7 Best Laptops for Photo Editing Under $500 in 2021 [Bang for The Buck]

In the past decade, laptops have become affordable. Back in the day, you couldn't have thought of getting a device that could edit photos. Recently, a new machine that can be used for photo editing and other high-end tasks has come out.

Laptops can cost over $1000. But you can find one for less if you shop around. People are using software from Photoshop and GIMP that is more resourceful for low-spec laptops.

We love Photopea. It's our favorite photo editor. You do not need to install Photoshop on your system to edit photos. These programs run on a web browser and can produce photographs that are as good as or better than Photoshop.

It should have been. Because our budget is limited, we need to be conservative. We can't spend too much money. A laptop with these 3 features is not too expensive for most people. We need to find a laptop that is perfect for us.

Minimum & Recommended System Requirements

We looked for machines that matched the description. Based on that, we also prepared the minimum and recommended system requirements. If you have $500, the laptops at Best Buy still cannot meet your requirements. If you have more money, you should choose the one with the higher price.

Best Laptops for Photo Editing Under $500

A new version of the firmware can help. It will make it run faster and more efficiently. All the laptops on this list can run Adobe Photoshop. If they don't have Photoshop for that computer, then they will work. We want you to buy this device because it is better than the other ones.

1. Best Overall: Acer Aspire 5

1. Best Overall: Acer Aspire 5

In the long-term, it is a good investment. The hardware in this machine may cost more than the model you are replacing. If you cannot afford the high-end model, then you may want to buy a cheaper version of it. We recommend the Acer Aspire 5 laptop if you are going to use it for photo editing. It is an inexpensive laptop that is good for this.

The graphics card is not very good, but it does a good job. This PC has a lot of space. You can use it for your favorite photo editing suite. Acer Aspire 5 is a laptop that runs on some new Intel processors. You might not have a problem if you do things to your device that make it work harder. This is the Intel Core i5-1035G1. The base speed is 1 GHz and it also has Turbo Boost speeds of 3.6 GHz.

The i5 chip is good at multitasking. It helps with work. This device has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. In order to run photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop, you need a computer with a lot of RAM and fast, solid-state storage. Acer is different than most other companies. Most companies put software on top of Windows 10. Acer does not do that, and it still comes with Windows 10.

In this department, you will not regret anything. HD resolution and wide color gamut is hard to tell apart from real-life. The Acer Aspire 5 Full HD Display Comes With Affordable Price Tag Although the top and bottom of each panel has a large bezel, Acer does an excellent job making the side bezels.

The manufacturer has also added a fingerprint scanner and HD camera to the package. The backlighting is one of the best features on this device. You won't get Windows Hello. But you will get a lot of other nice features! The Acer Aspire 5 is less than $500. But it has a backlit keyboard and a NumPad, which look like they cost more.

The device weighs 3.97 pounds and is 0.71 inches thick. Because the wireless internet connection is 10 generations old, you can also get Wi-Fi 6. The machine has a big screen. It follows the design philosophy of being sleek. We can use the USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and the Type-C ports on this tablet. You can use these connectors to plug in things like a mouse or keyboard. The HDMI connector is for connecting your tablet to a TV so you can watch videos on a big screen!

This laptop might be a good choice for you if you want to buy something with power. It costs less than other laptops too. Acer claims that the built-in battery on this laptop lasts up to 8 hours. That is pretty good. If you want the device for a whole day, then it will be hard. You can only use it for a few hours.

2. Best Runner Up: Lenovo IdeaPad 3

2. Best Runner Up: Lenovo IdeaPad 3

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a laptop we might consider for its speed and reliability. If you want a good car, but you don't have much money, then be smart about what features to get and what not to get.

The processor on the Acer Aspire 3 is 2.1 GHz. The AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics is better than Intel's integrated graphics. It has eight cores. This computer can do heavy editing. It has a clock speed of 3.7GHz, which is good for Photoshop or other programs that are compatible with Adobe Creative Cloud.

Lenovo has enough memory and storage to handle multitasking. The computer has 256GB of SSD storage. It is not very much but the computer starts up fast. The 8GB of DDR4 RAM that the computer has can handle a couple windows of Photoshop, even with some web pages open too.

The laptop's screen is bulky. The company is saying that the thin bezels on this model make it more competitive than other models. We disagree with this statement. Lenovo has a new machine with a high-quality screen. It is 14 inches. Most laptops have big, bulky bezels on the side of the screen. But Lenovo made them smaller on both sides.

Lenovo has a high-quality keyboard on their laptop. As a photographer, it is hard to get used to the keyboard shortcuts. This keyboard offers a bright, comfortable backlit keyboard. We would have loved to see a redesigned trackpad, although it was just a minor setback.

The other design elements on this machine are impressive. There is also a camera that you can use to see what people are doing in your home. Due to the thickness of this device, any bag will be able to hold it. Lenovo has three USB ports, one HDMI port, and supports Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi 5. The Oculus Ready PC is very light. It weighs 3.3 pounds, which is the perfect size for someone who likes to take their PC with them everywhere they go.

The machine has a battery that lasts up to 10 hours. This is very long. If you use a lot of apps that are all required for your job, it will be easier to work.

The new Acer laptop can switch between powerful performance and quiet modes by tapping a button. A Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a good choice for children. It has these features.

3. Best Value for Money: ASUS VivoBook 15

3. Best Value for Money: ASUS VivoBook 15

It's up to you how much you spend. When you go to Dr. Smith, he fixes the problem quickly. If you want a computer that is small, there is a computer called the ASUS VivoBook 15. This machine is as good as the devices I talked about before. It is also better than them because it has some extra features and performance.

The ASUS VivoBook 15 has an AMD Ryzen R5 3500U processor. It is the main power for this laptop. The AMD Radeon Vega 8 built-in video graphics will be better for you than an Intel counterpart would. This chip has a clock speed of 2.1GHz and it can be faster when it is turbo. It's perfect for people who want to edit their photos.

The machine is not below the standards for RAM and memory. It is great that laptops are no longer limited to a 128GB hard drive. If you need more storage, your 256GB drive can compete with other storage mediums. This laptop has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. This is like the other laptops on this list, because they also have 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage.

When you have a resolution of 1920 x 1080, you don't have to look back for visual quality. This computer has an excellent display. You can find it at a cheaper price than other computers, and the display is one of the best on any computer. The laptop has a bezel that is thin. It can be small because there are no other sides that need space. This device has a screen-to-body ratio of 88%. No other mobile device under $500 has a screen like this.

ASUS computers use ErgoLift technology. It changes the angle of the keyboard so it is more comfortable to type. The keyboard that comes with the package may look like a normal one, but it feels more comfortable when you type. The backlit keyboard has good precision. And the touch screen is a good idea because it also has a track pad.

Thinner notebooks are a special kind of notebook. This is because they are thinner than other notebooks. You can use the fingerprint reader to log in to your laptop computer. You will be able to do this with Windows Hello. ASUS has upgraded the inside of their computer with 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 3.1 Type-C port, and a micro SD card slot

The machine does not have a battery backup. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you reach 100%. If you do not have a charger, charge your battery before leaving for vacation. One thing that you might notice is that your phone has not been updated to have Bluetooth 5 and Wi-Fi 6. There are apps that will help you with your struggles. These are the best ones.

4. Best Renewed Model: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

4. Best Renewed Model: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Renewed laptops are a good choice if you have a strict budget. People will want to buy your laptop because it's cheaper and they don't have to pay for the new one. This model is good for Photoshop even though it is old. This category has the ability to access a better performance without costing a lot. The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 may be a good choice for you if you like the idea.

The same is also true for its integrated graphics. So, you have to limit your impulses to do many things at once. This processor is the fourth generation of processors from the company called Haswell. The new generation has a slower speed. This tablet has an Intel Core i5-4300U. It has a base clock speed of 1.9GHz. The Intel Core i7-7700K processor has a base frequency of 4.2GHz, which can overclock up to 2.9GHz when running heavy apps like Photoshop or Lightroom.

The Surface Pro 3 has a lot of RAM and a lot of storage. So, upgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 will not be a problem. The Surface Pro 3 can run regular apps. You don't need to worry about this. This laptop has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It is very old.

For Photoshop, you need enough. The improved resolution of 2160 x 1440 results in this full HD panel. The visuals on the screen are good. The corners are not bulky. It is hard to get the best experience when you use software programs like Premiere Pro or After Effects. Some people believe that the 12-inch panels don't make a good picture, but this is not true most of the time.

The Nexus 7 tablet does not have a keyboard. Many people find that they can order a Bluetooth keyboard or buy one from the store. Use a Surface Pen or other stylus to get the best experience with your multi-touch device.

This case is very thin and you may forget that it is in your backpack. What design style of this dress do you like? Some people liked it. The laptop is not too heavy. It weighs 1.76 pounds. Microsoft added a couple of USB ports and a Mini DisplayPort. That means it is easier to plug things into your computer.

It has two cameras on the front and back. The stand offers a comfortable position to work. The machine is portable. It has a battery that can provide up to 9 hours of power. You can lengthen your battery life by adjusting the brightness on your device and running only necessary apps.

5. Best with Intel i3: HP Notebook 14

5. Best with Intel i3: HP Notebook 14

Many people think that 14-inch laptop screens are the size for photo editing. The display size is not as small as a 13-inch device, but it's still much smaller than most 15.6-inch laptops. The HP Notebook 14 has great hardware for people who are looking for a new laptop. It is 14 inches and has a nice screen.

The graphics are better when you have a GPU and CPU. HP Notebook 14 also has a 10-generation Intel Core i5. The Intel Core i3-1035G1 is a good computer for people who want to make games, and for people who want to take care of the battery.

It's hard to get a good result with a video card that costs less than $500.

The 8GB RAM and 256GB of NVMe SSD storage help the system work well. This laptop is set up by default to have Windows 10 in S mode. But you can change it from the settings. S mode might be a better experience for you. You can find a photo editor that supports it.

This high-definition display is the best choice for photo editors. Next, we come to the 14-inch display panel. This convinced us. This smartphone has a 1920 x 1080p HD resolution and it can make your photos better. The bottom of the phone is wide, but the top is skinny. That means you can see more of what's on your screen.

The keyboard and trackpad on this device are not fancy. HP made this keyboard backlit. This is good because the keyboard will be easier to see in dark places. You might not have drivers with your trackpad, but it can still help you move around. This keyboard is the same as all other HP keyboards. It does not have a number pad.

These are not the thinnest specs you would find, so it makes sense. The machine is 0.71 inches thick and 3.24 pounds in weight. With this information, you can tell how much space it would take up compared to other items. HP machines are often the same. I am writing this letter to you to tell you about my appreciation for your help. I had a work opportunity come up and I needed someone to take care of my son while I worked. I found out about your babysitting service through a friend in the neighborhood and it was really helpful.

This AC adaptor charges your phone twice as fast. The HP Notebook 14 can last up to 10 hours on a single charge. HP did a good job with the built-in webcam and speakers. You cannot get Wi-Fi 6 in one of these yet. If you ask me, that is a shame.

6. Best From Dell: Dell Inspiron 14

6. Best From Dell: Dell Inspiron 14

When you first see the Dell Inspiron 14, it does not look like a good computer. The best phone for photo-editing is one that lets you edit photos on the same screen as you view them. To run your system on low-system power, you will have to either make do with a slower system or upgrade your hardware.

The same as with the integrated Intel graphics, you can rely on them to handle basic needs. It can speed up to 3.4GHz when it needs to. The intel Core i3-1035G1 might be the best part of this machine. It is less than $500. This is a strong number that can keep Photoshop running. You should not try to use it while you're multitasking.

The device has 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. People are only able to do two things at once with the help of a machine in their body. It is not enough to use just some of the programs on your computer. The best reason to increase your storage capacity by adding a 128GB Solid State Drive is that it will make your computer easier to use. But this forces you to work around the 4GB RAM restriction.

This set of toys has not been made very well. The screen is not the most recent technology. You won't get any fancy, amazing pictures from this department. The 1366 x 768 panel on the laptop uses less battery power than a higher-resolution display. You can use it when there is no power and it will last long.

Editing the colors will not be accurate and this is a compromise.

This device is better than we thought. This can be a good reason to pick Dell over other brands in the same price range. The palm rests on the trackpad provide a good place to rest while you are typing. This keyboard has lights that make it easy to see. It avoids eye strain when you use it all day.

You can't see any USB Type-C ports. Dell's computer is one of the most basic computers in this price range. This laptop is 3.66 pounds and 0.8 inches thick. The design is big, but you will adjust after some time. The machine has some legacy ports. There are multiple USB 3.0 Type-A ports, 1 HDMI port and a multi-card reader.

Most people can handle this. This laptop has six-hour battery life for a work day. While buying this laptop for $400, there are many things to be aware of. The performance of the Chrome OS will vary depending on what hardware is being used.

7. Best Chromebook: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

7. Best Chromebook: Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

A Chromebook is a popular choice when it comes to integrating Chrome OS. People may not tell you this, but Chromebooks are a good option for people who need a speedy computer. Since Adobe Photoshop is not yet available for this platform, you need to use an alternative. It might be Snapseed or GIMP.

The graphics on the chip are good. They can do something for you. This laptop can run more than one app at the same time. This laptop has a powerful processor. Chrome OS does not need as much power. This processor can run at 2.1GHz or faster and has a top speed of 4.1GHz.

The device ships with 4GB of RAM. Windows PC's are hard for many students, but they work well with Chrome. This storage is for people who use the cloud often. This is fast and it has a lot of space. The 64GB of SSD storage in this package may not seem like enough at first glance, but it is small enough.

The laptop's screen is big and has a picture that is high quality. It is also thin. This display will work with your fingers. The operating system is now optimized for touch input. I like the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 because it has a good (better) screen. This is good for people who take pictures and edit them.

Laptops are very useful. They have a flexible design that can be changed to do many things. Lenovo has made the machine with a touch screen display and they have also put a keyboard and trackpad on it. Touchscreens work even if you are wearing gloves. The keys on this laptop are nice and easy to type on. You do not have to worry about gestures with your fingers

You need a device that you plug into your laptop so you can see what is on the screen on a bigger screen with less words. Lenovo made a Chromebook that is thin and light. It can go wherever you go. The I/O panel has two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and one USB 3.1 port. It also has an audio jack. The MacBook Air is a small laptop that can be taken anywhere. It weighs less than 3 pounds and is less than 1 inch thick.

The A50 has Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, which is the standard. The Chromebook Flex 5 is really powerful. It can last up to 10 hours without charging, even though it is small. Chromebooks are the right computer for international travel. They are always connected to the internet, so you can use them anywhere.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the system requirements for Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop requires a computer that meets the following requirements: If you like to play games on your laptop, you should look for these specs when buying a laptop.

Can I edit photos on an Intel Core i3-powered computer?

The answer to this question depends on which Intel Core i3 processor is powering your computer. Every year, Intel updates their chip lineup. The new chips are better than the old ones. If you have a newer iPhone, then it should be okay. For example, an 11th-generation i3 can handle a 7th-generation i5 processor.

Can I edit photos on a Chromebook?

Photoshop is not yet available for Chrome OS. Chromebooks are a good choice if you want to edit photos. A good photo editing app is one that is compatible with what you want to do. One example would be Snapseed or Pixlr E. A web-based editor would also work.

Do sub-$500 laptops last?

After that, you may need to upgrade your performance. The newer generation processors and SSD storage of these devices means that they can be used for a long time.

Do I need a 4K laptop for photo editing?

A laptop with a screen that is 4K doesn't matter for editing photos. 4K screens will make it easier to see details when you are editing your pictures. If your computer has a screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution or higher, you don't need to worry.


You need to give something up or make a change. As you saw, there are many laptops on the market that cost under $500 and can still edit photos. This sentence is hard to understand. It would be easier if we say it on the computer instead.

Some people think that not having much money to spend is a problem. But it isn't. There are many options for you even if you have a small budget.

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