Choosing a Laptop for Photoshop Use



I am not aware of any one laptop that particularly stands out, although I certainly have come across a few to avoid.

If you're a Mac user, the choice is obvious - a Macbook Pro. Be aware the screens on Macbooks are not great from a colour point of view, even the 'Retina' one is just mediocre. The price to performance ratio is often not as good as in the PC world, but the hardware is very nice in all - it's just a shame about those screens. The Macbook Air is ok for light work but they do tend to struggle on bigger files/libraries. Oddly the Macbook Air screens tend to be better than the non Retina Macbook Pros, but still pretty low end from a colour point of view.

My personal preference on the PC side is for Asus laptops, for an imaging & general quality point of view. Lenovo Thinkpads are very good too. Look for a model with the best screen option - ideally the panel is IPS or at least SPVA, definitely NOT a TN panel).

The laptop should definitely run off an SSD, and as of February 2011 have a Sandy Bridge i5 or i7 processor. I think only Lenovo (used to be IBM) and Asus do IPS screens. If there are any currently available, they will be targeted at 'creative professionals'.

Windows 7 64 bit is the obvious choice, and 3D graphics acceleration makes Photoshop a LOT nicer to use, so it's worth looking for a decent video chipset as well. Of course, get as much ram as you can afford.

Those are the key things. Obviously a custom desktop would be the best option form a sheer power/price perspective, but laptops these days are really pretty effective as well.