As a Graphic Designer, you want equipment that allows you create and organize your work effectively, efficiently, with mobility, and all for a reasonable price. The importance of a reliable laptop computer is undeniable, as it allows you to work just as easily on the road as from the comfort of your home.
What makes the best laptops for graphic designers?
When looking for the best laptops for graphic design work, you’ll want to make sure you have a laptop that offers enough power to run graphically-intensive applications. No ordinary notebook will do, these laptops need to be fast, responsive, and high definition. You’ll also want something thin and light to enable you to take them with you while you travel. Additionally, these laptops have to come with powerful modern processors (such as Intel’s 8th generation CPUs), and preferably a discrete graphics card as well.
Furthermore, graphic designers rarely do design only. They usually work in a team or with clients. So a convenient keyboard is a must. You don’t want to keep missing the keys and spend hours on editing your emails. Additionally, designers often use keyboard shortcuts so proper placement of keys and ergonomic design can be critical for your work speed.
The most important part of a laptop selection process is choosing the right screen. A screen with higher resolution would mean better details and color accuracy. The size of a screen matters too. A larger screen makes tinkering with the design a lot easier. A 15-inch screen size is a golden standard in the graphic design world.
Other important physical aspects include size, portability, and overall ease of use.
In this guide to the best laptops for graphic design, we’ve carefully picked the top mobile computers that can help you with your design work.
Microsoft Surface Book 2
The Surface Book 2 is a powerhouse of a laptop with amazing graphical power packed beneath its sleek premium body. It’s been described as the most powerful 2-in-1 laptop in the world. We chose the Microsoft Surface Book 2 4.2 as our top pick because it comes with one of the best tablets on the market for graphic design drawing.
In addition to truly staggering battery life, the Surface Book also provides optimal running capacity for most PC video games and movies. Instead of folding back, like most two-in-one laptop-tablet hybrids, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 4.2 entirely detaches from the keyboard for optimal creative freedom. The most significant benefit we can think of is the unbeatable touchscreen drawing potential. With a little practice, drawing on the Surface Book can feel as natural as sketching on a notebook. If you know you will frequently be working with the cartoon, digital art, or logo design; this laptop is by far the best pick.
This is by no means an inexpensive machine, but there’s nothing else on the market like it for graphic designers. Overall, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 4.2 beats out most other competitors’ technical specifications with its crisp display, crisper than most Mac computers and revolutionary PixelSense touchscreen.
Dell XPS 13
Dell has always been known for producing reliable bargain machines. But it has recently entered the graphic design space with a powerful and still affordable product.
The Dell XPS 13 (2019) is one of the best laptops ever made, and it’s an ideal laptop for graphics design. It comes with a stunning 4K display and 8th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors. Dell might look too business-like for a designer’s taste but it delivers one of the best performances on the market. There are plenty of ports including an HDMI, two USBs, a Thunderbolt, and an SD card reader. Meanwhile, the bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display means your digital designs remain the focus of attention.There’s also a wide range of customization options, so you can really make the Dell XPS 13 the best laptop for your needs.
HP ZBook x2
The HP ZBook is a dedicated tablet with more power than you find in most laptops. This HP runs Windows 10 Pro and Runs the latest i7 processors, it can handle up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB SSD, and the NVIDIA Quadro M620 can be paired with HP’s gorgeous 14″ DreamColor 4K touch display.
There’s a detachable Bluetooth keyboard included, and a Wacom pen that doesn’t need charging for when the creativity flows. The machine is bundled with Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, clearly showing who this device is aimed at.
The built-in kickstand lets you use the ZBook X2 on a desk without any other accessories, but there are both Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI ports for running external displays if needed.
All that power doesn’t come cheap or particularly light and don’t expect all-day battery life if you’re pushing the machine hard. Still, for portable, flexible power, there’s really nothing else on the market quite like it.
Dell Precision 7530
This device is a beast of a machine in every way, with a vast array of configuration options, desktop-grade components, sky-high performance, and a weight and price tag to match.
Tagged as being “VR-ready” due to its Xeon processor and NVIDIA Quadro graphics options. With up to 64GB of RAM and three drive bays, it’ll handle absolutely anything design task you throw it, and the optional 97Wh battery means it’ll take longer to run out of juice while it does so.
The Precision 7530 has a wide range port options, from RJ45 networking to three different kinds of external monitor outputs, plus an SD card reader and both USB-A and USB-C. High-end features like smart card-based security and systems management tools betray the machine’s corporate origins, but if you’ve got the money, it’ll perform equally well in a home or small office setup.
This laptop has a starting weight of 5.75 pounds, and can get even heavier if you start adding extra drives. As a result, it’s unlikely to be the machine you slip into your carry-on for an overseas trip but it’ll be the first one you turn to when it comes to getting the real work done.
Acer Predator Helios 500
This hunk of a laptop comes last in the list of best graphic designs laptop. If you’re looking for a machine that is equally good for creating your latest masterpiece and relaxing at the end of the day, check out the Acer Predator Helios 500.
The large 17.3″ IPS display feels expansive, and its 144Hz refresh rate, combined with a blisteringly fast NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU, means it has exceptional graphical performance. Backed up by the latest i7 processors, up to 64GB of RAM, and dual drives (256GB SSD for fast performance, and 1TB HDD for storage of large files,) this is a machine that can handle pretty much anything you throw at it without issue. With the unique luxury of either going with the typical duo of Intel and Nvidia, or going all-AMD.
Additionally, the Predator Helios 500 features HDMI, DisplayPort, 3 USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and two Thunderbolt 2 ports. Don’t expect to be taking it too far from your desk because it weighs 8.8 pounds not counting the 3-pound power brick and it measures 16.9 x 11.7 x 1.5 inches all around.
We hope our buying guide helps you choose the best laptop for your graphic design needs and if you feel this page has been helpful, please share.