3 laptops for photo editing

Budding photographer? Whether you’re all about Instagram or love your DSLR, we’ll help you find the best laptops for photo editing…

11 Dec 2018

Photographers and creatives need power and screen quality from their laptop. We’ll explain the key features to look out for and then take a look at 3 of our favourite laptops…

Photographers should look for:

  • Screen resolution – when working up-close in Photoshop, detail is key. Look for laptops with high-resolution screens
  • Processing power – Photoshop is demanding. You’ll need Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors to get the best from it
  • RAM – Photoshop uses lots of your computer’s RAM (internal memory). Look for a minimum of 8GB
  • SSD (solid-state drives) – thin, lightweight hard drives with no moving parts. Faster at booting up and working in programs. Look for 256GB or above
  • Graphics – look for a minimum of integrated Intel Iris graphics or NVIDIA GeForce graphics or even dedicated graphics 


Our favourite laptops for photo editing

Dell XPS 13

In a nutshell: Incredible screen that goes edge-to-edge, powerful processor and SSD to smoothly (and speedily) handle Photoshop.

This premium Windows 10 laptop makes a great home photography studio. It packs in more screen than your average 13-inch laptop with an ultra-thin 5mm bezel (the frame surrounding the screen).

Dell XPS 13 

The screen offers Full HD resolution too, so detail will be clear when working up close in Photoshop. Colour accuracy is good thanks to LED backlighting, while you can work on a bright day with anti-glare technology.

In terms of power, you can push Photoshop to its limits with the Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB RAM. Everything is faster too, from booting up your machine to loading the Photoshop app or individual projects. This is because the XPS 13 has what’s known as SSD. Solid-state drives have no moving parts and are lighter, quieter and faster than a traditional hard drive.

Magazine-thin and lightweight, you can work at home or on the go with the XPS 13. The laptop is fashioned from a single piece of aluminium, so is extra durable. And you can work all day with 18 hours’ battery life.


Microsoft Surface Pro

In a nutshell: The tablet that can replace your laptop makes a great mobile editing studio

The Surface Pro has won legions of fans in the creative industries in recent years, and the latest incarnation continues this trend. Put simply, it’s a tablet with as much power as a high-end PC squeezed into it. Add the magnetic keyboard to use it like a laptop, or use the Surface Pen stylus to design and draw.Microsoft Surface pro

Surface Pro and Photoshop are a match made in heaven. Adobe worked with Microsoft to optimise Creative Cloud for touchscreens and digital pens. Your projects will look great on its better-than-Full-HD screen, and photo editors can switch between enhanced colours and sRGB for better colour accuracy.

More so than the Dell XPS 13 or Surface Book, the Surface Pro is the best option if you’ll be working on the go most of the time. The tablet is thin, light and durable – weighing just 0.77kg. Such lightweight design would normally sacrifice power. But the Surface Pro is the first device to put an Intel Core i5 processor in a fanless design.

With no fan needed to keep the processor cool, the tablet can be lighter and much quieter ­– perfect if you’re working on the train or in a coffee shop. Despite this it’s more than twice as powerful as the Surface Pro 3.


Microsoft Surface Book

In a nutshell: Powerful laptop with a super-sharp screen that can be detached and used as a tablet – it comes with a digital pen too

The Surface Book offers many of the same features as the Surface Pro but adds even more oomph for creative power users. It looks and feels like a premium Windows 10 laptop with its shiny magnesium casing and minimalist features. But there’s a hinge connecting the screen to the laptop’s body that allows you to completely detach the two to transform the screen into a tablet.Surface Book

But what’s it like as a photographer’s home studio?

You can push Photoshop to its boundaries with the Intel Core i7 processor and 256 GB SSD, with 8GB RAM making it easier to work on larger files. Certain Photoshop features work with the integrated NVIDIA Ge Force graphics.

There aren’t many laptops with more power. It’ll breeze through video editing and high-end PC gaming too. This added oomph comes from the Performance Base.

As with the Surface Pro, you can enjoy the benefits of using the Surface Pen with Adobe Photoshop and other Creative Cloud apps.

How to set up Surface Pen to get the best from Photoshop


Your photos will look incredible on the 13.5-inch screen too – rich, colourful and detailed. Its resolution (3000x2000) is 4 times that of a ‘normal laptop’. If you’re more desk-based but occasionally work on the go, the Surface Book is a fantastic option.

Find your perfect portable photo-editing studio with the right laptop

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