The best laptop for graphic designers

Are you looking for the best laptop for graphic designers? Having worked as a graphic designer for close to 10 years, I know exactly how you can consider some important aspects, which I have explained in this article to help you know how to choose the best ones.

The below detailed guide is based on professional designers I interviewed and my personal experience with graphic design laptops. Whether you want a laptop for video editing, drawing, or animation, this article is for you.

Related:

1. Drawing tablet for Animation

Which is the best laptop for graphic designers?

After our detailed research, the 2023 Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max stood out as the best overall pick. Most artists liked its speed, power, and performance, plus its sleek and classy design.

For me, however, as a Windows lover, I preferred the Dell 2023 XPS 17 as the best. Having used it for a number of years, I find it perfect for designers who prefer Windows OS over MAC, like me.

6 Best Laptops for Graphic Designers

  1. Dell 2023 XPS 17 (Editor’s Choice)
  2. Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max: Best Overall
  3. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 14.4″—Best Windows
  4. Acer Chromebook Spin 714: Best Budget
  5. Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra: Most Powerful
  6. ASUS ProArt Studio book 16 OLED: Best for Video Editing

Dell 2023 XPS 17: Editor’s Choice

  1. Screen: 17 inches
  2. Resolution: 3840 x 2400 pixels and 16:10 Display Aspect Ratio
  3. CPU:  i7-12700H
  4. GPU: NVIDIA RTX 3060
  5. Storage: 4 TB SSD
  6. RAM: 64 GB
  7. Battery life: 9 hours
  8. Operating System: Windows 11
  9. Fingerprint Reader, Touchscreen, HD Audio, Backlit Keyboard, and Memory Card Slot
  10. Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  11. Brightness: 500 nit with an Anti-glare coating
  12. 720p HD Webcam recording

The Dell 2023 XPS 17 is my favorite laptop as a graphic designer. It packs premium-level specifications that will help work on any kind of design, whether animation, art, or video editing, without issues.

It features a large 17-inch screen with a resolution of 3840 x 2400 pixels and a 16:10 aspect ratio. Most screens have a 16:9 aspect ratio. This ratio and orientation make the screen seem even bigger than it really is.

The full touch-screen display easily lets you use the laptop as a drawing tablet without the need to connect a tablet.

It is equipped with a protective anti-glare coating that protects your eyes after long usage. Although the screen is not as bright as Apple laptops, its 60 HZ refresh rate and 500 nits brightness are good enough for graphic designers.

The Dell 2023 XPS is a premium-level laptop with a powerful Intel Core i7 processor, 64 GB of RAM, and an integrated NVIDIA RTX 3060 Graphics Processing Unit. This means your laptop will run even complex applications without issues.

Unfortunately, this laptop comes with a very high price to match the features. Additionally, the 720-pixel webcam resolution and 9 hours of battery life could have been improved to 1080p and 14 hours, respectively.

Pros

  • Great visuals on a large 17-inch screen with 3840 x 2400 pixels resolution.
  • Huge storage space up to 4 TB
  • Touch-screen display

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Low-resolution webcam
  • Expensive

Apple 2023 MacBook: Best Overall

  1. Screen Size: 14.2 Inches
  2. Resolution: 3024 by 1964 pixels
  3. Brightness: 1000 to 1600 nit
  4. CPU: 12-core Apple M2 Pro or M2 Max chip
  5. GPU: 30-core GPU
  6. Storage: 1 TB
  7. RAM: 32 GB
  8. Battery Life: 18 Hours
  9. Anti-glare coating
  10. 1080p HD Webcam

Most professional designers chose the Apple 2023 MacBook Pro M2 Max as the best laptop for graphics. It features a smaller 14.2-inch screen with a 3024 by 1964 pixels resolution.

The screen is not a touch screen but features an anti-glare coating similar to the Dell 2023 XPS to protect your eyes.

The screen stands out with unique liquid Retina display technology, 1000 nit regular brightness, and a 1600 nit HDR maximum brightness alternative. This is bright enough for both indoor and outdoor use.

You will either have the 12-core Apple M2 Pro or M2 Max chip processor with 32 GB of RAM and a 30-core GPU.

Pros

  • Powerful processor and RAM
  • Elegant, bright display
  • 1080p Webcam resolution
  • Long battery life
  • Large storage

Cons

  • More power than you need
  • Expensive

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 14.4″—Best Windows

  1. Screen Size: 14.4
  2. Resolution: 2400 x 1600 pixels
  3. CPU: Intel Core i7
  4. GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
  5. Storage: 1 TB
  6. RAM: 32 GB
  7. Battery Life: 18 Hours
  8. Touch screen

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 14.4” is a 2-in-1 laptop tablet. Its touch-screen display and stylus pen compatibility make it easy to use as a laptop or tablet.

If you are looking for a good laptop for your drawings, this is it. It features a slightly larger screen than the Apple 2023 MacBook Pro M2 Max, at 14.4 inches in size.

For processing power, you will have a powerful Intel Core i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti.

You not only use this laptop for basic tasks like drawing but also for many professional tasks like animation and 4K video editing.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 14.4” is a diverse device laptop with a unique twist hinge technology to turn it into a tablet. This system is great but may be confusing for beginners.

Many USB ports, including USB 4.0 and Thunderbolt 4, make the laptop’s connectivity easy and seamless. You will be able to use it with other devices without issues.

Pros

  • Great for drawing
  • Powerful performance
  • Easy connectivity
  • 2-in-1 laptop tablet
  • Large storage space
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Complicated twist function
  • It does not come with the pen
  • Bulky

Acer Chromebook Spin 714—Best Budget

  1. Screen: 14 inches
  2. Resolution: 1920 x 1200 pixels
  3. CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i5
  4. GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  5. Storage: 512 GB SSD
  6. RAM: 8 GB
  7. Operating System: Chrome OS
  8. Touch-screen display
  9. 2-in-1 laptop tablet design
  10. Ergonomic Backlit Keyboard

A good graphic design laptop does not have to cost too much. The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 provides great features for a very affordable price range.

Chromebooks are different from traditional laptops. They use Google Chrome OS and online applications.

As a graphic design laptop, I found the Chromebook Spin 714 to be a good option for basic graphic design like photo editing.

It may not be as good as high-end laptops, but the 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution on the 14-inch screen, combined with the Intel Iris Xe Graphics GPU, produces a high-contrast, crisp, and clear display.

Just like the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 features an impressive 2-in-1 laptop and tablet option that you can use.

I was worried about the small storage space at 512 GB, but when I went online, Chrome OS’s cloud saving solved my problem.

It took time to get used to working on the Chrome OS system, but it was smooth once I got the hang of it.

The screen and speakers are not so good, but overall, you will not regret getting them, especially considering the low price range.

Pros

  • Large 14-inch screen with high resolution
  • Affordable price range
  • Impressive 2-in-1 laptop and tablet option
  • Online cloud saving

Cons

  • Chrome OS and its applications can only be used online.
  • Poor build quality compared to other laptops

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra: Most Powerful

  • CPU: Intel 13th Gen Evo Core i7-13700H Processor
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 Graphics
  • Display: 16 inches
  • Resolution: 3K, 2560 x 1600 pixels
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:10
  • RAM: 16 GB of memory
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050
  • Color: Graphite
  • Backlit Keyboard

The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is another powerful laptop that will almost match up to the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro. It has a large 16-inch display with a 2560 x 1600 pixels resolution, or 3K AMOLED display, which is crisp and clear. A 16:10 aspect ratio makes it look extra wide and comfortable to view.

The latest Intel 13th Gen Evo Core i7-13700H Processor and 16 GB of RAM combine to make sure the laptop is fast and able to perform professional tasks with ease.

Additionally, you will have an integrated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050, which makes it even faster. To save your files, you will need a 1TB SSD, which is more than enough.

This lightweight laptop will allow you to move around with ease as you use it. Unfortunately, the battery life is short and not as long as the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro, which is the best pick.

Pros

  • Powerful Intel i7 13th Gen plus 16 GB of RAM
  • Good Screen 16-inch with 3K AMOLED and wide 16:10 aspect ratio
  • Dedicated graphics card

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Expensive

ASUS ProArt Studiobook 16 OLED: Best for Video Editing

  • Screen size: 16 inches
  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels, 3.2k OLED
  • Processor: Intel Core i9
  • GPU: Nvidia Geforce RTX 4070 GPU
  • Storage: 1 TB
  • RAM: 32 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home

If you are looking for a laptop to edit and clean multimedia files, such as videos, the ASUS ProArt Studiobook 16 OLED is your best pick. It features a large 16-inch screen with 3840 x 2160 pixels, or 3.2k OLED resolution.

This means that you will be able to view your work in high detail and in vivid colors. This crisp display combined with an Nvidia Geforce RTX 4070 GPU and 120 HZ screen refresh rate adds up to the nice premium display.

The Intel Core i9 processor and 32 GB of RAM will ensure no lag as you edit videos or just animate on the laptop. It did not show any slowing down, even with 3D animation projects.

For storage space, the ASUS ProArt Studiobook 16 comes with a large 1 TB SSD storage that allows for quick file retrieval and upgradability. This laptop will give you some premium-feeling features for a very good price.

Unfortunately, there are lots of missing security features on it, such as finger print recognition, which would have made it safer. Additionally, the battery life is very short, limiting portability.

Pros

  • Stunning 16 inch 3.2k OLED display
  • Expandable storage space
  • Powerful processor and large RAM

Cons

  • Short battery life
  • Few security features.

How We Picked the Best Laptop for Graphic Designers

The first way we picked the best is by outlining the laptops we like as graphic designers and why. After over 10 years of graphic design experience, it is easy to just highlight the laptop I use on a daily basis.

After that, I contacted other professionals in the field to get a taste of the laptops they preferred and why. We tried to cut across different types of graphic design specializations, such as animation, video editing, and illustration.

Output intent was our last consideration. After consulting the experts, we were able to draw a conclusion based on the intended final output of the work.

For example, designers who made artwork for printing required laptops with high screen accuracy. Those who made digital designs concentrated more on screen brightness.

How do I choose a laptop for graphic designers?

Choosing the very best laptop as a graphic designer can pose a challenge, especially if you are not sure what to look for. However, if you can understand the most important elements to consider, you can easily tell if a laptop will be ideal for design or not.

Below are the most important specifications and why.

Display

Display refers to the nature of your screen, screen size, color accuracy, brightness, and resolution. For the best experience, choose a large screen at least 14 inches in size with 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution and above.

We recommend OLED screens and IPS panel screen types for the best user experience. Make sure your screen is bright enough and displays accurate colors as per your requirements.

Power and performance

Simple graphic design software will not require too much processing power and RAM. For example, an Intel Core i3 processor and 2 GB of RAM will work just fine with Adobe Illustrator.

However, you may experience subtle lags, so we recommend 4 GB and Intel Core i5 and above.

For more complex designs and video editing, choose a laptop with more RAM and a modern processor like the Intel Core i7.

Metallic-finished laptops are more durable than plastic ones. They will withstand more problems and still remain intact than the latter.

Laptop Quality

Ergonomically laid-out laptop keyboards and mouse pads will provide a great user experience and speed up your work.

Operating System

Choosing a Mac or Windows system comes down to personal preference. Mac OS laptops are, however, more expensive compared to Windows.

Storage space and speed

The storage space is where you will save files and install software. Choose a large storage space, preferably 256 GB and above.

Additionally, make sure to check whether the storage is expandable or not. Expandable storage can be upgraded to a larger space.

The type of drive you choose will determine how fast your laptop will retrieve saved files on your computer. For the fastest retrieval time, choose a laptop with an SSD hard drive instead of the older HDD hard drive type.

Battery life and portability

If you like using your laptop away from the office, choose a laptop that is lightweight and easy to carry. Additionally, consider how long the laptop battery can last without having to recharge.

8 hours of battery life and above is perfect because it represents a full working day.

Connectivity

You will sometimes be required to move files across devices or use your laptop with other gadgets, such as drawing tablets. Choose a laptop with many different ports, such as HDMI, USB-C, etc.

Touchscreen Support

If you are into drawing, illustration, or animation, you will get the best experience by choosing a touch-screen laptop with a stylus. Alternatively, you can choose a regular laptop and buy a graphic tablet separately.

The Best Laptop for Graphic Designers

Dell 2023 XPS 17 (Editor’s Choice)

  1. Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max: Best Overall
  2. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 14.4″—Best Windows
  3. Acer Chromebook Spin 714: Best Budget
  4. ASUS ProArt Studio book 16 OLED: Best for Video Editing
  5. Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra: Most Powerful

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What laptop screen size is best for graphic designers?

    The best laptop screen size for graphic designers is 14 inches and above. For resolution, 1920 x 1080 Full HD pixels are the best.

  2. Between laptops and PCs, which is better for graphic design?

    Both laptops and PCs can be used perfectly for graphic design. The best one will depend on how you do your work. Laptops are more portable, while PCs offer more power and upgradeable features.

denis maina kamau

Written by: Denis Maina

I am an experienced and skilled graphic designer with a strong focus on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. He specializes in creating a wide range of design materials, such as digital art, business cards, stationery, logos, flyers, posters, banner ads, brochures, PSD templates, and other graphics.

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