2020’s Best Laptops For Graphic Design – Top 5 Picks Reviewed

TOP PICK
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15" (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256 GB)
BEST 4K
ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 Touchscreen Laptop, 15.6” 4K UHD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD+1TB HDD, Backlit KB, Corel Painter Essentials 6, Windows 10 Home - N580VD-DS76T
BEST FOR VIDEO EDITING
Apple MacBook Pro (13-Inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB Storage) - Silver (Previous Model)
Dell XPS 9570 Laptop 15.6" FHD, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, GeForce GTX 1050Ti, Thin bzl 400 Nits Display, Silver, Windows 10 Home - XPS9570-7996SLV-PUS, Gaming Capable
Acer Aspire 5, 17.3" HD+, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U, 8GB DDR4 Memory, 1TB HDD, 8X DVD, A517-51-82HA
BLW's Score
92
88
87
87
80
MSRP
$2,119.99
$1,442.99
$1,252.06
$1,889.00
Price not available
Processor
Intel Core i7-8650U 1.9 GHz
Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz
Intel Core i5 (up to 3.6 GHz)
Intel Core i7-8750H 2.8 GHz
Intel Core i7-8550U (up to 4 GHz)
RAM
8GB DDR3L
8GB DDR4
8GB DDR4
16GB DDR4
8GB DDR4
Hard Disk
256GB SSD
256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB HDD
Display
13.3" PixelSense (3000 x 2000)
15.6" UHD (3840 x 2160)
13.3” Retina (2560 x 1600)
15.6" UHD (1920 x 1080)
17.3" FHD (1920 x 1080)
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
Intel Iris Graphics Plus 655
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
OS
Windows 10
Windows 10
macOS
Windows 10
Windows 10
Weight
3.62 pounds
5 pounds
3 pounds
3.9 pounds
6.6 pounds
TOP PICK
Microsoft Surface Book 2 15" (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256 GB)
BLW's Score
92
MSRP
$2,119.99
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i7-8650U 1.9 GHz
RAM
8GB DDR3L
Hard Disk
256GB SSD
Display
13.3" PixelSense (3000 x 2000)
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
OS
Windows 10
Weight
3.62 pounds
BEST 4K
ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 Touchscreen Laptop, 15.6” 4K UHD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, GeForce GTX 1050, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD+1TB HDD, Backlit KB, Corel Painter Essentials 6, Windows 10 Home - N580VD-DS76T
BLW's Score
88
MSRP
$1,442.99
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz
RAM
8GB DDR4
Hard Disk
256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Display
15.6" UHD (3840 x 2160)
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
OS
Windows 10
Weight
5 pounds
BEST FOR VIDEO EDITING
Apple MacBook Pro (13-Inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB Storage) - Silver (Previous Model)
BLW's Score
87
MSRP
$1,252.06
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i5 (up to 3.6 GHz)
RAM
8GB DDR4
Hard Disk
256GB SSD
Display
13.3” Retina (2560 x 1600)
Graphics
Intel Iris Graphics Plus 655
OS
macOS
Weight
3 pounds
Dell XPS 9570 Laptop 15.6" FHD, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, GeForce GTX 1050Ti, Thin bzl 400 Nits Display, Silver, Windows 10 Home - XPS9570-7996SLV-PUS, Gaming Capable
Model
BLW's Score
87
MSRP
$1,889.00
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i7-8750H 2.8 GHz
RAM
16GB DDR4
Hard Disk
512GB SSD
Display
15.6" UHD (1920 x 1080)
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
OS
Windows 10
Weight
3.9 pounds
Acer Aspire 5, 17.3" HD+, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U, 8GB DDR4 Memory, 1TB HDD, 8X DVD, A517-51-82HA
BLW's Score
80
MSRP
Price not available
More Information
Processor
Intel Core i7-8550U (up to 4 GHz)
RAM
8GB DDR4
Hard Disk
1TB HDD
Display
17.3" FHD (1920 x 1080)
Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce MX150
OS
Windows 10
Weight
6.6 pounds

When graphic designers look at laptops, they require specific requirements for running the programs and software inherent to their industry.

No ordinary notebook will do — these laptops need to be fast, responsive, and high definition. If you are looking for the best laptops for graphic design work, you have come to the right place.

We have organized a list of the best contenders regarding price, performance and overall value, as well as tips for finding the best graphic design laptop for your needs.

Overall Top Pick: 
Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 2 Review

​Specs

  • ​Battery Capacity (hours) — 17 hours
  • RAM — 8 GB LPDDR3
  • Processor — 4.2 GHz 8032
  • Storage — 256 GB
  • GPU — NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
  • Weight — 3.62 pounds
  • I/O (input/output) — 1 USB-C port, 2 USB-A ports, 1 SD card reader, one magnetic Surface Connect port
  • PriceCheck latest price on Amazon.com

We chose the Microsoft Surface Book 2 4.2 as our top pick because it comes with one of the best tablets on the market for graphic design drawing.

In addition to truly staggering battery life, the Surface Book also provides optimal running capacity for most PC video games and movies.

Instead of folding back, like most two-in-one laptop-tablet hybrids, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 4.2 entirely detaches from the keyboard for optimal creative freedom.

Overall, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 4.2 beats out most other competitors’ technical specifications with its crisp display — crisper than most Mac computers — and revolutionary PixelSense touchscreen.

Benefits

The most significant benefit we can think of is the unbeatable touchscreen drawing potential. With a little practice, drawing on the Surface Book can feel as natural as sketching on a notebook.

If you know you will frequently be working with the cartoon, digital art, or logo design; this laptop is by far the best pick.

However, the long battery life, reasonable storage space, several I/O ports, and lightweight design all make the Microsoft Surface Book 2 4.2 one of the best buys laptops for graphic design.

Drawbacks

Unfortunately, they do not include the excellent surface pen needed for graphic design drawing with the laptop, so you will need to pay extra for it.

The inner design of the Surface Book is not great either. The keyboard can become unresponsive after frequent use, and the trackpad is unreasonably small.

Extra Features

Microsoft Surface Pen

If you are willing to pay a little extra, you can buy the Surface Precision Mouse a must-have for managing Adobe Creative, music and video editing software. 

As we mentioned before, the Surface Pen is another essential extra feature for graphic design drawers.

For artists that want an additional level of interactivity with their color palates and settings, look into the new Surface Dial.

Buying Advice

Usually priced around $1999.00, you can save 27% by buying the Microsoft Surface Book 2 on Amazon.

You can also knock of another $200 when you buy used.

However, make sure to check out the product beforehand to make sure it is functioning correctly. A faulty touch screen or battery can be expensive to replace.

Runner Up:
Dell XPS9570-7996SLV-PUS

Dell XPS9560 Laptop

The Dell XPS9570-7996SLV-PUS is a close runner-up to the Microsoft Surface Book thanks to its faster internal components.

However, it falls short on a few design flaws.

The Dell XPS is a PC version of the MacBook Pro — competent, portable and well-rounded.

What Are the Specs?

A vivid display and superior RAM capacity give the specs for the Dell XPS an edge over many of its competitors.

Specifically, it excels in everyday performance and usability for graphic design related programs.

​Specs

  • ​Display size — 15.6 inch FHD InfinityEdge
  • ​Resolution — 1920 x 1080
  • ​Battery Capacity (hours) 12 hours
  • RAM — 16 GB DDR4
  • Processor — Intel Core i7-8750H (up to 4.1 GHz)
  • Storage — 16 GB (additional memory sold separately)
  • GPU — NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti
  • I/O (input/output) — 2 USB 3.0 ports, 3-in-1 SD Card Reader, 1 HDMI port
  • Weight — 3.9 pounds
  • PriceCheck latest price on Amazon.com

​Benefits

Many of the Dell XPS benefits come from its first NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti GPU. With a bit of resolution adjusting, even the hardest video games can run in on the laptop.

Regarding graphic design, the crisp FHD display provides the optimal color palette for Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. With over three million more pixels than the MacBook, it has the competition beat regarding RGB potential.

A 4K display is also available. This can be a benefit, but it also reduce battery life so you should consider whether you really need a 4K display on the laptop. Another option is to use a 4K external display when you aren't mobile.

​Drawbacks

The most obvious drawback for the Dell XPS is the relatively steep price. Also, the Killer Wireless card that comes with the laptop is sometimes faulty and should be replaced by a $20 Intel one.

The speakers on this laptop are also inferior. They can work in a pinch for Youtube videos, but any audio mixing you will need to do with headphones.

​Extra Features

DELL Adapter DA200 For Dell Laptops

For individuals who ethernet and multiple USB and HDMI ports, you may need a Dell DA200 Adapter.

A mouse and drawing pad are also recommended for graphic designers, though you will have to look outside of Dell to find one.

​Buying Advice

Make sure to buy this laptop online; you can save a significant amount of money.

Stores like Best Buy and Walmart usually charge full retail, but many online retailers knock off $300 from the price.

A used Dell XPS usually goes for around $1600.​

Best 4k Laptop For Graphic Design:
ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 4K