If you’re in the market for one of the best laptops for music production, you need to consider any device that has one of the best processors and as much RAM as possible – these will be critical for handling multiple music tracks. You also want one of the best SSDs or hard drives, as you’ll be working with large file sizes. Wonderful speakers, or more likely,the ability to connect to an external sound output is also very important.
You’ll also want something that can take a beating. While you don’t necessarily need one of the best rugged laptops, the best laptops for music productions houl be able to handle and bumps and knocks that occur while travelling from gig to gig. And, because you’re going to be carrying it around, you’ll want something that’s thin and light – so take a look at the best Ultrabooks.
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The best laptops for music production and DJs:
1. Apple MacBook 12" (2016)
Apple remains the number one choice for music makers and DJs
CPU: Intel Core M3 1.2GHz - Intel Core i7 1.4GHz | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch, (2,304 x 1440) IPS 16:10 | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
The new Apple MacBook is the slimmest, slickest and best-looking Macbook the Cupertino company has ever created, and it’s one of the best selling laptops on the market. This, along with the excellent music production software available for Macs means it’s the best laptop for music production. It’s an extremely slim and light notebook that you can take anywhere without even noticing the weight, and gives you the same slick macOS performance.
Read the full review: Apple Macbook
2. MacBook Pro (15-inch, mid-2018)
The most powerful MacBook ever made
CPU: 6-core Intel Core i7 - i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 540X - 560X, Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16 - 32GB | Screen: 15.4-inch, 2,880 x 1,800 Retina display | Storage: 512GB - 4TB SSD
Over the years, the MacBook Pro has made a name for itself as the go-to laptop for musicians all around the world, and the 2018 iteration is the best laptop for musicians Apple has ever made – provided you can afford the expense. With its Core i9 CPU and up to 32GB of RAM, you’re going to be able to load up as many tracks as you please in Logic Pro X without having to worry about your laptop slowing down. It’s also incredibly sturdy, you shouldn’t need to worry about things bumping into it in your bag, thanks to its robust aluminum unibody design.
3. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Microsoft's Windows tablet is a brilliant 2-in-1 option
CPU: Intel Core m3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing
The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is 2017’s best laptop for you if you’re looking for the perfect balance between a Windows tablet and a fully functional laptop. The base version of the Surface Pro 4 is just a tablet – albeit a very powerful one – you get the main unit itself with kickstand but if you want the Surface Pen or the fantastic Type Cover keyboard, you’ll need to pay extra for a bundle. Again, this is a great laptop for music production, as you can use a stylus to scrub through multiple tracks on the fly.
4. Dell XPS 13 (2018)
The best gets better
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD
The Dell XPS 13 has been one of the best laptops you can buy for a few years running now, and the 2018 version is no different. For aspiring music producers, the XPS’ move to an 8th-generation Intel Kaby Lake R CPU should be appealing, as it will trim down the time it takes to process tracks, allowing you to minimize downtime. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find a 1TB storage drive anymore, but when you get a laptop that looks this good and runs this fast – it’s a worthy tradeoff.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (2018)
5. Lenovo Yoga Book
A wonderfully versatile and cheap 2-in-1 laptop
CPU: Intel Atom x5-Z8550 | Graphics: Intel Atom | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 10.1-inch full HD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 64GB SSD, up to 128GB microSD
If you’re after a cheap laptop that is unique in the marketplace, the Lenovo Yoga Book might be for you. As with all Yoga devices, the screen folds flat so you can either use it as a tablet or a laptop. To add even more versatility on top, Lenovo gives you the choice to buy it with either Windows 10 or Android 6.0 onboard – which one you pick will depend on how you’re more likely to use the device. The screen on the Yoga Book defies the cheap asking price and the keyboard and capacitive touch keyboard are both great additions. While this won’t cut it for hardcore music production, it’s a great travel companion for DJs who are looking for something portable.
6. 13-inch Macbook Air (2015)
The Ultrabook before Ultrabooks
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch HD (1,440 x 900) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB PCIe Flash | Dimensions (W x D x H): 19.7cm x 19.7cm x 3.6cm
The MacBook Air is in a weird place in 2018. While it’s still one of the most popular and well-known laptops on the market, the iPad Pro and 12-inch Macbook have stolen much of its thunder. That is, unless you need the legacy USB 3, Thunderbolt 2 and SDXC card connectivity. Even without a Retina display or Force Touch trackpad, the 13-inch MacBook Air is a very capable machine – it even still has the fan-favorite MagSafe 2 charger onboard. So, if you don’t mind having a slightly older machine, the MacBook Air is an excellent – and very affordable – choice for musicians.
Read the full review: 13-inch MacBook Air (2015)
7. Dell XPS 15
The best 15-inch laptop available this year
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ - i7-7700HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB - 16GB DDR4 | Screen: Up to 15.6-inch Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge touchscreen | Storage: 1TB HDD - 512GB SSD
If you're looking for a larger and more powerful laptop for running music production software on, then the Dell XPS 15 could be for you. Packing the same InfinityEdge technology as the smaller XPS 13, the screen extends right to the edge of the machine which means it's as small as it's possible to make a 15-inch laptop in 2017. It's quite pricey though, depending on which version you get. The very top end version has a 4K color-accurate display, which can give you an excellent overview of all the tracks you're working on.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15
- Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptops of 2018