Best Tablets for Lightroom & Photo editing

7 Best Tablets for Lightroom & Photo Editing

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The best tablet for Lightroom and Photoshop can be found by gauging what devices you’re familiar with and know how to use. These tablets perform very well for photo editing in Adobe Light room and photoshop, especially for retouching fine details

These are the tablet brands that work best for photo editing & Lightroom:

  • Apple tablets (iPad Air/Pro)
  • Windows tablets (Surface pro)
  • Android tablets (Samsung/Lenovo)

I’ve tested the above tablets and each can run Lightroom for professional photo editing.

These tablets (& stylus pens) provides extreme precision for photo editing/retouching eye’s, softening skin and stray hairs. A “Lightroom tablet” is a must have for a serious photographer. You can see our list of the best drawing tablets for photoshop and illustrator if you’re using those softwares more often than Adobe lightroom.

Related: Best Document Camera stands for iPad

The operating software you’re used to using should not be overlooked. Users of Windows laptops or Samsung devices may want the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 or Samsung Galaxy tablet for lightroom photo editing since they connect well to these similar devices.

Best Tablets for Lightroom – At a Glance

  1. Apple iPad Air: Best Lightroom Tablet for Mac users
  2. Microsoft Surface Pro 7: Best Windows Tablet for Photo Editing on Lightroom & Photoshop)
  3. VANKYO MatrixPad: Best Budget Tablet for Lightroom (Photographers)
  4. Wacom Intuos: Best Wacom Tablet for Lightroom Photo Editing 
  5. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7: Best Samsung Tablet for Lightroom, Snapseed & photoshop
  6. Lenovo Tab: Best Android tablet for Lightroom, Photoshop & Snapseed
  7. Huion Inspiroy: Best Huion Graphics Tablet for Lightroom (Wireless Pen tablet)

How to choose a Tablet for Photo Editing & Lightroom

As a former headshot photographer & photo editor- I would choose between the Apple iPad Air/Pro or the Surface pro. However, If on a budget I’d go with a cheap, yet powerful Android tablet for retouching; because they can run Lightroom with ease.

Here is a compatibility chart for photo editing software on tablets:

Tablet TypeLightroomPhotoshop Snapseed
Apple iPadYesYesYes
Microsoft Surface ProYesYesYes
Samsung (Android)YesLimited versionYes
If I was on a budget, I’d choose an Android tablet for photo editing; they’re cheap and can run Lightroom with ease
  • I found Android tablets couldn’t run the ‘full’ version of photoshop. Instead, it runs “Photoshop Express”, a limited version of photoshop without the full features of the desktop version.

If your only needs are Lightroom & Snapseed, then Android works very well. The Microsoft Surface Pro & iPad on runs the full version of Adobe Photoshop, which many photographers may want on their tablet.

Best Tablets for Lightroom (Photo editing)

I’ve tested out each and every one of these tablets for retouching and photo editing purposes. Here are the best tablets for lightroom & Photo editing:

1. Apple iPad Air: Best Lightroom Tablet for Mac users

Apple iPad Air Best Lightroom Tablet for Mac users

Who this is for: This is for those who need a reliable, powerful tablet for photo editing processes.

For Apple fans, the latest iPad Air is going to be your overall best choice for Lightroom, Snapseed and Photoshop retouching.

Why the iPad Air is good for photo editing: The iPad Air is specially designed for creative professionals; such as designers and photographers. The iPad air runs with ease and has a much lower price tag than the Pro model and the Surface Pro.

The iPad Air is a photographer’s first pick because Apple includes all the essential specs needed for photo editing on a tablet.

The size? The iPad Air tablet is lightweight, extremely portable, and powerful; especially for Lightroom and photo editing. (While still having a display size to satisfy creative professionals)

The iPad Air proved to be strong enough to process my raw images. Thus, this device allows photographers to edit large photos in the amazing iPadOS version of Lightroom without any lag. IPad Air has an amazing, laminated screen that includes Apple’s latest accurate display color technology to help you edit your photos’ colors more accurately. 

The iPad Pro/Air for photo editing is worth the investment if you have an iPhone or Mac: These devices connect seamlessly with each other.

iPad Pro and Air: Which performed best for photo editing?

For photo editing, the iPad Air worked very well. However, the iPad Pro had a higher MP camera, Face ID technology & was slightly faster… besides that I did not notice any benefit of the iPad Pro for photographers & photo editors.

iPad Pro = faster, but when using the iPad Air as my tablet for photo editing… there was not a noticeable difference in speed. It really worked well for Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop retouching.

Also, you can combine iPad Air with the first-generation Apple Pencil for a great, detailed retouching experience (source). The new Air connects seamlessly with all Apple devices, like MacBooks and iPhones. The tablet’s battery life is unbelievably good-allowing you to edit photos for up to 10 housing?

Related: Is a MacBook Air Good for Video Editing (The Truth)

When it comes to storage, most photographers use the creative cloud. Nevertheless, you can always get external storage if you need more space than the offered 64GB.

The iPad Air is our best budget pick for beginner and experienced photographers, as it is an extremely suitable device for photo editing apps like Lightroom. 

2. Microsoft Surface Pro 7: Best Windows Tablet for Photo Editing (Lightroom, Photoshop)

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Best Windows Tablet for Photo Editing (Lightroom, Photoshop)

Who this is for: Photographers, photo editors and designers who need a professional level, portable solution for Adobe Lightroom on a windows operating system.

This 2-in-1 touchscreen tablet for has numerous benefits for editing photos: Studio mode, tablet mode, laptop mode… not to mention the Surface Pro is by far the best windows tablet for lightroom photo editing.

Why the Surface Pro 7 for Lightroom & photo editing: High compatibility for those using more than just the Adobe softwares. The latest Surface Pro is Microsoft’s most powerful windows tablet for photo editing. This is a top-tier choice for photographers as all the features Microsoft included make the Pro 7 a performance beast.

The editing process is also helped by the stunning, vibrant 12.3’’ screen that has the perfect canvas size. Moreover, when we combined Surface Pro 7 with Microsoft’s new active stylus pen… the result was one of the most professional tablets for editing.

The Surface Pro provides one of the most professional experiences a photographer can have when it comes to photo editing on lightroom.

When it comes to photo editing, the latest generation i5 CPU and 8GB (optional 16GB) of RAM will easily handle Photoshop and Lightroom. In fact, the Surface Pro 7 can quickly manipulate all high-res images with multiple layers, providing an extremely fast editing experience.

Surface Pro vs other tablets

Much like the iPad, the Surface Pro is ideal for photographers who use other softwares, like photoshop. It’s highly compatible with nearly all other softwares. (Take that, Android!)

It doesn’t get much better than the Surface Pro 7 tablet for photography retouching. This tablet is perfect for those of you who aren’t crazy about the Apple ecosystem’s ‘seamless connectivity’ between Apple devices and for those who need a mature, professional, premium touch screen tablet for photo editing.

Because of its removable keyboard, this is a great choice for you as a photographer, meaning you can use it both as a photo-editing tablet and a high-end editing laptop. Likewise, if you want the best windows hybrid tablet/laptop, then Surface Pro 7 is the best choice for you. 

The Surface Pro has a slightly higher price tag than others… mostly because, well, performance-wise; it’s one of the fastest tablets in the market and has very few limits when it comes to photo editing and adobe software, including lightroom.

The battery lasts up to 7 hours of editing and browsing, which is more than the minimum acceptable life for most creators. Surface Pro 7 has a modern, ultra-slim design and weighs only 1.70 pounds. 

Related: How to Use an old Tablet as a Digital Picture Frame

3. VANKYO MatrixPad: Best Budget Tablet for Lightroom (Photographers)

VANKYO MatrixPad_ Best Budget Tablet for Lightroom (Photographers)

Who this is for: Photo editors that plan on strictly using only Adobe Lightroom and need a budget solution. This Budget Android tablet for photo editing has extremely high specs compared to other tablets of this price point.

Why this tablet is good for photo editing: The MatrixPad tablet is much cheaper than other tablets on our list (like the iPad Air and the Surface Pro), due to the fact that VANKYO isn’t a popular brand. However, the S30 includes amazing specs for its price and proved during our review to be great for photo editing.

For Android photo editing apps like Lightroom and Photoshop the Matrixpad has the specs you need. This speed also made our everyday tasks( like note-taking and multitasking) feel like a piece of cake.

VANKYO has developed a fast quad-core tablet, which runs on Android OS, like the Samsung Galaxy S7. While reviewing the Matrixpad, we felt like using a top-tier tablet. 

The VANKYO MatrixPad is one of the best budget tablets (for Lightroom) you can find on Amazon. Concerning the tablet’s other features, VANKYO has included two great cameras and a sufficient FULL-HD display. The device includes all essentials like WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0 etc. Moreover, Matrixpad has a great battery that can handle up to 6-7 hours of photo editing. 

Great for lightroom (not Photoshop)

Android tablets only have compatibility with ‘Photoshop Express‘, a limited version of photoshop without the full features of the desktop version.

There are some very subtle, minor disadvantages…. Specifically, the 32 GB of storage is not much for a photographer who is retouching and editing photos, but it can be expanded with a Micro SD or an external hard drive. 

You’ll likely need an external memory or cloud space… which many photographers end up using anyway. Overall- You’re really getting a great deal here. Especially if you’re only using Lightroom to retouch & edit photos on your tablet.

One last thing: This clearly isn’t a big-name brand, so the device misses a few advanced extras (like the Apple Ipad Air’s True Tone and color), but overall- it is an amazing choice for beginner and professional photographers on a budget who need a cheap Android Lightroom tablet.

4. Wacom Intuos: Best Wacom Tablet for Lightroom Photo Editing

Wacom Intuos Best Wacom Tablet for Lightroom Photo Editing

Who this is for: The photo editor who doesn’t need a portable, standard tablet, but instead a super low-cost, precision drawing tablet that connects to your laptop or computer. 

Why this tablet is good for lightroom & photo editing: This tablet is specially designed by Wacom for photo editing & precision and is the most popular brand of digital art tablets for artists who need professional level work done.

Wacom Intuos is good for lightroom and photo editing, but you have to connect it to a PC or laptop. The tablet will send your hand movements and pen strokes to that display with extreme precision. 

It has very accurate movements and you will face very little lag. The stylus offers 4096 Pressure Levels and a resolution of 2540 LPI, which is all an experienced editor needs and more. Therefore, this Wacom tablet offers an amazing retouching experience. 

Not your average tablet:

The Wacom Intuos is very different from the other tablets. It’s a graphics tablet/drawing tablet without a dedicated screen of it’s own. So it needs a PC or laptop to be used.

Wacom Intuos is an amazing tablet for all digital art software. The tablet’s working area is sufficient for photo editing, yet small enough to make it one of the best compact and portable tablets on the market, especially if you use your laptop as your workhorse.

Furthermore, If you want to closely draw and retouch photos on your laptop/computer using lightroom, then Intuos is one of the best budget picks available- it will let you edit photos far more precisely than with a mouse.

The fact that the Intuos doesn’t have a screen, means that it is ideal for those who don’t need the portability of a tablet. This is great for those who prefer a big computer screen rather than a small tablet display.

Related: 7 Best Stylus for Amazon Fire HD 8 & 10

I don’t like to transfer photos and switch devices. So, I use just one laptop to edit. The Wacom allows me to use a stylus pen with flawless precision on the go.
Marissa S, headshot photographer

Connecting the Intuos tablet to your laptop or desktop is super-easy, as the tablet can be connected both wirelessly and via USB-A. The CTL works with Mac, Windows, and Chromebook devices. 

To summarize, the Wacom tablet is ideal for lightroom photo editing, making it one of the best graphics tablet to edit lightroom photos  A great choice for serious photographers who want to improve their editing process with an active stylus pen. 

5. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7: Best Samsung Tablet for Lightroom, Snapseed & photoshop

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Best Samsung Tablet for Lightroom, Snapseed & photoshop

Who this is for: If you are an Android user and need a premium brand, then the Samsung Galaxy S7 may be your best choice tablet for lightroom & photo editing. 

Why Samsung Galaxy is good for lightroom: Android apps like Adobe Lightroom, Snapseed and Photoshop Express run smoothly. Samsung also includes the high-quality S pen, making the photo editing experience with S7 even better. 

Thus, the S7’s mobile experience is one of the best on the market. However, The fact that this tablet utilizes the latest Android OS is crucial, as it means you can’t install editing software developed for PC. It also means you can’t run the full version of photoshop as it only has photoshop express compatibility.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is similar to the Apple iPad when it comes to performance, meaning you won’t have any problem using demanding editing apps. However the S7 doesn’t have all the fancy aesthetics like Apple. 

Boasting a 12.4’’ screen, this Samsung tablet is great for photo editing in lightroom. 12 inches is a great size for photographers or illustrators.

Extra long battery life

Samsung has one of the best batteries on the market, offering more than 10 hours of continuous editing. 

Samsung Galaxy S7 is an excellent choice for photographers, as it is specially developed for creators that use Samsung Android devices. If you’re looking to edit raw photos, work on photoshop, then this Samsung device is a great solution.

6. Lenovo Tab: Best Android tablet for Lightroom, Photoshop & Snapseed

Lenovo Tab Best Android tablet for Lightroom, Photoshop & Snapseed

The Tab M10 is developed by Lenovo, a brand widely-known for its affordable, yet extremely powerful, devices. In a few words, the M10 competes with Samsung S7 reviewed above for the best android tablet for lightroom and photoshop.

For those of you that frequently edit photos with the Android version of Adobe Lightroom this is a very smart choice. 

The only downside to keep in mind – Using android means you can’t run the PC versions of certain editing softwares. Make sure you check the softwares you use are compatible. Android can run Lightroom, Snapseed and photoshop Express as an alternative.

To be more precise, this tablet has a great 10.3 inches FHD touch screen and supports active stylus for advanced editing, note taking or drawing. Apart from that, the M10 has two great cameras (8MP front and 5MP rear) and thus, the device is ideal for remote meetings. 

See more: Best Budget Tablets with a Good Camera

Performance-wise, you will not face any lags and editing will be fluid, as the M10’s 8-core CPU is combined with 4GB of RAM. This level of performance is extremely rare in this price-tag, as the M10 is more than three times cheaper than the Samsung S7. 

Last but not least, M10’s battery provides an autonomy of up to 10 hours and the 128GB storage is more than enough for most creators. To sum up, if you want a fast tablet for photo-editing, this is the best choice in the price range below $300.

7. Huion Inspiroy: Best Huion Graphics Tablet for Lightroom (Wireless Pen tablet)

Huion Inspiroy Best Huion Graphics Tablet for Lightroom (Wireless Pen tablet)

We included the Huion Inspiroy on our list, as a great, more affordable alternative to the Wacom Intuos. Like Wacom’s Intuos, the Inspiroy is a screenless drawing pad and you have to connect to an external screen to use it. 

Using a Huion tablet for Adobe lightroom means a lower price tag than Wacom with nearly all the same benefits

When it comes to Huion’s active pen, it utilizes 8192 pressure levels, which is two times more than Wacom’s stylus… and while Wacom is the leading name brand when it comes to pen tablets, Huion is slightly less well known, but still a reliable, premium brand in the field.

That being said, the main difference between the two tablets is that Inspiroy is cheaper. However, this Huion device proved to work just as well (if not better) in photo-editing with an active stylus. 

Requires a Laptop or PC

The Huion inspired isn’t like most tablets. It’s a photo editing tablet without a dedicated screen… So it needs a PC/laptop to connect to in order to be used.

The drawing area of Inspiroy is bigger (11’’ x 6.8’’) than Wacom’s device and promises to offer an painless editing experience. 

Huion tablets works fluidly with all editing applications like Lightroom, and is compatible with most desktops, laptops and tablets. You can connect Huion’s tablet to any device via bluetooth or cable.

To sum up, the Huion Inspiroy is an amazing alternative to Wacom’s Intuos, ideal for those of you who want a cheaper tab with a bigger workspace for editing. 

Buyers Guide: Pros and Cons of using a Tablet for Lightroom

Buyers Guide Pros and Cons of using a Tablet for Lightroom

It’s important to understand that the devices you choose are only ideal if they match what you’re exact purpose is. If it’s for photo editing in lightroom and photoshop, then you can get away with either a tablet or a digital drawing pad (pen tablet). There are pros and cons for both options and a drawing tablet (like the Wacom) is often considered if you have a good budget and do not need portability.

When choosing a Tablet for photo editing, keep in mind:

  • Many professionals who are editing photos in Lightroom with a tablet won’t need a substantial amount of storage…. mostly because technology allows cloud based storage for photos (such as adobe creative cloud).
  • Android tablets, such as the Samsung, have the least amount of compatibility for photo editing software outside of the adobe suite.
  • If you’re going to choose a cheap tablet for photo editing, my suggestion is to make sure you grab one with a long lasting battery.
choosing a tablet for photo editing what to look for

Don’t need portability?

A popular alternative is to grab a Wacom tablet as these devices often costs less, have greater precision for editing photos in Lightroom & photoshop with a pressure sensitive stylus pen.

All the tablets I’ve listed in this post were compatible with Lightroom and satisfied nearly all my professional needs for photo editing.

FAQ

What Tablets can edit photos with lightroom?

What Tablets can edit photos with lightroom_

Apple tablets, Android, & Microsoft windows are all known to be compatible with Lightroom for photo editing. These are also useful for photoshop. Microsoft and apple being the best for editing photos in lightroom due to compatibility with other creative software. 

Can you use lightroom to edit photos with the xp-pen pen tablet

Can you use lightroom to edit photos on xp-pen

Adobe Lightroom compatible with XP-PEN-it works with lightroom and you can use the two together by simply downloading and installing your XP-Pen artists tablet and connecting it properly to your windows or Mac computer.

At this point, you can download lightroom or use the adobe cloud app and edit photos in adobe lightroom by selecting the bush tool, heal tool, and any other task that you used to perform by mouse. It is very similar to that of using a Wacom or Huion Tablet.

Can you use Lightroom on Android?

Can you use Lightroom on Android_

Yes, lightroom is compatible on Android & Android tablets. Photoshop is also available for use on Android. Other photo editing apps outside of the adobe suite may not be compatible and checking the system requirements is ideal for those seeking at their next device.

There are some slight differences that I noticed, but overall I was able to create the same level of artwork on Android as I was on Windows; though this may vary based on your requirements. If you’re a professional artist I would consider a windows or Mac iOs simply because I found there are less limitations.

What Tablets do photographers use to retouch photos?

What Tablets do photographers use to retouch photos_

Professional photographers commonly use the following tablets with a stylus pen to retouch photos:

  • Apple: Ipad Air, Ipad Pro
  • Samsung: Galaxy
  • Microsoft: Surface Pro

These tablets each have a different operating systems: Windows, iOS and Android. The operating system you choose should be chosen based on what you feel you are comfortable with and what apps are exclusive to that OS that you require. For example, the Procreate App is exclusive to iPad; but photoshop and lightroom is not.

Can iPad Run lightroom?

Yes, both the iPad Air and Pro can run lightroom. Keep in mind most photographers and photo editors will want to store photos on the creative cloud (adobe) or the cloud of their choice since tablets don’t always have a large amount of storage. 

How do you set up a Wacom Tablet for lightroom?

Here’s how to connect a Wacom tablet to Adobe Lightroom:

  1. Connect the tablet to your laptop or Pc
  2. Install any updates Wacom provides (or Huion/Xp-Pen)
  3. Open lightroom and ensure the tablet is being recognized by the software
  4. Begin drawing and retouching photos on lightroom with your tablet

Conclusion

Overall, the best tablets for lightroom and photo editing are ones that have the required specs for the adobe suite and can run iOS, Android, or windows. Many professional photographers I know (including myself in the past), choose Microsoft or Apple tablets.

Choosing the best tablets for photo editing raw images in Adobe Lightroom consists of a decision on one of the standard Pro tablets, like the Samsung galaxy, iPad Pro/Air, or the Microsoft Surface Pro. My suggestion is to stick to what you’re used to- It’s much easier to navigate the interface of a device you’ve used before when choosing the best tablet for adobe lightroom & photoshop.

Alternatively, you can use a graphics tablet to edit photos in lightroom (Like Wacom) if you don’t need portability and are photo editing with lightroom, snapseed or photoshop. The best budget tablet for lightroom is Android.

There are many other, less costly, premium choices that perform just as well as the ipad and it’s pricey apple tag. The tablets listed also work very well for photographers retouching photos on headshots, fashion photography, and weddings. (source)

On top of that, tablets are ultra portable… allowing remote retouching and editing of photos when shooting outdoors or at a certain remote location.