Trying to decide what laptop for photo editing?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Jonathan F/2, Jul 10, 2015.

  1. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm currently using a 2009 Macbook Pro for my photo editing needs, but I think it's time to upgrade! I literally only want to use three apps: Photoshop, Lightroom and Photo Mechanic. I also have external drives, so storage is not an issue. I want to stay with a laptop and stick with a 15" screen or less for travel use. I've been looking at getting a current Macbook Pro, but the prices are quite high. I've played with some of the Windows Toshiba Satellite laptops, and I really like the form factor and build quality. I can get a Quad Core i7, 16gb Ram and SSD drive for under $1000. I also find the 2-in-1 hybrid touch screen laptops interesting as well. They're a bit lower spec'ed, but the ability to use it as a touch screen style tablet has peaked my interest, especially if I'm using it for photo editing...just do away with the mouse! Though those machines at most are only dual-core and max out at around 12gb of ram.

    Any other suggestions for laptops? I'd prefer to keep my price under $1000. Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Well since you are using a 2009 laptop as a point of reference, I think you'd be happy with about anything! :)

    Seriously, though, I like the idea of a Quad i7 in terms of being the fastest, but they require so much power and cooling that you really bulk up the laptop and cut the battery life by doing so. If you are OK waiting an extra 2 minutes to batch a folder of files out of lightroom, or .5 sec to apply an action, then I'd strongly recommend one of the higher end dual core. I've got an i7-5600U dual core in my Lenovo Carbon, and it is surprisingly quick for 2 cores. A new Dual core is going to be like night and day vs your old mac.

    I'd also not worry too much about going over 8GB of Ram since you aren't doing video. If you can get it, great, but your comment about "only 12GB" makes me think you may be placing too much weight in that specification.

    If this is primarily to be used at home, and only occasionally travel, then maybe go with a high spec laptop that is a little heavier and without worrying too much about battery. But if it is used primarily on the road, then weight and battery life quickly become more important than that last 25% of benchmark rating on the CPU etc.

    FWIW, I really like my Lenovo X1 Carbon G3, but they can be expensive to spec out fully. Luckily my work bought it for me.

    You may find that lightweight/lower end gaming laptops offer a lot of power for the buck.
     
  3. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
  4. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 14, 2010
    Finland
    Teemu
    Indeed. I was just about to copy-paste my text from that thread here. I still vote for Dell XPS 13. One of the best screens and powerful enough. ;)
     
  5. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks guys, I just ordered a 2-in-1 hybrid laptop. I'll probably get a more powerful desktop down the road, but for now I much prefer working off laptops. I'm mainly a Mac guy too, but it's gotten to the point where I'm finding the "alternative" systems like Android and the new Windows to be very decent. I'm starting to become more loyal to the software I use as opposed to the hardware! The funny thing, I was a diehard Mac user since classic OS and my friends who never even touched a Mac are all now hardcore Apple appliance users with iPhones, iPods, iEverything!
     
  6. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Primarily we're a ThinkPad family. But I've been eying the Yoga 3 Pro and XPS 13 for size / resolution / form factor. We're all Windows, mainly 8.1 but one still on 7 and one of mine on 10. My older son has been running 10 for a while, well he does work for Microsoft so.....

    We're a mixed family here for appliances. My wife and younger son are "i"s. My older son and I are Droids.


    Jonathan, what did you buy?
     
  7. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    guess?
    Personally I can't imagine doing serious editing on a laptop. YMMV
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Which one, just out of curiosity?
     
  9. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I worked hard news for over 13 years with tight worldwide deadlines. A laptop was a must to transmit photos, sometimes with short deadlines like 10-30 minutes from the moment of capture!
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  10. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    While I have been a loyal Thinkpad owner for almost 10 years, and I do like the XPS13 if size matters, I have really been taken by HP's new Spectre x360. It really is worth a look, and FWIW, I found its screen a bit more pleasing than the XPS13 when I compared images side-by-side (although this was an in-store comparison and neither monitor was adjusted or calibrated). And, it is supposed to work reasonably with with a digitizing pen, so that may address your desire to work without a mouse. It is worth considering, and is not unreasonably priced in the 8GB/256K SSD/HD screen (which gives up to 11 hours of battery life).

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
  11. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I decided to try out the Toshiba Radius. It's has 15" backlit LED flip touch screen with an i7 dual core, 12gb of RAM and a 256gb SSD. I probably would of bought another Macbook Pro, but I wanted to try something different. I'll report back once I get it!
     
  12. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sounds like a nice one. :2thumbs:
     
  13. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Sounds nice, but to large for me. The first photo editing laptop I had was one of the Asus W2 units back in 2006. Big 17" unit with a great screen. In 2010 sold it and picked up one of the original HP Envy 14. Much easier to carry around, it was a 14.5" screen with the HP Radiance display. Another beautiful display, still using it today. Ripped out the DVD and replaced it with a hard drive; replaced the standard hard drive with an SSD.

    But it had some issues that I had to work around for Windows 8. Windows 10 is only OK so far, more issues with the graphics ATi + Intel integrated that is suppose to change when plugged or unplugged. It's days are probably starting to be numbered.
     
  14. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    So I received my Toshiba Satellite Radius laptop over the weekend and so far everything seems good. Build quality and design are very Apple-esque with a faux titanium looking shell, but actually looks really nice and will probably not dent like my previous MacBook Pro! It's also quite lightweight and thin for it's size. Keyboard feels Mac-like with the addition of numeric keys on the side. Sound quality is good with Harman/Kardon spec'ed speakers and the LCD is bright with nice colors and the touch screen works great. I opted to just get the regular high res backlit screen and not the 4k designated LCD. Though it's still plenty good for picture viewing. Regarding Windows 8.1, it's gone a long way from the last time I was messing around Windows (XP), but it still doesn't have the same polish of OS X though. I haven't received all my software yet to test it for photo editing, but so far for casual computer use it's a pleasure to use. The real test is when I get all my photo editing apps and see how it will churn through filters and other photo intensive actions! I'll follow-up with it's processing abilities later this week!

    The funny thing is that the computer looks so much like my MacBook Pro that my wife didn't even notice I had a new computer despite seeing it for a whole day on our computer table!
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  15. ashburtononline

    ashburtononline Mu-43 Veteran

    394
    Jan 21, 2015
    New Zealand
    Good luck with Windows 8 ! It's a shocker
     
  16. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I'm running Win8.1 on my Surface 3. It's actually very good, everything makes much more sense on a touch enabled device than desktop only. I'd say that if you have a touch screen then Win8.1 is actually more usable than Win7 (which I also have at work and on my heavyweight desktop at home). Win10 should integrate the 2 halves much better.

    The Surface 3 isn't really spec'd for heavy editing of RAW and video though - I'd get a top end i5 or i7 Surface 3 Pro for that.
     
  17. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Walter
    I would probably get a MacBook Pro with a Retina display. That display is fantastic.
     
  18. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    I purchased an ultra-portable with 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD, with an i7-5500u CPU and Intel 5500 graphics. While the display on these can be extremely good, I would only use one for limited processing of RAW in LR or editing jpeg files in Photoshop. Using the tools in LR comes with a delayed response especially when using the adjustment tool. Photoshop has even longer delayed responses.

    I’d suggest a laptop with a quad core i7 for editing. The dual core i-7s just don’t quite make a good full time machine if you are editing or making many adjustments.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
    • Useful Useful x 1
  19. ashburtononline

    ashburtononline Mu-43 Veteran

    394
    Jan 21, 2015
    New Zealand
    MacBook Pro ... Accept no substitute !!
     
  20. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    Another vote for a MacBook Pro.

    Having given my GF my MacBook Air 13", I'm kind of missing not having a laptop. I might just sell one of my 27" iMacs in order to partially fund a MB Pro.