Modern graphic design is complex work that requires specialized, high-quality hardware. Currently, there is a large market for notebooks because of their size and portability. In digital nomads, the best laptop for drawing is essential for the budding graphic designer.
So, we have compiled a list of the best graphics notebooks. This selection depends on some keys, including performance, size, resolution of the screen, input functions, duration of the battery, and portability.
- Top 7 Best Laptops For Drawing And Graphics Design 2021
- Features to Consider When Choosing A Laptop For Design & Drawing
- Final Words
Top 7 Best Laptops For Drawing And Graphics Design 2021
#1 HP ZBook FHD Mobile Workstation Laptop
The most prominent feature of the HP ZBook FHD is the detachable 4k touchscreen. The 15.6-inch display is detachable, so you can easily switch from laptop to tablet. The included Wacom EMR stylus has over 4,000 distinct pressure levels and zero latency for maximum detail when drawing.
The outer bezel of the screen has 18 pre-configured shortcuts for Adobe applications. This laptop/tablet combo is the perfect option for the graphic artist on the go.
The included Adobe Creative Cloud applications offer virtually endless options for graphic design. Several connection ports ensure good multimedia compatibility, with Thunderbolt 3/USB 3.0 charging, HDMI, and SD reader.
- The detachable 4K screen is bright and easy to work with
- Adobe Creative Cloud has tons of graphics apps
- The Bluetooth keyboard must never be charged
- Not incredibly versatile, mainly focused on graphic design
With HP ZBook FHD, we have a removable screen capable of creating unlimited graphics applications.
#2 Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Laptop
The Lenovo ThinkPad P1 is one of the best Windows notebooks in 2021. It comes with high-level content creators.
The laptop offers an Intel Xeon processor-based device and a professional-grade Nvidia Quadro P2000 card. It is up to 64GB of memory and has all the ports you could need (two USB 3, two USB-C Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort, and SD card reader).
This machine sports an elegant design, with a slim chassis and a 4K display with 100% AdobeRGB coverage. The screen makes it a joy for creative work. With all the efficient performance, it is a perfect computer for graphic designers and designers.
- Fantastic screen
- Slim design
- High capacity
- Excellent screen solution
Lenovo ThinkPad P1 is the best laptop for drawing with outstanding performance and long-lasting lifespan.
#3 Apple MacBook Air with Apple M1 Chip
The latest Apple MacBook Air has many amazing updates to make it a superb choice for graphic design and office works. It is not as powerful as the MacBook Pro (or high-end Windows notebooks) but features a bright Retina display. The screen dimension is perfect for working with graphics software.
The new 10th Gen Intel processors are much faster for working with Photoshop, Illustrator, and other heavy-duty software. The lightweight design of the MacBook Air ensures graphics work on the go even if the entry-level model does not ship with the new 10th generation Intel processors.
- Efficient updates
- Lightweight and compact
- High resolution
- Lacks of ports
Apple MacBook Air 2020 version is a brilliant laptop for graphic design and video editing.
#4 Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is Microsoft’s latest high-end notebook. It is once again a great notebook for college students and professionals in graphic design, photo, and video editing. The new Surface Laptop 3 features enhanced hardware for a better performance packed into a beautifully designed body.
Like its predecessors, the lower-end model is also powerful enough to run Photoshop and Illustrator daily. You can use the optional Surface Pen to draw directly on the screen. This feature makes it even more attractive. Leveraging the full experience of the Windows 10 operating system, you can also easily install Creative Cloud apps and other programs.
- High-quality touch screen
- Durable battery life
- Efficient hardware
- Optional Surface Pen
- Only a few ports
Finally, Microsoft’s touch screen is sleek, light, and powerful.
#5 Microsoft Surface Book 2
Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) is an incredible 2-in-1 laptop, perfect for graphic design and video editing. It is fast and immensely powerful thanks to Intel’s Coffee Lake Core i7-8650 quad-core processor and 16GB of RAM. It boasts incredible battery life, plus a sharp display and exceptional color accuracy.
Being versatile, you can also use it as a graphics, video, or photo editing workstation on the go or as a sketchbook. Just detach the screen and use it as a tablet with the Microsoft Surface Pen, which unfortunately is not included in the box. You can purchase the innovative Microsoft Surface Dial and have a precise tool to support the creative process. Even better, flip the screen, plug it back in, and you can use it to draw at a more natural angle.
If you are looking for a smaller screen, you can go for the Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5 inches), it is cheaper and with overall performance near to its big brother.
- Doubles as a tablet
- Fantastic color accuracy
- High-resolution screen
- Long battery life
- Surface pen not included
Surface Book 2 is the ideal 2-for-1 notebook for graphic design.
#6 Apple MacBook Pro
If you are a graphic designer who wants to buy a MacBook Pro but is looking for a smaller model than the 16-inch one, then the 2020 Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch is the ideal notebook for you. You can set it up with the latest Intel processors and powerful RAM, which means you can make this device blazingly fast and capable of handling just about any graphic design app.
Besides a beautiful and modern design, they have introduced a new keyboard that is much more functional than the previous one. The GPU is not at the level of the 16-inch model, but it remains a computer capable of any intense graphic design work.
- Improved technical specifications
- Premium SSD
- High-quality keyboard
- The entry-level model still has 8th generation Intel CPUs
- It only has Thunderbolt 3 ports
MacBook Pro is a brilliant laptop with a compact graphic design.
#7 Dell XPS 15
If you are looking for the best Windows 10 laptop for graphic design, we recommend the Dell XPS 15 (2020). It is Dell’s latest top-of-the-range laptop and is close to perfection. Its slim and lightweight design is beautiful to look at and easy to carry. The model packs some of the latest and most powerful components.
It comes with a stunning 15.6-inch display that can be available in a very high-resolution range, making it an excellent choice for graphic designers. Unusually, for such a thin laptop, it also comes with an Nvidia graphics card. It is ideal for designers who need to leverage this laptop for intense graphic design work.
- Fast performance
- Attractive design
- Stunning display
- GTX 1650 Ti is weak
- The 15-inch screen may be too large
Another element not to be underestimated is the truly excellent battery life. It means you can use this powerful laptop anywhere.
Features to Consider When Choosing A Laptop For Design & Drawing
You should prioritize a screen as large as possible from 15.6 inches to 17 inches. Or if possible, you can invest in a larger removable screen to work.
The screen resolution should be from Full HD (1920 x 1080) or higher. And the screen with sRGB, P3, and DeltaE color coverage should be prioritized as wide as possible for accurate color rendering.
We should choose laptops with RAM of 8 GB or more. If the work requires heavy graphics like editing long videos, running heavy 3D simulation applications, you can choose 16 GB or more to be comfortable to work with.
Because of the characteristics of using specialized software such as Photoshop, AI, design and construction software, video editing software, the line of laptop graphic design – engineering needs to have a strong configuration, specifically, CPU from Core i5 or higher is necessary. And the best is Core i7.
If you mainly design, render 2D, or photoshop, you do not need too powerful video cards. The integrated cards or discrete cards such as NVIDIA MX130 and NVIDIA MX250 will respond well.
Particularly for 3D tasks, designing multi-dimensional models should use discrete graphics as powerful as possible from GTX 1050 and above. On Mac OS, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 card (or discrete AMD Pro 450) is integrated enough to serve the graphics tasks.
Because of the characteristics of using specialized software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Premiere Pro, 3D Max, or AutoCAD, laptop users require strong configuration. The CPU that you should choose is from i5 (or Ryzen 5) or more, and preferably Core i7 (or Ryzen 7).
After years of nesting against rival Intel, AMD’s Ryzen CPUs now have the performance and power to keep pace with Intel. Of course, the higher the production technology, the more powerful they are.
When choosing a CPU for a graphics laptop, prioritize the CPU with H, HQ, and MQ. For example, the i7-4800MQ of DELL Precision M4800 or more advanced, the Dell Precision M5510’s i7-6820HQ.
Finally, base on your actual needs and budget to choose the most suitable CPU.
The first criterion in choosing a laptop for frequent travelers is portability. You should choose a laptop that weighs less than 2kg and a thickness of less than 20mm. With such weight and thickness, it is easy to take your laptop anywhere in comfort.
With such laptops, the edges of the case will be thinly beveled to create sophistication. Some models also integrate touch screens or rotate 360 degrees for more convenience.
Long Battery Life
Laptops that are equipped with hardware according to new technology standards, the longer the battery life. Hardware improvements will reduce the amount of electricity consumed compared to older technology.
The latest CPU in 2016 is Skylake. It is the 6th generation from Intel with 30% more performance than the 4th generation and more power-efficient. Before the 5th generation, Broadwell 2015 also could save 30% power compared to the 4th generation. Choose a laptop with a Skylake chip for longer battery life with the same battery capacity.
The new SSD hard drive will use more power than conventional HDDs. SSD is a solid drive, data access through Flash chips linked. So, it does not take as much power to spin as an HDD. Of course, SSD is also more expensive than HDD because it is a new technology, not yet mass-produced.
Other details like generation DDR4 Ram are more energy-efficient than DDR3. DDR3 also saves about 30% more power compared to the previous DDR2. The USB 3.0 port backs up data 10 times faster than USB 2.0. So, the processing time is reduced, saving power when using more battery.
Which Laptop Is Best For Artists?
We often regard HP as an underrated brand for the entry-level laptop market. HP ZBook FHD deserves to be the best laptop for artists for incredibly strong specs compared to its low weight, thickness, and price.
For everyday drawing and most modeling, this laptop can perfectly run architectural design software, with a 128GB SSD to match its 1TB HDD hard drive.
What Laptop Can You Draw On Screen?
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is the best choice. With options up to a 512GB SSD hard drive, the Surface Laptop 3 is excellent for architects who store large modeling files. The 6th Gen Intel Core i7-6600U processor will comfortably handle the most demanding software used by business professionals.
What Is The Best Laptop For Drawing And Animation?
Lenovo ThinkPad P1 is the laptop for architects and students who specialize in architectural visualization. Although the 3.7GHz 4-core Xeon processor is less powerful than the gaming laptops, it has a larger cache size for faster drawing or modeling (8MB) that you will need when working with huge monstrous dimensions and collaborative projects with original connections.
Is The Surface Laptop Good For Drawing
All Surface machines are compact and geared towards basic office work. With high-end components and good optimization between hardware and software, Surface Laptops are thinner than common office machines. The performance power is still much better. Therefore, if you need to buy a Surface to work with drawing graphics, the Surface laptops can meet your needs.
Laptops have long been the preferred machines in the construction industry. For architects and designers, the ability to carry their hardware with them is vital in facilitating their workflow.
HP ZBook FHD is the best laptop for drawing on our list. It is on par with most desktop computers, making it ideal for design professionals who regularly use high-demand software packages. Besides, the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 provides the right balance for architects who prioritize mobility.