Best Laptops for Graphic Design in 2016
What are the best laptops for graphic design are right now? Read on. We’ve compiled quite an in-depth guide for you.
The graphic design field demands sophisticated software. In the past, you could only work with desktops for graphic design. That’s not the case anymore.
Laptops are getting lighter and more powerful. They have become quite portable. You’ll hardly ever notice an ultrabook in your backpack or pouch when meeting with a client. You can read more about the best ultrabooks under $600. Our guide includes some of the best budget ultrabooks in the market. These laptops can run design software well. They are durable, sturdy and very portable.
Features to look for in graphic design laptops
Your web-design laptop should be able to connect to an external display. An external screen allows you to get a birds-eye view of your work, and zoom in for pixel perfect precision.
Detail is important in design. High-resolution screens are a must if you’re doing photo manipulation or web design. Connecting your laptop to a high-resolution secondary display implicates two things. First, your laptop needs to have an HDMI port, along with a powerful graphics card.
While most laptops come with VGA ports, these just won’t do if you’re a designer. The largest signal throughput is achievable through the use of HDMI.
Design laptops have to be powerful as well. Software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign eats up a lot of system resources.
While design computers are powerful, they don’t have a great battery life. A few Macbook models don’t suffer from poor battery life.
Most designers prefer Macbooks because they already come with powerful hardware. The screen on these laptops is also top-notch. Their sharpness and color accuracy are second to none.
Ever run into gray or yellowish backgrounds instead of pure white? That’s the panel type at work. We don’t recommend regular displays for designers. These monitors only show color approximations. IPS panels are the best in the field of graphic design.
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing photo manipulation or web design. Your screen is your canvas. It will influence the final output in a big way.
Graphic design is a job that requires you to be on the move. It’s not a desk job anymore.You should be able to take your laptop with you wherever you may go.
You should know about a few specs, before looking at graphic design laptops. The CPU is important. Photoshop, Illustrator, need a powerful processor along with a decent amount of system memory.
Design software needs to use the processor to calculate a lot of aspects while you work. A fast processor and its allocated memory are necessary.
System & Video Memory
RAM is also important. The more you have, the better. You should aim for 8GB RAM at least. That way, you should be able to keep a few browser tabs open for inspiration, aside from the design programs. Want to use Photoshop and Illustrator at the same time? Make sure your laptop carries at least 8GB of RAM.
If you can get a laptop that carries 16GB of system memory, even better. With this significant amount of RAM, your laptop will be able to keep up with your workflow.
Your laptop needs a dedicated graphics card. You could use a notebook with an internal GPU. But you’ll soon find out that’s not enough. Design applications use a lot of system resources. If there’s no more free RAM for the internal GPU, how do you expect to work without problems?
A dedicated graphics card comes with its memory, called VRAM. The more memory your graphics card has, the better it is at rendering complex visual scenery.
The storage drive you have installed makes a huge difference. Think about your program boot times. On a crappy computer, Photoshop can take up to several minutes to load.
Even on decent machines, it can take about 30-40 seconds.
Photoshop’s load times depend on how fast it can access its software libraries.
Read speed is the thing that’s limiting your application loading times. If your computer carries a regular hard disk, your application will not load fast enough. If you can find a laptop with an SSD, then you should go for it.
An SSD will slash the bootup time for your OS. It will also speed up software start times by more than 10X.
It will also speed up the file save times when working with huge files.
The laptop screen is important while on the go. Look for laptops that come with IPS screens instead of regular LCD panels. These offer a wider array of available colors. They’ll render these colors well. Also, their viewing angles are second to none.
Notice how colors shift when you look at traditional screens from different perspectives. IPS panels don’t have this issue. Laptops with IPS panels will have a higher price, but it’s well worth it.
Compare an image on a Macbook and a regular laptop. You’ll notice the difference right away. Colors are vivid on the Mac, while on a standard screen, they look washed and desaturated.
The size of the screen might also matter to you. Don’t get a 13-inch laptop. It’s just too small. I know it might cost less, and it’s a bit lighter to carry around, but it’s not worth it. You’ll always have to squint when designing.
Try to aim for laptops with 15-17 inch screens. Also, don’t get the regular resolution laptop. HD might have been fine a long time ago, but it won’t cut it anymore.
These are the best laptops for graphic design in 2016:
- Intel Core i7-5500U Processor (4M Cache, 2.4 GHz)
- 8 GB DDR3 RAM
- 256 GB Solid-State Drive
- 13.3 Inch QHD+ (3200x1800) Touch Screen
- Windows 8.1
- Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz (6MB Cache)
- 16GB DDR4 Dual-Channel Memory
- 1TB 5400RPM Hard Drive plus 256 GB SSD
- 17.3-inch Full HD Screen, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M with 4GB GDDR5 VRAM
- Windows 10 Home, Up to 7-hour battery life
- 17.3 in (439.42 mm) Full HD IPS touchscreen (1920 x 1080), 10-finger multi-touch support
- Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.60 with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.50 GHz
- 24GB DDR4 2133 MHz; 256GB SSD + 1TB 5400 RPM HDD
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M with 2GB graphics memory
- Windows 10 Home, 64-bit; Dual-layer DVD±RW/CD-RW; Sonic Studio with built-in subwoofer
- Intel Core i7-5500U 2.2 GHz Processor
- 16 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 1 TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive, 8 GB Solid-State Drive;DVDRW
- 17.3-Inch Screen, NVIDIA GeForce GT840M 2GB
- Comes With Windows 10 Home, 4-hour battery life
- 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz) with 3 MB shared L3 cache
- 8 GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 RAM; 128 GB PCIe-based flash storage
- 13.3-Inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Glossy Widescreen Display, 1440 x 900 resolution
- Intel HD Graphics 6000
- OS X El Capitan, Up to 12 Hours of Battery Life
- Macbook Air does not have a Retina display on any model.
- Intel Core i5-5200U 2.2 GHz Processor
- 8 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 128 GB Solid-State Drive
- 15.6-Inch Touchscreen, Mobile Intel HD graphics
- Windows 10
- 15.6" Touch IPS 4K Ultra-HD display, 3840 x 2160 resolution
- Powerful Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Quadcore CPU (turbo to 3.5GHz). Nvidia GTX960M GPU
- 512GB SSD with transfer speeds of 1400MB/s and 16GB DDR4 RAM
- 1x Thunderbolt III (via USB TypeC), 1x Gen 2 USB 3.1 TypeC, 3x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI.Bluetooth 4.0, SDXC reader, 802.11ac WiFi
- Windows 10 (64 bit) Home. 1 year International Warranty with 1 year Accidental Damage Protection.
- Processor: Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor (2.6-3.5GHz)
- RAM: 16GB (8GB x2) DDR4 2133MHz | Hard Drive: 128GB M.2 SATA + 1TB (7200RPM)
- Optical Drive: SuperMulti DVD | Operating System: Windows 10
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA Geforce GTX960M 2G GDDR5 | Display: 17.3" Full HD eDP Non Reflective 1920x1080
- Special Features: Steel Series Full-color Backlight with Anti-Ghost key + Silver Lining | LAN: Killer Gaming Network E2400 | True Color Technology | USB 3.0 Type C
- Windows 10 Home 64, Newest 6th Gen. Intel® Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor + 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M Graphics
- 16GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimms), 1TB Hard drive and 256GB Flash Solid State drive, HP factory installed
- 17.3-inch diagonal Full HD WLED-backlit IPS Display (1920x1080) - Non Touch
- SuperMulti DVD burner, 6-cell 62WHr Lithium-ion Extended Battery, HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Dual Digital Microphone
- Backlit Keyboard, Fingerprint Reader, Intel 802.11 AC WLAN and Bluetooth, Bang & Olufsen with 4 speakers and 1 subwoofer
- Windows 10 Home (64-bit)
- Intel Core M 5Y71 Broadwell Processor (2.90 GHz Turbo, 1.20GHz Base, 4MB)
- 13.3 QHD LED Glossy Multi-touch with integrated camera (3200x1800); Intel HD Graphics 5300
- 8.0GB DDR3L SDRAM 1600 MHz; 512GB Solid State Drive
- BackLite AccuType Keyboard; Bluetooth; 720P HD Webcam; WiFi