Inspironfrom $958.27209 Reviews
6ASUS VivoBookfrom $1,099.99182 Reviews
7Acer Nitro 5from $676.50239 Reviews

1. Our Pick: ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51

ASUS VivoBook F510UA 15.6” Full HD Nanoedge Laptop, Intel Core i5-8250U Processor,...  | $509.99    882 Reviews

ASUS VivoBook F510UA FHD Laptop, Intel Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, USB-C, NanoEdge Display, Fingerprint, Windows 10, Star Gray (F510UA-AH51)
ASUS VivoBook F510UA FHD Laptop, Intel Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, USB-C, NanoEdge Display, Fingerprint, Windows 10, Star Gray (F510UA-AH51)

The ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51 is a budget laptop that is priced a shade over $500. Though it has been placed in the context of sub-$1000 laptops, it is, in fact, a lot less powerful when compared to some of the other laptops that we have listed here.

At its heart is an Intel Core i5-8250U processor. The processor clocks 1.6 GHz when not boosted and 3.4 GHz when it is boosted using turbo. The internal memory of the laptop is 8 GB DDR4 and internal storage is 1 TB HDD (5400 RPM). DDR4 RAM consumes a lot less power and is speedier compared to the previous generation DDR3 RAM.

Being a budget laptop there is no backlit keyboard either. Not that I am hugely disappointed. There is no SSD drive which is understandable considering the price of the laptop. Sans the SSD you would experience a bit of a lag time booting the laptop and loading applications especially when editing photos and videos. The display of the 15.6″ laptop is full HD (1920 x 1080). The screen is anti-gloss which means you can use it under bright light (though in real-world scenarios this is not 100% effective).

Additionally, this laptop has USB, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51 is our choice as the best laptop for photo editing under $1000.

The next two positions on this list of the best laptops for photo editing under $1000 are filled in by machines which are pretty even regarding their features. These are the Acer Swift 3 and the Acer Aspire E15. I did not consider the ASUS ZenBook because of the significantly smaller display of 13.3″. Though it does not hamper the machine’s performance, as a photo editor a small display size is never the perfect choice for photo editing.

A minimum 15.6″ display with full HD resolution is a must have. You may ask, why didn’t we pick the Acer Nitro 5 which has a 15.6″ full HD IPS display in the top 3? The answer is the Acer Nitro 5 comes with a 7th Generation Core i7 processor. The 8th Generation Core i5 (Kaby Lake Refresh) chip powered systems are much faster.

ASUS VivoBook F510UA 15.6” Full HD Nanoedge Laptop, Intel Core i5-8250U Processor,...
882 Reviews
ASUS VivoBook F510UA 15.6” Full HD Nanoedge Laptop, Intel Core i5-8250U Processor,...
  • Powerful 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6GHz (Turbo up to 3.4GHz) processor
  • 14.2" wide, 0.8" thin and portable footprint with 0.3" NanoEdge bezel for a stunning 80% screen-to-body ratio
  • 15.6" anti-glare Full HD display with ASUS Splendid software enhancement
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM and 1TB HDD
  • Ergonomic chiclet keyboard with fingerprint sensor, Windows 10 Home

2. Runner-Up:  Acer Aspire E15, E5-576G-5762

Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, GeForce MX150, 8GB RAM...  | $599.99    637 Reviews

Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, GeForce MX150, 8GB RAM Memory, 256GB SSD, E5-576G-5762
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6″ Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, GeForce MX150, 8GB RAM Memory, 256GB SSD, E5-576G-5762

Another Acer unit, the Acer Aspire E 15 has a 15.6″ display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Powering the laptop is an 8th Generation Intel Core i5 – 8250U processor. The same as the Acer Swift SF314-52G-55WQ we discussed above. The E5-576G-5762’s processor is paired with a GeForce MX150 GPU. This processor is the mobile version of desktop GPU GT 1030.

Comparatively, the clock speed and the performance of the mobile version is much better than the desktop version. Dedicated GRAM on the GPU is 2 GB. Internal memory on the laptop is 8 GB of DDR3L RAM and storage is comprised of a 256 GB SSD. You can further upgrade the internal memory by adding another memory stick. That means your operating system and the photo editing applications load up pretty quick. There is no option on the laptop for an HDD. In that sense, both the Acer Aspire and the Acer Swift (above) have similar features. The nice large 15.6″ display on the laptop monitor has a resolution of full HD.

Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6' Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, GeForce MX150, 8GB RAM...
637 Reviews
Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6" Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, GeForce MX150, 8GB RAM...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U Processor (Up to 3.4GHz)
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-lit IPS Display
  • 8GB Dual Channel Memory & 256GB SSD
  • Up to 15-hours of battery life.Adapter: 65 W
  • Windows 10 Home

3. Also Good: Acer Swift 3, 8th Generation Intel Core i5 SF314-52G-55WQ

Acer Swift 3, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 14" Full HD, 8GB...  | from $899.99    81 Reviews

Acer Swift 3, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 14" Full HD, 8GB LPDDR3, 256GB SSD, SF314-52G-55WQ
Acer Swift 3, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 14″ Full HD, 8GB LPDDR3, 256GB SSD, SF314-52G-55WQ

The Acer Swift 3 SF314-52G-55WQ is powered by an 8th Generation Intel Core i5 8250U processor and paired with an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU with a dedicated GDDR5 VRAM of 2 GB.

The internal memory of the SF314-52G-55WQ is 8 GB LPDDR3 and is paired with a 256 GB SSD storage unit. There is no standard HDD option on the laptop. While I love the SSD option, the lack of storage will be a problem when shooting away from home.

You will need to carry at least one external hard drive if you are shooting videos or stills over a period of days. The 8th Generation Core i5 processor can clock a maximum speed of 3.4 GHz.

The display on the SF314-52G-55WQ’s 14″ IPS one and gives a decent full HD resolution. Connectivity options on the laptop includes standard USB, HDMI, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The laptop comes preloaded with Windows 10 operating system. Another feature of the laptop is its backlit keyboard.

Acer Swift 3, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 14' Full HD, 8GB...
81 Reviews
Acer Swift 3, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, NVIDIA GeForce MX150, 14" Full HD, 8GB...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U Processor (Up to 3.4GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM. Adapter - 65 Watt
  • 14" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display
  • 8GB LPDDR3 Memory & 256GB SSD
  • Up to 10-hours of battery life. NOTE: Kindly refer the User Manual from the Technical Specification before use which is...

4. ASUS ZenBook Ultra-Slim

ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3” Full HD, 8th gen Intel i5-8250U Processor,...  | from $799.99    265 Reviews

ASUS ZenBook Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3-inch Full HD, 8th gen Intel i5-8250U Processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Backlit keyboard, Fingerprint Reader, Anti-Glare
ASUS ZenBook Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3-inch Full HD, 8th gen Intel i5-8250U Processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Backlit keyboard, Fingerprint Reader, Anti-Glare

The ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH55 is labeled as an ultra-slim laptop. The display of this laptop is only 13.3″.

Personally, I prefer a slightly larger display along with the convenience of portability. The display resolution is full HD (1920 x 1080). The anti-glare display promises some safeguards when working under a bright light. Powering the UX330UA-AH55 is an 8th Generation Intel i5-8250U 1.6 GHz processor.

With Turbo the processor can be clocked to a maximum of 3.4 GHz. The internal storage of the laptop is a 256 GB SATA 3 M.2 SSD and internal memory is comprised of an 8 GB LPDDR3 RAM. There is no traditional HDD. Having said that the ZenBook UX330UA-AH55 uses the older SATA connection as against the more modern PCI Express connection which means performance wise it is going to be slower than other laptops using the contemporary connection standard.

One of the aesthetic features of the ZenBook UX330UA-AH55 is the spun metal look typical of this laptop series. The interesting look reminds you of concentric circles. Love it, hate it, but they do give the ZenBook UX330UA-AH55 an interesting appearance. Just like the Vivobook M580VD-EB76 discussed above, the ZenBook UX330UA-AH55 has a backlit keyboard. The laptop comes preloaded with Windows 10.

ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3” Full HD, 8th gen Intel i5-8250U Processor,...
265 Reviews
ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3” Full HD, 8th gen Intel i5-8250U Processor,...
  • 13.3 Inch Anti-glare FHD 1920 x 1080 Display, Wide View 170 degrees with Windows 10 Pre-installed. Display: IPS...
  • Latest 8th Gen Intel i5-8250U 1.6 GHz Processor (6M Cache, Turbo up to 3.4GHz), Fast storage and memory featuring 256GB...
  • Extensive connectivity with micro HDMI/USB 3.1 Type C, 802.11ac WiFi, and SD Card Reader
  • Sleek and light weight 2.6 lbs aluminum body for comfortable portability. Battery up to 12 hours web browsing
  • Built-in fingerprint reader with one-touch login via Windows Hello feature

5. Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop i5577-7359BLK-PUS

Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop - 15.6" Full HD, Core i7- 7700HQ, 8 GB RAM, 1000 GB HDD +...  | from $958.27    210 Reviews

Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop - 15.6" Full HD, Core i7- 7700HQ, 8 GB RAM, 1000 GB HDD + 128GB SSD, GTX 1050, Metal Chassis - i5577-7359BLK-PUS
Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop – 15.6″ Full HD, Core i7- 7700HQ, 8 GB RAM, 1000 GB HDD + 128GB SSD, GTX 1050, Metal Chassis – i5577-7359BLK-PUS

Finally, we have a Dell. The Dell Inspiron i5577-7359BLK-PUS is rated as a gaming laptop. The laptop is powered by an Intel Core –i7 – 7700HQ quad-core processor. Based on the Kaby Lake H architecture this is a 7th Generation Core processor. This processor has an average 200 MHz higher clock speed than the previous generation processor.

The boosted clock speed being 3.8 GHz whereas the base clock speed of the laptop is 2.8 GHz. The internal memory of the laptop is 8 GB (2400 MHz DDR4) though you can add memory up to 32 GB.

The system is paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics processor and dedicated graphics RAM of 4 GB. Storage of the laptop includes a twin solution of SSD + HDD. 128 GB of SSD enables faster booting time and faster load up for major applications.

Additionally, the laptop has a 1 TB of HDD (5400 rpm). The display on the laptop is a 15.6″ monitor with a full HD resolution. The monitor comes with an anti-glare LED-backlit display which enables it to be used even under bright light (at least theoretically). Windows 10 comes preloaded into the laptop.

Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop - 15.6' Full HD, Core i7- 7700HQ, 8 GB RAM, 1000 GB HDD +...
210 Reviews
Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop - 15.6" Full HD, Core i7- 7700HQ, 8 GB RAM, 1000 GB HDD +...
  • 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core (6MB Cache, up to 3.8 GHz)
  • 8GB 2400MHz DDR4 up to 32GB (additional memory sold separately)
  • Dual drives with 128GB Solid State Drive + 1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive, No Optical Drive option
  • 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit English

6. ASUS VivoBook Thin and Light Gaming Laptop, 15.6″

ASUS VivoBook Thin and Light Gaming Laptop, 15.6" Full HD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ...  | from $1,099.99    182 Reviews

ASUS VivoBook Thin and Light Gaming Laptop, 15.6" Full HD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD+1TB HDD, GeForce GTX 1050 4GB
ASUS VivoBook Thin and Light Gaming Laptop, 15.6″ Full HD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD+1TB HDD, GeForce GTX 1050 4GB

First up is the VivoBook M580VD-EB76 from ASUS. The Vivobook M580VD-EB76 is labeled as a gaming laptop, and that means the configuration, as well as the speed and display, would be quite good. Let’s take a closer look.

The 15.6″ display offers a resolution of full HD. Powering the device is an Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad-core processor paired with a GeForce GTX 1050 NVIDIA 4 GB GPU. The internal memory of the laptop is a robust 16 GB DDR4 RAM. Storage on the laptop is also good. It comes with both a 256 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD.

The SSD unit ensures the operating system and the editing applications load up quickly. Being a gaming laptop has its advantages as there are some additional features to boot. One of them is a backlit keyboard. Though I don’t quite like working in a dimly lit room and don’t envision another photographer doing the same, a backlit keyboard may come in handy at times; such as when you are cruising in a flight and the lights are dimmed inside the cabin.

Another feature is the dual fan design. Dual fan dissipates more heat and therefore when running resource hogging applications the laptop shall remain cool. The connectivity options include standard USB and Wi-Fi. No Bluetooth.

ASUS VivoBook Thin and Light Gaming Laptop, 15.6' Full HD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ...
182 Reviews
ASUS VivoBook Thin and Light Gaming Laptop, 15.6" Full HD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ...
  • Powerful 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad-core 2.8GHz (Turbo up to 3.8GHz), standard voltage for full...
  • 15.6" Full HD color rich, anti-glare display and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB graphics for flawless visuals and portable...
  • 15" wide and 0.8" ultra thin chassis for a portable & slim footprint; Illuminated keyboard; Harman/Kardon certified...
  • Lightning-fast dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi keeps you connected through any congestion or interference
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB M.2 SATA3 SSD + 1TB HDD combo for balanced speed and storage capacity; Windows 10; Comprehensive...

7. Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop AN515-51-55WL

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i5-7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 15.6" Full HD,...  | from $676.50    239 Reviews

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i5-7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 15.6" Full HD, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, AN515-51-55WL
Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i5-7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 15.6″ Full HD, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, AN515-51-55WL

The Acer Nitro 5 (AN515-51-55WL) is powered by a 7th Generation Intel Core i5 – 7300 HQ (quad-core) processor and is paired with a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU.

The processor can clock up to a maximum of 2.5 GHz. Core i5 processors are not that quick or capable of multitasking the way a Core i7 processor is. You can do light multi-tasking as well as photo editing using Lightroom and Photoshop quite easily.

Integrated memory of the GPU is 4 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, and the total internal memory of the laptop is 8 GB DDR4. Internal storage is 256 GB of SSD. Thanks to the SSD option booting time as well as application load time frame is much better. There is no standard HDD option on the laptop.

True to Acer’s designing the storage and memory compartments are easily accessible and you can upgrade the laptop anytime you want. Windows 10 comes preloaded on the laptop. The screen size of the laptop is 15.6,” and the display resolution is full HD with IPS technology.

Sale
Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i5-7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 15.6' Full HD,...
239 Reviews
Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i5-7300HQ, GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 15.6" Full HD,...
  • 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ Processor (Up to 2.5 GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display
  • 8GB DDR4 Memory & 256GB SSD
  • Up to 8.5-hours of battery life
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