Pho­tog­ra­phy lap­tops

Six lap­tops, six in-depth re­views – but which is best for pro­cess­ing on the go?

NPhoto - - Pro Zone -

Hav­ing a de­cent com­puter is a must for edit­ing high res­o­lu­tion RAW files and get­ting stuck in with ad­vanced ef­fects. To­day’s en­thu­si­ast lap­tops can ri­val tra­di­tional desk­top hard­ware in the speed stakes, and un­like lap­tops of old, many boast dis­plays with stun­ning colour and wide con­trast to keep high­light and shadow de­tail vis­i­ble.

We’ve selected six lap­tops priced from £1000/$1200 to £1300/$1600, as this is a great price/per­for­mance sweet spot. All of our op­tions pri­ori­tise dis­play qual­ity and pack at least 8GB of RAM, which is a min­i­mum for in­ten­sive photo edit­ing. You can de­cide on screen size – 15-inch lap­tops are larger and heav­ier than 13-inch op­tions, but of­fer more space for Pho­to­shop pal­ettes.

To test which was faster, we used the Cinebench pro­ces­sor bench­mark, plus a ded­i­cated SSD speed anal­yser. Screen qual­ity was as­sessed by our own trained eyes, as well as a top-end col­orime­ter. Loop­ing a Full HD video was used to de­ter­mine bat­tery life.

Five things to look out for… Screen test

Lap­top screen qual­ity used to be more eye-sore than eye-candy, with ap­palling con­trast and re­stricted view­ing an­gles. IPS dis­play tech fixes this, so don’t set­tle for any­thing less.

Solid stor­age

A must for stor­age is an SSD (solid state drive). A con­ven­tional HDD will bot­tle­neck per­for­mance like flat tires on a Fer­rari.

Graphic scenes

Ded­i­cated graph­ics cards are great for gam­ing, but they’re not es­sen­tial here. To­day’s pro­ces­sors pack enough punch for photo edit­ing.

Mac or PC?

The MacBook is favoured by many pho­tog­ra­phers, and for good rea­son, but com­pa­ra­bly priced lap­top PCs can of­fer more bang for your buck, with bet­ter upgrad­abil­ity.

Core val­ues

Pro­ces­sor model num­bers are prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble to de­ci­pher. De­ter­min­ing which is best es­sen­tially comes down to speed (in GHz), and the num­ber of pro­cess­ing cores (two or four).

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