5 Best Laptops for Photoshop for Every Budget in 2021

Adobe Photoshop requires a powerful processor, multitasking power, and a good graphics card and we’ve listed down our top 5 choices for the best laptop for Photoshop today. 

This list includes both the best MacOS, Windows OS, and budget options for the best laptop for Photoshop, as well as a detailed FAQ segment to help you with some common questions you might have before making a purchase.

Best Laptops for Photoshop Reviewed

1. MacBook for Photoshop: MacBook Pro

The killer specs, sturdy build, and fantastic display are ideal for the everyday graphic designer or artist to use, and the MacBook Pro itself is an Adobe certified compatible laptop for all features of Photoshop. 

The MacBook Pro comes with a 9th Gen Intel Core i9 processor, the most powerful processor we’ve got listed down here, which can turbo clock up to speeds of 4.8GHz. 

It has 16GB of RAM, which gives you tons of multitasking power to work with. You won’t have much difficulty running other software alongside Photoshop, especially if you’re a creative who uses more than just Photoshop.  

This laptop also has a very impressive storage capacity, with a 1TB solid-state drive, which should be more than enough space to store the program files and some of your work. 

The AMD Radeon Pro 5500M is a definite upgrade from the previous version of the MacBook, and this gives you an additional 4GB of VRAM to work with, easing render times and giving you just a bit more power for Photoshop.

The MacBook Pro has an amazing 16-inch display and is one of the best displays we’ve got on this laptop. It’s a retina display with a maximum screen resolution of 3072×1920, which is more than enough to give you extremely high-quality image.

The keyboard is great, the touchpad is very receptive, and the TouchBar just adds another layer of convenience to editors. You can customize this to function as another set of hotkeys to make using Photoshop much easier. 

It isn’t the most portable laptops out on the market, but this does mean that Apple has finally prioritized more functional hardware (like good thermals) as opposed to just keeping their laptops light for the sake of being light. 

Downsides

You can’t upgrade the MacBook Pro very easily after purchase, so you’re going to have to directly go to Apple for any customized configurations. These upgrades are also quite expensive, so be prepared to fork up quite a bit of money for more memory and storage. 

Pros

  • Specs geared towards creatives
  • Large storage capacity
  • Fantastic display
  • Solid build quality

Cons

  • Expensive upgrades

2. Budget Pick: HP Envy

The HP Envy is our budget choice for graphic designers and artists who are looking for a laptop that can run the primary features of Adobe, without compromising their finances. This laptop still has the hardware to run Adobe and is a great addition to an artist’s arsenal. 

The HP Envy has an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, which can turbo clock up to speeds of 3.9GHz. This quadcore processor should offer enough power to run Photoshop without too many issues. 

This laptop comes equipped with about 8GB of RAM, to give you enough multitasking space to run a few programs alongside Photoshop, though we recommend not doing that to allot more power for Adobe. 

It has a 256GB solid-state drive, which should easily store Adobe Photoshop without any difficulty, as well as a couple of your files. You might want to purchase an additional drive to store your work on, as 256GB of space may go by quite quickly.

While you can’t upgrade the RAM configuration on the HP Envy, you should be able to upgrade the solid-state drive to a larger capacity if you need to. As long as you purchase an M.2 slot solid-state drive, you shouldn’t have much difficulty upgrading. 

This laptop comes with the Intel UHD Graphics 620. While this is an integrated graphics card, this still should let you get through some of the main, basic processes of Adobe Photoshop, and is still a great choice for budget minded creatives. 

The HP Envy is considerably smaller, with a 13.3-inch display. That doesn’t mean this display isn’t good, as it’s in full-HD, with a maximum screen resolution of 1920x1080p. 

This is an extremely easy laptop to carry around with you, so if you need to take your job with you on-the-go, it’s a great option. It weighs in at around 2.8lbs. The battery life lasts quite a while, so it should be great for taking around with you. 

Downsides

The biggest drawback we’ve found with the HP Envy is that you can’t upgrade the memory configuration. You’ll be stuck with the 8GB this laptop comes with, which might not be enough for some users who are looking to run more programs alongside Photoshop. 

The other drawback to this laptop is that it has an integrated graphics card. You won’t get any additional VRAM from this, so you’ll have lesser graphics power. 

Pros

  • More affordable specs
  • Upgradeable storage
  • Very portable

Cons

  • Non-upgradeable RAM
  • Integrated GPU


3. Windows Laptop for Photoshop: Dell XPS 15

The Dell XPS 15 is the best Windows OS rival to the MacBook Pro. Just like it’s competitor, it’s got fantastic specs for Photoshop work, an amazing display, and great hardware, this laptop is a sure hit for any graphic designer who prefer Windows OS. 

This laptop comes with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, which can turbo clock up to speeds of 4.5GHz, which is more than enough power to run Photoshop without a hitch. 

The Dell XPS 15 has 16GB of memory, which gives you tons of room to multitask. You won’t have any difficulty running Photoshop alongside other Adobe programs or your browser with this much memory available. 

There’s more than enough room on the Dell XPS 15 to store Photoshop, as well as your other files, with a 256GB solid-state drive. You can also expect your programs to launch smoothly and efficiently. 

You can make the most out of the XPS if you’re considering upgrading. Whether it’s right upon purchase or much further down the line, you can upgrade its memory, as well as replace the existing drive with a newer, larger one, to suit your needs.  

This laptop comes with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, which is a dedicated GPU that offers 4GB of additional VRAM. This is a recommended graphics card for Adobe Photoshop and is sure to let you maximize your software.  

The best feature of the Dell XPS 15 is its fantastic display; you won’t go wrong with a 4K display for Adobe Photoshop, which will give you extremely clear and crisp images. It has a maximum display resolution of 3840x20160p and is sure to be a great tool and asset to Photoshop users. 

This laptop is also extremely portable, weighing in at around 4.5lbs, and has good battery life. This makes it ideal for graphic artists who need to take their work laptops to and from their studios or offices. 

Downsides

There isn’t much we can say against the Dell XPS, as it’s a fantastic laptop for graphic designers. The only real issue that we could find with this laptop is that it can get quite hot, but that only happens under heavy load. 

Pros

  • Powerful specs for creatives
  • Upgradeable memory and storage
  • GPU is compatible with Photoshop
  • 4K display

Cons

  • Tends to get hot when under heavy load

4. Laptop with Dual Display: ASUS ZenBook 13

If you’re looking for a great ultrabook to do some casual Photoshop work, the ASUS ZenBook 13 is another viable option for most  

The ZenBook 13 comes with a very powerful 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, which can turbo clock up to speeds of 4.9GHz. 

It comes with 16GB of storage, which should give you more than enough room to multitask and run other software alongside Photoshop without a hitch. 

This laptop has 512GB of storage space on a solid-state drive as well, giving you enough room for your Adobe software, as well as your files. We’ve mentioned numerous times that a solid-state drive is much more ideal, as they’re much more stable, and a lot faster. 

Those of you looking to upgrade this laptop right off the bat or further down the line, you can easily upgrade the storage capacity of this device by swapping out the solid-state drive, but you’re going to be stuck with the 16GB RAM configuration. 

The NVIDIA GeForce MX250 is a dedicated graphics card, which is great for Photoshop users, though it doesn’t offer as much VRAM as the other laptops here, but it still does significantly improve this laptop’s render performance. 

You have a great 13.3-inch display on the ASUS ZenBook 13, which has a 1920x1080p resolution and is perfect for photoshop thanks to its fantastic color replication. The IPS panel also helps with viewing angles, so you won’t need to constantly adjust the display while working.

The ASUS ZenBook 13 is also very light, weighing around 2.6lbs, so it’s easy to carry around with you. The battery also lasts quite a bit, so you shouldn’t have any difficulty working on the go. 

Downsides

One of the most disappointing issues with the ASUS ZenBook 13 is that you can’t upgrade its RAM configuration. While 16GB is more than enough for your everyday Photoshop needs, some users do want the option to upgrade further down the line. 

Pros

  • Powerful specs
  • Upgradeable storage
  • Sturdy build
  • Portable and lightweight

Cons

  • Non-upgradable memory configuration

5. Most Lightweight: Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is another top tier choice for Photoshop users. It’s extremely versatile and can be used as a tablet, as well as a laptop. 

This convertible laptop comes with a 10th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, which has a maximum clock speed of 4.2GHz. 

This comes with 8GB of RAM, which is enough for using Adobe Photoshop and its tools with ease, as well as running a couple other software or open a few browser tabs. 

You also have 128GB of storage on the solid-state drive of the Surface Pro, which is enough space for storing Photoshop’s program files. If this isn’t enough storage for you, then you can always insert a MicroSD card to store your files in its designated slot, or work with an external drive. 

The Intel Iris Plus Graphics card is an integrated GPU that still easily handles Adobe Photoshop. While it isn’t as impressive as the other laptops listed here, it still handles Adobe software quite well, with the only setback being with your render times. 

Despite having a very small display, the Surface Pro 6 was meant for graphic designers who are looking for a great two-in-one laptop. The screen quality is fantastic. The colors are replicated very well, and it’s maximum display resolution is 2736x1824p. 

Finally, the Surface Pro 6 is an extremely compact and portable laptop. It weighs in at just about 1.1lbs, which feels like virtually non-existent when you keep it in your bag. The battery lasts quite a bit as well, at around 8 hours or so, so you can easily work while on the go. 

Downsides

You can’t upgrade the memory and storage of the Microsoft Surface Pro, which means you’re going to have to use an external drive or an SD card. 

Unfortunately, to make the most of your Surface Pro, you’ll have to buy both the Pen and Keyboard attachments, as they’re sold separately. These are going to become an additional expense for you, especially because these accessories don’t come cheap. 

Pros

  • Geared towards creatives
  • Powerful mid-range specs
  • MicroSD slot to add more storage
  • High pixel density on display

Cons

  • Accessories sold separately
  • Non-upgradable memory or storage

Best Laptop for Photoshop FAQ

Q1: Are onboard graphics good for photoshop?

Most onboard graphics cards should be able to take Photoshop, however, they’re not the best for it. You’re much better off purchasing a laptop with a dedicated graphics card, as they’ll give you more power to work with, especially when rendering large files. 

Q2. How much VRAM does Photoshop need?

Your video card on your laptop should at least have an additional 4GB of VRAM to give you good graphics performance from your laptop. There are several features on Adobe Photoshop, like 3D modeling, perspective warping, rendering, etc., that wouldn’t work well, or at all with less than 2GB of VRAM. 

Q3. Can I work directly from an external storage device?

Absolutely! There’s no reason for you to not be able to do this, though we wouldn’t entirely recommend it, because any accidental slips wherein you pull the cord out of the drive or the laptop might make you lose all your progress.  

Q4. What is the best storage configuration for Photoshop?

You should have a solid-state drive as the primary drive. This is where you’d install and store Photoshop and having an SSD means that the software will run much faster and much smoother.

A secondary drive should be where you store your work, and you might prefer to have another SSD rather than an HDD, because they’re considerably quicker. A third drive is completely optional but will add a bit more power if you’re looking for the best configuration possible. 

Conclusion

There are our top 5 choices for the best laptop for Adobe Photoshop. We’ve said in our introduction that Photoshop does require some fairly good hardware to use, but that doesn’t mean you’re too limited with your choices. This list should help you get an idea of what kind of laptop you’d need to get. 

We also have an added FAQ segment. We know that when buying a laptop for a particular purpose, you’re going to ask quite a few questions, so we’ve got you covered there. Let us know down below if this list is a success for you, we love hearing from our readers. 

Good luck! 

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