If you are a graphic designer then you know owning the wrong laptop can make your job incredibly difficult. Our goal is to make your life and job easier and that’s why we’ve created this buying guide.

We’ve carefully researched the available laptop options and will provide you with important consumer information, comparisons of the top 10 laptops for graphic design along with detailed reviews.

What You Should Know Before You Buy

A must for any graphic designer is a fast and reliable laptop that offers multiple functions while easily handling several applications. The right laptop should also be simple to use and have plenty of storage. Consider these factors before purchasing your laptop:

Screen coatings: There are 2 – anti-glare and glossy. With anti-glare the colors displayed will be less vivid, however; this coating does more accurately represent the colors with which you’ll be working.
Screen size: This is mostly personal preference but you’ll want to be sure you have a screen large enough to properly display your work. Also, keep in mind a screen that is too small could interfere with your productivity.
Graphics card: Intel is a good choice but beware that NVIDIA and AMD have become reliable choices, as well.
RAM: As a graphic designer, you’ll need at least 8GB of RAM (memory).
Processor: Your work will determine your processor needs. If you do mostly basic design work you should find that Intel Core i5 is sufficient and the least expensive option. If your work is complex and more detailed, it is recommended you purchase an i7 although this will cost more.
CPU: If you do complex work and have the need to run multiple apps at once, you’ll want a CPU that is powerful. Otherwise, a slower one will work for basic graphic designing.

Probably the most important factor is cost. Our list has covered a wide price range so finding one to fit your budget should be no problem.

laptops for graphic design Reviews

Hewlett-Packard is a leading manufacturer of computers so you can be sure you’re getting quality with this laptop. Features included:

15.6” display
HD touchscreen
AMD Radeon graphics
Quadcore APU Processor
8GB DDR3 RAM
ITB SATA hard drive
DVD burner
TrueVision HD webcam
Windows 10 (Home)
Color – cardinal red

PROS
– Setup is simple
– Very clear display and great graphics quality
– Comes with a wireless mouse

CONS
– Battery life isn’t ideal; fully charged provides about 2 hours of use if not plugged in
– Some may find the fan a bit too noisy
– Office is included but it’s a trial version so expect to purchase or lease, if needed

This is a laptop/tablet hybrid which allows you to detach the screen and use it as a tablet. Included is a Surface Pen with these additional features:

2.6 GHz Intel Core i7
16 GB of RAM
1TB of SSD
3000 x 2000 resolution
13.5” screen display
Windows 10 (Professional)
802 11ac Wi-fi
Bluetooth 4.0

PROS
– Lightweight and easy to carry
– Fast performance
– Outstanding battery life when fully charged

CONS
– Takes a while to fully charge so expect to wait
– It’s a bit difficult to open if securely closed
– It is pricey so if you don’t plan to use for graphic design and/or gaming, consider a less expensive option

While labeled a gaming laptop, the Apache Pro is also perfect for graphic design. Vivid colors, GeForce graphics and a dual fan cooling system will ensure you find your work not only enjoyable but easy. Features of this laptop:

Intel Core i7-6700 HQ Quad processor
16GB RAM
True Color technology
17.3” HD screen display
NVIDIA graphics card

PROS
– Customizable keyboard
– Fans are optional (but it is recommended you keep them running)
– The screen is matte which means no disruptive glare

CONS
– Battery life could be longer
– It’s possible you’ll need to update the drivers before use; somewhat of a hassle and can be time consuming
– Some users have reported problems with the touchpad working slowly or not working at all

A 6th generation Skylake Intel Core i7 processor and the latest version of Windows 10 (Home) make this a great option. Other features you’ll find include:

Turbo Boost technology
15.6” HD touchscreen
1920 x 1080 resolution
1TB hard drive
DVD drive (read and writes DVDs/CDs)

PROS
– Great value for the price
– No unnecessary or useless software installed

CONS
– Battery life is short; only a couple of hours when fully charged

Dell is another top name in computers and has created a great system for graphic design. A 17.3” HD display and a backlit keyboard are only 2 of the awesome features with this machine. You’ll al so find:

Touchscreen
Intel graphics
16GB DDR4 RAM RAM
HDMI speakers
HD webcam with mic
Windows 10 (Home)

PROS
– Simple to setup and user friendly
– Nice color depth and clarity
-Great sound quality

CONS
– Note! The website describes this laptop as having DDR4 RAM but you may find you get DDR3
– Camera pictures aren’t high quality
– It’s relatively heavy for a laptop so portability may be an issue for some

This is a light, thin all-metal laptop. Good audio and super-fast, it can easily handle all of your work. What you’ll also get with this laptop includes:

7th generation Intel Core i5-7200U Processor
13.3” HD screen display
8GB CPDDR3 SDRAM
Windows 10

PROS
– Little plastic; well built
– The keyboard is backlit
– Great battery life when fully charged (8-14 hours depending on use)

CONS
– Screen is not anti-glare
– Can be difficult to upgrade
– Sound is good but the speakers are small

This isn’t Dell or HP but Lenova has built a reputation of producing high quality electronics. This one is a dynamo. What you’ll get with this laptop:

6th generation Intel Quad Core i7 CPU
Windows 10
1TB 5400 RPM CPU
16GB DDR3 SDRAM
HD anti-glare display
1920 x 1080 resolution
Surround sound (JBL speakers/Dolby Home Theater)

PROS
– Durable build of aluminum with sturdy hinges
– Has external DVD/CD player
– In addition to surround sound, it also includes a subwoofer

CONS
– Some users have reported issues with the keyboard; key covers can pop off and may need to be replaced
– Has a lot of Lenova apps pre-installed; may be annoying to some users
– This is a rather heavy laptop

Acer has come a long way and has made a name for itself in the business of electronics. This one is nice with sleek angles and clean lines. It also has dual fans and an iron red backlit keyboard. You’ll also get:

7th generation Intel Core i5 processor
15.6” HD display
1920 x 1080 resolution
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB
Acer TrueHarmony sound/Dolby Audio Premium

PROS
– Exceptional color quality
– The fans are quiet
– Keyboard is comfortable and has a nice feel

CONS
– No internal CD/DVD drive
– You’ll need to order a SATA upgrade kit from Acer to update drivers
– Comes with quite a bit of bloatware; some users may find this annoying

We haven’t forgotten our Mac fans! This is an extremely popular laptop with high performance graphics and quick startup. Other features include:

15.4” screen with Retina display
2.2 GHz Quad core i7 processor
Turbo boost
Intel Iris Pro Graphics
16GB RAM
Wi-fi and Bluetooth capabilities
FaceTime HD webcam
Dual speakers and mics

PROS
– Great touchpad
– Has excellent sound quality
– If you are an Apple fan and use an iPhone and/or Apple watch, this laptop integrates nicely with both

CONS
– Battery life could be longer – approximately 2 hours depending on usage but the battery does charge quickly
– If you are transitioning to Mac from Windows, be patient! It’ll take some time to adjust

It’s possible some of our readers have not heard of Eluktronics before but not to worry. It’s a trusted brand and at the top of our list for a reason. What you’ll get with this laptop:

7th generation Intel Core i7 Quad core processor
1TB hard drive
256GB SSD
6GB DDR5 VRAM NVIDIA GTX 1060
VR ready graphics card
15.6” HD anti-glare display
Intel wireless AC 2 x 2
Bluetooth® x4.2
Backlit keyboard
Sound Blaster® X-FI

PROS
– Sound quality is exceptional with or without headphones
– You have the ability to turn off the touchpad and use a regular mouse, if desired
– Keyboard works well and is responsive; color schemes can be customized

CONS
– Laptop can get hot and the fans are a bit loud
– You may have issues with Google Chrome crashing with the use of the NVIDIA chip

Final Thoughts

The best laptop for graphic design will be the one you are most comfortable with. It will be a laptop that suits all of your needs, whether they be basic or detailed. It will also be one that fits your budget. Don’t be afraid to test various models until you find one you’re comfortable with.

A word of caution about buying refurbished. If you are considering purchasing a laptop that has been refurbished, be sure to do your homework. Carefully research the buyer and ask these questions:

Read carefully and understand warranty information and the seller’s return policy.
Check customer reviews. A lot can be learned about a seller by reading a customer’s experience.
Contact customer service to ask questions. Don’t rely solely on Internet information. See what type of experience you have personally. That will give you an indication of how you’ll be treated in the future if you have questions or problems.

You want to do your best work and we want you to feel good about the work you produce. Take into consideration our recommendations for best graphic design laptops, add your amazing talent and you’ll be in business!