Easel is cool. But way too old-school. To such an extent that if Picasso were here right now, he’d be reading this guide to the best laptops for artists & designers – I bet!
Artists today haven’t got the time to spend it setting up easels, organizing paints, and doing all that unnecessarily ornate and elaborate stuff. Time is precious, and so are resources.
Thus, a wiser approach in today’s digital world is to own a portable technological studio, i.e., a dedicated laptop. A studio that allows you to paint anywhere and everywhere and keep all your work one click away!
Below, I’ve listed all the very best laptops for art students and artists. You’re likely to find your dream art studio in a matter of minutes, so gear up!
Before we proceed on to the ultimate list of best laptops for artists and designers, you need to understand what do you need to look for? What specifications and features will best meet an artist’s needs? And, do you even need an art laptop or will a video/photo editing laptop suffice your needs?
Let’s have a look.
As an artist or visual content creator, you need to look for a laptop with a powerful processor that can support most art apps. It should have an efficient performance and capability to withstand heavy loads and usage.
For that, I recommend the following performance specifics:
- Intel Core i5 or i7
- Dedicated Graphics Card
- Windows 10 Home
Although the cheaper Intel Pentium laptops would do too, they are likely to hinder your true potential of creativity with inexcusable lagging.
Alternatively, Core i9 is beyond perfect for all artists. But they’re way too expensive.
On the contrary, AMD Ryzen processors perform much better than Core i7. But not many models with this processor fall in an affordable price range.
In terms of Operating System, I strictly recommend nothing less than Windows 7.
Look for High-Resolution Screen
When considering options, you will come across laptops with IPS, IGZO, 4K, and many types of displays. Every few years, a new type of display dominates the market. And, the more advanced the display, the pricier the gadget becomes.
Usually, people purchase laptops based on the type of display, which is okay. But, they often neglect an important aspect that is resolution. It refers to the pixel number on a screen. As the general rule, the more the pixels, the better and finer display you will get. For an artist, you should settle for at least a screen of 1024 x 1080 pixels (also called an FHD screen).
Don’t settle for less than 8GB MAXIMUM RAM!
Technically, RAM (Random Access Memory lifts off the load from your CPU which makes fast-performance possible. And hence, the higher the RAM, the smoother the performance.
The term used here is ‘Maximum RAM’, if the maximum RAM is 8GB then that means you can’t upgrade the RAM above 8GB later on. For all art students and professionals, I recommend a 16GB RAM. It keeps the work flowing smoothly.
But if that isn’t within your budget, then it’s best not to settle with anything less than an 8GB RAM. Below this, RAM will only reduce your productivity and creativity.
Being an artist, you would want flexibility and feasibility while working. You cannot simply sit in the chair all day and draw with the laptop in its usual erect position. At times, you would want a flat surface and a stylus to bring your ideas into a form. Sometimes, you will want to walk into the gardens or sit by the beach, while drafting notes on your laptop.
Hence, flexibility is an essential factor for artists. It is recommendable to opt for convertible 2 in 1 laptop that swiftly transforms into flat tablets. Also, opt for lightweight designs so that you can carry it anywhere.
Top Recommendations Best Laptops for Artists – At a Glance
If you’re in a hurry, then here are the top picks for every budget range:
- ASUS Zen Book Pro Duo – Our Top Pick
- SAMSUNG Notebook 9 Pro – Mid Range
- Lenovo Yoga Book – Budget Buy
In-Depth Review: 10 Best Laptops for Artists & Designers
#1. ASUS Zen Book Pro Duo
ASUS has already mastered the art of dual displays in its previous Zen Book models. So, what is new about the ASUS Zen Book Pro Duo? Well, believe it or not, the company did go overboard and incorporated not one but two stunning 4K screens!
The amazing combination of 15.6-inches main OLED display and 14-inches matte ScreenPad Plus touchscreen makes life so much better for art students. When drawing details, you can maximize the main display to ScreenPad Plus and bring your masterpieces to life.
Plus, the main display has a resolution of 3840 x 2160, while ScreenPad Plus has a resolution of 3248 x 1100. Hence, you will be benefiting from those extraordinarily enhanced details, vividness, and sharpness.
Well, the pros of Screenpad Plus doesn’t end here. It also supports smooth multi-tasking so that you can be more productive at a particular time. And, when things get hectic, make use of the stylus to edit and sketch on the large ScreenPad Plus!
Apart from the astounding display, the Zen Book Pro Duo features a celestial blue aluminum sturdy body. Also, upon opening, the innovative Ergo-lift design raises the laptop to a 45-degrees angle so that you can work at ease.
Moreover, the newest ASUS Zen Book comes equipped with Intel Core i7, a speedy Quad-core processor, and high-quality NVIDIA RTX graphics. Thus, it can process several heavy and system-intensive files at once. You can also load and play games swiftly.
As for the storage, with a 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD, the Zen Book competes for other high-end options in this best laptop for artists compilation. However, it falls behind at battery life. With full-brightness, the laptop lasts 3hrs, and with lowered brightness, it can survive up to 4hrs.
Conclusively, the above-stated specifications do qualify the Zen Book Pro Duo as the best laptop for art. But, it can also be the best laptop for video editing, photography, and gaming if your budget allows.
- 4K 14-inches matte ScreenPad Plus
- 4K 15.6-inches Nano Edge touchscreen display
- Comes with Stylus
- Intel Core i7
- Quad-core processor
- 16 GB RAM
- 1TB SSD
|Supports Multi-tasking||Heavy and bulky construction|
|Innovative 4K display and ScreenPad Plus||Only 4-hours battery life|
|User-friendly build with stylus||Expensive|
#2. Microsoft Surface Book 2
Microsoft Surface Book 2 secured a place as the best computer for artists chiefly because of its performance. It’s the internal beauty of this machine that outsmarted the external impressive built of many.
Structurally, Microsoft Surface Book 2 feels a bit bulky in hand. And that’s because it is a 2-in-1 laptop comprising a detachable tablet and keyboard.
The connecting hinge allows you to extend the screen back to at least 115 degrees when the two pieces are connected. Alternatively, you can completely flip the screen by detaching it first, placing it at the backside of the keyboard, and re-attaching it.
Its keyboard has admirably comfortable keys with appropriate gaps in between. However, what keeps its convenience rating 8 out of 10 is the fact that the keyboard is not wireless. So, while flipping back and drawing, you might feel the need to get yourself another keyboard.
Since the tablet is a touchscreen, you can use a stylus to execute your artistic masterpieces. It’s compatible with the Microsoft Surface Pen, which comes with a rubber-like tip to reduce friction. You will not find the pen slipping or getting out of control. It will feel natural in hand.
The screen is about 15 inches wide with a high-resolution of about 3260 x 2160 pixels that offers crystal clear display. Additionally, it demonstrates impressive palm rejection and pressure sensitivity.
The only down-side is the slight occasional flickering in the screen brightness. It’s probably due to the software and does not hinder the performance but can be a bit annoying.
Graphic design programs like Photoshop may lag a bit. That’s something you’re likely to experience with every other 2-in-1 laptop. But other art programs like Krita, Sketchable, and Medibang Paint pro work flawlessly.
Moreover, Microsoft Surface Book 2 comes with a dedicated graphics card. You can add up GeForceGTX 1060 along with its Intel HD 620. Hence, it’s a great pick for 3D work.
Even the battery lasts for 7-8 hours if your work is 3D that requires more processing power. For 2D work (along with other tasks like document handling and watching movies), the battery lasts for about 9 to 10 hours. Under no pressure, it exhibits an even more astonishing battery life of about 17 hours.
In terms of storage, this model offers about 512 GB initially. After installation of Windows 10 and other apps, you will get about 476 GB, which still works great for all of your raw and edited files.
Also, Surface Book 2 features a 16GB RAM and Intel QuadCore i7 processor, both of which provide super smooth performance for their level. They ensure accuracy, responsiveness, and smooth workflow.
- 15” HD Touch Display
- 3260 x 2160 Screen Resolution
- Intel HD Graphics 620
- 16GB RAM
- Intel Core i7
- 512 GB SSD
- Windows 10 Pro
- Weighs 4.2 Pounds
- Bluetooth + WiFi
|Excellent battery life||Heavy|
|Massive Storage||No wireless keyboard|
|Sturdy and sleek design||Stylus to be purchased separately|
#3. New Apple MacBook Pro
Previously, the MacBook has faced complaints about limited functionality, especially when it comes to meet the artisan needs. But, if you have been avoiding MacBook due to its hard-to-use keyboard and quick heating up, then there is good news! The latest Apple MacBook Pro comes with remarkable upgrades that have earned it a position as the best laptop for artists and designers.
Its 16-inch Retina Display, coupled with 500 nits of brightness and P3 wide color gamut, produces the largest, brightest, and vivid images. A boost in image resolution (3072 x 1920 with a 226-pixel density) makes the visual experience more pleasant.
Lately, Apple had gained a reputation of emphasizing on looks rather than the quality. But, in this new edition, you will find slightly thicker bezels and heavier weight. Perhaps, Apple has finally decided to redefine its priorities.
You will also find the MacBook Pro equipped with a thermal management system and an ultra-modish Magic Keyboard for user’s ease. Apart from this, there is a massive 16GB RAM, 512GB memory, and 8TB SSD Kit which allows you to upgrade the initial 512GB internal memory. With this, storage problems won’t ever bother you again!
Moreover, the MacBook Pro features a 100 Watts Battery that will last up to 11-hours. And, there is an 8-core processor and Intel Core i7, which will allow you to load even the heaviest of files swiftly. The unique combination also makes the MacBook Pro compatible with a majority of system-intensive games. So, you can entertain yourself whenever you get the artists-block!
- 16-inch Retina Display
- 8-core processor
- 16GB RAM
- 512GB memory
- Intel Core i7
- Up to 8TB SSD storage available
- 100 Watts Battery
- Thermal Management System
- Magic Keyboard
|Impressive screen quality||Slightly thicker bezels|
|Massive storage and memory space||Heavier than previous models|
|Super processing speed|
|Improved graphics for gaming when compared to previous MacBooks|
|Proper thermal management|
|Longer battery life|
#4. Dell XPS 13 – 13.3″ UHD Infinity Edge 9370
Dell knows the art of satisfying your needs. Its XPS 13 9370 convinced me of the very fact.
With its delicate looks and mind-blowing performance, it seems as if Dell crafted this masterpiece to complement the passion of painters, animators, and composers.
The small-sized model features a super sleek aluminum structure that weighs no more than 2.67 pounds. For added safety and damage-resistance, it also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Thus, it is both lightweight and sturdy. And hence, best-suited for those who are constantly on-the-go.
Its 13.3-inch screen may not be the biggest in this list, but it is certainly competitive in terms of its vibrancy and accuracy. The 4K Ultra HD screen offers a high-resolution of 3840 x 2160, which promises an impressive color quality, brightness, and a generally rich display.
It brings out the details that you, as an artist, may need to observe or rectify. Consequently, promising the perfection and accuracy factor in all your creations.
Moreover, Dell’s XPS 13 9370 comes with an 80.7% screen to body ratio. You’ll find the bezels almost non-existent, especially at the top of the screen. Hence, making the best use of its 13.3 inches screen.
Such a display, coupled with its touch capabilities and just-the-right tools for drawing, painting, and doodling, promises complete empowerment to every artist.
What’s more, it comes with an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8550U processor, 16 GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Collectively, the latter allows the user to store a massive amount of data and run multiple applications at a time quite very smoothly.
Dell also incorporated an enhanced cooling system. The XPS 13 InfinityEdge 9370 comes with GORE Thermal Insulation, which drives the heat directly out of the device with its dual fans and heat pipes.
This smart feature of this laptop, coupled with its 11-hour long battery life, makes it capable of handling long, intensive tasks. Say, you’re compressing a 4K video or running long-length of similar quality video, the laptop will patiently and efficiently deliver its work. Unlike others, it won’t slow down or heat up.
It does not support heavy games but will support most of the heavy digital art, graphics, animation, and editing programs. The keyboard is solid & comfortable. So, it’s a smart pick if you need this investment to come in handy at work too.
Perhaps, the improper placement of the webcam is the only downside of this model. Situated at the center of the lower bezel, it makes taking pictures and conducting video calls rather uncomfortable.
- 13.3” 4K Ultra HD Touch Display
- Intel Integrated UHD 620 GPU
- 16GB RAM
- Intel Core i7
- Up to 1TB SSD storage
|Vibrant display||Inappropriate webcam placement|
|Extensive battery life|
|Doesn’t heat up|
#5. HP Spectre x360
When it comes to professional use laptops, a majority of people will recommend you to go with HP. After all, it has spent years in those offices, helping people perform their routine accounting and managing tasks. But that’s the difference.
HP laptops are best for technical and routine office works, but not for creativity-filled ones. If you have the same thought process, I don’t blame you. I had the same approach before I ended up including one of the latest HP laptop models in the collection of the best laptops for drawing and animation. Read more to unravel!
The HP Spectre x360 features a sleek, modern exterior with metallic brush finishing that gives it a robust look. Inside, you will find a 13.3-inches 4K IPS touchscreen. The 4K IPS display, coupled with the 3840 x 2160 pixels resolution) promises a dynamic visual experience.
Also, to maximize the view, HP has incorporated Micro-Edge, nearly bezel-less technology. Even more, the Spectre x360 has a convertible design so that you can transform it into a tablet and use the HP digital pen (included) to draw conveniently.
The integration of Intel Core i7 and Intel UHD Graphics works to augment the performance. You can practically process any video, app, or game easily. But, 4K video streaming and system-intensive games might lag a bit. There is also massive storage to keep all your masterpieces safe.
As for the battery, the HP Spectre x360 has a battery life of continuous 22.5hours! So, you can complete all the tasks without interruptions. However, note, constant usage can heat the laptop rapidly.
- 13.3-inches 4K IPS touchscreen
- Fingerprint reader
- Full-size backlit keyboard
- 512GB SSD
- 22.5 hours of battery life
- 16GB RAM
- Intel UHD Graphics
- Intel Core i7
|Convertible and lightweight body||No thermal management|
|HP Digital Pen Included||Expensive|
|Impressive battery life|
#6. LG Gram 2-in-1 Laptop
Here comes your best budget laptop for art. LG Gram 2-in-1 laptop is a lightweight, reasonably priced, tough laptop that has a silky smooth performance.
The latter comes with a metallic gray-colored minimalistic exterior that doesn’t catch much attention. And hence, it is perfect for the secretly-bold but ever-so-shy artistic souls.
It weighs only 2.5 pounds, which is almost feather-like weight in comparison to other models in this list like Dell XPS 13 or Microsoft Surface Book 2. Hence, you’ll find it easier to carry around all day long.
Plus, its 2 in 1 design offers flexibility. By turning the screen a complete 360 degree, you can convert it into the tablet mode.
In this form, you will have the 14” display on one side and the keyboard on the other side. Such a position liberates your better hand for drawing purposes by making it handleable with one hand.
Even more, you can lay it out at a flat 180° or place it in the tent mode to watch movies or PowerPoint slides. The hinges feel sturdy and easy to push.
The rest of the body also possesses great durability. It can easily withstand adverse effects of dust, high and low temperatures, shock, as well as exposure to low pressure.
What brought it amongst these best laptops for artists is its 14” widescreen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080.
Given the ultimate high-resolution 4K screens above, you might be wondering how on earth does this compete for that? Well, that’s the beauty of the LG Gram 2-in-1 laptop.
It promises small. But it promises true.
The 1080p screen delivers the finest colors, enhancing even the tiniest of details. Thus, bringing about a satisfying viewing experience for those working on visual content and those enjoying themselves.
For your drawing and animating needs, it comes with a stylus pen named Wacom AES 2.0. It comes with a battery life of about 18 months and is capable of detecting even the slightest tilt. Therefore, it brings to your precision and line variation that you desire.
Additionally, its efficient Intel Core i7 processor coupled with 16GB RAM will make multi-tasking super smooth for you. And the 512 GB of storage promises massive room for countless heavy digital art files.
In terms of battery life, LG Gram will not disappoint you. Under intensive usage, it can last around 14 hours, but with lighter usage, it may even last up to 20 hours. Note that despite the heavy loads, you will not find the system heating up or lagging.
Your only compromise on this purchase will be of speakers. The rest of the features work great for an aspiring artist.
- 14” IPS Screen
- 1980 x 1080 Resolution
- Intel HD Graphics 620
- Intel Core i7
- 16 GB RAM
- 512 GB SSD
- Windows 10 Home
- Multiple ports
|Excellent battery life||Average speakers|
|Good cooling system|
#7. SAMSUNG Notebook 9 Pro
If you are an artist with an exquisite taste in looks, then the SAMSUNG Notebook 9 Pro will not disappoint you in any aspect. It has a premium-style aluminum silver exterior. And, the interior replicates Apple’s sense of modern minimalism.
However, the stunning 15-inches Full HD LED-backlit touchscreen display is something unique. The 1920 x 1080 pixels high resolution will bring a change into your viewing experience by adding vividness and vibrancy. It also means you can enhance the digital art pieces better.
Similar to others in this list of best laptops for artists, the Notebook Pro 9 has a convertible design. You can switch from laptop to tablet easily anytime.
Plus, at the dimensions of 13.67 x 9.41 x 0.67” and weight of 3.79 pounds, the SAMSUNG Notebook 9 Pro is fairly thinner as well as easier to carry. You can take it almost anywhere you go! (But, you will probably have to carry the stylus in your hand because SAMSUNG forgot to include a port for it.)
As for the performance, it features the Intel Quad-core i7 processor and AMD Radeon 540 graphics that improve speed and display quality. There is also 16GB memory and 256GB SSD hard drive so you can store multiple art files without trouble.
The Notebook 9 Pro also offers a 720p HD camera, though the quality is grainy. There is a built-in media reader, powerful stereo speakers, and several connectivity options too.
Amazingly, the Notebook 9 Pro has an average running time of 12.5 hours and an efficient thermal management system too. Hence, the laptop won’t heat up even if you use it for long periods!
Apart from some minor issues, SAMSUNG has done a pretty good job in Notebook 9 Pro. With these features, it is indeed the best laptop for artists that comes at a reasonable price.
- 15-inches LED-backlit touch screen
- Intel Quad-Core i7 processor
- 16GB memory
- 256GB SSD
- Built-in media reader
- Built-in Stereo speakers
- AMD Radeon 540 graphics
- Full back-lit keyboard
|Premium convertible build||No port for the stylus|
|Impressive graphics||Grainy pictures|
|Good battery life 8hrs|
|Remains cool after intensive usage|
#8. Lenovo Flex 5
Lenovo never fails to bring the best value-for-money electronics. Flex 5 only reinforces that very observation of the tech-community. And frankly, we’re thankful to the company for such considerate productions.
Flex 5 is considered to be one of the best budget laptop for artists which features a 14-inch wide IPS touchscreen with a fairly good resolution of 1920 x 1080. It works well for most art programs. Whether you’re doing line art or editing a complex image, you’ll find the screen exposing the details for great accuracy.
The responsive screen supports the Lenovo digital pen, which offers 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. Unlike Digital Integrated Pens, it is much more convenient to work with and also offers greater comfort during lengthy sketching sessions.
In terms of its structure, this smart device is sturdy and convertible. You can use it in the following four modes:
- Stand Mode
- Tent Mode
- Tablet Mode
- Laptop Mode
The exterior, however, is not as appealing as others in this list.
Plus, its Integrated Radeon AMD graphics coupled with six-core Ryzen 5 4500U, 16GB RAM, and 256 GB of storage promise phenomenal performance for a budget laptop. It’s compatible with all apps but may not house all of your working-kit at once.
Intensive usage may cause it to slow down. But when it gets used within the defined limits, it will practically provide you with the smoothest working experience.
The highlight of this laptop is its durability and quick recharge feature. In only an hour, the laptop can gain back 80% of its charge. And upon being fully-charged, it offers 10 hours of uninterrupted usage.
- 14” touchscreen
- 1080 x 1920 resolution
- 16 GB memory
- 256 GB SSD
- Ryzen 5 4500U processor
- Integrated AMD Radeon Graphics
- Windows 10
|Good Display||Poor Webcam|
|Value for money||Average looks|
#9. Acer Spin 3
When browsing for the best budget laptop for artists, the name of the Acer Spin 3 is sure to pop into top results. It is not only feature-rich and durable but also highly affordable.
The Acer Spin 3 comes with a simplistic yet stylish silver exterior. Like most of the laptops in the list, it has a convertible construction that increases flexibility and portability. You can take it anywhere and create digital art designs easily on the tablet mode.
Moreover, it has a smudge-proof 14-inches FHD touchscreen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Thus, you can benefit from accurate colors and vividness. There is also massive 16GB memory and 512GB SSD to store bulks of files safely.
The Acer Spin 3 packs Intel Core i7 and Intel UHD graphics 620 into its 0.7-inches slim body. So, prepare for moderately swift performance. Usually, it will load all types of videos, files, and games easily. But, 4K type might cause some lag.
Furthermore, the 12hrs battery life means that you can work longer without having to pause for recharging the laptop. Note, at an affordable price, the Acer Spin 3 lacks some major connectivity options, such as USB port-C.
- Convertible build
- Rechargeable stylus
- Upto 12hrs battery life
- Intel Core i7
- Intel UHD Graphics 620
- 16GB RAM
- 512GB SSD
- 14-inches FHD display
- Fingerprint reader
- Dual front speakers
|Innovative build & display||Slightly heavy|
|Good storage||Lacks good connectivity options|
|Good battery life|
10. Lenovo Yoga Book 10.1”
Here’s yet another model from the company that cares for our pockets, i.e., Lenovo. A company that manufactured a futuristic laptop – dedicated to catering to an artist’s needs at an unbelievably low price, i.e., Lenovo Yoga Book. It is legit the best cheap laptop for artists.
The small-sized model features a sleek and thin luxurious exterior with a durable hinge. On the inside, you’ll find a decent 10.1” IPS touchscreen on one side and a halo or digital keyboard and touchpad on the other. It may be difficult to use at first, but as you get used to it, you’ll find it one of the best technology ever. The keys are accurate and smooth, offering comfortable typing.
You can switch off the keyboard and replace it with the Wacom digitizer, which makes it the perfect laptop for the graphic geeks. Wacom Feel technology comes supported with a very intelligent Create Pad.
Technically, it is an EMR film beneath the keyboard. And you can draw on it with Real Pen Stylus, which has a sharp tip for accuracy.
It supports all art apps and programs. But unfortunately, it does not have much storage to bear with your data and the load of multiple apps at once.
It happens to be load-sensitive to the extent that it can bear no more than 10+ google chrome tabs. But then again, it’s more like a mobile-version of laptop. So, if you’re used to drawing and editing on mobile, it will work well enough for you.
It also comes with an audio jack, good connectivity, and dual camera. Plus, the battery lasts around 10 hours or so.
- 10.1” IPS Touchscreen
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 4 GB RAM
- 64 GB Storage (Expendable 128 GB)
- Intel HD Graphics 400
|Cheapest Art Laptop||Average memory and storage|
|Comes with a stylus|
Frequently Asked Questions
Well, the answer to this query mainly depends on one’s needs. RAM brings about faster performance while the processor is the brain of your computer.
Being an artist, you need both. So, it’s better to opt for a combo that complements one another. (for example, 16 GB RAM with Core i7).
Both the Intel Core i7 and i5 have the same number of cores, which is four. So, the differing factor is not cores but base clock speed. The faster the base clock speed, the faster performance an Intel Core will offer. Generally, the Core i7 is faster than the i5.
A high-end GPU is a must if you plan to operate system-intensive applications, such as Adobe Photoshop.
For an artist, having a laptop is a necessity rather than a luxury. Gone are days when papers and canvases were the only mediums. Now, people prefer mostly digital art. And, even if your preferred medium is canvases, then you will require a capable device to edit and manage your social handles.
Hence, whenever you go shopping, know that not all laptops can be the best laptops for artists. Certain specifications can either make your life smooth or horrible. So, select wisely!
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