best laptops for artists

Best Laptops for Artists and Digital Art

As an artist, you need a laptop that can keep up with your creative process. You need a powerful machine that can handle demanding software and large files. And you need a laptop that’s portable so you can take it with you wherever your creativity takes you.

We’ve rounded up the best laptops for artists and digital artists. From powerful workstations to sleek 2 in 1 tablet designs. Whether you’re a graphic artist, illustrator, digital painter, or you use traditional media, one of these laptops will suit your needs.

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MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2021)

Buy the MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is a powerful workhorse of a laptop, and it’s one of the best laptops for artists. Especially professionals. It’s got a large 16-inch Liquid Retina display, and it’s packed with features that creative professionals will love. Edit photos of your painting for print to see all the details, or use the Touch Bar to quickly adjust brush settings in Photoshop.

The M1 chip has an efficient and high performance core. This means faster image and video processing. So you can work on your art without waiting for your computer to catch up. If you choose the 64GB RAM model, you’ll be able to run multiple creative apps at the same time without lag. This laptop is capable of handling any creative task you throw at it, whether you’re working on complex illustrations or editing 4K video.

The MacBook Pro also has great battery life, so you can work on your art for hours without being tethered to a power outlet. With its sleek design, you can take this laptop anywhere.

The MacBook Pro M1 Max also has powerful graphics, courtesy of its 32 Core GPU. This graphics processing unit will come in handy if you’re working with 3D models or doing video editing.

One of the best features of the MacBook Pro for artists is its Touch Bar. The new keyboard has a built-in Touch Bar, which has replaced the functions row. It puts all of your favourite shortcuts right at your fingertips. For example, you can use it to crop images, or scrub back and forth in time when editing videos.

MacBooks do not have touch screens, so if you’re looking for the experience of being able to draw on a display to create digital designs or edit images of your artwork, you will have to get a drawing tablet, drawing tablet with screen or choose one of the 2 in 1 tablet laptops on the list.

The MacBook Pro on the pricey side, but it’s worth the investment if you’re serious about your art. If you’re looking for a laptop that will help you take your art to the next level, the MacBook Pro is the best choice.

Microsoft Surface Book 3

Buy the Microsoft Surface Book 3

The Surface Book 3 has got a 15-inch touch display and high performance, thanks to its 10th-generation Intel Core processor. Unlike the MacBook Pro, it’s got a detachable screen so you can use it as a tablet for digital painting.

The Surface Book 3 also has great graphics, courtesy of its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU. With 32GB of RAM, the processing speed isn’t as fast as the MacBook Pro, but it’s more than enough for most creative tasks. Experience smooth browsing and switching between apps.

One of the best features of the Surface Book 3 for artists is its included stylus. The Surface Pen is pressure-sensitive and supports 4096 levels of pressure, so you can vary the thickness of your brush strokes in Photoshop or Illustrator. And with the Microsoft Ink Workspace, you can quickly access all of your favorite art apps with a simple press.

The Surface Book 3 is also one of the most portable laptops on our list, thanks to its slim design and lightweight build. If you want a smaller, more slimline design, opt for the 13.5″ model. It’s got great battery life, so you can take it with you on long days or trips without having to worry about finding an outlet.

The Surface Book 3 is more expensive than some of the other laptops on the list, but it’s worth the investment if you’re looking for a powerful and portable laptop for your art.

When comparing the Surface Book 3 and the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Pro has several advantages. For example, it can run games at a higher FPS rate, a larger battery and a brighter screen. Added to this, its screen refresh rate is twice as good and the CPU performance is 2.5 times better. The disadvantage of the MacBook Pro compared to the Surface Book 3, is of course that is doesn’t have the interactive display.

MacBook Air 2022

Buy the Macbook Air

The MacBook Air is the most affordable of the two Apple laptops on our list. It’s a great option for artists and digital artists who want a more lightweight and less expensive model.

It’s got a large 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display that shows over a billion colours, and it’s packed with features that creative professionals will love. The resolution is 224 pixels per inch, so you will be able to see designs in detail—this is especially useful when designing artwork for print.

One of the best features of the MacBook Air for artists is its portability. At just 2.7 pounds, it’s one of the lighter laptops on our list. So if you need to take your laptop to art class, or create designs on the go, this is the perfect model to pack away small. With 18 hours of battery life, the battery should get you through the whole day without needing to recharge.

It’s much cheaper than the MacBook Pro, at around half the price, so if you want the quality of an Apple Mac, at a more affordable price, this is a good option. One drawback is that doesn’t have a 2 in 1 tablet design, but if you already have a separate graphics tablet or an iPad with an Apple Pencil, you will still be able to create drawings on the display.

The 2022 MacBook Air comes with the M2 chip, it has an 8-core CPU and up to 24GB of RAM. So you can be sure that it will be able to handle even the most demanding creative tasks. The processing power isn’t as high as the MacBook Pro, or some of the Windows laptops on the list.

There are multiple models of the Macbook Air available. The 2020 release has the M1 chip and has a different specifications than the M2 chip in the 2022 release. The 2020 models are great laptops. If you can afford it, we recommend opting for the newer model. This way you can take advantage of the improved performance.

Overall, the MacBook Air is a good option for artists. It’s got a large display, fast processor, and it’s very portable.

HP Spectre x360

Buy the HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 has got a large 15.6-inch 4K display. As with many of the premium models on this list, the specifications are customisable. Choose a smaller screen or lower resolution to cut costs. It’s one of the most popular Windows laptops and for a reason. It has a 2 in 1 design, with a touch screen and stylus, so you can draw right on the display.

The Spectre x360 also has great performance, thanks to its Intel® Core™ i5-8250U processor and up to 16GB of RAM. So it’s not up to speed in comparison with the MacBook Pro model, but it will still be able to handle graphic design tasks with ease. For tasks like animation and 3D modelling, you might find that the laptop lags more than a MacBook.

The HP Spectre x360 is in the same price range as the MacBook Air; there are some notable differences in their performance. The biggest difference is in the operating system, while the HP Spectre x360 runs on windows, MacBooks run on macOS. If you’re used to working with Windows, then the Spectre x360 may be a more familiar optio. If you prefer macOS, then go for the MacBook Air. For newcomers, macOS is often described as more intuitive to use, however Windows is more popular and has an open ecosystem with developers contributing to creating new apps that are solely available on Windows.

With the HP Spectre X360 models, you have the option of upgrading the display to an OLED display, this will greatly improve the brightness and contrast. The sharpness of the OLED display is even better than the MacBook Pro model.

The HP Spectre x360 is a great laptop for artists that want the experience of drawing on the screen. Its performance is good but not as powerful as the MacBook Pro, but it is more affordable.

Dell XPS 15

Buy the Dell XPS 15

The great thing about this laptop is that you can choose the specs of the Dell XPS 15 to customise the functionality of the laptop. It has a large 15.6″ touch screen display which offers crisp details, perfect for graphic design. The display is 4K ultra HD, with 8 million pixels. This is seven times the resolution of regular HD and millions more pixels than the MacBook Pro 15 model. The display offers a great advantage for artists, who need to zoom in indefinitely to render tiny details using Photoshop and other graphic design programs.

The 12th Generation Intel Core i9-12900HK Processor (24MB Cache, up to 5.0 GHz) gives the Dell XPS 15 the power it needs to handle creative tasks with ease. It also comes with 64GB of RAM so you can have multiple programs open at the same time without any lag.

A good feature of the Dell XPS 15 is that you can upgrade the storage to a 1TB SSD. This is important for artists as we often have large file sizes when working with high-resolution images and videos.

The Dell XPS 15 starts at under $2,000; however, if you customise the specs, it can reach up to $4,000.

The Dell XPS 15 is a high performance machine, that in many ways rivals the MacBook Pro. However, it has the advantage of having a stylus to draw on the display. If you want a touch screen laptop that runs on a windows operating system, with the power and functionality of a Mac, this could be the one to go for.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Buy the Microsoft Surface Pro 7

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a great option for students and hobbyists. The tablet comes with a stylus that has 4097 levels of pressure sensitivity. So it provides an excellent drawing experience. It’s got a large 12.3-inch display, and it comes with an integrated pen. Use it as a tablet or as a laptop, depending on your needs.

You can choose the fast Quad-core 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-1065G7 Processor, with up to 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, which gives a pretty efficient performance, but less efficient than the more expensive models on the list. However, the display is where this laptop shines, with a better resolution than the MacBook Air.

Digital softwares like Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint and Krita work perfectly on the Surface Pro. However, the processor isn’t as fast as some of the other laptops on the list. You may need to choose lightweight programs when using multiple at once otherwise you may experience lagging.

When drawing on the screen, the laptop can be used as a tablet. The keyboard flips round to the back, leaving you with just the screen to draw on. The negative aspect of this, is that you don’t have the controls of the keyboard to use as hotkeys when using programs like Photoshop. However, you can get a downloadable snap toolbar to use as a substitute and assign keys to the toolbar.

This is one of the lightest laptops on the list, at just 1.7 pounds. It has a slim design and the kickstand allows you to prop the laptop up whilst drawing. The lightweight and ergonomic features, make it feel like a joy to use, especially when on the go. With 10.5 hours of battery life, based on typical usage, you will be able to draw on it for hours.

For students and hobbyists who are looking for a tablet for drawing that also works as a laptop, the Surface Pro 7 is an affordable option.

Lenovo Yoga C940

Buy the Lenovo Yoga C940

The Lenovo Yoga C940 is another great 2-in-1 laptop for artists and digital creatives. It comes with a touch display and stylus; draw on the screen to make beautiful designs with your art software.

This laptop comes in either 1080p or 4k display. If you’re looking for a laptop with ultra HD, that enables you to see small details and colour transitions, opt for the 4k model. The most expensive configuration of this laptop will get you an Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. However, if you are on a budget and need a drawing laptop for less demanding work, you could choose some of the cheaper specifications.

The Yoga C940 is portable and flexible, with the option of a 360 degree hinge on the screen. The stylus can be stored away in the spine of the machine, keeping it safe and out of the way. The model can be compared to the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 design, however the Lenovo Yoga offers a slightly larger screen size.

The display is good, but not great. The brightness of the laptop is much less than the Dell XPS 13. Plus, the display’s sRGB coverage is around 90%. This is good for everyday use, but if you’re looking for a laptop for colour-sensitive work, this might not be the best option. The bezels on the screen are also much larger than some of the other laptops on our list.

Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo UX482E

Buy the Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo UX482E

The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo is a powerful laptop that’s perfect for artists and digital creatives. It’s got a large 14-inch 4K display, and it comes with a stylus. On top of the 2.8k OLED touchscreen, it has a duo screen design, with an additional touch screen next to the keypad called the ScreenPadPlus. The extra screen can be used to display shortcuts, or it can be used as another drawing canvas.

The Zenbook Pro 14 Duo also has great performance, thanks to its 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H processor and 32GB of RAM. The performance is good and it outperforms many other laptops on the market.

But what sets the Zenbook Pro 14 apart from other laptops on the list is its innovative design. The ScreenPadPlus is a great addition for artists and digital creatives, and it makes the laptop more versatile and powerful. Artists who use Adobe programs like Photoshop, Premiere Pro and Illustrator, could make good use of the second screen, by using it as a toolbar for example. However, not every artist will need a dual screen design, so for some, it may be an awkward addition, as the keyboard is smaller and placed differently compared to most other models. The laptop comes with software to help you to use the ScreenPadPlus to its full potential.

The main downside of the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo is that the keyboard placement can take some getting used to, it’s also not the cheapest laptop on the list, but it has good specifications and a completely novel design. This is one of the best laptops for artists who want a high performance machine and for the extra screen space to work on.

Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

Buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook

The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is a great option for students and hobbyists. It’s an affordable 2-in-1 laptop that comes with a stylus. The tablet has a 10.1-inch display. Plus, it comes with an integrated pen so you can use it for your digital art projects.

The price of the laptop is the cheapest on the list, it could be a good beginner laptop for students. The keyboard is detachable, making it incredibly lightweight for drawing. It has a display of FHD (1920 x 1200) resolution in 400-nit brightness. However, if you want to be able to see detail and colours in ultra high definition, opt for one of the higher spec models on the list.

The IdeaPad Duet Chromebook has decent performance for running apps, thanks to its MediaTek Helio P60T processor and 4GB of RAM. However, the performance is much lower than some of the more expensive laptops on the list.

And like the Surface Pro 7, the IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is also a great 2-in-1 laptop, thanks to its lightweight design and long battery life. You will get 10 hours of battery life, with regular use.

The only downside of the IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is that it’s also not as powerful as some of the other laptops on the list. So you’ll have to make some sacrifices in terms of performance. So this might not be one of the best laptops for artists who work professionally. But if you’re looking for an affordable and lightweight laptop for your digital art projects, the IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is a great option.

Best laptops for artists: Students and beginners

For students on a budget, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is a great option. It’s an affordable 2-in-1 laptop that comes with a stylus. The tablet has a 10.1-inch display, and it comes with an integrated pen so you can use it for you digital art projects.

For students looking to level up their art with their laptop, the Lenovo Yoga C940 balances cost and performance. It has a 10th generation Intel processor, making it a powerful laptop. The Yoga C940 also comes with a built-in pen garage, so you can store your digital pen with the laptop.

Best laptops for artists: Professionals and designers

The best laptop for artists who create professional work is the MacBook Pro 16-inch. It’s a powerful laptop that comes with a large display, and it’s perfect for running design software like Photoshop and Illustrator. Another option is the Dell XPS 15, which rivals the MacBook’s performance. The Dell XPS 15 has a touch screen, which could be an advantage for some artists.