The moment you start to look for laptops dedicated to editing photos or videos you will be faced with a long list of expensive models. And while those provide value for those high prices, they are out of reach for most photographers, especially beginners.
But with time, brands are coming out with more and more models dedicated to editing and graphics work at comparatively cheaper prices. These might not sport the sleekest outlooks, but they come packed with top-notch specifications that allow for the finest edits.
Performance ultimately depends on a handful of features like the processor and storage, but most importantly the graphics card being used. These are some of the things to watch out for when comparing models.
Down below you will find a list of models that are all suitable for the job. The best laptop for photo editing on a budget is not that hard to score, you just have to look at the right place.
|HP ENVY 13||4K||8th GenerationIntel Core i7-8565U||NVIDIA GeForceMX250|
|LG Gram Laptop||2560 x 1600||10th GenerationIntel Core i7-1065G7||Iris Plus Graphics|
|Latest_Dell Inspiron||1920 x 1080||10th GenerationIntel Core i5-10210U||10 power control levels|
|ASUS VivoBookPro||4K||8th GenerationIntel Core i7-8565U||10 power control levels|
|Huawei MateBookX Pro SignatureEdition||3K(3000 x 2000)||8th GenerationIntel i7-8550U||10 power control levels|
|ASUS ZenBookPro UX501VW-US71||4K||6th GenerationIntel Core i7-6700HQ||10 power control levels|
|Acer Aspire 5||1920 x 1080||10th GenerationIntel Core i5-10210U||10 power control levels|
|Acer Aspire E 15||1920 x 1080||8th GenerationIntel Core i5-8250U||10 power control levels|
|Microsoft SurfacePro 7||1280 x 800||10th GenerationIntel Core i5||10 power control levels|
|MSI Prestige 15A10SC-011||1920 x 1080||10th GenerationIntel Core i7-10710U||10 power control levels|
The HP ENVY 13 is a slim laptopthat has been designed for people who are always on the move. It comes with a 4K touchscreen that gives you ultimate flexibility since you get to use the screen directly for your edits.
Moreover, this high resolution ensures that colors and details on the photos are as precise as it can get.
The laptop has 92% of sRGB gamut coverage. This tells us that it can reproduce colors very well. Even though it does not meet the 100% mark which would be optimal, it goes very near and still can provide vibrant colors thanks to the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphic cards as well.
Coming to the color deviations, it has a score of 3.49 which is very close to the ideal range of 3 or below. Therefore, colors are pretty accurate and mix in just as well with each other without forming any type of blue cast
Thanks to the IPS panel on the display you get stable viewing angles no matter where you are working from or from what angle.
The LG gram laptop comes with a brilliant and wide 17-inch display with a WQXGA resolution, on an IPS LCD screen. It makes sure that you can touch upon every last detail by being able to view your work in a larger space.
Furthermore, the 16:10 aspect ratio also gives you more space to work on photos at one go without having to scroll.
It also comes with the Iris Plus Graphics which is a good choice when it comes to editing photos because it can provide vibrant, clear, and lifelike displays that enable you to judge and work on your photos in a better way.
The sRGB coverage is over 96% which tells us that color adjustments are done at a highly accurate level. When you see photos on the screen, they will be very close to the colors which were seen through the camera lens when taking the photos.
Performance-wise, you get 1 TB SSD storage that lets you store an immense amount of data, photos, and videos. Photographers naturally require a high storage and being able to get that in an SSD adds to the leverage of having a fast and speedy laptop as well. Now you can use a lot of applications and editors and have them load at high speeds too.
The Dell Inspiron is a fine budget choicefor photographers who have to travel a lot and aim to carry their photo editing laptop with them where ever they go.
This is primarily because you get a 13.3-inch display which makes this a small and compact laptop. But that doesn't prevent it from hosting a wide range of features that cater to photo editing.
You get the HD touchscreen LCD that enables you to work directly on the photos without using a touchpad. It increases the accuracy with which you can work.
Furthermore, the Intel UHD graphics provide detailed and vibrant graphics on screen so you can see what your work looks like before proceeding to edit them.
For the Delta E score, this has 3.8 which tells us that it has a decent good color accuracy. In other words, the colors blend naturally.
The 10th generation processor ensures that the laptop can be used for a long periodin the future before it starts to slow down or show signs of lagging. So even on a budget, this becomes an investment.
The ASUS VivoBook Pro is suited for professionalswho want a large and spacious display to work on in their studios. With the 17.3-inch screen, you get a 4K resolution which provides the finest details one can ask for from a display.
With an 87% sRGB color gamut coverage, the laptop provides you with high color accuracy and precise reproductions for a budget laptop.
You get an 8th Generation processor that has a high speed of 4.6 GHz. Now, not only can you edit with a fine screen, but also with a fine speed without facing any sort of lag or distress.
In terms of storage, you get a 256GB of SSD storage alongside a 1 TB of HDD. Now you get a speedy laptop that helps to increase your loading times, which is much required when working with multiple editing applications and software.
The Huawei MateBook X is another suitable choice for photographers on the run. Sporting a 13.9-inch display, this provides the right kind of size for you which is easy to carry but still provides a decent amount of space for editing.
Besides having a nice size, it also has a 3K touch display. The resolution lets you get into all the details so you can edit out all sorts of imperfections from photos.
It also includes an 8th generation processor alongside a 512GB SSD. These ensure that the laptop has a sufficient amount of storage, and still can work at a fast pace and provide faster loading times.
It wouldn't be a good photo editing laptop if it didn't come with a good GPU. The Nvidia GeForce MX 150 provides you with vibrant and clear graphics to better understand your photos and photography, and how to edit them to perfect them even further.
Looking at the color accuracy, you get 97.2% sRGB color gamut coverage. Comparatively, this is one of the highest percentagesyou can get on an affordable laptop. This makes your photos on your laptop look almost as real as they did when the photos were taken. The more real they look, the easier they will be to edit
While the screen size does not have a lot to do with the laptop's performance, it can affect your work performance. The bigger the screen, the more space you have to work on, and the better you can observe and edit photos.
If you are someone who works on the go and has to keep portability in mind, we suggest going for 15-16-inch laptops. These are not the biggest, but big enough to provide a decent screen space. At the same time, they will not be too hard to carry.
When not considering portability, bigger sizes of 17-18-inch screens are even better. You get to keep all sorts of digital tools on the screen while working which eventually ups your performance.
The Delta-E score tells us about the distance or difference between two colors. Ideally, you want a score of 0 which means you get seamless colors. The higher the number, the higher the difference, and hence lower accuracy.
This gamut coverage is used to see how well the laptop can reproduce every color on the color wheel. It uses a percentage to measure this reproduction.
A higher percent means that color reproductions are better and more accurate. Look for one above 100% for the finest and most seamless colors on screen.
When you're deciding on the best budget laptop for photo editing, the graphics card without a doubt plays a big part in the decision. Look for laptops that include a discrete graphics card instead of an integrated one. These will contain more power to provide you with the desired graphics you seek.
On the lower end, you get Nvidia MX250 or Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics cards. Mid-range GPUs include the Nvidia RTX 2050 or 2060. Higher ends include the Nvidia RTX 2070 or 2080.
Having these discrete graphics cards will let you properly see all the colors and shades in photos and videos, which will allow you to edit them in a better manner.
The processor decides on how the entire laptop performs overall and helps to make it active and performing by adding speed. You should always opt for one of the latest generation processors which will let you work on it for much longer without facing trouble with lags or updates.
Besides that, for photo editing, while on a budget a Core i5 processor will work for beginners. But if you want an advanced level performance you should aim for the Core i7 processor instead.
The resolution and display together affect the way you work and how efficient it is. You want to have a minimum of 1080p HD resolution since it can be found on the most affordable laptops today. For a better screen, there is the 4K resolution that will provide exceptional details on screen.
Always aim for high storage and RAM because it will help the laptop stay speedy and reduce lag. For storage opt for an SSD instead of an HDD because it will give you a higher speed as you work, and lower loading times.
A good memory on the other hand allows multitasking. 8GB is okay for beginners only, but we recommend 16GB so you don't have to upgrade soon after. For professionals, go for a 32GB or higher if it fits the budget.
HP 17 Laptop, 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD Storage, 17.3-inch HD+ - Walmart Link
2021 HP Pavilion 15.6" FHD Touchscreen Laptop Computer, 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1, - Walmart Link
ASUS ZenBook Duo 14 UX482 14" FHD NanoEdge Touch Display, Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, - Walmart Link
2019 HP Stream Laptop 14inch, Intel Celeron N4000, Intel UHD Graphics 600, 4GB SDRAM, - Walmart Link
Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K Slim Laptop | 15.6" Full HD IPS | AMD Ryzen 3 3350U Quad-Core - Walmart Link
2020 HP 14 inch HD Laptop, Intel Celeron N4020 up to 2.8 GHz, 4GB DDR4, 64GB eMMC - Walmart Link
HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 15.6" 4K Ultra HD Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB - Walmart Link
5.Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition - Walmart Link
6.ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-US71 - Walmart Link
8.Acer Aspire E 15 - Walmart Link
9.Microsoft Surface Pro 7 - Walmart Link
10.MSI Prestige 15 A10SC-011 - Walmart Link
HP 17 Laptop, 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD Storage, 17.3-inch HD+ - eBay Link
2021 HP Pavilion 15.6" FHD Touchscreen Laptop Computer, 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1, - eBay Link
ASUS ZenBook Duo 14 UX482 14" FHD NanoEdge Touch Display, Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, - eBay Link
2019 HP Stream Laptop 14inch, Intel Celeron N4000, Intel UHD Graphics 600, 4GB SDRAM, - eBay Link
Acer Aspire 5 A515-46-R14K Slim Laptop | 15.6" Full HD IPS | AMD Ryzen 3 3350U Quad-Core - eBay Link
2020 HP 14 inch HD Laptop, Intel Celeron N4020 up to 2.8 GHz, 4GB DDR4, 64GB eMMC - eBay Link
HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 15.6" 4K Ultra HD Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB - eBay Link
5.Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition - eBay Link
6.ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-US71 - eBay Link
8.Acer Aspire E 15 - eBay Link
9.Microsoft Surface Pro 7 - eBay Link
10.MSI Prestige 15 A10SC-011 - eBay Link
Finding the best laptop for photo editing on a budget comes down to a few factors. You must have a good screen, a high resolution, a great graphics card, and of course a good processor to tie it all together.
All of these functions and more can be found in affordable models, and you do not have to spend an arm and a leg on one device anymore.
For better clarification, check out the comparison chart which clearly shows where the differences lie. This should be able to help you out in choosing one model for your work.
About Dror Wettenstein
Dror Wettenstein is a software engineer and entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the industry. He is the founder of TechTreeRepeat, a company that enables technical writers to publish their work faster and share it with readers across the globe. Dror has a master’s degree in computer science from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Irvine.
When he’s not working on software projects, Dror enjoys writing articles and essays on various topics. He also likes playing guitar and spending time with his wife and two young children.