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Home » Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI – Is Luminar AI Obsolete?

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI – Is Luminar AI Obsolete?

luminar neo vs luminar ai

In this Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI comparison, we learn that the latest version of Skylum Software’s Luminar Neo is better than Luminar AI in almost every way. Therefore, if you’re looking to buy or try one of these excellent photo editors, buy Luminar Neo.

Nevertheless, Luminar AI still comes out ahead in a few areas that may or may not matter to you. In this side-by-side comparison – I list the differences between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo and compare both in terms of features, usability, and performance. To learn more about Neo, read my Luminar Neo Review. Jump to Conclusion | Download Luminar Neo | Download Luminar AI

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Table of Contents

Comparing Luminar AI and Neo

To find out the difference between Luminar AI and Neo, I ran both side-side. Furthermore, I used the latest versions of both. Luminar AI 1.5.2 and Luminar Neo 1.0.7.

Running Luminar AI (left) and Luminar Neo side-by-side.

Luminar Neo vs Luminar Neo: Ease of Use

In terms of useability, there’s very little difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo. The first time I loaded Luminar Neo, I thought I’d accidentally loaded on my copy of Luminar AI.

The Edit Tab in Luminar AI

But whichever Luminar you choose, you will enjoy the same easy-to-use minimalistic interface. And with Luminar Neo version 1.0.7, you finally get the option to display a histogram and filmstrip.

Spot the difference? The Edit Tab in Luminar Neo

Like Luminar AI, Luminar Neo is divided into three parts – Catalogue, Presets, and Edit. The Catalogue is where you will browse and manage your photos.

After you have browsed your photos, you can take one of them over to the Preset tab. With Presets, you’ll be able to process your photo to a very high standard with no more than a click of your mouse. In Luminar AI, Presets are called Templates but in practical terms – Templates and Presets are the same things.

Visually speaking, Luminar Neo’s Edit tab is very similar to the Edit tab in Luminar AI. However, Luminar Neo has a few more tools and an option on the left to insert effects Layers. And since Luminar Neo V1.0.7, you can add your most-used tools to your favorites at the top of the list.

Add your most-used tools to your favorites in Luminar Neo.

Overall, both Luminar AI and Luminar Neo are very much cut from the same cloth. And this is a good thing as I consider Luminar AI and Luminar Neo to be the best photo editors for beginners on the market today. As a result, neither Luminar AI nor Neo is any more usable than the other.

Winner: Draw

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI: Features

The main difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo is the feature set. For instance, Luminar AI’s feature set includes some amazing tools such as Sky Replacement AI, Portrait Bokeh AI, and Face AI. As a result, Luminar AI is a great choice for editing portraits and landscape photos.

Sky AI: Sky Replacement in Luminar AI

However, Luminar Neo has all of these tools too – plus Effect layers, Relight AI, Mask AI, and the upcoming Portrait Background Removal. So, whilst Luminar AI is packed with really great features, Luminar Neo steals all of them and keeps a few new ones to itself.

Adding a’Light-leak’ effects layer in Luminar Neo

A curious exception to the rule is Augmented Sky AI. With Luminar AI, you can use Augmented Sky AI to drop objects into your photo. For instance, you might like to insert a flock of birds, a distant mountain, or even a Giraffe. Furthermore, Luminar AI offers dodge, burn, and clone tools.

Birds added with Augmented Sky AI in Luminar AI

If you are basing your choice of Luminar AI vs Neo on features alone, Luminar Neo is the obvious choice. And given how much better Luminar Neo gets with each release, the gap between Luminar AI and Neo will continue to grow.

Winner: Luminar Neo

Luminar AI vs Neo: Performance

At first, there was not much difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo. In other words, both were sufficient quick but slowed under heavy loads.

However, Luminar Neo version 1.0.7. is much quicker than Luminar AI and older versions of Neo. In technical terms, Luminar Neo needs at least 8GBs of RAM. However, some of my larger edits have consumed up to 11 GB of RAM and even Skylum software recommends 16GB.

If you want to run Luminar Neo with less RAM, you will increase the load on your CPU and GPU. This is not necessarily a big issue but it could introduce some lag into your workflow – particularly when you’re using demanding features such as Portrait Bokeh AI.

If in doubt, you can download Luminar Neo and try it free for 7 days (no credit card required). You can try Luminar AI-free if you prefer.

Winner: Draw

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI: Price

Both Luminar AI and Neo cost approximately US$75. As a result, Luminar Neo offers far more value. Occasionally, Luminar AI and Luminar Neo are on sale. But even if Luminar AI was a little cheaper, I’d still prefer to pay a bit more and buy Luminar Neo.

Furthermore, Skylum Software has been bundling Luminar AI with Luminar Neo for a small premium. At first, this was great value as having Luminar AI mitigated some of the rough edges that plagued earlier releases of Luminar Neo. But with Luminar v1.0.7, those rough edges are gone and now there’s no advantage to owning both.

If you want to be notified of the latest deals on either Luminar, sign up for my weekly newsletter.

Winner: Luminar Neo

Luminar Neo vs Luminar AI Features Comparison

With Luminar AI and Neo loaded side-by-side, I compared the functionality of each. Please note that many of the secondary features such as Golden Hour Glow, Detail, and Noise Reduction are present and identical in both Luminar AI and Neo. Therefore, this table focuses on primary functionality as well as smaller but meaningful differences.

FeatureLuminar NeoLuminar AI
Catalog (Photo Management)
View PhotosYY
Add Photos to FavoritesYY
Create and add Photos to AlbumsYY
Synchronize and Copy edits between multiple photosYY
Revert Photos to OriginalYY
Display Camera and Exposure SettingsYY
Photo Viewer
Add Photo to Favorites/RejectedYY
Revert Photo to OriginalYY
Drag Photo to AlbumYY
Show FilmstripYY
Show HistogramXY
Process your Photo in one 1-clickYY
Add Presets/Templates to FavoritesYY
Create your own PresetsYY
Buy new PresetsYY
Show FilmstripXY
Show HistogramXY
Exporting Images
Export images to JPEG, TIFF, DNGYY
Export to 500pxNY
Export to SmugMugNY
Export to MailNY
Photo Editing
Show HistogramYY
Show FilmstripNY
Crop AI/Composition AIYY
Develop TabYPartial
Enhance AIYY
Structure AIYY
Erase AIYY
Erase AI Dust Spot and Powerline RemovalYN
Relight AIYN
Augmented Sky AINY
Portrait BokehYY
High KeyYY
Dodge and BurnNY

Luminar 4 vs Luminar AI vs Luminar neo

But what about Luminar 4? Well, technically speaking, Luminar Neo replaces Luminar 4 as Skylum Software’s enthusiast-orientated photo editor. But in practical terms, Luminar 4 was replaced by Luminar AI quite some time ago.

Luminar 4

Luminar 4 vs Luminar AI

Originally, Luminar AI was a beginner-friendly alternative to Luminar 4. However, as Skylum Software continued to develop Luminar AI, it ended up with all the best parts of Luminar 4 plus all-new features such as Sky AI reflections and Portrait Bokeh AI. While I like Luminar 4 – it fell behind Luminar AI long ago. Read Luminar AI vs Luminar 4

Luminar 4 vs Luminar Neo

Despite Luminar AI steeling Luminar 4’s best features, only Luminar 4 had layers. However, Luminar Neo does have layers and much more besides. If you are still using Luminar 4, I recommend you try Luminar Neo. It’s the replacement you’ve been waiting for.

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When comparing Luminar AI and Neo side-by-side, Luminar Neo is clearly the better option. Since Luminar Neo is the latest photo editor from Skylum Software, it takes everything great about Luminar AI and adds a big cherry on top.

Luminar AI Templates


The main difference between Luminar AI and Luminar Neo is the feature set. Although Luminar AI is packed with awesome features such as Portrait Bokeh AI and Sky Replacement – so is Luminar Neo. Furthermore, Luminar Neo has some new tricks of its own.

Mask AI – only in Luminar Neo

These include Relight AI, Mask AI, Layers, and an improved erase tool. And in a few months, Luminar Neo will get its much-hyped portrait background removal. In contrast, there’s no word on additional functionality for Luminar AI.

Ease of Use

Both Luminar Neo and AI are obscenely easy to use. With their powerful presets/templates, minimalistic interfaces, and AI-powered automation, you don’t need to know much about photo editing to edit your photos.

However, the continual development of Luminar Neo has brought improved features and even greater automation. And the ability to stack your favorite tools together at the top of the screen makes Luminar Neo that much nicer to use. Moreover, Luminar Neo v1.0.7 is the fastest version of Neo yet and on my PC, leaves Luminar AI in its dust.

Has Luminar Neo Replaced Luminar AI

In practical terms yes, Luminar Neo has replaced Luminar AI. At first, Luminar Neo was full of potential but had just enough rough edges and missing features to justify the existence of Luminar AI. Fast-forward a few months to Luminar Neo version 1.0.7 and I find this is to be no longer the case.

Furthermore, Luminar Neo is in continuous development and is getting better at a near-monthly rate. In contrast, Luminar AI is more or less the same as it was six months ago – aside from a few bug fixes. Therefore, I expect the gap between Luminar Neo and Luminar AI will only widen further.


As you can see, it’s difficult to think of any circumstance, besides price, in which Luminar AI is the better choice. But for the moment, both Luminar Neo and Luminar AI cost about the same. Therefore, my recommendation is pretty straightforward – buy Luminar Neo. For more information, check out my Luminar Neo and Luminar AI Reviews

Get Luminar Neo

Save even more: Use Luminar Neo Promo Code: SILENTPEAKNEO10

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