Which are the best laptops for Photoshop CC and other similar image editing software? To make sure that you can do your best work, you'll want a laptop that has a screen with absolute clarity and vivid colours, a track pad that responds diligently to the finest movements, and sufficient power and storage.
You should also think about where you will be doing most of your work. If you want a laptop for Photoshop that you can take out and about regularly, then portability is going to be a priority. 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.
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In this buying guide we’ve rounded up five of the best laptops for running Photoshop that cover all of these bases. Read on to make your choice...
01. 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)
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.
02. MacBook Pro (2018) with Touch Bar
Great build quality with excellent Touch Bar functionality
Processor: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB memory | Screen: 15-inch 2880x1800 | Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB or 4TB SSD | Memory: 16GB or 32GB RAM | Dimensions: 34.93 (w) x 24.07 (d) x 1.55cm (h) | Weight: 1.83kg (4.02lb)
We couldn’t leave out the 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 15-inch model is our top pick, coming with a 2.6GHz i7 processor, 16GB RAM or 32G, a 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB or 4TB SSD, and four ThunderBolt 3 ports.
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.
03. Microsoft Surface Book 2
A powerful laptop that doubles as a digital sketchbook
Processor: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620-NVIDIA GeForce | Screen: 13.5-inch 1920x1200-3200x1800 | Storage: 128GB-1TB SSD | Memory: 8GB-16GB RAM | Dimensions: 312(w)mm x 232(d)mm x 23(h)mm | Weight: 1.6kg (3.62lbs)
The Surface Book 2 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 multi-touch display that you can use as a digital sketchbook.
The 1TB SSD, Core i7, 16GB RAM, GeForce version is naturally our favourite of the laptop models - and the overwhelmingly most expensive. 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 Full HD, a 128GB SSD and no less than an Intel i5 chipset.
Bear in mind, though, that you’re only getting a 13.5-inch screen so factor in the cost for a monitor when you’re back at your desk (and indeed the extra Surface Dock for plugging in all of your peripherals).
Read our Microsoft Surface Book 2 review.
04. Razer Blade 14
A gaming laptop that packs power for creative pros
Processor: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 6GB VRAM | Screen: 14-inch UHD screen | Storage: 1TB SSD | Memory: 16GB RAM | Dimensions: Starting at 345(w) x 235(d) x 17.9(h) mm | Weight: 1.95kg (4.3lbs)
The Razer Blade may be a laptop built for gamers, but it’s an incredible machine for creative professionals as well. As well as seriously looking the part and being light and slim, it packs a huge punch, with a 4K multi-touch display, up to 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM and the latest Core i7 quad-core processor.
You also get Thunderbolt 3 connectivity (through USB-C), USB 3.0 and HDMI output. The GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB VRAM 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).
Read TechRadar’s Razer Blade review.
05. Dell Precision 7720
Spec it up for a ton of 17-inch power
Processor: Intel Core i7 | Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro M1200 | Screen: 17-inch 3840x2160 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Memory: 16GB RAM | Dimensions: Starting at 417(w) x 281(d) x 28.5(h)mm | Weight: 3.4kg (7.5lbs)
In its most basic spec, the Dell Precision 7720 is a little underwhelming – it hasn’t even got a full HD display. But, if you’re prepared to spend a little more and get into the customisation options, you can build a dream Photoshop laptop.
For instance, we specced up the 17-inch mobile beast to have a UHD display, a 512GB SSD and a rapid Core i7 for a shade under £3,000 (or $3,130 on Dell's US site).
Sure, it's a lot of money, but remember you’re getting a 17-inch portable workstation here. Of course with that comes the weight: 3.4kg (7.5lbs) to be precise.