How we create art is changing, and digital drawing is quickly carving its own niche in the marketplace. A laptop can be a great way to take your art from idea to execution and handle everything from drawing to editing. But what you want and what you can afford are two very different things. All of the laptops, 2-in-1 devices, and Chromebooks on our list offer some of the best value around, but the one that’s right for you will come down to your specific needs.
We generally recommend 2-in-1 laptops if you’re looking for the best laptop for drawing, but they aren’t your only option. We’ll provide you with reviews of some of the best laptop models available, as well as some relevant information on laptop specs – and especially specs as they apply to drawing – so you can determine which laptop on our list is going to be the best choice for you.
TL;DR - 10 Best Laptops for Drawing :
- Microsoft Surface Book 2
- Apple MacBook Air 2020
- HP Spectre x360
- Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
- Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- Lenovo YogaBook C930
- Microsoft Surface Go 2
- Dell XPS 13
- Lenovo Flex 14
- Acer Spin 3
1. Microsoft Surface Book 2
Truly intuitive 2-in-1 functionality
Digital drawing on your laptop can be fun and rewarding if you have the right device. And there are few laptops as playful as the Microsoft Surface Book 2. This 2-in-1 laptop is designed through-and-through with creativity and versatility in mind. The detachable screen offers the freedom to choose between using a full laptop or a tablet at a moment's notice, and the intuitive touch screen is a dream to draw on. Navigate with your touch, and use the Surface Pen and Surface Dial (sold separately) to draw and interact with your creations in any way you want.
To back up this laptop's bold claims of versatility, the base model runs on an Intel Core i5 processor with 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD, which should all be plenty to run your design applications smoothly and store all of your creations. Should you crave a little more, though, the top model goes as far as to offer an Intel Core i7 CPU with 16 GB RAM and a full 1 TB SSD. And with a battery life of up to 17 hours, you can work all day without having to worry about constantly having a power outlet handy.
2. Apple MacBook Air 2020
Ideal for taking on the road
Apple Products are great in that they have many incredible features that make them useful to just about anyone. There are very few products out there that have had such a stranglehold on the market as the MacBook series of laptops. And the MacBook Air 2020 is no different. This is a laptop built with digital creatives firmly in mind. It's simple to set up, very smooth to navigate, and more than powerful enough for all of your design needs.
This model is one of the first to benefit from Apple's new proprietary M1 chip, which integrates the functions of a powerful CPU and GPU into one little processor to offer up to 3.5x the power of previous MacBook models. The processor is backed up by 8 GB RAM and a 256GB SSD in the base model, which can be switched out for a 512 GB SSD in the higher-end model. True to the MacBook Air name, this laptop is incredibly streamlined and lightweight, making it ideal for taking with you on the go. And what's more, that portability is backed up by a stellar battery life of up to 18 hours.
3. HP Spectre x360
Serious power for a 2-in-1
If you're looking for a versatile computer specifically made for multitasking, look no further than the HP Spectre x360. This 2-in-1 laptop offers all of the functionality of both a laptop and a tablet without sacrificing anything from either. Its Full HD IPS panel offers impressive image quality from just about any viewing angle. And the included HP Active Stylus Pen will allow you to make the most of that display through all of your digital creations.
The power of this laptop is nothing to sniff at. An Intel Core i7 processor ensures you get top-end performance from your laptop, and the 16 GB RAM and base 512 GB SSD mean none of that power will go to waste. And should you choose to use your drawing laptop as an entertainment hub, the unmatched audio performance of the built-in Bang & Olufsen speakers promise immersive audio for all of your entertainment.
4. Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
Fantastic versatility backed by serious power
Samsung may have once been a brand limited entirely to the realm of smartphones and TVs, but they've recently been making leaps in the laptop market. While not one of their more recent and popular laptops, the Notebook 9 Pro offers a huge amount of freedom and functionality to digital creatives. Its 360-degree 2-in-1 built allows you to benefit from the best of both worlds of laptops and tablets, and the included S-Pen ensures you can use those benefits to support your creativity.
This is not a laptop to mess around, either. Its Intel Core i7 processor offers boost speeds of up to 4 GHz which, when you take into account the 16 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD, results in an incredibly capable digital art powerhouse. What's more, the AMD Radeon 540 GPU offers 2 GB VRAM, which will be a greater benefit to digital creatives than any other user base.
5. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Surface Book performance in a portable package
Much like the Surface Book 2 that tops this list, the Surface Pro 7 is a truly 2-in-1 laptop ideal for digital creatives and those working on the go. The benefit that the Surface Pro has over the Surface Book is its improved portability, given its sleeker and more lightweight design. The Surface Pro 7 offers all of the same quality functionality for digital art as the Surface Book, with its intuitive touch screen and Surface Pen navigation.
For its compact size and tablet-oriented functionality, this little device packs a lot of power. The base model offers an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD, which should all be plenty for all of your digital art needs. Should you be looking for a little more power though, the top-end model offers an i7 CPU with 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD.
6. Lenovo YogaBook C930
If you're looking to invest in drawing laptops made for those that really appreciate art, then look no further than the Lenovo YogaBook C930. This is a convertible laptop like no other, and really plays to the "book" title. This isn't quite a 2-in-1 laptop, as there's actually no physical keyboard. Instead, the YogaBook employs a strategy of two touch screens, each of which can be used as a keyboard or simply as an additional screen or sketching surface. For those who really want to get that feeling of drawing in a traditional sketchbook, this is the closest you can possibly get right now.
The YogaBook wouldn't be up to scratch if it couldn't match its claims with suitably capable specs, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. With an Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM, and a 128 GB SSD, you should have plenty to work with here. They aren't the best specs we've seen on this list, but some compromises must naturally be made given the unique approach of this laptop, and they're still very capable as they are. And coming in at a cheaper price tag than anything else on this list so far, you really can't fault the YogaBook.
7. Microsoft Surface Go 2
Another member of the Microsoft Surface family makes its way onto our list, and this time offers a solution to more budget-minded artists. The Surface Go 2 effectively offers a trimmed-down version of the Surface Pro experience. It's a true 2-in-1 in that it can be used as a laptop or as an entirely independent tablet, and it comes in at half the price of the Surface Pro 7. In the interest of artists and digital creatives, the Surface Go offers virtually the exact same features when used in conjunction with the Surface Pen accessory.
Running on an Intel Pentium processor with 4 GB RAM and a 64 GB SSD, the specs here are far from jaw-dropping. But for the price, you get a very capable digital art hub with all of the portability and flexibility of the higher-end models in the Surface family. This may be an ideal option for those new to digital art who may be looking to dip their toes in before going all-in on a pricier device.
8. Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 is a masterclass in laptop design and functionality. While it naturally offers all of the cornerstones of a digital art machine in its touchscreen functionality and portability, the XPS 13 offers so much more. Its Full HD InfinityEdge display promises gorgeous visuals on a near bezel-less screen, allowing you to maximize the potential of your creations.
But where this laptop really shines is in its sheer power. The base model is packing a 10th-gen Intel Core i7 processor backed by 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD which, as you may have learned by reading the rest of this list, equates to insane performance. Should you really be hungry for enough power and versatility to future-proof your laptop for years to come, the higher-end model offers the same Intel Core i7 processor with a full 32 GB RAM and a whopping 2 TB SSD, which is far more than you're ever likely to need even when using the most power-thirsty software. Naturally, all of this is going to come at a hefty price, even for the base model, but if you've got the money to splurge, you certainly won't be disappointed with the Dell XPS 13.
9. Lenovo Flex 14
Continuing the trend of 2-in-1 laptops on this list is the Lenovo Flex 14, which offers all of the functionality of comparable models on our list at a fraction of the cost. You naturally get an attractive touch screen and pen, and the option to use the device as a laptop or twist it around to function as a tablet.
While the specs on the Lenovo Flex 14 can't necessarily square up to most other devices we've covered, it's very capable for what it is. In place of a traditional Intel CPU, you get an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, 12 GB RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. With a cheaper price tag than most options on this list, this is a budget-friendly option that doesn't sacrifice on the power you need to really make the most of your digital creations.
10. Acer Spin 3
Rounding off our list is the Acer Spin 3, which is quite fittingly another 2-in-1 laptop. As with the Lenovo Flex above, the Acer Spin offers all of the benefits of a 2-in-1 laptop, which manifests best for those looking to use it for digital art. It's very capable as both a standard work and entertainment laptop and can equally double up as an art and drawing tablet.
The specs here are surprisingly impressive for the price, too. In the standard model, you get an Intel Core i5 processor with 8 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD, all for up to half the price of some of the higher-end models on our list. Should you be looking for a little more power, you can instead opt for the Intel Core i7 version of the Spin with 16 GB RAM and the same 512 GB SSD, without adding too much to the cost. All in all, this is a very respectable choice for any digital artist.
Laptop for Drawing Buyer’s Guide
Trying to find the best laptop as an artist can be somewhat of a challenge. There are just so many great options available on the market these days. With some of the best laptops becoming more affordable, you now have more of a variety than ever to choose from. Below are some of the key elements to look for when deciding on a laptop that is great for drawing.
What to look for in Drawing Laptops:
- Screen resolution: If you’re looking for a laptop that you can use as an art canvas, the resolution is going to be one of the primary factors to consider. The best resolution you’ll find for most laptops is 1080p, also known as Full HD. While 4K screens are becoming increasingly available, they’re incredibly expensive and won’t make that much of a practical difference when you have a smaller screen. When shopping for any laptop, the resolution is always worth some consideration. But when you’re looking for the best laptop for drawing, it should be one of the most important considerations.
- Graphics: If you’re an artist, chances are you appreciate graphics above all. As an artist, you should accept stunning detail and nothing less to help you achieve your goals.
- Battery life: The best devices tend to have a long battery life and a short charging time. While it isn’t ideal for your device to shut down due to not charging your battery, these days the best laptop options provide you with shorter charging times.
- Memory (RAM): While most people don’t pay attention to RAM, it is important, especially if you’re an artist. If you decide that you need to download a bunch of apps along the way, then you’re going to need something with a minimum of 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM.
- Processor speed: Not having a laptop that can operate at a high speed could be kind of a downfall. These days, the best laptop options not only have extremely great graphics but also provide a high level of speed. If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to get the fastest and more affordable laptops you can find, which typically means a CPU speed of at least 1 GHz.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the Best Laptop for Artists?
While there are so many options to choose from, artists can find an array of ideal laptops on which they can store and work on their art. If you’re looking for a laptop for drawing, everything will obviously be relative to your own needs. Two of the best laptops available for artists are the Microsoft Surface Book 2 and the Spectre X360 2-in-1 Laptop.
What is the Best Device for Drawing?
Instead of putting your pen to paper, these days you don’t even have to leave the home to get supplies. Laptops and graphics tablets enable you to work from home and work on your art with ease. These devices have HD graphics cards that offer an impressive image from just about all viewing angles. If you have a tablet or laptop that offers drawing capabilities, you can draw completely paper-free.
What Laptop is Best for Design Work?
If you’re a designer or graphic designer, you can never go wrong with a MacBook. While MacBooks are more expensive, they have some of the best technology you can get from a laptop.
The operating system is foolproof and easy to use. The graphics card also makes it easy to do some design work and can handle multiple applications at once, which is ideal for things like using reference images. Considering that Macs also offer high-quality resolutions, you really are getting more bang for your buck if you want to use these devices for design work. While Macs are more on the expensive end of the spectrum, these laptops are made to last.
Shopping for electronics has never been more affordable, and these days it’s important to know all the options you have available to you. While there are many laptops to choose from on the market, the rise in convertible laptops has upped the ante on the tablet game. Tablets used to be pricey but now have components equivalent to that of a Chromebook. These handheld devices have high-level dedicated graphics that really make them worth your money.
While there are plenty of options out there, few are better than the Microsoft Surface Book 2 if you’re looking for a product simply made for drawing. With the Microsoft Surface Book 2, you not only get a great graphics card but also an Intel Core i5 processor as well as quite a bit of RAM. It’s simply one of the best options around for drawing.
We at HotRate pride ourselves on having a large variety of knowledge on specific products. We hope to have helped you narrow down your search if you’re in the market for drawing laptops. Be sure to check out some of our other guides for the rest of your tech shopping needs, too!If you liked our article on laptops for drawing, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.