£1,500 / $1,571
Processor: RAM: Storage:
f you regularly take your laptop out on shoots, the compact 30.6 x 21.8 x 1.36cm, 1.29kg Spectre is a tempter. The x360 moniker refers to the touchscreen’s ability to flip round through 360 degrees so the laptop can convert to a tablet, although it isn’t particularly comfortable to hold in tablet mode.
The 13.3in screen may be good for portability, but it results in a restrictive Photoshop workspace. The touchpad is also quite small.
A 4K resolution across a screen of this size makes it extremely crisp, and while the display’s Delta-E colour accuracy score of 2.75 isn’t great, this does improve to 1.22 after calibration. Overall brightness, uniformity and 81% Adobe RGB coverage are average. The same can be said of performance, with the Intel i7-8550U processor geared towards power efficiency over speed. We’d also recommend upgrading to 16GB of RAM to ensure Photoshop smoothness.
Just a single normal USB port is present, along with two USB-C ports and a Micro SD slot.
his sixth-generation X1 Carbon can be specced with several screen options – all using a 14-inch display – but we went for the range-topping Dolby Vision-certified panel, boasting 500-nit brightness and a huge 1,500:1 contrast ratio. It isn’t a touchscreen, and the 2,560 x 1,440 resolution trails 4K, but you’ll need a magnifying glass to notice that, and fewer pixels to push means better battery life. We measured an excellent Delta-E colour accuracy of 1.2, 100% Adobe RGB coverage, and display brightness was even beyond the stated spec, though brightness uniformity was more average.
The same can be said for the X1’s speed, which falls noticeably short of laptops packing six-core processors, though the tradeoff is increased power efficiency. You still get enough performance for all but the most intensive Photoshop tasks.
If you value portability and battery life over extreme speed, yet you don’t want to compromise on screen quality, this configuration of the X1 Carbon is ideal.
azer’s focus is on the gaming market, and the Blade 15 is primarily a gaming laptop, but the styling doesn’t shout about it like many similar laptops. Only the illuminated Razer logo and the colour-changing backlit keyboard give the game away, and the latter can be muted.
What makes the Blade 15 a good photo-editing machine is its 15.6-inch 4K screen, which boasts 100% Adobe RGB coverage and factory colour calibration. It’s a gorgeous display, very similar to the one in high-end versions of the Dell XPS 15, and while its recorded 1.82 Delta-E score slightly trails the very high standard set by some rival screens, it’s still very colour-accurate and a pleasure to view.
The Blade comes equipped with a faster graphics card than average in this sector. That’s great for gaming, but Photoshop won’t really use the extra oomph. The main Core i7 processor scores within 20% of a top-tier Core i9 machine in our benchmarks, but uses less power and generates less heat. We also appreciate the solid build quality, as well as the three USB ports.