Best Laptops for Photo Editing: Unveiling the Top Contenders for 2024

best laptops for photo editing

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Finding the best laptops for photo editing can be a daunting task, with a plethora of options flooding the market each year. As we step into 2024, technology continues to evolve, offering creators even more powerful tools to bring their visions to life. 

Photo editing, video editing, and just about any other multimedia profession can be done remotely these days, but in order to do so, the right tools are essential.

So, we’ve scoured the landscape to bring you the crème de la crème, ensuring that whether you’re a professional photographer or a passionate hobbyist, you have the information to pick a laptop that suits your artistic workflow.

In our quest, we’ve considered various factors, from display quality and color accuracy to processing power and storage speed. Each contender on our list has been rigorously tested to handle the demands of high-resolution images and intricate editing software with grace and speed. 

Let’s dive into the world of hues, pixels, and performance as we reveal the best laptops for photo editing in 2024.

The 6 Best Laptops for Photo Editing

As we unveil the best laptops for photo editing, each model shines in its unique way. Here’s a curated list of what they are best for:

Take a look at the table below for a side-by-side comparison of our selected laptops.

FeatureDell XPS 15MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max)Razer Blade 17HP Spectre x360MacBook Air (M2, 2022)MSI Creator Z17
CPUIntel Core i5/i7/i9Apple M3 Max (custom ARM chip)Intel Core i7/i9Intel Core i5/i7/i9Apple M2 (custom ARM chip)Intel Core i7/i9
RAMUp to 64GB DDR4Up to 64GB DDR4Up to 32GB DDR4Up to 32GB DDR4Up to 16GB DDR5Up to 64GB DDR4
StorageUp to 4TB SSDUp to 8TB SSDUp to 2TB SSDUp to 2TB SSDUp to 2TB SSDUp to 2TB SSD
Display15.6-inch 4K UHD OLED16-inch Retina Display17.3-inch QHD/QFHD13.3-inch FHD/UHD OLED Touch13.3-inch Retina Display17.3-inch QHD/QFHD
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 TiAMD Radeon Pro M3 MaxNVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 seriesIntel Iris Xe or NVIDIA MX450Apple M2 GPUNVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series
Ports2x Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, HDMI, SD Card Slot, 3.5mm jack3x Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, SD Card Slot, 3.5mm jackThunderbolt 3, HDMI, USB-A2x Thunderbolt 4, USB-A, HDMI, microSD Card Slot, 3.5mm jack2x Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, 3.5mm jackThunderbolt 4, HDMI, USB-A, SD Card Slot, 3.5mm jack

Each of these laptops has been chosen for its prowess in handling the intensive tasks photo editors face daily. They balance power, precision, and portability to help you create masterpieces anywhere, at any time.

1. Dell XPS 15 

The Dell XPS 15 stands out as an exceptional Windows laptop for both photo and video editing. It’s a versatile performer that marries a sleek design with robust functionality. You’ll find it equipped with a high-quality graphics card and an HDMI port for easy connection to external displays. 

It’s a notch above its sibling, the XPS 13, offering more screen real estate and power under the hood, making it a top pick for creative professionals.


The Dell XPS 15 boasts a vibrant 15.6-inch display, offering vivid colors and sharp details. Under its hood, it houses powerful processors and a dedicated graphics card to handle demanding applications. 

Ports are plentiful, with the inclusion of an SD card slot for quick photo transfers, USB-C for modern peripherals, and an HDMI port to connect to external monitors seamlessly. The device’s build quality is top-notch, with a chassis that feels both premium and durable.

For storage, you’ll find speedy SSDs, ensuring that you spend less time waiting on file transfers and more time editing. The keyboard is comfortable for long hours of work, and the touchpad is precise, making fine edits a breeze. The XPS 15 is a well-thought-out machine that caters to the needs of photo editors without compromise.


  • A robust performance and high-quality display
  • The SD card slot simplifies the process of importing photos from your camera
  • The laptop’s processing power ensures editing high-resolution images
  • It can handle multitasking with ease
  • A premium build quality and sleek design 
  • Long battery life for ongoing work


  • It comes with a premium price 
  • A single SSD slot may be limiting

2. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Max) 

The 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M3 Max chip is a juggernaut in the realm of photo editing. It’s equipped to tackle the most demanding tasks, such as editing 4K videos and managing large photo libraries. 

With a 40-core GPU and up to 128GB of unified memory, this Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch is designed for professionals who demand seamless performance and speed.


The Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch features a stunning Liquid Retina XDR display that brings your images to life with exceptional detail and color accuracy. 

The M3 Max chips provide unparalleled performance, allowing for smooth editing and rendering of even the most complex projects. The system architecture is optimized to take full advantage of macOS, ensuring a fluid and intuitive user experience.

Connectivity is robust, with multiple Thunderbolt ports for high-speed data transfer and the ability to connect to multiple external monitors. The laptop’s build is sleek and sturdy, with an emphasis on portability despite its larger screen size. 

The battery life is impressive, offering hours of uninterrupted work, which is a boon for professionals who often find themselves away from power sources.


  • Delivers the highest level of performance
  • The editing of 4K content is a breeze with the raw power of the 40-core GPU 
  • A massive 128GB of unified memory for multitasking with several resource-intensive applications
  • The display’s color fidelity is top-notch, making it an excellent choice for color-critical work
  • The ecosystem integration with other Apple products enhances productivity
  • A sleek design and long-lasting battery life


  • High cost may not be affordable for everyone, especially those on a budget or just starting out
  • Requires additional investments in dongles and adapters for legacy peripherals due to emphasis on USB-C connectivity

3. Razer Blade 17

The Razer Blade 17 might be known as a gaming laptop, but it’s also one of the best laptops for photo editing. It combines high-performance hardware with a sleek design, making it an attractive choice for editors who need power and portability. 

Its large screen and color accuracy are just the icing on the cake for those who spend hours scrutinizing every pixel.


Boasting a 17.3-inch display that offers immersive visuals and accurate colors, the Razer Blade 17 is well-suited for detailed editing work. Its powerful internals include the latest processors and graphics cards, ensuring that photo editing software runs smoothly. 

The laptop also features ample ports to connect external devices, enhancing your editing setup.

The build quality of the Razer Blade 17 is exemplary, with a robust and sleek aluminum chassis. Storage options are generous, with fast SSDs that accelerate boot times and file access. 

The laptop’s keyboard and touchpad are responsive and comfortable for extended editing sessions, and the overall performance is top-tier, making it a formidable tool for any photo editor.


  • Benefits from gaming pedigree, providing raw power and speed for creative tasks like photo editing
  • Large, crisp display ideal for detailed work
  • Handles resource-heavy applications without lag
  • Stylish design appeals to those who value aesthetics
  • Strong portability despite larger screen size, suitable for editors working from different locations
  • Efficient cooling system maintains performance during intense processing tasks, enhancing longevity


  • Higher price point may be less accessible to budget-conscious consumers
  • Reported thermal management issues, with the laptop running hot during demanding tasks

4. HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 combines versatility with stunning design, offering a flexible 2-in-1 form factor that caters to photo editors who value adaptability and aesthetic elegance in their workflow.


The HP Spectre x360 is a beautifully crafted laptop with a convertible design that allows it to function as both a traditional laptop and a tablet. It features a vibrant touchscreen display that supports pen input, making it ideal for hands-on photo edits. 

The device is powered by the latest Intel processors, with options for dedicated graphics, and includes a fast SSD for quick access to photo libraries.

With its sleek, gem-cut design and lightweight chassis, the Spectre x360 doesn’t sacrifice performance for looks. It boasts a long battery life, a high-resolution display with excellent color reproduction, and Bang & Olufsen speakers that provide an immersive experience for video editing and consumption as well.


  • Versatility with 2-in-1 capability, ideal for sharing images and on-the-spot edits during presentations or client interactions
  • Pen support enhances precision for detailed retouching work
  • Stunning design and premium build quality make it a stylish companion in any setting
  • Security features including a fingerprint reader and webcam kill switch offer peace of mind for privacy and data protection


  • Not ideal for photo editors needing larger screens or extensive I/O options
  • Sleek design compromises port selection, requiring additional adapters for a full workstation setup

5. Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

The Apple MacBook Air with the M2 chip, released in 2022, stands as the epitome of sleekness and portability, crafted for content creators who prioritize a lightweight form factor without compromising on performance.


The MacBook Air M2 model boasts a slim and lightweight design, yet it packs a powerful performance punch with Apple’s latest M2 chip. It features a stunning Retina display with True Tone technology and a silent, fanless design. 

With up to 18 hours of battery life, it is designed for all-day work without the need for constant recharging.

The M2 chip in the MacBook Air brings a significant performance boost over its predecessors, with a more powerful GPU and an advanced Neural Engine for machine learning tasks. 

It also offers fast SSD storage and supports up to 24GB of unified memory, ensuring smooth multitasking and quick access to large photo files.


  • Incredibly thin and light, ideal for on-the-go photo editors
  • Powerful M2 chip provides seamless editing experience with demanding software
  • Retina display ensures crisp images and accurate colors
  • All-day battery life enables remote work without needing to find a power outlet
  • Seamless integration with the Apple ecosystem facilitates file transfers and synchronization


  • Lacks additional ports or integrated SD card reader
  • Limited connectivity with two Thunderbolt ports may require dongles or hubs
  • Focus on portability compromises thermal architecture, potentially leading to performance throttling under heavy loads

6. MSI Creator Z17

Designed with the creative professional in mind, the MSI Creator Z17 is a mobile workstation that combines power, precision, and a stunning display to cater to the high demands of photo editing.


The MSI Creator Z17 features a touch-enabled 17-inch QHD+ display, ideal for detail-oriented work. It’s equipped with the latest-gen Intel Core i9 processor, NVIDIA RTX graphics, and up to 64GB RAM, tackling the most intensive photo editing software with ease.

Storage is generous, with options for a 4TB SSD, ensuring lightning-fast access to large photo libraries. The laptop also offers a color-accurate screen, crucial for professional editing, and a robust cooling system to maintain peak performance during long sessions.


  • High-resolution touch display and top-tier internal components make it a powerhouse for photo editing tasks
  • Up to 4TB SSD storage and 64GB RAM enable efficient multitasking and extensive photo collection storage
  • Focus on color accuracy and high refresh rate display ensures precise editing


  • Weight may not appeal to those needing ultra-portability
  • High cost may not be necessary for hobbyists or entry-level editors
  • a 4K OLED display demands more power, potentially impacting battery life and limiting mobility

Our Criteria for Choosing

In photo editing, certain features take precedence. We’ve handpicked laptops with high-quality displays that offer a wide Adobe RGB color gamut, ensuring the most accurate color reproduction for your work. 

A powerful graphics card is also a must, providing the necessary muscle for rendering high-resolution images swiftly. Additionally, we understand the importance of connectivity; thus, options that support external monitors for a more expansive workspace have been favored.

A Buyer’s Guide for Photo Editing Laptops

When diving into the world of the best laptops for photo editing, the choices can be overwhelming. But fear not as we guide you through the maze of specs and features to find the perfect laptop that’ll meet your creative needs and budget. From display quality to processing power, we’ll ensure you know how to make a decision you won’t regret.

Decoding Specifications – Key Features to Consider

When we talk about what makes a great photo editing laptop, we’re looking at a few key specifications. The processor’s speed, the amount of RAM, and the type of graphics card are crucial. They determine how quickly your laptop can run programs like Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Pro and handle large files without breaking a sweat.

Another important spec is the display. We look for screens that show colors accurately and are bright enough to see in different lighting conditions. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a laptop with a high-resolution display that also covers a wide color gamut, ensuring your edits look as intended on any screen.

Screen Matters – Size, Resolution, and Color Accuracy

For photo editing, the screen is your window into the world of your images. We look for laptops with at least a full HD resolution, but a 4K screen can make a big difference in seeing the fine details. 

Color accuracy is also essential, ensuring that what you see on screen is what you get in your final product. Look for displays that cover Adobe RGB and sRGB color spaces for the best results.

The size of the screen is a balance between detail and portability. A larger screen offers more workspace but can make the laptop heavier and less portable. We usually recommend a size that doesn’t compromise on either, offering a sweet spot that’s perfect for editing without feeling like you’re lugging around a giant monitor.

Performance Benchmarks – CPU, GPU, and RAM Essentials

Let’s talk performance. A powerful CPU ensures that applications like Premiere Pro run smoothly, especially when editing high-resolution images. The GPU accelerates graphics processing, which is vital for rendering edits in real-time. And when it comes to RAM, more is better—aim for at least 16GB to keep everything running without lag.

But don’t just look at the numbers. The real-world performance of these components matters, too. That’s why we also consider benchmarks and user reviews to see how these laptops handle photo editing demands. 

It ensures you’re getting a machine that won’t let you down when you’re in the zone and perfecting your images.

Connectivity and Portability — USB-C, Thunderbolt, and More

Connectivity options are key for photography editing, especially if you’re using multiple locations. USB-C and Thunderbolt ports allow for fast data transfer and connecting to external monitors, making it easier to work on your photos. 

Plus, they can charge your devices, meaning you’ll need fewer cables to carry around.

Portability is also important for photographers on the go. A laptop with a bright screen, ideally around 500 nits, makes it easier to work outside or in brightly lit spaces. And with a lightweight design, your laptop won’t be a burden when you’re moving from place to place, chasing those perfect shots.



1. Are 4K displays necessary or overkill for editing?

4K displays offer incredible detail and can be a game-changer for photo editing. You’ll see the finest details and appreciate the nuances in your images. 

However, they’re not always necessary. If your work doesn’t require zooming in to pixel-level detail, a high-quality 1080p screen can be sufficient and more cost-effective.

Consider your workflow and the final output of your work. If you’re creating content for 4K displays or high-resolution prints, a 4K screen might be worth the investment. 

But for web graphics or smaller prints, you could allocate your budget to other specs that boost your laptop’s performance.

2. What is the ideal screen size for photo editing?

When it comes to the ideal screen size for photo editing, bigger often means better. A larger screen gives you more room to work with your images and to have multiple panels open in your editing software.
However, it’s also about finding the right balance between workspace and portability.

Most professional photo editors find that a 15 to 17-inch screen hits the sweet spot. It provides ample space for detailed work without making the laptop too bulky for travel.

But if you’re often on the move, a 13 to 14-inch model might be the better choice, offering a good compromise between usability and ease of transport.

The Last Word On Photo Editing Laptops

When the quest for the perfect photo editing companion ends, our recommendations lead the charge. For those seeking a powerful laptop with a stunning screen, the Dell XPS 15 and the MacBook Pro 16-inch with its powerful M2 chip and 10-core CPU stand tall. Gamers and creatives alike can revel in the Razer Blade 17, which boasts an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 GPU and 32GB RAM.

 Meanwhile, the MSI Creator emerges as the best MacBook alternative, offering impressive battery life and a selection of ports that cater to professionals.

For the editor constantly on the move, a portable laptop like the MacBook Air (M2, 2022) provides an all-day battery life, making it ideal for on-the-go tasks from the coffee shop to the studio. 

With these insights, choosing the best laptop on the market for photo editing becomes a journey of matching one’s creative demands with the right blend of speed, power, and portability.

Before You Go…

Thanks for reading! Now take some time to invest in some protection for your new laptop with a new waterproof laptop backpack. It’s the best accessory you’ll ever have!

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