Best Tablet for Photo Editing with Lightroom, Photoshop & More
If you want to know about the best tablet for photo editing in 2022, this guide has got you covered.
Editing pictures on a tablet is convenient, fun and the perfect solution for lightweight travel.
With high-performance tablet processors and improved screen colour accuracy and resolution, tablets for photo editing offer an exciting alternative to a desktop or laptop computer.
Apple and Microsoft still produce the best photo editing tablets, but brands like Samsung and Amazon also offer compelling products.
When choosing a tablet for photo editing, consider factors such as battery life, stylus support, screen size/resolution, internal storage, processing power, RAW, memory card slots, weight and of course cost.
If you’re an Adobe user, you’ll need a photo editing tablet that can run Lightroom and Photoshop to take advantage of file syncs and backups over the Creative Cloud.
Whether you’re an amateur looking for a basic tablet for photo editing, or a pro needing a more powerful model to replace a desktop computer, you’ll discover all the best tablets right here.
Let’s take a closer look at the top options of the year.
Table of Contents
Best Tablet for Photo Editing in 2022
|Microsoft Surface Pro 8||View Price →|
|iPad Pro 12.9"||View Price →|
|Microsoft Surface Go 3||View Price →|
|Wacom Cintiq Pro 24||View Price →|
|iPad Air||View Price →|
|iPad Mini||View Price →|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE||View Price →|
|Amazon Fire HD 10||View Price →|
|Lenovo Flex 5||View Price →|
1. Microsoft Surface Pro 8
- Powerful Intel Evo Platform Core i7 processor
- Comes with Windows 11
- Can run desktop versions of both Photoshop and Lightroom
- Beautiful display
- Long battery life
- Up to 32 GB of memory
- Surface Pen sold separately
- No standard-sized USB port
If you’re serious about editing photos on the go, use Adobe software, and don’t mind shelling out the dough, you’ll find the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 the absolute best tablet for photo editing.
The Surface Pro comes with the full Windows operating system and can easily run the desktop versions of Lightroom and Photoshop CC, as well as any other of your favorite desktop editors.
Add a keyboard and you can easily turn it into a super-portable photo-editing laptop as well.
The new S Pen (sold separately) includes haptic feedback, so you get a true-to-life feel when using the SP 8 as a drawing tablet or making fine adjustments.
You can also mix and match the Surface Pro 8’s components, allowing you to choose just how powerful you want your tablet to be.
The only major downfall is the price, especially if you invest in top-notch components.
Still, if you need desktop versions of your favorite editing software, the SP8 is the best Windows tablet currently on the market.
2. iPad Pro 12.9″
- Incredible liquid retina XDR display
- Extremely powerful
- Slim and light
- 5 individually built-in microphones
- Up to 2TB of storage
- Available with 5G wireless
- True Tone color
- Long battery life
- Only has one port: a Thunderbolt 4 USB 4
- Only runs the mobile versions of PS and LR
- No microSD slot
- Key accessories sold separately
Don’t need the desktop versions of Photoshop or Lightroom? Then the iPad Pro 12.9″ is the best tablet for photo editing on the go.
It’s powerful, has an amazing display to take full advantage of the wide range of ipad photo editing apps, and a fantastic camera with a full 122º field of view.
Under the hood you’ll find Apple’s state of the art M1 chip – the same chip used in the most current 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops, making it powerful, fast and efficient on battery life.
The quality of the iPad Pro’s liquid retina XDR display is just simply stunning and easily outclasses the screen on the Surface Pro 8.
The iPad Pro is also slimmer and lighter than the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 while offering up to 2 terabytes of onboard storage.
All this being said, the iPad Pro is more expensive and can only run the mobile versions of Photoshop and Lightroom. It also only has one port, which may limit connectivity, unless you have the right dongles.
3. Microsoft Surface Go 3
- Low starting price
- Runs Windows 11
- Good battery life
- SD card reader
- Compatible with the Surface Pen
- Not particularly powerful
- Pen and keyboard cost extra
- Only one USB-C port
Looking for a budget tablet that runs Windows but won’t break the bank? Take a look at the Microsoft Surface Go 3.
Like the SP 8, it comes with a scaled-down version of Windows 11, which means you’re not limited to the mobile versions of your favorite photo editing software.
Also, like the Surface Pro, you can choose the RAM and processing power that suits your needs and budget, but be sure not to go below 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
In fact, the main drawback to the Go 3 is that it lacks the power, so be sure to load it up as powerful as it will go.
After adding the keyboard, pen, and a decent amount of memory, the Surface Go 3 is not as inexpensive as it looks, but it’s still a fair penny cheaper than the Surface Pro.
4. Wacom Cintiq Pro 24
- Superb color accuracy
- 4K Resolution
- Completely flat drawing surface
- Wacom Pro Pen 2 included
- State of the art pressure sensitivity
- Tilt support
- No parallax
- Includes ExpressKey remote
- SD card slot
- Big footprint
- Stand not included
- Fan noise can be irritating
Designed especially for graphic designers, professional artists, photographers, and anyone else who wants the very best in a graphic tablet, the Cintiq Pro 24 has a huge canvas, unbelievable clarity, and the best color accuracy on the market.
It comes with an incredible 4K display, almost double the pen sensitivity of the MS Surface Pro, and completely flat, etched glass that makes for a very natural feel when using the pen.
The Cintiq Pro 24 is designed to connect with your laptop or desktop. As such, it syncs with any and all of your photo editing programs and you shouldn’t have to worry about program compatibility.
Keep in mind, though, that the Cintiq Pro 24 is huge tablet – it’s not designed for travel. The enormous screen size is fantastic for detailed editing, but as such, it has a huge footprint.
(If you need a more portable tablet of similar quality, you can size down to the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16.)
Also, the Cintiq Pro 24 is a serious, high-end investment. It’s designed for pros who really want the very best in terms of performance and display quality.
If you can afford it, though, it’s easily the best tablet for detailed picture editing and high-resolution print work.
5. iPad Air
- Beautiful display
- Comes with the M1 chip
- Great battery life
- Compatible with the Apple Pencil
- Light and Compact
- Great build quality
- Only runs the mobile versions of Photoshop and Lightroom
- Doesn’t come with key accessories
If the iPad Pro is out of your price range, the next step down is the smaller, yet still excellent iPad Air.
The most current iteration – the iPad Air 5 – has the same M1 chip as the iPad Pro, which means it has will have more than enough power for even the greediest of photo editing apps.
It doesn’t have as much internal memory as the iPad Pro, but if you’re storing your images in the cloud 256GB will likely be more than enough.
Other features include a 10.9-inch luxury retina LCD screen, 5G connectivity, an ultra-wide front camera with Center Stage, 4K video, and a battery that lasts up to 10 hours.
As one would expect, the iPad Air 5 is compatible with all the best Apple tablet accessories, including the Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard, and Smart Keyboard Folio. (All sold separately.)
Definitely one of the best tablets for photo editing in the mid-price range.
6. iPad Mini
- Fast A15 processor
- Compatible with the Apple Pencil 2
- 5G option
- USB-C port
- Only 4GB RAM
- Too small for a keyboard case
- No 3.5mm jack
Powerful yet tiny, the 6th generation iPad Mini is one of the best tablets for photo editing if you need to travel light.
Its processor is second only to the M1 chip, and the Mini 2022 now features the same liquid retina display that’s in the iPad Air.
Weighing in at just under 300g and small enough to fit into almost any camera bag, the Mini is the perfect travel companion when you need maximum portability.
Of course, the screen size is too small to be a full laptop replacement or even qualify for a keyboard cover, but it’s excellent for on-the-go tablet editing.
You can even use the 2nd generation Apple Pencil with the latest iPad Mini – see compatibility here.
The 4GB of RAM is a bit low for many-layered Photoshop editing, but most anything else is a breeze. You’ll just have to get used to the small screen.
7. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE
- Desktop-like interface
- Large 12.4-inch display
- Fantastic battery life
- Full integration with Microsoft 365
- S Pen included
- Dedicated microSD card slot
- Great speakers
- Less than optimal keyboard cover
- Not great at multi-tasking
- Takes a long time to charge
- Only runs Android apps
- Only 4GB RAM
If you primarily use apps from the Google Play store for photo editing, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE is a great option.
It’s one of the lighter, more portable tablets on the market and has seamless integration with all Google apps, Microsoft 365, and any other Samsung devices you might be using.
While not the best at multitasking, Android apps like Adobe Lightroom, Snapseed and Photoshop Express run smoothly.
It can also last up to 15 hours on one charge.
Is it the best Android tablet? Well, that depends on your wallet size. You’ll definitely shell out much more for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ or any of its siblings,
For the price, it’s definitely the best Samsung tablet in this price range – especially since the S pen is already included.
8. Amazon Fire HD 10
- Great price
- 3 GB RAM
- USB-C port + microSD memory card slot
- Doubles as an Alexa smart display
- Excellent battery life
- Limited apps to choose from
- 64 GB maximum internal memory
Love all things Kindle and Amazon? Looking for the best budget tablet on the market?
The new Fire HD 10 is Amazon’s best tablet – it also happens to retail for less than $200.
It’s, of course, all things Amazon, but if that’s what you’re into you’ll find this an excellent tablet.
The selfie camera is good enough for video conferencing and the Fire HD 10 automatically syncs your pics with Amazon Photos.
The battery life is also excellent – lasting well over 12 hours of solid use.
If you’re wanting to edit with Lightroom or Photoshop or use any apps from Google Play, this isn’t the tablet for you.
But if you’re looking for an extremely affordable tablet and only plan on doing basic photo editing, this could be the tablet for you.
9. Lenovo Flex 5 14
- Excellent CPU performance
- Windows 10
- 14-inch IPS touchscreen display
- Runs full versions of LR and PS
- Multiple ports
- Excellent battery life
- Bulkier than most tablets
- Not the brightest screen
The Lenovo Flex 5 14 is really more of a 2-in-1 than a tablet, but it works a lot like a tablet, packs the power of a laptop, and is a great value.
The 14-inch IPS touchscreen display is large enough to make editing easy, and the Lenovo Active Pen is included – so no extra cost there.
Under the hood, the Flex 5 14 has an AMD Ryzen CPU, which can easily run the desktop versions of Photoshop CC, Lightroom and most other popular photo editing software.
There’s a myriad of different ports – HDMI, USB type C, two USB type-A ports, and even a full-size SD card reader – so getting your photos or other data onto the screen is a breeze.
Other features include a backlit keyboard, decent speakers, excellent video playback, and a fingerprint scanner.
For an affordable 2-in-1 that’s almost a tablet, the Lenovo Flex 5 14’s power and features far surpass those of many more expensive options.
The only downside is the quality of the display – it’ll work fine for casual photo editing but isn’t true to color enough for professional work.
How to Choose a Tablet for Photo Editing
There are a number of different specs you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing the best tablet for photo editing.
Most will come down to how you intend to use it and what works best for your workflow.
For example, are you looking to do professional-level photo editing, quick edits for social media posts, or something in-between?
Will you be primarily using your tablet to replace your laptop, as a drawing tablet, or to use photo editing software on the go?
Once you answer these questions, you’ll then have to decide on the following specs:
- Operating system
Tablets come in a variety of operating systems, but the main ones are iOS, Android, and Windows.
Mobile operating systems like iOS and Android can only run the mobile versions of Photoshop and Lightroom.
Some Windows tablets, on the other hand, can run Windows. This means you can use the full desktop versions of whatever photo editing software you like.
Editing photos can take a lot of power… especially if you’re working with high-resolution images.
If you do a lot of serious editing, make sure that the tablet you choose has a CPU powerful enough to both run your preferred software and cope with your files sizes.
For example, while the Surface Go 3 can run the desktop version of Photoshop, there’s no guarantee it will do so well, especially if you skimp on the RAM and hard drive.
- Screen Size/Quality
It goes without saying that the best tablets for photo editing have a large, bright screen and an exceptional degree of color accuracy.
The key specs to pay attention to are the screen size, brightness (measured in nits), color gamut (wider is better), and contrast ratio.
The more expensive tablets tend to do well here, but be careful of some of the cheaper options.
- Battery life
Most of the tablets on this page are rated for at least 10 hours of solid work time, but factory ratings and real-life performance aren’t always the same.
If you tend to use a lot of power and know you’ll be away from a power source much of the time, make sure to read real-life reviews before purchasing.
If you’re using the cloud for storage (i.e. anything in the Adobe Creative Cloud), you won’t need a lot of storage space.
If, on the other hand, you’re going to store your photo files on your device, make sure you invest in a large enough hard drive on your tablet and/or make sure you can expand its storage via USB or microSD card.
- App Availability
Since tablets come with varying operating systems, make sure the photo editing apps you want to use are available for your tablet.
For example, the full version of Photoshop only runs on Windows tablets. The mobile version for the M1 iPad is excellent but still lacks some key features. The Android version – Photoshop Express – is even more scaled-down.
Affinity Photo will run on both iOS and Windows, but not on Android.
7 Best Apps for Photo Editing on a Tablet
While Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are the best-known apps for editing photos on a tablet, there are plenty of other great apps for Apple, Microsoft and even Android tablet models.
Here are some of the top alternatives:
- Affinity Photo – (iOS; Windows) The best full-featured mobile photo editing app.
- PhotoDirector – (iOS; Android) Contains all the standard editing tools plus many other features, including AI sky replacement, color grading, object removal, and image animation.
- Snapseed – (iOS; Android; Windows) The best free image editor on the market. Excellent for beginners and pros alike.
- Pixelmator – (iOS) A great full-featured photo editor that integrates seamlessly with all your iOS accessories.
- VSCO – (iOS; Android) Fantastic film-style presets.
- iPhone Photos app – (iOS) Believe it or not, the photo app native to your iPad has some great photo editing options.
- Windows 11 app – (Windows) This app has gotten a rather impressive upgrade and is well worth a look.
What Tablets are Best for Photoshop?
- Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- Apple iPad Pro 12.9″
- Wacom Cintiq Pro 13
- iPad Air
- Wacom One
If you want to create and edit Adobe Photoshop PSDs directly on a tablet, there are 3 main options.
The first is for Apple iPad users, whereby you install the free iPad Photoshop app, a kind of watered-down version of the regular Adobe Photoshop that allows you to access many of its tools and sync/backup your files across devices.
All the latest iPad models can run Photoshop, but the more powerful the iPad, the better it works – the iPad Pro is obviously the king here, with its superior processing power and high-resolution screen.
If you own a Microsoft Surface, you can install the desktop version of Photoshop and run it natively in tablet format.
The best Microsoft tablet for Photoshop is the latest Surface Pro.
The final option is for serious photo editors/professional photographers who want to take their Photoshop edits to the next level of precision by using graphics tablets.
A graphics tablet connects to your computer and lets you use a stylus to make edits on the screen of the tablet, which are immediately reflected on your computer screen.
The best graphics tablets like the Wacom Cintiq range also feature a high-resolution screen, so you can use them without your computer.
In summary, the best tablet for photo editing using Photoshop will require a fast processor, large internal storage space and a screen with accurate colours.
Which Tablet is Good for Lightroom?
- Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- Apple iPad Pro 12.9″
- Wacom Cintiq Pro 13
- iPad Air
- Wacom One
The Microsoft Surface Pro series of tablets allow you to use the full version of Adobe Lightroom Classic as if you were on your laptop or desktop computer.
This can be a big advantage if you want to access tools not found in the mobile version of Lightroom.
It also allows you to take your entire Lightroom catalogue on the go with you, as long as your tablet has sufficient internal storage.
For Apple iPad users, the only option is to use the Lightroom iPad app. It’s still a powerful piece of software, but there are some limitations when compared to Lightroom Classic.
For serious photo editing, a graphics tablet offers an immersive experience with a higher degree of fine-editing control, but you usually can’t use the tablet for other non-graphics-related tasks.
Overall, the best tablet for photo editing with Lightroom needs to have a fast processor, large internal storage and accurate color fidelity.
Photo Editing Tablet FAQs
Can you edit pictures on a tablet?
Yes, you can edit photos on just about any tablet.
Are iPads good for Photoshop?
You can use the mobile version of Photoshop on any iPad. For the full version of Photoshop, you’ll need a tablet that runs Windows.
What tablets can run full Photoshop?
Any tablets running Windows OS will run the full version of Photoshop.
Is Surface Pro 7 good for Photoshop?
The Surface Pro 7 is one of the best tablets for photo editing with Photoshop.
Which is the best Wacom tablet for Photoshop?
All Wacom tablets work with Photoshop. The best for professional work is the Cintiq Pro 24.
Can you use Photoshop on Amazon Fire tablet?
Currently, Amazon doesn’t offer Photoshop Express in their app store.
Which iPad can run Photoshop?
All iPads can run Photoshop Express. None of them run the full version of Photoshop, but iPads with the M1 chip can run a more complete version than Express.
Can you edit photos on Kindle Fire?
Yes, but only with apps found in the Amazon app store.
In the end, the best tablets for photo editing are those that let you keep your preferred photo editing workflow while providing a true-color, vibrant display and exceptional performance.
They should also have a long battery life, be able to double as a drawing tablet, and either be nicely portable and/or have a screen size that really maximizes your ability to edit photos.
That’s a lot to ask and even the best tablets have their limitations, but we hope that you find this list helpful in your pursuit of the tablet that will work best for you.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.
Usnea Lebendig is a travel and landscape photographer who loves trekking in the wilderness, exploring other cultures, and using photography for social activism.