The best laptops for graphic design (2024)

The best laptops for graphic design (1)

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  • Quick list
  • 1. Best overall
  • 2. Best portability
  • 3. Best budget
  • 4. Best Windows
  • 5. Best 2-in-1
  • 6. Best dual-screen
  • Also tested
  • FAQs
  • How to choose
  • How we test

The best laptops for graphic design aren't cheap, but they do offer exceptional performance. And that's important because as a graphic design professional, you need a powerful machine with an outstanding display. Our rigorous testing process evaluates these key factors.

Our experts have years of collective experience reviewing laptops for just these purposes. We've personally reviewed each model listed below, conducting benchmark tests, verifying manufacturer claims on things like battery life and screen brightness, and completing real-world projects using the best graphic design software.

Currently, we recommend the MacBook Pro M3 as our top pick. Apple's new M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips set a new performance standard, complemented by an excellent display and user-friendly design. However, your needs may vary: perhaps you require a 2-in-1 device, for example. So we've included a few other options on the list too. For those considering a desktop solution, meanwhile, see our pick of the best computers for graphic design.

For full information on our process, check out our guide to how we test laptops.

Quick list

Best overall

1. MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 (2023)

This lightning-fast, mega-powerful laptop has Apple's hot new M3 chip, plus a big, vibrant screen and a whopping 22 hours of battery life to see you through all your graphic design needs. It's also got a wide range of ports, including an HDMI slot.
Read more below

Best portability

2. MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

Thanks to the M2 chip, this laptop packs a superb combination of power and efficiency in a very light and portable body – and it's at a very reasonable price. Our testing found it edited 4K video with ease, and had no issue with Photoshop's AI tools.
Read more below

Best budget

3. Acer Chromebook Spin 714

If you're on a tight budget, and you're happy to go cloud-based for your apps, we think this Chromebook is the way forward. The base model's processor is powerful enough for the cloud and it has a glorious touchscreen – plus it's often on sale.
Read more below

Best Windows

4. ASUS ProArt Studiobook OLED (H7604)

Packed with high-end components designed to tackle demanding creative tasks without going into meltdown, this laptop has a bright, sharp OLED display with touchscreen functionality that hits 100% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut.
Read more below

Best 2-in-1

5. HP Spectre x360

The glorious OLED screen is part of what makes this a top pick for graphic designers. It has 16:10 aspect ratio, and glorious colour accuracy. It comes in a massive 16-inch version, brilliant for those who want a true 2-in-1 laptop with space to draw.
Read more below

Best dual-screen

06. Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED

This revolutionary laptop comes with two screens, so you can run your code editor on one screen and have documents or your program running on the other. Our benchmarks showed impressive performance, too.
Read more below

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The best laptops for graphic design in full

Why you can trust Creative Bloq Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Best laptop for graphic design overall

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01. MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3, 2023)

The best laptop for graphic design

Specifications

CPU: M3 Pro/M3 Max, 12-core/16-core CPU

Graphics: M3 Pro, 18-core GPU / M3 Max, 40-core GPU

RAM: M3 Pro, 16GB, 32GB / M3 Max, 64GB, 96G

Screen: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display

Storage: 512GB - 8TB

Ports: SDXC card slot, HDMI, headphone jack, MagSafe 3, 3 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C)

Reasons to buy

+

Great battery life

+

Plenty of ports

+

Beautiful big screen

+

Powerful new M3 chips

Reasons to avoid

-

You pay for the M3 magic

Buy it if

✅ You have a heavy workflow: If your work uses a monster amount of apps and 3D or motion work, the M3 Pro and Max power does the job with zero lag.

✅ You want a glorious screen: See your work in crystal clear definition, and at a peak brightness of 1,600 nits for HDR work.

You want the latest Apple chips:The M3 Pro/Max means you won't have to upgrade for a good while.

Don't buy it if:

❌ Your apps aren't optimised for Apple:Some 3D and CAD-based apps aren't available for macOS. This won't bother most graphic designers, but it's something to be aware of.

❌ You don't need top-spec power:For graphic design alone, it may be overkill for many people.

Price is an issue:The newest, most powerful MacBook comes at a high price. There are more affordable options.

The bottom line

🔎MacBook Pro M3 can't be beaten if you're a professional. It will handle any graphic design task with ease, no matter the assets or apps (even if there is 3D crossover). The screen is excellent, and the battery lasts all day. ★★★★½

What you need to know

When we reviewed the MacBook Pro 16-inch M3 (2023), we knew it would earn the crown of the best laptop for graphic design because we were blown away by the power and performance (we had hands on the Max chip, fyi). With the brilliant M3 Pro or M3 Max chips, it’s faster than ever and has a big, bright 14 or 16-inch screen

Design:Apple didn't stray far from the previous design, which we don't mind at all – the Pro is sleek, streamlined and hides its power well. While the new Space Black colour is much appreciated, more exciting is the tremendous Liquid Retina XDR display, which is one of the best things about this laptop. It's big and bright, with a peak brightness of 1,600 nits if working in HDR (compared to 1,000 average) – plus the gloss finish doesn't create issues thanks to how bright it is.

Performance:Our testing of the MacBook Pro Max showed it eats up creative tasks, we were able to run multiple heavy-duty apps at once without any fuss at all. For lighter users, we recommend the Pro, which will sit nicely in the right spot for most professionals. If you're a hobbyist or have a light workflow, as an alternative we recommend looking at the MacBook Air M3, or even the previous iteration of the MacBook Pro.

Battery life:Apple suggests a lighter workload should allow you 24 hours of juice. We got an impressive 10 hours out of the MacBook Pro whilst using Cinema 4D to complete a heavy project, which is double the battery life of the best Windows pick, the Asus ProArt Studiobook when using its full feature set, and is comparable to the HP Spectre x360 2-in-1.

Price:Starting at $1,499/£1,499, we think the Pro offers good value for money given its high-end feature. But this isn't a budget option, and you will need to pay more if you want the maximum it has to offer, including the M3 Max chip.

Read more: MacBook Pro M3 review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
PriceNot a budget option, but good value overall.★★★★½
DesignStreamlined, portable and an excellent display.★★★★★
PerformancePower designed for professionals and heavy workflows.★★★★★
Battery lifeStellar battery life, this goes all day.★★★★★

Best graphic design laptop for portability

02. MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

The best graphic design laptop for portability

Specifications

CPU: Apple M2 with 8-core CPU

Graphics: 8-core GPU or 10-core GPU

RAM: 8GB, 16GB, 24GB

Screen: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina XDR display

Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB

Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack, MagSafe

Reasons to buy

+

Larger screen

+

Excellent battery life

+

Very good performance

+

Great price

Reasons to avoid

-

Gets hot when under pressure

Buy it if

Price is a consideration:The M2 Air is seeing some incredible discounts right now. For the performance it offers, we think it's tremendous value.

✅ You aren't a power user:
For most graphic design tasks, the MacBook Air M2 is enough power – ideal for mid-range workflows.

✅ You want portability:The M2 Air is thin and light – even the 15-inch version. The battery life is also excellent, with enough to last a almost two full work days (we got 16 hours).

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need multi-screen setup:The M2 Air only supports one external display – go for the M3 Air if you like the range but this is a deal-breaker.

❌ You've got a heavy workflow: This model can handle most creative tasks, but if you're a power user, or likely to need heavy apps, we recommend the MacBook Pro.

You want the newest model:The M2 Air has been superseded by the M3. We think that the M2 still offers the best value – but if you want the performance increase, see the newer model below.

The bottom line

🔎MacBook Air M2 is a lightweight, zippy laptop with a fantastic screen. And it's great value now that it is frequently on sale, making it the perfect blend of price, portability and performance for most users. ★★★★½

What you need to know

Since the MacBook Air M2 was superseded by the M3, it has been subject to some stellar price cuts. Taking into consideration the performance jump from the M2 to the M3 chip (ranging from 17% to 21%) we think the significant price difference makes the M2 a great value option.

Design: Apple introduced a beautiful aluminium finish and bigger, brighter, almost bezel-less screen with this redesign. The display comes in 13.6 or 15.3-inches, and the larger is ideal for design work. Despite the increase, the laptop is thinner and lighter than before, at 11mm thick the 13.6-inch model weighs only 2.7 pounds.

Performance:Coming close to the M2 MacBook Pro 13-inch in performance, this MacBook Air confused the range when it came out because of its excellent power. Our testing found it edited 4K video with ease, and had no issue with Photoshop AI tools, but if you're planning on a sustained heavy workload the temperature could be an issue as there's no fan.

Battery life: This model's battery life was a big jump from the M1 – we got five hours more in our tests. We rain a looped 1080p video for 16 hours before it died, so longevity is definitely a standout feature of the M2 Air – unsurprisingly given its portable credentials, but still beating out every other laptop on this list except the MacBook Pro.

Price: The starting price for the M2 is $999/£999, which is only $100 under that of the M3. However, the almost-constant deals from third-party retailers is what makes this our value pick – it's currently available for $849, for example. When it came out it wasn't as competitively priced as the M3 model is now, but the deals that can be had now make it a great value option at its price point.If price isn't such a consideration but you like all the qualities of the Air range, and need more power, we recommend its successor, the MacBook Air M3.

Read more: MacBook Air (M2) review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
PriceWith the deals running, this is an excellent value option. ★★★★½
DesignA bigger, brighter screen and lightweight frame.★★★★★
PerformanceHandles most creative tasks easily.★★★★
Battery lifeIncredible battery life, beating every other pick.★★★★★
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Best budget laptop

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03. Acer Chromebook Spin 714

The best budget laptop for graphic design

Specifications

CPU: 12th-Gen Intel Core i5-1235U

Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics eligible

RAM: 8GB, 16GB

Screen: 14-inch 16:10 WUXGA 1920 x 1200p IPS touch display

Storage: 256GB / 512GB SSD

Ports: 2x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, 1x USB-A, HDMI, 3.5mm Combo-Jack

Reasons to buy

+

Powerful build for a Chromebook

+

Excellent Full HD display

+

2-in-1 design

Reasons to avoid

-

Can't run Windows or macOS

Buy it if

✅ You use cloud-based apps:A Chromebook won't be right for everyone, but if you use cloud-based apps, it can do the job.

✅ Price is your top consideration:You won't get a laptop powerful enough for full desktop graphic design programs at this price, but if budget if tight, this is a reasonable compromise.

✅ You want a Full HD touchscreen:The touchscreen is a standout feature of this Chromebook, making it ideal for graphic designers who want to draw.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You don't want a 2-in-1:The Spin is a bit more expensive than other Chromebooks, partly due to the spin into a tablet.

❌ You need desktop apps and won't always have Wi-Fi: Cloud apps are getting better, but if you need full desktop suites, or travel without Wi-Fi, Chromebooks aren't for you.

You want it even cheaper: The build-quality and 2-in-1 function make this pricier than other Chromebooks. You could get an i5 device for less, with some compromises.

The bottom line

🔎Acer Chromebook Spin 714 is a premium Chromebook and a real budget option as a graphic design laptop. The features that set it apart are what make it perfect for designers willing to work in the cloud. ★★★★

What you need to know

The Acer Chromebook Spin 714 has some features not usually found in a Chromebook, so if you're happy to work in the cloud this is an excellent budget option. With 2-in-1 functionality, it has a glorious Full HD touchscreen, lovely build quality and powerful processor (for a Chromebook).

Sure, there are compromises with a Chromebook such as needing Wi-Fi and cloud apps not always being replicas of desktop versions. But if price is truly a deal break, this is an option worth considering for excellent value.

Design:We love the aluminium chassis, which gives a premium feel not always found in a Chromebook. It's weighty and smooth, and the spin function turns it into a capable tablet. The screen is bright, in 16:10 aspect ratio and has the benefit of being touchscreen, and our testing found it to be responsive and easy to use.

Performance:The basic model comes with a 12th-generation Intel i5 processor, which is plenty powerful enough for creative tasks if you're working on cloud apps – our testing had around 30 tabs open and the machine didn't blanch. If you're planning on using it as a tablet, you'll need to buy a decent third-party stylus.

Battery life:We got around 11 hours in tests streaming video, and managed four hours after just 30 minutes of charge. While it's no MacBook, this is extremely decent performance – and surprising for a Chromebook with this power.

Price: The starting price is $599, but this is frequently reduced further. We'd struggle to recommend anything much cheaper than this if you want a laptop that's suitable for graphic design work. There are slightly cheaper Chromebook options available if you forgo the touchscreen, the power and build quality, but we wouldn't recommend them for graphic design if you can stretch to this option.

Read more: Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2023) review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
PricePremium features at a budget price★★★★★
DesignGorgeous touchscreen, lovely build quality★★★★★
PerformanceAmple power for cloud-based creativity★★★★
Battery lifeGreat but not as good as MacBook.★★★★★
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Best Windows laptop

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04. ASUS ProArt Studiobook OLED (H7604)

The best Windows laptop for graphic design

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i9-13980HX

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 (8GB)

RAM: Up to 64GB

Screen: 16.0-inch, glasses-free 3D OLED display, 3.2K (3200 x 2000)

Storage: Up to 8TB (2x4TB SSD)

Ports: Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen 2, SD Express reader, HDMI 2.1, 3.5mm headset jack, Ethernet

Reasons to buy

+

Dial above trackpad

+

High-end components

+

Bright display

Reasons to avoid

-

Low battery life

Buy it if

You want Windows:If you don't like MacBooks, or working in macOS, the ASUS ProArt Studiobook is our top pick as it runs heavy loads with ease.

✅ You want an OLED display:
The ProArt screen is a thing of beauty, one of the best we've seen – ideal for graphic design work.

✅ You like productivity features:It's a laptop set up for creative work so comes with add-ons like a built-in dial you can customise for apps and tasks.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need long battery life:we only got four and a half hours, though dimming the screen helps here.

❌ You're on a budget: With a starting price of $1,999 this isn't cheap but you're paying for a lot of features and power – if you need less power, this isn't for you.

You like a traditional keyboard: The keyboard is a bit strange – full-size squeezed into the clamshell – so some buttons aren't where they should be.

The bottom line

🔎Asus ProArt Studiobook OLED isa powerhouse with an array of useful features, plus a glorious screen. It's pricey, and has low battery life but the performance makes up for it. 50 words★★★★½

What you need to know

The Asus ProArt Studiobook is a beast of a laptop, perfect for creators thanks to the beautiful OLED screen, power and handy customisable dial. Much like the MacBook Pro M3, it can handle any creative task you throw at it so the higher specced models will be perfect for power users. Though there are other features that will be appreciated by all types of graphic designers, if you have a lighter workflow you may not need all the power it has to offer.

Design:This is a thoughtfully designed laptop on the whole, with a customisable dial you can program for different apps. This can be used for scrolling through brushes or a timeline, or changing through different modes. The keyboard is an oddball, it's a slightly altered version of a full size keyboard, so keys won't always be where you think they are. The star of the show is the OLED display, which is among the best we've seen – we highly rated the colour accuracy.

Performance:The model we tested was on par with the MacBook Pro M2 in performance, with our benchmarks showing it will be more than capable of handling heavy workloads in Affinity Photo or Blender. It's power for professionals. However, the fans are noisy and you need to manage the cooling profiles in the ProArt app – though they do a good job.

Battery life:All that power means Battery life is a letdown. We got about four and a half hours out of it before it died a death. You can extend it by dimming the screen but we recommend planning to be near a power source.

Price: With a starting price of $1,999, you can pay up to $2,999 for the highest specs so this isn't cheap by any means. But the amount of features and power, plus that screen, explains the price. If you're a pro or power user, you can't do much better than this.

Read more: Asus ProArt Studiobook OLED review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
PriceExpensive but worth it for serious users★★★★★
DesignGorgeous OLED screen and great feature set★★★★½
PerformanceAll the power you could ever need★★★★★
Battery lifeLow. We got four and a half hours.★★★
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Best 2-in-1 laptop

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05. HP Spectre x360 14

The best 2-in-1 laptop for graphic design

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core Ultra 7 155H

Graphics: Intel Arc integrated

RAM: 32GB

Screen: 14in HDR OLED

Storage: 2TB SSD

Ports: 1x USB Type-A 10Gbps, 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1x 3.5mm headset port

Reasons to buy

+

Great screen

+

Responsive in use

+

Stylus in the box

Reasons to avoid

-

No discrete GPU

-

Heavy as a tablet

Buy it if

✅ You want a good productivity laptop: Its powerful hardware, featuring an Intel Core Ultra 7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD, provides ample performance for most productivity tasks. The versatile 2-in-1 design offers flexibility for various work scenarios
✅ That can do double duty for entertainment: Its OLED touchscreen likely offers excellent image quality with vibrant colors and deep blacks, making it great for watching movies and TV shows. The 2-in-1 design allows for versatile viewing modes, such as tent mode for comfortable media consumption. The inclusion of two speaker grilles offers decent audio output, too.
✅ And has a touchscreen and stylus: The HP Spectre x360 14 comes with a stylus for drawing and writing, and its touchscreen is nice and responsive.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need a discrete GPU chip: This laptop's reliance on the processor’s Arc-integrated graphics means that if you use pixel-heavy applications, you may prefer similarly priced laptops with a dedicated GPU.
❌ You have no need for pen input: The stylus is lovely, but if you won't use it, you may resent paying for it as part of the overall package.

The bottom line

🔎HP Spectre x360 16is a high-end convertible laptop that impresses with its classy design and powerful performance. It features a responsive OLED touchscreen and robust internal components, with a stylus included at no extra cost. While the chassis is relatively conservative, it incorporates excellent design touches. ★★★★

What you need to know:

The 2024 Spectre x360 14 is a versatile 2-in-1 laptop with a touchscreen and flexible hinge, allowing it to function as both a laptop and tablet. It features Intel's latest mobile processor and ample RAM, making it suitable for business and travel use. The device comes with a stylus for drawing and writing, and can be positioned in various modes for different uses. Its high specifications make it a strong contender among touchscreen laptops.

Design:The 2024 HP Spectre x360 14 showcases several thoughtful design elements. Its robust hinge, connecting at two points with broad connectors, allows smooth 360-degree rotation without wobble. The laptop features clever port placement, with an angled Thunderbolt port for easy access and a slim, spring-loaded USB-A port. Aesthetic touches include filed-off corners where the screen and body meet.

Performance:The top-tier configuration we reviewed delivers strong performance in productivity and creative applications. It can boost up to 4.8GHz and 115W for demanding tasks, while its 1.4GHz resting frequency allows for power efficiency as low as 28W.

Battery life:Our testers achieved eight and a half hours of life under PC Mark's Work 3.0 benchmark. This test simulates real-world usage by keeping the screen active and running various office tasks and video calls. Users may extend this battery life further by utilizing power-saving features such as allowing the screen to turn off when idle.

Price: Priced at £/$1,899 at the time of writing, this isn't a budget laptop, though in use it felt like it deserved the price.

Read more: HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
PriceMid-range, good value★★★★
DesignNot lightweight, great screen★★★★
PerformancePunchy, discrete graphics card★★★★★
Battery lifeExcellent, top performance★★★★★
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Best dual-screen laptop for graphic design

The best laptops for graphic design (33)

06. Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED

A laptop with two screens for efficient multitasking

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core Ultra 9 185H

Graphics: Intel Arc Graphics

RAM: 32GB

Screen: 2x 14in 2880x1800 120Hz OLED

Storage: 2TB SSD

Ports: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 2x Thunderbolt 4, 1x HDMI 2.1, 3.5mm combo jack

Reasons to buy

+

Fabulous dual screen tech

+

Excellent connectivity

+

Powerful

Reasons to avoid

-

Not for everyone

Do you dream of having a second screen to speed up your graphic design work? Then check out the ASUS Zenbook Duo OLED 2024. Its main 14-inch OLED display can be propped up and joined by a second 14-inch OLED screen positioned below the detachable keyboard, giving you incredible flexibility in the way you work.

They're very nice screens too, offering 2.8K resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate and touchscreen functionality. In our testing they hit 395 nits of brightness at 100%, and displayed 97% of sRGB, 73% ofAdobe RGB and 72% of the P3 colour gamuts.

You also get a powerful Intel Core Ultra processor paired with integrated graphics, and over 12 hours of battery life when utilizing the main screen. The laptop also supports stylus input with pressure sensitivity. The only real drawbacks are the high pricing and some decreased battery life when using both screens simultaneously. RRead more in our Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED 2024 review.

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Also tested

While the laptops above get our ultimate nod of approval as fantastic laptops for graphic design, there are more laptops worthy of your attention. If none of the above quite tickle your fancy, we've also tested all of the below laptops and will happily recommend them as great laptops for graphic design, whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out.

The best laptops for graphic design (34)

ASUS Zenbook 14X OLED
With a 14-core Intel i9 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card and 32GB of RAM, this ASUS model combines MacBook Pro-level power with a sub-£/$1,500 price tag. Bonus points for the gorgeous OLED screen, although battery life can't quite keep up with the leaders.
Read our 4-star review.

The best laptops for graphic design (35)

Dell Precision 5470
It may not have a large display, but this 14-inch parcel comes loaded still very powerful - our testingput its performance close to that of a 14-inch MacBook Pro M2 Pro. This portable powerhouse is comfortable to use, feels well-built, and exudes quality.
Read our 4.5-star review.

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FAQs

What laptop specs do I need for graphic design?

When buying a laptop for graphic design, you’ll need to take into account the specifications of the models you’re researching. But what specs do you need in the first place?

For a good Windows laptop, you’ll want a modern processor from either Intel or AMD: ideally, an 13th gen Intel or AMD Ryzen 7000 mobile processor. When it comes to MacBooks, Apple has its own chips – M1, M2 and M3 – which perform brilliantly as well; the higher the number, the more advanced the processor. When it comes to RAM, the more you have, the better, especially if you want to multitask. We suggest a minimum of 8GB RAM, but ideally 16-64GB if your budget can stretch to it.

For Windows laptops, a dedicated graphics card is also worth thinking about, especially for graphically intensive workloads. However, these can up the price of a laptop considerably, and modern integrated GPUs are good enough for day-to-day graphic design use. For any heavier usage, though, a discrete graphics card is a must.

Are laptops for graphic design expensive?

Yes, laptops designed specifically for graphic design and other demanding creative work tend to be more expensive than basic laptops. That's because they require powerful hardware such as high-end processors, dedicated graphics cards, ample RAM, and fast storage to run software such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign smoothly. Also, for colour work, you'll need a high-res display that offers good colour accuracy and wide colour gamuts.

However, there are also more affordable options around the $1,000 price range that can handle graphic work reasonably well for those on tighter budgets, although they may not offer the same level of performance or features as the higher-end models.

What operating system is best for graphic design?

Both Windows and macOS are viable options, but macOS is generally preferred by many graphic designers due to its tight integration with Adobe's Creative Cloud apps and color management tools. However, Windows laptops offer more choice in terms of hardware configurations.

How much RAM do I need for graphic design?

At least 16GB RAM is recommended for graphic design work, as graphic apps can be very memory-intensive. 32GB or more is ideal for working with large, complex files.

What display resolution and color accuracy should a laptop have for graphic design?

Look for displays with at least 1920 x 1080 resolution, although higher resolutions like 4K (3840 x 2160) are obviously better. A wide color gamut covering 100% sRGB and high color accuracy (Delta E <2) is crucial for color-sensitive work.

How to choose

When choosing a laptop for graphic design, you’ll want a laptop with a lot of power. Graphic design work can be pretty intensive and so you’ll need a laptop that can properly support that and run your host of creative tools.

If you’re frequently on the go and do your work outside the home, you’ll want to strike that proper balance between power and portability. You may have to sacrifice some power to get a laptop that is thin and light enough to throw in your backpack. If you plan to rarely or never tote your computer then we recommend focusing on purchasing a heavier, more powerful laptop.

The next thing you’ll want to consider is what operating system you prefer. MacOS used to be the staple of creative professionals, but nowadays it really doesn’t matter if you use Mac or Windows - both can do the job for graphic designers just fine. It’s up to personal preference, and that shows among the Creative Bloq team, where some of us prefer Mac laptops, while others lean towards Windows.

Finally, budget can be a huge factor in laptop purchases. Many of the laptops in this guide can be quite expensive. If budget is no constraint we recommend the MacBook Pro (M3), but if you’re a student or just starting out, the the MacBook Air (M1) will give you the most bang for your buck.

How we test

When it comes to testing laptops for graphic design, we look for a good, high resolution screen, assessing pixel density, colour accuracy, contrast and more, to decide how well it performs for graphic design. We also test for both CPU core and graphics performance to make sure you'll get the performance you expect from the latest processors and GPUs.

We also run real projects on real graphic design software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Cinema 4D, Adobe Illustrator and more, depending on the reviewer, their specialism and the laptop's intended user base.

Storage is arguably a little less critical, as well-specified laptops now come with fast PCIe SSDs. But we still test sequential throughput and random access to make sure that nothing unusual is going on. We also assess ergonomics, build and usability, including keyboard quality, chassis rigidity, trackpad response and more to build up a practical picture of how well a laptop performs in the real world rather than merely benchmarks.

Finally, battery life is important for any laptop and it's also a metric by which different models can differ dramatically, both from each other and from the manufacturer claims.

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The best laptops for graphic design (36)

Erlingur Einarsson

Tech Reviews Editor

Erlingur is the Tech Reviews Editor on Creative Bloq. Having worked on magazines devoted to Photoshop, films, history, and science for over 15 years, as well as working on Digital Camera World and Top Ten Reviews in more recent times, Erlingur has developed a passion for finding tech that helps people do their job, whatever it may be. He loves putting things to the test and seeing if they're all hyped up to be, to make sure people are getting what they're promised. Still can't get his wifi-only printer to connect to his computer.

With contributions from

  • Josephine WatsonManaging Editor for Lifestyle
  • Tom May

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