9 Best Laptops for Photo Editing on a Budget in 2021 [Entry-level and Mid-range]

Sometimes, you need a simple notebook to edit your photos. When you are on a budget, don't buy too many things that are not important to you. Editing photos may be hard on your computer. You will need a lot of things, like the CPU, graphics card and RAM.

When you don't have money, you can't do everything. However, the more affordable units help with processes like accounting, broadcasting and more. Although high-end laptops are usually better than budget ones, the budget ones don't have features as good.

A slow and old notebook will make a processor work hard. Finding the best laptop for photo editing and that is affordable isn't easy. A weak display with an uninteresting color palette is something you need to avoid. One disadvantage of using a notebook that is not high-quality or if you don't have enough money for it, is that it will often crash when you are playing your favorite games.

If you are getting rid of a machine, we can help find someone who will buy it. This list of laptops is good for people who want a laptop that does well at photo editing and other demanding tasks with a budget of $500 or less.

Minimum & Recommended System Requirements

How to Choose the Best Budget Laptop for Photo Editing?

You need a computer with a quad-core processor in order to use programs like Photoshop and Lightroom. There are a few things you need to do when editing photos.

If your display is low-resolution, it will look bad. If you have a lower resolution display, you might see colors shift or blips. A GPU can make your computer faster. It is able to help you do things on the computer better, like run without any problems.

But these can be upgraded later on. More RAM will help you work on photos. You can work faster and more easily with more RAM. Having a lot of storage is good because you can take pictures on your computer.

You could also upgrade these by getting more RAM or adding external storage. If you have a lot of money, first buy the hard drive and then add RAM.

I am still confused about this issue. Here is a list of our top picks:

1. Best Overall: Lenovo Legion 5

1. Best Overall: Lenovo Legion 5

Even though the Lenovo Legion 5 laptop is marketed as a gaming laptop, it also has features perfect for photo editing. The price is reasonable, so you might want to buy it for yourself.

CPU

This photo editing software is really good. You don't have to wait. This laptop has a Ryzen 7 4800H processor that gets excellent performance at 8 cores and 16 threads.

GPU and RAM

This means when you color grade, sharpen the pictures and do other graphic-related work, it is easier. This computer has a lot of memory. You can work on big files. It also has a graphics card for editing programs that make it faster with the graphics.

Storage

This computer has a fast disk with a lot of space. 7,000 photos can fit on it! If you want to save space on your computer, you can save your original and edit files to an external hard drive.

Display

This computer screen is high quality. It will show the colors really good and it has more pixels than most screens like this. This monitor has a LCD display that is backlit with LED lights. The screen is bigger, and it looks nicer.

Keyboard, Touchpad and Design

The Legion's logo is the only thing that is noticeable on the capsule. The keyboard and touchpad are designed to take up less space.

I have seen heavier laptops with these specifications before. The Legion 5 is light. It weighs only 5.41 pounds. This laptop is good for editing photos. It has many good features, but the battery life is bad and will last for only 5 hours.

Ports

The ports on the side are USB-A and there is a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left. At the back you will find two USB ports, a DisplayPort-enabled USB-C port, an Ethernet port, HDMI connector and a charging port.

2. Best Runner Up: ASUS TUF FX505GT

2. Best Runner Up: ASUS TUF FX505GT

CPU

ASUS's TUF FX505GT is great because it has good performance and a low price. This computer is good at taking pictures. It can run a photo editing program without any problems. The Intel Core i5-9300H has 4 cores and 8 threads. The turbo speed is up to 4.1 GHz.

RAM

If you want a basic or mid-level edit, the existing piece is good enough for your needs. A computer has RAM and a swap file. If you have 8GB of RAM, you will use your swap file instead of the RAM. The swap file is slower than the RAM. A normal computer might have 8GB of RAM. You need at least this much to use Adobe Photoshop. But if you work with larger files on a regular basis, you may want to upgrade from 8GB of RAM to 16GB or more.

GPU and Storage

The experience is made better thanks to the SSD that enhances image processing. The Graphics Card will help your Camera RAW and Blur Gallery experience. Your computer may be faster. Besides, the storage drive is also capable of booting up Windows 10 at enviable speeds. The best graphics card for managing complex textures is the GeForce GTX 1650. It has 4GB of video memory.

Display

The screen is big. The sides are smaller, so the screen looks bigger. This laptop has a 15.6-inch screen and a 1920 x 1080 resolution. It is good because it has an IPS panel for colors that are nice no matter what position you look at the screen from.

Keyboard and Trackpad

I found that the trackpad could have been bigger, but it is responsive so there are no problems. This laptop is under $800 and has a backlit keyboard. It also has a full layout, so even if you are working in the dark, it won't be an issue.

Design and Ports

The design is like this. This book is not too heavy. Its weight is 4.85 pounds and that makes its weight right in the middle of all the books we have.

You get a variety of drinks to choose from. On the left side, there is a charging port, Ethernet, HDMI connector and 3 USB-A ports. On the right side of the MacBook Pro 13', there is a Kensington lock slot at the back.

If your computer's RAM becomes outdated, you can always upgrade it. The TUF FX505GT is a good budget laptop. It has a great CPU and GPU for the price even though it only has 16GB of RAM. The screen is also excellent.

3. Best for Photoshop: Lenovo Ideapad L340

3. Best for Photoshop: Lenovo Ideapad L340

The Lenovo ideapad L340 is a computer that is good for editing photos. It isn't too expensive.

CPU and GPU

Lending graphics support is achieved with the GTX 1650 GPU, which has 4GB of video RAM. The quad-core processor is very fast. It can do tasks very quickly, up to 4.1GHz. Lenovo's Intel Core i5-9300H processor can do a number of demanding things like image manipulation, text overlays and white balancing without any trouble.

RAM and Storage

This is useful for faster multitasking, which prevents slowdowns. The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is compatible with a high-speed 8GB RAM module. For those who edit photos and videos, a 512GB SSD is very helpful for storing your data. The graphics card in your computer can handle more things. You can use Select Focus and other things that need to be done with a graphics card.

Display

You can see this computer because of the 1080p display. The Windows 10 operating system is also helping. IPS screens are good for people to use. They can see the screen from any angle. Sometimes they are not easy to see because of the glare on them.

Design

The webcam is sensitive and has a protective shield. This laptop is great for editing video and audio. There are Dolby-powered stereo speakers so you can hear it better. Lenovo's Inspiron line of laptops are made with a keyboard that lights up, and also has a 180-degree rotatable hinge. They have dual usage modes to help you be more productive.

Ports

You get a battery that can last up to six hours. You can use it for a long time. The Ideapad L340 weighs 4.84 pounds so it is a laptop you can bring with you on your journey. Lenovo has a lot of ways to connect. For example, there are Type C, Type A, HDMI and Wi-Fi. You might need one or more of them for your laptop.

Overall, the Lenovo Ideapad L340 is a good choice. It is a laptop that is perfect for professionals who need to process photos and videos on their computers.

4. Best MacBook for Photo Editing: Apple MacBook Air M1

4. Best MacBook for Photo Editing: Apple MacBook Air M1

We can't get too excited about the new and improved Apple MacBook Air M1 because it does not work well for photo editing.

This is the part of a computer that makes it work. This is what does the calculations for you. The CPU and GPU are two parts of this.

The best thing about an octa-core processor is that it has a balance of power and efficiency. Apple laptops are great. They are light and inexpensive but they can do many things like exposure management and contrast manipulation. It starts with the M1 chipset. Apple improved it and the speed is excellent.

Besides, there is a processing company that you can work with. They have programs like GIMP and Adobe Lightroom. The M1 chipset also has 16 cores, which means you can do two things at the same time. You can edit and complete academic tasks.

RAM and Storage

On the laptop, you start with 8GB of space. This computer has enough RAM. It is really fast. However, the storage drive is also a good option for housing RAW and processed images. It has a fast load time with macOS Big Sur.

Display

Photo editors may not like the 13.3-inch screen size. Beyond this, the True Tone color technology also allows for photo editors to view life-like images on their screen. The device's screen is very good. It has a high resolution and the display is good.

Keyboard and Ports

The MacBook Air M1 is a good laptop. It has a magical keyboard that you can use your finger to type. It also has a webcam and speakers. Apple's ports are good. There is a great variety of ports. For example, there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, DisplayPort support, USB 4 compatibility and Wi-Fi 6 standard.

This is one of the best devices for editing photos on the go. It weighs less than 3 pounds and has a battery that lasts up to 15 hours.

5. Best For Professionals: Asus VivoBook 15

5. Best For Professionals: Asus VivoBook 15

The Asus VivoBook 15 is a good laptop. It has many edits that are needed for editing. If you want a laptop that is cheaper, but still has AMD-powered hardware, we always prioritize laptops in this category.

CPU and GPU

This computer is powerful. It has four gigabytes of VRAM, which means it can show things easily. An octa-threaded processor is enough for photo editing and has a good graphics card. Despite having the Pascal-architecture, this is a good GPU for people who are on a budget and want to edit photos. The Asus ZenBook 13 has an AMD Ryzen R5-3500U that can be boosted up to 3.7GHz.

RAM and Storage

This laptop has 8GB for multitasking and a 512GB solid-state drive. The latter is a useful feature. It can be used to store and retrieve pictures quickly. This will make your computer boot up much faster.

Display

The Asus ZenBook Pro 15 also has a 1920 x 1080 pixel display. Laptops are good for their visuals. They also have a keyboard and camera that you can use. We liked that the camera had a wide-angle lens. This way, editors won't miss any details in images.

Design and Ports

The Mid-level photo editing professionals won't be happy with the 6 hour battery backup time. Asus has made a mobile suite for this tablet that includes phone and internet connectivity. It also has well-known software packages to improve performance and security. One of the few drawbacks to this phone is that it doesn't have a long battery life. This problem can be solved with the help of a quick charger. This is a lighter part that can help you on your adventures. It weighs less than five pounds and will not make it hard to carry around.

Overall, if you want to use your laptop for editing photos, the Asus computer is the best choice. It is budget-friendly and a good option.

6. Best Visual support for Editors: Acer Aspire 5

6. Best Visual support for Editors: Acer Aspire 5

The Acer Aspire 5 has a great screen. The rest of the specs sheet is good, too. When you buy this car, you will get a lot for your money.

CPU

This graphics chip does most of your CPU work. Acer uses a pretty low-profile Intel Core i5-1035G1 chipset. This computer has a fast 3.6 GHz clock speed. It is the fastest for single-threaded tasks.

GPU and RAM

This is an entry-level GPU for people who are just starting out. It will work with the chipset. This GPU has more VRAM than other GPUs. That means that it can do more work and it is better for you. No, the cards can't do high-end games. But they can do some problems for you like taking a picture and editing it.

Storage and Display

The 15.6 inch display is the most impressive thing about this laptop. SSD units are fast. Windows 10 was ready in seconds. The X-E3 has a lot of storage space. There is 8GB of RAM and 512 GBs for storage. The 1080p panel might seem too basic for some people, but Acer has included its Color Intelligence to improve the photos that are edited.

Design and Ports

The backlit keyboard, webcam, sound-purified microphones and speakers make it easy for me to work. This laptop lasts 8 hours. With this much battery life, it is one of the best laptops for photo editing in its price range. It also has a Type-C, Type-A, and other types of connectors. Wi-Fi 6 is also included.

7. Best Battery Life: Acer Swift 3

7. Best Battery Life: Acer Swift 3

The Swift 3 is a laptop for photo editors that costs not too much. This gadget has the specifications of a budget-friendly customer, but for professional writers and programmers, it doesn't work well.

CPU and GPU

This machine is in the middle range of processors. But it can still do a lot. The AMD Ryzen 7 4700U processor has 8 cores and a clock speed of up to 4.1 GHz. This means that we can do many things from the beginning. You can only access the Radeon integrated graphics coprocessor. This may not be enough if your computer needs a discrete graphics card for certain tasks.

RAM and Storage

The operating system is Windows 10 Home edition. The system is effective because it has 8GB of memory. You can get a 512GB SSD for your computer. That works fast.

Display

The next screen size is 14 inches. The resolution on it is 1920 x 1080 pixels! We want to talk about screens. Wide screens are better for narrow shots.

Design and Ports

This laptop is easy to see because of the backlit keyboard. It has a fingerprint reader and speakers. Type-C ports may be sleek, but they do not impact connectivity. You can still access Type-A, USB 2.0 and Wi-Fi 6.

Acer Swift 3 has a long battery life. It lasts 11 hours or more. For people who like to make adjustments on their computer while they are traveling, this is the perfect screen size.

8. Best Touchscreen Option: HP Pavilion 15

8. Best Touchscreen Option: HP Pavilion 15

Despite having specifications for photo editing, the HP Pavilion 15 is also a good laptop for doing business.

CPU and GPU

This computer has a great processor. It also has a special graphics chip inside. The i5-1035G1 is a type of computer chip. It can do things like color correction, text overlaying, image resizing, and more.

RAM and Storage

The HP has 12GB of memory. This can process images and files at 2666MHz. We are interested in the 512GB SSD and 32GB Optane storage on the Pavilion 15.

Display

HP offers Windows 10 Home Edition. The operating platform looks great on the screen. But it is even better when you look at a bigger screen. HP brings a touch panel to edit photos more easily. A second thing HP makes is the Brightview display which helps you do your work with it.

Peripherals and Ports

This gadget is light. It weighs only 4 pounds and 8 ounces. The HP has lots of ports. There are the standard ones like type-C, A, and HDMI. There is also Bluetooth 5 and Wi-Fi AX. We have Power Delivery The laptop has a keyboard for typing. It is able to do things with the touch of a finger. Two microphones for talking, and two speakers to hear people when they talk.

The HP Pavilion 15 is one of the best laptops on the market for editing photos. It offers good battery life, too.

9. Best Under $500: Lenovo Ideapad 3

9. Best Under $500: Lenovo Ideapad 3

The Lenovo Ideapad 3 is a good computer because it is affordable. It has an AMD-powered processor and that makes it an excellent value.

CPU and GPU

Besides, the Vega 8 integrated graphics card might not be much but it can still handle a few RAW effects. The R5-3500U chipset still can boost clock speeds up to 3.7GHz, just like the Zen 2 core roadmap showed earlier this year. Octa-core processors can do some hard work. They use SMT.

RAM and Storage

Lenovo will give you 8GB of RAM. The SSD speeds are good, but they are small. This laptop does not have much space for saving things on the hard drive. It only has 256GB of storage.

Display

Lenovo offers a laptop with the best viewing angles of any laptop. This monitor has a 1080p screen. It is called a narrow bezel monitor because it has thin edges around the screen. This means that the screen takes up more room and is better to use.

Design and Keyboard

This cheap laptop can do more than just edit pictures. It also helps with schoolwork and other things. The Dell Inspiron is a laptop. It weighs less than 4 pounds and has a 180-degree rotatable hinge that lets you easily use it with an iPad. It also has a webcam with a privacy shutter, and it has a keyboard.

Ports

This camera takes pictures for 8 hours. That is like other basic cameras that take pictures. This laptop has many good features, including an HDMI slot, 4.1 Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 5 so you can get the best wireless connection. Lenovo manufactures watches with 3 USB ports. This is useful for people who want to plug in many different types of devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What compromises do you need to make while purchasing affordable photo editing laptops?

Certain things allow people to change the RAM and memory. Instead of buying a smaller battery backup, you can cut corners. Some people need to use photo editing or video editing and they should take this into consideration when they buy a display.

Is it necessary to rely heavily on a GPU while selecting photo-editing notebooks?

When editing, don't need a big computer to do basic tasks. A GPU helps with some tasks that require graphics. A GPU can also process video in RAW format.

What kind of display should you aim for if photo editing is one of your priorities?

A photo editor should have a screen that supports at least HD resolution. Additional specs on this TV include a widescreen viewing experience and an extended color gamut. These are things you might like but they are not necessary for the price of this TV.

Does RAM speed matter when it comes to processing images?

The processing differences are the same. Choosing an upgrade with a faster RAM chip is better than having slower RAM. If your new software needs a lot of data to work, then you'll need to have a lot of RAM.

Verdict

All of these notebooks are good. They have a lot of specifications that other people don't have. They're also affordable to buy. There are two mistakes people make when cooking eggs. The first mistake is people might break the egg into the pan before they turn on the heat. This can lead to a yolk that is not cooked through. The second mistake is that some people cook eggs for too long and this can cause them to be dry or overcooked.

Apart from that, we have also included gadgets. We listed them according to what they do.

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