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The 5 Best Laptops For Graphic Design - Spring 2023 Reviews

Best Laptops for Graphic Design

Whether you're an amateur or a professional graphic designer, choosing the best laptop for your needs can be challenging. You can easily overspend on a model with features you never use or a device unsuitable for such tasks, like a laptop with a poor-quality display. There are a couple of things to consider when buying a laptop. First and foremost, you want a high-resolution screen that's large enough to work comfortably, and you also want the screen to be able to display all the colors in the color space in which you work (sRGB, Adobe RGB, or DCI P3) so that you know your design is color-accurate. A good CPU will allow for a smoother experience when manipulating images or applying effects, and if you work on more complex designs, a dedicated GPU may be necessary. Naturally, if you travel with your laptop, you want to look for something portable with enough battery life to get you through the day. The quality of the keyboard and touchpad are also important, and depending on your needs, you want to consider the port selection.

We've bought and tested over 70 laptops. Below you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops for designers you can buy. You can also see our picks for the best laptops, the best laptops for video editing, and the best laptops for photo editing.

  1. Best Laptop For Graphic Design

    The best laptop for graphic design we've tested is the MSI WS76 (2021), a premium Windows mobile workstation. You can get this 17.3-inch model with a 4k IPS or Mini LED display, allowing you to work comfortably and efficiently with all your tools readily available on the screen. The Mini LED panel produces deeper blacks but is limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, while the IPS panel has a 120Hz refresh rate but produces grayish blacks. If you work in a wider color space than sRGB, know that the Mini LED display has 100% DCI P3 coverage, while the IPS option has 100% Adobe RGB.

    Performance-wise, its Intel 11th Gen. CPU is plenty fast for graphic design. It also has an NVIDIA discrete GPU (RTX A3000 or A5000), which isn't necessary if you're only doing simple 2D graphics; however, it doesn't hurt to have it, as some programs support GPU acceleration to provide a smoother experience. Unfortunately, this is a bulky and heavy laptop, so it isn't the best for on-the-go use, and you'll also need to bring the charger, as the battery lasts less than eight hours of light use.

    For Mac users, you can go with the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (2021) or the Apple MacBook Pro 16 (2021). Before we get into more details, know that Apple has released newer versions of these laptops with their M2 chips. They're identical to their M1 predecessors but have a faster processor, HDMI 2.1, Wi-Fi 6E, and increased memory support up to 96GB. You still get a gorgeous Mini LED display, a comfortable keyboard, and a gigantic touchpad. The displays don't have full Adobe RGB coverage, so it might not be the best option if you work in that particular color space. As for the differences between the two sizes, the 16-inch model gives you more screen space and longer battery life but is less portable.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Laptop For Graphic Design

    If you want something more affordable that still performs well, get the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022). It has a powerful AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, and you can choose between an AMD Radeon RX 6700S or 6800S GPU. Again, the GPU might not be necessary for you, but it doesn't hurt either. Another thing to remember is that there's a newer 2023 model out, so you can find this laptop at nearly the same price as premium ultraportables that lack a discrete GPU, making it a fantastic value.

    It sports a sharp 16:10 QHD panel with full DCI P3 coverage, a spacious tactile keyboard, and a large, easy-to-use touchpad. The battery lasts over ten hours of light use, which you rarely find on a powerful gaming laptop with a dedicated GPU. Port selection is great, although the USB-C ports only support USB 3.2 Gen. 2 data transfer speed (up to 10Gbps). ASUS promised a firmware update to add USB4 support, but it's still in development.

    The Apple MacBook Air 13 (2022) is a great alternative if you prefer working on a Mac. It's a 13.6-inch ultraportable with Apple's M2 SoC (System on Chip). It has a sturdy aluminum chassis, a thin and light design, and a nice display with full DCI P3 coverage. It lacks a dedicated GPU; however, it's worth noting that the M2's integrated GPU performs better than most integrated graphics on the market. The main downside of this laptop is its very limited port selection. You only get two USB-Cs, a MagSafe charging port, and a headphone jack. Also, it can only output a video signal to a single external display, which might be problematic if you use a multi-monitor setup.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Laptop For Graphic Design

    Our best budget pick is the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022), a 15.6-inch model. It's available with an Intel 12th Gen. Core i5 or i7 CPU, various discrete NVIDIA GPUs ranging from an RTX 3050 to 3070, and up to 16GB of memory and 1TB of storage. The RAM and SSD are user-replaceable if you need more. The multiple display options include a QHD display with full DCI P3 coverage. You get a spacious and tactile keyboard with a Numpad, a large and responsive touchpad, and a wide port selection, including a full-size HDMI and a USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port.

    As you may have noticed, this laptop is almost the same price as the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) we recommend above. This is because there's a newer G14, and the 2022 model is often on sale. Choosing between these two laptops depends on what you care about most. The G14 provides a better overall user experience with a brighter display and longer battery life, and it's also easier to carry around and has a fingerprint sensor for quick logins. However, the Dash F15 has Thunderbolt 4 support and doesn't get as hot or loud under load.

    See our review

  4. Best Cheap Laptop For Graphic Design

    If you're doing graphic design as a hobby and want something cheap to get the job done, get the ASUS VivoBook 15 OLED K513 (2021). You can configure this 15-inch ultraportable with an Intel 11th Gen. Core i3, i5, or i7, up to 16GB of memory, and over 1TB of storage. It's available with integrated graphics or a discrete NVIDIA GPU (MX330 and MX350). However, the discrete GPUs are only a minor step up from the integrated graphics, so the performance increase isn't significant. What makes this laptop stand out is its OLED display. It produces deep, inky blacks and has full Adobe RGB and DCI P3 coverage, so you can fully rely on it for your color work. Port selection is decent, although the USB-C port doesn't support video output or charging, and the HDMI port is limited to the 1.4 standard.

    See our review

  5. Best 2-In-1 Tablet For Graphic Design

    If you're a digital artist or often work with a stylus, get the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021), a 13-inch tablet PC. You can detach the keyboard when you need to draw, and the kickstand allows you to tilt the screen to nearly any angle you want. Its 3:2 IPS panel is incredibly sharp, bright enough to combat glare, and has a 120Hz refresh rate to make pen input more responsive. As for the pen, you can use Microsoft's Slim Pen 2 or any Microsoft Pen Protocol styluses. The Slim Pen 2 is more convenient, as there's a slot on the type cover keyboard to charge and store the pen. The downside is that you need to buy the stylus and the keyboard separately, adding to the overall cost of the device. Another downside is that it only has two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s for peripherals and external displays.

    As you may already know, Microsoft has released the Surface Pro 9. It's essentially the same device as it's mainly an internal upgrade to faster Intel 12th Gen. processors. The only design change is the removal of the headphone jack, which means you'll need a USB-C audio adapter if you want to use wired headphones, and unfortunately, there isn't one included in the box. There's also a Surface Pro 9 with an ARM processor and LTE connectivity, but it doesn't perform as well as the Intel models and lacks Thunderbolt 4 support. Price-wise, the Surface Pro 9 is more expensive, not just because it's a newer model, but because the Surface Pro 8 is discontinued and often on sale, so if you don't need the upgrades, you can save some money with the older model.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED (2021): The ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 OLED (2021) is a great alternative to the MSI WS76 (2021). It has a dial that you can customize to perform various actions or shortcuts to make your workflow more efficient. However, it's more expensive, and its battery lasts only a little over five hours of light use. Also, its CPU throttles under load. See our review
  • Dell Precision 5570 (2022): The Dell Precision 5570 (2022) is a good alternative to the MSI WS76 (2021) if you want something more portable. However, its port selection is worse, as it only has USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports and an SD card reader. Additionally, it throttles under load, and its battery doesn't last as long. See our review
  • Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020): If you prefer an ultraportable, the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020) is a good alternative to the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022). It's cheaper, and its battery lasts much longer. However, it doesn't have a dedicated GPU. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 24, 2023: Replaced the HP Victus 15 (2022) with the ASUS TUF Dash F15 (2022) because the ASUS has better display options and supports Thunderbolt 4. Added the ASUS Vivobook 15 OLED K513 (2022) as the 'Best Cheap' option.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best laptops for designers you can get. We factor in the price (a cheaper laptop wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no laptops that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you prefer to make your own decision, here's the list of all of our laptop reviews. Keep in mind that most laptops are available in various configurations, and the table only shows the results of the model we tested, so it's best to see the full review for information about other variants.