HP TECH TAKES
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Best HP Laptops for Photo Editing
August 27, 2018
Whether you are a creative professional or enjoy dabbling at home with the photos you take, there’s a growing interest in making your pictures look their best through editing software.
Almost all photographers will use one or two photo editing software products that will use an incredible amount of memory and storage space, so it’s best to pick a computer designed to meet the challenge head-on.
What equipment will you need to transfer, edit, and store those beautiful photo projects for years to come?
Although some laptop computers aren’t equipped to handle the significant strain that the most powerful programs can place on a PC, find out which models are considered the best laptops for photo editing in our curated list.
What creatives want
Before you can assess which laptop is up for the challenge, it’s wise to know what you’ll be demanding. Creative editing software can vary from brand to brand, and not all photographer needs are exactly the same. However, it’s safe to assume that the following minimum requirements of a laptop are standard.
Your laptop will be running photo editing software that performs many tasks at once, so it’s essential to have a processor that can keep up with the job. For creatives who want to edit photos in the most popular software products, there really is no substitute for the 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor.
It features hyper-threading technology that maximizes performance during those taxing processes like uploading large files while manipulating multiple photo file layers in your software, all without the lag of a less sophisticated CPU.
Don’t skimp on this very essential part of your computer setup.
Another necessary component of the best laptop for photo editing is a strong graphics card setup. You will be handling large RAW data files, so it’s essential to have the ability to work with these files in a way that won’t bog down your laptop or cause image degradation.
A device with a dedicated graphics card is preferred.
Given that you’ll be working with your photos in a very detailed manner, what the file looks like on your screen matters.
Some photographers choose to get high-tech with larger laptop displays that show every pixel in full, vibrant colors. Others prefer the convenience and portability of a smaller screen. Whatever you choose, make sure that you can balance the screen size with your need to take your laptop on the road.
Photo editors who travel a lot will have to keep laptop screen size in mind along with the potential of a 4K display that complements the future of photography.
Photo files use up a lot of storage space, and the software eats up memory, too. Even if you eventually move your pictures to an external drive or permanent cloud storage, you’ll probably be using 10 to 16MBs for each photo that you are working on.
While it’s more common to see models with a minimum of 500GB hard drives, 1TB laptops are the best for editing photos.
Each of your photography software apps use up memory when they are opened, and if you’re only doing basic edits in a program or two, you can usually get away with a modest amount of RAM like 8GB.
As soon as you start adding up programs, working in multiple files, creating additional layers, and managing more effects, however, you’ll start to feel your computer drag, making RAM speed and capacity higher priorities.
Avoid these common photo editing issues by investing in 16GB laptops, even if you have to upgrade your laptop to do so.
Top 5 Laptops for Photography Editing
Now that you’re familiar with the minimum requirements for a smooth work experience, here is a list of some of the HP models that meet (and exceed) them with ease. Each has its own unique advantages, so pick the one that matches your style.
1. HP ENVY x360 15t Laptop
While not all photo editors think they need a touch screen laptop, the possibilities that come with owning one should be considered. The HP ENVY x360 15t laptop offers a responsive screen that works seamlessly with the HP Pen so you can manipulate photos and add special touches just like drawing on a notebook.
Simplify your most-used tasks with innovative gestures, reduce fatigue when working on long sessions, and transform your editing workflow into one that makes sense for your daily design chores.
Because the HP ENVY x360 is a truly convertible model, you can work at your desk in traditional laptop mode, flip it for a tabletop display, stand it up for video conferences and watching tutorials, or hold it like a sketch pad in tablet mode. It’s ready to meet you wherever you are to help you get your photo editing done in comfort. And the tech specs on this laptop match its style.
The micro-edge design of the 15.6-inch 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) display means you can view your pictures in their full, natural beauty with more than 8 million brilliant pixels to explore.
Boost your productivity with up to 16GB RAM, a state-of-the-art NVIDIA graphics card, and the 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor we spoke of before.
All of this happens with a battery that can keep going strong for up to 7 hours and 15 minutes. This may very well be the best laptop for photography available today.
2. HP ENVY 17t Laptop
If you do not want to get into a touch screen at the moment, there may be no better choice than the HP ENVY 17t laptop. Like other HP ENVY laptops, this powerhouse is also visually striking with the elegant aluminum casing, full-size, backlit keyboard, and other design elements. Also, its integrated fingerprint security feature lets you login in seconds with just a touch.
Continuing in the tradition of brilliant displays, this model is slightly larger and offers a significantly bigger viewing area. Measuring in at 17.3 inches diagonally, you can see every breathtaking detail of your photo projects, and you can choose between the Full High Definition (FHD) and UHD wide-angle display for even more brilliant observation.
But where the HP ENVY 17t really stands out is in its ability to multi-task without lag. In addition to the Intel Core i7 processor, it boasts NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 graphics support with 4GB of dedicated memory. It also has more room to store photos than some other laptops in its class. Pick the standard 1TB 7200 rpm SATA (256GB M.2 SSD) or go big with a 512GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD storage option.
As a best laptop for photo editing photography, it even comes with an optical disc drive for transferring your finished projects to DVD.
3. HP OMEN 15t Laptop
When many people think of the HP OMEN line of laptops, they immediately think of gaming. While the HP OMEN 15t laptop is a top choice among that crowd, the features that make it a great pick for gamers also make it an ideal option for photo enthusiasts.
Gamers want speed, responsiveness, memory, and storage - and so do photo editors. That’s why this model, which expertly balances power and price, is worth considering.
As expected, the HP OMEN 15t features the i7 processor. Plus, it’s paired nicely with an awesome NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 Series graphics card. The innovative cooling solution keeps these features working perfectly without causing overheating. You may not necessarily consider this when you’re multitasking, but it’s a notable perk.
The display benefits from a 144 Hz refresh rate that accurately displays your photos, pixel by pixel, without lag or jitter. It also features that beautiful narrow bezel display that some of the other HP models offer, giving you much more viewing space for your money.
The screen is nicely-sized at just over 15 inches, so the entire unit stays small enough to take everywhere you need to go to do your photo work.
This laptop has pretty much everything you’ll need in the best laptop for photo editing, including 32GB of memory and 2TB of storage. However, should technology or your needs change, this HP OMEN can change with you. You’ll have single panel access to HDD, RAM, and SSD so you can upgrade or maintain your most important components easily without worrying if your laptop is powerful enough.
Simply open it up and add on to evolve your computer as you need it.
4. HP Spectre 13t Laptop
If you take your photography seriously and treat it like a business, it may be time to consider a business-class laptop to edit, create, and explore.
The HP Spectre 13t laptop is a sophisticated model in both looks and capability, and it has earned high marks as a thin, portable tool with impressive battery life.
Weighing just 2.45 lbs, it features a sleek case with a sturdy, hidden hinge. The full-size, backlit keyboard offers a minimalist design, letting you work comfortably for hours even in poorly-lit environments.
The battery life is a major perk here. It lasts more than 10 hours in normal conditions and can quickly regain up to half of its battery life in just 30 minutes. Also, this super-slim battery is specially designed to use the room inside your laptop better and do away with those clunky, hot batteries associated with laptops.
While the HP Spectre 13t comes standard with an i5 processor, it can be upgraded to the i7 we recommend for photo editing. This will work best with the optional 16GB LPDDR3 high memory capacity and 1TB storage to give you the greatest multitasking experience from the HP Spectre laptop family.
You can also choose between two body colors, dark ash silver and ceramic white, and upgrade the already-amazing UHD display by connecting two optional 4K monitors.
This laptop is ready to grow with your photography pursuits.
5. HP ZBook Studio G5 Mobile Workstation
While the HP ZBook Studio G5 laptop is a workstation for professionals, this may be one of the most powerful and best laptops for editing your photos.
Because it’s embraced by film, animation, illustration, programming, and music pros, it proves that it has what it takes to handle just about any creative task you can throw at it.
The HP ZBook Studio G5 workstation laptop is known for lightning-fast editing and rendering of almost any media, and starts with 16GB memory and 512GB SSD internal storage.
The laptop’s 15.6-inch display is outstanding. With the HP DreamColor Studio display, you can enjoy 600 nits of brightness to reveal photos in one billion color variants. No matter your working conditions, your projects will appear true-to-life without glare or eye strain. The display uses an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust to the correct brightness for your workspace.
What’s more important than avoiding lag, jitter, and freezing when you’re working? Nothing. And as a top-in-its-class solution for creatives, this laptop keeps you working. It offers one more step above the typical processor with a 6-core Intel Xeon® processor known for superior performance, stability, and resistance to crashes.
It’s also a perfect match for the NVIDIA Quadro® P1000 graphics solution that features 4GB of dedicated space for your most demanding tasks.
Once your work is done, you can also transfer it quickly using the multiple port options, including Thunderbolt connections. And you can choose to load projects onto your laptop via the ultra-secure 1 UHS-II SD card reader, too. It’s backward compatible to standard SDHC and SDXC.
Not just for photos
With so many different options available, it may be a bit daunting to pick just one. Fortunately, all of the choices we've mentioned won’t disappoint. These devices boast ultra-slim design features, a wide range of graphics and processing tools, and screens that make your most detailed projects pop. And they do more than handle photo tasks.
You can enjoy high-definition films, video chats, music, the latest games, and eBooks, too. These laptops may start out being your go-to solution for your photography editing, but we’re guessing you’ll use them for a whole lot more. Ultra-portable and ready to go anywhere you do, these HP laptops are redefining photography.
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.