Choosing the best laptop monitor for photo editing is one of the most important decisions to make as a photographer. While some TVs can function as computer monitors, any graphic artists, and photographers worth their salt knows that you really should not use a TV as a monitor for that kind of work. The quality and specifications needed in a monitor for photography work are simply unavailable in TV monitors, no matter how sophisticated.
Shopping for a photo editing laptop allows you to choose the best high-resolution screen, the fastest processor, and the largest solid-state drive possible. These can be highly useful in remote working or even onsite work at an event. Add to that plenty of RAM and artist-friendly ports, and you are golden. So what are the best photo-editing laptops?
7 of The Best Laptop Monitor for Photo Editing
1. Best Overall: 2021 Apple MacBook Pro
- Screen: 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
- Graphics: Up to 32-Core Apple M1 Max GPU
- CPU: Up to 10-Core Apple M1 Max
- RAM: Up to 64 GB
- Storage: Up to 8TB SSD
If spending money is no object for you, then you should, by all means, get the absolute best laptop for photo editing in the market right now: The 2021 Apple MacBook Pro. This impressive laptop has an ultra-bright Liquid Retina XDR display reaching 1,600-nit brightness at its peak, which literally brings your HDR content to life.
This monitor can also display a high DCI-P3 color space coverage for precision video editing. All these with a 16-inch screen make long editing sessions more comfortable compared to a smaller screen. This display and screen size combination alone makes it the perfect photo editing laptop, but that’s not all.
Courtesy of Apple’s latest M1 Max chip, RAM space is expanded up to 64 GB, making your editing work faster and more fluid, and the 32-Core GPU has your graphics-intensive apps running four times faster. Combined with a large 100-watt-hour battery, the supreme efficiency of the M1 Max chip hardware keeps this powerful laptop running for 21 hours of battery life. This is truly the most technically advanced photo editing laptop and well worth the price tag.
2. Best Budget: 2021 Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2
- Screen: 15.6” FHD IPS LCD
- Graphics: Integrated Intel Iris Xe
- CPU: Up to 11th Gen Intel Core i7
- RAM: 8 GB
- Storage: 512 GB SSD
If you don’t have a bunch of money to spend, but you want one of the best monitors for photo editing, then you should get the 2021 Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2. Its screen specs are impressive considering the price point. With its full HD 1920×1080 display IPS monitor, you will have quality viewing angles and reliable color and contrast for great photo editing results.
The Iris Xe graphics combined with the CPU allow for faster photo and video editing compared to competitive products. The ThinkBook comes with various physical connection ports including, Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, two USB-A ports, headphone/mic port, LAN, and HDMI ports.
It even has a full-size card reader. This subtle corporate-looking machine weighs about 1.7kg and is suitable for photo editing at home and work. It has a 60Wh battery for up to 8 hours battery life, but you can opt for the 45Wh battery for 6 hours.
3. Best Runner up:Dell XPS 15
- Screen: 15.6” 4K Ultra HD Touchscreen
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
- CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7
- RAM: 16 to 64 GB DDR4
- Storage: 1 TB SSD
Dell XPS 15 is by far the absolute best non-Apple laptop for photo editing. For those who either don’t want a Mac or aren’t proficient with MacOS, you will get either the Windows 10 (or new Windows 11) with the XPS 15. It has the best monitor for photography editing with Dell’s best 4K+ 16:10 anti-reflective touchscreen with a brightness of 500-nit.
An excellent display that would tempt even the most loyal Mac users. The XPS 15 is a powerful machine with a high-performance 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor coupled with up to 64 GB of RAM, making editing high-resolution videos and images a breeze. Further, Dell has installed some of the most powerful mobile components in the XPS 15 including, a Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650, 2X2, and a 5.0 Bluetooth.
It also has plenty of artist-friendly ports including, Thunderbolt 4, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, a full-size SD slot, and adapters for USB-A and HDMI. FYI, with a little extra cash, you can get updates for even better performance.
4. Best Under Budget 4K Laptop Monitor: ASUS ZenBook 15
- Screen: 15.6” 4K Ultra HD
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU
- CPU: 4.9 GHz core i7
- RAM: 16 GB SDRAM
- Storage: 512 GB SSD
For a 4K laptop that is quite affordable, the ASUS ZenBook 15 is your best option. The 15.6″ NanoEdge screen with an ultra-HD 3840 x 2160 overall resolution is its best-selling feature. This wonderful 4K widescreen boasts a nearly 92% screen to chassis ratio. The NVIDIA Ge-Force GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU handles graphics processes and editing effectively and features a relatively slower clock speed to keep heat generation to a minimum.
The ZenBook 15 has an ergonomic keyboard with the ErgoLift design for optimal typing while preventing repetitive strain injuries and amplifying cooling via seamless heat dissipation. It also has an innovative 5.65″ interactive touchscreen trackpad that can be used as a navigator or even a secondary display.
This lightweight notebook also features a variety of ports such as USB Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 2, HDMI, SD card reader, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.0 for greater connectivity. It uses the Windows 10 OS and works with Alexa to help with tasks.
5. Best 2-in-1 Laptop Monitor: HP Spectre x360
- Screen: 15.6” 4K Ultra HD IPS Touch
- Graphics: 4 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU
- CPU: 2.6 GHz Intel core i7-9750H
- RAM: 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Storage: 1 TB SSD
The HP Spectre x360 is so named because the touchscreen can make a 360-degree flip to turn the laptop into a tablet, which is excellent when you are on the go. The Windows 10 Pro OS can detect the screen’s position and adapt to a touch-friendly interface. Due to the new AMOLED screen, the 4K (3840 x 2160) UHD screen now features a DCI-P3 color space coverage and 400-nit peak brightness.
It also has Corning Gorilla Glass anti-scratch coating to protect the screen, particularly as a tablet. The Spectre’s Intel Core i7 CPU is fortified with six cores and has turbo boost clock speeds reaching 4.5 GHz for great photo editing performance. This multitasking machine comes with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, complemented by 1 TB, superfast SSD of extra storage.
For enhanced connectivity, it features two Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C ports, one HDMI 2.0b port,and one SuperSpeed USB Type-A. It also has one Micro SD port and one headphone/microphone combo port so you can listen to your videos or music as you work. With 15-hour average battery life, this is a great option for busy professional photo editors on the go.
6. Best Laptop Monitor for Work and Play: Razer Blade 15
- Screen: 15.6” 4K FHD IPS Touch
- Graphics: 6 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
- CPU: 2.6 GHz Intel core i7-10750H
- RAM: 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Storage: 512GB SSD
For the gamer cum professional photo editor, the Razer Blade 15 is absolutely the best laptop. Most gaming laptops can function as photo editing laptops, but the Razer Blade takes it up a notch or two. Its 15.6″ 120Hz full HD 4K display makes images on the screen come to life, and its OLED panel gives stunning contrast and vibrancy for excellent photo and video editing.
The touchscreen monitor is the best for gaming and editing with its impressive 300 Hz refresh rate. Its 6 core 10th generation Intel Core i7 CPU reaches up to 5 GHz speeds, providing the perfect balance of power and efficiency. Its 6GB graphics card can handle most graphics-intensive processes, AI-enhanced retouching, and other GPU accelerated processes.
The 16GB RAM features a dual-channel module that runs at 2933MHz, allowing fast and excellent multitasking. Connectivity features include a webcam, Wireless-AC port, Bluetooth 5.0 port, two USB Type-A, and two USB Type-C ports. These are housed in a thin and compact aluminum frame for great portability.
7. Best Lightweight Laptop Monitor: LG Gram 14Z90P
- Screen: 14” FHD IPS LCD
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe
- CPU: 2.8 GHz Intel core i7-1165G7
- RAM: 32 GB LPDDR4X SDRAM
- Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD
If your main option is a lightweight, portable laptop, the LG gram 14″ Ultra-Lightweight Laptop is your best photo editing laptop. This 1kg laptop made from magnesium alloy features a 14.0″ IPS LCD screen with Full HD (1920 x 1200) resolution. The resolution is enhanced by a 99% DCI-P3 color space coverage for a clear, crisp display. While the 2.8 GHz 11th Generation Intel Core i7 processor may not be the most powerful, it offers great performance for high-resolution photo and video editing.
Couple that with the excellent energy efficiency that allows for a 25.5-hour battery life per single charge on the 72Wh four-cell lithium-ion battery and you have a winner. The 32GB RAM runs at an impressive 4266MHz, which, when combined with the Intel Iris Xe graphics card, allows for excellent multitasking processes.
This tiny laptop still has room for numerous ports including, a standard HDMI, two USB-C 4.0 Gen 3 ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, two USB-A 3.2 ports, a microSD reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. It has a Bluetooth 5.1 and Intel Wi-Fi 6, 2×2, BT combo for added connectivity. The LG gram may be tiny, but it sure is mighty!
What to Check While buying the Best Laptop Monitor for Photo Editing
Photo editing may be controversial for some, but it is a critical skill that every photographer should master. As such, a laptop is an essential accessory to any photographer as it is where most photo editing is done. Therefore, it is important to look through the features and specifications of the best photo editing laptops in the market before making your final choice. Here are important things to consider when choosing the best photo editing laptop.
1. Sufficient and Speedy Storage
One of the features of the best laptop monitor for photo editing is speedy and sufficient storage. Photo editing requires a machine that can handle popular apps like PicsArt, Adobe Photoshop Camera, Pixlr, etc. That means that your laptop should have the latest processor, adequate RAM, and a large solid-state drive. Solid-state drives are faster than traditional hard drives, making opening your images faster and overall photo editing more efficient.
Any good photo editing laptop needs plenty of artist-friendly ports to allow for quick and efficient transfer of files. So look out for laptops that have SD card readers, USB ports, Thunderbolt ports, HDMI ports, and adapters. Based on the kind of photo editing you will do, look at the ports available and how many are present. The more ports, the merrier!
3. Wide Gamut Monitor
The best monitors for photo editing are always wide gamut monitors. These monitors can display between 98% to 100% of the color space, and they almost always use in-plane switching technology (IPS), which allows a clear image view from multiple and wider viewing angles. That way, you don’t have to be right in front of your screen to view a clear image.
4. Screen Brightness and Size
The nature of photo editing requires one to see every minute detail. This is difficult when you have a dim display, so choosing a laptop with as bright a display as possible is important. A brightness score above 250 nits is good for effective photo and video editing. The display size is also important, especially for long hours of editing. Anything above 14″ is a good option, depending on the screen’s resolution.
Best Laptop Monitor for Photo Editing FAQ
1. Should I get a Mac or PC laptop for my photo editing?
Well, this entirely depends on whether you are a Mac loyalist or not. But seriously, MacBooks are preferred by most photographers (and people in general) because they offer the best quality screen, speed, and overall performance when it comes to photo editing. That being said, MacBooks aren’t cheap, so if you can’t afford one, check out affordable laptop PCs, and you will find some great options. We listed some for you in today’s guide.
2. What are the most important specs for a photo editing laptop?
When buying a photo editing laptop, the most important specifications are RAM, which should be an 8 GB minimum, and a modern Intel Core processor i7. You also need a large SSD drive of no less than 256 GB. Suppose you can get higher than 1TB, the better for more storage on your device. 1080p displays are the minimum for the best photo editing monitors, but it will be well worth the investment if you can get to a 4k screen.
3. What is the value of multi-core processors in photo editing laptops?
Photo editing, by nature, requires a lot of multitasking. You need to process several images at once, applying various filters and effects in the shortest time possible. This is where the multiple cores in your processor are necessary to facilitate all these tasks. Otherwise, you would take eons editing a simple photo.
4. Which is the best display monitor for photography?
OLED screens are a great option for a monitor, especially if they have a 4K resolution. This will give you great color accuracy and the brightness level you need to edit your work effectively. However, get an IPS panel if you want to take it to the next level. You will still get excellent brightness and color accuracy but with the added advantage of visual clarity at different angles.