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The best laptops for Photoshop in 2021

Man using best laptop for Photoshop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Welcome to our pick of the best laptops for Photoshop. For anyone who wants to dabble in photo editing, or if you're a professional photographer, then you'll have heard of Photoshop, as it's one of the best photo editing software packages around.

It can also be quite demanding, as it's such a feature-packed tool that allows you to transform your photos, which means you'll need a laptop that has powerful enough components to be able to run it smoothly. The laptops on this page have 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. If you're going to need a laptop for Photoshop to edit photos while travelling, a thin and light laptop should be your priority.

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 too. And students should also check out the best student laptops.

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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
Expensive
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.

Dell XPS 15

(Image credit: Dell)

02. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

The best laptop for Photoshop running Windows 10

CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti | RAM: 8GB – 64GB | Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 15.6" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display | Storage: 256GB – 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Amazing speakers
Beautiful display
Comfy keyboard
GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak

Dell has done it again with the 2020 model of the XPS 15 - this is easily the best Windows 10 laptop right now for running Photoshop. It comes with some of the best mobile components money can buy, all packed into a stylish body that's thin and light, so it can easily handle Photoshop projects, no matter how high-resolution your images are. 

It's the perfect Photoshop alternative, then, for people who'd rather not use a MacBook. It's ideal for photographers who are often working out and about. 

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.

Its screen is bright and vibrant, and at 15.6-inches, it's large enough to comfortably edit photos on throughout the day. It's backed up by a comfortable keyboard and excellent speakers, plus Dell's famous build quality and support. It's expensive, but worth it.

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

Powerful
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-inch 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.

Dell XPS 17

(Image credit: Dell)

05. Dell XPS 17 (2020)

A great large screen laptop for Photoshop

CPU: Up to 10th Generation Intel Core i9-10885H | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 with Max-Q | RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-2933MHz | Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe | Size: 248.05 x 374.45 x 19.5 mm | Weight: 1.48kg | OS: 2.11 kg

Nice design
Great screen
Not the most portable
Lack of ports

If you want a big screen Windows 10 laptop for using Photoshop, then the new Dell XPS 17 is a fantastic choice. Its large screen is bright and vibrant with a 16:10 aspect ratio screen that's ideal for photographers. It offers more vertical space than standard 16:9 widescreen displays, and it can be configured with a 4K Ultra HD+ resolution of 3,840 x 2,400. 

Not only that, but it also supports 100% Adobe RGB and 94% DCI-P3 colour gamuts, which means this offers accurate colours as well, which is important for professional photographers, or anyone who wants their photos to look their very best when editing them in Photoshop. It's also packed with some of the best mobile components out there, and can even be fitted with a powerful graphics card as well. Plus, for a 17-inch laptop, as well as being impressively thin and light to boot.

(Image credit: Razer)

06. 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

07. 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
Pricey

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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