Working as a graphic designer can be challenging and, to do it efficiently, you will want to have a laptop suited to your design needs. For some, desktop will always be their go-to choice for graphic design work. But more and more designers are choosing to purchase laptops because of their mobility and, in many cases, the lower price point.

Knowing which one is the best choice for your work is never an easy decision. Thankfully, manufacturers produce laptops for just about every personal and professional need that exists so finding the right option for you gets much easier.

To help, we thought we could help make your choice even easier with our picks for the Best Laptops for Graphic Designers but before we get to our list, let’s look at the specs you should be looking for.

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What specs should you be looking for?

Screen

Arguably the most important thing to consider when buying a laptop, finding a laptop with a higher screen resolution means better colour accuracy. Size does matter in this regard as a larger screen makes editing a design much easier. While you will see screens in a whole range of sizes, generally, a 15-inch screen is a good way to go.

Performance

The performance and speed of any laptop come down to three main factors: RAM, processor, and storage.

RAM, which stands for Random Access Memory is what stores your data inside of the laptop. This stored data is only temporary though, so when the computer is off, the data is lost. RAM is used by the processor to process more data and help improve laptop performance.

The processor is the brain of any laptop. It makes sure that when you have multiple programs running, they run smoothly. While there are many different processors out there, for graphic design work, you should only focus on these: Core i5, Core i7, AMD Ryzen, and Intel Xeon.

Storage is exactly what it sounds like. All of those projects that you’re working on have to be saved somewhere. When there are some laptops out there with an HDD, you should look for an SSD that can help processor performance and well as increase boot speeds.

Battery Life

One of the biggest benefits of using a laptop is the mobility that it offers you. However, if you want to spend a day in the park or at a local coffee shop working, outlets can come at a premium. With a good battery life, you don’t have to worry about running out of juice in the middle of an important project. Normally 12-14 hours of battery life is an ideal amount of time.

The Best Laptops for Graphic Designers


CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – 8th-generation Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 – 655 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2,560 x 1,600 | Storage: 128GB – 2TB SSD

When you buy an Apple product, you know you’re going to get amazing quality and the MacBook Pro is no exception.The added Touch Bar allows you to log in or bring up shortcuts for applications with just your finger, saving you huge amounts of time. The beautiful 13-inch screen and Core i5 processor can easily handle all of the design programs you throw at it. While Apple is also known for its high price, the overall quality is more than worth it.

Amazon – £1599

CPU: Intel 6-core Core i7-8750H processor | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 630; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB GDDR5) | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6” (1920×1080) | Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD

Just because it’s designed for gamers, it doesn’t mean that it’s only good for that. The Predator Helios 300 from Acer is a powerful laptop packed with 16GB of RAM along with a Core i7 processor to run programs without an issue. The 15-inch screen will help you create amazing work with its vivid colour accuracy and resolution. While there are many more expensive options on our list, the Helios 300 is a great choice is you’re looking for a deal.

Amazon – £1049

CPU: Intel Core i5-7300U – Intel Core i7-8650U 1.9GHz | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 3,000 x 2,000 (267 PPI) PixelSense display, 3:2 aspect ratio | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

For many designers, having a 2-in-1 laptop is the best of both worlds. You have a traditional laptop you can work on plus a tablet you can draw on. The Surface Book 2 from Microsoft is one of the most powerful 2-in-1 laptops available anywhere. Packed with enough hardware to handle everyday tasks, Book 2 comes with a dedicated graphics card option that can easily handle all of your graphic design apps. If you’re not a fan of the MacOS on the MacBook Pro, Book 2 runs Windows 10 which is a great operating system.

Amazon – £1454

CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160) | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

The Dell XPS 13 is a perfect laptop for anyone working in graphic design. With its amazing 4K display and an 8th-generation, Intel Core i5 or i7 processor can make everything you work on to look beautiful and also run smoothly. The best thing about laptops from Dell is their customisation options. With the available options, you can turn the XPS 13 into a beast with 16 GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for storage. The only downside? Better specs mean the cost will be higher but it would definitely be worth it.

Amazon– £1177

CPU: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 617 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD

It’s no surprise to see more than one Apple laptop on any best-of list. The latest version of the MacBook Air secures its spot on our list for being a great laptop for graphic design. With a thinner, lighter design plus a Retina display, there is no doubt that it is the best MacBook Air ever for graphic design. The Retina display makes your work stand out from the screen with a wide colour gamut plus a high resolution. With an 8th-generation processor plus up to 16GB of RAM and a faster SSD, the MacBook Air comes at an incredibly affordable price which is great for any graphic designers just starting out.

Amazon – £1149

CPU: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HMB2 Graphics Memory | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD

Although it was originally released in 2018, the XPS 15 2-in-1 from Dell is one of the best laptops you can buy for graphic design period. While the previous iteration of the XPS 15 was a great choice for graphic design already and the newest version is even better. While being able to switch between tablet and laptop is great, the Intel Kaby Lake G-series CPU that features Radeon graphics is what makes this laptop stand out. This version of the XPS stands out from the crowd with the serious power it’s packing.

Amazon – £1379

CPU: Intel Core M3 1.2GHz – Intel Core i7 1.4GHz | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch, (2,304 x 1,440) IPS 16:10 | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD

We know what you’re thinking. Another PPle laptop? Well, yes it is. If anything, that speaks to the quality and beautiful design of their products that the company is known for. With an update to the processor to Intel’s 7th-gen Kaby Lake, the performance and battery life have been improved. While it’s not designed to be a pure productivity machine like its big brother, the MacBook Pro, it is still a great laptop for graphic design work that you can take with you anywhere.

Argos – £1029

CPU:1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inc | Storage: 512GB SSD

Huawei has been trying to break into the US market by designing high-quality laptops such as the MateBook X Pro. With specs that contain a 512GB SSD of memory and 16GB of RAM, there’s no reason why won’t be a success. An Intel Core i7 processor and 6 to 8 hours of battery life check the boxes for two requirements graphic designers need: lightning-fast speed and good battery life. Huawei might not be as well known as some of the other manufacturers but with laptops such as the MateBook X Pro.

Amazon – £1199

CPU:Intel i7-8550U | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 17.3-inch | Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

The first thing that anyone will notice when they see the Vivobook Pro 17 from Asus is the beautiful 17.3-inch screen which is bright and vibrant enough to make all of your work look amazing. The Intel i7 processor and 16GB of RAM will help it speed through even the largest programs. The Vivobook Pro 17 is an amazing well-rounded laptop that has the screen and the specs to make it a great option for graphic designers.

Amazon – £705

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch | Storage: 512GB + 1TB SDD

If you’re the type of person who needs to use the most powerful option that you can get in order to complete your work, then look no further than the Spectre X360 15t from HP which is a beast of a machine with its beautiful 15.6-inch screen and Intel Core i7 processor can make every project and image look amazing. A smooth and responsive touchpad and keyboard make working easy. The only negative is the price but if you can fit it into your budget, it will be worth the money.

Amazon – £1899 

Conclusion: The Best Laptops for Graphic Designers 2020

Choosing the best laptop for the work you do as a graphic designer can be the difference between being a success and struggling. Having an idea of what different manufacturers offer can help you make the best choice. We hope our list of the Best Laptops for Graphic Designers has given you some inspiration for when you go shopping.

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About the author

Stephen Cleary is a Freelance Graphic Designer and Founder of Clear Design. He specialises in helping brands connect to their desired audiences by creating memorable logos, brand identities, and websites. View Stephen’s portfolio or get in touch to start a design project today.

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