The Best Photoshop Laptop Under 1000 Bucks

Artists need brushes and art supplies. Photographers need their cameras. Every professional needs the tools for their trades for them to be able to grow and flourish. If you are a designer, then most likely you’ll want to have a laptop with which to do your work. Laptops truly are incredibly versatile machines that have revolutionized our lifestyles. With one of these portable computers you can do your work anywhere you’d like, whether you’re on the road, at a cafe, on your bed, or otherwise. So what’s the best Photoshop laptop under 1000 bucks?

LaptopLaptop BrandRatingPrice
ASUS Zenbook UX331
Dell G5

Many people these days use Adobe Photoshop or a similar photo editing program. As an established designer, you may want a work machine that can handle not only Photoshop but the other programs in the same suite as well. And if you’re just starting out as a designer, it’s often a good idea to purchase a machine that offers you great value for your money, suits your budget, and also allows you room to grow as you develop your skills.

But the truth is unless you already know exactly what you need and the kind of specifications your work will require, it can be incredibly difficult and confusing to find the laptop that’s right for you. Fortunately, we’re here to help you figure out first, what your needs are, and second, what the best Photoshop laptop under 1000 bucks is. So if you need a little help while you’re shopping around for laptops, fret not – we’re here to help!

What Are The Requirements of Adobe Photoshop?

There are a ton of different versions of Adobe Photoshop out there today, considering that this industry-standard program has been around for decades upon decades. However, since Adobe only offers Adobe Photoshop (the CC version, which is updated yearly) in their Creative Suite these days, we will mostly talk about the requirements for that specific program.

Before we begin to talk about what kind of specifications you’ll need to run this program, we want to gently remind you that although it can be pricey, it’s still best to purchase your Photoshop subscription straight from Adobe itself. Nothing beats the type of support a legitimate Photoshop installation affords you – plus you will be less likely to run into any problems and hiccups later on down the line. It is a bit of an investment for a new designer for sure, but with most employers requesting or requiring work be done with this program, it becomes worth it in the end. If it is still too pricey for you, fortunately there are now alternatives available such as Affinity Photo, which can be purchased for a flat fee (no subscription needed here!). But no matter which option you choose, please don’t put your new laptop at risk by illegally downloading a copy of Photoshop!

So let’s get right on to the hardware requirements of Adobe Photoshop CC (2019 version, as of writing).

Microsoft Windows System Requirements for Photoshop

For machines running Microsoft Windows, you will need a processor that is at least 2.0GHz or faster. An AMD or Intel processor is recommended, and it is also ideal that the processor supports 64-bit. The version of Windows on your machine must be at least Windows 7 (with 64-bit support or Service Pack 1) or Windows 10 with version 1709 and up. Now when it comes to RAM, you’re going to want a minimum of 2 gigabytes – but even Adobe themselves recommend that you have at least 8 gigs for everything to run smoothly. Photoshop requires 3.1 gigs of hard drive space for a 64-bit install, with additional space being required during the installation. As for a graphics card, as long as it is OpenGL 2.0 capable, it will most likely run. Ideally, you want a dedicated video card, but you can get away with having none.

Here’s a quick recap of Photoshop Requirements for Windows:

  • Windows 7 or 10, must be capable of 64-bit support
  • Intel/AMD processor 2.0GHz and up, 64-bit support
  • Minimum 2GB RAM, but 8GB is recommended
  • 3.1GB minimum of hard disk storage space, plus additional during installation
  • OpenGL 2.0 Capable graphics processor system (dedicated video card recommended)
  • An internet connection for downloading, installing, and registering Adobe Photoshop
  • 512MB VRAM (2 GB recommended)

Now let’s have a quick look through the system requirements for macOS, in case you’re wanting to purchase a MacBook as your main work machine.

MacOS System Requirements for Photoshop

For Mac OSX, you will need an Intel processor that is multi-core, and offers 64-bit support. For your operating system, you’re going to need macOS 10.12 version (or Sierra, as it’s called) and up (it will work with High Sierra and Mojave as well). 8 GB of RAM is recommended, but you can get away with 2 gigs – though you may struggle. Honestly, most Mac computers these days come with more than 2, so you don’t have to worry about that at all. As with a Windows machine, you’ll need an OpenGL 2.0 capable graphics system, but you don’t necessarily have to worry about a dedicated video card. For Macs, you will need 4 gigs of free hard disk space, and more during the installation.

Here’s a quick recap of Photoshop Requirements for macOS:

  • MacOS 10.12 (Sierra), 10.13 (High Sierra), 10.14 (Mojave)
  • Multi-core Intel CPU with support for 64-bit
  • Minimum 2GB RAM, but 8GB is recommended
  • 4 GB minimum of hard disk storage space, plus additional during installation
  • OpenGL 2.0 Capable graphics processor system (dedicated video card recommended)
  • An internet connection for downloading, installing, and registering Adobe Photoshop
  • 512MB VRAM (2 GB recommended)

So now we’ve discussed the system requirements for Adobe Photoshop. If you don’t think you’ll be spending money on an Adobe Creative Suite subscription just yet, don’t worry – these same specs will run other programs like Affinity Photo, in case you’d rather use that program instead.

And now the moment you’ve been waiting for… let’s talk about the best Photoshop laptop under 1000 bucks!

What’s The Best Laptop for a Designer?

To be honest, there’s no easy answer to this question. If you pop this question into a search engine, you will most likely end up with a myriad of answers that will further confuse you rather than enlighten you. So we’ll make it simple for you – the best laptop for a designer is the one that fits their needs the most. You don’t have to buy a specific brand, you don’t have to buy a computer that costs 2000 dollars, and you most certainly don’t have to have the newest and ‘greatest’. So even though a lot of designers purchase and stand by their Macbooks, having an Apple machine isn’t required at all.

The best laptop for a designer is one that can run a program like Adobe Photoshop and still have some extra wiggle room to allow for “future-proofing”. Now when we mention future-proofing, we just mean that you’ll want to purchase a device that will most likely age well for at least 2-3 years – meaning that it will still be able to run Creative Suite programs and the like smoothly during this time. Naturally, this means that the more you are willing to spend on a laptop now (in order to get better specs), the more future-proof it is.

If that didn’t do much to help you, don’t worry. We’ve come up with some recommendations that can guide you as you shop for your new machine.

Recommended Hardware Specifications for Buying a Photoshop Laptop

Since we’ve already discussed the system requirements for Adobe Photoshop above, it’s honestly much easier to give you some recommendations now. You will, first and foremost, want a computer that is capable of 64-bit support.

> Processor

Now with that in mind, look for a processor that is at least 2.0GHz. The more cores this CPU has, the better. Dual core is fine, but quad core is even better. If you want your laptop to really be future proof, you may want to look at machines with 6 to 8 cores – but note that if you do, you’ll have a few trade offs such as your computer running hotter. We recommend an Intel i5 or i7 (or the AMD equivalent). If you’re just starting out, an Intel i3 will do too – but it won’t be as future proof.  Note that the newer generations of these processors are often better and more efficient than the previous, but you can get away with last year’s model without feeling it too much.

> Memory

In terms of memory, 2 gigs is honestly such a small amount. You’ll want 8 to be able to run Photoshop smoothly and still have a bit of room to multi-task. So if you want to run Photoshop, have Spotify running in the background, and have a few browser tabs open all at once, get 8GB. 12 GB is even better, but personally, we would purchase a machine with at least 16. Multi-tasking on a computer with 16GB of RAM is so smooth, you’ll hardly regret the splurge. Plus as system requirements for programs get heavier through the years, your machine will be able to cope better.

> Storage Space

Hard drive space is, of course, up to your individual preferences. Some people get by happily with as little as 128GB, since cloud storage does now exist. But if you want to be able to store some files locally on your device, perhaps a minimum of 500GB is ideal. One thing we can recommend about storage, however, is that you get flash storage like a solid state drive, or hybrid storage (flash + traditional hard disks). Getting an SSD or a hybrid drive can really speed up your computer overall. Your computer will boot up and shut down much faster, and open programs much faster as well.

> Graphics

Although graphics cards aren’t really required by Photoshop, especially since most modern CPUs come with integrated graphics, we still do recommend you purchase a machine that comes with a dedicated card. Dedicated GPUs, or discrete graphics as its known, will allow you to run graphics editing programs like Photoshop much more smoothly. Additionally, if you get a card with enough VRAM, you’ll be able to run all the features of Photoshop (such as 3D). VRAM is basically the amount of RAM or memory a graphics card has (for example, you can purchase an Nvidia 1070Ti with 8GB of VRAM, and so on). With that said, we recommend a discrete card with at least 1-2 GB of VRAM – this will allow for some gaming on your computer as well.

> Display

We do want to mention, however, that since you’re looking for a laptop that can handle your design work, you will want a machine with a good screen. It’s important to look for a laptop that has an IPS (in-plane switching) screen to improve your viewing angles. IPS screens also usually give you better and brighter color reproduction, something that is quite important if you’re a designer! If the laptop you are looking at doesn’t have an IPS screen, don’t worry – you can still work with it. You’ll just need to make sure you always tilt your screen to the ideal viewing angle, and calibrate your display to ensure more accurate colors. You can also just purchase an external IPS monitor later on to use with your laptop if you desire.

> Other Designer Tools

And since we’re talking about the best tools for a designer, we’d like to take a quick moment to mention some peripherals you might want. Editing photos can be difficult with a track pad. You most likely won’t want to use just a track pad unless in a pinch, so you may want to invest in at least a mouse. Even better is a graphics tablet such as a Wacom – there are many affordable options for designers out there.

We’ve talked about all of our recommendations… now we won’t leave you hanging of course… we’ve already put together a list of the best laptops for Photoshop under 1000 dollars. We’ve kept you waiting long enough, so without further ado… let’s get right to it!

The Best Photoshop Laptop Under 1000 Bucks

ASUS Zenbook UX331

The ASUS Zenbook is a machine that truly requires no introduction. It’s easily one of the most well-known ultrabooks out there today, stacked with features in an incredibly slim and portable profile. The UX331 weighs an ultra-light 2.5 pounds – a featherweight compared to many other laptops its size and and in its price range. It’s also only half an inch thick, making it even easier for you to slip into your bag. Not only is this laptop unbelievably portable, it’s also ultra sleek. A beautiful machine overall, this laptop will be your pride and joy for years to come.

There are many different variants of the UX331, and you can suit the one that fits your needs the most. For this particular review we are going to talk about the UX331FN-DH51T, just to avoid confusion.

The UX331FN-DH51T sports a 13.3-inch full HD touch screen, with only an ultra thin bezel of 0.27 inches. It comes with an 8th Generation quad core i5 Intel processor, rated at 1.6GHz (with up to 3.9GHz turbo speed).  This particular model comes with discrete graphics so you can run your graphics-heavy programs. The Nvidia MX150 in this laptop also allows you some room to play some video games if you so wished! This laptop runs on Windows 10, with features such as Windows Ink, modern standby, and Cortana to make your work process simpler and easier.

This model of ASUS laptop comes with 256GB of M.2 solid state drive, making it ultra fast so you can boot up and load your programs in the blink of an eye. With 8GB of RAM, multi-tasking is a breeze on this device.

Benefits of ASUS Zenbook

We weren’t joking when we said this computer is ultra portable. Aside from the fact that it’s ultra-light and ultra-slim, this device has an incredible battery life: up to 12 hours on a single charge (depending on your usage, of course). It also has a back lit keyboard in case you ever need to use it in the dark – a feature that is amazing for those who don’t have every key on the keyboard memorized. If you want to use this laptop for multimedia or entertainment purposes, you’re going to love the audio on this computer. It’s Harman-Kardon certified, so you can enjoy your Netflix me-time.

You won’t be disappointed with the connectivity options on this ultrabook either, with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wifi, Bluetooth 4.2, HDMI, Type-C USB, 3 x USB 3.0 ports, a combination microphone/audio jack, and even a microSD card reader. And for your security, this laptop has a fingerprint scanner.

There are other models of the UX331 with varying features such as different storage sizes and no discrete graphics. We chose to feature this model in particular because its mix of features is ideal for a designer (or aspiring designer) like you.

To summarize, let’s take a quick look at all of the features of this device again:

  • Windows 10 Home
  • 8th Gen Intel i5 quad core processor (1.6 GHz with turbo up to 3.9GHz)
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • 256GB m.2 SSD
  • 13.3 inch touch screen, ultra-thin bezels, full HD resolution
  • Nvidia MX150 discrete graphics processor
  • Up to 12 hours of battery life
  • Back lit keyboard
  • Harman-Kardon audio
  • Multiple connectivity options including USB Type-C and microSD card reader
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Ultra slim, ultra light, ultra portable
  • Under 1000$!

Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of this machine, shall we?

PROS

✔️Ultra slim, light, and portable
✔️Great screen
✔️Fingerprint scanner
✔️Amazing battery life
✔️This particular model has discrete graphics
Solid state drive
✔️Quad-core CPU
✔️Comes in different variations so you can choose the one that suits your lifestyle the most

CONS

❌Only 1.6GHz CPU
❌Only 8 GB of RAM
❌No ethernet port
❌No security lock port
❌May be slightly pricey

OUR VERDICT:

With the features you’ll find on this machine, it’s easy to see why it’s a strong contender for best Photoshop laptop under 1000 bucks. Although it may not be as future proof with only a 1.6GHz CPU and only 8GB of RAM, this machine will still be definitely be worth your money. We give it a thumbs up, for sure!

Special Mention: MacBooks

Ah, of course. If you’re a designer or an aspiring designer, chances are you already know that MacBooks are famed for being the machine of choice for people in the creative field. There are many reasons for this – plenty of graphics editing and creative programs run great on Macs, the battery life of  Apple laptops is to die for, the laptops themselves look sleek and amazing – and are all ultra portable, and of course, the most important part: Apple laptops have screens that seem to have been built for designers. MacBook screens are often color accurate, and with Retina screens being an option now, everything looks ultra crisp and beautiful.

The problem with MacBooks is the fact that they simply just don’t fit the budget for most people, especially if your budget is around 1000 dollars or less. So if a MacBook is out of the budget, don’t fret, because whatever a MacBook can do, a Windows computer can do too. If you really want a Mac, however, there are a few that cost below 1000 dollars – just be prepared to make some compromises.

Macbook Air

The MacBook Air is a great option for a designer to have. This 13 inch laptop comes in different models, with the CPU and the storage space often being the differentiating factor. You can get a machine with a 1.8GHz dual core Intel i5, 8 gigs of RAM, and 128 GB of storage space brand new for just under a thousand. For roughly a hundred dollars more, you can upgrade your CPU to a 2.2GHz i7.

Again, you do end up making some compromises when trying to get a MacBook that costs around or under 1000 dollars. You let go of a discrete GPU, instead using Intel Iris (integrated) graphics. However, these machines are optimized to run Photoshop most of the time, meaning you won’t have trouble running the program regardless. Another compromise is the fact that MacBook air screens aren’t the best (when compared to other MacBooks), but at least the color reproduction is still on par.

If you want the best Photoshop laptop under 1000 that is only 11 inches in size, your best option however is the 11 inch MacBook Air.  Sadly, since Apple has made this size obsolete, the only models you’ll see available for sale today are refurbished and renewed. However, refurbished doesn’t mean it’s bad – as long as it’s Apple certified to look and run like new. Beware, however, of the fact that 11 inch laptops aren’t exactly the best choice for running Photoshop. After all, in order to make such a tiny laptop, many compromises had to be made in terms of hardware and performance.

OUR FAVORITE

Product Name: Dell G5

Product Description: The Dell G5 has plenty of features that you would want to be able to run Photoshop. A great screen, a big amount of storage space, a dedicated video card and more all combine to make this a great contender for the best sub 1000 Photoshop laptop. If you’re willing to take the compromises in portability, battery life, and its size, this machine is a great choice – especially if you choose to get additional RAM installed.

Offer price: $$$

  • Performance
  • Specifications
  • Overall Build
  • Value For Money
Overall
4.6

Summary

The Dell G5 is often described as a gaming laptop – however, it’s not exactly just limited to that purpose. This machine is a huge contrast to the Asus Zenbook we mentioned above, but it is often regarded as the best Photoshop laptop under 1000 – considering the value for money and the features you get that come along with it.

For a great price, the Dell G5 comes with a 15.6” anti-glare IPS screen that is LED back lit and full HD in resolution. This machine runs on Windows 10, so you can expect all the features and versatility that comes along with it. The Dell G5 comes with a dedicated GeForce GTX 1060 (Nvidia) video card that has 6Gigs of VRAM – more than enough to handle all of your Photoshop needs. With this, you can also most definitely run plenty of games!

The G5 has a quad core 8th Gen Intel i5 processor, a CPU that can clock anywhere from 2.3GHz to 3.9GHz. It comes with 8 gigs of RAM built in (DDR4), but you can install up to 32 GB – you’ll just have to purchase the additional memory separately. You won’t be hurting for storage space on this laptop, either. The G5 comes with a 128GB SSD for your boot drive (you can also install your most used programs on this drive), and a 1TB hard drive for all your other files.

This laptop isn’t exactly ultra portable though… at just a sliver under 1 inch thick, and weighing in at 6.28 pounds, you’ll definitely feel this 15 inch powerhouse if you’re carrying it on your back for hours on end. You’ll enjoy the premium feel and durability of this machine, though.

This 15 inch laptop makes for a great multimedia and entertainment device too, with great audio to boot. It also has a back lit keyboard, making it a great choice for those who like to use their computers in the dark. In terms of connectivity you get a ton: headphone/mic jack, Thunderbolt 3 port, USB Type-C, HDMI, multiple USB 3.0 ports, a multi-card reader, an ethernet port, and of course, WiFi. It also comes with a security lock for your peace of mind (chain/lock sold separately).

Here’s a quick summary into the G5’s features:

  • 8th Gen Intel i5 quad-core processor with up to 3.9GHz turbo boost
  • 6 inch IPS screen, anti-glare, full HD resolution, LED backlit
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6 gigabytes of VRAM
  • 8GB of RAM built in, but can handle up to 32GB (additional RAM sold separately)
  • 128GB SSD + 1TB Hard drive
  • .98~ inch thick, 6.28 pounds weight
  • Back lit keyboard
  • Great speakers
  • Excellent connectivity
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Ethernet port
  • Security lock portable

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Additional RAM can be installed if needed
  • Plenty of storage space, with SSD boot drive + regular 1TB drive
  • Back lit keyboard
  • Plenty of connectivity including Thunderbolt 3 port and ethernet port
  • Good screen
  • Battery fast-charges

Cons

  • Graphics card is Max Q version, meaning it is supported by Dell and all updates and drivers must come from dell. This means updates may be slow, and if Dell stops supporting the card, you run out of options
  • Large and heavy
  • Only 8GB of RAM built-in
  • Battery life under stress conditions (encoding, photo editing, etc) is quite short

CONCLUSION

That pretty much brings us to the end of the list for this review today. There are certainly many other laptops available out there today, but these are the ones we would recommend the most for a designer on a budget. Hopefully, our thorough and in-depth look at all the specifications and requirements of Photoshop along with our very detailed list of recommendations will help you to make an informed decision as to which laptop is the best for you. Remember that there is no one laptop for designers, just the one that is perfect for your individual needs. Keep in mind things such as portability, battery life, RAM, storage space, processor and graphics card as you search for the best Photoshop laptop under 1000 (oh, and keep in mind future-proofing too)! Good luck with your search, and we hope you find ‘the one’!