photo by trumzz via iStock
I’d love to suggest you buy a photography laptop that costs $3,000 and does absolutely everything you could ever need it to, but let’s be honest. A lot of the world is currently in a recession and the arts have been hit the hardest.
Thankfully, a lot of the best laptops 2020 also just so happen to be laptops under $1,000. If we’re being really honest with ourselves, laptops have improved so much in the last decade that you could easily work on a really cheap laptop for most of the time regardless.
So, stop listening to your friend who keeps suggesting you absolutely need to buy a MacBook in order to get anything done for your business and start listening to us. Most of the best laptops for photographers under $1,000 work just as well.
Lenovo ThinkBook 15
One of the best laptops for photographers under $1,000 is the Lenovo ThinkBook 15. The Lenovo ThinkBook 15 comes with an 8GB RAM, 256GB of storage and features a larger, 15.6” IPS screen, which makes it the best budget laptop for PhotoShop.
The screen is seriously awesome, despite the fact that this laptop is otherwise really thin, at .74 inches, and light, at 3.74 lbs. The screen resolution is 1920x1080 and Lenovo is known for its bright screens as well. All ISP screens are good for viewing at different angles, and the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 is no different. But, a lot of laptops that market themselves as “good photography laptops 2020” don’t actually include an ISP screen.
Unlike other laptops that claim to be great for editing, ahem, MacBooks, the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 actually comes with a ton of connection ports, including three USB 3.1 ports, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C port, a USB 2.0 port, headphone and microphone jacks, an HDMI, and an SD card reader. It seriously has it all.
I couldn’t qualify the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 as one of the best laptops for photographers under $1,000 if it wasn’t portable, though. I already mentioned that it is lightweight and compact, but it also comes with a 9-hour battery life thanks to its Intel Core i5-1035G1 quad-core processor which is very efficient.
The one problem I have with this laptop is the fact that it isn’t incredibly fast. If you are trying to purchase a photography laptop under $1000 specifically to process tons and tons of pictures or videos, then this isn’t the laptop for you.
The Lenovo ThinkBook 15 is available for around $785.
Acer Nitro 5
Another one of the best laptops for photographers under $1,000 is the Acer Nitro 5, which shares an equally awesome screen, but definitely improves upon the speed of the Lenovo.
The Acer Nitro 5 features an 8GB RAM and a very impressive 1TB of storage. It shares the exact same screen as the Lenovo: a 15.6” IPS screen with 1920x1080 resolution.
The Acer Nitro 5 is targeted at gamers, so you’ll get some pretty useless features like a backlit screen and some downright unhelpful features, like a relatively chunky body (which measures 15.35” x 10.47” x 1.02” and weighs nearly 6 lbs), but laptops aimed at gamers are laptops that can process a ton of information really quickly.
As for the ports, the Acer Nitro 5 comes with an HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port.
The battery life on the Acer Nitro 5 is similar to that on the Lenovo at 8.5 hours.
There are a couple of different editions of the Acer Nitro 5, so you have some variations depending upon what specs you absolutely need. Just make sure that you’re purchasing the correct version.
This is one of the best laptops for photographers under $1,000, but it’s also the best laptop for photo editing on a budget. If you run a photography business that needs to process thousands of images a week, then the Acer Nitro 5 is the laptop for you.
You can pick up an Acer Nitro 5 off of Amazon for a little over $800.
HP Pavilion Gaming
The HP Pavilion Gaming laptop is one of the best laptops for photographers under $1,000 thanks to its excellent screen, the same 15.6” IPS screen with 1920x1080 resolution present on most of the other laptops on this list, and its cheap price.
Since this laptop is currently available on Amazon for only $665.99, it isn’t terribly surprising to find out that it does lack in storage. It only comes with 256GB.
However, its 8GB of RAM really makes up for its lack of storage and its 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor means that you can quickly edit a photo dump in Photoshop.
This is yet another computer that is marketed for gamers, but I personally like the aesthetics of this computer a lot more over the aesthetics of the Acer Nitro 5, which is a little over the top for me.
The HP Pavilion Gaming laptop weighs 5 lbs, which is a bit lighter than the Acer, and it measures 14.2” x 10.1” x 0.9”, so it’s a bit more portable as well.
The HP 15s-fq1003na laptop is also among the best laptops for photographers under $1,000 this year, but for very different reasons.
The first reason is that this laptop comes with an extra-long battery life, which lasts for over 10 hours. As a photographer who travels quite frequently, it’s really important for me to not only purchase the best laptop for photography on a budget, but to purchase a laptop that can work off grid. This laptop is it.
It’s clear this laptop was also built for portability. Unlike some of the gaming laptops on this list, the HP 15s-fq1003na is sleek. It weighs 3.72 lbs and measures 14.11” x 9.52” x .70”, so it’s the perfect laptop to throw in your backpack or carry on.
Other than it’s incredible battery life and compact size, this laptop features the same 15.6” IPS screen with 1920x1080 resolution, which means you should be able to easily work with it in the field, even if it’s really bright out, etc. It features an 8GB RAM and a respectable 512GB of storage.
In terms of its speed, this laptop is lacking. It comes with an Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, the same processor as the Lenovo ThinkBook, which I also criticized for its speed.
This is also one of the cheaper laptops on our best laptops for photographers under $1,000 list. It costs just $640.
Lenovo Yoga C930
Lenovo made our best laptops for photographers under $1,000 article twice, but the Lenovo Yoga C930 was too good to forget.
This laptop features a 13.9” ISP glossy multi-touch screen with 1920x1080 resolution. It actually comes with a 4K display model, as well, so that you can edit your high resolution shots as efficiently as possible. It’s the only laptop on our list to include this feature.
Depending upon the version you purchase, you can get anywhere between 256GB-2TB of storage, which I’m a huge fan of since you can opt in for specs you need and opt out for specs you don’t.
It comes with an 8GB RAM, or a 16GB RAM, again depending upon which version you choose.
Obviously, the battery life on this laptop will change depending upon which version you purchase, but its battery life hovers around 9 hours. This was one of the most surprising things about this laptop, personally, because I expected that all of the other features on it would mean I would need to compromise with the battery life. This isn’t the case.
The Lenovo Yoga C930 weighs just 3.1 lbs and measures 12.6” x 8.9” x 0.6”, which also means that it’s the smallest computer on our “best laptops for photographers under $1,000” list.
The one problem with this laptop is that it is more expensive than any of the other laptops here and that each of the add on and upgrade options cost more.
You can pick up a Lenovo Yoga C930 on Amazon for $930