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Best laptops for graphic design 2021: top picks for graphic designers

(Image credit: Image Credit: Bruce Mars / Pexels)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best laptops for graphic design require more than just sheer power. There are a number of other things you must also take into consideration. To start, they must be armed with a lot of memory and one of the best graphics cards, so they can handle graphically-intensive applications without breaking a sweat.

But, that’s not all. The best laptops for graphic design must also feature an impressive display that reproduces colors accurately and minimizes eye strain when you’re putting in long hours. And finally, they must be thin, light and solid enough so you can take them anywhere without being a burden on your back or shoulder.

Welcome to our pick of the best laptops for graphic design - whether you want a macOS device or a Windows machine, this list will help you choose the right laptop for your needs.

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

(Image credit: Apple)

1. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

The best Apple laptop ever

Specifications
CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9
Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M
RAM: 16GB – 64GB
Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone
Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Stunning 16-inch screen+New and improved keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Limited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports

While we’re sad that the 15-inch MacBook Pro is no more, we’ve welcomed the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) with open arms. As thin, light and sleek as ever, you wouldn’t think this was a 16-inch behemoth. Yet, you’re getting that extra real estate on that stunning display, as well as the latest and greatest components behind it. This is, without a doubt, the best laptop for graphics design, as well as other creative endeavors. With amazing (and loud) speakers and a much, much better keyboard to boot, music production has never been this good.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)

(Image credit: Future)

2. Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, mid-2019)

The best laptop for graphic design in the world

Specifications
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – 8th-generation Intel Core i5
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 – 655
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology; 2,560 x 1,600
Storage: 128GB – 2TB SSD
Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.49cm
Reasons to buy
+ Much more powerful + More storage 
Reasons to avoid
- Keyboard learning curve 

Apple is renowned for making excellent products for creative professionals, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is the best laptop for graphic design. It's also the best MacBook Pro that Apple has ever made. It comes with the Touch Bar, which is a thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard which can be used to scan your fingerprint to log in, or offering up app-specific shortcuts. It's got a stunning screen and powerful innards that will run pretty much any graphic design application with ease.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (13-inch, mid-2019) 

Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition

(Image credit: Razer)

3. Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition

A seriously powerful pro laptop

Specifications
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q – NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Studio Edition
RAM: 32GB
Screen: 15.6" OLED 4K Touch 60Hz, factory calibrated
Storage: 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Powerful+Beautiful screen
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

If you think Razer laptops are only for gaming, then the new Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition is here to prove you wrong. Razer takes its ever popular Razer Blade 15, fits it with even more impressive specs and turns it into one of the best mobile creative workstations on offer. This powerhouse has been crafted for creative professionals, content creators and musicians, which makes it one of the best laptops for graphics design. You’ll be spending a lot of money to take this laptop home. But, make no mistake, it will be one of the smartest investments you’ll ever make. That is, if you can afford it.

Read the full review: Razer Blade 15 Studio Edition

Dell XPS 13 (2020)

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Dell XPS 13 (2020)

Still one of the best laptops of all time

Specifications
CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – 4k (3840 x 2160)
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Gorgeous design+Excellent battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Lackluster audio-Expensive

The Dell XPS 13 (2020) has been a regular in our best laptops list for years, and it also earns a well-deserved spot in our best laptops for graphics design list. It keeps everything we've come to love from Dell's flagship 13-incher, from the gorgeous and light design, to the powerful modern components that power it. It now rocks 10th-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processors and a bezel-less ‘Infinity Edge’ display, which means the Dell XPS 13 (2020) is a brilliant performer, while remaining thin and light. There’s a wide range of customization options as well.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13

MacBook Air (2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

5. MacBook Air (2020)

New and improved

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe-based SSD
Reasons to buy
+Lower price of entry+New 10th generation processors+Improved keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Screen colors a little muted-Battery life only OK-Webcam still just 720p

Apple’s thinnest and lightest MacBook is back with a vengeance. Not only has it fixed a lot of the complaints with its predecessors – namely, that problematic keyboard is now gone, replaced by a drastically improved keyboard. But it also comes with new and more powerful internal components, even more storage space options, and a lower price of entry - making it ideal for graphics designers who are only starting out. There are a couple of things we’d do better, like the muted screen and the average battery life, but this model of the MacBook Air is better than anything we’ve seen from the line to date.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (2020) 

Dell XPS 15

(Image credit: Dell)

6. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

A brilliant graphic design laptop

Specifications
CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics - Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM: 8GB – 64GB
Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS - UHD+ (3840 x 2400)
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Reasons to buy
+Fast performance+Eye-catching design
Reasons to avoid
-GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak-15-inch screen might be too large for some

The Dell XPS 15 (2020) is the latest update to Dell's 15-inch flagship, and it ticks pretty much every box when it comes to what we want from a laptop for graphic design. The end result is that the Dell XPS 15 (2020) is about as close to perfect as a laptop can get and one of the best Dell laptops to date; there's really not a lot we can fault it for. It's got some of the latest, and best, mobile tech from Intel, and can even be configured with a discrete GPU, making it adept for image and video editors, and even a spot of light gaming.

It also features one of the finest designs we've seen in a laptop, and is arguably the most stylish Windows 10 laptop on the market right now. Battery life is also phenomenal, and the price, while high, isn't that bad considering what you get. 

Read the full review: Dell XPS 15 (2020)

Acer ConceptD 7

(Image credit: Acer)

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
-Expensive-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

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