As a team of experienced graphic designers, we understand the importance of having the right tools in our industry. You need a laptop that's powerful enough to keep up with your creative ideas and handle all the awesome designs you want to create. That's why we've put together a list of the best laptops for graphic design in 2023, from our perspective as professionals, to help you find the perfect device.
Top Laptops for Graphic Designers: Our Graphic Designer Team's Favorites
As a team of professional graphic designers, we chose these laptops after considering many important factors that matter to us in our field. We evaluated the laptops' performance, screen quality, build, portability, battery life, and value for money. We tested and researched a lot of laptops from well-known brands to make sure our list includes the best options out there.
Here's how we picked the laptops:
Finding the best contenders: We looked at the latest laptops from big brands that are famous for their powerful and high-quality devices. This included companies like Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, MSI, Razer, Asus, and Acer.
Comparing the specs: We checked the details of these laptops, such as the processor, RAM, storage, graphics card, screen, and battery life. This helped us find laptops that can handle graphic design tasks really well.
Hands-on testing: Our team tried out the laptops we liked the most and tested how well they could handle graphic design software, multitasking, and rendering beautiful visuals.
Screen quality check: We paid close attention to the screen quality, sharpness, color accuracy, and brightness. This is very important for graphic designers because it affects how their work looks and how easy it is to edit.
Using AI to help us: We used advanced AI programs to learn even more about the laptops' performance and to spot any issues that might be a problem for graphic designers.
Portability and build: We considered the laptops' weight, size, build quality, and design. These factors are important because they affect how easy it is to take the laptop with you and how long it will last.
Battery life: We tested how long the laptops can work without being plugged in while doing graphic design tasks.
Value for money: We looked at the cost of each laptop and thought about whether it was worth it based on its performance, features, and build quality. This helped us find the laptops that offer the best value for graphic designers.
Important Things to Think About When Picking the Perfect Graphic Design Laptop
When you're trying to find the best laptop for graphic design, you need to think about a few things to make sure it meets your needs and what you like. First, the laptop should have a great screen with a high resolution, accurate colors, and clear visuals, because this is really important for designers. You also need high-performance parts, like a powerful processor, a dedicated GPU, and enough RAM to handle graphic design tasks quickly.
Good battery life and portability matter too because they let you work on the go without having to charge your laptop all the time. Plus, think about which operating system you prefer—macOS, Windows, or Linux—since each one has different software and feels different to use. Finally, look at the price and overall value of the laptop to make sure it fits your budget and has everything you need for your design work.
Great Screen and High Resolution
A top-notch screen is really important for graphic designers because it affects how good their work looks. When you're picking a laptop for graphic design, you need to think about the screen's resolution, how accurate the colors are, and how big the screen is. A resolution of at least 1920x1080 pixels (Full HD) is a good idea, but higher resolutions like 4K will make your work look even clearer and give you more space for designing.
Also, the screen should show colors really well to help designers make their work look consistent and precise. When it comes to screen size, bigger screens give you more room to work but think about if you're okay with a bigger laptop that might be harder to carry around. In the end, a great screen and high resolution are super important when choosing the perfect graphic design laptop.
Powerful Parts Inside
To have a great graphic design experience, you should get a laptop with powerful parts inside. This means a strong processor, enough RAM, and a dedicated graphics card. A processor with lots of cores, like the Intel Core i7 or i9, or the AMD Ryzen 7 or 9, will make your work go faster and help you do lots of things at once. You should have at least 16GB of RAM, so you can run many design programs at the same time without any problems.
Also, a dedicated graphics card, like NVIDIA GeForce RTX or AMD Radeon Pro, will make your design work and video editing tasks go much smoother. By making sure your laptop has these powerful parts, you'll be able to handle even the toughest graphic design tasks easily.
Long-lasting Battery and Easy to Carry
For graphic designers who often work away from home or need to take their laptops to different places, having a long-lasting battery and a laptop that's easy to carry is super important. A laptop with a battery that lasts at least 8 hours on one charge lets you work all day without having to find a place to plug it in.
Also, a laptop that's light and thin makes it much easier to carry around. Finding the right balance between powerful parts inside and a small, easy-to-carry laptop will help you work well and comfortably, whether you're at the office, at home, or traveling.
Operating System Preferences
When choosing the ideal graphic design laptop, it's important to consider your preferred operating system, as it can significantly impact your workflow and software compatibility. The main choices are macOS and Windows, with both offering their own unique benefits.
Apple's macOS is known for its seamless integration with other Apple products and a clean, intuitive interface, often making it the preferred choice for creative professionals.
On the other hand, Windows offers a wider range of software options, greater customization, and is generally more affordable. Before making a decision, consider the software you'll be using, your familiarity with each operating system, and whether you prefer a more uniform Apple ecosystem or a diverse Windows environment.
Cost and Overall Value
The cost of a laptop is always a significant factor when selecting the best device for graphic design. While it's important to invest in a powerful machine with high-quality components, you should also consider the overall value it offers.
Keep in mind that more expensive laptops may provide a better performance, build quality, and longevity, but there may be more affordable options with similar specifications that suit your needs just as well.
Striking the right balance between cost and performance is crucial, so set a budget and prioritize the features most important to you. Remember that investing in a good laptop now can save you money in the long run by avoiding constant upgrades and minimizing downtime caused by poor performance.
Insider Advice and Recommendations
As graphic design professionals ourselves, we understand how crucial it is to have a reliable laptop tailored to the unique demands of the design world. Our comprehensive research and hands-on experience with various laptop models enable us to provide well-informed recommendations based on real-world usage. In this article, we have shared our insights and expertise to guide you through the decision-making process.
Our goal is to help you find the best laptop for your specific graphic design requirements by considering factors such as performance, display quality, battery life, operating system preferences, and overall value for your investment. Trust our expertise and follow our advice to make a confident and informed decision when choosing your next graphic design laptop.
Optimizing Your Laptop for Graphic Design Tasks
To make the most of your graphic design laptop, it's essential to optimize its performance and settings to suit your specific needs. Start by calibrating your laptop's display for accurate color reproduction and adjusting the screen resolution to maximize the workspace. Ensure that your laptop has the latest updates for your preferred operating system, graphic design software, and device drivers.
Manage your computer's power settings to strike a balance between performance and battery life, and invest in an efficient cooling solution to prevent overheating during intensive design work. Additionally, consider using external storage devices or cloud-based solutions to save and organize your design projects efficiently. By optimizing your laptop, you can enhance its performance, streamline your workflow, and ultimately improve your overall graphic design experience.
Striking the Perfect Balance Between Quality and Cost
Finding the perfect balance between quality and cost is crucial when selecting a graphic design laptop. While high-end laptops with cutting-edge specifications may offer unparalleled performance, they often come with a hefty price tag.
On the other hand, budget-friendly options may not have all the features and power necessary for demanding design tasks. To strike the right balance, consider your specific needs and prioritize features that are essential for your design work, such as a high-resolution display, powerful processor, and ample RAM.
Determine a budget that reflects the value you place on these essential features, and be prepared to make some trade-offs. Don't forget to explore refurbished or slightly older models, as they can offer substantial savings without sacrificing too much performance. By carefully weighing the costs and benefits of various laptops, you can find a device that meets your requirements without breaking the bank.
Preparing Your Laptop for Future Design Software Updates
As a graphic designer, it's crucial to ensure that your laptop is capable of handling future design software updates. With technology advancing at a rapid pace, software programs often introduce new features and capabilities that demand more resources from your device. To future-proof your laptop, consider investing in a machine with a powerful processor, ample RAM, and a dedicated graphics card.
Additionally, ensure that your laptop has an upgradeable storage system, which allows for easy expansion of storage capacity when needed. Opting for a device that supports the latest connectivity standards, such as USB-C and Thunderbolt, can also ensure compatibility with new peripherals and accessories. Finally, keep your operating system and drivers up to date to maximize performance and compatibility with future software updates.
MacBook Pro 16-inch
The MacBook Pro 16-inch is a strong and flexible laptop made by Apple. It's great for graphic designers, creative people, and users who need a lot of power. It has a cool design, works really well, and has a beautiful Retina screen, which is why many graphic designers like it.
Screen: The MacBook Pro 16-inch has an amazing 16-inch Retina screen with a 3072 x 1920 pixel resolution, showing clear and bright images. The screen has True Tone technology, P3 wide color, and is really bright, so it's perfect for graphic design work that needs accurate colors.
How well it works: The laptop has the latest Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, which can handle difficult graphic design tasks, video editing, and other hard work easily.
RAM and Storage: The MacBook Pro 16-inch has different options for RAM and storage, starting from 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, up to 64GB RAM and 8TB SSD. You can pick the one that's best for your needs and budget.
Graphics: The MacBook Pro 16-inch has either an integrated GPU in the M1 Pro chip or a dedicated GPU in the M1 Max chip. Both options work really well for graphic design tasks and some gaming too.
macOS: The MacBook Pro 16-inch uses the latest macOS, which is easy to use. Many graphic design programs work best on macOS, so many designers like it.
Battery Life: The MacBook Pro 16-inch has a really good battery life, lasting up to 21 hours of watching videos on one charge. This is great for graphic designers who need a laptop that can last all day.
Connectivity: The laptop has a bunch of different ports, like three Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. You can easily connect other devices and screens.
Awesome Screen: The 16-inch Retina screen shows clear and bright images and supports True Tone technology and P3 wide color, which is perfect for graphic design work that needs accurate colors.
Super Powerful: With the latest Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, the MacBook Pro 16-inch can handle hard graphic design tasks, video editing, and other tough work easily.
Pick Your Configuration: The laptop has different options for RAM and storage, so you can choose what's best for you and your budget.
Long Battery Life: The MacBook Pro 16-inch can last up to 21 hours of watching videos on one charge, which is great for graphic designers who need a laptop that can last all day.
macOS Compatibility: Many graphic design programs work best on macOS, making the MacBook Pro 16-inch popular among designers.
Cool Design: The laptop has a really nice design and is built well, so it looks good and lasts a long time.
Lots of Connectivity: With multiple Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, the MacBook Pro 16-inch can connect to lots of different devices and screens.
Price: The MacBook Pro 16-inch costs more than some other laptops with similar features, so it might be too expensive for people on a tight budget.
Can't Upgrade: You can't upgrade the RAM and storage in the MacBook Pro 16-inch yourself, so you need to pick the right one when you buy it.
No Touchscreen: The MacBook Pro 16-inch doesn't have a touchscreen, which some graphic designers might not like if they want to use their hands more when they work.
Might Not Work with Some Programs: Some graphic design programs only work on Windows, so they might not work on the MacBook Pro or might need special tricks to make them work.
In conclusion, the MacBook Pro 16-inch is a powerful and versatile laptop that's perfect for graphic designers. It has an amazing screen, powerful performance, and a sleek design, but it can be a bit expensive.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is a versatile and powerful laptop designed with creative professionals and graphic designers in mind. It combines the best of both worlds, offering the capabilities of a traditional laptop and the flexibility of a tablet.
Unique Form Factor: The Surface Laptop Studio features a unique, flexible design that allows you to switch between laptop, stage, and studio modes, providing an adaptable workspace for various graphic design tasks.
High-Resolution Touchscreen Display: The 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow display offers a resolution of 2400 x 1600 pixels, with a 120Hz refresh rate and support for the Surface Pen, enabling precise touch inputs and smooth visuals for graphic design work.
Powerful Performance: Equipped with either an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of SSD storage, the Surface Laptop Studio can handle demanding graphic design tasks and multitasking with ease.
Dedicated Graphics: The laptop offers dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics options, providing the necessary power for graphic design work, video editing, and even some gaming.
Windows 11 Operating System: The Surface Laptop Studio comes with Windows 11 preinstalled, offering compatibility with a wide range of graphic design software and applications.
Surface Pen and Dial Support: The laptop supports the Surface Pen and Surface Dial, providing additional input options and enabling a more hands-on approach to graphic design work.
Comprehensive Connectivity: With a variety of ports, including USB-C, USB-A, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an SD card slot, the Surface Laptop Studio offers versatile connectivity options for peripherals and external displays.
Versatile Design: The unique form factor allows for multiple modes, enabling users to switch between laptop, stage, and studio modes for different graphic design tasks.
Powerful Performance: Equipped with powerful processors, ample RAM, and dedicated graphics, the Surface Laptop Studio can handle demanding graphic design work and multitask with ease.
High-Resolution Touchscreen Display: The 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow display offers sharp visuals, a 120Hz refresh rate, and support for the Surface Pen, providing a smooth and precise touch experience.
Windows 11 Compatibility: The laptop comes with Windows 11 preinstalled, ensuring compatibility with a wide range of graphic design software and applications.
Surface Pen and Dial Support: The Surface Laptop Studio's compatibility with the Surface Pen and Surface Dial offers additional input options for a more hands-on approach to graphic design work.
Comprehensive Connectivity: The variety of available ports allows for versatile connectivity options, making it easy to connect peripherals and external displays.
Price: The Surface Laptop Studio can be quite expensive, especially for higher-end configurations, which may not be suitable for those on a tight budget.
Limited Upgradability: Unlike some other laptops, the Surface Laptop Studio does not offer easy access for upgrades to components like RAM and storage.
Heavier Design: The unique form factor and added features make the Surface Laptop Studio slightly heavier than some competitors, which could be a drawback for users prioritizing portability.
No HDMI Port: The laptop lacks a dedicated HDMI port, requiring the use of an adapter for connecting to some external displays.
Dell XPS 17
The Dell XPS 17 is a premium laptop that boasts powerful performance and an elegant design, making it an excellent choice for graphic designers. The laptop features a 17-inch display with a 4K UHD+ (3840 x 2400) resolution, providing stunning visuals and a large workspace for design projects.
The display also supports a 100% Adobe RGB color gamut, ensuring accurate color reproduction for professional design work.
Large 4K Display: The 17-inch 4K UHD+ (3840 x 2400) display offers 100% Adobe RGB color gamut, providing accurate colors and sharp visuals for graphic design work.
Powerful Processor: Equipped with up to a 10th generation Intel Core i9 processor for fast performance and smooth multitasking.
High-end Graphics: Features up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics for enhanced design and video editing capabilities.
Ample RAM: Offers up to 64GB RAM for seamless operation of multiple design programs simultaneously.
Generous Storage: Comes with up to 2TB SSD storage for all your design files and projects.
Versatile Connectivity: Includes Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and an SD card reader for connecting various peripherals and devices.
Premium Build: Boasts a sleek aluminum chassis and comfortable carbon fiber palm rest for a stylish and ergonomic design.
Latest OS: Runs on the Windows 11 operating system for an up-to-date and user-friendly experience.
Impressive Display: Large, high-resolution display offers immersive visuals and ample workspace for designers.
Powerful Performance: Capable of handling resource-intensive graphic design software with ease.
Exceptional Build Quality: Attractive design and durable construction for long-lasting use.
Versatile Connectivity: A variety of connectivity options for peripherals and external displays.
Color Accuracy: Accurate color reproduction is essential for professional design work.
Ample Storage: Plenty of storage options for large design files.
Premium Price: The high price tag may not suit all budgets.
No HDMI Port: Lacks HDMI port, requiring an adapter for some users.
Limited Upgradeability: Slim design restricts potential upgrades.
Battery Life: Shorter battery life compared to smaller laptops, particularly when using demanding applications.
Lenovo ThinkPad P15
The Lenovo ThinkPad P15 is a powerful and reliable workstation laptop designed with graphic designers and creative professionals in mind. It features up to a 10th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, NVIDIA Quadro RTX graphics, and up to 128GB of RAM, delivering top-notch performance for even the most demanding graphic design tasks.
The laptop boasts a 15.6-inch 4K UHD display with a 100% Adobe RGB color gamut, ensuring color accuracy and vibrant visuals. With its robust build quality, exceptional keyboard, and comprehensive set of connectivity options, the ThinkPad P15 is an excellent choice for those seeking a reliable and high-performance laptop for their graphic design needs.
Powerful Processor: Equipped with a 10th generation Intel Core i9 processor for impressive performance and multitasking capabilities.
Advanced Graphics: Features NVIDIA Quadro RTX graphics for handling complex graphic design tasks with ease.
Abundant RAM: Offers up to 128GB of RAM for seamless multitasking and smooth operation of multiple design programs.
High-quality Display: Comes with a 15.6-inch 4K UHD display that boasts a 100% Adobe RGB color gamut for accurate colors and sharp visuals.
Comfortable Design: Boasts robust build quality and an exceptional keyboard for comfortable typing during long design sessions.
Versatile Connectivity: Provides a comprehensive set of connectivity options, including USB-C, HDMI, and an SD card reader.
Long Battery Life: Offers extended battery life for uninterrupted work on the go.