If you’re as old as me, you may remember the days when photographers needed to have powerful laptops or personal computers to store and edit photos. Today, you can now do this task effectively on portable and compact tablets.
However, there are now plenty of available tablets on the market, but not all of them can run photo editing apps with ease. This can make the decision process quite challenging since no one wants to shell out a few hundred for the wrong device.
To help make things easier for you, we have compiled this list to find the best tablet for photo editing. And if you find out that you would rather use a laptop, be sure to check out my laptop reviews here.
Consider These Factors When Choosing a Tablet for Photo Editing
Before diving into the review of the best tablet for photo editing, you must first know what to look out for as you compare options. Some casual photographers might not care about these too much, but anyone who wants to use their tablet for work should pay close attention.
Look at these main factors when choosing a tablet for photo editing.
The most important item to consider when choosing a tablet for photo editing is the screen quality. How can you edit a photo if you do not see it in its true quality level. Make sure your tablet has a high pixel resolution or else your images will be pixelated.
RAM is the computer’s short-term memory. Since higher quality photos take more power to process, make sure to buy a tablet that at least has a quad-core processor to avoid annoying lag. If you are using a resource-intensive editing tool, you will want all the memory you can get. The best machines will have 16GB of RAM or more, but you should be fine with 4GB.
When choosing what OS to pick, check whether the apps you will be using for photo editing are compatible. For instance, iOS offers a wider range of creative and professional-grade apps than Android. It would help if you also considered what other devices you have, as you want to have seamless integration between your phone, tablet, and computer.
Lastly, you should check out the battery life. Photo editing may consume more power than other apps, so make sure to choose a device with a robust battery. You will find many low-cost tablets skimp out on battery power, so do not let the price deceive you. That said, you will want to keep your tablet plugged in during intense photo editing sessions.
Best Tablets for Photo Editing
Now that you know the different factors to consider, let’s begin the search for the best tablet for photo editing. I’ve done extensive research and believe these tablets are among the most top-rated options in the market.
Best Apple Tablet – Apple iPad Pro 2020
The top selling point of the newly released iPad Pro 2020 is its screen quality. Apple claims it to be the best screen on any tablet today, and many reviewers agree with that. It has 600 nits brightness and a true tone display for vivid colors, which places it at the top of our list. Plus, it has a 12.9-inch display, so you have plenty of room to manipulate photos without squinting.
This tablet is also a technological beast. It sports the A12Z Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture, and the 8-core GPU allows it to process actions quickly. I’m confident you can load and edit high definition photos without any problem.
Furthermore, the iPad Pro 2020 has 6GB of RAM. This is bigger than some laptops and PCs out there, delivering powerful performance and speed.
The only negative is that this tablet is among the most expensive on this list. But, its other features, such as its 12MP camera, LiDAR Scanner, and Face ID feature, can easily justify its price tag.
Runner Up – Apple iPad Air 2020
If you want a more compact tablet for photo editing, then the Apple iPad Air 2020 might just be what you are looking for. Although it does not have the same “professional” look of the iPad Pro, it still delivers a stylish and vibrant experience.
It is very similar to the iPad Pro in terms of OS and display, but it is a little more affordable, lighter, and sleek. However, its screen size is only 10.9 inches.
Unlike the iPad Pro, the iPad Air carries an A14 Bionic chip. It is the first commercially available chipset that has 5nm node technology. With this, it can deliver 40% better performance than those that have the A12 Bionic chip. So you will have newer technology for a faster experience but slightly less power when doing heavy editing tasks.
Choosing this tablet will mean that you will benefit from iOS’ compatibility and optimization with photo editing software such as Lightroom or VSCO.
Best Overall Choice – Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The first reason is that although it is not necessarily cheap, it does have powerful features such as a 12.3-inch display, 16 GB RAM, and Quad-core 10 gen processor. All this creates a fully-load system that can easily rival Apple and Android when it comes to photo editing.
As a freelancer and digital nomad, portability is key. This tablet certainly delivers. It is ultra-slim, and it only weighs 1.70 pounds so that you can carry it around with you like nothing. It can also transform into a laptop thanks to its built-in kickstand. All you have to do is add a keyboard.
Lastly, it has the Intel UHD Graphics that lets you see high-quality images in their true resolution. I was surprised to learn that this is the same graphics used on select Intel Core processor laptops.
As you can tell, I really enjoy what Microsoft has done with the surface, and I am sure you will too.
Best Value – Samsung Galaxy Tab S7
When compared to Apple and Microsoft, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 can handle its own in terms of photo editing. It has a high-responsive and high-resolution 120Hz display and the most powerful tablet chipset Samsung can offer. This device also has an impressive 14-hour battery life, so you can comfortably travel with it.
However, since it comes at a lot lower cost than other options, it has made several trade-offs. This is evident in the quality of the camera that comes with the Tab S7. But, if you intend to use another camera and simply transfer it into this tablet, that will not have any bearing at all.
Honestly, I would recommend this tablet for anyone who is new to the photo editing world. You don’t need the latest and greatest equipment to take amazing shots, and you certainly don’t need the best tablet for photo editing if you are a beginner.
Most Affordable – Huawei MediaPad M5 Tablet
If you compare the M5 to Apple, Microsoft, and even Samsung, prepare to be disappointed. However, it is really affordable as far as a decent tablet can go. You can use this for daily tasks, social media, and light work.
In terms of its photo editing capability, it is compatible with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, but I would not recommend it for more than the basic tweaks. Anything else, and you can expect to have slower performance.
Acer Switch 7
It has a large 13.5-inch IPS display with an 8th generation Intel Core processor. It also has 512GB SSD and 16 GB of onboard memory to store many pictures and run multiple apps at the same time.
However, this power comes at a cost. The Switch 7 is not the most affordable nor the most compact tablet out there. It is even more expensive than the iPad Pro 2020. At this size, you might as well get a laptop unless you really want a touchscreen device.
HP Pro 608 G1
The HP Pro 7.8-inch full HD QXGA screen display is high-definition, but it might be too small to get the full photo editing experience. By far, it is the most portable and lightweight tablet on the market that is compatible with Photoshop.
This tablet runs on the Windows 10 home edition, which may be a turn off for some folks. However, this means you can use Adobe Creative Cloud on the tablet, including the full versions of Lightroom and Photoshop.
However, the processor falls short compared to our other options. With only a 1.44GHZ Intel Atom processor, it is not as powerful as Microsoft or Acer.
Read over the considerations at the top of this article. What items speaks to you most?
If you want reliable performance and excellent value, I suggest the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. That said, each of these items has their own merits and will be good choices for most people.
I have been a freelance digital marketer since 2014, specializing in content marketing and editing. My interest in finance and frugal living began while living overseas, inspiring me to start this blog. When I am not helping clients generate more leads or market their services, I explore the world, listen to podcasts, and dream big.