If you’re looking for the best laptops for Photoshop CC, or other image editing software, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ve gathered together the best laptops for Photoshop that will make photo editing a cinch.
When putting together this list of best laptops for Photoshop, we’ve made sure that only laptops that offer the absolute best photo editing performance are included. That means that the best laptops for Photoshop come with powerful components that can handle complex photo editing tasks with ease, while also featuring excellent screens that can display high resolutions and accurate colours, along with large hard drives to store all your photos on.
Because you’ll be spending lots of time working on your laptop, you’ll want to make sure that it’s comfortable to use, so the trackpad and keyboard need to be well built, without adding too much bulk to the laptop – especially if you’re looking for a laptop that you can carry about with you when you work.
If you’re going to need a laptop for Photoshop to edit photos while travelling, a thin and light laptop should be your priority.
However, if you simply move from studio to studio – as a freelancer maybe – you can get away with a heavier, more performance-orientated machine (take a look at our round up of the most powerful laptops if so). And if you’re planning on hooking your machine up to a second screen, make sure you pick up one of the best monitors for photo editing.
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In this buying guide we’ve rounded up six of the best laptops for running Photoshop that cover all of these bases. Read on to make your choice…
01. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)
The best laptop for Photoshop in 2020
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M | RAM: 16GB – 64GB | Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone | Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD
Stunning 16-inch screen
New and improved keyboard
Limited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports
If you’re looking for the best laptop for Photoshop, and money is no object, then the new MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) is by far the top choice. Apple has updated its MacBook Pro line with a new, larger, screen that makes working on Photoshop a pleasure.
The new 16-inch MacBook Pro also comes with upgraded internals, making it the most powerful laptop Apple has ever made, so Photoshop runs impressively smoothly, and that extra screen real estate means it’s easier than ever to edit your photos on the go.
Despite the increased screen size and more powerful internals, Apple has managed to keep the overall size and weight of the 16-inch MacBook Pro as svelte as possible, so you’re not sacrificing portability for power.
It keeps Apple’s iconic MacBook Pro design, so you’re getting one of the best looking laptops ever made, as well as one of the most powerful. The only issues is that it is pricey, though you can configure the MacBook Pro to best suit your needs and budget, and it lacks ports such as USB and a card reader, so you need to rely on Thunderbolt 3 connections.
02. Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
Processor: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD-4K UHD | Storage: 512GB SSD | Memory: 8GB RAM | Dimensions: Starting at 354(w) x 235(d) x 90(h) mm | Weight: 2kg (4.36lbs)
So thin and light design
Fans can be distractingly loud
Dell’s XPS series has been ruling the Windows 10 roost for a few years now, and the series’ big-screened hybrid is yet another excellent member of the family. The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 combines awesome power, generous screen real estate and that extra little bonus…the ability to be flipped over and used as an oversized tablet.
It runs off a 512GB SSD, which means both faster performance and plenty of space for catalogues of high-definition images for you to tinker with. Also under the hood is a Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics set-up, which helps to make the most of that beautiful 15.6-inch screen. It’s a display that can be upgraded, if you can afford it, from the Full HD standard to 4K Ultra HD. The Microsoft Precision touchpad is pretty much peerless and of course you have the option to touch things up with your finger or stylus directly on the screen, too – handy of you prefer working on drawing tablets.
We hunted for holes to pick on this near flawless machine, and should point out that the fan is rather loud. Fine if you work with headphones on, not so much if you’re in a quiet office.
Despite the fact it’s a 15-incher, it’s so thin and light that it shouldn’t cause you too much backache if you need to cart it around with you. But there’s always the option to scale down to the Dell XPS 13 if portability is one of your key criteria.
03. MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)
Apple’s productivity machine gets the latest Intel tech
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 555X – 560X, Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 15.4-inch, 2,880 x 1,800 Retina display | Storage: 512GB – 4TB SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 34.93 x 24.07 x 1.55cm
Decent configuration options
Screen remains gorgeous
Lack of ports
Keyboard concerns remain
We couldn’t leave out the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in our list of the best laptops for Photoshop. It’s a phenomenal machine for running powerful programs for all kinds of creative work. The 15-inch model is our top pick, coming with a 2.6GHz i7 processor, 16GB RAM or 32G, a 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB or 4TB SSD, and four ThunderBolt 3 ports.
The Touch Bar – while perhaps not quite as cool as having a multi-touch display – is very useful with Photoshop, enabling you to perform quick actions, such as selecting a colour or changing the opacity of a layer, by swiping your finger along the bar.
It’s expensive, but build quality is immaculate and the MacBook Pro is extremely portable. Check out our 13″ MacBook Pro review for more info.
04. Microsoft Surface Book 2
A powerful laptop that doubles as a digital sketchbook
Processor: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620-NVIDIA GeForce | Screen: 13.5-inch 1920×1200-3200×1800 | Storage: 128GB-1TB SSD | Memory: 8GB-16GB RAM | Dimensions: 312(w)mm x 232(d)mm x 23(h)mm | Weight: 1.6kg (3.62lbs)
Excellent build quality and screen
Works well as a digital sketchbook
All that power
Needs a Surface Dock for true expansion
The Surface Book 2 is at the top of Microsoft’s Surface range of products having it improved on its already-impressive predecessor. You get a load of power, with the convenience of a detachable tablet with multi-touch display that you can use as a digital sketchbook.
The 1TB SSD, Core i7, 16GB RAM, GeForce version is naturally our favourite of the laptop models – and the overwhelmingly most expensive. It’s stonkingly fast and has fantastic build quality. But for most creatives, going for the entry-level model (or something in-between) will be more than adequate. It starts with Full HD, a 128GB SSD and no less than an Intel i5 chipset.
Bear in mind, though, that you’re only getting a 13.5-inch screen so factor in the cost for a monitor when you’re back at your desk (and indeed the extra Surface Dock for plugging in all of your peripherals).
Read our Microsoft Surface Book 2 review.
05. Razer Blade 14
A gaming laptop that packs power for creative pros
Processor: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 6GB VRAM | Screen: 14-inch UHD screen | Storage: 1TB SSD | Memory: 16GB RAM | Dimensions: Starting at 345(w) x 235(d) x 17.9(h) mm | Weight: 1.95kg (4.3lbs)
Slim and light
The Razer Blade may be a laptop built for gamers, but it’s an incredible machine for creative professionals as well. As well as seriously looking the part and being light and slim, it packs a huge punch, with a 4K multi-touch display, up to 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM and the latest Core i7 quad-core processor.
You also get Thunderbolt 3 connectivity (through USB-C), USB 3.0 and HDMI output. The GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB VRAM makes this machine sing for any kind of graphics work.
Oh, and we love the Razer keyboard – which has individually backlit keys, meaning you can create your own lighting effects (we’re sure you could do something creative with your most-used keyboard shortcuts).
Read TechRadar’s Razer Blade review.
06. Dell Precision 7720
Spec it up for a ton of 17-inch power
Processor: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro M1200 | Screen: 17-inch 3840×2160 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Memory: 16GB RAM | Dimensions: Starting at 417(w) x 281(d) x 28.5(h)mm | Weight: 3.4kg (7.5lbs)
Needs to be specced up
In its most basic spec, the Dell Precision 7720 is a little underwhelming – it hasn’t even got a full HD display. But, if you’re prepared to spend a little more and get into the customisation options, you can build a dream Photoshop laptop.
For instance, we specced up the 17-inch mobile beast to have a UHD display, a 512GB SSD and a rapid Core i7 for a shade under £3,000 (or $3,130 on Dell’s US site).
Sure, it’s a lot of money, but remember you’re getting a 17-inch portable workstation here. Of course with that comes the weight: 3.4kg (7.5lbs) to be precise.