PC Gear Lab

5 Best 2 in 1 laptops for Photo Editing in 2020

Convertible laptops and photo editing is like a perfect marriage.

2 in 1 laptops combine the best of two worlds i.e Tablets and PC. In the former instance, they provide you with the facilities to draw and edit using a stylus.

In the later instance, they have the power and the hardware to perform some very heavy tasks – something which a tablet can never perform.

In this article we will review some of the best 2 in 1 laptops for photo editing while keeping in mind different budget points.

The good news here is that you can find options ranging from very cheap all the way to premium. You can choose one depending upon your needs.

List of Best 2 in 1 Laptops for Photo Editing in 2020

The following convertible laptops from different sizes and price ranges offer the best value in our opinion.

  1. Lenovo Flex 5 81X20005US – Recommended 2 in 1 Laptop for Photo Editing
  2. Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L – Highly Affordable
  3. HP Pavilion x360 – Mid Range Option
  4. HP Spectre x360 – Premium Compact Laptop
  5. ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

1. Lenovo Flex 5 81X20005US – Recommended 2 in 1 Laptop for Photo Editing

First up, we have the most recommended 2 in 1 laptop here. The sheer value and performance that it offers for its price is, in our opinion, incomparable.

Every generation of laptops brings with itself a model that sets a standard in terms of value. This laptops is the model that sets the standard for 2 in 1 laptops.

For starters, this laptop features a very powerful AMD Ryzen 4500U processor. The Ryzen 5 4500U is a whopping 50% better than its predecessor i.e the Ryzen 5 3500U. No other successive generation has seen such a drastic improvement.

Yet, the best part is that the cost is still quite competitive. It is still as expensive as the Ryzen 5 3500U processors were when they were first launched. At the moment the Ryzen 5 4500U is only marginally more expensive.

AMD 4500U vs AMD 3500U
AMD 4500U (Left) vs AMD 3500U (Right). Source: CPU.Userbenchmark.com

Couple the processor with a huge 16 GB of RAM and you practically get a powerhouse of performance. This is a laptop worthy of being worked on advanced level photo editing projects.

The 256 GB of SSD is a welcome feature albeit it is a bit low, but we do recommend that you invest in an external hard drive to expand the storage.

Other than that, this Lenovo Flex 5 comes with a beautiful 14″ FHD screen along with a Digital Pen that you can use to get started with your photography or photo editing job.

All in all, if you want to go straight for a model that offers the best value in our opinion, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptop for photo editing.

2. Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L – Highly Affordable

Next up, we have a model that is stupendously affordable. If you are on a tight budget or if your photo editing work is very limited, then we cannot recommend this convertible laptop enough.

Despite being a 2 in 1 laptop, this is priced at almost the same price range as a normal laptop.

As far as the performance goes, this isn’t entirely an entry level laptop, however, it isn’t a mid range model either.

You can consider this as an excellent companion for those who perform low key photo editing jobs.

It features a fairly powerful AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor which in most low key settings is more than sufficient.

Other than that, it features a reasonable 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD. We recommend that if you plan on performing relatively heavy editing, that you upgrade the RAM to at least 8 GB.

We particularly recommend this laptop for those who use online applications and software for their editing and designing jobs such as Canva.

It is also worth nothing that despite being an affordable convertible laptop, it features a full 15.6″ FHD screen. Therefore, as far as the viewing comfort or the pixel density goes, it is not inferior to the mid range laptops.

In short, if you have a limited budget, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptop for photo editing in our opinion.

3. HP Pavilion x360 – Mid Range Option

Next we have a model that should appeal to those looking for a true mid range and an Intel Based setup.

In terms of performance this is a bit inferior to the Lenovo Flex 5 above, however, it also costs less.

The laptop features the latest Intel Core i5-1035G1, while in terms of performance it is still inferior to the AMD Ryzen 4500U by a good 17% margin, it is still more than sufficient for intermediate levels of photo editing work.

Intel Core i5-1035G1 vs AMD Ryzen 4500U
Intel Core i5-1035G1 (Left) vs AMD Ryzen 4500U (Right). Source: CPU.UserBenchmark.com

Plus, the cheaper overall price tag of the laptop does hold its merits for most.

RAM-wise, it offers a good 12 GB of RAM. This should suffice for most projects.

Other than that, it features a 256 GB SSD, Fingerprint Reader, a beautiful 14″ touchscreen.

The only drawback is that it does not come with a digital pen.

In short, if you are looking for a mid range option, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptop for photo editing in our opinion.

4. HP X360- Premium Compact Laptop

If 14″ or 15.6″ screen laptops are too heavy and large for you, then we recommend that you set your eyes on a 13.3″ laptop such as this HP Spectre X360.

First off, note that the Spectre is the premium ultrabook series from HP trumping the Pavilion and the Envy series in terms of style and performance.

Unfortunately, that also makes Spectre series the most expensive.

However, if you are looking for a gorgeous, all aluminum body with an outstandingly bright 4K screen to match, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptop for photo editing with a razor thin form factor.

Its feather light weight and thin frame would allow you to carry it around and use it on the go without much hassle.

As far as the performance goes, this laptop features the low powered Intel Core i5-1035G4 processor. Again, this is inferior to the Ryzen 5 4500U but more powerful that the older Ryzen 5 3500U processor making this sufficient for mid level photo editing work.

The 8 GB of RAM on this is good for multitasking and photo editing, but if you want to do some serious work, we recommend upgrading the RAM to at least 12 GB of RAM.

Other than that, it features a good 256 GB of SSD for its size.

In short, if you want a compact and a portable laptop, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptop for photo editing in our opinion.

5. ASUS Chromebook Flip C434

Last, but not least, here we have a Chromebook.

Chromebooks appeal to a niche user base. In case, you haven’t tried it out, let us review how it works in brief.

Unlike Windows or Mac based, a Chromebook is heavily reliant on the internet and online applications and platforms.

This is particularly great if your photo editing work is done purely on online services like Canva, GIMP, PhotoscapeX, Pixlr etc

The beauty here is that since you are using the resources and the processing power of the online application, the laptop itself does not need to have a high powered hardware configuration.

You do, however, need a fast and stable connection to make the best out of your Chromebook use.

Hence, you will notice that this Chromebook has a weak hardware configuration with an Intel Core M3-8100Y, 4GB of RAM and only 64 GB of RAM.

Again, this is purposefully done so because the main brunt of the work is done online and not on the system itself.

So if you are sold by the idea of having a Chromebook in your arsenal, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptop for photo editing.

FAQ

What to Look for in a Convertible Laptop for Photo Editing?

Best 2 in 1 laptops for photo editing

Photo editing is not the same as 3D simulation or machine learning. Therefore, you don’t really need a workstation grade machine especially if you are working in a commercial studio.

Sure, industrial grade photo editing systems are a different story, but for most average users, the hardware for photo editing does not have to be as complex as a workstation PC.

Let us review the critical components here.

Processor

This is by far the most important and the key consideration when choosing the convertible laptop for photo editing.

A good processor has a direct effect on the performance of the photo editing software. Let us take Photoshop, for instance.

Photoshop relies heavily on the processing power. It benefits not just from a good single thread performance but also from multi cores.

Therefore, keep processor as your first priority when choosing the right machine.

Graphics Card

This is not critical, but is often required for GPU accelerated features and effects.

In most cases the integrated graphics card should be more than enough. It is also true that you do not see a huge benefit in terms of performance when upgrading from a low end graphics card to a high end model.

Of course, if you work on 3D graphics as well then that is a completely different story. 3D graphics and simulation would benefit from a good GPU.

However, here we are only considering systems for photo editing which is 2D in nature.

RAM

RAM, a long with a good processor, is a very important consideration.

The higher the RAM, the higher the amount of pixels your laptop would be able to handle without showing any signs of lag.

A higher RAM also helps in multitasking and is great particularly for multiple monitor setups whereby you will have multiple software operating at a time.

Storage

We would always recommend that you go for an SSD drive. Most of the laptops feature the NVME/PCIE SSD. These SSDs are at least 5 times faster than the inferior SATA SSDs, which in turn are 5 times faster than the average HDD.

So basically, an SSD in a laptop would give you about 25x faster speeds than a conventional hard drive.

From booting your system to opening software and large files, everything will be done in a jiffy.

The downside, however, is that they are expensive. Hence large capacities are only found in the most premium laptops.

We can assume that as a photo editors you will have very large medial files to archive. In that case, we would recommend that you invest in an external HDD.

Monitor

Finally, one of the best investment that you can make for yourself is investing in a good monitor.

There are multiple aspects that differentiate an average monitor from a photo editing monitor.

From a higher bit depth, coverage of sRGB or Adobe RGB color space to having a premium IPS panel and high resolution with very bright screen. All these matter when it comes to picture perfect color uniformity.

Final Words

In this article we looked at some of the best 2 in 1 laptops for photo editing from different price ranges and sizes.

Whether you are looking for a 15.6″, 14″ or a 13.3″ convertible laptop, this guide should have at least pointed you to the right direction.

In our short article, we also talked about the hardware that matters and does not matter in terms of overall performance in photo editing software.

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