7 Best Laptops for Photoshop & Lightroom Editing [August 2023]

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Navigating the tech market for the best laptops optimized for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom can be overwhelming.

With many choices available, it’s crucial to pinpoint a device that delivers impressive processing power and stellar graphics capabilities. These are the cornerstones for seamless editing and design work.

Our review simplifies this process, taking a deep dive into the top options that combine performance, reliability, and affordability.

Save hours of research and get right to the heart of what you need — a laptop that makes Adobe’s powerful creative tools shine. Stay tuned as we unveil the best laptops for Photoshop and Lightroom.

Best Laptops for PS & LR
Best for Photographers that Edit Remotely
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M2 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU and 19‑core GPU: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 16GB Unified Memory, 1TB SSD Storage. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray
Best for Fine Artists and Graphic Designers
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Tablet - 13" - Core i7 12th Gen i7-1265U Deca-core (10 Core) - 16 GB RAM - 256 GB SSD - Windows 11 Pro 64-bit - Graphite
Best Budget Laptop for PS & LR
Dell 2023 Newest Inspiron 15 Laptop, 15.6" FHD Display, 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1255U, 64GB DDR4 RAM, 2TB SSD, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, HDMI, Windows 11 Home, Black
Model
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M2 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU and 19‑core GPU: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 16GB Unified Memory, 1TB SSD Storage. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Tablet - 13" - Core i7 12th Gen i7-1265U Deca-core (10 Core) - 16 GB RAM - 256 GB SSD - Windows 11 Pro 64-bit - Graphite
Dell 2023 Newest Inspiron 15 Laptop, 15.6" FHD Display, 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1255U, 64GB DDR4 RAM, 2TB SSD, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, HDMI, Windows 11 Home, Black
Rating
-
-
-
Price
$2,399.95
$1,429.99
$887.00
Prime
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Amazon Prime
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Best for Photographers that Edit Remotely
Best Laptops for PS & LR
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M2 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU and 19‑core GPU: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 16GB Unified Memory, 1TB SSD Storage. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray
Model
Apple 2023 MacBook Pro Laptop M2 Pro chip with 12‑core CPU and 19‑core GPU: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display, 16GB Unified Memory, 1TB SSD Storage. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray
Rating
-
Price
$2,399.95
Prime
-
More Information
Best for Fine Artists and Graphic Designers
Best Laptops for PS & LR
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Tablet - 13" - Core i7 12th Gen i7-1265U Deca-core (10 Core) - 16 GB RAM - 256 GB SSD - Windows 11 Pro 64-bit - Graphite
Model
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Tablet - 13" - Core i7 12th Gen i7-1265U Deca-core (10 Core) - 16 GB RAM - 256 GB SSD - Windows 11 Pro 64-bit - Graphite
Rating
-
Price
$1,429.99
Prime
Amazon Prime
More Information
Best Budget Laptop for PS & LR
Best Laptops for PS & LR
Dell 2023 Newest Inspiron 15 Laptop, 15.6" FHD Display, 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1255U, 64GB DDR4 RAM, 2TB SSD, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, HDMI, Windows 11 Home, Black
Model
Dell 2023 Newest Inspiron 15 Laptop, 15.6" FHD Display, 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1255U, 64GB DDR4 RAM, 2TB SSD, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth, HDMI, Windows 11 Home, Black
Rating
-
Price
$887.00
Prime
-
More Information

Guide to Choosing the Perfect Laptop for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom

two people using Photoshop on laptops

As a professional photographer or graphic designer, your laptop is more than just a device — it’s the digital canvas where you create stunning visuals.

Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are among the most demanding software in terms of system requirements, so ensuring that your laptop can handle these programs is crucial.

This section outlines the essential system requirements for buying a laptop to run this professional software smoothly.

Processor

laptop CPU

Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom require a processor with a speed of at least 2 GHz, but for optimal performance, consider investing in a laptop with a faster processor.

A multi-core Intel i5, i7, or AMD Ryzen 7 should suffice for most tasks. 

However, a high-end processor like the Intel i9 may be worth considering if you’re dealing with complex graphics or large files.

Apple’s M1 and M2 chips work well with Photoshop and Lightroom.

Graphics Card

laptop GPU illustration

While Adobe software can run on integrated graphics, a dedicated GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) will significantly enhance performance, especially when working with 3D effects or rendering high-resolution images.

A laptop with an NVIDIA or AMD GPU with at least 2GB VRAM is recommended.

RAM

several computer RAM chips

Photoshop and Lightroom are memory-intensive applications. A minimum of 8GB RAM is required, but for power users, 16GB or even 32GB would significantly boost performance and allow for smoother multitasking.

We recommend getting a laptop with at least 16GB of RAM to run Photoshop and Lightroom simultaneously with other applications.

Storage

laptop photo storage illustration

Regarding storage, SSDs (Solid State Drives) are vastly superior to HDDs (Hard Disk Drives).

While HDDs can provide more storage space at a lower cost, SSDs are much faster, translating into quicker boot times, faster application loading, and less waiting time for files to save or open.

An SSD is a must if you’re dealing with large image files or multiple layers.

Photographers and graphic designers should get a laptop with at least 1TB SSD unless you plan to use an external hard drive or pay for cloud storage.

Display

black laptop illustration

A laptop’s display is also vital, particularly for professionals who need accurate color reproduction. Look for a laptop with an IPS display offering a high resolution (Full HD or 4K), wide color gamut, and good viewing angles.

Additional Features

Other features to consider include:

  • A comfortable keyboard and trackpad.
  • A sturdy build quality.
  • Good thermal management (to prevent overheating under heavy workload).

Moreover, battery life and portability might also be essential if you work on the go.

Drawbacks to Consider

High-performance laptops often come with a steep price tag, so that budget could be a concern. Additionally, these devices can be heavier than their less powerful counterparts, potentially making them less portable.

Finally, powerful processors and GPUs can generate a lot of heat, which, if not correctly managed, could lead to throttling and impact performance.

While the ideal laptop for running Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom depends on your specific needs and budget, paying attention to the processor, graphics card, RAM, and storage can ensure a smooth and efficient workflow.

By considering these factors, you can invest in a device that meets your requirements and enhances your creative process.

Related: Should I Edit RAW or JPEG in Lightroom?

Best Laptops for Photoshop and Lightroom for Fast Photo Editing

1. 2023 14-inch MacBook Pro M2

Best Photoshop and Lightroom Laptop for Remote Photographers

The 2023 14-inch MacBook Pro stands out as an exceptional tool for professional photo and video editing. With its powerful performance, stunning display, and innovative features, this laptop promises to redefine your creative workflow.

Unrivaled Performance

The first thing that caught my attention about the 2023 14-inch MacBook Pro was its remarkable performance. Apple’s latest M1 chip powers the laptop and offers impressive speed and efficiency.

Whether I was applying complex filters in Photoshop or editing 4K videos in Lightroom, the MacBook Pro handled everything with ease, never stuttering or slowing down.

Ample Storage and Fast Memory

With up to 4TB of SSD storage, the MacBook Pro offers ample space for storing high-resolution images and video files. Coupled with up to 64GB of unified memory, it allows for fast access to large files and smooth multitasking, making it ideal for professionals with demanding applications.

Stunning Liquid Retina XDR Display

The 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display is another standout feature. Offering a resolution of 3024 x 1964 pixels and support for a billion colors, the display delivers incredibly sharp and vibrant visuals.

This is particularly useful when working on color-critical projects, as it ensures accurate color reproduction.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The MacBook Pro’s Magic Keyboard provides a comfortable typing experience, even during long editing sessions. The touchpad is equally impressive, offering precise control and supporting a range of multi-touch gestures that can help speed up your workflow.

Unique Features

One unique feature of the MacBook Pro is the Touch Bar, which adapts to the software you’re using, providing quick access to the tools you need right when you need them.

ProMotion technology is also added, which automatically adjusts the display refresh rate up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling and more responsive performance.

The 2023 14-inch MacBook Pro sets itself apart with its unmatched performance, stunning display, and innovative features. While it comes with a premium price tag, its value to professionals, especially those working with photo and video editing software like Photoshop and Lightroom, is undeniable.

If you’re a professional photographer or videographer needing a high-performance laptop, the 2023 14-inch MacBook Pro is an investment worth considering.

2. Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Illustrator

As a tech reviewer, I’ve seen a fair share of devices that promise to cater to the needs of creative professionals, but the 2023 Microsoft Surface Pro 9 truly delivers on this promise.

This 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrid is versatile and packs enough power and features to easily handle professional-level photo editing programs like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Lightroom.

Exceptional Performance

The Surface Pro 9 has the latest Intel Core i7 processor and up to 32GB RAM, providing a smooth and lag-free experience while running multiple heavy applications simultaneously.

Whether creating complex vector graphics in Illustrator or editing high-resolution images in Photoshop, the Surface Pro 9 handled everything seamlessly during my testing.

Ample Storage Options

With 128GB to 1TB SSD options, the Surface Pro 9 offers ample storage for all your files and projects. The fast SSD ensures quick boot times and speedy loading of applications, which is a boon when you’re working on deadline-driven projects.

Vibrant PixelSense Display

The 13-inch PixelSense display, with a 2880 x 1920 pixels resolution, delivers sharp, vibrant visuals. With excellent color accuracy and contrast levels, it’s perfect for photo and video editing tasks where color precision is paramount.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The detachable Type Cover keyboard provides a comfortable typing experience, with well-spaced keys and adequate essential travel. The touchpad is equally impressive, offering precise cursor control and multi-touch gesture support.

Unique 2-in-1 Design

The standout feature of the Surface Pro 9 is its unique 2-in-1 design. You can use it as a traditional laptop or detach the keyboard to use it as a tablet.

Paired with the Surface Pen, it becomes a digital canvas for drawing and sketching, adding another level of versatility to your creative process.

The 2023 Microsoft Surface Pro 9 sets itself apart with its impressive performance, vibrant display, comfortable keyboard, and unique 2-in-1 design.

It’s not just a high-performance laptop; it’s a versatile tool that adapts to your creative needs.

If you’re a professional photographer, videographer, or graphic designer looking for a device that can keep pace with your creativity while offering the flexibility of a tablet, the Surface Pro 9 is an investment you won’t regret.

3. 2023 Dell Inspiron 15-inch

Best Budget Laptop for Photoshop and Lightroom

Finding a device that offers robust performance at an affordable price is a rarity. This is where the 2023 15-inch Dell Inspiron shines, offering a fantastic blend of power, versatility, and value for money.

Solid Performance

The Dell Inspiron has the latest Intel Core i5 processor and up to 16GB RAM. In my testing, this combination provided a smooth and responsive experience when running professional-level photo editing programs like Photoshop and Lightroom.

The laptop handled large files and complex tasks without noticeable slowdowns, which is impressive for a device in this price range.

Ample Storage

Storage is often a concern for creative professionals who deal with large files. Thankfully, the Inspiron doesn’t disappoint, offering up to 1TB SSD storage. The fast SSD ensures quick loading times for applications and speedy file transfers.

Excellent Display Quality

The 15-inch Full HD display is another highlight, offering sharp visuals and vibrant colors. While it may not match the color accuracy of some higher-end devices, it’s more than sufficient for most photo and video editing tasks.

Comfortable Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard on the Inspiron is comfortable for extended typing sessions, with good essential travel and a responsive feel. The touchpad is reliable, offering precise cursor control and multi-touch gesture support.

Unique Features

One unique feature of the Inspiron is its thermal management system. Despite its slim design, the laptop stays cool even under heavy workloads. This is a significant advantage for those long editing sessions.

The 2023 15-inch Dell Inspiron has solid performance, ample storage, and excellent display quality. It proves you can stay in the bank to get a laptop capable of handling professional-level photo editing software.

If you’re a professional photographer or videographer looking for a high-performance laptop that offers excellent value for money, the Dell Inspiron is an investment worth considering.

4. 2023 16-inch MacBook Pro M2

Best Large-Screen Laptop for Photoshop and Lightroom

The 2023 16-inch MacBook Pro M2 is an exceptional large-screen laptop for photo and video editing.

Unprecedented Performance

Apple’s latest M2 chip powers the MacBook Pro M2. The device handled everything from basic tasks to running professional-level photo editing programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, and Capture One Pro without sweat. 

With eight performance and four efficiency cores, the M2 chip provides a smooth and responsive experience that’s second to none.

Ample Storage and Fast Memory

With up to 8TB of SSD storage, the MacBook Pro M2 offers ample space for high-resolution images and 4K video files.

Coupled with up to 64GB of unified memory, it allows for fast access to large files and smooth multitasking, which is ideal for professionals who work with demanding applications.

Stunning Liquid Retina XDR Display

The 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display offers an immersive visual experience. With a 3456 x 2234 pixels resolution and support for over a billion colors, it delivers incredibly sharp and vibrant visuals.

This is particularly beneficial when working on color-critical projects, ensuring accurate color reproduction.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The MacBook Pro’s Magic Keyboard provides a comfortable typing experience, even during long editing sessions. The touchpad is equally impressive, offering precise control and supporting a range of multi-touch gestures.

Unique Features

One unique feature of the MacBook Pro M2 is the ProMotion technology, which automatically adjusts the display refresh rate up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling and more responsive performance.

There’s also the addition of the Touch Bar, which adapts to the software you’re using, providing quick access to the tools you need right when you need them.

The 2023 16-inch MacBook Pro M2 sets itself apart with its unrivaled performance, stunning display, and innovative features. While it comes with a premium price tag, its value to professionals, especially those working with photo and video editing software, is undeniable.

5. Alienware m17

Best Gaming Laptop for Photoshop and Lightroom

The Alienware m17 stands out as a superior gaming laptop that also holds its own when it comes to professional-level photo editing programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, and Capture One Pro.

Exceptional Performance

The Alienware m17 is powered by an all-AMD setup with the latest Ryzen 9 processor and Radeon RX GPU. This combination lets the laptop quickly handle heavy gaming and professional photo editing software.

During my testing, the device managed complex tasks and large files smoothly, making it an ideal choice for creative professionals.

Ample Storage

The Alienware m17 offers up to 1TB SSD storage. The fast SSD ensures quick boot times and allows for the speedy loading of applications and rapid file transfers, a boon for photographers and videographers dealing with large files.

Stunning Display

The device sports a true 4K UHD screen that refreshes at 120Hz. The display delivers bright and vibrant visuals, offering color accuracy crucial for photo editing tasks. The screen’s sharpness and responsiveness were impressive, in my experience.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Alienware m17 features a customizable light-up keyboard, adding a unique touch to the device. The keys are well-spaced and offer good travel, making typing comfortable even during extended editing sessions. The touchpad is accurate, providing precise control and supporting multi-touch gestures.

Unique Features

One of the standout features of the Alienware m17 is its excellent thermal management system. Despite its powerful components, the laptop stays cool even under heavy workloads, essential for extended gaming or editing sessions.

The 2023 Alienware m17 sets itself apart with its unbeatable performance, stunning display, and unique features. While primarily a gaming laptop, its capabilities extend to efficiently handling professional-level photo editing software, making it a versatile choice for creative professionals.

6. 2023 15-inch MacBook Air M2

Best Value Laptop for Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a resource-intensive application requiring a powerful machine for optimal performance. After extensive research, the new 15-inch MacBook Air M2 stands out as the best-valued laptop for Photoshop in 2023, offering an excellent blend of performance, display quality, design, and application support.

Exceptional Performance

The MacBook Air M2 is powered by Apple’s latest M2 chip, which delivers impressive performance for demanding applications like Photoshop. It also comes with up to 16GB of unified memory and up to 2TB of SSD storage, providing ample space and speed for handling large files and complex tasks.

Stunning Display

The MacBook Air’s 15-inch Retina display offers a 2880 x 1800 pixels resolution, delivering sharp and vibrant visuals. This is crucial for photo editing tasks as it ensures accurate color reproduction.

Sleek Design and Extended Battery Life

The MacBook Air M2 is lauded for its lightweight and portable design, making it an ideal choice for photographers who are often on the move. The laptop also boasts an extended battery life, allowing users to work on their projects without worrying about finding a power source.

Seamless Application Support

Running on macOS, the MacBook Air M2 offers excellent support for Adobe applications, providing a smooth and stable user experience.

Tips for Optimizing Your MacBook Air M2 for Photoshop

  1. Regularly update your software: Ensure you run the latest macOS and Adobe Photoshop versions for optimal performance and security.
  2. Manage your storage: Regularly transparent unnecessary files from your device to maintain ample free space, which can contribute to better performance.
  3. Adjust Photoshop’s performance preferences: You can allocate more memory to Photoshop or adjust the graphics processor settings to optimize the application’s performance.

The new 15-inch MacBook Air M2 is an excellent choice for Adobe Photoshop in 2023. Its combination of performance, display quality, design, and application support offers excellent value for cost, making it a top contender for the best laptop for Adobe Photoshop.

7. 2023 HP Touchscreen Laptop 15.6-inch

Best Cheap Laptop for Photoshop and Lightroom

The 2023 HP Touchscreen Laptop 15.6-inch is a game-changer in the cheap and affordable laptop market, especially for users seeking a device capable of handling photo and video editing tasks. Let’s dive into its specifications and see why it stands out.

Processor

The HP Touchscreen Laptop is equipped with an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1155G7 Processor. This powerful processor ensures smooth operation even when running resource-intensive applications like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Graphics Card

The laptop comes with Intel Iris Xe Graphics, providing robust performance for graphic-intensive tasks. This integrated graphics card can more than support photo and video editing software.

RAM & Storage

With 16GB RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD, this laptop offers ample memory and storage for efficient multitasking and quick file access, which are crucial for photo and video editing tasks.

Display Quality

The 15.6-inch touchscreen display features a Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. This ensures sharp visuals and accurate color representation, essential for photo and video editing. The touchscreen functionality also adds a layer of versatility, allowing users to interact with their projects in a more hands-on manner.

Portability & Versatility

Weighing in at just around 4 pounds, the HP Touchscreen Laptop is relatively lightweight, making it a practical choice for photographers and videographers who need to work on the go. Its slim design doesn’t compromise performance or features, making it an excellent tool for creative professionals.

The 2023 HP Touchscreen Laptop 15.6-inch offers excellent value for its price point. Its powerful processor, robust graphics card, ample memory and storage, and high-quality display make it an ideal choice for photo and video editing tasks.

Its portability and versatility further enhance its appeal for photographers and videographers on a budget. Compared to similar devices on the market, the HP Touchscreen Laptop stands out as a superior option due to its balanced blend of performance, display quality, and affordability.

Which Laptop Am I Using for Photoshop and Lightroom?

2021 16-inch MacBook Pro

I’m a professional photographer, so I need the best tools to make sure I can create beautiful visuals. That’s why when it came time for me to upgrade my laptop, I chose the 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chip.

It had everything that could help me do my job better: 10‑Core CPU, 32‑Core GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD – all of which allowed me to work faster and more efficiently.

The first thing I noticed was how quickly this machine booted up. Even with such a powerful processor and graphics card under its hood, it still started up in seconds — no lag or stutter! And once up and running? Let’s say there was no stopping me from getting things done at lightning speed!

One of my main uses for this machine is photo editing in Photoshop and Lightroom. Its high-resolution Retina display and True Tone technology made colors vibrant yet realistic — making every image look stunning on-screen and after printing.

The combination of powerful hardware and Apple’s Metal API made working through complex tasks like layer blending or color grading much more accessible than before; an ideal combination for any creative professional looking for top performance without compromising quality or accuracy in their work!

Overall then? Investing in the 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro with M1 Max chip has been worth it so far, allowing me to tackle even the most demanding projects while ensuring everything runs smoothly due to slow processing speeds and lackluster output quality.

Verdict

Photoshop and laptop illustration in space.

The 2023 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 Pro chip stands out as the top pick for Photoshop and Lightroom editing due to its impressive storage capacity of up to 4TB and RAM reaching 64GB.

It offers a robust, seamless performance crucial for photography and graphic design professionals, particularly those operating remotely.

Its cutting-edge technology ensures a smooth and speedy photo editing process, making it an investment worth considering for anyone looking to elevate their digital editing experience.


Frequently Asked Questions

How many GB of RAM do I need for Photoshop?

For running Photoshop, Adobe recommends having at least 8GB of RAM but advises 16GB for the best performance. This allows efficient running of the program itself, alongside other applications that may be in use concurrently. Nevertheless, for extremely complex manipulations or working with multiple high-resolution images, you may benefit from 32GB or more.

What is the best laptop for Photoshop and Lightroom?

For photo editing applications such as Photoshop and Lightroom, the 2023 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 Pro chip is an exceptional choice. It provides robust performance, courtesy of its advanced M2 Pro chip, which is capable of handling intense processing tasks. To achieve optimal performance in photo editing, it’s recommended to opt for a model with at least 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD. This configuration ensures rapid data access and smooth multitasking, essential for high-resolution image editing.