Let us help you find the best laptop for Photoshop in 2022. Adobe's photo editing software is the go-to application for many photographers who want to give their photos a truly professional look via its powerful tools.
If you don't fancy sitting at a desk for hours on end while you edit photos, then buying a laptop is a great choice, and modern notebooks come with plenty of power that ensures that Photoshop runs its very best.
Photoshop is a demanding application, however, so you'll want to make sure the laptop you buy offers enough power to run it well. That means something with a modern processor, plenty of RAM (we recommend 16GB at a minimum), and if you want to use advanced features in Photoshop such as Neural Filters and Sky Selection that use AI and machine learning to automate once time-consuming tasks, then you'll want a modern GPU from Nvidia or Apple.
No one wants to pour over reams of laptop specs, however, especially if you'd rather be spending your time taking photos, so to make buying a laptop for using Photoshop on as easy as possible, every laptop in this list is able to run the software with ease.
A great laptop for Photoshop, then, can be a wise investment indeed. It's also why we consider Adobe Photoshop to be one of the best photo editing software applications you can get right now.
If you're planning to hook your machine up to a second screen for a productivity boost, make sure you pick up one of the best monitors for photo editing too, and if you're a student on a budget, you should also check out our best student laptops.
The best laptops for Photoshop available now
The latest MacBook Pro has worked hard to reclaim its crown as the most popular workstation laptop on the market, but it's done so with a flourish. It's had a complete redesign since 2019 that has reintroduced built-in ports that were binned off back in 2016, now featuring three Thunderbolt 4 ports, one HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a MagSafe 3 port.
You can configure it to your exact needs, with a choice between either an M1 Pro or M1 Max SoC (system-on-a-chip), that combines the CPU and GPU together, though it's unlikely you'll need to max out the component options to run something like Photoshop. Whatever you pick, this is an absolute powerhouse that can run any application you throw at it, making it ideal for digital illustrators, photographers and video editors.
In our review, we were particularly impressed by the 14.3-inch 120 Hz mini-LED display, which is one of the best we've ever seen on a laptop, offering crisp, accurate colour and delivering up to 1,000 nits of sustained, full-screen brightness, and 1,600 nits of peak brightness.
If you need multiple displays for your work then you can connect up to three Pro Display XDRs and a 4K TV with M1 Max, or two Pro Display XDRs if you opt for the M1 Pro.
For more details, read our MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) review.
The Dell XPS 17 (2021) is one of the best portable workstations on the market, especially so if you're not a fan of macOS. Dell already makes some of the best Windows products you can buy, but its XPS range is favoured by creative professionals thanks to its superior build-quality and powerful components.
You can get up to an 11th generation Intel i9 processor, 64GB of memory and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card to power through any demanding renders. Plus, for a 17-inch laptop, as well as being impressively thin and light to boot.
This is a shining example of just how great a Windows device can be for creatives, and you even have the option of buying with Windows 11 preinstalled. We found that the 16:10 aspect ratio screen is ideal for photographers as 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.
Perhaps most importantly, the screen supports 100% Adobe RGB and 94% DCI-P3 colour gamuts, which means this offers accurate colours as well. This means it's an excellent choice for professional photographers or anyone who wants their photos to look their very best when editing them in Photoshop. Read more with our full Dell XPS 17 (2021) review.
The Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) is a laptop purposely designed for content creators, something that would usually warrant an eye-watering price tag, but this device starts at just $1,599 (about £1,170) for the base model that comes equipped with an Intel Core i7-10870H with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 with Max-Q, 16GB 2,933Hz DDR4 RAM, 1TB SSD, and a 17.3-inch full HD 300Hz display.
That's highly unusual for such a great laptop packing some beefy components, a gorgeous display, and plenty of ports to dock any additional displays or peripherals to be this reasonably priced. By no means are we suggested that it's cheap, but creative workstations often cost much more, which makes this a verified bargain in comparison to the likes of a MacBook Pro.
The 4K OLED display is available for $3,699 (about £2,700), but for that, you're getting an Intel Core i9-10980HK, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 , and a 17.3-inch 4K HDR400 OLED display with Pantone factory calibration for 100% Adobe RGB.
There are a few things that might bother you (such as unimpressive battery life and frustratingly loud cooling fans) so it's far from perfect, but considering how little you're paying to get a 4K OLED workstation designed specifically for creative professionals, you might want to let a few things slide. Have a look at our Gigabyte Aero 17 review for more details.
If you don't need oodles of power then the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) is the ideal candidate for fans of macOS. It can't match the newer M1 Pro or M1 Max models, but if you only do light photo editing or digital illustration then you won't need all that juice anyway.
And of course, that Apple silicon M1 chip is featured inside this smaller MacBook Pro (rather than an Intel processor), and the M1 version of Photoshop is seriously impressive.
While a few people were disappointed that this smaller MacBook Pro was still rocking the divisive Touch Bar, we found it to be useful when working in applications like Adobe Photoshop, and you're getting many of the design benefits of the larger 16-inch model in a more compact package that's easier to toss into a bag and carry around.
The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) also boasts an impressive battery life and can run just about any application you throw at it.
For more details, see our MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) review
The Surface Laptop studio can be considered as a Windows-based rival to many of the popular macOS products on the market, and with Microsoft having spent so much time developing the Studio range these last few years, it's little wonder why. Offering Windows 11 compatibility and some seriously powerful hardware, this laptop has been well received by creatives across various backgrounds, from digital illustrators, writers and photographers.
It's got a thin and light design that rivals Apple's best devices, with a gorgeous screen that we found working in Photoshop a joy, plus excellent battery life so you can edit photographs or illustrate without worrying about being near a power outlet. But what most stood our for us when we used Photoshop on this laptop is the touch screen and stylus support that comes with the two-in-one form factor. You can slide the screen down to turn the laptop into a large tablet and then use the Microsoft Slim Pen 2 to draw or mask directly on the screen. A joy for photo-editing and illustration in Photoshop. See our full Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio review for more details.
Apple may make excellent laptops for Photoshop, but its old rival Microsoft has brought out a brilliant device with the Surface Laptop 4, which gives the MacBooks above a run for their money.
So, what makes this laptop so good for Photoshop? Not only does it have a gorgeous design that's thin and light, but it has an excellent PixelSense touchscreen that will make your photographs look incredible. It's also got an excellent keyboard, powerful specs (including cutting-edge integrated graphics from either Intel or AMD, depending on the configuration you go for) and incredible battery life.
It's a fantastic showcase for Windows 10, and it's more than capable of running any graphic design app you want. Now that Windows 11 is out, it can also be upgraded for free.
Also read our Surface Laptop 4 review
The latest Razer Blade 17 is a fantastic laptop for Photoshop, featuring cutting-edge Intel 12th generation processors, along with Nvidia's latest Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU.
This is the most powerful GPU you can get in a laptop without spending a seriously huge amount of money, and while it does mean that for many people, this laptop is probably overkill, if you use Photoshop's AI and machine learning tools a lot on ultra-high resolution photos, the Razer Blade 17 will make short work of even the most arduous of tasks.
It's very expensive, but for your money you're getting some of the best mobile tech available right now. Combined with a great build quality and stunning 17-inch screen, this is a brilliant creative workstation for people who need a lot of power.
Read our Razer Blade 17 review for more information.
The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) may not have all the raw power needed for 3D rendering, but it's ideal for students and photographers on a budget who want to get an M1-powered macOS device without spending all that cash on a Pro laptop. Given it's rocking the same Apple silicon as the previously mentioned MacBook Pro (2020), this is the first affordable MacBook Air that can go toe-to-toe with a MacBook Pro when it comes to Photoshop performance.
When we reviewed the MacBook Air, we found we could quickly open and edit high-resolution photos and projects, and swap between apps, with ease, all without listing to any noisy fans thanks to its fanless design. And of course, as this is technically a general consumer device rather than a creative workstation, it looks incredibly stylish to boot.
As with previous MacBook Airs, it features a gorgeous thin and light design that makes it easy to carry around with you, and also rocks a 2560 x 1600 screen that maxes out at 400 nits of brightness.
Also, for the first time in a MacBook Air, the latest model supports the P3 colour gamut, which means the screen can display accurate colours, a consideration that is incredibly important for photographers using Photoshop.
For more info, read our MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review.
If you need a laptop that can do everything then look no further than the Asus ZenBook 13. This powerhouse of a mobile workstation was created specifically for creative professionals, so you're getting some insanely beefy components that will run anything you throw at them.
This new model comes with a choice of either an AMD Ryzen 5000 series or Intel 11th gen processor. These are cutting-edge components and ensure that this is one of the fastest laptops you can buy right now, and you can buy it with up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage - making it ideal for multitasking and holding all of your photos.
Perhaps best of all, it has an incredible 13.3-inch OLED screen. This makes your photos look absolutely stunning, and it's easily one of the best screens we've seen on a laptop. Add in the fact that it has a brilliant battery life, and you've got one heck of a laptop to do your photo editing on.
And of course, this means that you can run more demanding applications on the Asus ZenBook 13, so if you enjoy digital sculpting or using CAD systems then you don't need a separate device.
There are some downsides to the ZenBook 13, such as its lack of Thunderbolt 4 support and absent 3.5mm headphone jack, but if you mostly use BlueTooth headsets anyway then this shouldn't prove too troublesome in comparison to the great features it provides.
The Lenovo ThinkPad P1 is a bit of an ugly duckling, but underneath that somewhat bland exterior is a serious amount of power. This creative workstation was built for content creators on the go, packed full of features as a desktop alternative so there's almost nothing that the ThinkPad P1 can't run.
This means you can configure it with some seriously powerful professional components, such as 11th Gen Intel i7 or i9 processors and up to Nvidia RTX 3080 graphics. There are also a few display options available for configuration, the top-spec being a 16-inch 3840x2400 IPS with 600nits of brightness and 100% Adobe RGB coverage.
It's no surprise that these beefy components will cost you a pretty penny though, so the current generation of Lenovo ThinkPad P1 should only be considered by industry professionals or those with money burning a hole in your pocket.
What makes a laptop good for Adobe Photoshop?
Photoshop is a creative application beloved by Photographers and digital artists alike thanks to its varied toolset and wide range of features. It's far from the most demanding piece of software available, but it's certainly one of the beefiest for photo editing. This means not every laptop can do a decent job of running it, but there are a few things to look out for when buying a laptop specifically for Adobe Photoshop.
Firstly, you'll want a modern processor. Both Intel and AMD list CPUs in numerical order regarding power, and the rule is generally 'the bigger, the better' so a 9th generation Intel i5 won't perform tasks as efficiently as an 11th generation Intel i9. We recommend at least a 9th generation Intel i5 or a Ryzen 5 3600.
Memory, or RAM is also important so look for a minimum of 8GB (though 16 GB is preferred), and even a dedicated graphics card if your budget can stretch to it.
A laptop with a large SSD hard drive is also recommended, as it means you can store all the photos you're editing on the device, while the speed of an SSD (compared to a slower traditional hard drive) means you can load up and edit the photos in a matter of seconds.
Because you'll be spending lots of time working on your laptop, you'll want to make sure 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 traveling, a thin and light laptop should be your priority.
A 2-in-1 laptop can also be very advantageous as it combines the fluid editing benefits of a graphics tablet with your laptop, though these tend to be less powerful than a larger, design-optimized laptop.
New developments have also appeared in recent months too, with more 4K OLED displays appearing on laptops specifically created with photographers and creatives in mind. An OLED screen will provide rich, deep blacks and beautiful colors, so while they might be expensive, it's worth every penny to get one if you can splash the cash.
What laptop do most photographers use?
This is entirely down to the personal preferences of each photographer. Many choose MacBook Pro devices as they were one of the best optimized laptops on the market for creative professionals. these days, Windows based laptops and 2-in-1's have come a long way, but Apple still reigns as the top choice.
This is thanks to a mix of great optimisation and that beloved Apple ecosystem, making it much easier to use other Apple devices like iMacs Mac Pro desktop computers and iPad Pro tablets together in harmony.
Of course, if you don't have a bunch of other Apple devices laying around your home, Windows hardware is still a fantastic option for photographers and digital editors alike, especially if you're not experiences using macOS. Apple also has yet to release a true 2-in-1 device or convertible laptop, which gives Windows an advantage for folks looking to leave a graphic drawing tablet at home and instead use a stylus directly with their laptop.