Regarding editing photos on a professional level, Adobe Lightroom is one of the best applications used daily by professionals.
Finding a handful of the best laptops for Adobe Lightroom is challenging. With hundreds of notebooks out there in the wild, you have to either get an expert opinion or spend hours and hours in front of your current computer to zero in on that one laptop.
But fortunately, you don’t have to do any of it because we have done everything for you.
We have scoured through hundreds of laptops and have come up with a select few laptops that are great for Adobe Lightroom.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at them.
Best Laptops For Adobe Lightroom
Here are our top laptops:
- Dell XPS 15 – Editor’s Choice
- Apple MacBook Pro – Best Mac Choice
- Microsoft Surface Book 2 – Bes 2-in-1 Pick
1. Dell XPS 15 – Editor’s Choice
The Dell XPS 15 is a well-rounded laptop for photo editing. It is a high-end laptop that meets every expectation, even a complex Adobe Lightroom user could have.
One of the best things about this laptop is its display. We all know that the display is very important when using software like Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Creative, and the Dell XPS 15 knocks it out of the park.
We have a 15.6-inch display that comes with an FHD resolution. With skinny bezels, this display is determined to give you the best visual experience you have had with laptops.
This is one of the brightest displays we’ve seen on a laptop. With a maximum brightness of 500 nits, you can use this laptop even under the bright sun. The laptop covers 100% of the RGB color gamut, which is excellent for color accuracy, and you can be sure that this laptop is perfect for photo editing.
Dell has somehow included that WebCam in the top bezel. The previous Dell XPS models used to have a weird placement with spoiled video calls for its users. It’s pretty nice to know that it is not the case this time.
When it comes to video quality, this display is the best you’re going to find on a Windows laptop. It has an impressive contrast ratio, and you can see deep blacks and bright whites with an excellent greyscale performance.
The IPS panel underneath does a very impressive job when it comes to colours. The viewing angles on this laptop are also perfect, making this an excellent display for many things besides photo editing.
In addition to all these, this laptop display also doubles up as a touchscreen. If you are an Adobe Lightroom user, we don’t know how we will use the touchscreen, but it will come in handy for some.
The processor powers this Dell XPS 15 is an Intel Core i7 processor. This is a 9th gen processor from Intel and comes with six physical cores and 12 logical cores. Look no further if you’re looking for a powerful processor to handle your Adobe Lightroom needs.
The processor can clock to a maximum of 4.5 GHz with the help of a Turbo boost. The memory department’s 16 GB of DDR4 RAM works closely with the processor to give you the absolute best photo editing experience.
The Dell XPS has a dedicated graphics card as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. This is an upper mid-range graphics card, and it comes with a dedicated memory of 4 GB that is of the GDDR5 type. This graphics card is excellent for running Adobe Lightroom and improves the experience.
If you’re planning to run Adobe Lightroom, you should be concerned with these things. The laptop brings so much else to the table as well. A brilliant keyboard with backlighting, a secure fingerprint reader, a superfast PCIe solid-state drive, and Bluetooth 5.0 or just a few features to boast about.
The Dell XPS 15 is an excellent laptop with all the bells and whistles you need, making it the best laptop for running Adobe Lightroom regardless of your experience level.
- Extraordinary display
- Fingerprint scanners
- Beastly performance
- Slightly expensive
2. MacBook Pro – Mac Pick
The MacBook Pro is an exceptional laptop in several ways. The model we are talking about is Apple’s flagship laptop, and it brings all the bells and whistles it can, along with a hefty price tag.
The display on the MacBook Pro is just fantastic. This is a 16″ display that comes with a resolution that Apple touts as retina resolution. With more than 4 million pixels crammed into this display, this is one of the most pixel-dense laptop displays you will see.
The laptop comes with bright whites and deep blacks, thanks to the precise photoalignment of liquid crystal molecules. This result is also due to the contrast ratio, which is very impressive on this MacBook Pro.
With a maximum brightness of 500 nits, the MacBook Pro matches the Dell XPS 15 regarding outdoor visibility. The only difference is that we have a glossy display here, while the Dell XPS model has an anti-reflective display.
The display offers full support for the P3 wide color gamut, which results in brilliant, true-to-life images and video. If you are a professional photo editor, you will know what this means and how important this is for Adobe Lightroom.
The true tone technology in this display marks the quality of the pictures. The text on display is super sharp and will create a fantastic reading experience. Unlike the Dell XPS 15, there is no touchscreen here, which we have seen on apple laptops.
The MacBook Pro 16″ is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor with six cores and a maximum clock speed of 4.5 GHz. It gets ample support from the memory department’s 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, and the combo does well in your everyday routine.
The graphics card that we have, a MacBook Pro, is an AMD Radeon Pro M5300 graphics card. This is a high-end graphics card from AMD, and it comes with 6 GB of dedicated video memory that is of GDDR6 type.
With this graphics card in place, we can do some amazing work regarding Adobe Lightroom. It also reduces the stress on the processor and makes things more pleasant.
The touch bar on the MacBook Pro gives you contextual menus depending on the app you are using. With Adobe Lightroom, you get excellent features that make your workflow much more accessible.
We agree that it is difficult when your memory muscle is being tested initially. But as time passes, you should get more comfortable with this without any issues.
Regarding connectivity, the MacBook Pro comes with four high-speed Thunderbolt 3.0 ports. These are very versatile and can be used for data transfer, connecting external monitors, connecting eGPUs, and charging the laptop.
But the problem is that there are no other ports on this laptop. If you do not have USB type C devices with you, you are forced to buy adapters that destroy the look of the laptop and increase the number of things you should carefully carry along with the laptop.
Having Touch ID on this laptop is very convenient. It allows you to log into your user profile with just a touch of a button. Not only that, if you have multiple user profiles, but a simple tap will also log you into the correct user profile that belongs to you.
You can also use touch ID for online shopping with the help of Apple Pay. It will also allow you to encrypt your files and other data on this laptop if you’re serious about privacy and other issues.
MacBooks are known for their battery life, and this one is no different. Even with heavy use, this laptop should easily last for about six hours, which is impressive. With light years, you can drag this laptop for about 10 hours which is very good.
Though the laptop is a bit expensive, it has some amazing features that make it the laptop it is. The processor, display and every other hardware you see on this MacBook Pro make it the best Apple laptop for Adobe Lightroom.
- Excellent display
- Touch ID and Touch Bar
- Excellent battery life
- Only USB type C
3. Surface Book 2 – (2 in 1 Pick)
The Surface Book 2 is the only 15-inch laptop that can be converted into a tablet with convincing features. You can easily detach the keyboard and make this into a pure tablet without folding the entire body.
Like the other two laptops we discussed, the display is again an essential feature of this laptop when we talk about Adobe Lightroom.
We have a 15“ display with a 3240 x 2160 pixels resolution. Microsoft calls this the pixel sense resolution, giving you a pixel density of 260 PPI which is just brilliant for a laptop.
As this display is full of pixels, you will be unable to find any individual pixel from a normal sitting position which is perfect for photo editing. The color output of the display is also ideal, thanks to the contrast ratio of 1500:1. You get deep blacks and bright whites with a decent greyscale performance.
Being a tablet, the laptop comes with a touchscreen display that is very responsive to the touch. When you detach the keyboard completely, you have a tablet on which you can draw and take notes. The display supports external styluses, which can also come in handy for making illustrations.
The graphics card we have here is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with a dedicated video memory of 6 GB. This memory is of the GDDR6 type. With this graphics card in place, you can be assured that the performance of Adobe Lightroom will be top-notch.
The processor that runs this powerhouse is an Intel Core i7 processor. This processor is from the eighth generation of Intel chips, and it comes with a maximum clock speed of 4.2 GHz which should be enough power for most users.
The processor is well complemented by 16 GB of LPDDR3 RAM in the memory slots. Though we’re not a fan of the LPDDR3-type memory, we have a lot of memory in play to make the compromise worth it.
The storage we have here is made up of 512 GB of solid-state drive storage. This storage is high-speed and has super impressive reading and writing speeds. It gives you ample space for all your library of files and also plays an important role in enhancing the performance of this laptop.
Battery life is not that important for a laptop that is primarily used for photo editing. But you cannot ignore the battery life of this Surface Book 2 model. with light use, and this laptop will last for about 15 hours which is just bat shit crazy as this is a high-performance laptop.
This number will go down when you start doing something heavy, but you will still be able to get 6 to 8 hours of battery life which is quite good.
As powerful as this laptop is, it is also very portable. Microsoft has taken design very seriously with this laptop, and as a result, this one weighs just 4.2 lbs, including the keyboard. You can easily fly this laptop and your backpack and move along as if nothing has happened.
The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is an excellent laptop that can double up as a tablet. The hardware on the laptop is the main reason this model is on this list. This one is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a premium convertible laptop experience.
- Excellent display
- Impressive GPU
- Exceptional battery life
- Adding SSD storage is pricey
- No Surface Pen included
What To Look For In The Best Laptop For Adobe Lightroom?
Adobe Lightroom can be simple and complex, depending on the person using it.
If you’re a beginner just starting in the world of photo editing, then you won’t be utilizing the higher features of Lightroom. In this case, you won’t need a powerful machine.
On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned pro used to complex projects, you won’t do well with a simple laptop.
You need a beast that comes with all the bells and whistles.
Whether you’re a beginner or a Lightroom veteran, here are some factors you must consider before you take your credit card out for your next laptop.
This is the most important of all the factors in this list.
Having a good processor is paramount in getting work done with Adobe Lightroom. With a good processor, you can do so much in less time, making your experience pleasant.
But if you’re stuck with a sub-par chip on your laptop, you’ll luck your hair very soon, especially if you plan to work on some complex projects.
So, what processors should you go for?
If you’re a fan of Intel, go for an Intel Core i5 or an i7 processor. Make sure that these processors are at least 7th generation and up. If possible, pick processors that belong to the 9th or 10th generation, as they are the latest ones.
If you plan on working on simple projects, then dual-core processors will do okay. Always go for quad-core processors if you want to work on complex projects with multiple layers. An i7 processor with 4 cores will be a good choice.
You can also go for a processor with 6 cores. The more cores you have on your chip, the better will be your laptop’s processing power.
Also, keep an eye on the base clock speed of your processor. Do not settle for anything less than 1.8GHz. Your processor should also be able to clock more than 4.5GHz with the help of Turbo Boost functionality if you need more power.
Having sufficient memory is necessary for a smooth experience with Adobe Lightroom.
We suggest going with the absolute minimum of 8GB of DDR4-type RAM. This memory is enough to give you a decent experience when it comes to handling multithreaded applications.
We suggest going for only 16 gigs of DDR4-type RAM if you’re a pro. This is the perfect amount of memory and should come in handy in keeping the performance of the laptop optimum.
Ensure the RAM comes with a bandwidth of 2666MHz, as it might be super handy when running Adobe Lightroom.
Please do not go for older memory like DDR3 or LPDDR3 RAM, as they are slower and are a generation old. Going for DDR4 memory future proofs your laptop, but DDR3 is taking a step back.
The display is yet another super important component when it comes to running Adobe Lightroom.
You need to take into account multiple things like size, resolution, and so on. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
Let’s talk about the size first.
You need at least a 15.6″ laptop, period. Ultrabooks are great for portability, but they come with a 13.3″ screen, which is not good for photo editing and Adobe Lightroom.
A 15.6″ strikes the chord in photo editing and is a perfect size. It gives you the real estate you need, which is great for photo editing.
If you can go for a 17.3″ screen, you can also go for that. You can use an external display for ultrabooks with a 13.3″ screen. Whenever you want to edit photos, you can hook your laptop to your external display on work on it instead.
You will need the best resolution you can get for a laptop that you will primarily edit photos on.
Ideally, a laptop with a 4K resolution display is a great choice. This will fill the display with millions of pixels and give you a good pixel density. Our Editor’s Choice, the Dell XPS 15, comes with such a screen and is a pleasure to work with.
You can also settle for QHD displays. The pixel density is low compared to a 4K display, but it is still a lot to give you an excellent viewing experience. The MacBook Pro comes with a similar resolution and produces amazing output.
If you can’t afford these high-end displays, then go for an excellent full-HD display. Most mid-range laptops come with a full HD display. Just be sure to check the quality of the display before you sign the dotted lines.
Another essential thing to note is to get a display with an IPS panel. Nothing else will be good enough for you if you’re serious about photo editing.
An IPS panel will give you good color accuracy and impressive viewing angles. TN and VA panels might sound like a good idea to your wallet, but they’ll not be one for your photo editing projects.
You should be OK with 512GB of storage space on your laptop. This is neither too big nor too small for your photo editing machine.
But it is a bit more complicated than that. The type of storage you have on your laptop is more important than the drive’s capacity.
Always go for a solid-state drive when hunting for storage. The old and slow hard disk drives are mechanical and will make things slow and sluggish.
SSDs are fast as they come with excellent reading and writing speeds. Good quality SSDs even come with reading and writing speeds above 1Gb/s, which is brilliant.
But the catch here is that SSDs are much more expensive than HDDs. So getting huge SSDs will significantly increase the cost of your laptop. If you’re on a tight budget, go for a small SSD, like a 128GB one.
We recommend a 256GB solid-state drive coupled with a 512GB or a 1TB hard disk drive. This combo is called a hybrid drive, giving you both space and the speed you need.
Your laptop must have excellent connectivity options.
If you’re a photographer, your laptop needs an SD card slot to transfer all the photos you’ve taken onto your laptop. The MacBook Pro is notorious for not having this port, but you can manage it with an adapter.
The laptop should also come with a USB Type C port as they are super speedy when transferring data in and out of your laptop. You will also need an HDMI port on your laptop to connect it to a better external display.
A high-speed internet connection is important nowadays, so make sure your laptop comes with 802.11ac or 802.11ax WiFi built-in. You can get very high internet speeds without needing an Ethernet cable.
The presence of Bluetooth is also an essential one. If your laptop has Bluetooth 5.0, you will enjoy the excellent range and can connect more devices simultaneously.
If you’re a beginner working on simple projects for the time being, then you will be fine with an integrated graphics card.
A dedicated graphics card is essential if you are a professional working on huge Adobe Lightroom projects. The ‘Develop’ module uses the GPU and reduces the strain on the CPU in some other areas.
A good graphics card is also needed when dealing with a high-resolution display. You can’t run a 4K display and Adobe Lightroom with a complex project with just a mediocre graphics card.
As a minimum, go with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. If you want better results, you can go with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 or better.
If you’re taking the AMD route, go with an AMD Radeon Pro M5000 graphics card or the latest VEGA series GPU.
This is a matter of personal preference.
Adobe Lightroom is available in both Windows and macOS. If you’re a Linux user, you might want to switch to any other operating system.
This is another important criterion that will decide the laptop you will get.
If you don’t have any budget constraints, you can go with the best Adobe Lightroom laptop.
But if you are on a tight budget, we suggest checking out our budget option.
There is no reason why you can’t edit photos on a budget laptop. There will be some difficulties, but you can do it if you have the patience and determination to make it as a photo editor.
That brings us to the end of this post.
We listed the best laptops for Adobe Lightroom and told you why we like them. We truly hope they were of some help to you.
If you have any doubts or questions, do get in touch with us using the contact page.