The Best Laptops for Photo Editing on a Budget in 2022

Last Updated on 27 September 2022 by Outmane

There’s a lot to consider if you’re looking for the best laptop for photo editing on a budget. For example, you want an affordable laptop that’s lightweight and portable. 

But it also needs to be powerful enough to run programs like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

And that means a robust processor and plenty of RAM. Plus, you’ll want a decent display and battery and lots of internal storage space. 

That might sound like you’re asking too much from a budget laptop for Photoshop. But some fantastic laptops tick all the right boxes. 

So I’ve done the hard work and researched the options for you. And then, I whittled it down to this shortlist of photo editing laptops on a budget. 

You don’t have to blow your savings on a laptop for Photoshop. There are some excellent, affordable options out there. Read on to discover the best laptops for Photoshop. 

Buying Guide for the Best Laptop for Lightroom, Photoshop & Photo Editing

Here’s what you need to know before buying a laptop for Lightroom and Photoshop. Keep these essential factors in mind, and you’ll find the best laptop for photo editing. 

Display Size

First, you should choose the right laptop size for your needs. A 13 or 14-inch laptop will work well if you want a compact model. 

But if you prefer a larger screen, 15.6 inches is ideal for a laptop for photo editing. It’s large enough to see the details clearly, and you can connect it to an extra monitor if you like. But you can still carry it with you, as it’s small enough to be easily portable. 

Touchscreen – Yes or No?

Next, you’ll need to decide whether to go for a touchscreen laptop. It’s a huge advantage when photo editing if you can make changes directly on the screen. A stylus can be much more accurate than a mouse or touchpad. 

But a touchscreen will also drive the price up. So, it’s worth thinking about how you prefer to edit your photos. Do you like to work with a mouse, or is a stylus a must-have? And will your budget stretch to a touchscreen laptop? 

These questions will help you decide what kind of laptop to get for photo editing. 

Display Resolution

Another critical factor is how high the screen resolution is. That’s measured in pixels – and the higher, the better. As a result, you’ll get a crisper image with sharp, intricate details. And that’s vital when you’re editing photos and need to see every little section clearly.

Most high-quality laptops have a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, also known as Full HD. But the best premium laptops can even go up to 4K resolution.  

Color Accuracy & Gamut 

And finally, when it comes to the screen, you should find its color accuracy. That means how many colors the screen can display. The more colors, the more accurate your photos will look. So, you want to look for a laptop with a wide color gamut as a crucial factor. 

Processor

The processor powers your laptop, and you want a good one for photo editing. You don’t want to skimp on this factor. As a photo editor, you’ll need to run demanding programs like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. 

So, your laptop will need plenty of power to ensure they run smoothly. You don’t want to deal constantly with lags, delays, and even crashes, right?

I would recommend going for a laptop with an Intel Core i7 or higher if possible. You can find out the equivalent for AMD Ryzen processors here

You might get away with an Intel Core i5 if you’re on a tight budget. But you may need to upgrade at some point if you find the performance underwhelming. 

RAM

The RAM is what your laptop uses to access your short-term files and programs. You want at least 8 GB for your photo editing software to function smoothly for photo editing. 

But 16 GB or more is preferable. You’ll find that it makes everything run more smoothly. Plus, it allows you to work with more layers on your images and make more intricate edits.

Internal Storage

As a photographer, you’ll know just how much space those RAW files can take up. And so, you’ll need a large internal memory space to store them all. Otherwise, you’ll need to keep backing up and shuffling your files around on the cloud. 

Don’t go for less than 256 GB, or you could find it too limiting. But many of the best laptops will have 512 GB or up to 1 TB of storage space. And that’s definitely more convenient for photographers! 

Warranty

Before you buy, make sure you find out whether the laptop comes with a warranty. And to be specific, look at what it covers and how long it lasts. You should be fully informed before parting with your cash! 

Price

And last but not least, you need a laptop that fits your budget. So, you should identify exactly how much you can spend on your laptop for photo editing. Then, you can look for the best laptops in that price range. 

Best Laptops for Photographers on a Budget – My Reviews

Asus Vivobook S 14

Best Budget Laptop for Photoshop

Asus Vivobook S 14

(Images credit: Asus)

The Vivobok S 14 is an excellent laptop for any photographer on a tighter budget. It’s much more affordable than the high-end laptops often recommended to photographers. But it provides everything you need for most tasks. 

While it’s not quite as fast as the premium photo editing laptops, that’s expected at this price. But despite this, it’s still a decent option. And it’s one of the best you’ll find in this price range. 

The ASUS Vivobook provides superb performance, thanks to the Intel Core i7 processor. It also has fantastic visuals and a gorgeous display. And the bright screen with 400 nits is ideal for viewing your photos. It has super-slim bezels that maximize its size, making it look even larger than it is. 

Best Budget Laptop for Photoshop

(Images credit: Asus)

This laptop also has generous internal storage, a must-have for photographers. Plus, it’s slim, lightweight, and compact. So, it’s a portable option for traveling or taking with you to shoots. That means you can do some editing in between shots or from wherever you like. 

The Vivobook also has great connectivity, including a Thunderbolt 4 port. The built-in noise cancellation is another nice feature for client calls. 

Other notable features are the fingerprint sensor for security and a full number pad. And the backlit keyboard is a bonus if you need to get some work late at night. 

Overall, this laptop is a fantastic choice for photographers. It’s affordable, powerful, and has all the features and specs you’ll need. So, I think it’s the best photo editing laptop on a budget. 

Specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-1165G7
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Internal Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Screen Size: 14 inches
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Pros:

  • A great photo editing laptop on a budget
  • It provides fantastic performance and loads of storage space
  • It has lots of useful features and good specs
  • The screen is bright, vibrant, and has an HD resolution

Cons:

  • It only has 8 GB of RAM
  • It’s not a touchscreen laptop

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Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14″ Laptop

Best Low-Cost Laptop for Photo Editing

novo IdeaPad 3 14" Laptop

(Images credit: Lenovo)

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is an even cheaper laptop for photo editing. And so, it’s more accessible for students, beginners, or anyone on a tight budget. 

If you’re new to photo editing, this laptop could be just what you need. But if you’re a professional photographer, you might prefer something more robust. 

When you go for a cheaper laptop, compromises are always made. For example, the IdeaPad 3 has limited internal storage of 256 MB. 

Best Low-Cost Laptop for Photo Editing

(Images credit: Lenovo)

But even so, that gives you plenty of space for your photos. And if necessary, you can move some files to the cloud when you need to clear some space. 

So, what does Ideapad 3 have going for it? It’s a lightweight, sleek laptop (although the bezels are large). 

The AMD Ryzen 5 processor is responsive, so you can run Adobe programs without issues. 

And at 14 inches, it’s a good size – portable but large enough to work on. If you go too small, you could struggle to see the fine details in your images. Too big, and the laptop becomes too bulky and heavy to carry around with you. 

Lenovo Laptop for Photo Editing

(Images credit: Lenovo)

Thanks to the AMD Radeon Vega GPU, the visuals are impressive. And it has a high resolution with 1920 x 1080 pixels, so your photos will look sharp and clear. 

It also has an excellent audio quality for video editing or streaming movies. You could use this laptop for work and play – it’s a great all-rounder. 

The Lenovo Ideapad 3 is a fantastic budget laptop for photo editing. While it has some minor issues, its super-low cost easily outweighs them, 

Specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
  • RAM: 8 GB 
  • Internal Storage: 256 GB 
  • Screen Size: 14 inches
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Pros:

  • A very affordable laptop for anyone on a budget
  • Ideal for students or beginner photo editors
  • It’s a good size, with an HD 14-inch screen 

Cons:

  • The storage is quite limited
  • It only has 8 GB of RAM, so it won’t be as speedy as ones with 16+ GB

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Apple MacBook Pro

Best Mac Laptop for Photo Editing

Apple MacBook Pro

(Images credit: Apple)

The Apple MacBook Pro hardly needs any introduction. But did you know that the MacBook Pro is also an excellent laptop for photo editing? I’d say this is the best laptop for Lightroom and Photoshop that Apple has created. And here are a few reasons why it’s so good!

This 2021 edition MacBook Pro has the most powerful processor yet, boasting ten cores. The Apple M1 Chip is out of this world, providing incredible speed and power. So, even the most intensive programs like Photoshop run smoothly and flawlessly. 

It also has a huge storage space. That’s music to the ears of most photographers, who know how quickly they can fill up space with RAW files.

Best Mac Laptop for Photo Editing

(Images credit: Apple)

You get a large 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR screen on this model, and it’s simply dazzling. The colors are vibrant, the blacks are deeper, and the images look crystal clear. So, it’s the perfect screen to view your photos. They will look jaw-droppingly stunning. It’s hard to beat the 3456 x 2234 pixel resolution on the latest MacBook Pro. 

And as you’d expect, this laptop looks sleek and stylish. It’s lightweight and compact, and the battery life now lasts up to 21 hours at a go. 

It would be a challenge to find any faults with the MacBook Pro – other than the price. This laptop is not cheap, and it will put a heavy dent in your checking account. But in my opinion, this is undoubtedly the best laptop for photo editing Apple has to offer! 

Specifications:

  • Operating System: macOS
  • Processor: Apple M1 Chip
  • RAM: 16 GB 
  • Internal Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Screen Size: 16.2 inches
  • Display Resolution: 3456 x 2234 pixels

Pros:

  • A speedy and streamlined laptop 
  • It has the latest Apple M1 Chip and an improved battery life
  • Programs open and run so much more quickly and smoothly
  • The internal storage is very large
  • It has a gorgeous 4k display that looks incredible

Cons:

  • But it’s very expensive – best suited to professionals 

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Acer Predator Helios 300

Best Laptop for Photo & Video Editing

Acer Predator Helios 300

(Images credit: Acer)

If you’re looking for a robust and powerful laptop, check out the Acer Predator Helios 300. While originally designed for gaming, it works just as well for creative professionals. It provides enough power for photo editing, video editing, animation, and more. 

It has standout features like a Full HD 15.6-inch display with a super-fast 144Hz refresh rate. The backlit keyboard is another nice feature that comes in handy when working in low light. Although you may find that the RGB lighting isn’t so subtle. And the Aeroblade 3G fan keeps it cool, no matter how hard you work on this laptop.

Best Laptop for Photo & Video Editing

(Images credit: Acer)

As for the specs, it has 16 GB of dual-channel RAM to speed up your programs and processes. The Intel Core i7 processor can handle anything you throw at it. And the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics are hard to beat. 

It is a little chunky, and it definitely has the gamer look to it. But if that’s your style, then you’ll love the Acer Predator Helios 300. You can edit your photos daily and game by night on this versatile laptop! 

Specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H 
  • RAM: 16 GB 
  • Internal Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Pros:

  • A great gaming laptop that works just as well for photo editing
  • It’s powerful, robust, and has a super-fast refresh rate
  • The graphics and visuals are beautiful and vivid

Cons:

  • It’s pretty bulky and heavy to carry around
  • You might stand out in the office with this edgy gamer laptop

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ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

Best Laptop for Photoshop (but not such a budget buy)

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

(Images credit: Asus)

If you’re looking for a premium photo editing laptop, listen up. The ZenBook Pro Duo is a stellar laptop that will take your photo editing experience to the next level. 

This laptop provides not one but two touchscreen displays. That means you get a 16-inch 4K display and an extra 14-inch matte touchscreen. As you can imagine, you’ll have even more control over your workflow. You can display apps side by side, split the screen, and much more.

The ZenBook Pro Duo is a dream for any creative professional who needs a robust laptop. This model provides outstanding performance and fantastic versatility. 

Best Laptop for Photoshop (but not such a budget buy)

(Images credit: Asus)

The 4K UHD OLED screen is breathtaking. Your images will look truly stunning on this display. It provides perfect clarity and a 100% DCI-P3 color range. The edge-to-edge display is almost frameless and looks amazing. 

And that’s not to mention the incredible graphics, thanks to the Geforce RTX 260 GPU. 

This touchscreen laptop is ideal for photo editing and creative tasks like an illustration. You can work right on the screen for a smoother workflow and increased control and precision. 

So, the ZenBook Pro Duo has a computer’s power but a tablet’s versatility. You get the best of both worlds. 

Asus Laptop for Photoshop

(Images credit: Asus)

You get an ASUS stylus thrown in with this laptop, so there’s no need to buy one separately. It also comes with a detachable palm rest, which is a nice addition. It holds your hand in an ergonomic position so that you can work comfortably for longer. 

But the ZenBook Pro Duo is definitely not for those on a tight budget. Even most professionals will consider it extremely expensive. 

However, the specs and features speak for themselves. This laptop is amazing for photo editing (and any other use you can imagine, too!). 

Specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Internal Storage: 1 TB SSD
  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Display Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels

Pros:

  • This laptop has two touchscreen displays and comes with a digital pen included. 
  • It is versatile, speedy, and powerful.
  • You can streamline your workflow and speed up your editing process
  • It has fantastic specs and a huge storage space

Cons:

  • It’s very expensive

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Best Computer for Photo Editing on a Budget FAQ

What kind of computer should I get for photo editing?

If you want to edit photos or create graphics, you don’t necessarily need a high-end machine to edit photos. In fact, some basic models can handle the job. But if you want to take advantage of the latest features, you’ll probably want to spend at least $500. Some high-end machines range in price from $200 to over $1,000.

Which is the best free, easy-to-use photo editing app for laptops?

Here are the best free photo editing apps for laptops:
1. GIMP
2. Ashampoo Photo Optimizer
3. Canva
4. Fotor
5. Photo Pos Pro
6. Paint.NET
7. PhotoScape
8. Pixlr X
9. Adobe Photoshop Express Editor
10. PiZa

The best laptop for photo editing on a budget for photographers

The Wrap Up

Now, you should have a good idea of what makes a laptop suitable for photo editing. I’ve picked out these laptops by looking for the features photographers need.

So, you can be sure that they are reliable, fantastic laptops for photo editing. You can use them for Lightroom, Photoshop, or other photo editing programs. 

Let me know which laptop you choose for photo editing in the comments below. I’m genuinely interested and would love to hear how you get on with it. 

Make sure to follow Proactive Creative on Pinterest for all the best content for creative professionals! 

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Author

My name is Outmane, I am a designer and artist.

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