Photo editing is one of the most demanding task that you can perform on a laptop/PC.
You need specialized equipment and features in the hardware as well as the screen of the PC for photo editing.
Professional photo editing requires workstation grade PC.
Therefore, you have to understand that if you are getting a laptop under $500 for photo editing purposes it will not be the cream of the brand.
However, if you are an amateur photographer, then you can most certainly start you career with an affordable machine.
In this article we will have a look at top 5 best laptops for photo editing under $500 to kick start your photography career.
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Intel Core i5-8250U
1 TB HDD
Intel Core i3-8130U
4 GB + 16 GB Optane
Amd Ryzen 5 2500U
1 TB HDD
Intel Core i3-8130U
128 GB SSD
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Intel Core i5-8250U
1 TB HDD
List of Best Laptops for Photo Editing Under $500
We have chosen the follow high school laptops for our list.
- 1ASUS VivoBook F510UA – Recommended Photo Editing Laptop Under $500
- 2HP Pavilion X360 – Best Seller Laptop
- 3Dell Inspiron 15 5575 – Powerful Processor
- 4HP 14 – Affordable Laptop for Light Photo Editing
- 5HP Pavilion 15 – Robust Machine Packed with Power
5 Best Photo Editing Laptops Under $500 Reviewed
Let us look at the selected laptops a bit in depth. They are certainly quite an interesting bunch each with its own little perks. It is worth studying each one of these.
1. ASUS VivoBook F510UA – Recommended Photo Editing Laptop Under $500
- This Certified Refurbished product is tested...
- Powerful 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U...
- 14.2" wide, 0.8" thin and portable footprint...
- 15.6" anti-glare Full HD display with ASUS...
This is, hands down, the best laptops for photo editing under $500.
ASUS VivoBook F510UA has piratically set a new standard in the notebook market.
The value that it offers is unbeatable for the price. High quality parts ensure that this laptop will last a long time.
For starters, this laptop offers a powerful 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor. Compares the to the previous generation processors, the 8th generation is significantly more powerful.
While it is usual to find Core i3 from the 8th generation in this price range, it is quite rare and blessing to have a Core i5 from the 8th generation in the market for about $500.
On top of that ASUS VivoBook F510UA offers a decent 8 GB DDR 4 RAM, which can be upgraded all the way to 32 GB.
It also offers a fair 1 TB HDD. The only drawback here is that the HDD operates at 5400 RPM. 7200 RPM HDD would have been much better, but you can really ask for more.
While this notebook packs a beast underneath its chassis, it has a beautiful form factor too. It is close to being an Ultrabook thanks to 0.8″ thickness.
On top of that, the IPS display is just phenomenol. Not only does it have vibrant colors, it has extremely slim bezels giving you a practically frameless display.
2. HP Pavilion X360 – Best Seller Laptop
Another highly recommended laptop from us under the $500 range is the latest 15.6 inch HP Pavilion X360.
The x360 is series dedicated for convertible laptops that can turn 360 on their back to turn into a tablet.
As result, they are not just touchscreen laptops, they boast a vivid and gorgeous glossy IPS screen that is excellent for photo editing.
As far as the power is concerned, HP Pavilion X360 offer the Intel Core i3-8130U processor that is comparable to the i5-7200U from the previous generation. Therefore, it should be able to handle photo editing software with relative ease.
What sets this notebook apart is that it only has 4 GB built in DDR4 RAM, it also offers the latest 16 GB Intel Optane memory. Therefore, you essentially get 20 GBs of memory. For photo editing and even Video Editing, the more RAM you have, the better would be your working experience. This laptop takes the crown in that regard.
In addition to offering 1 TB of HDD, you will also get an HP Digital Pen for drawing digital art as well as editing photos easily.
3. Dell Inspiron 15 5575 – Powerful Processor
- Amd Ryzen 5 2500U mobile Processor with...
- 8GB 2400MHz DDR4[32GB], (additional memory...
- 1 TB 5400 RPM [SATA] (HDD), Tray load DVD...
- 15.6-Inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare,...
For AMD fans, this laptops is a blessing.
Not only does it offer a beautiful 15.6 inch IPS Touchscreen, it offers one of the best processor for the money.
Instead of offering Intel Core i5 or the Core i7, this laptops offers the latest AMD Ryzen 5 APU (Accelerated Processing Unit). In terms of performance, this is superior to the Intel Core i7-7500U.
It is marginally slower than the Core i7-8550U processor. What that means is that in terms of sheer processor performance, this is the best laptop for photo editing under $500 in this list.
Since AMD processors boast relative powerful integrated graphics card, with the AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 installed, you should be able to enjoy a relatively better gaming experience as compared to integrated Intel HD Graphics.
Other than that, this notebook offers the typical 8 GB DDR 4 RAM and 1 TB of HDD. While out of the box this laptop is excellent for high demanding work, if you want to take this to the next level, then we would recommend that you upgrade the RAM as well as replace the HDD with an SSD in the future.
All in all, if you want a laptop that offers a fairly powerful processor, then this is one of the best laptops for photo editing under $500.
4. HP 14 FHD – Affordable Laptop for Light Photo Editing
- 4GB DDR4 SDRAM, 128GB Solid State Drive
- Powered by the latest 8th Gen Intel smart...
- 14-inch Diagonal FHD IPS BrightView...
- High speed (2x2) 802.11B/g/n/ac WiFi,...
Unlike the rest of the laptops listed here, this is 14 inch in size. 14 inch has both pros and cons.
While they are easier to carry around and generally have a longer battery life, their marginally smaller screen can make the working experience relatively uncomfortable compared to 15.6 inch notebooks.
Nevertheless, if you are getting a really good deal, it is worth checking a 14 inch monitors out as well.
This particular monitor maintains the FHD resolution despite offering a smaller screen. What this means is that as far as the pixel real estate is concerned, you get the same amount as you would on 15.6 inch FHD laptops.
As far as the core hardware is concerned, HP 14 FHD offers Intel Core i3-8130U processor. This processor, as mentioned earlier, is comparable to Intel Core i5-7500U in terms of performance. Therefore, it should be able to handle photo editing software.
The base model offers 128 GB of SSD storage space and you can get 4 GB of RAM well under $500 range.
In short, if you came here looking for an affordable laptop that is capable of casual levels of work, then this is one of the best laptops for photo editing under $500 that still has a good lifespan.
5. HP Pavilion 15 – Robust Machine Packed with Power
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Here we have a laptop that has won the “Amazon’s Choice” award and for all the right reasons.
This particular HP Pavilion 15 is comparable to ASUS VivoBook F510UA in terms of performance.
It also offers a powerful Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM as well as 1 TB of HDD storage space.
While this notebook does not offer the slim bezels of the ASUS VivoBook F510UA above, it does offer a Touchscreen instead.
Therefore, in the end, if you choose between this and the ASUS VivoBook F510UA, it will boil down to brand loyalty as well as the preference in looks.
In the end, they are both highly capable laptops that both boast IPS displays that offer vivid color.
In addition to that, they both offer fairly power Intel Core i5 8 th generation processor that are comparable to Core i7-7500U in performance.
Therefore, as far as photo editing goes, they both are excellent.
The choice between the two will therefore be a matter of personal preference.
How Have We Chosen These?
We have set a certain criteria that a laptop in this list must at least meat to best considered among the best photo editing monitors under $500.
The first thing that we have taken into consideration is that all of the laptops have an IPS screen. IPS panel are the industry standard for photo editing and designing.
They have the best color reproduction as well as color uniformity thanks to their wide viewing angles. As far as the color fidelity is concerned, nothing beats a monitor with IPS panel.
On the down side, when you compare IPS to LED displays they have slower response times, which is a feature that gamers would certainly understand. In addition to that, they are much costlier.
While conventional IPS monitors have certainly become cheaper, the IPS display on generally tend to be quite expensive.
Note that there are two other common panel types. The most common on budget laptops is the TN panel.
This is an older technology. Therefore, it is quite cheap to produce. They suffer from the worst viewing angles and color reproduction but they have the fastest response times.
Lastly, there is the VA panel. VA panels are rare on laptops. They can generally be found on normal monitors. In terms of color reproduction as well as response time, they fall somewhere in between TN and IPS panels.
The bottom line here is that for a photo editing laptop, IPS panel is the way to go. We have made sure that all of our listed laptops here boast an IPS panel.
Mid Range Processor
We have made it certain that the best laptops for photo editing under $500 featured here have a mid range processor.
You will not find Intel Celeron processor being featured here. We suggest a minimum of Intel Core i5-7200U or equivalent as a benchmark for photo editing.
This is a dual core processor with hyper threading enabled. Therefore you essentially get 4 simultaneously running threads.
Note that the ‘U’ designation in the processor pertains to it being an ultra low voltage processor. Therefore, it consumes less power and allows the laptop to have a long battery life.
You will also find Core i3 processor from the 8th generation which actually beat the performance of Core i5 7200U of the 7th generation.
All in all, these laptops have good processing power to support all of the required software for photo editing at a reasonable level.
Of course, you must realize that the performance will not be as great as it would be on quad core processors like the Core i7-7700HQ.
It is important to get a good processor because the RAM and HDD can always be upgraded. The processor can be very difficult to upgrade in comparison.
Here we looked at the best laptops for photo editing under $500 – though from time to time the prices may change.
The key thing to realize here is that professional laptops for editing and designing cost well beyond the $1000 range.
Therefore, you have to understand that you will not be able to achieve professional levels of work done on a laptop that costs merely around $500 range.
With that said, if you are an amateur, taking your first step into the world of photography, or just a casual editor, then the laptop under $500 are good to go.
Andrew White is the founder of TechGearoid, a leading technology review & information website that is designed to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their IT purchases. As a specialist tech writer (nerd) with over 10 years of experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern technology & the newest market innovations. When he isn’t providing value for his readers, he’s usually drinking coffee or at the beach. Andrew lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and family.