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Best laptops for graphic design 2022: top picks for graphic designers

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Man using a laptop while sitting on the floor next to his backpack
These are the best laptops for graphic designers. (Image credit: Image Credit: Bruce Mars / Pexels)

If you’re in the market for the best laptop for graphic design, you know that not just any portable will do. After all, 3D design and illustrations require a decent amount of horsepower to run smoothly. And, if that laptop can’t keep up, then you’re wasting your time with it.

To get one capable of doing graphic design, you’ll want to have a speedy processor, a powerful graphics card, and a good amount of RAM. Just as importantly, make sure to grab one with a large enough SSD to hold all those large project files. However, you’ll want more than a powerful machine to get you through your workload.

It needs to have a fantastic display that accurately displays colors and comes with the right color spaces is just as crucial. Being a laptop, portability is almost as important a consideration. Not only do you want one in a size you’re comfortable carrying around but you also need enough battery life to get you through the day.

To help you find the best laptop for graphic design, we’ve gathered our top choices here. No matter which one you go with, No matter which one you choose, they’re more than capable machines. And, make sure to use our included price comparison tool so you can take advantage of the best laptop deals out there.

MacBook Pro 14 against a white background

(Image credit: Apple)
Mightily impressive

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

Thanks to the launch of the M1 Pro- or M1 Max-armed MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021), the MacBook Pro has truly made its complete transformation as a laptop for creative professionals. And yes, that includes graphic designers. It absolutely impresses with breathtaking power and an equally breathtaking battery life. Apple then adds its XDR display with 1600 nits of peak brightness and a wide color gamut to the mix, which is ideal for graphics design. The SD card slot, an HDMI port, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports (all of which can stay available thanks to MagSafe charging being back) are all there to make sure you also have access to all the peripherals you’ll need.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021)

Dell XPS 17 (2021) opened halfway against a white background

The Dell XPS 17 (2021) is surprisingly portable for such a powerful workstation. (Image credit: Dell)
A powerhouse for creative 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

+
Great performance
+
Gorgeous design

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of ports

The Dell XPS 17 (2021) has the kind of power to handle just about any graphic design work. With specs of up to an Intel Core i9 CPU, 64GB of RAM, and an Nvidia RTX GeForce 3060 means you can even tackle some 4K video editing, especially if you upgrade to a UHD display. Somehow, all this performance fits in a 0.77 inch thick machine for a surprisingly portable workstation. While the XPS 17 does come at a premium and could come with a few more ports, it is a great machine for a creative professional.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 17 (2021)

Two Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021), one with its back on the camera, against a white background

The Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) is expensive but worth the money.  (Image credit: Gigabyte)
A creative professional's dream

Specifications

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q
RAM: 16GB – 64GB
Screen: 17.3-inch UHD 4K OLED, HDR400, 100% Adobe RGB, Pantone-certified

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous display
+
Abundance of ports

Reasons to avoid

-
Runs hot

One of the most powerful mobile workstations out there, the Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021) comes with a lot of power, a gorgeous display, and a whole lotta ports. Best yet, it’s priced well below its less-powerful rivals, making it a better proposition even if you have a more flexible budget. It isn’t by any means perfect. The battery life could use a bit of a boost, for example. But, for how much you’re paying and for the other things you’re getting in return, it’s a miniscule sacrifice.

Read the full review: Gigabyte Aero 17 (2021)

MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) against a white background

(Image credit: Apple)
Most affordable MacBook Pro for graphic design

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

With the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) achieving better performance in both single and multi-core CPU tests than its M1 predecessor during our test, Apple's smallest MacBook Pro is most powerful than ever, especially for intensive tasks like video editing and graphics design. It also scored around twice as much as the Intel Core i7-1185G7-powered Surface Laptop 4, and lasted almost two hours longer than the M1 MacBook Pro 13-inch in our battery life test. What's more, we found that it stays quiet under pressure, which should minimize distractions from your creative process.

It might not come with a new design update, which may somewhat be disappointing folks who've been craving an external overhaul, but the boost in performance more than makes up for it. Well, that and the fact that it keeps the same price tag as before.

Read our in-depth MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022) review

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 against a white background

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 is a stellar machine for graphic design. (Image credit: Lenovo)
The perfect 2-in-1 for graphic designers

Specifications

CPU: 11th generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Xe Plus
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 14-inch, 1920 x 1200p, IPS touchscreen, 400 nit
Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic 16:10 display
+
Outstanding performance for demanding tasks

Reasons to avoid

-
Lack of SD card slot is a major disadvantage

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 might be pricey but it’s well worth the cost. Not only do you get a fantastic screen with a wider 16:10 aspect ratio but excellent performance thanks to the latest generation Intel processors, Intel Xe graphics, and Evo certification. It will also last quite a while on a single charge if you need to work on the road or in the field. Its design is not the most awe-inspiring and an SD card slot would have been appreciated, but the X1 is an otherwise stellar machine for graphic design.

Read the full review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6

MacBook Pro 16-Inch (2021) against a white background

(Image credit: Apple)
An extraordinary laptop for graphic design

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

The MacBook Pro 16-Inch (2021) is an extraordinary machine, partially due to that incredibly powerful M1 Pro chip (or M1 Max if you choose to upgrade). But, it offers much more. It comes with a gorgeous XDR screen that’s a joy to work on, a battery life that will keep you going on the road without slowing down performance when unplugged, and a good selection of ports for your peripherals. It doesn’t come cheap and it’s not as portable as its 14-inch brother but you do get extra screen real estate to help you with your workflow.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro 16-Inch (2021) 

Dell XPS 15 at an angle against a white background

The Dell XPS 15 is about as close to perfect as a laptop can get. (Image credit: Dell)
Perfect for graphic design

Specifications

CPU: Up to 11th Generation Intel Core i9-11900H
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB GDDR6
RAM: Up to 64GB DDR4-3200MHz
Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit – 15.6" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit
Storage: Up to 4TB M.2 PCIe NVMe

Reasons to buy

+
Speedy performance
+
Gorgeous display and design

Reasons to avoid

-
Could have better discrete graphics

The Dell XPS 15 (2021) keeps everything that’s made this mid-size flagship model special, but with some updated internals. While the XPS 15 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it makes a great laptop for graphic design. With up to an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, you should be able to handle most image and video editing without breaking a sweat. It can even handle some gaming, though it is admittedly a bit underpowered compared to some of the competition. 

But, with that beautiful screen and the fantastic battery life that the XPS 15s have always come with, you’ll forget about any shortcomings of this computer. And, considering its beautiful design, it’s no wonder that the XPS 15 models consistently rank among the best Dell laptops out there.

Two Acer ConceptD 7s, one open, one closed, against a white background

The Acer ConceptD 7 is a  powerful mobile workstation. (Image credit: Acer)
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

-
Expensive compared to some rivals
-
Plain design
-
Not as thin and light as MacBook Pro

For those who think that MacBook Pros are overpriced but still need a powerful mobile workstation, there’s the Acer ConceptD 7. This formidable laptop capable of handling complex and demanding tasks, thanks in part to its Nvidia RTX graphics, was designed specifically with creative professionals in mind. Beyond that sheer power it delivers, it also offers decent port selection, a minimalist solid white design and that stunning Pantone-validated 4K IPS display. Obviously, it’s still pretty pricey, but if you’re looking for a Windows-powered MacBook alternative for creative endeavors, it’s certainly among the best laptops for graphics design.

Read the full review: Acer ConceptD 7

Razer Blade 14 at an angle against a white background

The Razer Blade 14 is just the ticket for all your graphics design demands.  (Image credit: Razer)
Portable laptop for graphics design

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 - RTX 3080
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 14-inch 144Hz Full HD – 14-inch 165Hz QHD
Storage: 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful chassis
+
Thin and light

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to some rivals

This luxurious thin and light gaming laptop from Razer just oozes class, and is an ideal laptop for people who want a powerful device they can take around with them. It's one of the nicest looking modern gaming laptops we've seen. It isn’t just for gaming, however. The Razer Blade 14 comes with cutting edge components as well, including the awesome AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and up to an RTX 3080 graphics card – just the ticket for all your graphics design demands. This means it’s able to see you through the most intensive graphics design processes without breaking a sweat… while keeping things portable and solidly built, so you won't worry about it getting damaged when out in the field.

Read the full review: Razer Blade 14

Lenovo Legion 7i (2020) against a white background

The Lenovo Legion 7i (2020) is stunning inside and out. (Image credit: Lenovo)
A perfect machine for work and play

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 - RTX 3080
RAM: 16GB
Screen: 14-inch 144Hz Full HD – 14-inch 165Hz QHD
Storage: up to 1TB SSD

Reasons to buy

+
144Hz display, 240Hz models available
+
Quiet fans that keep their cool

Reasons to avoid

-
Mediocre battery life

The Lenovo Legion 7i may be first and foremost a gaming laptop, but that stunner of an aluminum design and seriously impressive performance make it a boon to creative professionals like graphic designers as well. This wouldn’t look out of place in an office, especially if you turn off those blinding RGB lights. Plus, it stays cool under pressure, thanks to its fantastic thermals. This may not be an RTX 3000 Series laptop, but you can get an RTX 2080 Super Max Q under the hood that’s nothing to joke about. Of course, if that’s overkill, there are other configurations on hand as well.

Read the full review: Lenovo Legion 7i (2020)

Matt Hanson
Matt Hanson


Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Computing and Entertainment, looking after two of the best, and most exciting, channels on the site. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made. He's also a huge film and TV fan and Marvel geek, and his favorite recent film is Dune.

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