Elements: What sort of laptop should I purchase?

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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Sarah Simon

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Posted 2 years ago

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David Joyce

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To operate smoothly with good performance, you need a laptop with the minimum of an i5 processer or equivalent and 8GB RAM, with a 250GB hard drive. Depending on how much you have to spend, try have an SSD hard drive, which improves speed. It is useful to have the minimum of two USB 3 ports and an SD card slot, to download the pictures from your camera.
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Using a laptop may be for different reasons:
- having a laptop beside a desktop for working outside
- having a laptop to do everything
- Having a laptop for outside work and possibly an external monitor at home for retouching.

The big difference will be in the laptop size and its display properties. The only trap to avoid is to think a HiDpi is better than a normal one. If price is not a problem, choose a real 4k display and set Elements to work at 200% interface magnification. Don't choose something in between 4k and 'normal' HD, the ability to scale the interface at 150% is not available for the editor. A 'normal' resolution is perfect.

The other thing to think about is if you have additional needs for other softwares and if you need a powerful setup for multitasking. If you work mainly with the editor and organizer, a fast I3 processor will be better than a slower I5.

If you choose an SSD drive, I'd recommend at least 256 GB and storing your image library on an external USB3 drive.

I agree that 8 GB RAM is very important.

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Wolfgang Exler

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according to the previous replies I also recommend 8 GB of RAM, even if you can work with 4GB
But there is one extremly important thing the prevoius posters did not recommend: Display type

As you may know, a profiled display is recommended for image editing. Best is to use a hardware calibrated display for correct color presentation. If you use a laptop, I highly recommend to do a check first at a local store, Display an image of your choice or better a display test image. With that image on screen, move the display for- and backward, changing the angle and so the view angle if you sit in front if the laptop. I expect you will be shocked how much the image is changed with the viewing angle. This is common for most laptops and so I always say: if you want to  have a bad image editing device, just select a laptop display.

There are two options to prevent bad image editing errors based on laptop display issues: use a high quality external display or use a laptop with a high quality display.

From my own experience I can for exampel recommend some HP laptops, just check for HP Laptops with a DreamColor display. I have no idea if there are similar display types on laptops from different manufacturers.

If you ever used a Laptop with a DreamColor display you will know why all other laptop displays are bullsh....

a test iamge can be found here


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Steve Lehman

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Steve Lehman, MCSE engineer responding:  

Hello Sarah, 

There are two places where engineers find their stuff, Dell and Tiger Direct.  

When you asked what type - my answer is "affordable" and reliable.   Get what an engineer looks for.  Engineers want genuine Dell Latitude.    At Microsoft, every desk has a Dell if not 2 or 3 in a cubical.  The only exception was my 10x10 foot test lab with 12 different brands of PC's on racks to test circuit boards and software, testing Windows on different brands.   My personal desk had 2 Dell desktops for communications and programming, and then my laptop for games, because in the hall the arcade games were limited and busy.  The Dell computer maintenance company at  Microsoft services banks also.   

Dell has affordable and completely tested refurbished laptops for low pricing.  Refurbished laptops are mostly trades.  Some have left-over software as a bonus.  Some have their software stripped down to only Windows 10 Pro.   

Get Windows 10 Pro for its better integration with Photoshop and Acrobat. On a Home edition, Acrobat runs as a stand alone and won't integrate well with Word, etc.   At Dell, all used and refurbished laptops are on sale to clear for less than $300 to $600.  Every engineer wants a Dell Latitude, which is Dell's most reliable, with better hardware inside, including Intel.   It will have 8 Gigs of memory, a 1 Tb drive, an I-7 processor, a 15 inch display, a SD memory slot for camera photo conversions, and a few USB ports, and I usually run an extra USB hub with 5 to 10 ports.  In my shop we have lots of devices running off our workstations, yet all of us are networked.   All Dell laptops will come with a power cord and battery.  I suggest you get a 15 inch case as wide as the laptop, one you can flip-open to start working immediately wherever you go.  Get a small wireless mouse as an appropriate fit for laptops, and its dongle will fit into a USB port for the mouse signal. Maybe're we're old fashioned but we use mouse pads because some of our desks have a glass top for writing, and wireless mice can get scratched.   Buy a wifi dongle to get a Web signal from your desktop router, or you can buy an Internet router compatible with your phone carrier, either wired or wireless.  It plugs into a USB port.  I always get a "cooler" for my laptop as the bottom side may be a little warm, because its internal fan may not work or be enough to cool the laptop.  It's the battery that gets warm, but not hot.  It's great for the library and Starbucks.   Photoshop Elements will work on a laptop as well as a desktop.  Dell uses Fed Ex, my favorite carrier.   Avoid UPS for computer deliveries, and be at home for delivery to avoid theft, or arrange for pick up at the carrier's store (Fed Ex store preferable).   Dell has low priced new, used, refurbished laptops at this link.   http://outlet.us.dell.com/ARBOnlineSales/Online/InventorySearch.aspx?brandId=2201&c=us&cs=22...

Tiger Direct is a favorite place for engineers to get something for less.  At Tiger Direct, their computers are new, used or refurbished, and always low priced.  Their sales team will bend their rules to find the right one.   I have bought 4 refurbished laptops from this company, all reliable, bought between 1989 and now, and I have two left.  My wife uses one of them everyday in a room where I can't see her screen <wink>.   The company is prompt with mailing with your choice of reliable mail carrier.  If possible, avoid UPS for computer deliveries.  If you can, be at home for delivery to avoid theft.  Personally, I use USPS whenever possible even if it costs more.   I want my carrier to have strict rules like USPS has for delivery, or I will pick it up at my post office.  UPS uses USPS for ground delivery.  If choosing ground, choose Fed Ex.     

When you get it, don't use its Windows 10 Defender for a virus scanner.  Use a reliable virus software such as Norton's and run Malwarebytes with it.  Malwarebytes will guard against ransomware.  Ransomware is on the increase.  When they lock your computer they encrypt your files.   To unlock it, they will ask for lots of money, then they ask for more, and then more.  They will refuse to unlock no mater how much is paid.   A tech may or may not help, but if so, for the same amount of money.  Sometimes the RegEdit is locked, where a tech cannot enter.  Malwarebytes is the most reliable to avoid this.   It turns off their hacking software.   To be aware of hacking, your screen will go black but only for a split second, almost not noticeable.  That's enough time for their software to search for what it wants.   If you don't have numbers or passwords on your computer, a hacker will not be interested in your computer.  The hackers are looking for keystrokes with numbers.  They have auto-search software working fast and independent.  Nobody is behind it.  Engineer's will expect that ransomware to be a major topic in 2018.  Ransomware is advancing to corporations and financial institutions.   

Tiger Direct laptops are at this link.  Look hard for Dell laptops which are few.  Dell is a better place to find an engineer's, genuine Dell Latitude Laptop.     http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_tlc.asp?CatId=17

Steve Lehman, MCSE responding