12 Best Laptops For Photo Editing & Photography in 2017

Rating: 3.76 based on 17 Ratings
Anes Mulalic
September 3, 2017 By Anes Mulalic
12 Best Laptops For Photo Editing & Photography in 2017 www.sleeklens.com

Over the years, I have come to consider myself as a little bit of a technology nerd. Perhaps it’s because I tend to spend in front of my PC, which allows me to keep track on the topic which is constantly evolving. If you’re not aware of the latest trends within just a few months, you could feel as if they had happened 10 or 15 years before even acknowledging how many things you missed. In this article, I am going to take you through a series of reviews covering the very best laptops for editing and retouching.

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When it comes to laptops, finding the best choice for yourself is not as simple as weighing the price vs. configuration and picking the most powerful notebook. The fact that you’re looking for the best laptop for photography helps a little, because you know certain features and criteria that suite your needs, but there’s still a lot more to it. You’ll find many similarly priced laptops that vary in quality. Not to mention the fact that even a certain specific model can greatly vary in specifications. When you’re on a budget, which most of us are anyway, it’s all about detailed research so you can find something that satisfies all your needs without asking you to make (too much) sacrifices. This is possible, but not easy. Usually, if a laptop has a powerful processor and graphics, chances are it’s got weak battery life, or a bad screen, or it is too bulky, or something else that is sub-par and might turn out troublesome in the long run. But the truth is, if you look hard enough, you’ll find that every now and then a company will release a jewel, a laptop that manages to balance its pros and cons incredibly well. Our job is to sort through hundreds of potential candidates and present you with a select list for your choosing. You job is to act when you recognize one among these that is perfect for you.

I must admit that due to the nature of my work, I am not really known for being a fan of ergonomic laptop computers – given a chance, I think that I would choose a Dell Alienware 18″ or an Asus ROG G752VT over a more practically sized and portable option such as a Macbook Air 13″ or an Asus Zenbook NX500. Working with RAM-eating software such as Photoshop or Illustrator for my photography/design jobs (not to mention my love-hate relationship with 3ds Max for ArchViz works) requires having a system build that can survive the “beatings” of 10-12 hours of work in addition to good performance.

Asus ROG G752VT
  • Asus ROG G752VT
  • 5 out of 5
  • Up to 64GB of RAM
  • Amazing graphics
  • Powerful processor
  • Price: See Here
Check on Amazon!
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MacBook Pro 2016
  • MacBook Pro 2016
  • 4 out of 5
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful build
  • OSX
  • Price: See Here
Check on Amazon!
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Acer Aspire E5 – 573 G
  • Acer Aspire E5 – 573 G
  • 3.6 out of 5
  • Cheap
  • Low end graphics
  • Lightweight
  • Price: See Here
Check on Amazon!
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Many times friends and colleagues have asked for my advice on what would be a proper laptop for “design apps” or “the best laptop for photo editing.” Well, my first question is: “what is the ultimate goal of your work?”

As many of you know, there is a tendency to encompass a wide variety of software under what is known as “design apps“; and such assertion is wrong since despite being related, the demand of each one is actually very different. It is not the same to compare a photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Corel Photo Paint, and several others with software like Adobe Premiere, which is dedicated to video editing. Each software within this “category” has different hardware requirements according to task we want to fulfil – for example: Adobe Photoshop recommends that our system build needs to have a video card which optimizes the display; however, unless we use Photoshop 3D editing tools, we can work perfectly with integrated graphics (the set of instructions applied to a CPU that make virtual RAM available under short spans for compelling graphics-demanding tasks), with the slight risk of receiving a warning or noticing that the user interface does not behave with fluency that it may give if we had a video card in our PC rig.

Dell XPS 15 Choice for Photo Editing in 2017

This can be confusing for many people out there, as it is necessary to define which are the minimum requirements to support a program of this caliber. In my opinion, it’s easier to explain this is through the “price vs. performance” point of view. The greater the budget invested in the PC you want to have, the higher the quality of the parts we buy, and most will keep us from experiencing the “bottleneck” situation we would have if we are “on budget” – It is also important to note that buying high-end parts does not necessarily guarantee powerful performance, unless the user actually takes full advantage of them. Considering all the factors above, I have put together a list of the best 12 laptops for photographers on the 2017 market, followed by a list of key points for any PC/Laptop intended for photo-editing use.

 

Best Laptops For Photography and Editing in 2017

Microsoft Surface Laptop
Many have recently said “Microsoft is the new Apple” exclusively thanks to Microsoft’s line of stylish Surface products. They all employ cutting-edge designs with attention to detail and sleekness that put a shadow even over Apple’s MacBook Air. The Surface line consists of premium Windows 10 devices ranging from tablets to laptop-tablet hybrids to laptops. The latter has only one star of the show – the 2017 Surface Laptop.
Overall rating:
93
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90
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70
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Pros
  • Premium slim design
  • Premium build quality
  • Excellent battery life
  • Superb display quality
  • Fast performance
Cons
  • Only one USB port
Click to read the full Review
Possibly the strongest selling point of Surface Laptop is its gorgeous slim design, thin (14.4mm) and light (1.25kg) enough to carry comfortably anywhere. This is perfect for travel photographers who are always on the go. But don’t let that make you think this is a fragile piece of technology. At the same time the Surface is an extremely durable ultrabook thanks to its casing is being built using an aluminum-alloy. This alloy allows for a body that is equally light as tradition plastic/metal laptops, while being considerably stronger and at the same time being more thermally conductive. The moment you see and hold this laptop it immediately becomes apparent that every part of it was built with extreme attention to detail.

One thing that could be potentially worrisome to photographers are the connectivity options, or more accurately, lack of some options. There is no SD card slot and there is just one USB 3.0 Type-A port. Other than that, there is a Mini DisplayPort and the Surface-standard power/docking port.
The new Surface Laptop does away with aluminum keyboard we’ve seen on the Surface Book. This time around we get an interesting combination of aluminum base, enwrapped in premium Italian Alcantara fabric and plastic keys.

The Laptop comes with a 13.5” PixelSense touch-capable Display, 7th generation Intel processors and range of different RAM and SSD capacity combinations.
• Intel Core i5/4GB RAM/128GB SSD
• Intel Core i5/8GB RAM/256GB SSD
• Intel Core i7/8GB RAM/256GB SSD
• Intel Core i7/16GB RAM/512GB SSD

Any combination here will give you enough power for basic tasks such browsing, watching movies, office work and even low-level photo editing. The i5 is powerful enough for virtually any workload, and 256GB of SSD capacity should also be enough storage for your photos, especially if you utilize some sort of external storage via USB as well. But if you are working with large batches of photos or are simply doing detailed photo retouching and editing work, we recommend skipping the 4GB RAM version and going straight for the 8GB version. Overall, the performance of the Surface Laptop is admirable.

Battery life won’t disappoint either, as you will be able to pull off 8-9 hours of moderate workflow without charging. Or If you are extra careful and conserve power, you could probably get away with two days.

Let’s talk more about the display, not just because it is gorgeous, but also because it is perfect for photographers. The 13.5” touch screen holds exactly 2256 x 1504 pixels (201 PPI), has 3:2 Aspect Ratio and is bright enough for outside use without so much of an eye-strain. The screen is covered by Gorilla Glass 3 for protection against scratches. What’s really important here however is the screen’s color coverage, commonly known as “gamut” – in this case covering 95.6% of sRGB color range. On top of that, tests show Delta E of 1.41 – perfect color accuracy. Any photographers that also prints photos will appreciate this as it saves a lot of trouble that comes with inconsistent color accuracy between the screen and a real-world print.

As for the touch-screen part of the display – it performed without any trouble. Its fast and extremely responsive, a real pleasure to use. Even more so if you use the Microsoft stylus pen.

We should note that Surface Laptop comes with Windows 10 S. The 10 S is a stripped-down version of Windows 10, with the main difference being the type of apps you can install. Windows 10 S only allows you to install Apps from Windows Store, which despite major investments by Microsoft still lacks quality apps. Luckily, the Surface Laptop also comes with an option to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, very quickly and free of charge. So, while this is an inconvenience, it’s not really an issue.
The Surface Laptop is designed for productivity and performance on-the-go, with extra attention to premium feel and style. It will do a great job as a tool for students and professionals who work with multimedia. The only real downside here is the price – it’s not cheap, especially the non-basic versions.
MacBook Pro 2016 with Touch BarGo to Amazon
Apple is innovation at its best. The truth is that it was a much-expected update after leaks that showed the announcement of a newly-introduced TouchBar. However, the price has increased as well for those models that feature such improvement.
Watch video review
Overall rating:
92
Battery Life:
0
95
100
Graphics::
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80
100
Design::
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100
100
Speed::
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95
100
Storage Capacity::
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85
100
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95
100
Pros
  • Mac OSX System
  • Excellent Battery life
  • Clear Retina Display
  • Fast and Reliable
  • Beautiful Design
  • Lightweight
  • Touch Bar
  • Unlock with Touch ID
  • Touch Bar interacts with most software available to date
Cons
  • Expensive
  • ATI Radeon Graphics
Click to read the full Review
Design and Features

Lighter and thinner than the previous generation, the MacBook Pro weighs 1.37kg for the 13” model and 1.83kg for the 15” one, with an up to 17% thickness reduction.
Another change from its previous model is the removal of the traditional USB ports and the MagSafe charging port, replacing them with USB-C and Thunderbolt ports. But don’t worry, the 3.5mm headphone jack is still available!

The new feature, Touch Bar, is a long and slender touchscreen that is placed above the keyboard, replacing the function keys. Depending on the app running, a wide range of functions and control become available. Fast and extremely responsive, it's a fantastic feature to improve performance with design apps as well as common apps; and saves the user the time to switch between apps with ease. At its right end, Apple added a TouchID sensor for logging to the laptop itself and use other services such as Apple Pay or the iTunes Store.

The fingerprint login is very convenient when you use your laptop with several accounts, as the system will recognize the user's prints and automatically log into its linked account.

The trackpad size has considerably increased in size, making at least twice the size of the previous generation trackpads. This is not something that amazes me much given my hate-hate relationship with trackpads, but some users may appreciate it. The other notorious improvement is the implementation of Force Touch technology to it, although it's not surprising if we consider that Apple has added it to its entire range of products released last year. For the trackpad, it helps to the feeling of an actual mouse, meaning that when the user taps the trackpad, it won't move, but instead, react like a real click; whereas applying some force will move the cursor around. Depending on the force applied and the movement made, the MacBook Pro will detect a right-click.

The keys of this new model’s keyboard are lower to the surface than its previous release, making a shallower typing experience to the user. Touch Bar helps to improve speed thanks to its QuickType text prediction and auto-corrections that arrived with MacOS Sierra.

Performance

16 GB of RAM is much appreciated and certainly what users would expect from a high-end Apple laptop. With a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5 for the 13" model and 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 for the 15”, it's a performance improvement for photographers; yet even more so, if we consider how smoothly Adobe apps tend to run with MacOSX.

One thing that is clearly disappointing is the graphics specs. I mean, seriously Apple? Why pair such a fantastic laptop with an ATI Radeon graphics card? For most creative artists, Nvidia is the way to go, given boost performance by CUDA technologies. Despite minor software compatibility issues that still occur to date, the Graphics Card choice is the only thing that can keep me from getting this beauty.

Battery life is expected to last up to 10 hours with WiFi – but the use of heavy design apps can reduce that time span to 4-5 hours. Yet the battery life isn’t really bad and certainly is an eye catcher.
It's a lovely laptop no doubt – I certainly loved the Touch Bar so much that I wish this feature would be available to other laptop manufacturers. The 16 GB RAM max spec is still a nuisance – at least they should go up to 32 GB RAM as some video making apps like Premiere would feel the benefits of the additional RAM. Still, Apple has a long way to go to rival conventional Windows-based laptops, but is slowly getting there.

(Images courtesy of Apple.com)
Dell XPS 15
There’s something to be said about a laptop that doesn’t try to be more than it needs to. Dell XPS 15 is a premium notebook, but it doesn’t have a touchscreen and it’s not a 2-in-1 convertible. And that’s why we like it. The XPS 15 has the same design as previous generations, which is fine by us. It has an edge-to-edge 4K screen, a stylish silver metal (aluminum) finish and a great keyboard. Measuring at 357x235x11-17mm (14.06x9.27x0.45”) and weighing at 2.04kg (4.50lbs) it has a slim, light body. Note that the screen resolution will depend on which version of Dell XPS you choose. For example, the base model has a Full HD 1080p display.
Overall rating:
92
Battery Life::
0
90
100
Design::
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100
100
Storage::
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80
100
Graphics::
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90
100
Speed::
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100
100
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90
100
Pros
  • 4K edge-to-edge display
  • 188% sRGB coverage
  • Beautiful premium design
  • Kensingston lock slot
  • Very good performance
Cons
  • Price
Click to read the full Review
The thin body doesn’t allow for too much connectivity ports, but you get all the essentials. There are two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, a Thunderbolt 3 port and a 3.5mm microphone/headphone jacks. There’s also a Kensingston lock slot and an SD card reader. A nice touch are the five LED lamps on the right side of the laptop, along with a small button that when pressed indicates how much battery life is left. You can use this even when the lid is closed.

The keyboard is back-lit and feels natural when typing. It is rather narrow so there are no numpad keys. The plate surrounding the keyboard has a soft finish and it provides a comfortable rest for hands when typing.

We’ve already said the XPS 15 has a 4K screen, but we know a screen is much more than the sum of its pixels. Luckily, the Dell continues to impress with other properties as well. It has just enough contrast and saturation to make a very pleasant, vibrant display to look at. It’s perfect for media consumption, but there’s more. Photographers will be happy to know this screen covers 188% of the sRGB color gamut, which makes it the most color-accurate 15-inch laptop on the market.

As far as performance goes, it will heavily depend on which model you buy. The basic variant includes an Intel i3-7100H, 8GB RAM and integrated Intel HD graphics, 500GB Hard Drive plus a 32GB SSD. The top model comes with an i7-7700HQ, 16 GB RAM, 512GB SSD and a powerful nVidia GTX 1050 GPU.

Dell XPS 15 is premium build notebook with cutting-edge display technology. It comes with many different configurations to choose from, with different price tags. This is great as you can control how much money you want to spend but still get a premium build laptop. For photographers, the display is most important, especially the color accuracy, and the XPS 15 shows brilliant results in that department. The market is already saturated with high-end premium laptops which are also tablets with touch-screens. That’s great for people who need these features, but not all do, especially when those raise the price tag into oblivion. To conclude, the Dell XPS 15 has a simple formula that works really well in our opinion: A slim, powerful (if you want it to be) 15-inch laptop that’s just that – a laptop. It will do great for any type of use, be it photo-editing, gaming, multimedia viewing or office work.
Lenovo IdeaPad 700-15ISK
Lenovo 700-15ISK is an affordable multimedia laptop with an attractive, thin design. It comes in several different configurations, some of which can be considered high-end. It is dubbed by Lenovo as a “High-Performance Multimedia Notebook” and a “stylish multimedia powerhouse”. We tend to agree with these taglines.
Overall rating:
80
Battery Life::
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50
100
Design::
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90
100
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90
100
Graphics::
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80
100
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80
100
Weight::
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90
100
Pros
  • Very stylish design: JBL-branded speakers
  • Very good performance
  • Sharp, non-glossy display
  • Dedicated graphics
  • M.2 SSD interface
  • Back-lit keyboard
Cons
  • 54% sRGB coverage
Click to read the full Review
The body is primarily built using plastic, with dotted metal casing for front speakers on both sides. It comes in white and black color. Today we are reviewing the white/silver version, which happens to be much prettier in our opinion. Despite the plastic build, this is not what we would call a budget notebook, so the build quality is actually pretty decent. It feels solid and durable.

It measures 384x265x22.7mm (15.12x10.43x0.89”) and weights 2.3kg (5.1lbs). As you can see, it is a relatively thin and light laptop. This form factor is appropriate for photographers as it is easy to carry around along with photography equipment.

The keyboard is very well built and is in a class of its own. Despite plastic keys, the tactile feedback feels amazing. It takes very little pressure to register a keystroke. If you’re a blogger, this keyboard will delight you. Another sign of Lenovo putting in extra attention in the keyboard is the fact that it is back-lit. Not only the blue back-lighting helps when you’re working in the dark, it also looks amazing and adds an extra touch of style to the whole laptop. Pressing the Fn button + Space you can control the back-light intensity. There are 3 different levels to choose from. Another proof we’re talking about a multimedia powerhouse is the double-functionality of the Function keys. From F1 through F12, the buttons can be used for things such as Volume Control, Screen Brightness, Turn Screen On/Off, Adjust brightness, disable touchpad, etc.

Time to talk about the screen. This is an LCD IPS dispaly with FHD (1920x1080 pixels) resolution and matte finish. This finish means the screen is non-reflective, which along with decent brightness levels means that you’ll be able to work even when you’re outside in sunlight. We love this display, but not everything is perfect. The screen’s color gamut is limited – covering around 55% of the sRGB range. This is potentially bad news for photographers who would use this laptop is a primary editing tool for print photography. A color you see on the screen just won’t be the same color when you print the photo. But if you only publish your photos digitally, this spec won’t really matter, as every screen is different anyway.
The laptop comes in several different configurations and combinations of internal components. It depends which version you purchase which in turn depends on your region. This isn’t a flagship laptop so specifications aren’t as consistent like some high-profile notebooks. What we can tell you is the Lenovo 700ISK-15 comes with the 6th generation Intel processors, with the more powerful version utilizing the high-performance i5 6300HQ and i7 6700HQ a. In any case, we recommend getting one of the versions with 256GB SSD storage, especially because it uses the latest M.2 SSD’s which are both smaller and faster than SATA3 SSD ports. If you’re worried about limited storage, don’t be, because this the 700ISK-15 comes with space for a secondary, high-capacity HDD, if you need one. The model with the SSD also comes with premium JBL-branded stereo speakers.

If printing photos is not your primary concern, this laptop is perfect for photographers who want a stylish, easy to carry and powerful day-to-day multimedia laptop with very impressive performance.
Apple MacBook Air 2017
Apple updated the MacBook Air once again this year in June. We’re talking about some minor hardware upgrades while the Air remains what it always was – a slim and stylish 13-inch Mac ultrabook. The same one you see in student coffee shops and offices all over the western hemisphere. Considering the last time, the Air was updated was two years ago, we were hoping for a more substantial updated for the “new” model. Alas, Apple has slightly updates performance by increasing processor and memory speeds, faster storage and prolonged battery life. The outside, including the screen, remains exactly the same.
Overall rating:
88
Battery Life::
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100
100
Design::
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100
100
Storage::
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80
100
Graphics::
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80
100
Performance::
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70
100
Weight::
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100
100
Pros
  • Slim, portable premium design
  • Durable build quality
  • Retina display
  • MagSafe 2 Power charging port
  • Most affordable Apple MacBook
Cons
  • No major upgrades from previous version
Click to read the full Review
Let’s start with the outside. While the design at this point is somewhat outdated, especially when you look at the screen bezels, the MacBook Air 2017 remains a very portable, lightweight ultrabook that will attract the same users as before. It still durable as ever – using the same aluminum unibody casing that extremely well built. Unlike the new 12-inch MacBook, the Air still employs only one color – Apple’s own traditional silver-ish.

The new MacBook Air has the same screen we’ve seen before – a 13.3-inch LED with glossy finish, and a resolution of 1440x900 pixels (128ppi). It is a Retina display, but not the same one you’ll find on a MacBook Pro. This screen will provide decent sharpness and excellent color reproduction, but it is not nearly as crisp as the Retine we see on the aforementioned Pro models which a resolution of 2560x1600 pixels.

When it comes to connectivity it is again the same old story. On the sides you’ll find a Thunderbolt 2 port which allows you to plug in an external monitor or a hard disk. Furthermore, there are two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot. For charging, we have the excellent MagSafe 2 power port which is magnetically attached. Compared to traditional laptop charger ports which easily ripped apart and damaged, the MagSafe 2 is much a safer solution. Wi-Fi in the MacBook Air uses the 802.11ac standard which is the same as the one on MacBook Pro.
The 2015 MacBook Air updates brought in the 5th generation Inter Broadwell processors, and the 2017 June update still uses the same generation processor with a slightly upgraded clock speed – 1.8Ghz instead of 1.6Ghz. While this processor will do more than fine for casual usage, including everyday web surfing, watching high-definition videos and office work, we recommend getting the optional the Intel 2.2 Ghz i7 CPU if you’re going to do heavier Photoshop work. The good news is the Air now comes with 8GB of RAM by default. To be truthful, this specs are somewhat lagging behind modern Windows laptops in the same price range, with one exception. The MacBook Air is still king of endurance. It can go up to 13hours of active use which is very impressive and hard to beat. Obviously, this is great news for photographers who travel a lot to places where power sources are limited – say mountains and wilderness. The GPU remains the same as well as the 2015 version – using the Intel HD 6000 chipset.

While the 2017 MacBook Air lags when it comes to specifications, and partly in design too, the same things that made it a great choice a few years ago are still here – slim, durable premium build, superb battery life and reliable and reasonably fast performance. If we could ask for anything to be rectified it would be the screen – we would love it even more with a sharper, newer display. Despite obvious downsides, the 2017 Air still holds the biggest advantage of all – it is the cheapest MacBook you can buy. For an Apple product, the price tag more than affordable. So, while you can get a faster and more modern Windows laptop for the same price, if you really want a MacBook but don’t want to spend a fortune, the Air might be the perfect choice.
HP Spectre x360 (2015)
While it is very probable that you’ve already heard of HP’s premium line convertible laptop Sepctre x360, you might wonder why is there a “2015” in the name of this review. Yes, HP has already pushed out a newer version of the x360, a refined and improved Spectre that look great for 2017. So, why did we choose to recommend the 2015 version instead of the all-new successor? Well, to put it simply, the older x360 is still an excellent laptop, is now considerably cheaper than the new version, but most importantly, it makes much less compromises for photographers. Namely, in pursuit of a thinner and lighter body, HP has omitted the SD card reader which is present in the first-generation of the x360.
Overall rating:
90
Battery Life::
0
100
100
Design::
0
100
100
Storage::
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90
100
Graphics::
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80
100
Performance::
0
90
100
Weight::
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80
100
Pros
  • Excellent battery life
  • Laptop and Tablet 2-in-1
  • Excellent display
  • Affordable
  • SD Card Reader
  • No bloatware
Cons
  • Heavy for a tablet
Click to read the full Review
Going back in 2015. when 2-in-1 laptops were starting to pour into the mainstream, many of them had design issues. Either the laptop was too bulky, or the hinge was wobbly (see first-gen Surface Book) or it was something else. Looking back, HP’s Specter x360 was the first 2-in-1 laptop that struck the right balance between a laptop and a tablet. HP achieved this with the help of Microsoft engineers, and by borrowing design ideas from companies such as Lenovo and Apple. All of this resulted in a premium, high-performance laptop that was also a tablet. It measures 324 x 218 x 16mm (12.79 x 8.6 x 0.63”).

HP Spectre x360 has an excellent build thanks to its CNC-machined aluminum unibody that is incredibly smooth, slim and durable. The hinge that allows you to rotate the screen by 360° and transform into a tablet is firm but at the same time smooth.

Depending on the version you opt for, you can either get a FullHD 1080p IPS, or a Quad HD 2560x1440 pixel display. Either way, you’ll get about 72% of s RGB color gamut, which is far from best-in-class but still solid color coverage, even for photographers. You’ll find colors on this screen are rich and vibrant.
The one legitimate complaint users have for this laptop is that is heavy (1.47kg) – for a tablet. Indeed, unless you use x360’s tablet form while resting it on a desk, say on your lap, it does get a bit too heavy. This could be a problem if you plan on using the tablet mode a lot, but we think it is a reasonable compromise considering what you get. The Spectre x360 offers superb battery life performance. HP claims up to 12 hours of screen on-time, and our tests showed very similar results. The only laptop on this list that beats this performance is the MacBook Air.

HP Spectre x360 houses no less than 3 USB 3.0 ports, full-size HDMI port, SD card slot and, Mini DisplayPort, headphone/microphone jack and a volume rocker (for tablet mode). As you can see, connectivity options on the 2015 Spectre x360 are plentiful, which can’t be said for its 2017 successor. If you wonder why is that so, it’s obvious – the newer x360 is thinner but at the same time sacrificing space for connectivity ports. We could forgive a missing HDMI socket, we could even go along with just one USB 3.0 port, but any serious photographer is going to need an SD card slot.

While performance generally depends almost exclusively on the spec sheet, there is definitely more to it when it comes to Spectre x360. As we have previously mentioned, HP has worked with Microsoft’s people in order to fine-tune Windows specifically for HP’s premium flagship. This means tweaking or completely turning off certain unnecessary background services, processes and minimizing the amount of bloatware. Performance is impressive even with the most basic model which houses a 2.2 (2.7 in Turbo) Ghz i5-5200, Intel HD Graphics 5500, 8GB DDR3 RAM and 256GB SSD. However, given the year is now 2017 and not 2015, and the price of the original x360 will fall, we recommend buying the stronger 2015 model. This will include an i7-5500U, 512GB SSD and the denser 2560x1440 pixel display.

When it came out two years ago, HP Spectre x360 was the most recommended 2-in-1 laptop. Today, there isn’t really any major reason why the same wouldn’t apply. We would normally recommend the new Spectre x360, but given that we’re talking about laptops for photographers, and the newest version doesn’t have an SD Card slot, we don’t see why you wouldn’t spare a few bucks and get the whole package, even if it is two years old.
Lenovo IdeaPad 720S
Think of a laptop that wears a mid-range price tag, but looks and performs like a premium notebook. Sounds too good to be true? Not if you as Lenovo. The IdeaPad 720S strikes the gold spot for photographers who need a good screen that handles colors with accuracy, and is not too big or too small. That’s 14-inch 1080p screen for you. Released in 2017, a successor to award-winning IdeaPad 720S, it comes with Intel’s 7th-generation CPU and a dedicated nVidia graphics card. That’s performance for you.
Overall rating:
80
Battery life::
0
80
100
Design::
0
90
100
Storage::
0
80
100
Graphics::
0
70
100
Speed::
0
80
100
Weight::
0
80
100
Pros
  • Excellent value for the money
  • Aluminum metal materials
  • Good color reproduction
  • 1080p screen
  • 7th-generation Intel CPU
  • Dedicated Graphics
Cons
  • Can be loud under high performance
Click to read the full Review
Why do we say it looks like a premium laptop? It has an all-metal (aluminum), thin body, and an edge-to-edge screen with very small bezels. The keyboard is Lenovo’s standard keyboard for this class of laptops which we’ve had the pleasure of using on more than one occasion. Its back-lit, with short-travel keys which are very responsive. If you’re photographer who runs a blog, you’ll be delighted to use this keyboard.

Though it does look premium, not everything feels that way. After all, this laptop is considerably cheaper than any flagship laptop from Lenovo (or other companies). Namely, it’s a bit thicker and heavier compared to the premiums – measuring 320 x 223 x 15.9mm and weighing 1.55kg.
All of the connectivity necessities are completely covered here – 2x USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, Thunderbolt and an SD Card reader. As a bonus, there is also a fingerprint reader below the keyboard.

The 14-inch Full HD LCD IPS is not quite on par with the best-in-class laptops, but it is nonetheless very good, especially for photographers. Obviously, you don’t get Ultra HD resolution here, which in this context is excellent news. See, they have to cut some corners somewhere, and we’d rather have them cut the resolution down to 1080p (which provides perfectly decent pixel density for a 14-inch screen) than color performance or viewing angles. The screen on the IdeaPad 720S covers 88% of sRGB color gamut which is very impressive for this price range and has excellent viewing angles. We only regret the screen having a glossy finish which might prove troublesome when using the laptop direct sunlight.
We’ve mentioned the 720S comes with 7th-gen Intel processors. Specifically, you get to choose between an i5-7200U and an i7-7500U. The i7 in this case bumps the price tag considerably while the performance change is not that significant. We consider the i5 version to provide better value for the money.

The model we’ve reviewing comes with a dedicated graphics card too – an nVidia GT 940MX. This is not exactly a high-performance gaming card, but it is several times more powerful compared to the integrated GPUs. In case you’d like to do occasional casual gaming, this is a good thing. Otherwise, the dedicated GPU only adds an unnecessary price bump. Luckily, there are models of this laptop with integrated graphics, so keep that in mind as an option as well.

More important than the GPU however is the presence of the 256GB PCI SSD in there. While not among the fastest SSDs in the market, it is still considerably faster than your average SATA SSD we usually see in budget and mid-range notebooks. The SSD (Solid State Drive) will make your computer generally much snappier, both during boot and general use, and especially when opening and writing files.

So far our review shows no serious flaws with this laptop, and to add icing to the cake, we’re happy to say the battery life does not disappoint either. The 7200U/7500U Intel CPU’s are great power conservers, and it shows. During casual usage, surfing the web and watching video, at medium-high brightness, we’ve been able to pull up to 7-8 hours of consistent use. Furthermore, when tried our standard video-loop test at the same brightness level, the Lenovo 720S ran for 9 and a half hours before shutting down. This is truly impressive battery performance for a laptop in this class. Of course, this is again great news for photographers who work on-the-go. Capturing, editing and publishing photos while traveling won’t be a problem for you.

The Lenovo 720S tries to do everything right – and succeeds. There aren’t any real flaws with this laptop. It provides a solid balance of good build quality, performance and durability. With its features, it sits somewhere between your mid-range consumer laptop and a premium high-end laptop. With a 1080p IPS display with 88% sRGB color gamut and a glossy finish, it’s not quite on par with the best screens on market, but its certainly the best you’re going to get in this price range. The same goes for build, including general build quality, keyboard, touchpad and screen hinge. It’s not as light and sleek as the flagship premium laptops, but it does have an all-metal body which feels really great and is undoubtedly very durable. For a photographer, the 7th generation Intel i5 CPU will do a fine job at Photoshop, Lightroom and similar programs. Its true that you could buy a considerably more powerful laptop when it comes to sheer horsepower, for this money, but we can guarantee you won’t get an aluminum body and a screen with this good color reproduction.
Acer Aspire R 15
Another laptop that proves interesting to photographers is the Acer Aspire R15. This is a 2-in-1 convertible with an attractive price. It has a beautiful 15-inch touch screen with a 360-degree hinge. It features a fantastic design that is usually reserved for premium-priced class of notebooks. The same goes for build quality, as it is really hard to find a convertible (a laptop that is also a tablet) without sacrificing either display or build quality. The R 15 is here to break that trend.
Overall rating:
83
Battery Life::
0
80
100
Design::
0
100
100
Storage::
0
80
100
Graphics::
0
80
100
Performance::
0
80
100
Weight::
0
80
100
Pros
  • Affordable 2-in-1 laptop
  • Premium build
  • Excellent display and keyboard quality
  • 109% sRGB coverage
  • Back-lit keyboard
Cons
  • No SSD in less expensive versions
Click to read the full Review
The body is made in combination of high quality aluminum with a brushed metal finish, diamond-cut edges around the case and inside the touchpad. It breathes class and quality all over the body.

It measures 370x256.5x20.3mm (14.6x10.1x0.8 inches) which is decently compact and slim for a 15-inch laptop, though it can be a bit too much when used as a tablet. The same goes for weight, it’s not too heavy at 2.15kg (4.74 pounds) but it can get uncomfortable to hold in hands for prolonged periods of time.
The hinge is designed to allow the lid to be set in three different positions. There’s the standard laptop mode, tent mode (both screen and keyboard facing outwards) and tablet mode when the screen is flipped by full 360-degrees.

R 15’s display is one of it’s strong points, despite not having one of those Ultra HD displays we see on high-end laptops. It is a 1080p Full HD IPS touch screen that is beautiful to look at thanks to it’s extremely vibrant colors. Color reproduction is good not only in sense that the colors are well saturated, but it actually covers 109% of the sRGB color range. The 15-inch display also has good viewing angles, and is very bright at 310 nits which is well above the average.
We only have good words for the keyboard as well. Keys feel great when typing as they don’t require too much effort to press but still provide nice tactile feedback. The keyboard in the Acer Aspire R 15 is back-lit with blue LED light. This light is not very bright but it still looks nice and can be useful in dark environments.
The Aspire R 15 won’t disappoint with connectivity options either. There are three USB ports, among them one is USB Type-C for high speed connections and two USB 3.0 ports. There’s also a HDMI port, Kensington lock port and SD card slot. Wi-Fi connectivity this time around comes with industry-standard 802.11ac, unlike the older and slower 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi which came with it’s predecessor.

We’ve been doing office work, multimedia consumption, image and video processing and general heavy-load web browsing with this laptop and we’ve found it performs almost flawlessly across the workload spectrum. However, performance will vary depending on which configuration you opt for. All models have the same screen but vary in all other specs. So, we have:

• i5-7200U, 8GB DDR4 RAM, Integrated graphics and 1TB HDD
• i7-7500U, 12GB DDR4 RAM, nVidia GeForce 940MX 2GB, 12GB DDR RAM and 1TB HDD
• i7-7500U, GeForce 940MX, 12GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD
• i5-7200U, 8GB DDR4 RAM, GeForce 940MX and 256GB SSD
• i5-7200U, 8GB DDR4 RAM, GeForce 940MX and 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD

For photographers and photo-editing, we would recommend either of the latter two models. Simply because the i5-7200U and 8GB is a powerful enough combination to handle programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom with some power to spare. Just weigh on whether or not you need a lot of disk space, i.e. would 256GB SSD be enough or maybe you’d like to combine the 128GB SSD with the 1TB HDD.

We see Acer Aspire R 15 as a well-rounded 2-in-1 laptop with great value. You’ll get a beautiful premium-build body with an excellent 15-inch 1080p display, full range of connectivity options including HDMI, USB Type-C and SD card reader, as well as solid performance. You can certainly get a more powerful laptop in this price range, when it comes to pure specifications, but this build and display quality is truly a rarity in this class of laptops, especially when you add in the touch screen/tablet mode.
Chuwi LapBook 12.3
Chuwi LapBook is 12.3-inch entry-level laptop with an extremely affordable price tag. It features a premium quality screen, the same panel used by Microsoft in their Surface Pro 4. The build quality is of the same class, featuring an all-metal case.
Overall rating:
78
Battery life::
0
80
100
Design::
0
100
100
Storage::
0
60
100
Graphics::
0
70
100
Performance::
0
60
100
Weight::
0
100
100
Pros
  • Excellent 2K display
  • Lightweight high quality build
  • Budget-friendly
  • Good connectivity options
Cons
  • Not a fast CPU
  • Average graphics
Click to read the full Review
We consider display quality as one of the most important factors when reviewing laptops for photography. After all, you’ll be looking at it a lot, reviewing and analyzing your work, so the screen should be crisp and colorful to match your beautiful photographs. Normally, it is extremely hard to find a good display in budget laptops, as the screen is usually among the first components that gets sacrificed by laptop manufacturers in order to cut production costs. The second victim of a budget price tag is usually build quality. If you drop below the $500 mark you’ll mostly find unimpressive plastic laptops. However, as you might have guessed, Chuwi is here to turn it all upside-down with their new LapBook.

It measures 300 mm x 223 mm x 16.7 mm and weighs just 1kg. As you can see, this is a very portable ultrabook. You’ll be able to slip it in any kind of backpack or if you acquire some kind of a protective case, you can carry it around in your hand just like a traditional notebook. The aluminum body ensures high durability, although the hinge is made of plastic and is not quite as sturdy as the rest of the case. The bottom plate hosts a maintenance door which has an empty M.2 SSD slot, so you can expand the integrated ROM storage with a fast SSD.
The display is a 12.3” IPS LCD with a 2736x1824 (2K) pixel resolution, 98% sRGB color coverage and a 3:2 aspect ratio. In other words, an incredibly sharp (267ppi), colorful and color-accurate display that although not very bright, it does have matte finish which helps with outdoor use.

• Intel Celetor N3450 Quad-Core 1.1Ghz (2.3Ghz)
• 12.3” 2K IPS display
• 6GB DDR3 RAM
• 64GB ROM storage
• Intel HD Graphics 500
• M.2 SSD interface

The keyboard is not as premium as the screen, though we’ve found it perfectly decent and very comfortable to type on.
For connectivity, Chuwi was able to fit 2 USB ports, one is USB 3.0 and the other is USB 2.0 type port. Additionally, you’ll find a microSD card slot, a mini-HDMI slot and 3.5mm audio jack. Evidently, there isn’t much connectivity options here, and we especially miss a full SD card reader, but the basics are certainly covered.

The Chuwi LapBook comes with an Intel Celeron Quad-Core CPU from the Apollo lake Intel processor family. The model in question is a Celeron N3450 which has a very low base clock speed of 1.1Ghz but it can reach 2.13Ghz in Turbo mode. This is not a particularly powerful CPU and is designed for passive-cooling systems and low power consumption. It will however do fine for everyday tasks such as office work, web browsing, video reproduction (even 4K Youtube video runs smoothly). More importantly, it can run Photoshop so you’ll be able to do photo editing. It won’t be fast, but it is okay. If you choose to upgrade the LapBook with an optional SSD, performance will be much better.

Utilizing that M.2 slot and upgrading with an SSD would be a wise choice not only to boost performance, but to expand storage as well. The LapBook comes with only 64GB or integrated ROM. This is enough to get you started but without an additional storage, be it an SSD or external storage, you’ll run out of space pretty soon if you intend to safekeep your photos on this laptop.

Speaking of memory, the Chuwi LapBook comes with 6GB od DDR3 RAM, which should be enough for most tasks.
If you’re on a tight budget but still need a high quality display, the Chuwi LapBook 12.3 could be a perfect choice for you. It has a slim metal case and a very sharp, color-accuraty 2K display that you won’t find anywhere else in this price tag. Performance is not great, but it is what you would expect from a laptop this cheap. If you have a relatively light workload, the LapBook will do fine. It doesn’t come with a lot of storage but the available M.2 interface allows for an optional high-speed SSD that will both expand storage and increase performance.
Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
We just love when a company designs a laptop that, in a way, does more for the same money. Or, at least gives a feeling of extra worth. You could say companies do this all the time and it’s called marketing. And yes, we see manufacturers flashing all kinds of special features or high-end specs with a low-price tag all the time. More of than not, there’s a trade-off in some form. But occasionally, you’ll find a laptop that really does deliver more. Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is one such laptop, at least in our opinion.
Overall rating:
78
Battery Life::
0
80
100
Design::
0
90
100
Storage::
0
70
100
Graphics::
0
80
100
Performance::
0
90
100
Weight::
0
60
100
Pros
  • Excellent performance for the price
  • Very good overall value
  • 1080p HDR screen
  • 2-in-1
Cons
  • Weight
Click to read the full Review
We could say, Samsung’s Spin on the Notebook 7 is that they try to deliver the same feel and style of laptops which are way more expensive, at a very reasonable price.
So, what exactly is the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin? It is a powerful 2-in-1 notebook with a 15.6-inch (there’s also a 13-inch version), 1080p, HDR display and a body made of metal (mostly).
Both the lid and the chassis around the keyboard is brushed aluminum, that feels cool and premium both to look and feel. The bottom plate, however, is made of plastic. This is one example of how they keep the price down, and still deliver (somewhat of) a premium design, and we love it.

Part of the reason we like this design is because it has a full-layout keyboard, with a numpad, parallel with the width of the display. Keys are plastic with a comfortable, soft touch. Beneath lies a large, glass touchpad which is nicely responsive both to single and multi-touch gestures.

The Notebook 7 Spin has a 1080p LED display, with a glossy, but not too-reflective finish. Overall, the display is extremely sharp and vibrant with good color accuracy. It also has an optional HDR mode, though we’ve found it doesn’t as much difference as you would expect.

Being a 2-in-1 convertible, the display is also touch-sensitive and rotatable up to 360-degrees. Once you fold it, you can use it in standard tablet form, although between a 15-inch screen and 2.26kg (5 pounds) it will likely be an uncomfortable endeavor. It can also be used in a tent mode for watching videos, which is more practical in this case.
Connectivity-wise, the Spin will not leave you wanting, with two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port and one USB Type-C port, that’s four USB ports in total. There are also HDMI and Ethernet ports, as well as an SD card slot. As for wireless, you’ll get Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.

The most affordable 15.6-inch version of this laptop comes with the following specifications:

• Core i7-6500U
• 12GB DDR3L RAM
• 1TB 5600RPM HDD
• nVidia GeForce 940MX GPU

More powerful version will land you an SSD and more RAM, but that will of course add to the price. If you would be satisfied with a 13.3-inch screen, a 6th get i5 CPU and don’t need the dedicated graphics for gaming, you can get the otherwise same laptop for less money.

If you are looking for style and performance in a 2-in-1 laptop below the $800 mark, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin wins this contest hands-down. It has a minimalist design with chassis partly built with premium materials. It is blazingly fast for work such as photo editing and graphics design, and will even do good for some light gaming. It’s not all perfect though, as the version with SSD is way above the basic model price tag, and you could get considerably stronger battery life from similarly priced laptops.
HP Notebook 15-ay011nr
The HP’s Notebook 15-ay011nr is 15.6-inch Full HD laptop that is situated at the lower end of the mid-range class of notebooks. It is a very affordable, well-rounded laptop that will allow you to do a lot for very little money.
The Notebook 15 series comes in many different variants. They all share similar screen and design, but vary a lot in specifications. We’ve choses this particular version (Notebook 15-ay011nr) because we think it features a well-balanced set of components.
Overall rating:
73
Battery Life::
0
80
100
Design::
0
70
100
Storage::
0
70
100
Graphics::
0
70
100
Performance::
0
80
100
Weight::
0
70
100
Pros
  • Well-rounded laptop
  • Good price
  • 1080p display
  • Full connectivity options
  • Solid performance
Cons
  • Weight and thickness
Click to read the full Review
Specifications:

• Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3-2.8Ghz
• 8GB DDR3 1600Mhz RAM
• 1TB 5400RPM HDD
• 15.6” 1080p backlit LED display
• Windows 10
• Optical Drive (CD/DVD-RW)

Although it has an average quality plastic build, as expected in this price range, we have to say at least it looks nice. This in part in thanks to the brushed metal-like finish of the lid and the top deck. It measures 254mm x 383mm x 22mm (10” x 15.1” x 0.9”) and weighs 2.14kg (4.73 pounds). As you can see, it’s a little chubby for modern standards, but nothing you can’t fit and carry in laptop backpack.

The Notebook 15-ay011nr has a solid quality 15.6-inch Full HD display, about as good as you could expect in this class. With 63% of sRGB gamut range the colors won’t be particularly strong or accurate, but we’ve seen many pricier laptops that have even lower percentage of color coverage. An average user is unlikely to even notice this, as the screen looks sharp at 1080p and has solid viewing angles. It could only be an issue if you’re color-grading photos for print, in which case you’ll be in for some trial and error until you hit the right color balance.
The keyboard quality is better than expected, with a nice tactile feedback and short travel time in keys. It’s useful that it also has a full Numeric pad. You can even get an optional back-lighting for the keyboard for a little extra money.

On the right side you’ll find a USB 2.0 port, SD card reader and an Optical drive. Moving to the other side there is another USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI and Ethernet ports. There’s also the standard microphone/headphone 3.5mm jack.

Performance in day-to-day use is very solid, as you would expect from the specs on paper. The 6th generation Intel i5 6200U CPU along with 8GB of DDR3 RAM can handle a lot of multitasking. This means you can have multiple tabs open in browser, along with music playing in Youtube and even doing some Photoshop work at the same time. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? Of course, at this point you’ll be hitting the laptops limit so don’t expect instant-speed, but the experience is certainly satisfactory. It only slows down when you’re relying heavily on the Hard Drive, which is pretty slow at 5600RPM. So, expect some waiting time when transferring and reading large files. On the positive side, the HDD does come with 1TB of space, so you won’t have to worry about filling it up anytime soon. Intel HD 520 graphics scores well for an integrated card, but don’t expect anything but don’t expect anything more than casual gaming.
The HP 15-ay011nr has everything you would expect or need from an average, mid-range laptop. While the screen is not spectacular, we’re happy to see a sharp 1080p panel here. You get a full range of connectivity options with three USB 3.0 drives, HDMI and Ethernet ports and even an Optical Drive, if you need one these days. Considering the price tag, we are very happy with the performance.
Lenovo Z70Go to Amazon
Another interesting laptop with a 17.3 screen. It has a sleek metal finish and has almost no plastic parts. The main problem of this laptop is its size, since the weight and screen makes it hard to transport and carry. Compared to the previous model, it has a significant increase in battery life (almost one hour) and double amount of RAM from the previous model.
Watch video review
Overall rating:
87
Battery Life:
0
85
100
Graphics:
0
80
100
Design:
0
90
100
Speed:
0
90
100
Storage Capacity:
0
90
100
Weight:
0
85
100
Pros
  • Price
  • RAM amount
  • Processor Intel Core i7 5th
  • Battery life
Cons
  • Low-end video card
  • Screen Size
Click to read the full Review
Lenovo have gone for a very conservative spec with this laptop. The physical attributes mixed with the internal mix make for a pretty quirky but high functioning laptop. The sheer power might not be up to the mark of the other laptops in the list. If you aren’t hell bent on playing the latest games and focus purely on generic apps and editing software then this should serve you very well. Lenovo we think designed this laptop to give you a taste of what a gaming laptop can potentially be like. Their choices of hardware are quite a mixed bag but serve videographers and photographers quite well.

Physical Characteristics: The 1st thing that was a positive for us was the way the laptop looked. The black finish is quite stunning and with a sharp finish this laptop is probably one of the best looking on the list. Other characteristics like weight were not ideal though. It weighs about 6.6 pounds and the dimensions are 16.5 x 1 x 11.1 inches. It’s quite a thin device which really appealed to us. The laptop does tend to get pretty hot occasionally but it’s not something that is a major concern. You can even buy yourself a cooling pad if needed.

Connectivity is quite standard with about 4 USB ports so that you can connect your GoPro, hard disk, phone all at the same time without having to juggle between one another.

Speed: The Lenovo is probably not as quick as the MacBook or the MSI if you are a person for numbers. However if you can ignore the stat sheet you will see that this laptop performs as well as the others. The performance is driven by a medium end Intel core i7 which functions at 2.2 GHZ. A respectable 16 GB of RAM makes it very comfortable for all our software to run simultaneously. Lenovo have gone for the i7 5500U instead of the 6700 seen on most laptops. Essentially this is tailor made for people who are serious about what they are doing and gaming is more of a side hobby rather than a priority.

Graphics & Display: The NVidia card is the older GT840 with a couple of gigs of video ram. This generation of graphics card is still quite good to run games up to early 2016. The frame rates you achieve are very subjective to the gaming engine itself. Games like counterstrike can lag slightly in full graphics mode but other such as FIFA run seamlessly at maximum graphic settings. The screen is a massive 17.3 inches and it will feel like you own a desktop at home with this around. We feel like the massive screen isn’t being utilized to its fullest potential because of the low-end nature of the graphics card. An NVidia 9 series card would have done wonders for this device and not cost Lenovo much in capital either. The 860 GTX is also another viable solution that they could have considered to boost graphic capability. The image quality is quite sharp, which is a very good thing.

Storage: A hybrid drive is adopted in the higher end variant of the Z70 but the SSD you are offered is a meagre 8 GB. This just speeds up some processing elements but does not offer the same benefits you see on a 128GB / 1TB hybrid which has been a common theme so far. Multitasking power is good but may not suit your if you tend to run multiple intensive applications at the same time. The 1TB on the hand is quite good for storing all your images and photos. The read speed is a bit lower on this particular hard drive when compared to others out there. We feel like Lenovo could have definitely opted for a 7200 RPM hard drive instead of a 5400. You will probably notice a difference when you are transferring files from your camera to your drive. It could take slightly longer than other laptops.

Battery Life: The battery life on average is 4 hours. It’s not great but it is slightly higher than the MSI and others we have seen before. 4 hours is quite respectable especially if you do not like to travel with your device at all times. The lithium ion tech is evolving at a rapid pace and we would have very much liked to see a higher battery life. Given the processing power is slightly lower than other units offering a similar length in terms of life.

Price: The major plus is that the price is very good. It’s quite rare to see an i7 unit with a price tag lower than a $1000 but you can make this Lenovo your own for a mere $824. Value for money is essential and this unit sort of defines what a mid-range laptop should be like. It will serve as an ideal replacement for a desktop should you opt in favour of a more portable solution.

The choice of operating systems also helps. You can always choose between the windows 10 and windows 8.1 versions. You can take advantage of Microsoft’s free upgrade solution to scale up if needed. We think the windows 10 option is a more stable solution. Especially with the speed of execution. The annoying start screen is not present in the windows 10 and the functioning and reliability surpass even the very successful windows 7.

Overall, this device is a great choice for a photographer or a videographer who also has a gaming hobby. If you are looking to game constantly and play the latest cutting edge games then this laptop is not the best solution. You have a basic DVD writer drive in case you are into the habit of recording and storing videos and pictures physically instead of the cloud. If you are looking for something really basic and are just starting out on your digital adventure then the lower end it might be an even better solution and you get to save a couple $100 bucks along the way too.
As you could see, any of these laptop computers meet our desired criteria for a future laptop that has a useful life greater than about three years. In principle, the investment may seem expensive, but if we look at it as a tool for performing efficient work, the value is significantly amortized such premise.

Well then, what are the key points that define this list? What do we have to look at when searching for the best laptops for photographers?

Must-Have Accessories For Your Photo Editing Laptop

If you want to take your editing capabilities even further with software tools and laptop models presented here, do not miss the chance to add these accessories to your arsenal!

Western Digital My Cloud NAS StorageGo to Amazon
Because storage is everything, especially if we happen to have a large amount of data, this is a way to safeguard your work and share it among multiple PCs at the same time!
Overall rating:
84
Setup:
0
80
100
Features:
0
90
100
Technical Support:
0
70
100
Overall Performance:
0
95
100
Pros
  • Remote File Access
  • Fast Speed Transfer Rate
  • Simple Setup
Cons
  • Requires Internet Access in order to work
Click to read the full Review
NAS disks, like the one shown here, are external storage systems that emulate your system "On the Cloud" of many servers online, with the quick convenience of knowing that you don't need to pay for hosting on a server, and that your data is secure because only those who are authorized can access it.

With capacities of up to 16 TB (on dual drive storage mode), this incredibly powerful disk will only require access to the internet via WiFi connection, which can be easily adjusted to the router in your home or office. With an intuitive and easy-to-configure user interface, you no longer have to worry about not having enough storage for retaining copies of your work - Western Digital makes it quick and effective.
Wacom Intuos ProGo to Amazon
The difference between an amateur editing process and professional work may be determined by fantastic accessories like this one.
Overall rating:
91
Customizability:
0
95
100
Ergonomic:
0
85
100
Pressure Control:
0
90
100
Accessories Available:
0
95
100
Pros
  • Ergonomic solution for long editing sessions
  • Includes wireless accessory kit
  • Several nibs to test and try like real brushes
  • 8 buttons to store most frequently used commands
  • Three Sizes
Cons
  • Pricey
Click to read the full Review
As a Wacom user, let me assure you that while the investment is large, it is worthwhile. Rather than tiring our hands with so many hours of using a mouse, performing sometimes simple enhancements of details, Wacom offers a convenient solution which works similar to drawing on a piece of paper.

The tablet format emulates a full-monitor display, which, unless you decide to invest a good amount and buy a Wacom Cintiq (which shows what happens on the monitor in real time), you will have to get used to drawing on the surface while you look the monitor to see what happens.

Software like Lightroom 5 are not able to take maximum advantage of this hardware, since they are not compatible with pressure controls, but with Lightroom 6/CC, such problems were corrected.

With 8 buttons, you can quickly store shortcuts of what you use most often, by software commands. And as if that weren't enough, try different types of stylus' or nibs - the Airbrush stylus deserves its own post to explain all the benefits of working with it, but that's for another time perhaps.

Add a Wacom tablet to your workflow and reduce your editing times in Lightroom and Photoshop by more than half!
Logitech Anywhere MX MouseGo to Amazon
Using a quality mouse is something essential in any design task. What defines the quality of a mouse goes from the materials that was built, its precision (defined in DPI - Dots per Inch), and ease of handling or ergonomics, which is the comfort that we feel in our hand when working with the mouse.
Overall rating:
89
Ergonomics:
0
100
100
Battery Life:
0
80
100
Impact Resistant:
0
80
100
DPI Precision:
0
95
100
Pros
  • Long battery life
  • Can work under any kind of surface
  • Laser sensibility: Small Sized
Cons
  • Pricey
  • May appear as discontinued on some markets
Click to read the full Review
Different types of mouse can be classified as: scroll, optics, mechanical or laser. In the majority of cases, the laser mouse is the top of the industry in regard to accuracy, but a problem is to find a mouse with laser precision that is able to work on any surface.

Logitech offers us a solution to this problem in a portable format, thought at work with laptops for business people who need to move constantly. Its laser technology allows you to operate up to even on glass surfaces without any problems with its performance.

Although it is a rather expensive mouse, it is a device of high quality and durability, so it's an investment with a future course.
Cooler Master NotePal X3Go to Amazon
With a striking design, Cooler Master introduces this cooling pad, ideal to keep our laptop at desirable operational temperatures.
Overall rating:
83
Ergonomics:
0
80
100
Cooling Performance:
0
95
100
Durability:
0
75
100
Noiseless:
0
80
100
Pros
  • Noiseless fan
  • Exceptional cooling performance
Cons
  • Doesn't allow to change the position angle like many other models
Click to read the full Review
For many who may ignore this information, any laptop that reaches a temperature of 90° C  will turn off automatically. It may seem like a crazy temperature; However, it is very easy to reach such temperatures depending of factors like the operating environment (if there is dust, etc.), the age of the laptop, ability of the ventilation system, seasonal temperatures (during summer it is easier to reach these temperatures) or even the application that you are using at the time.

This laptop cooling pad has a performance aimed at gamer laptops, with high demand for cooling, which makes it ideal for laptops with long periods of photo editing or 3d design.

Processor

The brain of your computer, the processor. And perhaps the piece that tends to suffer the most damage without us even noticing (hello overheating!). To explain this in a few words, processors are classified under two main parameters: number of cores (physical or virtual) and their frequency in GHz.

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Speaking of cores, we refer to them as the first parameter for measuring its calculus-power and capacity to perform tasks simultaneously or “multitasking.” Physical cores are those who actually determine the working capacity of the processor and allow us to quickly classify them regarding a number of cores they have. These classifications are cataloged in:

  • Two Cores
    • Intel Celeron
    • Intel Pentium Dual Core
    • Intel Core2Duo
    • Intel i3 series
    • AMD Athlon II
    • AMD Sempron
    • AMD Phenom II
    • AMD Phenom II X3
    • AMD Phenom II X4
    • AMD A4 series
    • AMD A6 series
  • Two Cores with Four Virtual Cores
    • Intel Core2Quad
    • Intel i5 series
    • AMD Phenom II X4 Black
    • AMD Phenom II X6
    • AMD A8 series
    • AMD A10 series
    • AMD FX 6000-8000 series
  • Four Cores with Eight Virtual Cores
    • Intel i7 series
    • Intel i7 Extreme series
    • AMD FX 9000 series
  • Six Cores
    • Intel i7 series
    • Intel i7 Extreme series
    • Intel Xeon series
  • Eight Cores
    • Intel Xeon series

Note that for most laptops, the top performance you may come across is a system-built with a 4-core Intel i7 Extreme series, as systems built for more performance are meant only for desktop pcs, being Intel Xeon series used for server builds, mostly on clusters for advanced calculus.

As we see, Intel has the distinct advantage in the processor market, and one of the main differences I’ve noticed between both brands (when working with them), is that AMD processors tend to operate under higher temperatures, as well as leading to higher energy consumption. Independently of the absence of processors that can compete with the range Intel i7, AMD produces cheaper processors than Intel; however, most of the updates featured for design software are meant to optimize the performance of codes of instructions for Intel processors.

RAM memory

Since the old times of the SIMM memories have been gone quite a few years; at the present moment, we can say that, as very old, we can find on the market PCs equipped with DDR3 memory, since new trends are forced toward the recently built DDR4.

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The RAM memory is in charge of storing the entire set of instructions given by a user to the operating system. For example, it is very common to say that our PC works slowly if it has a low RAM, as this will limit its ability to perform several tasks simultaneously. If a PC has no free RAM available, a crash with memory dump might happen (also known as BSOD, which can also occur by energy problems or hardware conflicts). In minor cases, low RAM can cause the programs that consume more working memory to close unexpectedly. Another scenario that can occur when the system has no RAM available, is system freeze that will require a manual restart. RAM memories are sorted by frequency (in GHz) and by latency.

As a starting point, any current PC dedicated to designing applications must have a minimum of 8 GB of RAM for optimal performance.

Graphics Card

Another of the important aspects to consider are video cards. In general, when speaking of them, we tend to think that they are responsible for making everything work when in reality its function is to allow the visualization of detailed graphics or facilitate movement in the work interface (under the mode of viewports). As previously mentioned, in specific programs like Adobe Premiere it is a must to have video cards; However Photoshop or Lightroom does not demand it except for advanced tasks, although the performance of these two programs is clearly benefited by adding a video card to the team.

This also showcases the war Intel vs. AMD, where Intel also takes the lead as CUDA-powered video card processors enable an optimized use of system resources.

Regarding this, we can say the better the quality of the card into processing graphics (higher clock frequency, memory bandwidth and a number of cores), the better their performance will be. In the case of Nvidia cards, we have two clear ranges: conventional users and enthusiasts.

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Old line GT cards are practically obsolete for high-demanding task or processing multiple images at the same time; and in the line of the GTX, from series “X60” onwards are considered video cards for enthusiasts (or gamers), with the highest rate of benefits but higher price, while previous models are used for conventional users.

Example: a GTX 950 is a card for a conventional user, while a GTX 980 a card is high end.

The difference lies in the software architecture of both cards, being the series exceeding 60 designed for PCs with high demand for labor.

There are also cards designed for Workstations, labeled as Nvidia Quadro or ATI FirePro respectively. Although they are designed for professional work, we can certainly see a great benefit in CAD applications or Computer Graphics visualization; There is a discernible difference in the case of photo editing. So, going to a comparative cost-benefit, it is better to acquire a video gamer card since Workstation video cards have a base price stipulated in $200 when its performance is the same as a card for $60 if we don’t use those applications mentioned above.

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Considering all these factors, you can now have an easier understanding on what to look for when deciding to get your next laptop. By favoring some factors over others (for example the amount of RAM, as most laptops offer us the possibility of expanding it later on or the quality of the graphics card), we can save some money while getting a powerful system build. The same rules apply for desktop system, although when it comes to a static computer, you also need to consider the power consumption (for getting the proper power supply unit), to project its future life span (then again, PSU capacity), and also its cooling system (if you can, please do yourself a favor and get a liquid cooling system).

We hope that this guide has been to your liking, and see you next time!

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Rating: 3.76 based on 17 Ratings

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Anes Mulalic
I'm a copywriter, web designer and a passionate photographer. I can write research papers, blog articles, product reviews, buying guides and tutorials. I make them SEO-friendly, but also engaging and interesting.

I try to make the best of both worlds; I enjoy urban lifestyle, always meeting new people and networking, pursuing new knowledge and developing skills with ambition and dedication to building a successful, long-lasting freelancing career. At the same time I travel a lot, enjoying nature and practicing meditation.

Comments (1)

  1. ernaldo Guest
     

    The Dell XPS 15 will blow any of the above mentioned away….

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