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Top 6 Best Laptops for Photoshop and Digital Arts in 2021

Adobe Photoshop is one of those programs that can really eat up computer resources. Although there are affordable laptops that can run Photoshop, what you do really with the software really matters. 

Today, I want to share with you several best laptops for Photoshop. if you are into photography. To make this laptop review worth your while, I will only pick laptops that can run Photoshop even if you are doing critical digital art with it.

Best Laptops for Photoshop and Digital Arts

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1. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray


MacBook is the preferred device of any professional photographer. This model has a huge 16-inch screen, which delivers awesome photo quality and resolution. 

What I like about this one is that it runs smoothly. The keyboard is more reliable. While it is not the most powerful laptop, it has better performance than its predecessor.

Here is a summary of the pros: 

  • Big screen with great resolution
  • Better keyboard than the previous model
  • Has excellent speakers

As far as power is concerned, this one uses Intel Core i7. The graphics card is an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M. However, there are other models that use the Radeon Pro 5500M. Just choose which model you want. For the RAM, you have an option in the range of 16GB to 64GB. Storage is between 512GB and 8TB. 

2. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

Dell XPS 15 - 15 Inch FHD+, Intel Core i7 10th Gen, 16GB Memory, 512GB Solid State Drive, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti 4GB GDDR6, Windows 10 Home (Latest Model) - Silver


Dell is not exactly known for its gaming laptops, but it does have models that can rival Apple and other top-of-the-line laptop manufacturers. 

This model gives you an option between Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. The graphics card is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, which is one of the best graphics cards out in the market now. 

As far as RAM is concerned, you have the option between 8GB to 64GB. Of course, you have to pick higher RAM if you are going to use it for digital arts. 

Here are the pros of this model: 

  • Amazing speakers
  • Beautiful graphics display
  • High resolution 
  • Comfortable keyboard

So far, this Dell is probably the best laptop for Windows 10 right now. Gone are the days of lagging and the ever-dreaded blue screen of death. 

At least for this, Dell has proven that it can manufacture laptops that can stand toe-to-toe against Apple as far as quality is concerned. 

3. Microsoft Surface Book 3

New Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 13.5" Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i5 - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD (Latest Model) - Platinum


This laptop is not just a PC, but it also functions as a sketchbook. Powered by Intel Core i5 or i7, the laptop comes with an NVIDIA graphics card—the GeForce 1660 Ti to be specific. 

The screen is small, and this can be a problem for you. But it does have a memory of up to 32GB if you want to get that model.

Here are the pros of the laptop:

  • Has excellent build and screen quality
  • Works great as a sketchbook 
  • Has enough power for digital arts

With this laptop, we can now say that Microsoft is really coming out of the woodworks. Apart from making software, they are proving that they can also manufacture great hardware. It has 10th generation Intel processors that work great with the NVIDIA graphics card. 

4. Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition (2020)

Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition Laptop 2020: Intel Core i7-10875H 8-Core, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000, 15.6” 4K OLED Touch, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, CNC Aluminum, Chroma RGB, Thunderbolt 3, Creator Ready


The Razer Blade is one of the most powerful laptops available to you today. It uses the NVIDIA Quadro graphics card and it offers up to 32GB of RAM. 

Here are the pros: 

  • Very powerful laptop
  • Great for heavy digital art and graphics
  • Can do complex 3D tasks like animation

Look, I am not gonna tell you how much this one costs. All I can say is that it will cost you an arm and a leg. However, this laptop is really going to give you a bang for your buck. 

Why? Because it has the capacity for delivering 4K resolution. It is what I can call a laptop for real professionals that has 100% DCI-P3 colour.

5. HP Spectre x360 15

HP Spectre x360 15t Thin Bezel OLED(Intel i7-10750H 6 Cores with GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, 1TB SSD, Precision, WiFi 6, 3 Years McAfee Security, Windows 10 Pro) Nightfall Black


No one can really say that HP is not a good brand. However, HP is not something that you can rely on for gaming. The good news is that it has models that work great for Photoshop work. 

The HP Spectre x360 15 has a luxurious design that screams “I am a professional!” It is lighter and smaller, but it does have a reasonable screen size of 15.6 inches. 

Here are the pros: 

  • Professional design 
  • Has a 6-core CPU
  • Capable of delivering 4K
  • High-quality speakers

One thing you may like about this is that it has a rotating screen. What this means is that it can be a backup as a tablet. It is a convertible laptop, is what I want to say. 

As far as juice goes, the base model comes with a 2.6 GHz Intel Core CPU. It uses Core i7 with 8GB of RAM. The graphics card is the NVIDIA GeForce 1650 Ti-Max. It has a separate GPU of 4GB and 256GB of storage. 

You can buy a unit that has different specs. You can buy an upgraded version with 1TB of storage and 32GB of RAM, which is called Optane Memory. Just a word of caution, this laptop displays 4K resolution, but it comes at the expense of battery life.

6. LG Gram 17

LG Gram 17Z90P - 17" WQXGA (2560x1600) Ultra-Lightweight Laptop, Intel evo with 11th gen CORE i7 1165G7 CPU , 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD, Alexa Built-in, 19.5 Hours Battery, Thunderbolt 4, Silver - 2021


The last that I want to review today is the LG Gram 17. I can say that it is in a league of its own. It has a jumbo screen, and this works great for those who are doing photoshop work. 

Here are the pros:

  • 17 inches in screen size
  • Sleek design for professionals
  • Has a comfortable keyboard with a number pad
  • High-quality display

So, what is in it for you? 

The battery is really good. For a big laptop like this, one would expect that you have to continuously plug it in, but this is different. In fact, this can run all day even without the charger.  

Let us take a look at the specs. For storage, the laptop offers 1TB. As far as the processor is concerned, it uses Intel Core i7. The processor is quad-core with up to 4.7 GHz. The base model is 2.8GHz.

What I really like is the 16GB of RAM. This is fast enough for digital graphics, without the need to pay extra. 

Now, for the graphics, it uses Intel Iris Xe. This is a bummer, I know. As far as GPU and graphics are concerned, I will always recommend laptops that use NVIDIA. Intel has never been known for a great graphics card. 

This is not to say that the resolution is bad. It only means that you will not see the same level of quality of photos as you would with gaming laptops. 

Not that you need it, but it does sport a 720p webcam. This is not really something that you need if you are doing Photoshop work, but it may come in useful if you have to speak with clients. 

Summary: Best Laptops for Photoshop  

This list is what I have but make no mistake—laptops get upgraded all the time. Make sure that you read other reviews before you buy, as my list may not be up to date. It is crucial for you to understand that even Adobe upgrades its products from time to time, which means the new version will require better hardware, too.

How to Choose the Best Laptop for Photoshop?

If you’re searching for a laptop that meets all your needs, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of options and prices. You should be choosy about what features really matter if you need to use photo-editing programs like Photoshop. Here are a few things to consider:

Display

Large screen size may seem to be the most important factor when deciding which laptop is best for you, but in reality, resolution plays a more significant role. The high-resolution display will allow you to have more room for icons and toolbars because everything on the screen is smaller, thus freeing up valuable workspace.

An important thing about screens is the size. A large screen will make things easier to work with. You will be able to have all your tools right in front of you on your screen instead of going back and forth from different windows and menu bars.

If you enjoy working outside or having a lot of natural light in your workspace from open windows, a matte finish will help reduce the glare and light reflected from the screen. On the other hand, a glossy finish will provide more accurate colors on the screen and is recommended for indoor use. For higher quality, you should use a screen with a high resolution of either 1080p or more.

Processor (CPU)

If you want to use programs like Photoshop without having them crash, then you will need a laptop and a good processor. Processors are important for Photoshop editing. Look for a Core i5 or i7, which is a decent choice. 

RAM

RAM is a crucial component in any computer, as it allows the processor to work properly. If your budget at first does not allow for one with lots of memory, you may want to consider an option that will let you add more later on.

With the ever-increasing size and complexity of projects, it’s important to make sure you have more than enough RAM, especially when working with programs like Photoshop. You’ll want a minimum of 4GB ram for laptops with 8 or 16 being even better. Otherwise, your laptop may struggle when making edits which could potentially lead to frustration.

Storage

In the modern world, we need to work quickly. Hard disk drives are not as fast as SSD drives. If you want to edit photos using programs like Photoshop, then you need an SSD that has enough space. When buying a laptop, look for one with lots of storage space or think about getting a laptop that you can upgrade storage space later down the road. 

Operating System

Windows and Mac are the two most common Operating Systems. Some people think that having a Mac is better than Windows, but the truth is there are some programs only compatible with PC. But the important thing is which OS you prefer. Mac is generally more expensive so you should consider this when you are shopping for a new laptop.

Battery Life

A laptop is a more mobile alternative to a desktop because it has the ability to be unplugged and carried around. If you’re constantly plugged in, this defeats some of the portability purposes for having a laptop.

For the Photoshop user, it’s important to find a laptop with long battery life. Nowadays laptops have fairly good battery lives; you can get up to 10 hours of usage from some models

Even though you might think that laptops with lower-powered, slower components have longer battery life, that is not always true.

GPU

Photoshop is a very versatile program, and you don’t need some of the most expensive hardware to run it. With the price of GPUs rising so fast, it may be tempting to overpay for something that you don’t really need. But as long as your laptop has a decent one, then there’s no reason not to take advantage of all the great features Photoshop offers

FAQ

Is i5 good for Photoshop?

The i5 processor should provide the necessary performance to get your Photoshop work done. If you want a laptop that will give the best performance, choose one with an i7 or i9. If your priorities are getting better battery life and heat management while sacrificing some of the performance of higher-end laptops, then go for an i5.

What processor speed do I need for Photoshop?

The best way to optimize your Photoshop experience is by having a CPU that will power through the majority of its tasks. This means you need one with at least 2 GHz, but if you can afford it and have access to better technology, aim for 3GHz or higher for better results.

How much RAM do I need for Photoshop 2021?

You need a minimum of at least 8GB for running Photoshop, but the Adobe recommended amount is 16 GB or higher.

How much RAM do I need for photo editing?

For photo editing, get at least 16GB RAM if you are using the latest Creative Cloud applications. RAM is important because it helps your CPU do more things at once. When you open Photoshop or Lightroom, each one uses about 1 GB of RAM.

Is integrated graphics good for Photoshop?

Photoshop is a great tool for editing photos, but it can be difficult to use if you don’t have the right hardware. You’ll need at least 16GB of RAM in order to run Photoshop efficiently because integrated graphics will take up system memory and reduce your available resources.

Do you need a graphics card for photo editing?

Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop, the two most popular photo-editing packages on PC or Mac. These programs are CPU intensive rather than GPU hungry so you’re better off having more RAM and faster storage when using these applications if looking for optimal performance.