Best Budget Graphic Design Laptops (2020 Reviews)

Dario Lemut Updated on June 17, 2020
Best_Laptops_For_Graphic_Design

Graphic design might seem easy on the surface, but it requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Along with that, we agree graphic design can’t be done just on any type of laptop. It requires the best laptop for graphic design which features high-end specifications along with a few great features to make the work easy.

Almost 80% of graphic designers who own the latest high-end spec laptop don’t regret investing in their equipment, yet regret they haven’t done it earlier.

That’s why, with us, you won’t have to spend endless hours looking for your next laptop upgrade. If you read the article until the end, you’ll get to choose between 5 best laptops for graphic design and even learn how to choose one.

But if you don’t, you might end up purchasing a laptop that doesn’t match the value for the price you pay.

Lineup At A Glance

Best Budget Laptop For Graphic Designers In 2020

Dell XPS 15 – High-end Pick

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Dell XPS 15
From the premium design to the powerful components, Dell XPS 15 is a masterpiece when it comes to high-end laptops. The ability to place such powerful components and offer such versatility and performance to graphic designers who most of the time work on a go is a perfect combination just in one laptop.

Dell XPS 15″ offers a full package that will benefit any graphic designer in many different ways.

The 15″ screen is a touchscreen in combination with one of the most beautiful 4K UHD panels that offer a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. It’s going to make work smooth, simple, and easy for your eyes.

On the outside, Dell XPS 15″ looks very thin and compact, however, what’s inside will amaze you. Let us just tell you that the specifications inside are far better than in any XPS version so far.

This laptop is packed with a 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD storage, and 9th generation of Intel i7-9750H processor which can be boosted up to 5.0GHz.

Dell XPS 15″ has its own dedicated graphics card GTX 1650 which is smartly placed inside such portable and lightweight bodies.

That right there isn’t only going to boost up your performance at least 3 to 4 times, but working anywhere is made simple and you can forget about dry eyes.

Hardware Specifications for Dell XPS 15

CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H| Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650| RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 15.6-Inch 4K UHD Anti-reflective display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 8 hours | Weight: 5.51 lbs

Dell Precision – Biggest Screen

Dell Precision
If you expect nothing else but performance and reliability from your new laptop, Dell Precision is definitely the number one choice for a mobile workstation. There’s no task it can’t handle, and the screen size is just perfect.

Dell Precision is one of the best but also one of the most durable Windows laptops which is perfect for graphic design.

Inside Dell Precision, you’ll find the  Intel Xeon E3 processor, 16 GB of RAM for superior speed, and 1TB storage for a lot of space for your personal files and documents.

This laptop features the NVIDIA Quadro graphics card with its own dedicated 2GB RAM memory. In combination with the 15.6″ ultrasharp full HD LED display with the anti-glare feature, and you get a wonderful & powerful mobile workstation.

There is no task that Dell Precision can’t handle when it comes to graphic design. However, it’s good to keep in mind that the camera can be located at the bottom of the screen which makes it not good for video calling.

Hardware Specifications for Dell Precision

CPU: Intel Xeon E3 1505M| Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro gprahics| RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 15.6-Inch 3840×2160 HD display| Storage: 1TB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 7 hours | Weight: 5 lbs

Apple Macbook Air – Retina Display

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MAcBook Air
If you’re looking for the best of the best when it comes to the professional laptops suitable for graphics design, the MacBook Air can handle it all. You’ll love both performance and design at the same time, enjoy the Retina display, and be amazed by the force touch precision.

If a Mac laptop is your choice, the best model to go for is definitely the MacBook Air. It’s a professional laptop that is used in a number of industries and is commonly used by graphic designers.

The reason it’s used so much in the graphic design industry is the benefit Retina display offers to the users.

Such a vivid display supports millions of colors and features over 5 million pixels. Therefore, everything is visible to the finest detail.

The high contrast Retina display offers results in deeper blacks and brighter whites which is ideal for graphic design. We can agree that the images are taken on the new level of realism.

The aluminum body of MacBook Pro is strong and sleek thanks to the finishing touches, and inside the body, you’ll only find the best components. Turbo Boosted Intel i5 processor along with the 8GB of RAM offers the incredible speed, while 512GB SSD makes sure your storage is quicker than ever before.

We have also liked the force touch feature which allowed us such precision we haven’t experienced before.

Hardware Specifications for MacBook Air

CPU: Intel Core i5-10th Gen processor| Graphics: Intel Iris Plus gprahics| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13.3-inch Retina display with True Tone| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: macOS| Battery Life: up to 7 hours | Weight: 5.34 lbs

Microsoft Surface 3 – 2in1 Touchscreen Option

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Microsoft Surface 3
If you enjoy working on a go, or you’re forced to do it – either way, you’ll love to have Microsoft Surface Surface 3 by your side. It’s so tiny and lightweight yet powerful and versatile which makes it suitable for graphic designers who are working on a go.

You can consider Microsoft Surface 3 to be a 2-in-1 laptop that can make it one of the ultimate laptops for graphic design.

We would recommend you to get the bigger 15″ screen size if you’re doing a lot of graphic design. The laptop itself is still compact and easily portable, yet you will do your work efficiently.

Inside Microsoft Surface 3, you’ll find AMD Ryzen 5 processor that makes wonder when it comes to graphic design. Along with it, 8GB of RAM and 5256GB SSD storage will make sure that the speed of your tasks in on point.

This laptop might look very thin, however, it still features integrated AMD Radeon Vega 9 graphics card.

It’s the vibrant PixelDisplay which features a touchscreen feature. Even the display can be removed from the keyboard and used as a tablet that gives better access to the drawing.

The Surface Pen comes together with the laptop which is ideal for graphic designers who are ready to start their work on the new laptop. Yet, Microsoft is full of surprises.

Along with the Surface Pen, Surface Dial is available to be additionally purchased which makes interaction with the laptop flawless.

Hardware Specifications for Microsoft Surface 3

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 processor| Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 9| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13.3-inch Retina display with True Tone| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 5 hours | Weight: 3.4 lbs

Gaomon PD1560 – Cheapest Laptop For Graphic Design

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Gaomon PD1560
If you’re on a tight budget and don’t have a lot of time to save, yet need an affordable option – there’s no better thing than Gaomon PD1560. It has everything a graphic designer would need in the beginning, and later, you can always upgrade.

When you’re on a tight budget, you might not be able to find the best laptop for graphic design right away. And if you don’t have enough time to save some money, an option such as Gaomon PD1560 isn’t that bad actually.

Gaomon PD1560 is a drawing laptop that looks more like a tablet, and it’s specifically created for graphic designers.

It features a full HD IPS display with a great viewing angle that will satisfy the needs of any graphic designer no matter the image color and lines.

What we really like is the pen that comes included with the Gaomon PD1560. It’s a pressure pen that makes various operations during drawing simple.

The ergonomic design of this laptop is something that really stands out and makes work easier for graphic designers. Users can choose between different perfect and comfortable positions during drawing stages.

Gaomon PD1560 also has a lot of ports which makes the connectivity to other devices such as large monitors through HDMI simple.

Hardware Specifications for Gaomon PD1560

CPU: Intel Core i5 processor| Graphics: Intel HD graphics| RAM: 6GB RAM | Screen: 15.6-inch IPS display| Storage: 16GB eFlash| Operating System: Windows 10 & macOS compatible| Battery Life: up to 4 hours | Weight: 3.48 lbs

Acer Aspire 5 – Cheapest Slim Option

Acer Aspire 5
If you want to have a slim machine for graphic designing without breaking the bank, The Acer Aspire 5 is more than capable and it only comes with less than $800 price tag!

Acer Aspire 5 comes with a 15.6-inch IPS display to ensure color accuracy when doing graphic designing. It also comes with a fingerprint scanner for added security.

The 8GB RAM and Core i5 processor is more than enough to run almost graphics designing software, while the 256GB SSD ensures there is a space for everything and that the laptop boots up very fast.

This laptop is not recommended for heavy graphic software but would suffice software like Photoshop and alike, for it only comes with Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620. But the 9 hours battery life is commendable.

Other than that, this laptop is more than enough for graphics designers, beginner or not.

Hardware Specifications for Acer Aspire 5

CPU: Intel Core i5 processor| Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 15.6-inch IPS display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 9 hours | Weight: 3.97 lbs

Asus VivoBook S15 – Cheapest Dedicated Graphics

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Asus VivoBook S15
If you want a machine that has a dedicated graphics card and would like to stay under $800, The Asus VivoBook S15 has everything a graphics designer need and much more! For an affordable price.

The Asus VivoBook is considered budget-friendly but with specs powerful enough to compete with high-end laptops!

It is powered by an Intel Core i7 and NVIDIA GeForce MX250 to ensure you can work on any graphic designing software. While the 256GB SSD ensures you have decent storage for everything, of course, you may opt to upgrade the storage if it comes to it. 

The 8GB RAM is more than enough to do multitasking to boost your productivity. It also comes with 15.6-inch 4 way NanoEdge bezel display for your visual pleasure, perfect for designers who need a bigger screen. 

So, if you want a powerful laptop with a fair price tag, Asus VivoBook got you covered.

Hardware Specifications for Asus VivoBook S15

CPU: Intel Core i7 processor| Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 15.6-inch NanoEdge bezel display| Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 7 hours | Weight: 3.97 lbs

HP Pavilion – Best Touchscreen Option

HP Pavilion
Want a great deal for a touchscreen laptop with all the powerful specs for graphic designing? Worry no more, the HP Pavilion is your best choice!

It boasts a 15.6-inch IPS Touchscreen display, for those who prefer touchscreen for faster navigation the HP Pavilion is just perfect for you.

HP Pavilion comes with a powerful component such as the Intel Core i7 processor and a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX250 4GB graphics card, powerful enough to do graphic designing on any software you like.

Although, this machine does not comes with SSD. the hybrid 1TB HDD is sufficient for saving big files that every graphics artist always deals with.

If you won’t mind the HDD and happy with those powerful specs you get for less than $900, then you might consider the HP Pavilion as powerhouse workstation.

Hardware Specifications for HP Pavilion

CPU: Intel Core i7 processor| Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD IPS Touchscreen display| Storage: 1TB HDD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 6 hours | Weight: 4.22 lbs

Lenovo Ideapad L340 – Gaming & Graphic Designing

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Lenovo Ideapad
Are you a graphic designer and also into gaming? Why not have both in one machine! The Lenovo Ideapad 340 is powerful enough to handle gaming and graphic designing without breaking your bank!

The 15.6-inch FHD IPS display is just perfect for any visuals, which is very needed in graphic designing.

Gaming? graphic design? You can do both while still staying under $900 price range!

The Lenovo Ideapad is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 to chew any heavy tasks and gaming. So, graphic design is an easy task for this machine. The 512GB SSD can store large files that you may save to it, it is also upgradeable when the time comes.

All in all, the Lenovo Ideapad is a great buy for graphic designers who also play a game in their free time.

Hardware Specifications for Lenovo Ideapad

CPU: Intel Core i5 processor| Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD IPS display| Storage: 512GB HDD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 9 hours | Weight: 4.84 lbs

Acer Swift 3 – Great battery Life

On the hunt for a powerful machine for graphic designing that has a lot of juice? The Acer Swift 3 can last for 12 hours of continuous usage! Making it the best choice for someone like you.

Acer Swift 3 has a smaller screen of 14-inches, but it comes with an IPS display so visual won’t be a problem.

Powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce MX150, aside from graphics designing you could actually play high-end games on this machine too! It also has a backlit keyboard for the low light setting environment.

It has a solid specification and decent storage of 256GB SSD for fast boot when turning it on and storing files.

This powerful laptop comes with 12 hours of battery life, so working away to an outlet is never a problem. Perfect for users who wants a lot of juice in their machine.

Hardware Specifications for Acer Swift 3
CPU: Intel Core i7 processor| Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX150| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 14-inch Full HD IPS display| Storage: 256GB HDD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 12 hours | Weight: 2.97 lbs

Picking The Best Budget Laptops For Graphic Design In 2020

Specifications are always important, even when you’re just looking for a laptop for multimedia. That being said, the graphic design usually requires a bit higher specifications than other intended uses.

If you don’t know much about hardware and laptop specifications, there’s nothing to worry about. We’ll give you a minimum and recommended specifications to look for in a laptop if you’re a graphic designer.

With the technology we have available nowadays, the laptops are more powerful than ever.

Minimum specifications for graphic design

  • Processor: Intel i5 or better
  • RAM: 8GB or better
  • Storage: Preferably SSD or hybrid HDD
  • Graphics: Preferably dedicated graphics card
  • Display: LED or better

Recommended specifications for graphic design

  • Processor: Intel i7
  • RAM: 16 or 32GB
  • Storage: SSD
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 1080 or better
  • Display: IPS LED

It’s always better to save a bit more and invest in a better laptop than end up with a laptop that might not suit all your needs. Sacrificing isn’t the option when it comes to graphic design.

What Type Of Display Is Suitable For Graphic Designer?

Nowadays, there are many IPS displays added to laptops which make a huge difference between a standard display.

Usually, IPS displays are combined with LED display technology which makes the view angle, contrasts, and a number of colors incredible.

If you can’t settle down for an IPS display, we’d highly recommend you to look out for LED display. But don’t settle for anything less than that.

The display is really important as much as the configuration is when it comes to the digital graphic design. Therefore, it’s always smarter to save a bit more and then invest in a better option.

Is Touchscreen Feature Necessary For Graphic Design?

Touchscreen feature is definitely not necessary, which is convenient for people who have a specific budget. Touchscreen feature can really add up along with the quality display.

However, getting a touchscreen feature isn’t a bad idea. Even if you don’t plan to use it often, it can really come handy when you might not even think about it.

A lot of laptops now come with their own produced & compatible pens which make the use of touchscreen much more efficient, especially for graphic design.

Also, combine a touchscreen feature with a 2-in-1 laptop that has a removable keyboard and you might get one of the best versatile combinations for graphic design.

While it might not be really necessary, it’s definitely not a bad feature to have around. Whether you’ll get it or not also depends on the type of graphic design you’re working, but also on your budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much RAM do I need for graphic design?

The recommended minimum RAM for computers to suffice graphic designing is at least 8GB. However, if you plan to do a lot of graphic design work at the same time, you may want to consider increasing that to 16BG.

But 8GB is sufficiently enough for most graphic designing work.

Is i5 enough for graphic design?

Core i5 is more than enough to suffice gaming and graphic designing but keep in mind that consider buying Core i5 processors from the latest generation, otherwise, you’ll end up having some heat issues or rendering issues.

Core i7 would be overkill but if you want future proof processor and you have money to buy it then Core i7 might be your best option.

What operating system is best for graphic design?

It doesn’t really matter what OS you use in graphic designing, except if your employer requires you a specific OS then go for it. OS is just a tool and like any other tool the more you use the better you are with it and the faster you work, so it comes down to familiarity.

We recommend these steps to decide on your OS:
1. Research the industry for practical reasons—motion graphics lean toward Microsoft for custom build capabilities.
2. Decide which one you are more comfortable with, or simply prefer as a user.
3. Stick with it. The more comfortable you are with it, the better tool it will be.

Conclusion

Being a graphic design expert doesn’t mean you’re supposed to know all about the computers, but when it comes down to choosing your next best laptop – it might be a bit of a struggle.

However, with the help of this post, you don’t only get the valuable information that can guide you on choosing your next best laptop for graphic design, but there’s also a list that makes the decision easier. And then you can use graphic design software that suitable with your choice.

No matter whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, we have the best laptop in each category ready for you. All you have to do is make a decision, and not have a single worry in the back of your mind.

Dario Lemut
Article by:
Dario is a writer at NetbookNews.com. He is at the same time an avid technology addict that loves reviewing gadgets & devices, and then writing useful reviews.

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