Best laptop for photo editing on a budget

The best laptop for photo editing on a budget needs to balance price, power and portability. Additionally, it needs to be powerful enough to run complex editing software like Photoshop.

If you prefer working from home or outside the office during your travel, a good lightweight and easily portable laptop is ideal for you. You will need to consider the weight and battery life of your laptop.

These specs together with a bright screen will allow you to creatively edit photos even away from your office.

Adobe Photoshop is a professional software and requires a powerful processor and RAM too run without issues. Additionally, you will also need large storage space to install Adobe and save files too.

For the best experience, we recommend 8 to 16 GB RAM, 512 GB storage space and a powerful Intel Core i5 or i7 processor or similar.

We have carefully researched and created a comprehensive list of the Best laptop for photo editing you can buy on a budget.

To come up with the very best option, we have considered a number of key factors that can make or break a Photo editing laptop.

Some of them include: Processing power, availability of a graphic processing unit, large RAM and storage space, light weight build and battery life for portability.

What is the Best laptop for photo editing on a budget?

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen2: best overall

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen2: best overall
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Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen2 is considered to be one of the best for editing videos. It provides decent specifications including a powerful modern processor and large RAM.

Best laptop for Photoshop 2024

  1. Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen2: best overall
  2. Acer Nitro 5: best budget
  3. Dell XPS 15: Best Windows Laptop for Photoshop
  4. Lenovo 2022 IdeaPad 3i: Best Value for money
  5. Acer Predator Helios: Most Powerful laptop
  6. Acer Aspire 5: Best under 500$
  7. HP Pavilion: Best Cheap Laptop for Photoshop
  8. Lenovo Flex 14.2 Inch: affordable laptop
  9. Apple MacBook Air: Best for Creatives
  10. Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Best Laptop for Freelancers
  11. HP 15.6” Touchscreen Premium Laptop

Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen2: best laptop for Photoshop on a budget

  1. Screen Size: 15.6-inch
  2. Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
  3. Processor: Intel 10-Core i7-1255U
  4. RAM: 16 GB 
  5. GPU: Intel Iris Xe
  6. Storage: 512 GB SSD
  7. Security: Fingerprint
  8. Windows 11 Pro
  9. Battery Life: 6 hours

The Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen2 is our pick for the best budget laptop for Photoshop. It features a slim and sleek build body, with thin bezels meant ot make the large 16 inch screen even seem bigger.

The Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen2 comes in different versions making it easy to get confused. However, the main difference among the 4 version is the RAM and storage space.

8 or 16 GB of RAM is perfect for Photo editing. If you want to do both photo and video editing, consider the 1 TB storage and 40 GB RAM option.

All of them will come with a powerful Intel Core i7 processor which is ideal for many editing tasks. For security, the laptop comes with finger print recognition capability.

The cheapest option will go for slightly below 750$ and will still pack perfect specifications for professional photo editing.

Pros

  • Wide range of options to choose from
  • Powerful processor and large RAM
  • Affordable price range
  • Finger Print support
  • Premium 1 TB storage and 40 GB RAM premium option available

Cons

  • Not touch screen
  • 8 GB RAM option will lag a little

Acer Nitro 5: best budget laptop for photoshop and illustrator

  1. Screen Size: 15.6-inch
  2. Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels FHD
  3. Processor: Intel Core i7
  4. RAM: 8 GB
  5. GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
  6. Windows 11 Home
  7. Storage: 512 GB
  8. Backlit Keyboard

If you are looking for a laptop created with gamers in mind, the Acer Nitro 5 is a great pick. It comes with a similar processor to the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen2, that is the Intel Core i7.

Although this is ideal for Photography and Photo edits, the 8 GB RAM might lag if you play very complex games or try to use it for animation or video editing.

The screen is large and comfortable at 15.6-inches in size, with slim bezels around it that give it a slim and sleek modern look.

Additionally, the high 144 HZ screen refresh rate and ergonomically designed backlit keyboard makes for a comfortable gaming and designing experience.

You will view your work on the 1920 x 1080 pixels FHD resolution, which is further enhanced by a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU.

A 16 GB RAM and 1 TB storage option is available but comes with the older Intel Core i5 processor and Windows 10 which is still good. However, if you upgrade to 11, you will have to download the relevant drivers too.

You might not notice the difference but this is slightly better than the Intel Iris Xe, Ire GPU on the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen2.

Pros

  • Power ful processor and GPU
  • Ergonomically designed backlit keyboard
  • Large screen with 1920 x 1080 pixels FHD resolution
  • 16 GB RAM and 1 TB storage option available

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not touch screen
  • 8 GB RAM will lag a little
  • No 4K resolution

Dell XPS 15: Best Windows Laptop for Photoshop

  1. Screen Size: 15.6-inch
  2. Resolution: 3456 x 2160 Pixels
  3. Processor: Intel Core i7-13700H
  4. RAM: 32 GB
  5. GPU: Nvidia RTX 4070
  6. Storage: 1 TB SSD

Dell XPS 15 is one of those laptops that was made with designers in mind. It features a modern and sleek look that gives it a futuristic feel as you work on it.

As a premium level laptop, it features some powerful features that will run Photoshop without unnecessary lags and break downs.

It features a large 16 inch screen size with clean and clear 3456 x 2160 Pixels resolution. This 4k display will allow you to view your work in rich vivid colors, which can influence your output.

Processing power is more than you will need for Photoshop with a powerful Intel Core i7-13700H processor, 32 GB RAM and Nvidia RTX 4070 Graphic Processing Unit or GPU.

The Dell XPS 15 is unfortunatly a premium tablet and will not come cheap. However, you will be blown away by the powerful features that will make it possible to use it for diverse professional tasks such as animation.

Pros

  • Slick design
  • Powerful processor and RAM
  • Large storage space
  • Large OLED display with 4k Resolution

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not the best keyboard
  • More Power than you need

Lenovo 2022 IdeaPad 3i – Best affordable laptop for photoshop

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Resolution: 1920×1080 Pixels HD IPS display
  • CPU: Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage Space: 512 GB SSD
  • Battery Life: 7 to 12 hours

Lenovo 2022 IdeaPad 3i takes the spot for the Best Value for money laptop. This laptop packs up great features for a very fair price and yes, it will run Photoshop without problems.  

First of all the laptop has a slim and sleek smooth metallic finish body and is only 14.14 x 9.31 x 0.78 inches in size. This small size combined with 7 to 12 hours of battery life depending on usage, makes this laptop easily portable if you like working outside the office.

  However, it is important to note that this laptop is slightly heavier than an average modern 15-inch laptop. It weighs in at 1.7 kg which does not take away from its portability.  

The lower side features a plastic finish like most standard laptops and a fan action almost in the middle for cooling. You will have 2 speakers from either bottom side of the laptop which is ok by me.

Although a hands-on mouse is preferable over the mouse pad when using Photoshop, we can not forget to complement Lenovo for the large and comfortable area to place your hands provided on the front of the laptop.

One problem however the mouse pad is so far off-center to the left instead of the spot on center. But it is still a nice sensitive trackpad that will not give you lots of problems.

The ergonomic keyboard design is great. First, it is a full keyboard with a NumPad section which is great if you deal with lots of numbers.

Just like previous Lenovo laptops, it is well set up with comfortable space in between keys making for a great user experience.

The screen size is large enough at 15.6 inches larger than the recommended 13 inches, plus Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution making it a perfect pick for Photoshop users.  

The technology used to develop the display also matters when it comes to clarity. You can either have an IPS display or an LCD backlit screen. IPS screens are better and offer a more crisp and clear display.  

Despite the traditional rigid approach on the overall Laptop, the screen is very classy looking with thin bezels around the large screen. This gives the illusion of an even larger screen than it is.  

This laptop comes with a core i5 processor and 8 GB of RAM. This means that multitasking on normal day-to-day tasks will not be a problem.

These features make it possible to perform Photoshop editing tasks and can even perform basic 4K video editing. It will easily run some basic games but will have problems running more CPU-intensive and complex games.      

When it comes to connectivity, Lenovo has maintained port quality as per their earlier laptop devices despite upgrades on other similarly priced laptops.

You have a USB C port but not Thunderbolt 4. You will have 2 USB ports on the right and left plus a Card Reader slot on one side and an HDMI port on the other. An audio Jack is also featured on the side.

Acer Predator Helios: best laptop to run photoshop

  • Screen Size: 17 inches
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels Full HD
  • Processor: Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage Space: 512 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a powerful laptop with a nice strong build. This makes it durable and you can use it for a very long time without easy breakage.

Although the laptop is a little bulky and heavy up to 2 kg in weight, it is still considered a highly portable laptop that you can carry around easily.

It comes with a large 17 inches screen size which is large enough for editing both videos and photos. The screen also features a 1920×1080 Pixels full HD resolution that will display your work in color full and clear display.

For multitasking and fast running, this laptop comes with a large 16 GB RAM and a new Intel core  i5 processor. Additionally, a powerful dedicated  NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphic processor unit adds to the powerful performance of this laptop.

To store your files you will have a large 512 GB storage space to save your files. This will be enough to save your files but if you have a lot of images to save, you can boost it using an external hard drive.

Pros

  • Affordable Price
  • Good Full HD Display
  • Large RAM and Powerful processor
  • Large 512 GB storage space
  • Strong Body and Build

Cons

  • 1 TB storage space could have been better for professional-level use

Acer Aspire 5: Best Laptop For Photoshop under 500$

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Resolution: 1920×1080 Pixels HD
  • Brightness: 267 nits
  • Color Gamut: 57% sRGB
  • CPU: Core i5
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage Space: 128 GB SSD
  • Battery Life: 5 to 7.5 hours

The Acer Aspire 5 is the Best Laptop for Photoshop under 500$. This is a great deal because you can get features found in premium laptops for just a fraction of the price.

This laptop features a 15.6 inch IPS screen display size with a 1920 x 1080 Pixels HD display. Screen Brightness stands at 267 nits which is good for indoors but may be problematic outside.

The display is relatively average with a low 57 % sRGB color Gamut. This is however slightly higher compared to the more expensive  Lenovo 2022 IdeaPad 3i.

For its price range, it is the best option you can get first because of its fast processor. Most laptops in this price range feature a dual-core processor meaning they have 2 processors. They are fast but are a joke compared to the Acer Aspire 5.

This is because, instead of 2 processors, it features quad-core processors meaning it has 4 processors. This makes it fast and reliable even with heavy programs.

Although its 4 GB of RAM may seem lower than most laptops, it makes this up with a top-quality AMD Radeon graphics card. This makes it even possible to easily run some games.

4GB RAM is however still good for Photoshop and illustrators. One card up its sleeve is that this laptop comes with an empty RAM slot on its motherboard making it upgradable to up to 8 GB of RAM.

The Laptop’s body is sturdy and durable with a sleek aluminum finished top and hard plastic bottom. Acer Aspire 5 offers a great user experience with a large space provided on the surface to place your arms when typing.

Additionally, the ergonomic keyboard is very similar to one on a Macbook Pro. The design makes it super comfortable to use with keys well spaced out and backlit. It also has a NumPad if you use numbers a lot.

One downside of this laptop is that the 128 GB hard drive space is low and may not be enough. However, this laptop’s upgradability is one of the things that have got it to this review.

It has an extra slot where you can upgrade to 1 TB volume.

Pros

  • Affordable Price
  • Large Screen with HD resolution
  • Good Processor

Cons

  • Low RAM
  • Low storage space
  • Short Battery Life

HP Pavilion: Best Budget Laptop For Photoshop

  • Hard Disk Size 256 GB
  • CPU Model Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Operating System Windows 10 Home
  • Graphics Coprocessor: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050

Just like gamers, most graphic designers and photographers love high-performance laptops with fast speed and high-quality screens.

HP Pavilion takes the lead in our list because of its speed. With a speed of 2.4 GHz, an Intel Core i5 processor, and a massive 8GB of RAM, this laptop is just a perfect match for your Photoshop projects.

When it comes to storage, this HP Pavilion has SSD storage of 256GB fast enough to run any Photoshop software. However, if you feel the storage is low you can add an external high storage capacity.

Another upside of this laptop is its screen specifications. It has a high-quality 15.6-inch full HD IPS screen that displays your images at their best.

Pros

  • High performance
  • Top-quality display
  • Comes with a dedicated graphics card

Cons

  • Storage is a bit low

Lenovo Flex 14.2 Inch Convertible Laptop

  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Resolution: 1920×1080 Pixels HD IPS display
  • CPU: Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage Space: 512 GB SSD

Lenovo Flex 14.2 inch is an ultra-thin lightweight laptop that is ideal for you if you like moving around a lot. You don’t have to miss your deadlines anymore, work from anywhere with this portable convertible laptop without stress.

One feature that drew us to love this laptop more is the TrueBlock Privacy shutter that prevents stalkers from getting your information by covering the webcam. When it comes to battery life, this laptop has a 10-hour battery life and it takes only 1 hour and 15 minutes for the battery to get fully charged.

Another amazing feature for artists is the AMD Ryzen processing and an active digital pen that allows you to draw and do all you desire as an artist. It has a 14-inch screen and 1920 ×1080 allows you to explore your artistic prowess without straining because the working area is just ideal.

Pros

  • Has a good keyboard deck
  • The webcam has a slider shutter
  • Has a long battery life
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The fun gets too loud sometimes
  • Overheats on the underside after long hours

HP 15.6” Touch Screen Premium Laptop

  1. Screen: 15.6 inches
  2. Resolution: 1366×768 HD Touchscreen
  3. Processor: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1
  4. RAM: 16GB DDR4
  5. Storage: 512GB SSD
  6. Connectivity: USB Type-C, HDMI
  7. OS: Windows 10

If you are looking for a laptop with a big screen then this HP Touchscreen Premium laptop is ideal for you. The laptop has many features that enable you to work and store all your projects without stress.

Powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and a storage of 512 GB SSD, you can now edit your images effortlessly. The only downside is its 1.0 GHz speed. However, you can boost the speed to 3.6 GHz using Turbo Boost technology.

What we love the most about this laptop is that it generates clear and bright images all thanks to the Intel UHD Graphics and the 1366×768 resolutions.

As an artist/graphic designer, you need a big working area and this HP display of 15.6 inches is just the perfect match for your artistic needs. It also has a touchscreen and finger multi-touch support for a better experience.

When it comes to connectivity, this laptop comes with several USB connection ports and you can connect it to multiple cloud services and mobile devices.

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Lightweight
  • Good display for graphics
  • Compatible with multiple devices

Cons

  • Average battery life

How To Choose The Best laptop for Photo editing on a budget?

After going through the review, you probably want to know how you can choose the best laptop for Photoshop. In this section, we highlight the important things you need to consider when choosing your laptop.

Processing Speed

For running Adobe Photoshop you need a fast laptop that can multitask. This will ensure that the laptop can run the program without unnecessary lags.

To find out whether your laptop will be fast enough, you will need to check the RAM, Processor, and whether it comes with a dedicated graphics card.

For the RAM anywhere from 4 GB and above is good for Photoshop. If you are however on a tight budget, you can go for a minimum of 2 GB but it will almost surely not work on the latest versions of Photoshop such as Photoshop CC.

Laptops with Core processors are recommended for Photoshop. However, this is not the only factor to consider. You need to check how fast your processor performs calculations or clock speed.

Although 2 GHZ is the minimum requirement for Photoshop, 3 GHZ and above is better for optimal performance.

The GPU refers to the method or chipsets that help display graphics on the screen. A graphics card adds more power that enables certain tools to function. Some laptops come with inbuilt graphics processors.

 NVIDIA and AMD are trusted brands when it comes to Graphics Cards. However, a basic graphics card will work well and you do not have to go for a complex one especially if on a budget.

Internal Storage

This is the space within the laptop where your files will be saved. Sometimes when using Photos and files in Photoshop, you will have very large file sizes. We recommend 256 GB memory space and above to both install the software and save your files.

As time goes on, however, you might need to upgrade by using an external Hard Drive that you can buy separately.

One more factor to consider is the type of Hard Drive. There are 2 types of Hard Drives you can choose HDD or SSD. SSD is better. We have clearly explained the difference and why in our review of Top Design Computers.

If you missed it, however, here is an infographic that explains the difference.

best budget laptop for photoshop

Display

The kind of display on a Laptop can influence the overall user experience. You do not need to have a 4k kind of display to produce great work in Photoshop. However, it would not hurt if you get one.

For optimal performance anywhere from 1366, x 768  to 1920 x 1080 Pixels display is recommended. However, the minimum resolution we recommend is not lower than 1280 x 800 pixels display.

Another important factor to consider is the screen. A small size screen is difficult or even sometimes impossible to use with Photoshop. We recommend 13 inches and above for a great experience with Photoshop.

Operating System

Mac and Windows systems are the most preferred operating systems. However, Mac devices are a bit expensive compared to Windows and there are so many reasons why you would like to choose Windows over Mac.

FAQ for the Best Budget Laptop For Photoshop

  1. Why is RAM Important When Choosing a Cheap Laptop?

    RAM and processing power will determine how fast your laptop is. Low RAM will limit the ability of the laptop to Multitask or run various programs like Photoshop.

  2. Which is the best OS for Photoshop between MAC and PC?

    For the longest time debate has been going on about which one of the 2 MAC or PC is best for Photoshop and Graphic Design in general.This article does not finally put this discussion to rest. Ultimately the best between the 2 is a matter of personal preference for Graphic Designers and artists. So this is up to you. I prefer a PC over a MAC

  3. How much RAM should a laptop have for photo editing?

    For the best experience, you will need 8 to 16 GB RAM and above. For the processor, an Intel Core i5 or i7 or similar is best. Finally, you will need a dedicated graphic processor unit or GPU at least 3 GB.

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