Digital art has taken some large strides over the last few decades. Gone are the days when you had to struggle to edit pictures or draw them digitally with the mouse. Today we have the state-of-art pen tablets, software programs, and monster machines to create pretty much anything from our imagination. Digital art can mean many things but, in this review, we will be looking at laptops that can primarily help with creating digital 2D art but at the same time have the potential to run 3D software too. Here are some of the best laptops for digital art available in the market today.
See also: Best Chromebooks under $500
Being a digital artist, having a laptop is key to unleashing your creativity. Workstations and desktops are of course important too but unfortunately, you can’t carry them with you when you travel. This is important because you never know when you might find some inspiration and you don’t want to be stuck with no tools at your disposal. If you are looking for some of the best laptops for digital art, then here are some things you need to know.
- Display – One of the most important things to look for in a laptop is a great display. Always go for one that has high resolution and displays accurate colors. This is paramount when it comes to anything related to visual arts. You need to be able to see your artwork in detail and know that the colors you put down are as accurate as possible.
- Processor – You need a processor that can easily handle heavy art-related tasks. The power of the processor that you would need depends on the type of digital art you dabble in. If you work on mostly 3D artwork, you need a far more powerful processor than if you use only 2D software programs like Photoshop or Painter. As of now Intel Core i7 and Xeon are great options to go for.
- Memory (RAM) – RAM is essential for a digital artist. The more you have, the better it is especially if you work on Photoshop for creating illustrations. 16 GB RAM is the minimum amount you need to go for but if you can go for 32 GB, that would be ideal. This is especially important if you work on video editing and 3D.
- Graphics – GPU power is more suited for those who work on 3D art but it’s always good to have a powerful Graphics Card in your machine.
- Connectivity – Most digital artists will have a Wacom tablet with them for illustration or design purposes. Therefore, your laptop must have an adequate number of USB ports.
- Storage – Having an SSD drive is also extremely helpful when it comes to making digital art. It might cost you but the advantages you get from it are well worth the price. Also, you might want to get an external hard drive to back up all your work.
- Battery – If you are planning to buy a laptop for your digital art needs, then you definitely need adequate battery capacity. 8 hours would be ideal but some of the powerful ones will last only up to 5 or 6 hours. The longer it lasts, the better it will be for your needs.
Best Laptops for Digital Art
One of the Best Overall 2-in-1 Laptops for Digital Art
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 comes with Intel Core i5 processor (8th Gen), 8 GB RAM, 256 GB storage capacity, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 12.3” PixelSense Display, and Windows 10. This 2-in-1 laptop has a dock system for the keyboard which you can attach or detach as necessary. Unlike the previous models which came in bright colors, the Surface Pro 6 comes only in platinum and black. The design is sleek and gorgeous thanks to the ultra-slim body, making it an ideal companion to travel with. The display also has a great contrast ratio of 1500:1 which is perfect for individuals who dabble in digital art.
With the Intel Core i5 processor and 8 GB RAM, you can easily run graphics software for creating a variety of creative content ranging from digital paintings and graphic design. It also helps with video editing. Surface Pro 6 comes with the Surface Pen which has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. The pen utilizes the N-trig technology and is ideal for drawing and painting digitally. Moreover, Surface Pro 6 also comes bundled with unique drawing programs such as Krita. Once you are done with using the Surface Pen you can attach it to the side of the tablet thanks to its magnetic strip. You can play games on it but don’t expect it to run any heavy games.
With moderate usage, the battery of Surface Pro 6 will easily last up to 8 hours which is a big boost from its predecessor which had a battery life of 6 to 7 hours. Once the battery falls under the 10 percent mark, the battery saving mode will start automatically to give you time to plug the charger in. If you are looking for a 2-in-1 laptop that comes with a great display screen, amazing battery life, and a pressure-sensitive pen, then Surface Pro 6 is an ideal option to go for.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a 2-in-1 laptop for digital art.
- It’s ideal for people who want a laptop with a great screen.
- It’s a great choice for those who need a portable and lightweight laptop with great battery life.
One of the Best Affordable 2-in-1 Laptops for Digital Art Novices/ Students
Microsoft Surface Go
The Microsoft Surface Go comes with the Intel Pentium Gold processor, Intel HD Graphics 615, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB storage capacity, 10” PixelSense display, and Windows 10. At 1.15 pounds, the Surface Go is pretty lightweight and ideal for carrying around when traveling. The design is sort of similar to the Surface Pro but Microsoft has made some refreshing changes to it such as the rounded edges and a smaller body. These changes were made to expand its customer base and include the student market which requires it to be more fun and of lightweight design.
When it comes to performance it does a good job of handling basic tasks. If you need to do some professional work, then the 8 GB variant would be a better choice. The display comes with a resolution of 1800 x 1200 pixels and an aspect ratio of 3:2 which is perfect for working on digital art. The bezels around the display are pretty large which is quite practical as it gives ample space to hold the device without accidentally touching the screen and triggering something. The thick bezels are also there because of the placement of the speakers. Even though the drivers are pretty small, they deliver surprisingly good sounds.
You also get up to 6 hours of battery life with continuous use which is pretty solid for such a versatile device. You can extend it a little bit by using the battery power-saving mode. Another feature is facial recognition via Windows Hello which allows you to unlock the screen without typing in the password. With good performance, great design, and sound, the Microsoft Surface Go is the perfect laptop for students and digital art novices. If you are an advanced user who does digital art at a professional level, a more powerful laptop would be the wiser choice. But for those who are starting in the digital art world, it’s tough to find a better 2-in-1 laptop than the Surface Go.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for an affordable2-in-1 laptop.
- It’s ideal for students who want a laptop with a great design.
- It’s a great choice for those who need a 2-in-1 laptop that offers good performance.
One of the Best Value Laptops for Digital Art
Acer Aspire E15
The Acer Aspire E15 comes with the 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD storage capacity, Microsoft Office 365, GeForce MX150 graphics, 15.6“ Full HD display and Windows 10. 15-inch laptops are usually bulky but the Acer Aspire E15 is quite compact due to its unique design where the weight is evenly distributed across the body. However, the compact design comes at a cost. The laptop feels a bit flimsy compared to others of the same price range. Where the laptop stands apart is in the number of ports it offers. It has a USB C, 2 x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, VGA, and an HDMI port allowing you to connect a variety of additional devices for creating digital art.
The performance capability of the Acer Aspire E15 will surprise you thanks to the 8th Gen Intel Core i5processor and 8 GB RAM. You can easily multitask with multiple programs. The 8 GB RAM also helps a lot in providing a seamless experience when working on 2D software like Adobe Photoshop or Corel Painter. As far as playing games are concerned, it does a good job of running casual games but don’t expect to play graphics-intensive games. This laptop is not meant for professionals but for those who have an intermediate grasp of digital art.
With continuous use, you can get up to 4 hours and 40 minutes of battery life which is pretty good. With medium usage though, the laptop lasts a lot longer which is surprising. If you watch movies continuously, it can last up to half a day. With an affordable mid-range price, solid performance, and great battery life, the Acer Aspire E15 is a great laptop for those who like to dabble in digital art as a hobby or passion.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a solid mid-range laptop for digital art needs.
- It’s ideal for people who need lots of ports on their work laptops.
- It’s a great choice for those who prefer a large touchpad on their laptop.
One of the Best Affordable Performance Laptops for Digital Art from Acer
Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 comes with a 9th Gen Intel i7-9750H processor, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB PCleNVMe SSD storage capacity and 6 GB GTX 1660 Ti graphics. It has a 15.6“ Full HD display and Windows 10. When you look at the design of the Acer predator, it’s difficult to find any fault with it. The metal chassis with the gunmetal finish and black color with red accents looks gorgeous yet aggressive. You also get removable compartments at the base of the laptop to upgrade the hard drive and the RAM which is very convenient to have. It comes with 2 USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, and a USB 3.1 port for connecting additional devices like a Wacom tablet.
The Full HD display is fantastic and has excellent color reproduction which is ideal when creating digital art. Moreover, with 16 GB RAM, a dedicated 6 GB graphics card, and 256 GB SSD storage, you can run pretty much any art software smoothly. This is especially helpful when creating large and heavy PSD files as these programs require high RAM count for optimum performance. The Acer Predator is at its core a budget gaming laptop that offers more power and performance than it should have when you look at its price range. You can play demanding games on it without facing any noticeable lag.
Considering the fact that it is a gaming laptop, its battery life is quite impressive. You can get up to 4-5 hours with continuous use. You won’t find many gaming laptops at this price point that can match such numbers. If you are looking for a high-performance budget laptop that can efficiently run demanding games at ultra-high settings and provide a seamless, smooth experience for creating digital art content, then the Acer Predator Helios 300 is a great option to go for.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a high-performance laptop at a reasonable price.
- It’s ideal for people who require a high refresh rate on their display.
- It’s a great choice for those who prefer a laptop with lots of power under the hood.
One of the Best Overall Laptops for Digital Art
Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 comes with 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD storage capacity, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics (4 GB DDR5). The laptop has a 15“ display and Windows 10. The design of the XPS series has remained unchanged for quite some time now and the XPS 15 is no different. It comes with an aluminum unibody and a carbon fiber keyboard deck. Where it differs from the rest of the pack is in the number of ports it has thanks to the larger body. It features a USB 3.1 port, SD card slot, and an HDMI port.
Dell has always been known for laptops and computers with amazing displays. The XPS 15 has a touch display with a resolution of 3840×2160 and features amazing picture quality. Colors and textures pop out extremely well making it a great choice for those who dabble in digital artwork. With the 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB RAM, and 1 TB SSD storage space, you can run heavy tasks with no hassles whatsoever. The 1 TB SSD storage space comes in very handy in this regard as digital art usually requires one to have sufficient storage space for all the heavy files. The laptop is not meant for gaming though but you will be able to play the latest games at medium settings without any major issues. However, it is a beast when it comes to 4k video editing allowing you to have a seamless experience when rendering the output.
The battery life of the XPS 15 is not on par with the MacBook Pro 2018 version but it does a good job of providing up to 4 hours plus with general use. The number may seem low but this is a 4k display after all. One reason why the XPS 15 is good for digital artists is that it comes bundled with several useful programs such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, fingerprint sensor, and the McAfee antivirus software. When it comes to performance, display, and features, the XPS 15 offers way more than its predecessor and is a great option for semi-professional digital artists.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a laptop with an exceptional display.
- It’s ideal for people who appreciate having useful bundled software programs on their laptops.
- It’s a great choice for those who work in video editing thanks to the large storage capacity and powerful processor.
One of the Best Premium Razer Laptops for Digital Art
The Razer Blade comes with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD storage capacity, and GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics. The display is 15.6“ FHD and it has Windows 10. The Razer Blade takes the same design as its predecessor but strips it down to its bare essentials. The CNC aluminum unibody comes with a vapor chamber cooling unit to keep the temperature low while running heavy tasks. It’s also slightly thicker than the previous model but manages to keep the weight the same at 4.63 pounds. The customizable RGB individual key lighting looks stunning in the dark. You can customize the colors by picking from 16.8 million colors and multiple preset profiles. It also comes with the Windows Hello facial recognition functionality for easier unlocking of the screen.
When it comes to the display, the Razer Blade offers precise and vibrant colors making it perfect for both photo and video editing. The matte coating effectively deflects glare allowing you to have a great immersive visual experience no matter where you are. It’s one of the few laptops that come preset with pretty accurate color calibration. Being a premium laptop, you expect it to have exceptional performance and the Razer Blade doesn’t disappoint in this regard. It can be used as a gaming machine or as a work station and it will complete tasks that are assigned to it with ease. Creating online videos, film editing, 3D modeling, and digital paintings will be a breeze with this laptop. The Hexa-core processor is also more than enough to play the latest games at ultra-high settings.
Apart from its performance, one aspect that might surprise you is its battery life. High-performance gaming laptops usually have terrible battery life as it utilizes a lot of power. The Razer Blade can run for up to 2.5-3.5 hours with light to medium usage. Though it has a relatively good battery life, it’s not meant to be used while commuting or traveling. If you are a fan of Razer and want a premium high-performance laptop that can run the most demanding tasks smoothly, then this laptop might be the right one for you.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a laptop that can run digital art software as well as graphics-intensive games smoothly.
- It’s ideal for people who need a high-performance laptop with a very good battery life.
- It’s a great choice for those who are looking for a premium laptop with killer looks.
One of the Best Color Accurate Laptops for Digital Art
Apple MacBook Pro
The Apple MacBookPro comes with a 2.3 GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD storage capacity, Radeon Pro 560x graphics (4GB), a 15“ Retina display and runs macOS 10.14. As one would expect, the design is the same as others in the MacBook Pro series. For decades, Apple has always gone for a minimalistic approach in all its designs and many have come to love it. The last major change in design was in 2016 when the Touch Bar was introduced. However, you do get to choose from two different color options, namely Space Gray and Silver.
The Apple MacBook Pro may look similar to its predecessor on the outside but inside it’s a completely different story. The 15-inch Retina display looks absolutely mesmerizing with its 2880 x 1800 resolution. The True Tone feature provides you with realistic and vibrant colors that are vital for video editors. Digital artists, on the other hand, can turn this feature off to view accurate color reproduction. When it comes to performance there is no doubt that it is a beast of a machine with Intel Core i9 processor (Turbo Boost up to a whopping 4.8 GHz), 16 GB RAM (upgradable up to 32 GB), and the Radeon Pro 560x graphics card. It can run pretty much any software without breaking a sweat.
One would assume that such a powerful laptop would have a disappointing battery life but not the MacBook Pro. It can last up to 7 ½ hours from a full charge with medium usage which is insane. It easily beats most of its competitors in the performance laptops category. If you are an Apple fan or a professional who needs a workstation type laptop for digital art needs, then the MacBook Pro is hands down the best one to go for if you can afford it.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a laptop with a ton of power under the hood.
- It’s ideal for people who need a high-performance laptop with an insanely good battery life.
- It’s a great choice for those who are looking for a laptop that can produce accurate colors on its display.
One of the Best Value Performance Laptops for Digital Art
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S (GX531GS-AH76)
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S comes with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB storage capacity, and GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. It has a 15.6“ IPS display and runs Windows 10. This one comes with an all-aluminum body with a diagonal two-tone black design separating the matte and aluminum coating sides. The logo nested at the left side of the back of the screen lights up with stylized magenta dots when the laptop boots up. It looks absolutely gorgeous and aggressive at the same time. The touchpad is uniquely placed on the right side of the keyboard instead of the traditional position. It is also one of the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops available in the market making it very portable and ideal for traveling with.
The 144 Hz IPS display panel offers an amazing visual experience thanks to its quick response time. You can see all the details clearly and it beats its competitors when it comes to color accuracy. It’s good for digital painting as you can see every brushstroke properly. If it’s the performance you are after, then this laptop will not disappoint you at all. You can easily switch between multiple tabs on Chrome and stream a 1080p YouTube video while having a graphics-intensive game playing in the background at the same time. The 16 GB RAM along with the Intel Core 8750 processor and the 512 GB SSD allows you to have a seamless experience when working on a variety of software programs.
The battery life of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S is decent for a gaming laptop. If you are continuously browsing the web at maximum brightness, you will get up to 3 ½ hours of battery life. It’s not the best but it is pretty good for the amount of power it packs. If a slim and gorgeous looking laptop that can easily run graphics-intensive tasks sounds good to you, then the ROG Zephyrus S is the one for you. There are other more powerful laptops out there but this one offers the most value in terms of power and price.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a laptop with a great IPS display.
- It’s ideal for people who need a high-performance laptop with a slim and gorgeous body.
- It’s a great choice for those who are looking for a powerful and portable laptop at a reasonable price.
One of the Best Durable 2-in-1 Laptop for Digital Art
Lenovo Yoga 730
The Lenovo Yoga 730 comes with the 8th Gen Intel Quad-Core i5-8265U processor, 12 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD storage capacity, a 15.6“ Full HD IPS display, and Windows 10. One of the first things you will notice after picking up the Yoga 730 is its weight even though it’s a pretty thin laptop. When you rotate the screen, you will find the hinges to be very well built. It has a nice premium feel to it and you know that the manufacturer has put some thought into its construction. Most 2-in-1 laptops have wobbling screens but not the Yoga 730. It features a minimalist design with aggressive sharp edges and an aluminum chassis. One of the best features of this laptop is its trackpad which allows you to have a very smooth experience when navigating through different menus and interfaces.
The touch display on the Yoga 730 is pretty good too. In most 2-in-1 laptops, you will see a tiny gap between the screen and the LCD glass but here you don’t notice it at all. It is very responsive to taps and presses. It provides a great seamless experience when creating digital paintings as you can directly draw on the screen using the Lenovo Active Pen 2 (bought separately). With the 8 GB RAM, Intel Quad-Core i5-8265 processor, and 256 SSD storage space, you will be able to easily work on almost all art-related software programs with ease. This laptop, however, is made more for those who like to dabble in digital paintings than video editing.
The battery of the Yoga 730 will last up to 6 ½ hours with continuous media playback use which is pretty good. It’s not as good as some of its competitors but it does come with a fast-charging feature that makes up for its relatively low battery life. With 15 minutes of charging, you can get up to 2 hours of battery life. The Lenovo Yoga 730 isn’t the best 2-in-1 laptop out there today but overall it is a solid machine that is made for the casual user who likes to work on digital paintings from time to time.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a slim and durable 2-in-1 laptop with a great IPS display.
- It’s ideal for people who need a portable mid-range laptop that can run digital art software programs effortlessly.
- It’s a great choice for those who are looking for a laptop that can be charged quickly.
One of the Best Performance Laptops for Digital Art from Samsung
Samsung Notebook 9
The Samsung Notebook 9 comes with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD storage space, 15“ FHD LED display, S Pen (included), NVidia GeForce MX 150 graphics and Windows 10. The design of the latest Samsung series of notebooks hasn’t changed much from its predecessors. There is no reason to change it since it already has a great design with the right number of curves and flat surfaces. It truly looks luxurious and well worth the high price tag. It’s also quite lightweight making it very easy to travel with. In many ways, the Notebook 9 is probably one of the best portable laptops out there with its insanely high battery life. The scratch-resistant metal body and ocean blue color complement each other well.
The 15“FHD LED display is something to marvel at. In the Samsung settings app, you can turn on the ‘outdoor mode’ which increases the maximum brightness by 150 bits bringing the total brightness quotient to 500 bits. Even under the direct sunlight, you will be able to see everything clearly on the screen which is perfect for digital artists. You can also reduce the blue light emitted from the screen to reduce potential eye strain. If you don’t like to hear the fan noise, you can turn on the ‘silent mode’ which will turn on the battery power-saving mode and minimize the sound. Short of editing 4k videos, this laptop can pretty much glide through any task you throw at it, thanks to its specs. The 1 TB SSD storage space is a great feature for digital artists since it not only boosts productivity speeds but also provides ample space for any large art file.
The battery life of the Samsung Notebook 9 is nothing short of inspiring. You get a jaw-dropping 12½ hours with continuous video playback which is miles ahead of its competitors. You can extend it further by an hour by using the Windows 10 battery saving mode. The only slightly negative point about this product is its keyboard which doesn’t feel punchy enough. Apart from the small nitpick, the Samsung Notebook 9 is easily the best option out there today in the market for those who need a high-performance laptop with great power, large SSD storage space, and mind-boggling battery life.
Who should buy this?
- It’s perfect for those who are looking for a great-performing notebook with a superb display and colors.
- It’s ideal for people who need a portable laptop with great battery life.
- It’s a great choice for those who are looking for a laptop with cool and convenient features like the outdoor mode, silent mode, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Minimum Specs I Require in My Laptop for Digital Art?
There are no particular specs that can be given for digital art as it solely depends on the type of digital art (2D or 3D) you dabble in and the software programs you use. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to go for a minimum 8 GB RAM, a decently powered processor and a dedicated Graphics card.
What Are Some of the Features I Should Always Look Out For?
A lot of people end up not looking for certain key features like an HDMI port, Thunderbolt or screen resolution when they buy laptops. If you work with digital photography you definitely need to look for a built-in card reader.
Are 2-in-1 laptops Useful for Creating Digital Art?
2-in-1 laptops have an advantage as most of them come with stylus support and the ability to use the laptop in different modes. Having it in tent mode can help you to draw on the screen more efficiently. However, if you have a Wacom tablet with you, then it wouldn’t make much of a difference.
Is it Necessary to Get an Expensive Powerful Laptop?
Buying a powerful laptop will of course help you a lot more when it comes to creating digital art but it’s not an absolute necessity. If you are an aspiring artist or beginner, you can go for an affordable model until you can afford a more powerful one.
What Type of Processor Should I Look For in My Laptop?
If you prefer Intel, then an i9 or i7 would be an ideal option to go for. Intel processors, however, are a bit more expensive and so be prepared to take a hit on your budget. If you are an AMD fan, then you can go for the AMD Ryzen 9 or 5. Always look for the number of cores and clock speed to determine which processors are better. More cores will split the workload more efficiently and allow you to complete tasks more smoothly. Usually, in the industry, the Intel processor provides more clock speed whereas AMD provides more cores.
As a digital artist, investing in the right work product is crucial for creating amazing works. There are a few important factors you need to keep in mind before you buy a laptop. It needs to have a great display with accurate colors, plenty of power, a good amount of RAM, decent storage space, and sufficient ports. Good battery life is also important if you are someone on-the-go most of the time. There is no ‘Best laptop’ out there that can meet all of the above criteria with flying colors. However, you do get a ton of options out there that can do some of the above stuff well. With a little bit of research, you can easily find the one that will best suit your specific needs.