Best Laptops For Drawing 2020 | Digital Artists Guide

Ty Arthur Updated on October 27, 2020
Best laptops For Drawing Artist

Want to transition away from hand-drawn digital art, but don’t know what sort of hardware you really need to get the job done? Ready to take a look at the best laptops for drawing in 2020? Let’s get started!

Different art apps can have widely different minimum and recommended specs. Artists who primarily work in Photoshop, Illustrator, or Sketchbook will need something different than those who work with 3D creations in Maya.

All our contenders below will easily handle any 2D drawing application, and most can handle 3D designs as well. Each of our picks can also double as decent gaming rigs, since many of the hardware requirements are similar for art design and gaming.

In general, a 2-in-1 will always be the way to go, unless you specifically prefer creating your art with a mouse instead.

Quick recommendations for October 2020

Best Laptops For Drawing In 2020

HP Spectre – Best 2 In 1 For Drawing

HP Spectre x360
Prefer to freehand draw on a touch screen with a stylus, but still want the power of a laptop over a tablet? The HP Spectre should easily be at the top of your list for a new computer!

If you want a hybrid 2-in-1 device, the Spectre offers a perfect combination of style and substance.

Many different versions of the Spectre are available, however. Make sure you pick a configuration that will work for digital artwork!

With this model, you get a cutting edge processor, more than enough memory to run any art applications, and a dedicated graphics card. With a stunning 4k display, your art will really pop off the screen as well.

There are only two downsides to this configuration — smaller storage capacity, and lack of a built-in card reader.The latter is a problem if you work with digital photographs, but it isn’t hard to hook up a USB card reader.

Willing to spend a bit more? You can bump this model up to a whopping 2TB of storage space and still keep the solid-state drive!

Hardware specifications for HP Spectre x360 15t

CPU: Intel Core 8th Gen i7-8565U (up to 4 GHz) | Graphics: Whiskey Lake + Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 13.3″ FHD (1920×1080) IPS BrightView WLED Multi Touch Screen | Storage: 1TB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 Pro | Battery Life: 16 hours | Weight:  2.8 pounds

Lenovo Chromebook C330 – Budget Pick

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Lenovo Chromebook C330
Want to stay well below $400 and still have a great device for drawing and graphic design? This is an awesome pick if you don’t mind switching from Windows to Chrome OS.

We’re going to take a slightly different approach than you may be expecting with our budget option. The Lenovo chromebook C330 is a 2-in-1 laptop that’s meant to replace your notebook. 

It acts more like a hybrid between a tablet and a laptop and is specifically designed for drawing. It may take some getting used to, but you can save a ton of money by going with Chrome OS over a Windows 10 machine. 

Ditching Windows isn’t as big a sacrifice as you may think, either. Chrome OS is loaded with killer art and graphic design apps, from Adobe Illustrator to Medibang Paint.

Hardware specifications for the Lenovo Chromebook C330

CPU: MediaTek MT8173C Quad-Core Base Clock Speed 1. 3 GHz, Maximum Boost Speed 2. 16 GHz (4C, 2x A72 @ 2. 1GHz + 2x A53 @ 1. 7GHz) | Graphics: Integrated PowerVR GX6250 Graphics  | RAM: 4GB Soldered LPDDR3-1866 Memory, | Screen: 11. 6″ HD (1366×768) 10-point Multi-touch IPS 300nits Anti-glare Display| Storage: 32GB eMMC| Operating System: Chrome OS  | Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight:  2.6 pounds

Dell Precision M5510 – High End For Artists

Dell Precision M5510
Need the absolute best, most cutting edge laptop around specifically aimed at design and drawing? If you’ve got the money to spend, you can’t get a better machine than the Dell Precision.

For the best PC laptops aimed specifically at artists and graphic designers, be on the lookout for anything labeled a Workstation.

These models typically feature graphics cards meant for 3D design tools rather than gaming. As a major plus, Dell Precision uses a Xeon processor.

Why does that matter?

Besides its high-end speed, the Xeon line is specifically meant for rendering in 2D and 3D. You won’t find better specs for art or design programs than with this Dell model. It also has a high-end graphics card as it features NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2GB GDDR5. 

With specs like these, this laptop can also play a lot of high-end games although not as good as gaming laptops.

Hardware specifications for Dell Precision M5510

CPU: Intel Xeon E3 1505M v5 2.8GHz| Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2GB GDDR5 | RAM: 16GB 2133MHz DDR4 | Screen: 15.6″ UHD Touch IPS 3840×2160 Wide LED| Storage: 1TB NVME SSD| Operating System:  Windows 10 Pro| Battery Life: 8 hours | Weight: 5 pounds

Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch – Most Portable

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Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch
Do you use graphic design programs that just aren’t available in Windows? This should be your pick for the top Apple laptop for artists!

While programs like the Adobe suite have made their way onto both platforms, there are still design tools that you can only get on a Mac OS.

If you prefer Apple to Microsoft, the Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch is the best bet for artists on the go. Between the high processor, 16GB of RAM, and Radeon graphics, you can run pretty much any image editing tool you need.

Two issues should be kept in mind here before making your purchase.Although you get the cool Touch Bar feature that suggests buttons to use, this isn’t a touch screen model. That’s an odd oversight for the extremely high price.

The MacBook Pro also features three USB-C ports and no card reader. For most external devices, that means you’ll need to buy an adapter.

Hardware specifications for Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch

CPU: Intel Core i9 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory and automatic graphics switching, Intel UHD Graphics 630  | RAM: 16 GB | Screen: 16.0-inch (diagonal) LED-back display with IPS technology; 3072×1920 native resolution at 226 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors| Storage: 1TB SSD| Operating System: MAC OS | Battery Life: 11 hours | Weight: 4.3 pounds

Microsoft Surface Book 3 – best Hybrid

Microsoft Surface Book 3
Want a full range of options on drawing with a stylus, using a keyboard, or hooking up to an external monitor? For digital artists who can afford it, the Surface Book 3 should be your top pick.

For digital artists, the Surface Book 3 is essentially the ultimate machine to look at right now. For a hybrid touch screen device, it has very high-end specs. You get the versatility of a tablet for freehand drawing, with the hardware of a cutting edge desktop.

Just remember you have to buy the stylus separate — it doesn’t come in the box! That issue aside, if you are a creative type in need of a killer laptop, look no further because this is the best laptop for artists on this list.

Hardware specifications for Microsoft Surface Book 3

CPU: Quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i7  | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650  | RAM: 32GB  | Screen: 15″ Touchscreen with pen input | Storage: 2TB SSD| Operating System: | Battery Life: 17.5 hours  

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Budget Hybrid

Microsoft Surface Pro 7
If the Surface Book 3 is too expensive for you, then you might want to get the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. It's more of a tablet than a laptop but it has powerful specs that compete with laptops on its price range and it’s more portable and lightweight to boot. 

The  Surface Book 3 is definitely one of the best laptops for artists on this list however its price can be too appalling for others. If you want a good alternative for the  good Surface Book 3  but within an affordable price range, then the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is your best bet.

Costing around an affordable price, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 has powerful specs that back it up as a high-end tablet laptop. It’s powered by a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G4 processor, 8 GB of RAM, Intel Iris Plus Graphics, and a 128 GB SSD. 

These specs show that even a lightweight laptop of  1.7 pounds is capable of amazing things. Although the storage can be a little bit lacking, it’s very reasonable considering that it’s very lightweight allowing for artists to easily draw and create their pieces of art. 

Its battery life is amazing as well, lasting up to 10.5 hours and allowing for longer sessions of drawing and creation. But it doesn’t stop there since it can easily charge itself back to full from empty within 1 to 2 hours which makes it very reliable if you’re on the move. 

Lastly, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 brings the artist’s work to life with its 12.3 inch  touchscreen pixelsense display that shows resolutions of up to 2736 x 1824 pixels. Artists can appreciate their artwork in full HD resolution. 

Additionally, this makes it a good laptop tablet to view and watch movies as well. So you can enjoy your favorite shows and movies while watching high quality videos. And since it’s so lightweight, your hands won’t get tired of holding it in the air.

Hardware specifications for the Microsoft Surface Pro 7

CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G4 Processor | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics  | RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen:| Storage: 128GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life:  10.5 hours  | Weight: 1.7 pounds

Lenovo Yoga C940 – Premium 2-in-1

Lenovo Yoga C940
If you’re looking for a powerful laptop for creating wonderful art, playing high-end video games, and video editing, then the Lenovo Yoga C940 is your best bet. The laptop is a little costly but its specs more than make up for its price.

The Lenovo Yoga C940 features a faster processor and graphics performance with improved display quality and excellent features set for its price. It’s definitely a powerful premium laptop which can be used more than making art. 

The laptop is a little costly, it’s only meant for people with the money spent. But the price justifies its specs and features.

Featuring a 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor with each of its 6 cores that can reach speeds up to 4.5 GHz, a 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card with 4GB VRAM. 

With specs like this, the Lenovo Yoga C940 can be used for gaming, video editing, and running multiple high-end software and programs in the background. It’s really the ideal laptop if you’re the artist who edits and creates videos, or makes 3D art that uses a lot of your computer’s resources.

But it’s not limited to video editors and for people artists using a mouse since it also comes with its own touch screen pen. The pen works well with its sensitive touch screen allowing artists to create magnificent works of art with ease.

However, the included pen is a little small for extended use so it will hurt your fingers if you use it for a long time. All ports are on one side, making it difficult for artists to access. It’s only a little inconvenient but these inconveniences can be a big turnoff for a lot of customers.

Hardware specifications for the Lenovo Yoga C940

CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H (2.60GHz, up to 4.50GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 Cores, 12MB Cache)  | Graphics:  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB | RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM  | Screen: 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, touchscreen | Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10  | Battery Life: 11 hours | Weight:  6 pounds

Dell PS 15 7590 – Upgradeable 2 in 1 laptop

Dell XPS 15 7590
The Dell XPS 15 7590 is the latest in line of  premium dell laptops. It features powerful specs, a durable design, and works really well with artists. But with all of its features, this laptop can be used for pretty much anything.

The Dell XPS 15 7590 is one of the best laptops that Dell has to offer. Being a premium laptop that can do pretty much anything, the XPS 15 is also a good laptop for artists as well.

Its 15.6 inch display with a 3840 x 2160 resolution is a good way to admire your art as well as create detailed high resolution images for your viewers to enjoy.  It also comes with a very sensitive  touchscreen that allows the artist to easily move the touchscreen pen and draw to the best of their ability.

As for specs it features a powerful  6 cores, 9th Generation Intel(R) Core(T M) i7-9750H processor, a 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD , and GF GTX 1650 graphics card with  4GB VRAM. It’s definitely a laptop designed to run high-end software, games, as well as handling high resolution digital art.

The Dell XPS 15 7590 is definitely a laptop that aspiring digital artists should definitely use. Especially if those artists plan to make amazing high quality art that only a powerful computer can make.

Hardware specifications for the Dell XPS 15 7590

CPU: 9th Generation Intel(R) Core(T M) i7-9750H  | Graphics: NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 | RAM: 16 GB | Screen: 15.6″ 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge Anti-Reflective Touch IPS 100% AdobeRGB 500-Nits display| Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System:  WIndows 10| Battery Life: 8 hours| Weight: 4.5 pounds

Acer Spin 3 Convertible – long battery life

Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop
If you’re the type of artist who spends long hours contemplating and working on their art, then you’re going to need a laptop with a huge battery life. Luckily, the Acer Spin 3 is a powerful and affordable convertible laptop with a long battery life of 12 hours. Now your work won't get interrupted even if you work for the whole day!

Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop is one of the best choices an artist can have when it comes to 2-in-1 laptops. This convertible comes with a 14 inch screen with a  1920 x 1080 resolution and IPS display for artists to enjoy their work as well as stream and watch in high resolution.

The laptop features a powerful 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8565U Processor that can go  up to 4.6 GHz. It also features a 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD, which makes it a good choice for running resource intensive photo editing programs as well as store your artwork. It has a decent Intel UHD Graphics 620 graphics card capable of running most programs that an artist would need. Sadly this means it isn’t built with gaming in mind. 

Last but not least, we have tremendous battery life. The Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop features over 12 hours of uninterrupted power allowing the artist to use it for the whole day without it dying out. 

If you’re the type of artist who spends long hours on their work, then you might want to consider this amazing 2-in-1 laptop. Since it only costs about $799.99.

Hardware specifications for the Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop

CPU: 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8565U Processor (Up to 4.6GHz) | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620  | RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM  | Screen: 14 inches Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED backlit IPS Multi Touch Convertible Display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home | Battery Life: 12 hours | Weight: 3.7 pounds

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro – Notable Mention

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
If  you’re a big fan of Samsung products then the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro might interest you. This laptop has tremendously good specs and it can compare to the other premium 2-in-1 laptops on this list. It also has a vast storage space of 2 TB so you might want to get this one if you need a large storage space to store your files.

The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is a high-quality premium notebook that is ideal for artists as well. Its 13.3 inch FHD SVA BrightView WLED-backlit touchscreen display is able to project high-quality images and videos at  1920 x 1080 pixels of resolution.

Couple that with its Intel UHD Graphics 620 and it will be able to generate the most high-resolution images needed by a lot of multimedia, photo, and video editing programs.

The laptop is also powered by a  Intel Core i7-8565U processor that can go up to 4.6GHz, a 8GB RAM, and a  2TB SSD. These are all amazing specs but the one that stands out most out of it is the 2 TB SSD.

With this vast storage space you’ll be able to store your work and archive them for posterity or for future use. It’s also a given that you can store movies and other large video files here for use as well. 

The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro is definitely a good choice if you want to store large files in your computer. It’s also a good way to support Samsung if you’re a fan of their products.

Hardware specifications for the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U up to 4.6GHz | Graphics: | RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen:| Storage: 2TB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 Home| Battery Life: 9 hours | Weight: 2.84 pounds

Choosing a Drawing Laptop In 2020

What Are The Minimum Specs I Should Accept For A Laptop For Artists?

The answer to this question highly depends on what specific programs you intend to use, and whether you are interested in 2D art or 3D rendering.

As we mentioned above in our budget pick, a hybrid Android tablet / notebook can actually work well if you mostly freehand draw digital creations.

If you want a full Windows 10 computer however, don’t settle for any less than 16GB of RAM. Art programs tend to be very memory-intensive, so anything less than that will result in unacceptable lag.

If you are rendering 3D scenes, don’t forget the dedicated graphics card. In most cases, digital artists can get away with a 2GB video card.

Other features

Screen resolution should be an important priority for artists. In most cases, budget laptops with 1366 x 768 resolution displays just aren’t worth your time.

Those types of machines are meant for web browsing or typing up word documents, not creating art from scratch.

Keep a close eye on what ports are included, as well. You may want to hook up to an external display, so an HDMI port is critical.

For those who work with digital photography, make sure you’ve either got a built-in card reader or be ready to buy an external card reader.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Draw On A Laptop?

It depends on the laptop that you are using and its features. Some laptops are specifically designed for people to draw on them with a stylus. 

What Type Of  Laptops Allows For Writing On The Screen? 

A good way to know if you can draw on a laptop or not is to figure out if it has touchscreen capabilities. Touchscreen laptops often come with a stylus or pen which allows the user to draw and write easily on the laptop’s screen.

Should I Pick A 2 In 1 Laptop As A Digital Artist?

Getting a 2-in-1 laptop not only because the tablet form is more convenient but its lighter weight makes it easier for an artist to draw and create their art. 

Using Technology To Create Amazing Art

What sort of digital creations are you planning on making with your new laptop? We’d love to see what you come up with if you picked any of our top contenders for the best artist laptop in 2020!

Ty Arthur
Article by:
Ty Arthur
After more than a decade of searching for the perfect gaming rig, Ty knows a thing or two about picking the right hardware. He'd like to share that knowledge with all of you through his work at NetbookNews.com, whether you need a business machine, college laptop, or killer gaming computer.

11 thoughts on “Best Laptops For Drawing 2020 | Digital Artists Guide”

  1. What’s up, I log on to your new stuff on a regular basis.
    Your writing style is awesome, keep up the good work!

    Reply
  2. I am looking for a laptop primarily for rendering videos. Portability is not an issue since I won’t be moving it much. Do you suggest I go for a laptop or look for a desktop within the same budget?

    Reply
    • Hi Louiser,

      Desktop option would be cheaper & upgradable in most case. However, obviously, you will not be able to move it around at all. If you are sure about this then desktop is not a bad option.

      Reply
    • Except for the LG Gram 17 which does not have touchscreen and ink support, every other laptop on this roundup supports on-screen drawing.

      Reply
    • This is an important point. Pen support and touch screen are one point. The other is pen pressure and latency and which pen technology is used. Even a powerful laptop can create heavy jitter on straight lines, if the pen support isn’t meant for drawing intuitively and precisely.

      Reply
    • Hi, I currently have a 2018 iPad Pro and Apple Pen. I am an artist and have been using Art rage on my iPad to draw portraits. I am wanting to buy a laptop so that I can draw straight onto it, which would be easier to print off. I am not sure which laptop would be more suitable to buy. It gets very confusing. I am looking for something 16GB with 512 RAM. Could you please recommend a drawing laptop in the medium price range with an excellent stylus.

      Reply
  3. Does anyone know if the quality of the touch aspect, such as pressure, latency/delay, speed, diagonal lines etc. I know ideally you would want to have a tablet separate for better quality (like wacom or something) but I’m looking at 2-in-1s for the portability aspect (I already have desktop work station). I’d be using a stylus pen and working in 2D. I was originally deciding between Lenono Yoga c940, hp spectre x360, and Dell xps 2-in-1 since all the screens fold backwards to be a “tablet”. Does anyone have any experience using the table functionality of these models when illustrating?

    Reply
  4. I have used the Dell Precision M5510 for a quite long time and I loved it. Being an artist by heart and graphics designer by profession, I can say all of the recommendations are perfect. However, the Lenovo Chromebook C330 seems a bit weaker on the list. One thing that I liked about all these laptops is most of them fold by 180 and even 360 which offers us a tablet at the same time.
    Btw, Nice article and very well researched.
    Thank you!

    Reply

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