Which is the best travel laptop for photographers? Next to a quality camera, nothing is more essential in the arsenal of a traveling photographer than a laptop built to meet their needs. If you’re a photographer searching for a laptop to take with you on your next adventure, you’re going to have to find a model which is lightweight, compact, and capable of providing clear and comprehensive views of any image edited through its screen. With these desirable features and more in mind, we prepared this list of the best travel laptops for photographers.

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1. Apple 15” MacBook Pro

Key Features of the Apple 15” MacBook Pro include: 15-inch Retina LED backlit display, Force Touch trackpad, True Tone and IPS (in-plane switching) technology,four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, Secure Enclave coprocessor and touch ID.

Apple MacBook Pro (15-Inch, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage, 2.2GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray (Previous Model)
181 Reviews
Apple MacBook Pro (15-Inch, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage, 2.2GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray (Previous Model)
  • Brilliant Retina Display with True Tone technology
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Radeon Pro 555x Graphics with 4GB of video Memory
  • Ultrafast SSD
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630

Vivid Display

The Apple 15” MacBook Pro is one of the most visually impressive offerings the tech giant has ever produced. Taking its name from its 15-inch Retina LED backlit display, this laptop allows the travel photographer to view their shots with a level of clarity that is almost unsurpassed. With its True Tone and IPS (in-plane switching) technology, the 15” MacBook Pro supports literally millions of colors, presenting all images as clearly as – if not even clearer than – they would be seen through the human eye.


In an attempt to produce as compact and as lightweight a laptop as possible, many manufacturers of travel laptops cut down on ports and similar features. However, this is not the case with the Apple 15” MacBook Pro. This laptop boasts a total of four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, along with a headphone jack, allowing the user to listen to music while they work, whether on a plane or sitting in a cafe. When headphones do not need to be used, you can experience your audio through stereo speakers.


Few laptops can rival the Apple 15” MacBook Pro when it comes to security. The Apple T2 chip with which this laptop comes fitted boasts a Secure Enclave coprocessor, which allows the user to avail themselves of secure boot and encrypted storage capabilities when necessary. Meanwhile, a touch ID feature ensures you can access your files in a timely manner while nobody else can access them at all.

Pros Apple 15” MacBook Pro

  • Force Touch trackpad
  • 8th generation Intel Core processors
  • Silent operation

Cons Apple 15” MacBook Pro

  • Expensive
  • Poor heat dissipation
  • Frustratingly sensitive touch bar

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2. Dell XPS 15 9560

The Dell XPS 15 9560 includes its InfinityEdge display, 15.6-inch screen and 5.7-millimeter bezel, 9 hours battery life, optional touchscreen.

DELL 2017 XPS 9560 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ (6M cache, up to 3. 8 GHz) Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 8GB 2400MHz, DDR4 LCD 15. 6" FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge, Non-touch 256GB PCIe Sol
  • DELL XPS 9560 - Processor 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor (6M cache, up Processor 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor (6M cache, up to 3.8 GHz)
  • Operating System Windows 10 Pro 64-bit English Memory 8GB 2400MHz, DDR4; up to 32GB
  • LCD 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge, Non-touch Hard Drive 256GB PCIe Solid State Drive Video Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5


Many traveling photographers try to keep spending to a minimum ahead of a trip. If you are among them, you should pay careful attention to this offering from Dell, which will set you back close to $1,000 less than its Apple alternatives. Selling for just a little over $1,500, the XPS 15 9560 boasts many of the features of its more expensive counterparts, along with some which are unique to itself, and will leave you with plenty of cash to spend on transport, accommodation, and food.

InfinityEdge Display

One of the major selling points of the Dell XPS 15 9560 is its InfinityEdge display. The manufacturer’s eagerness to stress this feature of the laptop is totally understandable considering it is the world’s only 15.6-inch laptop with an InfinityEdge display. This InfinityEdge display maximizes screen space and makes for as comprehensive a view of the images displayed upon it as possible. Along with its 15.6-inch screen and 5.7-millimeter bezel, the Dell XPS 15 9560 comes in at just 21 x 12 x2 inches, which makes it 59% thinner than its MacBook counterparts.

Battery Life

When you’re moving from place to place with the rapidity of the average traveling photographer, you don’t have many chances to recharge your equipment, which is why it is essential that any budding travel photographer should purchase a laptop with a long battery life. The Dell XPS 15 9560 is one such laptop. When it has been fully charged, this laptop is capable of running for 9 hours, allowing the user to complete an entire day’s work.

Pros Dell XPS 15 9560

  • Optional touchscreen
  • Battery saver
  • Digital assistant

Cons Dell XPS 15 9560

  • Does not support Linux
  • Unimpressive audio
  • Inferior webcam

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3. Microsoft Surface Book 2

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 offers multiple nodes (laptop, tablet, studio), 17 hour battery life, PixelSense display and detachable screen.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 15' (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512 GB), Silver
990 Reviews
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15" (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512 GB), Silver
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2 Features a 8th generation Intel Quad Core i7 Processor, 512 GB of storage, 16 GB RAM, and up to 17 hours of video playback
  • Enhanced Graphics performance with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 discrete GPU w/6GB GDDR5 Graphics Memory
  • The fastest Surface Book yet, with 4x more power
  • Vibrant PixelSense Display: now available with a new 15" touchscreen. Weight : Starting at 4.2 pounds including keyboard
  • Four versatile modes of use and new USB-C port


One of the coolest things about the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is its wide selection of modes. While it can be used as a traditional laptop, it also offers a tablet mode, which is convenient when trying to get work done on a cramped plane or bus. Studio mode allows the user to draw as they would on a canvas placed on an easel, which has made the Microsoft Surface Book 2 just as popular among animators as it is among photographers.

Battery Life

Few laptops can hang with the Microsoft Surface Book 2 when it comes to battery life. On a single full charge, this laptop is capable of running for up to 17 hours. This, of course, far exceeds the battery life of most laptops and is almost unmatched in the world of travel laptops.

PixelSense Display

The Surface Book 2 boasts Microsoft’s unique and acclaimed PixelSense display. This PixelSense display allows for vibrant colors and clear images while simultaneously granting the user the ability to navigate the screen with their fingers or stylus. This makes for a more interactive and intuitive using experience, increasing, at least in theory, one’s productivity.

Pros Microsoft Surface Book 2

  • Optional touchscreen
  • Detachable screen
  • USB-C port

Cons Microsoft Surface Book 2

  • Expensive
  • Surface Pen not included
  • Unimpressive audio

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Conclusion Best Travel Laptop for Photographers

Every photographer is different, which is why it is impossible to name one of the above laptops as the absolute best travel laptop for photographers. That being said, if your primary concern is keeping costs down, you should choose the Dell XPS 15 9560. Despite selling for significantly less than its Apple and Microsoft counterparts, this offering from Dell boasts many similar features, along with a plethora of unique bonuses to set it apart, such as its InfinityEdge display.

If you have a lot of room in your budget, you should consider going with the Apple 15” MacBook Pro. Not only is this laptop loaded with features, such as its Retina display and Force Touch trackpad, but it is also capable of running many programs which are incompatible with rival laptops. It is largely for this reason that many professional photographers choose Apple products over their less versatile counterparts.

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