Tablets are a cross between a smartphone and a laptop. Their bigger screen gives way to more creativity and real estate for carrying out tasks like designing or editing. But not all tablets are equipped to perform creative tasks like photo editing well. Apple’s iPads and Microsoft’s Surface tablets have created a performance benchmark that makes them suitable for photo editing tasks using tools like Adobe Photoshop.
Android tablets are lagging in this segment, which is why you won’t be finding any featured on this list. You also won’t find decent photo editing apps for Android tablets, making it hard to recommend them here.
Apple’s iPads offer almost desktop-level Adobe Photoshop experience along with worthy alternatives like Affinity Photo. Adobe Lightroom works effortlessly on iPads as well. Similarly, Windows tablets also offer top-notch experience with desktop versions of Photoshop and Lightroom. Comparatively, for users who seek a more professional experience, the Windows ecosystem has the best in store.
Now, without further ado, let us walk you through our top picks.
Best Tablets For Photoshop and Photo Editing: An Overview
Take a look at our quick overview of the best options that we highly recommend.
- Best Tablet Overall For Photo Editing: Apple iPad Pro (on Amazon*). The Apple iPad Pro is the best tablet overall for photo editing. This powerful tablet has the best mix of software and hardware. It supports Apple Pencil 2 that provides the absolute precision required for professional level photo editing using apps like Lightroom and Photoshop.
- Best iPad Mid-ranger For Photo Editing: Apple iPad Air 4 (on Amazon*). The iPad Air is the best mid-range iPad that you can get for photo editing. It is a sleek and powerful tablet that supports Apple Pencil 2 – a worthy alternative to the iPad Pro. It’s cheaper and has very similar features.
- Best Compact iPad For Editing Work On The Move: Apple iPad Mini (on Amazon*). The iPad Mini is one of the best compact tablets on the market. It is an ideal device for creative professionals who do their work on-the-go.
- Ultimate Budget iPad: Apple iPad 8 (on Amazon*). The iPad 8 is the best budget pick for those who want an affordable iPad with support for Photoshop and other photo editing apps. The iPad 8 packs decent hardware and software that comes in handy for heavy lifting tasks like tweaking photos.
- Best Windows Tablet For Photo Editing: Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (on Amazon*). The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is the best Windows tablet with desktop-level Photoshop support. It makes for an ideal tablet for those who seek a premium device that offers the same photo editing experience as on a desktop machine.
- Best Budget Windows Tablet For Photo Editing: Lenovo Duet Yoga 7i (on Amazon*). The Lenovo Yoga Duet 7i is the ultimate budget Windows tablet that comes pre-bundled with accessories like a stylus and keyboard. It support Photoshop and other tools for photo editing.
Best iPads For Photo Editing & Photoshop
Here are the best iPads that support apps like Adobe Photoshop and a great for photo editing.
Apple iPad Pro 2020
Apple is the market leader for creating tablets that offer the best of both worlds to the users. We have featured the iPad Pro in several of our best lists, and this marks another time when we are featuring it at the top of our listicle. The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet backed by an eight-core A12Z chipset that can handle multitasking seamlessly, as good as you can expect on a laptop. It is one of the most preferred tablets by photographers, thanks to its Liquid Retina screen and thin form-factor.
The iPad Pro comes with support for hard drives, and users can also import photos using third-party apps. This functionality became available to users after the release of iPadOS 13; earlier, the process was limited due to external storage restrictions. Users had to upload media twice when using third-party apps like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.
The iPad Pro packs 6GB RAM and up to 1TB storage. The 8-core graphics processor used on the device is touted to deliver graphic performance as good as Xbox One S. It also comes integrated with a Neural Engine that utilizes machine-learning to enable features like facial recognition in the Photos app. The powerful specs ensure that while using apps like Affinity Photo or Photoshop, users can easily apply live filters and make edits simultaneously.
Using Photoshop on iPad Pro is a fast experience; gestures like swiping can make editing more seamless. Also, tools like brushes and others are easier to use with Apple Pencil 2. However, there are some minor issues like not being able to select thousands of photos at once, unlike MacBook, where Command+A can mark all the items in the file. On iPad Pro, you will have to swipe every image.
Apple iPad Pro can come in super handy for those in creative fields like lifestyle blogging, photography, writing, and more. Imagine being able to carry your work machine with you and edit your work on the move.
Another drawback could be for those unfamiliar with cloud storage or using iCloud. Apple has still kept its file system limited, and while you can import photos to Photos App, it’s hard to make use of an external hard drive. The best bet for using the iPad for photo editing is by opting for massive cloud storage. On the brighter side, it will sync all your iCloud devices.
Apple iPad Air 4
Those with a slightly lower budget than the iPad Pro can easily opt for the iPad Air 4. This tablet is a lighter version with a large screen and powerful hardware that can seamlessly run photo editing apps. Combine the prowess with an ease of an Apple Pencil, and you get a wholesome tablet that can easily carry out complex tasks and brings out your best work.
Under the hood, the iPad Air is powered by Apple’s homegrown A14 chipset, which is the same powerful chipset used on the iPhone 12 lineup. The thin form-factor of the tablet makes it super easy to carry around without adding any excess weight to your baggage.
Of course, most of the shortcomings remain the same as on the iPad Pro. But regardless of all that, it still is a great choice if you want to edit photos using tools like Photoshop on a tablet that’s easy to carry around.
One can also use the prowess of the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil to draw and illustrate with dynamic brushstrokes and subtle shading. The powerful hardware and software allow users to untie artistic potentialities with photo editing, music creation, and more.
Although iPadOS 14 supports Apple Pencil through and through, and apps like Adobe Photoshop reflect the same, we found some lags or delay in response due to the 60Hz Liquid Retina Display. The response is not as smooth as you get on a 120Hz display. But it is still doable and does justice to the cheaper price tag attached to the iPad Air 4.
We have reviewed the iPad Air 4 and did not find any substantial difference in its performance compared to the iPad Pro. Apps like Affinity Photo run seamlessly on this tablet.
Apple iPad Mini
If you seek the goodness of iPad but in a smaller form factor, look no further than the iPad Mini (2019). This mini version of the iPad is ideal for those who are always on the move. It easily fits in the bag’s pocket. Although compact in size, this iPad does not compromise on the power and performance.
Featuring a 7.9-inch display, the iPad Mini has a 4:3 aspect ratio. Under the hood, you get Apple’s homegrown A12 Bionic chipset. It offers decent performance for apps like Adobe Lightroom, Affinity Photo, and LumaFusion. You can edit photos similar as you do on a PC.
It also supports Apple’s proprietary True Tone technology that aids in adjusting white balance based on the surroundings of the photo, giving it a real-life feel. Although a fantastic feature, it’s better to toggle it off when editing images because it can undermine your editing efforts.
Interestingly, the iPad Mini supports the first-gen Apple Pencil. But you won’t find support for the Apple Pencil 2. Additionally, you can use the Logitech Crayon. We think that the Apple Pencil is a great stylus with pressure-sensitivity. The stylus may not work as seamlessly as it works on other iPads, but still a great accessory to help with your editing tasks.
Regardless of some minor inconsistencies, the iPad mini is still one of the best compact tablets that you can have at budget pricing.
Apple iPad 8
The Apple iPad 8 is another offering by Apple for buyers who don’t want to spend obnoxious amounts on an iPad. And you don’t even have to compromise on the performance here; you get the performance-savvy Apple A12 Bionic processor.
We have reviewed the iPad 8 and found that the tablet is pretty great with both standard and heavy tasks. Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop work without any glitch on the tablet. The functioning is effortless for all your basic to medium editing needs. Unless you have some high-level editing requirements, the iPad 8 is just the right pick for you.
The display on the iPad 8 is decent but not as great when you compare it with the iPad Air. The 10.2-inch IPS display packs wide viewing angles and fine color reproduction. The text looks sharp and crisp on the tablet, which also aids while editing photos or designing. It lacks lamination, which gives way to a small yet visible air gap between the IPS layer and touchscreen. This is a pretty odd shortcoming as most of the tablets come with a laminated display in this price range.
One of the reasons behind the lack of display lamination seems to be Apple’s need to spark a contrast between iPad 8 and iPad Air. Also, it is something that not many users can even point out. It would take tech-savvy users to observe it.
The iPad 8 supports 1st-gen Apple Pencil. The pressure-sensitive stylus works smoothly and fast on the tablet. This comes in handy for third-party apps like Adobe Photoshop. But the air gap due to the lack of laminations does not allow the stylus to touch the screen directly – well, at least it doesn’t look that way.
iPadOS 14 brings additional support for several new features on the Apple Pencil, including the Scribble feature that enables handwriting recognition in the browser’s search field.
Best Windows Tablets For Photo Editing
Here are the best Windows tablets we can recommend for photo edition with apps like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and others.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The Surface Pro 7 is one of the best Windows tablets that you can get for photo editing. The tablet comes powered by a 10th-gen Intel processor with a 12.3-inch display, keyboard, and Surface Pen.
The overall performance of the Surface Pro 7 is fantastic, which is great for tools like Adobe Photoshop CC. During our testing for the review, we witnessed a seamless performance even during heavy photo-editing tasks. We put the device through multiple levels of testing, and the results were good.
The 12.3-inch PixelSense display makes texts and images look sharper and crisp. The display is bright, but when compared to the iPad Pro, it falls a little short – mostly because it’s just 60Hz instead of 120Hz.
Concerning the performance of the Surface Pen, the $100 stylus is comfortable to use and connects magnetically to the side of the device. The stylus is not rechargeable as the Apple Pencil. It is pressure-sensitive and supports up to 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. Users can draw a thin line by light pressure and a thick line by asserting more pressure; this functionality works hand-in-hand for intricate designing and photo editing.
You can use Surface Pen in Photoshop to remove sensor dust or to apply layer masks. Overall, with Surface Pen, the Surface Pro 7 turns out to be one of the best Windows tablets for photo editing.
Surface Pro 7 Alternative: Lenovo Yoga Duet 7i
The Lenovo Yoga Duet 7i is an alternative to the Surface Pro 7. This Windows 10 tablet comes with a bigger screen and has a built-in kickstand as well. It also packs a keyboard and a stylus. We reviewed the Yoga Duet 7i variant powered by an Intel Core i5-10210U quad-core processor paired with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
We put it to a slew of tests, including the one with heavy photo-editing using Photoshop. The performance is fine, and if you have basic editing and designing requirements, this tablet could be a good pick for you.
The display on this tablet is quite good; you get a 13-inch IPS display with 2160 x 1350 pixels resolution that offers a good setup for photo editing and other creative tasks. Text and images look sharp.
One of the best things about this tablet is that you get a stylus pre-bundled. The metal stylus comes with a replaceable battery and is pressure-sensitive. Users can use the pressure-sensitivity to draw thin and thick lines accordingly. The stylus has an uncanny resemblance to the Surface Pen.
Let Us Answer Some Burning FAQs
We answer some of the frequently asked questions below.
How to find the best iPad for photo editing?
There are different iPad variants to choose from. You first have to decide on your budget and basic requirements whether you want a bigger screen or a medium screen. Essentially, you can pick in the range of iPad Pro to iPad Mini. You will also have to check the compatibility for Apple Pencil. Some of the iPads only support 1st-gen Apple Pencil, while some are limited to Apple Pencil 2.
You need to check for the power you seek on a tablet. If your editing requirements are super-high, it is better to choose between iPad Pro and iPad Air. And if your editing requirements are basic and the budget is tight, you can choose between the iPad 8 and iPad Mini.
Overall, iPads make for great tablets for photo editing. The hardware and software go hand-in-hand with Photoshop and other apps.
What are the key features to look for in a tablet for editing photos?
When choosing a tablet, a lot depends on the software and hardware compatibilities. Also, you need to check which photo editing app or software you intend on using the most. However, we give you some key points to consider before you make a buying decision.
Display & Resolution: You need a tablet with a larger screen and sharp resolution for photo-editing tasks. A large screen can show intricate details of images and does help in editing photos even better. The display should support high-level color depth and accuracy.
Storage & Hardware: You should check whether the tablet depends primarily on internal storage or cloud storage. The hardware (RAM, processor) should also be powerful enough to handle photo-editing apps like Photoshop or Lightroom, which means up to 8GB of RAM.
Operating System: The ecosystem should be of your choice. Ideally, it is better to choose an OS that you are most comfortable working with. Also, go for an OS that supports the best version of Photoshop. Both iPadOS and Windows are great picks.
Accessories & Battery: Go for a tablet that supports a wide range of accessories like a keyboard and stylus. Both Windows and Apple tablets support the powerful stylus. Also, the battery life should be longer.
Bang for the Buck: When choosing a tablet or any device for that matter, look for the value of money you’re getting. The amount you are spending should justify the features and hardware you are getting.
Why are Android tablets not suitable for photo-editing?
We have gauged that Android tablets do not make for the best devices for tasks like photo-editing in our experience. One of the reasons for this is that Android tablets also lack support for professional editing apps. They limit the professional reach on a tablet. You can get a subsidized version of Photoshop; these versions are not original. Overall, you don’t get a top-notch experience on Android tablets when editing photos or other creative tasks.
We hope this list helps you in picking the best tablet for quenching your photo editing needs. The featured tablets on our list have got support for Photoshop and other powerful apps. If you think we missed listing a worthy tablet on this list, let us know in the comments.
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