7 Best Laptops for Astrophotography 2024 (Latest Models)

best laptop for astrophotography

If you are an astronomer looking for the best laptops for astrophotography or the best laptops for astronomy, our guide will help you make the right decision.

Our recommendations can run astrophotography and astronomy software like Stellarium, Starry Night Pro, Maxlm, SGP, Ascom, PHD2 and PixInsight without burning a hole in your pocket. We’ve chosen laptops with the right processors, graphics, RAM and storage.  A good laptop for astrophotography will be an excellent addition to your astrophotography equipment.

Our picks are adequate for data acquisition and image processing and storage. So whether you need a laptop for imaging planets or deep sky imaging, this article will put you on the right track. 

Best Laptops for Astrophotography at a Glance

No. Item  
1 Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) (Editors’ Choice) Check Price on Amazon
2 Apple MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) Check Price on Amazon
3 Dell XPS 15 (2022) Check Price on Amazon
4 Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 Check Price on Amazon
5 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9th Gen) Check Price on Amazon
6 Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) Check Price on Amazon
7 Acer Swift 5 (2022) Check Price on Amazon

Things to Look out for When Buying a Laptop for Astrophotography

  • You need a hard drive with ample storage, especially if you’ll be downloading and storing lots of planetary images. So a 256GB or 512GB storage will be a good start.
  • We recommend an SSD because it enhances speedy transfer of camera images.
  • At least 4GB of RAM. However, we recommended more RAM (16GB, for instance), so you can process your images effortlessly.
  • The laptop must have USB 3.0 ports for connectivity.
  • Go for a laptop with a high screen resolution.
  • A large screen is also recommended. 13’’ is a good option to begin with.
  • Windows laptops are preferred. Most post processing software are available on Windows.
  • At least an Intel Core i7 laptop (if you’ll process your images on a laptop). Core i3 for image acquisition only.
  • Go for a laptop with a good battery life – At least 7 or 8 hours on a single charge. This reduces your chances of moving about with heavy external batteries.

Apple’s MacBooks with M1 and M2 chips are perfect for astrophotography too. They are highly recommended.

Other Add-ons You Might Need

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1. Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) (Editors’ Choice)

best laptop for astrophotography

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Our Editors’ Choice for the best laptop for astrophotography is the Apple MacBook Air with M2 chip. If you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem, the MacBook Pro is your best bet. The new MacBook Air M2 is Apple’s latest and greatest laptop, offering top-notch performance and an attractive redesign that boasts several practical benefits.

Unlike its predecessor, the M2 Air features a more uniform chassis that is thinner than ever before, measuring just 11.3 millimeters thick at the edges and weighing only 2.7 pounds. This makes it incredibly easy to carry around, with the laptop barely noticeable in a backpack.

In addition, the M2 Air features a larger 13.6-inch display with a thin, seamless bezel that provides plenty of color and detail. The Magic Keyboard is also back, complete with full-sized function keys, and the revamped MagSafe charger makes it easy to attach and detach the charging cable with a quick magnetic snap.

The M2 Air is also equipped with a powerful new Apple M2 processor, making it one of the fastest laptops on the market. It can easily handle heavy multitasking workloads and even light gaming, though more intensive games may cause the laptop to heat up. Battery life is impressive, lasting up to 18 hours on a single charge for day-to-day use.

The biggest downside to the M2 Air is its price, however, if you’re willing to pay for a larger display, better webcam, sleeker design, and useful MagSafe charger, the M2 Air is the best laptop money can buy. If you’re on a budget, the M1 Air remains a great option.

You’ll be hard-pressed to be disappointed with the the Apple MacBook Air with M2’s performance. The Apple MacBook Air with M2 chip is highly recommended for astrophotography.

PROS

  • Enhanced processing speed
  • Ample storage
  • Better display
  • Fast M2 performance
  • Impressive battery life

CONS

  • Display has a notch

Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) Key Specifications

Display: 13.6 inches; 2560×1664
CPU: Apple M2 Chip
GPU: 8-core or 10-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 24GB
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Weight: 7 pounds

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2. Apple MacBook Pro (M2, 2022)

best laptop for astrophotography

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Apple’s MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) is an impressive device that boasts a range of new features and upgrades. As the first device to pack Apple’s brand-new M2 chip, it offers enhanced performance and functionality that sets it apart from its predecessors.

One of the most significant upgrades to the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) is the M2 chip itself. It features an 8-core CPU with four efficiency and performance cores, making it more powerful than the standard M1 chip. The M2 chip also has a 10-core GPU design, two more than the Apple M1 GPU that powers the 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch, and more than the MacBook Air with M2 chip. This allows for faster and smoother graphics performance, making the device ideal for tasks such as video editing, gaming, and graphic design.

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) also features a 16-core neural engine that is faster than the neural engine in the Apple M1, allowing for improved machine learning and AI performance.

In terms of design, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) features a sleek and modern look that is both stylish and functional. The device has a 13.3-inch Retina display providing vivid and accurate colors and brightness in any lighting condition.

Other notable features of the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) include a Touch Bar that provides quick and easy access to frequently used functions and applications, as well as a Touch ID sensor that allows for secure and convenient authentication. The device also has 2 Thunderbolt ports that support fast data transfer speeds and external displays, as well as Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 for fast and reliable connectivity.

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) is an impressive device that offers a range of new features and upgrades. With its powerful M2 chip, sleek design, and advanced functionality, it is an excellent choice for anyone in need of a high-performance laptop for work or play.

PROS

  • Very fast performance
  • Ample storage
  • Sharp display
  • Impressive battery life
  • Excellent keyboard

CONS

  • Retains previous design

Apple MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) Key Specifications

Display: 13.3 inches (2560 x 1600)
CPU: Apple M2 Chip (8-core)
GPU: Integrated 8-core M2 GPU | Integrated 10-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 24GB
Storage: 256GB – 2TB

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3. Dell XPS 15 (2022)

best laptop for astrophotography

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The Dell XPS 15 (2022) is a 15-inch laptop that strikes the perfect balance between portability and screen size, making it an excellent choice for people who find 13-inch laptops too small and 16 or 17-inch laptops too cumbersome. The laptop retains the classic XPS look, complete with brushed aluminum, carbon fiber palm rests, and a slim design. The laptop is incredibly lightweight and easy to carry around, making it an excellent option for people who travel frequently.

Under the hood, the Dell XPS 15 (2022) is powered by Intel Alder Lake processors and faster RAM, making it an excellent performer for everyday tasks. It features an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile graphics, providing excellent results during everyday use.

Battery life on the Dell XPS 15 is impressive, with the laptop easily lasting a full workday on a single charge.

The Dell XPS 15 (2022) is an attractive and comfortable laptop to use, with a larger screen and keyboard, making it a great option for professionals who spend long hours working on their laptops. Overall, the Dell XPS 15 (2022) is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a powerful and portable 15-inch laptop.

PROS

  • Outstanding performance
  • Excellent design
  • Good keyboard
  • Impressive 3.5K OLED display

CONS

  • Webcam could be improved

Dell XPS 15 OLED (2022) Key Specifications

Display: 15.6-inch 3.5K display, 3456 x 2160 pixels
CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i5 – i7
GPU: Intel UHD Graphics – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
RAM: 8GB – 64GB DDR5
Storage:  256GB – 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

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4. Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360

best laptop for astrophotography

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The Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 is a powerful 2-in-1 laptop that has been receiving positive reviews since its release. The device boasts Intel’s latest 12th Gen P-series processors, which are built for strong performance in thin and light laptops, making it a solid performer as a daily work machine.

The Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 is an ultra-thin laptop that does not skimp on performance. It’s a solid update to last year’s iteration and one of the best 2-in-1 laptops on the market right now.

One of the main draws is a new 12th Gen P-series processor, not forgetting the Super AMOLED display. The device has a slim form factor and long battery life, making it an ideal device for users who are constantly on the go.

The device delivers strong performance and battery life (up to 21 hours on a single charge) within a slim 2-in-1 package that’s especially ideal for those with other Galaxy devices.

Finally, the Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 comes with Wi-Fi 6E, which lets users access the next generation of ultra-fast data speeds. We recommend the Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 as one of the best laptops for astrophotography.

PROS

  • Speedy performance
  • Gorgeous AMOLED display
  • Ample storage
  • Brilliant display
  • Very portable
  • Excellent keyboard and touchpad

CONS

  • No QHD variant

Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 Key Specifications

Display: 15.6-inch 1080p Super AMOLED
CPU: Intel Core i7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Size: 13.97 x 8.98 x 0.47 inches
Weight: 3.11 pounds

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5. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9th Gen)

best laptop for astrophotography

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The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is the latest update to one of the most sought-after business laptops available today, and it proves why it is a highly desirable machine. If you are in need of exceptional performance on-the-go in a sleek and portable package, regardless of cost, the X1 Carbon is the ideal choice.

Lenovo has refined the design of the X1 Carbon Gen 9 even further, building upon the phenomenal features of its predecessors. The latest model is equipped with 11th-gen Intel processors and Intel Evo-certification, ensuring exceptional performance, battery life, startup time, and security features that are associated with Evo-certification.

Despite the upgrades, the X1 Carbon Gen 9 retains all the impressive features that have made the X1 Carbon line so popular. The carbon fiber chassis remains lightweight and slim, and the keyboard is outstanding. It also boasts top-notch security features, top-firing speakers, and enough ports to make many of the best Ultrabooks with their limited USB Type-C ports look inadequate.

Given its impressive specs, the X1 Carbon Gen 9 remains one of the best laptops for astrophotography.

PROS

  • Enhanced processing speed
  • Slim and lightweight
  • Excellent 14-inch display
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Impressive keyboard

CONS

  • Webcam won’t win awards

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9th Gen) Key Specifications

Display: 14-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel
CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i5/Core i7
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB/16GB/32GB
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
Size: 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.5 pounds

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6. Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

best laptops for astrophotography

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Apple has made the new MacBook Air a lot better than previous models with improved internals, storage, and keyboard. The laptop touts a decent 2560 x 1600-pixel Retina display.

Made of aluminum and powered by macOS Catalina operating system and Apple’s M1 chipset, the 2020 MacBook Air can handle typical day-to-day computing tasks effortlessly.

With the 2020 MacBook Air, you get up 16GB of RAM. The entry-level configuration ships with 8GB of RAM, 256GB storage, Apple’s M1 chip, and an 8-core GPU.

In terms of weight, the MacBook Air is pretty much lightweight. No problems hauling the MacBook Air (11.9 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches, 2.8 pounds) in the backpack going to and from school or work.

Gold, Silver, and Space Gray are the three beautiful colour versions of the MacBook Air. Your choice comes down to personal preference.

The laptop boasts two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left and a headphone jack on the right. How about the microSD card reader? Well, there isn’t one really.

We’d be lying if we said you’d be falling off your chair with excitement at the MacBook Air’s battery life. However, its battery life is just OK. In fact its battery life is a notable improvement over previous models. You should get at least 9 hours of productive work out of the laptop when it is not plugged in.

There’s no getting around the fact that the new MacBook Air still remains an excellent laptop given its decent specs.

So, if you’re looking for an affordable MacBook that processes astrophotography images quickly, then buy the Apple MacBook Air. It is one of the best laptops for astrophotography.

PROS

  • Super fast processors
  • Improved keyboard
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent battery life

CONS

  • Limited number of ports
  • Webcam could be better

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) Key Specifications

Display: 13.3-inch Retina Display, 2560 x 1600 pixels
CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU
Graphics: Integrated 7-core – 8-core GPU
OS: macOS Catalina
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe SSD
Size: 11.9 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (304 x 212.4 x 16.1 mm)
Weight: 1.27kg (2.8 pounds)

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7. Acer Swift 5 (2022)

best laptop for astrophotography

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The Acer Swift 5 (2022) is a reliable laptop that is suitable for handling a wide range of everyday computing tasks. Its efficiency, quick startup time, and excellent performance make it an ideal choice for school or work, even when handling processor-heavy tasks without slowing down.

In addition to its impressive performance, the Acer Swift 5 also boasts an attractive design, with one of its standout features being the Gorilla Glass antimicrobial touchscreen. While this is a premium feature for a mid-range laptop, it is definitely worth the price increase as the screen is highly responsive, resists fingerprints and dust well, and feels like a natural extension of the laptop rather than just a tablet with a keyboard.

Battery life is also impressive, with over 11 hours of usage even with intensive programs running, and even longer when running normal tasks. The Thunderbolt 4 charging port refills the battery in just half an hour, providing a quick recharge option.

Furthermore, the Acer Swift 5 supports Wi-Fi 6E, enabling faster wireless internet connection speeds when available. Its lightweight design is also a plus, making it comparable to a smaller Chromebook, and possibly the best student laptop of the year.

The Swift 5 is not just stylish, but also has substance, with a slim but satisfying keyboard, a smooth trackpad, and an ultra-thin bezel. The Intel Alder Lake processor is incredibly fast and remains responsive whether plugged in or running on battery, making it one of the best mid-range laptops in terms of performance. However, it is important to note that the latest technology comes at a slightly higher cost than what one might expect. 

It is a strong buy and one of the best laptops for astrophotography. 

PROS

  • Impressive design
  • Fast SSD
  • Excellent display
  • Very fast processor

CONS

  • Average speakers

Acer Swift 5 (2022) Key Specifications

Display: 14-inch WQXGA (2560 x 1600) Touch
CPU: Intel Core i7-1260P
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Size: 12.2 x 8.4 x 0.59 inches
Weight: 2.65 pounds

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No. Item  
1 Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) (Editors’ Choice) Check Price on Amazon
2 Apple MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) Check Price on Amazon
3 Dell XPS 15 (2022) Check Price on Amazon
4 Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 Check Price on Amazon
5 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9th Gen) Check Price on Amazon
6 Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) Check Price on Amazon
7 Acer Swift 5 (2022) Check Price on Amazon
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Bottom Line

All of the laptops we’ve recommended are adequate for imaging and perfect for post processing: sharpening and setting levels, and stacking of sub-images. In addition you won’t have issues moving your images quickly from your laptop to external drives because our selections ship with fast USB ports.