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The best laptops for Photoshop in 2020

The best laptops for Photoshop
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In this guide you'll find the best laptops for Photoshop, which are all designed to make photo editing a cinch.

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. Or if you're not 100% whether it's a laptop or tablet you want, try our the best 2-in-1 laptops out there.

Still need to sign up to Creative Cloud? Take a look at our guide to the best Adobe Creative Cloud discounts right now, to make sure you get the best price. 

The best laptops for Photoshop available now

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

(Image credit: Apple)

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.

best laptops for Photoshop: dell xps 15 2-in-1

(Image credit: Dell)

02. Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

Luxury meets power

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
Powerful processing
Big touchscreen
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.

best laptops for Photoshop: MacBook Pro (2018) with Touch Bar

03. MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)

Apple’s smaller productivity machine gets the latest Intel tech

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 16GB – 16GB (can specify up to 32GB) | Screen: 13-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 Retina display | Storage: 512GB – 4TB SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56cm

Decent configuration options
Screen remains gorgeous
Lack of ports
Keyboard concerns remain

We couldn’t leave out the 13-inch 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 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.

best laptops for Photoshop: microsoft surface book 2

(Image credit: Microsoft)

04. Microsoft Surface Book 3

A powerful laptop that doubles as a digital sketchbook

Processor: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics-NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti | Screen: 13.5-inch 3000x2000 or 15-inch 3240x2160 PixelSense display | Storage: 256GB-2TB | Memory: Up to 32GB 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 Microsoft Surface Book 3 (13.5-Inch) 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 a multi-touch display that you can use as a digital sketchbook.

It's also available in both 13.5 and 15-inch sizes, the Surface Book 3 is a real doozy, with 10th generation Intel Core processors and a choice of discrete graphics cards including Nvidia's powerful GTX 1660 Ti. 

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 a 256GB SSD and an Intel Core i5 processor.

Bear in mind, though, that there's only one non-Thunderbolt USB-C port so you'll probably need the extra Surface Dock for plugging in all of your peripherals.

Read TechRadar's Microsoft Surface Book 3 review.

(Image credit: Razer)

05. Razer Blade 15

A gaming laptop that packs power for creative pros

Processor: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX | Screen: 15.6-inch UHD screen, optional 4K | Storage: Starts at 512GB SSD | Memory: 16GB RAM | Dimensions: Starting at 345(w) x 235(d) x 17.9(h) mm | Weight: 2.10kg (4.63lbs)

Slim and light
Very powerful
Cool keyboard
Not much

The Razer Blade may be a laptop built for gamers, but it’s an incredible machine for creative professionals as well - this 2019 model continues the tradition. As well as seriously looking the part and being light and slim, it packs a huge punch, with an optional 4K multi-touch display, super fast SSD, 16GB RAM and the latest Core i7 processor. 

You also get Thunderbolt 3 connectivity (through USB-C), USB 3.0 and HDMI output. Dedicated Nvidia RTX 2060/2080 graphics 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).

Best laptop for graphic design: Lenovo ThinkPad P1

06. Lenovo ThinkPad P1

Expensive, but worth every penny

CPU: Intel i5, i7, i9 or Xeon | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro P1000 or P2000 | RAM: 8GB-64GB | Screen: Full HD or 4K display | Storage: 256-4TB SSD

Brilliant screen
100% AdobeRGB coverage
High performance

If you're looking for a Windows workstation that can power through Photoshop tasks, you can't look too far beyond the Lenovo ThinkPad P1. It's a highly impressive Windows 10 device and can be specified with high-end Intel processors including an Intel Xeon. There's also pro-grade Nvidia Quadro P2000 graphics, too, should you choose. You can also pair this with a high-quality 4K display giving you 100% AdobeRGB coverage. The design of this laptop is fairly standard Lenovo fare, but it's what's underneath that counts.

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