Graphic design is one job that requires you to have the best tools. This is because the kind of tools you have will determine the output you provide your clients with. And of course, the most important tool you need is a computer as it will help you with conceiving and birthing your ideas. Choosing the best laptop for graphic design can be a bit of a problem especially if you are among pros. You’ll get different recommendations and be at a loss on which graphic design system is right for you.
Not to worry though; since you found this review, that confusion would be a thing of the past once you read through. You’ll be able to determine the best laptop for graphic design that’s ideal for your budget, ideas, and your workload. We’ve also added a guide to help you know what to look out for when choosing the best laptop for graphic design. So without further ado, let’s get right into it:
- 10 Best laptops for Graphic Design
- 1. Apple MacBook Pro 15″ 2.5GHz Retina
- 2. Microsoft Surface Book 2 15″
- 3. Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop
- 4. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC
- 5. HP ENVY 13” Thin Laptop w/ Fingerprint Reader
- 6. Dell XPS 13 – 13.3″ UHD InfinityEdge
- 7. Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edition. 13″ Laptop
- 8. ASUS ROG Strix Scar Edition 17.3”
- 9. ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 Thin and Portable 17.3” FHD Laptop
- 10. MSI GV62 8RD-275 15.6″ Performance Gaming Laptop
- Laptop for Graphic Design Buyer’s Guide
10 Best laptops for Graphic Design
1. Apple MacBook Pro 15″ 2.5GHz Retina
Don't be surprised that the Apple Macbook Pro 15" Retina is our first pick in this review. This laptop is so good it's on nearly all the best laptop for graphic design reviews. Apple is a brand that's known for awesome products. While their products may be on the expensive side, they are usually worth the grand you spend for them. This same story applies to the Macbook Pro 15. Sitting in the $1000 price range, this laptop features a 15.4 inch and 2.5Ghz Retina display. The colors are vivid and crystal clear.
You get 16gb of ram to run your programs and 512 SSD to store them. As if that isn't enough, this excellent laptop for graphic design comes with an NVIDIA Geforce GT 750M with 2gb of dedicated memory. It also features an Intel Iris 5200 graphic processor that allows you to render faster and get more creative jobs done in less time than other laptops. This computer is truly one of the best for any designer who has over a grand to spend. Other features you get on this Core i7 computer include WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, SDXC card slot, an HDMI port, an audio in/out port, 2 Thunderbolt ports, and 2 USB 3.0 ports.
2. Microsoft Surface Book 2 15″
Need a 2-in-1 Core i7 laptop to serve as your graphic design tool? Look no further than the Microsoft Surface 2. This laptop is one of the best graphic design laptops in the world with the capability to rival what the Apple Macbook Pro stands for. One major reason why graphic designers consider this laptop to be the best, besides the innards it comes with, is the fact that it offers you flexibility. You can use this laptop anywhere as it doubles as a tablet too. This means that you can use it anywhere whether you're in a meeting, on the train, at home, or at work. All you need to do is detach the keyboard and you have a tablet.
The Microsoft Surface 2 comes in multiple variants, but the one featured in this review comes with a 15-inch touchscreen display and a surface pen. You get an enhanced graphics performance from the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1060 GPU and 6gb of dedicated graphics memory. Just like the Apple Macbook Pro above, this computer also features 16gb RAM and 512gb of solid-state drive. It has a very good battery life as well given the fact that you can get 17 hours of video playback from a single charge. Four versatile modes of use and the inclusion of a USB Type C provides this laptop with the power and connectivity required to be one of the best for graphic designers who are always on the go. If you've got over $2000 to spend, this is arguably the best machine to go for.
3. Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop
The Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop is another great 2-in1 computer for graphic designers. This laptop comes with features and specs that will help you produce beautiful and colorful works. With a price tag that's around $600, this Lenovo product is certainly a lot cheaper than the first two laptops we've reviewed. While it may not come with awesome specs as the Apple and the Microsoft surface, it still features some of the best specs, thereby qualifying as one of the best laptops for graphic design.
Although the keyboard cannot be detached like on the Microsoft Surface Pro above, this Lenovo can still be used as a tablet as you can just fold it over. This Lenovo Flex laptop comes with 8gb of RAM and 256gb of NVMe SSD. It uses an AMD Ryzen 5 processor to carry out everyday tasks and the Radeon Vega 8 to carry out your graphics work. This Windows 10 laptop comes in a 14-inch size, which makes it a little compact when compared to the Apple and Microsoft laptops above. Also, you get up to 8 hours of battery life from this device, a stylus pen, and it also features a camera shutter to help protect you from the dangers on the internet. Ports include HDMI, USB Type C and USB 3.0. This laptop even comes with a fingerprint scanner for enhanced security.
4. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC
The Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop PC is one of the best laptops for graphic design you can choose. Although it's mainly marketed as a gaming laptop, this computer is endowed with the power to produce stunning graphics results. It is fast, powerful, and immensely better than many other laptops on the market. So, what are the specs Acer has packed in to make this laptop one of the best choices for graphic designers? Let's start with the fact that you get the eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor with the capability to go up to 4.1 GHz. Also included in the package is the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1060 and 6gb of dedicated memory.
A full Intel HD graphics display further pushes the package forward with its 300 nits brightness and 144Hz refresh rate. Up to 7 hours of battery life allows you to work for longer hours and the Aeroblade 3D fan cooling system ensures that your laptop does not overheat, which, in turn, helps reduce lag. This Acer computer also features 16gb RAM, a backlit keyboard, and 256 SSD. And the fact that you get an extra slot for an extra SSD or hard drive makes this worthwhile. If you're looking to grab one of the best laptops for graphic design in 2019, the Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop is one of the best decisions you can make.
5. HP ENVY 13” Thin Laptop w/ Fingerprint Reader
Hewlett Packard (HP) is another company that's just as big as Apple in the computing industry. Their high-end laptops are packed with amazing features, designs, and specs. This rings true for the HP Envy 13" Thin Laptop with fingerprint scanner. Not only is this laptop a beauty to behold, but it's also a beauty when it starts running Photoshop, Lightroom, and other graphic software. This hardware will help you remain at the top of your game what with all the features and specs it offers.
This beautiful laptop comes with a 4K display that every Photoshop professional is surely going to appreciate. The 4K screen is made with WLED technology and protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. With its 8.2 million pixels, every creative work you create on this machine is bound to have incredible detailing. That's not all; the HP Envy 13.3-inch Thin Laptop also comes an eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, which provides it with the power to be one of the fastest laptops on the market. A battery life of up to 12 hours ensures that you are able to put out your maximum output without getting worried about being connected. Webcam Kill Switch and a fingerprint reader makes the HP Envy a whole meal for every designer who's worried about their security.
6. Dell XPS 13 – 13.3″ UHD InfinityEdge
Looking for a lightweight computer for your graphic design works? The Dell XPS 13 is one of the best laptops for graphic design you can go with. You won't know what you're missing until you start using this laptop. It comes with nothing but the best specs. Unlike the other computers we've reviewed so far, the Dell XPS 13 comes with a 1TB SSD storage instead of 512 and 256gb. And just like the HP Envy in our review, this Dell Laptop also comes with an immersive 13.3 inches 4K touchscreen. The screen features less bezels than most laptops in order to give you a better view.
It also features 16gb ram and is made out of 90% recycle friendly materials. The Dell XPS 13 is one of the best laptops for graphic design in 2019. You are simply going to love everything about it. It's lightweight, compact, fast, and beautiful. This laptop comes with a host of ports, including 2 Thunderbolt-3 ports, DC In and Display Port, USB Type C port, and a USB 3.1 port. This is to ensure that you remain connected and you're able to share files without stress. If you truly want the best laptop for graphic design, this is one of the higher-ups in that world.
7. Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edition. 13″ Laptop
We all know that Huawei is a brand that makes some of the best mobile devices in the world. In fact, their products are known to rival Apple and Samsung's products. Huawei is an innovative brand that tends to bring out nothing but the best products. This rings true when you take a look at their computing line, especially the Matebook series. The Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edition Laptop is a beauty to behold. It comes with a host of specs that make it worthy of being on this list of best laptops for graphic design.
Let's start with the fact that it's a thin and lightweight device. It weighs only 2.86 pounds, features 8 gigs of ram, 512gb SSD, and the 8th generation of Intel's core i7. Its touchscreen Fullview Display features very thin bezels, thereby offering you a larger and more capacitive screen for your graphic designs. Whether you want to carry out a ton of graphic designing, or just play some casual games, this computer has the capability to do it all. It is responsive, comes with a year's warranty, and 1 year Office 365 for free. You also get a host of ports on the Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edition Laptop, including USB Type C port, HDMI port, and a VGA port.
8. ASUS ROG Strix Scar Edition 17.3”
Sometimes, the need for a larger screen cannot be denied. For graphic designers in the house looking to get one of the best laptops for graphic design with a large screen, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar Edition is one option you might want to consider. Not only does it come with some high specs, but it's also a great gaming laptop, which means it features one of the best GPUs on the market, thereby making it a great laptop for video editing too. This ASUS laptop comes with a Core i7 processor with 6 cores. For graphics designers, this laptop comes with an NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1050 Ti 4gb graphics. This is one of the best GPUs any laptop can have.
To complete the whole package, you get 128gb of SSD and 1TB of FireCuda Hybrid Drive, which is said to be ten times faster than a normal HDD. As if that isn't enough, the screen size maxes out at 17.3 inches and it comes with a 120Hz full HD display. This laptop is one of the best laptops for graphic design in 2019. Although the battery life here isn't the best, if you're looking for a laptop to carry out your creative prowess and Photoshop designs, this is one of the best options you can go with.
9. ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 Thin and Portable 17.3” FHD Laptop
The ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 Laptop is almost identical to its brother above. Featuring a 17.3 inch display as well as 16gb of RAM, this laptop model comes with almost everything the ASUS ROG Strix has, including a core i7 processor, 1TB HDD as well as an NVIDIA Geforce 1050Ti graphics card. However, unlike the STRIX, this laptop isn't being marketed as a gaming laptop. Yes, it's capable of handling games too, but it's being marketed by Asus as an everyday computer, which is why it doesn't feature a RGB keyboard.
That, however, doesn't mean that the keyboards aren't decent. You get a keyboard that has a nice feel and smooth keyboard travel. You also get 256GB SSD, unlike the STRIX where you get just 128gb. The VivoBook is durable and stylish plus the visuals are simply a beauty to behold. This laptop for graphic design also comes with some of the best speakers on the market. If you are a creative looking to carry out your graphic works easily while using a stylish, slim, and well-balanced laptop, the power embedded in the ASUS VivoBook Pro can help you get your desired results.
10. MSI GV62 8RD-275 15.6″ Performance Gaming Laptop
The last laptop in our best laptop for graphic design review is the MSI Performance Gaming Laptop. You just have to love this laptop. While its specification isn't as high as the ASUS STRIX or VivoBook, this laptop still features some cool properties that make it worthy of being considered as one of the best laptops for graphic design. It neither comes with a touchscreen display nor a 16gb ram. Instead, this MSI laptop comes with a 15.6-inch full HD display, a core i5 processor, as well as 8 gigs of ram, which can be upgraded to 32gb. This laptop is being marketed as a gaming computer just like the STRIX, which is why it's built to carry out only the best performance.
The MSI Performance Gaming Laptop features two fans, two exhausts, and six copper heat pipes. This means that you can carry out your Photoshop tasks as well as other creative works without worrying about lags or any other performance issues. You also get the Geforce 1050Ti on this laptop too. Just like the STRIX, this laptop also comes with an RGB gaming keyboard, which is powered by SteelSeries Engine 3. Other special features you get on this computer include MSI App Player, Nahimic 3.1 Digital Audio Enhancer, as well as the Dragon Center Management App. If you are looking for a gaming laptop that can double as one of the best laptops for graphic design, this MSI computer is one of the most ideal options to go with.
Laptop for Graphic Design Buyer’s Guide
There are tons of laptops of the market for creatives. Whether you are a Photoshop expert, an active Gimp user, a PicPick lover, or Lightroom enthusiast, getting one of the best laptops for creative design can easily be the difference between you and your competitors. You don’t necessarily need to spend tons of cash on an Apple product. There are many other options on the market you can choose your best laptop for graphic design from.
We’ve outlined ten of the best laptops for graphic design in our review above. If you’ve got the cash to spend or you’re already in the Apple ecosystem , we recommend that you go with the Apple Macbook Pro or Microsoft Surface Pro in our review. However, if you are looking for a great option for less, then you should consider going with the many other options on our list. In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the important factors to consider when choosing the best laptops for graphic design.
What Laptop Should I Buy for Graphic Design?
Like we noted earlier, there are many different brands of laptops on the market. However, it usually boils down to getting a MacBook or a PC. Most graphic design software are usually built for both systems. But it’s important to ensure that you are familiar with the interface and your files are compatible with the OS and applications you are working with.
Macbooks used to be the kings of graphic design. This is because they used to have the best color accuracy and picture quality. However, many PCs on the market now are featuring some of the best displays on the market. PCs are also more upgradable than Macs as they can be custom-configured and upgraded with more components. This ensures that when a computer component becomes faulty, you’re able to repair or replace the component without changing the entire PC.
So, if you are already into the Apple ecosystem and wouldn’t like to change, you can choose to go with the MacBook Pro in our review. However, if you don’t have enough to get an Apple product, but would still love to have a great creative design computer, you can choose from the other products in our review.
What Computer Specs Do I Need For Graphic Design?
One of the most important specs to check when choosing a computer for graphic design is the central processing unit, otherwise known as CPU. This is because the CPU controls every bit of function the computer carries out. So as a creative, you want to ensure that the processor of the computer you want to purchase is very fast. The higher the processor, the better your system would be able to run complex software.
If you run heavy programs, you’ll want to go for computers with at least an Intel Core i5 or an AMD Ryzen processor. Computers with high-end specs typically have the latest generation of an Intel i7 or Core i9 processor. But most of them tend to be on the expensive side. While a typical core i5 might not be as fast as a typical Core i7 or Core i9 processor, it will surely do the job of ensuring that your design software runs smoothly with no complications.
Memory, otherwise known as RAM helps hold the information needed for your computer to run. If you run complex programs or you usually open multiple programs or browser tabs, you’ll want to go for a computer with at least 8gb ram. The higher the RAM, the better, smoother, and faster your computer will run. There are laptops that come with as much as 16gb ram and 32gb ram straight out of the box. However, laptops with 4, 8, and 16gb RAMs usually have extra slots so you can upgrade your system’s RAM. Note that there’s a limit to how much RAM you can upgrade to.
There are mainly two types of storage drives; solid-state drive (SSD) and Hard disk drive (HDD). HDDs are cheaper and usually come with more capacity. They have more weight than SSDs but can be problematic to laptops. Solid-state drives, on the other hand, are very expensive, but they are lighter, more durable, and faster than HDDs. This is one of the reasons why computers with SSDs are usually more expensive than those with HDDs.
For your creative works, go with a computer that has at least 256gb or 512gb SSD. If you can afford it, you can also opt for a 1TB SSD computer. Just know that the higher the storage count, the higher the price.
A computer for creative design won’t be complete without the best display. This part is a tricky subject for many graphic designers. While you may want to buy a computer you can afford, you also want to ensure that the computer comes with the best monitor for your creative works. Always go for a monitor that has, at least, an HD display. The higher the number of pixels your monitor can display, the better. The lowest screen resolution for creative design is 1920 x 1080 pixels. Always go for displays with higher pixels if you aim to get the best colors.
Laptops come in many different sizes, but each individual has their own preferences. Currently, designers are choosing between 13 inches to 17 inches laptops. Your choice will depend on the weight and portability. If you want a lightweight and portable laptop, the obvious option is the 13-inch version. However, if you love big screens and would like to see every inch and pixel of your work, then a 15 or 17-inch laptop will do you a lot of good.
Are Touch Screen Laptops Good for Graphic Design?
Yes, they are. Although they tend to be glossy and usually collect prints when you slide your fingers on their displays, they are simply awesome for graphic design. Many of them come with stylus pens that can make using software such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom a breeze.
As a creative designer, getting the best tools will surely help your cause. While the best software can help you create the perfect images and graphics, the right computer will help you run that software without you pulling your hair because of things like lags, blur, insufficient colors, and slow speeds.