Gadgets

7 best laptops for graphic design in 2022

Best Design Laptops
Best Design Laptops

Looking for the best graphic design laptops in 2022? Then we can help, as you’ll find a variety of great laptops on this page that can assist you with your graphic design work.

While graphic design laptops must have powerful enough components to run the apps you rely on, they do not have to be prohibitively expensive. Sure, there are some extremely powerful laptops available that will assist you with your graphic design work, but with the current cost of living crisis, not everyone has large budgets – which is why we’ve made sure to include affordable alternatives in this guide.

We have reviewed all of the laptops on this page where possible, so you can rest assured that we are only recommending the best devices. We also describe how we test laptops so you can see how we evaluate these devices. During our time testing these laptops, we ran a variety of tests and projects to determine how well they would perform in intensive graphic design projects.

The best laptops for graphic design have multi-core processors and plenty of RAM – we recommend at least 16GB to allow you to work on multiple projects and apps at the same time. You’ll also need a large, high-resolution screen with a wide color gamut. Many laptops aimed at creative professionals these days have factory-calibrated screens, which provide essential color accuracy and help your design work look its best.

We’ve included the best graphic design laptops for beginners, students, and professionals, but students may also be interested in our guide to the best student laptops for additional options. We also have a list of the best laptops for video editing that you should look at.

The best laptops for graphic design

1. MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)

MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)

The best laptop for graphic design overall

Specifications

  • CPU: Apple M1 Pro 10-core – M1 Max 10-core
  • Graphics: Integrated 16-core – 32-core GPU
  • RAM: Up to 64GB
  • Screen: 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Storage: Up to 8TB

Reasons to buy

  • Extremely long battery life
  • Plenty of ports

Reasons to avoid

  • On the bigger side

It should come as no surprise that the best laptop for graphic designers is a MacBook Pro. Because of their excellent build quality, design, and power, Apple’s MacBook Pros are hugely popular with creatives and graphic designers, and the brand-new 16-inch MacBook Pro is the pinnacle of this.

The MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021), which replaces the Intel-powered model from 2019, comes with a choice of Apple’s powerful M1 Pro or M1 Max chips, which can handle even the most complex graphic design tasks, as well as a stunning XDR mini-LED screen and a massive battery life.

Apple has slightly increased the screen size and added a plethora of ports, including HDMI and a memory card slot. For our money, this is the best graphic design laptop available. It is, however, quite large, so if you want something more portable, check out the 14-inch model below.

2. MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

The best graphic design laptop with a smaller screen

Specifications

  • CPU: Apple M1 Pro 8-core – M1 Max 10-core
  • Graphics: Integrated 14-core – 32-core GPU
  • RAM: Up to 64GB
  • Screen: 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display
  • Storage: Up to 8TB

Reasons to buy

  • Brilliant performance
  • Best screen on a laptop

Reasons to avoid

-Screen may be a bit small for some

The MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) is a new size from Apple that offers a significant increase in screen real estate over the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro. It, like the 16-inch model above, has an incredible mini-LED screen with 1,600 nits of peak brightness and the P3 wide color gamut.

It’s also powered by Apple’s new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, the same as the 16-inch model, so it performs similarly to the larger laptop. So, if you need a powerful laptop for graphic design but also want something portable, the 14-inch model may be the best option for you.

The smaller size does not mean it lacks the new design elements introduced by Apple in the 16-inch model, as it includes the same number of ports, including an SD card slot, an HDMI port, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports. When we tested it, we discovered that it handled all of the workloads we threw at it admirably.

3. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

The best laptop for graphic design running Windows 11

Specifications

  • CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core H
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe / NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti  laptop GPU
  • RAM: 16GB or 32GB
  • Screen: PixelSense Flow 14.4in 2400 x 1600 touch display
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Beautiful touch screen with stylus compatibility

Reasons to avoid

A little heavy

Apple may produce the majority of the best graphic design laptops, but its old rival Microsoft provides strong competition with the Surface Laptop Studio, which gives the MacBooks listed above a run for their money. Microsoft has long been known as a software company, but it has also produced some excellent laptops, and this versatile two-in-one with a touch display is an excellent choice for graphic designers.

It not only has a beautiful versatile design, but it also has an excellent PixelSense touchscreen that will make your work look its best. The display can also provide a fast refresh rate of up to 120Hz. Because of its stylus compatibility, that touch screen in particular will pique the interest of many designers. (although the stylus is to be bought separately).

There’s a lot more to like. It also has a great keyboard, powerful specs (including cutting-edge integrated graphics from either Intel or NVIDIA, depending on the configuration), and a long battery life. Overall, it’s an excellent showcase for Windows 11.

4. Dell XPS 17 (2021)

Dell XPS 17 (2021)

Dell XPS 17 (2021)

The best big-screen laptop for graphic design

Specifications

  • CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i9-11980HK
  • Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6
  • RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200MHz
  • Screen: 17.0″ FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 17.0″ UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit
  • Storage: Up to 4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Reasons to buy

  • Thin for a 17-inch laptop
  • Excellent display with HDR

Reasons to avoid:

Unimpressive battery life

Graphic designers can benefit greatly from having a beautiful, large screen with a high resolution, so the Dell XPS 17 is a laptop worth considering. It has a fantastic 17-inch UHD+ screen with HDR, so your work will look fantastic. Because of the larger screen, working on this laptop is more comfortable, even for extended periods of time.

The Dell XPS 17 also demonstrates that a large-screen laptop does not have to be large and bulky. This is a thin and light laptop with the same appealing design as the smaller Dell XPS 13 and XPS 15 laptops. It also includes powerful components such as 11th generation Intel Core processors, up to 64GB of RAM, and an Nvidia RTX GeForce 3060 graphics card. When we tested it, we discovered that it had more than enough power for even the most intensive graphic design workloads.

5. Acer ConceptD 7

Acer ConceptD 7

Acer ConceptD 7

A mobile workstation for creatives

Specifications

  • CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 – 2080
  • RAM: 16GB – 32GB
  • Screen: 15.6″ 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 16:9 IPS
  • Storage: 1TB

Reasons to buy

  • Cheaper than MacBook Pro
  • Good selection of ports

Reasons to avoid

  • Plain design
  • Not as thin and light as MacBook Pro

Another excellent Windows 10 alternative for graphic designers is the Acer ConceptD 7. It has more power for creative apps, a stylish design, a stunning Pantone-validated 4K IPS display, and a lower price than Apple’s laptops. It also includes Nvidia RTX graphics, giving it power that many laptops this thin and light cannot match.

This is still an expensive laptop, but we believe that the level of power available, combined with Acer’s excellent build quality, makes this a fantastic investment for graphic designers looking for a laptop that will last them for years.

6. MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022)

MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022)

MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022)

A refreshed and affordable MacBook Pro

Specifications

  • CPU: Apple M2 with 8-core CPU
  • Graphics: Integrated 10-core GPU
  • RAM: 8GB – 24GB
  • Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 display with P3 and True Tone technology
  • Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm

Reasons to buy

  • M2 chip is a brilliant performer
  • Excellent battery life
  • Almost silent in use

Reasons to avoid

  • No new design
  • Still only two Thunderbolt ports

If the 16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pro models above are too large for your graphic design work, we have some good news for you. Apple has just released a new MacBook Pro 13-inch model with significant hardware upgrades, and it is unquestionably one of the best laptops for graphic design. It now includes Apple’s brand-new M2 chip (which replaces the M1 chip in the 2020 model), allowing the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) to deliver some seriously impressive performance.

In our tests, the M2 MacBook Pro 13-inch outperformed the M1 model in both single and multi-core CPU tests, resulting in excellent graphical design performance even at very high resolutions. The battery life is also outstanding, outperforming almost every other laptop on this list.

This means that for graphic designers who travel frequently, this is unquestionably the best laptop money can buy.

7. Dell XPS 13

Dell XPS 13 (2020)

Dell XPS 13 (2020)

Another great Dell laptop for graphic designers

Specifications

  • CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1195G7
  • Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • RAM: Up to 16GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x
  • Screen: 13.4″ FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 13.4″ UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display
  • Storage: Up to 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Reasons to buy

  • Stunning design
  • Gorgeous 16:10 display

Reasons to avoid

-Sound quality is just OK

Dell’s XPS 13 line has consistently produced some of the best laptops for graphic design with smaller screens, and the latest model continues that fine tradition. This is a stunning laptop with a thin and light design and some of the most powerful mobile components that is easy to carry around while being powerful enough to handle graphic design tasks without breaking a sweat.

When we tested it, we discovered that work looks great on the FHD+ (1920 x 1200) anti-glare screen. We also found the battery life to be excellent. It is one of the more expensive laptops in this size, but we believe it is well worth the money.

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