These are the best photo editing laptops in 2022

These are the best photo editing laptops in 2022

Choosing a new laptop can be daunting because there are a ton of great laptops on the market from all kinds of different companies and for all kinds of users. Even if you have a specific use case in mind, you’ll likely have a lot of options too. We’ve previously rounded up the best laptops for content creators, and if you’re specifically into video editing, we have you covered there. Now it’s time for the best laptops for photo editing.

Photo editing is generally less demanding than video editing. After all, videos are strings of thousands of still images, which makes rendering them more difficult. But if you’re working with photos professionally, using lots of effects and layers, there are still some things that are nice to have. Specifically, it’s good to have a lot of RAM, at least 16GB, to load multiple layers into memory while editing. And of course, while it’s not as demanding, it’s still good to have a fast CPU. Even with all of that in mind, there are a lot of great laptops that fit this bill.

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Best overall: HP Spectre x360 16

HP Spectre x360 16 in tent mode seen at an angle

The HP Spectre family has rooted itself as one of the best series of laptops on the market today, and the Spectre x360 16 is the most powerful model you can get in this lineup. It keeps the versatility and style the Spectre line is known for, but it takes everything up a notch and it’s a fantastic choice overall.

Starting with performance, the HP Spectre x360 is packing some powerful specs, starting with a 45W Intel Core i7-127000H, which is a 14-core, 20-thread processor that can boost up to 4.7GHz. That will give you all the performance you need for photo editing, but if you want something a bit different, there’s another option. You can configure the laptop with an Intel Core i7-1260P, a 28W processor with 12 cores and 16 threads, which is paired an Intel Arc A370M GPU. This is a better configuration if you need a bit more GPU power, but you probably don’t. Otherwise, the laptop comes with a minimum of 16GB of RAM (up to 32GB) and up to 2TB of storage, so you have the power and storage space for all your photo projects.

The display is another highlight of this laptop, too. It comes with a 16-inch panel and a 16:10 aspect ratio, and that taller screen is a very welcome boost to productivity in photo editing apps like Photoshop. The extra vertical space means you can accommodate more UI elements on screen at once, so it’s easier to make edits without switching between panels. What’s more, it’s a super-sharp screen, with 3072 x 1920 resolution by default and the option to upgrade to an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) OLED display if you want the absolute best you can get. Of course, being a convertible means it supports touch and pen input, too.

The webcam is similarly great, being a 5MP camera with 1080p video support. Not only can it record high-resolution video, it also includes features like smart auto framing and lighting correction, so this is a great camera for video calls and meetings. Plus, it supports Windows Hello facial recognition and there’s a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello, too.

Design-wise, the Spectre x360 16 shakes things up a bit compared to previous members of the Spectre family. It still has a dual-tone look, and it comes in two options: Nightfall Black, which is black and copper-colored, and Nocturne Blue, which uses two different shades of blue. Unlike previous models, though, the accents are far more subtle, so the laptop doesn’t stick out as much. The overall design is also more rounded than its angular siblings, so the 4.45lbs of weight feels a bit more comfortable in your hands when you’re carrying it.

Rounding things out with ports, the HP Spectre x360 16 comes with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. That’s a solid setup that covers most needs, though some might have liked a full-size SD card reader for transferring photos from a camera.

    The HP Spectre x360 16 is a powerful convertible laptop that can handle photo editing without an issue, and it looks great while doing it.

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Best lightweight laptop: MacBook Air

Front view of MacBook Air

MacBooks have always been very popular among content creators, and the latest MacBook Air is better than ever. It’s more powerful, it has an improved design, and it’s even easier to carry around anywhere now. It’s not the most powerful laptop out there, but it’s great if you want power in a very lightweight and efficient package.

That all starts with the processor, and the MacBook Air has a new Apple M2 chip, the second generation of Apple Silicon. This new model has an 18% faster CPU compared to the Apple M1 while still being just as efficient. Plus, it also has a more powerful GPU with up to 10 cores, and it’s up to 35% more powerful than before (or 25% more performance at the same power level). The Apple M1 was already very impressive, so this performance increase while using the same power level makes this an absolutely fantastic laptop. And because it’s Apple Silicon, it’s incredibly efficient, so you don’t have to worry about battery life with this laptop. This new model can also be configured with up to 24GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD, so you can make it even more powerful than before. Photo editing on this laptop should be a breeze.

Apple has changed the display with the new MacBook Air, and it really helps this laptop feel more modern. It’s a 13.6-inch panel, which is only a small increase from the 13.3-inch panel of the past. But it’s only bigger because Apple stretched the display vertically, shrinking the bezels around it. The screen has a resolution of 2560 x 1664, so it’s very sharp for its size, and while this is the only configuration available, it’s a great one. The panel also supports P3 Wide Color and up to 500 nits of brightness – an increase from the 400 nits of previous models.

A potential downside of the new display is the notch you’ll find at the top. Similar to Apple’s iPhones, this notch houses the webcam, and that webcam has been upgraded to 1080p, so video quality should be significantly better than before. Unlike the iPhone, however, there’s no fancy facial recognition tech here, so if you want biometric authentication, you have to make do with Touch ID on the power button.

There’s also a brand-new design for the latest MacBook Air, and it’s the first time it’s received a major redesign in a few years. The wedge design is no more, and instead, the MacBook Air now has a much more balanced look – it’s evenly thin across the whole chassis, which means the weight is also more evenly distributed. At just 11.3mm of thinness and 2.7lbs of weight, this is also a very easy laptop to take anywhere. And, it comes in four colors, including two news ones. Joining the classic Silver and Space Grey, there’s a new Starlight model – a soft gold shade – and a Midnight variant – a nearly-black shade of blue.

And in terms of ports, there have been some upgrades, too. The new model comes with two Thunderbolt ports just like before, but now MagSafe is back, so you don’t have to worry about tripping on the charging cable and dragging your laptop to the floor. Plus, the headphone jack has been amped up to support high-impedance headphones. There’s still an unfortunate limitation where the Thunderbolt ports only support one external display, but not everyone will need that, and if you do, a DisplayLink dock can work around that limitation.

All in all, this is a fantastic machine, not just for photo editing, but for all kinds of day-to-day tasks. With a lightweight design and a power-efficient processor like this, this is the kind of laptop you can take almost anywhere to do all kinds of work.

    The 2022 MacBook Air with the M2 processor is even more powerful than its predecessor while still being very efficient. Plus, it has a great new display and a more balanced design.

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Best Delta E < 1 laptop: Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X

Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X laptop held up on a person's hand

If you’re a photo editing professional, color accuracy is undoubtedly important for your work, and the Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X is one of the best laptops for that. The display here is one of its biggest selling points, but there’s a lot to love about this laptop. And if you prefer AMD processors to Intel, this is the only one on this list that fits that bill, too.

Starting with performance, the Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X is powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS, which is a 35W processor with 8 cores, 16 threads, and boost speeds up to 4.9GHz. That’s a whole lot of performance, and if you also want some GPU power, the laptop also includes Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, delivering solid performance for content creation. Rounding things out, you can get up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. You definitely get plenty of power with this one.

But of course, the big focus here is that display. It’s a 14.5-inch panel, and like many premium laptops these days, it has a 16:10 aspect ratio. There’s only one configuration available, and it’s in 3K resolution (3072 x 1920) and with a 120Hz refresh rate, so this is a beautiful display already. But what’s even better, especially if you’re a content creator, is that the panel covers 100% of the sRGB color space and volume, plus it has a Delta E < 1 thanks to hardware calibration. In simple terms, Delta E measures the color accuracy of the display, and the lower the number, the more accurate it is. So, if you’re editing photos, this is a very color accurate display to work on. Plus, it supports touch.

The Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X also includes a solid webcam, which uses a 1080p sensor. It’s a bit washed out, but it does look clearer than a 720p camera, plus it has Windows Hello facial recognition, which is always welcome.

The chassis is mostly made of aluminum, and there’s only one color option available, Onyx Grey. However, the base and the lid are a different shade of grey, with the lid being closer to black, which gives this laptop a cool dual-tone appearance. Considering it has a discrete GPU, powerful processors, and an all-aluminum chassis, the 3.2lbs of weight shouldn’t be all that surprising. Plus, 15.9mm of thickness make this a fairly portable laptop despite its powerful specs.

Finally, in terms of ports, there’s a solid variety here. Two USB Type-C ports (without Thunderbolt, but supporting DisplayPort and Power Delivery), two USB Type-A ports, and a headphone jack make for a decent setup, especially for this size. It’s not overly impressive, though, and if you want to move photos to your PC with an SD card, you’re going to need an adapter. Still, it’s got quite a few ports for a laptop of this size, especially considering it’s packing some beefy specs.

While it’s not a perfect laptop, the Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X is a fantastic device for photo editing, with a color accurate display and powerful specs to handle more demanding workloads without an issue.

    The Lenovo Slim 7 Pro X is a powerful, yet compact laptop with a very color-accurate display and high-end performance.

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Best 15-inch laptop for photo editing: Dell XPS 15

Front view of Dell XPS 15

Much like the HP Spectre lineup, the Dell XPS 15 is one of those iconic brands, and for good reason. These laptops pack a lot of power into a compact chassis, and the latest Dell XPS 15 carries on that legacy. This laptop has a 15-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and tiny bezels all around, making it smaller than you might expect for this display size.

But let’s start with performance. Even with its compact chassis, the Dell XPS 15 packs quite a bit of power. That includes 12th-generation 45W Intel processors, up to an Intel Core i9-12900HK with 14 cores, 20 threads, and boost speeds up to 5GHz, which is one of the fastest laptop processors around. In addition to the processor, you can configure the Dell XPS 15 with up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU with 45W of power, which should give you quite a bit of power if your workloads also require a good GPU. Otherwise, you can get up to 64GB of RAM and a 4TB SSD out of the box, but if the upfront cost of those upgrades is too much, you can upgrade the RAM and SSD yourself later.

The display starts with a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) configuration, but the best thing about it is the upgrade options. You can get it with a 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED display, which covers 100% of DCI-P3, or with a 4K+ (3840 x 2400) LCD panel that covers 100% of Adobe RGB. The OLED display is going to look absolutely stunning with vivid colors, true blacks, and very high contrast ratios. On the other hand, Adobe RGB is a more comprehensive color spectrum so you may prefer it for its color reproduction. Either way, these display options make this one of the best laptops for photo editing. The OLED and Ultra HD+ configurations also include touch support.

On the other hand, one of the biggest downsides of the laptop is the webcam, which is still a 720p sensor. With most PC manufacturers moving to 1080p cameras in 2022, seeing Dell keep 720p around in one of its more popular laptops is a bummer. Thankfully, at least it supports Windows Hello facial recognition, though you can also use the fingerprint reader if you prefer that.

The Dell XPS 15 continues to impress with its design, featuring four top-firing stereo speakers on the sides of the keyboard, plus a large Precision trackpad. It also looks unique, giving you the option between black carbon fiber and white woven glass fiber composite for the keyboard deck. Thanks to the small bezels, it’s a very compact laptop, though it’s not exceptionally thin, at 18.54mm. It’s also somewhat heavy, starting at 4.06lbs for the base configuration.

For ports, you get two Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C connectors), a third USB Type-C port without Thunderbolt, a full-size SD card reader, and a headphone jack. And if you need a display output or USB Type-A, there’s a dongle in the box that you can connect to one of the Type-C ports.

Depending on the configurations you choose, the Dell XPS 15 can get a bit expensive, but you don’t need the top-tier model to get a great experience with it. You can buy it below, or check out the more extreme configurations on Dell’s website.

    The Dell XPS 15 is a phenomenal 15 inch laptop with a compact design and incredibly powerful specs, including 11th-generation 45W Intel processors and dedicated NVIDIA graphics. It comes with a stunning OLED display, too.

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Best 17-inch laptop for photo editing: LG gram 17

An LG gram laptop on a wooden desk

Some of us prefer larger screens, and the LG gram 17 is a standout among 17-inch laptops. The LG gram line has long been known for being incredibly light, and weighing less than 3lbs, this is certainly one of the lightest 17 inch laptops out there. This is a great laptop if you want something with a large screen that’s still extremely portable. Adding to its portability, the gram 17 has a large 80Whr battery that should be able to power the laptop for a whole day.

Being light doesn’t mean the LG gram 17 is lacking in power. It packs the latest Intel Core i7-1260P processor (though other configurations exist), with 12 cores, 16 threads, and clock speeds up to 4.7GHz. That’s a fairly powerful processor for something this light. On top of that, it also includes Intel Iris Xe graphics with 96 execution units. That’s paired with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, giving you more than enough space for your photo editing projects, and a decent amount of RAM to work with too.

Aside from being big, the 17 inch display also looks fantastic. This is an IPS panel and it covers 99% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, giving you solid color reproduction right out of the gate. It’s also got a 16:10 aspect ratio, giving you more surface area to work with. When you combine that with the Quad HD+ resolution (2560 x 1600), this is a very sharp display that can fit a lot of content on the screen at once, which is only compounded by being a large 17 inch panel.

This year, LG has also upgraded the gram 17 with a new 1080p webcam, meaning you should look that much clearer in video calls and meetings. Plus, Windows Hello facial recognition support has been added for the first time in a gram.

An extra benefit that comes with a 17 inch laptop is the extra space for the keyboard, and the LG gram 17 includes a full number pad for all your number-crunching needs. Despite the large size and big battery, the LG gram 17 is still a very lightweight laptop, coming in at just 2.98lbs. It’s also 17.7mm thin, which is pretty good for a large laptop like this.

The large size also makes way for a pretty complete set of ports. You get two USB Type-A ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports (USB Type-C), HDMI, a full-size SD card reader, and a headphone jack. That can accommodate almost any peripheral you might want to connect, and if you need even more, you can use a Thunderbolt dock to expand your possibilities even further.

All in all, the LG gram 17 is a fantastic laptop offering great performance and fantastic portability, including a long-lasting battery. You get a sharp Quad HD+ display and tons of ports right out of the box, making this one of the best laptops you can use for photo editing at home or on the go.

    The LG gram 17 is a fantastic lightweight laptop that's still powerful enough to handle photo editing without many issues. It has sharp Quad HD+ display and a long-lasting battery, giving you a great experience anywhere.

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Best dual-screen laptop: Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED

Angled view of the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED over a gradient green background

If you’re looking for something a bit more unique, the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED may be for you. There’s quite a bit that makes this laptop stand out though the most obvious thing is naturally the two screens. But this is also a powerful laptop, and it’s great for all kinds of demanding workloads.

Powering the Asus Zenbook pro 14 Duo OLED is a 12th-generation Intel Core i9-12900H, with 14 cores, 20 threads, and boost speeds up to 5GHz. That’s already a lot of power for a 14-inch laptop, but you also get dedicated graphics in the form of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, which helps with more demanding workloads if you want to get into video editing, for example. On top of that, 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a 1TB SSD round out a powerful set of specs, which isn’t actually overly expensive, all things considered. You can’t upgrade the RAM later, but 32GB is a lot.

But let’s talk about those displays. First, there’s the main screen, which is a 14.5-inch panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio, but most importantly, it’s also an OLED panel. That means you get true blacks and vivid colors, and with the display covering 100% of DCI-P3 and obtaining Pantone validation, you can count on very good color reproduction. This is also a very sharp 2.8K (2880 x 1800) display, and it has a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. It ticks all the boxes to be a fantastic display all around, whether it’s for content creation, media consumption, or even some gaming.

But the attention is on that second display, which Asus calls ScreenPad Plus. This is a 12.7-inch display that’s just as wide as the main screen, but about half the height. The resolution is similar, too (2880 x 864) and it also has a 120Hz refresh rate, but it’s an IPS panel instead of OLED. There’s a few things you can do with this second screen, including, of course, displaying apps you want to quickly reference, but it can also be used as a control panel in apps like Photoshop, so you get quick and more intuitive controls while editing photos. This is a touch screen, and it also supports the Asus Pen if you want to use it that way.

An unfortunate downside of this laptop is that the webcam is only 720p, but thankfully, it does have Windows Hello facial recognition, so at least you get that convenience. A better webcam would have been very welcome, though.

Having a giant screen where the keyboard usually would be also means there are some interesting design choices here. For example, the touchpad is now next to the keyboard, instead of below it, and in typical Asus fashion, it doubles as a digital number pad. Unsurprisingly, having two screens and powerful specs like this makes for a somewhat heavy laptop, weighing 3.86lbs, and it’s also fairly thick, teaching 19.6mm at its thickest point. Still, considering everything you’re getting here, it’s not too bad.

Finally, in terms of ports, the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED gives you two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB Type-A, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a full-size SD card reader. That’s a very setup for a laptop of this size, and again, considering everything that’s already packed in here. You get a ton of ports this way.

For most people, this laptop is probably somewhat overkill, but it’s a fantastic device if you see value in the unique features it offers. You can check it out below.

    With powerful processors and a unique dual-screen setup, the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED is a somewhat expensive, but very compelling laptop for photo editing and content creation.

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Best business laptop for photo editing: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Front view of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 on a table

If you’re a fan of the classic business look of the Lenovo ThinkPad family but you want the power to do photo editing — and just about anything — the ThinkPad X1 Extreme is here for you. This is one of the most powerful business laptops you can buy, but it still retains what you’ve come to know and love about the ThinkPad family, including things like the pointing stick and mouse buttons above the trackpad.

Make no mistake, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme has all the powerful specs you could ask for, including up to an Intel Core i9-12900H vPro processor. Not only do you get a 14-core CPU with 20 threads and up to 5GHz clock speeds, but you also get the security features of Intel’s vPro line, which is fantastic already. On top of that, you can get up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, which is the most powerful laptop GPU you can get right now – though you probably don’t need that. You can also configure the ThinkPad x1 Extreme with up to a whopping 64GB of RAM, making it a breeze to open large images and lots of layers in your projects. Plus, with up to 8TB of storage, you can save all the projects you work on for a long time to come (though macing out the storage will limit the GPU you can get).

The display is another point in favor of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme. This is a large 16-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, giving you the benefits of a larger surface area and more space to work with. The default configuration is a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) panel, but you can upgrade to a Quad HD+ (2560 x 1600) panel with a 165Hz refresh rate if you want something that’s both sharper and smoother. If you want the sharpest image quality possible, you can upgrade to a 4K+ (3640 x 2400) panel, which covers 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut for fantastic color reproduction.

Above that display, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 5 includes a 1080p webcam by default, which is great to see. Windows Hello facial recognition is also supported, and you also get the option for a fingerprint reader if you want it.

The benefits of being a business laptop also show in the connectivity options, and you get a lot of ports here. Two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a full-size SD card reader, and a headphone jack give you plenty of connectivity options. And like many other business laptops, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme also includes an option for cellular connectivity, specifically with 5G support. You can’t get it if you have a GPU above the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, but the option is there if you want to stay connected on the road.

With all the powerful specs, fantastic upgrade options, and business features it offers, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is a pricey laptop, but there’s no denying there’s nothing else like it on the market. If you need an incredibly powerful machine that fits in perfectly at the office, this is the one for you.

    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme lives up to its name with powerful 45W Intel processors, dedicated NVIDIA graphics, and lots of configuration options. It's one of the most powerful business laptops out there, and there's little else you could possibly want.

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Best detachable: Surface Pro 8

Angled view of Surface Pro 8

When it comes to portability, it’s hard to match the light weight and thinness of a tablet, and the Surface Pro 8 delivers a premium experience while keeping that portable form factor. It’s one of Microsoft’s best Surface Pro devices yet, and it’s a great option if you’re interested in some photo editing in a portable package.

For performance, the Surface Pro 8 is packing Intel’s 11th-generation Core processors, up to a Core i7-1185G7, a powerful 15W CPU with four cores, eight threads, and boost speeds up to 4.8GHz.  It also includes Intel Iris Xe graphics with up to 96 execution units, so it can handle some light GPU workloads. Aside from that, you can configure it with up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, so you have options to make this a very capable photo editing laptop. The 8GB included by default won’t be amazing, though, so upgrading to 16GB is recommended.

The display is one of the highlights of the Surface Pro lineup, and the Surface Pro 8 is better than ever in that regard. It has a larger 13-inch display, and the resolution has increased to 2880 x 1920 to accommodate, so this is still an incredibly sharp screen. Beyond that, this display supports Dolby Vision and even has a 120Hz refresh rate – it’s pretty much the only Windows tablet do so, too. Plus, it supports tactile signals on the Surface Slim Pen 2, just like the Surface Laptop Studio.

For the webcam, the Surface Pro 8 uses a 5MP front-facing camera, which can record 1080p video, and it’s one of the best cameras you’ll find on any Windows PC. The camera also supports Windows Hello facial recognition. Plus, you get another camera on the back, and that one is a 10MP sensor with 4K video recording.

Being a tablet, the Surface Pro 8 is naturally the thinnest device on this list, measuring just 9.3mm, and at 1.96lbs of weight, it’s also one of the lightest. Of course, that doesn’t take into consideration the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard and the Surface Slim Pen 2, but it’s still an extremely portable device with those accessories attached, and you can detach them when you don’t need them for even more protability.

In regards to ports, the Surface Pro 8 has the same problem as the Surface Laptop Studio. It has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a Surface Connect port for charging, and a headphone jack, but that’s it. It’s a very limiting setup that basically ensures you’ll need some kind of adapter or dock to connect almost any wired peripheral, but at least Thunderbolt 4 support makes that a bit easier.

    The Surface Pro 8 is a thin and light tablet with enough power to handle photo editing and all kinds of day-to-day workloads. Plus, it has a fantastic display and a great camera.

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Those are the best laptops (and one tablet) you can buy today if you’re interested in photo editing. While they can all handle this type of workload to some extent, it’s important to know how demanding of a workload you’re planning to have for these devices. The most complex editing tasks may require more than 16GB of RAM, which not every device has. But for a lot of users, that will work just fine. We chose the HP Spectre x360 for the top spot because, even in its base configuration, it’s got an absolutely fantastic (and large) display for photo editing, plus powerful specs, a premium design, and solid connectivity. It’s a great overall package.

But there are plenty of great options here for everyone. And if you don’t have a particular interest in these, you may want to check out our list of the best laptops in general, as there are a ton of great options there, too.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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