- Quick list
- Best overall
- Best for professionals
- Best for creatives
- Best for portability
- Best for "perfection"
- Best MacBook alternative
- Best mobile workstation
- Best for gamers
- Best 2-in-1
- 10. Best for CAD
- Best Surface
- Best dual-screen
- Best MacBook Pro
- Best build quality
- Best AMD laptop
- How we test
The quick list
1. Best overall
2. Best for professionals
3. Best for creatives
4. Best for portability
5. Best for perfection
6. Best MacBook alternative
7. Best mobile workstation
8. Best for gamers
9. Best 2-in-1
10. Best for CAD
11. Best Surface
12. Best dual-screen
13. Best MacBook Pro
14. Best build quality
15. Best for graphics
17. How we test
When it comes to the best laptops for photo editing, it's about balancing perfect portability with powerful performance that will stay cool and speedy throughout the day.
For photographers, artists, and designers, no two days are the same - bouncing from home to the studio to on-the-go. A great laptop for photo editing will keep you creating and innovating wherever you are, whenever inspiration strikes. But what makes a good photo editing laptop? It's all about smooth running that won't disrupt your design flow. Aim for at least 16GB RAM, 512GB storage, and an 11th Gen Intel i5/i7 CPU or AMD Ryzen 5/7 at minimum, as apps like Photoshop are processor-intensive.
Having reviewed all the best photo editing PCs, our team of experts turned their attention to the best PC laptop for photo editing. As part of our review process, we’ve compared CPU, GPU, and RAM specs and benchmarked performance. Weight and dimensions, cooling and thermal handling, screen quality, and overall portability are also put under the microscope to identify the photography editing laptops lightweight and fast enough for any assignment.
The Apple MacBook Pro is a performance-driven powerhouse that effortlessly handles a range of creative pursuits from photo editing to video editing. And certainly helps having the best screen on any laptop you can get.
Best for professionals
For a professional photography laptop, you can’t go wrong with the Dell XPS 17. We found this machine to be impressively fast for running any image editors. A stunning screen boasts 500nits and 100% Adobe RGB gamut.
Best for creatives
Packing a striking 16:10 4K OLED display and 13th Gen Intel Core i9, the Gigabyte Aero 16 is specifically designed for creatives. After testing it out with video and photo editing apps, we were delighted with its performance - although it’s hardly noiseless.
Best for portability
Despite its thin, lightweight design, the Apple MacBook Air is an impressively powerful laptop that’s tailored for portability and performance. If you find yourself working at home, the office, the studio, or anywhere else, it’s ideal.
Best for ‘laptop perfection’
‘Laptop perfection’ is how we described the Dell XPS 15 after an extensive review process. Equipped with a speedy processor and a generous helping of RAM, it smashed all our benchmark tests, with 12-hour plus battery life.
Best MacBook alternative
With its super-fast M2 processor, the highly portable MacBook Pro 13in is perfect for photographers working on the go. We put the laptop to the test and was delighted to see it easily handled everything from video to photo editing.
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Lenovo’s ThinkPad P16 is a truly powerful portable workstation. Build quality is superb, offering robust protection. During our testing, it excelled at complex creative design projects and workflows. The screen also offers 100% DCI-P3 color coverage.
Best for gamers
We called the Razer Blade 17 “the ultimate laptop for gamers and creatives” - and we weren’t kidding. As part of our testing, we tried a range of tasks in Photoshop and Blender, and thanks to its 32GB RAM, it never struggled to perform.
The HP Spectre x360 offers the best of both worlds, functioning as both tablet and laptop for photo editing. We felt the OLED display was particularly eye-catching, and performance was good, though let down by touchpad sensitivity issues.
Best for CAD
Despite some flaws, the Asus ProArt StudioBook is a competent device that can handle all manner of workflows. From CAD to 4k video rendering, there’s nothing that this laptop can’t digest.
A great laptop for creatives that use a stylus every day, but an expensive option for those that can live without a touchscreen.
The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED boasts a functional second screen below the beautiful OLED main panel, great ports, a powerful processor, and fantastic smart features.
Best MacBook Pro
Apple's most powerful MacBook yet, this M3-powered 16-inch laptop is an incredibly powerful laptop that’s ideal for heavy workloads, especially graphically intensive ones.
Best build quality
From creativity to gaming, the MSI Creator Z17 offers a lot of versatile options for tasks. The phenomenal build quality and feature-rich 17-inch display ads to an admirable experience.
Best laptop for photo editing of 2024 in full:
Why you can trust TechRadar
Best laptop for photo editing overall
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
If you’re looking for the best laptop for photo editing, the MacBook Pro 16in M2 model offers outstanding performance, wrapped up in that always-sleek Apple aesthetic
We don’t hesitate in calling this “the best screen on a laptop” in our review. Its gorgeous 16in, 3456 x 2234 Liquid Retina XDR display providing a broad canvas for any photo editing project.
Driving the Apple Macbook Pro is the powerful M2 chip that we found more than capable of handling hardware-intensive creative apps. Benchmarking the machine, it hit a PugentBench Photoshop score of 1,060; Premier Pro scored 1,095; Blender, 123.97. The base configuration comes with 10-core CPU, a 16-core GPU, 16GB memory, and 512GB SSD storage. However, photographers and editors will be better off with the 32GB RAM and 1TB storage configuration.
It’s not the lightest photo editing laptop, and its larger screen makes it less portable. But the Macbook Pro is a great choice if you’re on the go, working at home, in the office, the studio, the coffee shop. Whether running plugged in or off the battery, there were next to no differences in performance during our tests.
Read our full Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2023) review .
Best laptop for photography professionals
2. Dell XPS 17 (2022)
Our expert review:
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
Dell XPS 17 is one of, if not the slickest and sleekest laptops around. If it looks familiar, that’s because it’s an upgrade on the 2021 model - an equally good laptop for photo editing if you're a photographer, designer, or content creator.
The 17in panel is a stunner of a screen rated at a punchy 500 nits, with 100 percent coverage of the Adobe RGB gamut. CPU performance will meet even the most demanding users. Our testing showed it effectively has everything you could ask for, tearing through everything from video encodes to 3D renders with ease. It’s a speedy machine, too. You’ll have no difficulty running image editors like Photoshop and Lightroom.
For working on the go, we found battery life surprisingly good for a photography laptop of this size. In the TechRadar movie test, it lasted an impressive 10.14 hours. On the other hand, it’s not the most portable laptop for photo editing. If you’re looking for a Dell laptop you can place in a bag and take to multiple locations, the XPS 13 is the better option.
Read our full Dell XPS 17 (2022) review .