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The 5 Best Laptops For Graphic Design - Summer 2024 Reviews

Updated Jun 06, 2024 at 10:35 am
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 a screen that can 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 3D 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 is also important, and depending on your needs, you'll want to consider the port selection.

We've bought and tested over 115 laptops. Below, you'll find our recommendations for the best laptops for graphic design 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 Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023). This 14-inch premium workstation offers a fantastic user experience with its gorgeous Mini LED display, a comfortable keyboard, a gigantic haptic touchpad, and tons of ports. The display's factory calibration is near-perfect, so you can get right to work without further calibration. The only drawback is its lack of full Adobe RGB coverage, which might be a dealbreaker for those in print graphics. Apple's M3 Pro/Max SoCs bring exceptional performance and offer up to 128GB of RAM, making it a fantastic choice for memory-intensive workflows like 3D modeling. One notable change from the previous generation is a base M3 SoC configuration. This is a good option if you don't need a lot of processing power but still want the 'Pro' features like the display and up-firing speakers. The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (M3, 2023) is also a good choice if you want more screen space; it has better-sounding speakers but is more expensive and bulkier.

    Our recommendation for Windows users is the Dell XPS 16 (2024), a premium 16-inch mobile workstation. This laptop offers a great user experience with its sharp 4K+ OLED display option and a sturdy all-aluminum chassis. While the OLED has a similar color gamut as the MacBook Pro's Mini LED panel, it isn't quite as accurate out of the box. Permanent burn-in is also a risk on the OLED panel. This laptop performs well but is slower than the M3 Max SoC; it's configurable with Intel Core Ultra 7 or 9 CPUs, up to an RTX 4070 GPU, 64GB of RAM, and 4TB of storage. Unlike the MacBook, the storage is user-replaceable. The port selection is decent, albeit less expansive, as there's no HDMI port. The main issue is usability. While spacious, the keyboard's edge-to-edge keycap design, along with some awkwardly sized keys, take a while to get used to, and although the haptic touchpad simulates clicks well, the entire front deck is a single piece of glass, so you can't see where the edges of the touchpad are.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Laptop For Graphic Design

    If you don't need all the processing power of a mobile workstation and prefer something thinner and lighter, get the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2024). It has a larger display with the same 100% DCI P3 coverage and superb factory calibration—it just isn't a Mini LED display. The main downside is its limited port selection; it only has two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, but unlike the M2 version, there is support for dual external displays if the laptop lid is closed. Beyond this, the MacBook Air 15 also has great up-firing speakers, a spacious and easy-to-use keyboard, and a large haptic touchpad, which make for a great user experience. Battery life is also a positive, as you can easily get through a full day of light productivity tasks without needing to reach for the charger. If you want something more portable, consider the Apple MacBook Air 13 (2024), essentially a cheaper version of the same laptop with a smaller screen and slightly worse speakers. 

    The HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) is a great Windows alternative to the MacBook. This premium 14-inch 2-in-1 convertible sports a gorgeous 120Hz OLED display with near-full Adobe RGB coverage, a haptic touchpad, and a 4k webcam. It has a wider port selection, including two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s and a USB-A, and unlike the MacBook Air, it can support two external displays with no caveat. You can use the device as a tablet since it's a 2-in-1 with a 360-degree hinge. There's pen input support if you need to draw with a stylus, though you may have to buy the pen separately. One thing to remember is that the OLED display flickers at 480Hz, which might cause eye strain if you're sensitive to display flicker. The display is also dimmer, so visibility can be an issue in well-lit settings.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Laptop For Graphic Design

    Our best mid-range pick is the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (2023). It has a large 16-inch display, so you get plenty of room to work comfortably. You can choose between an FHD+ or QHD+ panel; we recommend the latter because it looks sharper, has full sRGB coverage, and gets brighter to combat glare. It's a 2-in-1 convertible with stylus support, though you may have to buy the pen separately, as it doesn't always come with the laptop. Port selection is excellent; you get two USB-As, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s, a MicroSD card reader, and an HDMI port. It's available with Intel 13th Gen U- and P-series CPUs, which perform well; however, it only has integrated graphics, so it isn't ideal for 3D graphics requiring lots of GPU processing power. You can get this laptop directly from Lenovo if you have trouble finding it elsewhere.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Laptop For Graphic Design

    The best laptop for designers we've tested in the budget tier is the Acer Swift 3 14 (2020). It's an older model from 2020, so the price has decreased considerably, making it a great budget-friendly option. You can configure it with an Intel 11th Gen Core i5 or i7 CPU; these CPUs are a few years old but still adequate for graphic design, so long as the material isn't overly complex. As for the display, it has a 1080p IPS panel with full sRGB coverage, which is fine for digital media, though not ideal for print graphics. The battery lasts over 13 hours of light use and charges over USB-C. You can only get up to 512GB of storage, which might not be enough if you store your work on the internal drive, but on the upside, it's user-replaceable, so you can swap it for a larger one later.

    See our review

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

    Current Deal: The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (2021) has dropped in price by $220 at

    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. While you can use any Microsoft Pen Protocol stylus, Microsoft's Slim Pen 2 is more convenient, as there's a slot on the type cover keyboard to charge and store the pen. You need to buy the stylus and the keyboard separately, though. Another downside is its limited port selection of two USB-C/Thunderbolt 4s.

    As you may already know, Microsoft has released the Surface Pro 9. It's essentially the same device, 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 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 the Surface Pro 9 on Amazon here. Microsoft has also announced the new Surface Pro 11 with an ARM-based SoC, which you can read about here.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • HP OMEN Transcend 14 (2024): The HP OMEN Transcend 14 (2024) is a good alternative to the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M3, 2023) if you want a cheaper and more compact Windows laptop than the Dell XPS 16 (2024). Designed as a cross between a gaming and workstation laptop, this compact 14-inch model is great for on-the-go use. Its 120Hz OLED display has a wider color gamut with near-full Adobe RGB coverage, making it suitable for print graphics. The main drawback is battery life, which lasts only around six to seven hours of light use. See our review
  • ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (2024): The ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (2024) is a good Windows alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2024) if you find the HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) too expensive. You can get this laptop with a 120Hz 2.8k OLED display (with touch and pen input support), but unlike the HP, it isn't a 2-in-1, so you can't use it as a tablet. It also throttles more under load compared to the HP, and its battery life is shorter at around eight hours of light use. See our review
  • ASUS Zenbook 14 Flip OLED (2023): The ASUS Zenbook 14 Flip OLED (2023) is a good alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2024) if you want a 2-in-1 convertible with stylus support. It's cheaper than the HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) and provides a similar user experience overall; however, its battery life is shorter, and its CPU throttles more under load. See our review
  • Framework Laptop 13 (2023): The Framework Laptop 13 (2023) is a great alternative to the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2024) if you want an easily repairable and upgradeable laptop. You can replace every component in this 13-inch ultraportable, even the CPU, motherboard, and display. Parts are available through Framework, and they provide manuals to guide you through the replacement process. This laptop also has a modular port system that lets you swap out the ports on the fly to adapt to any situation. However, its build quality, touchpad, speakers, and webcam aren't as good, and the display only has 100% sRGB coverage. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jun 06, 2024: We've replaced the HP OMEN Transcend 14 (2024) with the Dell XPS 16 (2024) as it has better configurations and moved the HP OMEN Transcend 14 to the Notable Mentions. Due to availability, we've replaced the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2023) with the Apple MacBook Air 15 (2024). We've also made minor edits to the text for clarity.

  2. May 10, 2024: Small text edits to add the HP OMEN Transcend 14 (2024) and the HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) as Windows alternatives to the MacBook Pro 14 and MacBook Air 15. Added the Dell XPS 15 (2023), ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED (2024), and ASUS Zenbook 14 Flip OLED (2023) as Notable Mentions.

  3. Apr 11, 2024: Minor edits for clarity. Added the HP Spectre x360 14 (2024) as a Notable Mention.

  4. Mar 12, 2024: Made minor text changes to provide information about the new Dell XPS and Apple MacBook Air 15 models. Removed the Lenovo Slim Pro 7 14 (2023) and the Apple MacBook Air 13 (M1, 2020) from the Notable Mentions because they were discontinued. Added the Framework Laptop 13 (2023) as a Notable Mention.

  5. Feb 06, 2024: Replaced the Apple MacBook Pro 14 (M2, 2023) with the M3 model because the M2 is discontinued.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best options for graphic design. In addition to the test results, 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.