Hey guys, what laptop would you buy for photo editing? Thx for the help
Mac Book Pro 15"
Asus N55SF 15"
or something else?
I'm not sure which laptop is the best choice between those two (I have no familiarity with the ASUS at all), but after skimming through the discussion here, I'm surprised there isn't more talk related to display quality.
At minimum, for photo editing I'd want a display with the following features: decent contrast ratio (I'd shoot for 500:1 at a brightness of 120cd/m2), capable of saturating the sRGB colorspace, minimal vertical and horizontal colorshift. Resolution is another consideration, I'd recommend aiming for a display with a resolution of 1920x1080 or 1600x900, as more work space is always nice (assuming your vision is good enough to deal with the dense pixel pitch of a high resolution display). I also recommend steering clear of displays with the ultra-typical resolution of 1366x768, if for no other reason than this resolution is often associated with inferior laptop displays. Regardless of what you end up with, do yourself a favor and calibrate the display, it will make a huge difference in color accuracy.
There are several LCD display technologies found in laptops, each with its own strengths and weaknesses - namely TN and IPS panels.
IPS panels represent the ultimate in display quality and are the best for critical work. The downsides are that they are quite rare in laptops, and when they are available they cost a pretty penny - it could be as much as a $400+ add-on to the base cost of the laptop. IPS panels have good to great color depth (capable of reproducing anywhere from 70-100% of the adobeRGB colorspace), contrast ratios (700:1 or better), and superior viewing angles with minimal colorshifting, and sometimes come factory calibrated (a few laptop models even have built-in calibration).
TN panels, on the other hand, are available in varying levels of quality. Color depth is all over the place, poor displays might be limited to reproducing just 40% of the adobeRGB colorspace, decent displays are good for about 70% (and can saturate the sRGB colorspace), and there are a small number of high gamut displays good for 95-110% of the adobeRBG colorspace. TN panels are also prone to vertical and to a lesser extent horizontal color shifting depending on viewing angle - again, the extent of color shift varies by display quality (some are actually quite good indeed with respect to minimizing colorshift). Contrast ratios vary from 230:1 at the low end to 1000:1 at the high end.
Macbook Pros are generally well regarded for overall display quality, so that option is probably a pretty safe bet, but I'd recommend finding a review for the specific model you are planning to buy to confirm (check anandtech.com, they do a pretty good job with laptop and display reviews, another good resource for general LCD display information is tftcentral.co.uk).
I'm currently using a Dell U2711 (a high gamut IPS panel) for my desktop photo editing and a Dell Precision 4600 workstation laptop for on the road. The laptop has a 1920x1080 TN panel display (an IPS panel is available, but would have cost another $400), before I had it in hand I was a bit worried the display wouldn't be up to spec, but after calibrating with a Spyder3Pro it's really quite pleasant to work with. It's also a matte display, which is great for minimizing glare in bright environments.
Oh, one last note before I disappear into the ether: all the talk about SSDs is true, they make a huge difference in loading times for programs and files, everything is much more responsive. With SSD, the boot time of my laptop is crazy fast - under 10 seconds. The only problem is cost (very high cost per GB), and SSD quality is about as fickle as display quality - there are good SSDs and bad SSDs. Samsung 830 series, Crucial M4, and Intel 320 series SSDs are probably you best bet for reliability, and the samsung 830 and curcial M4 will be faster provided you laptop supports the SATA 3.0 spec. Sorry for the huge wall of text and good luck!