Which laptop do photographers use

Finding the right laptop that fits your individual needs is often not easy. After all, there are all sorts of models, each with different advantages and disadvantages. Many manufacturers focus on offering an all-round talent that is suitable for as many areas of application as possible. But laptops can rarely really convince across the board. Therefore, it makes sense to be aware of what you will primarily use it for and where the respective strengths of the device lie before buying a laptop. In this article, we'll explain what to look out for if you're a photographer and want to buy a laptop, and we'll introduce you to some of the best laptops for photo editing.

You can also find laptops for numerous other areas of application in our large overview of buying a laptop.

What is important for image editing on a laptop?

When purchasing a laptop that is to be used specifically for image processing, the display is of course very important. High color saturation and appropriate contrasts should be available. In addition, the screen has to be illuminated accordingly and, above all, sharp so that you can see what you are actually working on. Full HD should therefore be the minimum that you should orientate yourself on before buying. From then on, the sharper and the higher the resolution, the better. Occasionally there are even laptops that come up with a 2k screen, but it is arguable whether these models really provide a decisive advantage to a hobby photographer or professional photographer.

Processor and RAM at a glance

When working with photo editing software such as Photoshop, the PC must be able to process, convert and store large amounts of data. So that you have a relaxed work flow, it is advisable to buy a laptop that is equipped with at least an i5 processor, better still with an i7 processor from Intel. Similarly powerful processors from other manufacturers are of course also conceivable. For many office laptops, however, the chip manufacturer Intel is still the industry standard. The RAM should also be large enough so that your laptop runs smoothly. At least 8 GB, better still 16 GB, RAM is recommended here. Incidentally, the memory of the graphics card also plays a role. The graphics card should have at least 2 GB of internal memory so that the displays are smooth in your applications.

Battery and handling

Not quite as relevant, but still important depending on the area of ​​application, is the battery life and the handling of the laptop. If you handle 3D models and complex editing software, your battery won't last long either way. Most laptops have peak runtimes of up to 12 hours with normal use. This means working with writing programs, checking e-mails and maybe doing some research on the Internet.

However, if you work with powerful programs, you will often reach the limits of an average laptop after four to six hours. So keep in mind that the best laptops for image editing should have a lengthy battery, but either way you will mostly need an external power outlet if you want to work with it for an entire day. A low weight is of course desirable, especially for people who want to use their laptop on the go. Nevertheless, we would recommend focusing primarily on the screen, processor and RAM, rather than battery life or design and weight.

Aero 17 HDR from Gigabyte

When you're ready to dig a little deeper, you can take the step to become a professional with the Aero 17 HDR from Gigabyte. The biggest strength of the laptop is the almost borderless 17 inch display. The AUO 4K HDR display not only achieves an extremely high resolution, but also manages to display 100% Adobe RGB color depth. That of course makes him particularly interesting for photography and image processing, as the professional retoucher Alex Wätzel assured us in an interview.

Under the hood, the Aero has an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super and an Intel i7 of the ninth generation, which is supported by 16 GB DDR4 RAM from Samsung. Your perfectly displayed pictures are safely stored on this laptop on a 462 GB SSD hard drive. But this dream laptop also has a proud price of 2799 euros. If you are interested in Gigabyte's Aero 17 HDR, you are welcome to take a look at this article, in which Moritz put the premium laptop through its paces.

The Dell XPS 13 9300

The Dell XPS 13 9300 is not exactly a cheap laptop with a starting price of 1,461.21 euros (thanks to the current tax cut). But it actually offers everything you need for image processing. Depending on the variant, the device can be purchased with an i5 or i7 Intel Core processor of the 10th generation. Even in the smaller version, it offers 512 GB of internal memory, and the most expensive version even has two terabytes of built-in memory. A lot of files should be able to be saved and exported on this large hard drive. In addition, the Dell laptop weighs only 1,189 kg, which makes it the perfect companion for everyday life.

Only the 13.4 inch screen can be a bit too small for some virtual artists. The display in and of itself is more than suitable for working with it for longer. Because the IPS panel Sharp LQ134N1 display has one of the best contrast sharpness that can be found on current laptops. In addition, a micro SD card memory is built in, which allows you to import files directly from the camera while you work.

Here you can find the laptop on Amazon (commission link).

MacBook Pro

As in our lists of the best office laptops and the best game development laptops, the MacBook Pro should not be missing in our article for the best laptops for image editing. In the available variants, the MacBook can be ordered with either 13 or 16 inches. The larger model is particularly suitable for pleasant work with image processing software. In addition, the American manufacturer can convince across the board with the built-in Retina display, which is partly due to the True Tone technology of the color display, which creates a particularly natural color experience.

In addition, the device has 16 or 32 GB of RAM and four GB of graphics card memory, as well as an i7 or i9 processor from Intel. Even in the cheapest variant, you still get 256 GB of internal storage, but you can also upgrade to up to 8 TB of internal storage. At 1,461.20 euros in the cheapest version, the MacBook Pro is certainly not cheap and unfortunately it lacks a direct SD card slot. However, with this device you get a very high quality laptop that will not cause you any difficulties with image processing.

The MacBook Pro is also available on Amazon (commission link).

Lenovo Ideapad S540

The manufacturer Lenovo is particularly popular among students. Some models can also shine outside the campus. The Lenovo Ideapad S540 is already a lot cheaper than the competition with a starting price of just 599.00 euros. Nevertheless, the cheapest combination of hardware has an AMD Ryzen 5 processor and 256 GB of internal memory. The most expensive variant comes with an Intel Core i5 processor and 1 TB of internal storage. Nevertheless, it costs 799.00 euros, which is still well below the price for the Dell laptop or MacBook. The 15.6-inch screen is also pleasantly large for image editing, but the display "only" offers full HD resolution. In addition, the device is a little heavier than the competition at over two kilograms and only offers 8 GB of RAM. Anyone who can live with these few restrictions will still find a reliable laptop for image editing with the device.

Amazon also offers the Lenovo IdeaPad (commission link).

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Even if the device is now a bit old, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 still offers everything a hobby photographer needs for processing pictures. Despite the relatively small screen with a 12.3-inch screen diagonal, the device has up to 16 GB of RAM, depending on the version. In addition, you can also choose an Intel i5 or i7 processor when configuring. A micro SD card reader is also on board. For a little more money, you can equip the device with up to 1 TB of internal storage. The Surface Pro 7 is comparatively cheap with a starting price of 825.00 euros. But if you want the premium hardware, you can quickly put around 1,900 euros on the table. On the other hand, the devices from Microsoft are known for their good handling and reliability. The Surface Pro 7 really fits in every backpack and is always ready for use.

Here you can find the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 on Amazon (commission link).

HP Specter x360

Another convertible makes it onto our list. The display of the HP Specter x360 laptop can be turned around completely and thus also be used for drawing or the like. Under the hood, HP has installed an i5 processor in the cheapest version; an i7 processor can also be selected as an option. The internal memory starts at 512 GB with 8 GB RAM and goes up to 1 TB and 16 GB RAM. That should be more than enough to do decent image editing.

With its 15.6 inches, the laptop is also more than sufficiently large and still easy to transport. You can get the cheapest device for 1,363.73 euros, the most expensive version for a proud 2,046.09 euros. The special highlight of this model is the true-to-color OLED screen, which is equipped with True Black HDR and has an anti-glare display. This means that the HP Specter x360 can also be used outdoors without compromise.

The HP Specter x360 can also be found on Amazon (commission link).

The best laptops for photo editing: bottom line

All of the devices presented are suitable for image processing and for working quickly and productively. Depending on how much money you want to spend, you can buy more RAM and more internal storage with most models. Whether you really need it depends above all on how much you ultimately use the device and whether you need it for your hobby or your job. In the end, it is actually worth spending a little more money if you are looking for a capable and fast laptop for image processing for a few years.


This text is part of the Netzpiloten Creative Tech Season. In this, from October to December, we dedicate ourselves to the creative possibilities that technologies offer us and give you inspiration, instructions, tips and tricks for your own projects! Here you can find more information about the Creative Tech Season as well as all the articles it contains.

Image by s_l via adobestock

Leonie Werner

is interested in everything that has to do with media. She is particularly open to topics in the digital sector and is always up to date when it comes to gaming.

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Tags: photo editing, laptops, MacBook, microsoft, Surface