Best Chromebook for Drawing in 2022 incl. Drawing Apps and Stylus

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: May 26, 2022 •  Guides

In this article, I am sharing my recommendation for the best Chromebooks for artists, including digital styluses and the best drawing & art apps for Chromebook. Let’s have a look!

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If you are in a hurry, here is my top pick, but if you’re curious, and want to learn more, please read on!

My Chromebook Pick
Acer Spin 713 2-in-1 Chromebook with 13.5 Inch 2K VertiView Touchscren

My Personal Pick for Chromebook

13.5 Inch VertiView UHD Touchscreen :: Intel i5-10210U Processor :: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM Memory :: 128GB SSD :: Aluminum Frame :: Backlit Keyboard


Buy Now on Amazon

Table of Contents

Are Chromebook and Chrome OS Good for Artists?

This is an incredibly simple, or an incredibly complex, question to answer.

I want to say yes unconditionally – Chromebooks are, after all, incredibly easy to use, nicely light and portable, reliable and secure, and amazingly affordable.

But you see, the vast majority of Chromebooks out there aren’t really suitable for artwork – sure, they’ll work, but without the kind of sensitivity and control we need. This is because most Chromebooks use normal capacitive styluses (the digital pen you use to draw on the touchscreen).

These normal styluses are good for some things, like icons, menus and regular computer operation, but they are not sensitive – they do not have pressure sensitivity or tilt recognition, which are pretty crucial when you’re drawing, painting and the like.

As much as I never want to say anything negative about other articles and sites out there, it became painfully clear to me as I was doing research that the vast majority of computers that are being recommended as the best Chromebook for artists, the best Chromebook for art students, the best Chromebook for painting or the best Chromebook for drawing, simply would not work for those things, or those people, at all.

I’m not sure why the authors of those articles and buyer’s guides ever thought the Chromebooks they were recommending would work for an artist, but I can tell you that of the dozens of different models touted as perfect choices for artists, only a very few would actually be appropriate. And the reason comes down to just three letters – USI.

What is USI, and Why Does It Matter to us Artists?

USI stands for Universal Stylus Initiative, and is a standard which has been put into place to ensure that different brands and types of pens meant to be used on touchscreens work universally, and that they offer a basic level of performance and functionality – including 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition.

This is still a very new standard but seems already well established, and it looks like all computer and pen manufacturers will eventually conform to the USI specifications. But for now only a very small number of pens do, and only a very small number of Chromebooks are compatible with USI pens.

However, without USI compatibility you won’t have pressure sensitivity or tilt recognition, and so you lose a great deal of your expressivity and flow.

Yes, you can do a lot of this anyway through your software, but it ends up being a very, very different experience than just doing it naturally, with hand gestures and movements – like when you’re drawing or painting with physical media.

So, executive summary and main takeaway: USI stylus good, no USI stylus bad!

What is the Best USI Stylus to Get?

  1. MoKo USI Stylus Pen for Chromebook
  2. MoKo USI Stylus Pen for Chromebook

    Wide compatibility, palm rejection, 4096 pressure sensitivity

    

    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Penoval USI Chromebook Stylus Pen
  4. Penoval USI Chromebook Stylus Pen

    4096 Levels of Pressure Sensitivity & Palm Rejection :: Including AAAA Battery & Spare Tip


    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. Andana USI Stylus Pen
  6. Andana USI Stylus Pen

    Widely compatible, 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, 600h of usage with 1x AAA battery

    

    Buy Now on Amazon

Since we’re on the subject of USI stylus, I should list a couple of great choices.

This has been a really hot and active product area for a while now, and USI digital pens I would recommend even a couple of years ago may have been supplanted by some newer and better products.

So here are three USI pens I think are the best choices today:

Who Makes the Best Chromebook for Artists?

Most Chromebook computers at this point – and really I mean most – without having USI standards, offer at best very crude, limited drawing and painting capabilities. You may have the best art programs, a bright, high resolution screen, top level processors and graphics chip and all that, and still not be able to create art at any kind of reasonably high level.

However, right now there are a few incredible choices for artists, Chromebooks with styluses which offer full control and sensitivity and are perfect creative tools for any commercial artist, fine artist, art student or beginner. The Chromebook laptops I have included in this list of best Chromebooks for Artists either will include a great active stylus or are fully USI compatible, and either way they all will allow for complete expressive control and freedom, and will help you produce beautiful art.

Let’s keep in mind that the digital stylus or pen is not the only important thing – the best Chromebook for painting, drawing or any creativity should also have a good, bright and detailed screen, excellent color accuracy and life, a fast and powerful processor and great overall quality – reliable day to day and over the long term, and tough enough to throw (or at least gently place) in your art bag.

Finally, with all of the changes and shifts in the market, you should make sure your Chromebook is a new and current model that is available now – another confusing and problematic area, but let’s not go there! 

That leaves out a few otherwise pretty good choices – Samsung Chromebook and HP Chromebook models, for example, that are decent computers in most ways, but just won’t cut it in terms of art and creativity.

So, when all is said and done, I have come up with a ginormous grand total of five Chromebook computers that I can enthusiastically recommend to artists (and about five gazillion also-rans!). But though there isn’t a huge selection, they are all fantastic choices, and run from pricey premium to very affordable.

All of my recommendations will cover all the bases, and be just right for artists:

After all of my product recommendations, in the Bonus Section at the end of the article, we’ll talk a little about what Chromebook software is best for drawing, painting and other kinds of art, and in my Final Thoughts Section, I will ramble on a bit more about whether a Chromebook really is a good choice for art and artists.

But now let’s get into it – with my guide to the best Chromebooks for drawing, painting and all kinds of artwork!

Overview: Best Chromebook for Drawing and Artists in 2022

  1. Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook Enterprise with FHD Touch Display
  2. Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook Enterprise with FHD Touch Display

    Best Chromebook for Artists Overall

    13.3 Inch FHD Touchscreen :: AMD Ryzen 7 3700C processor :: Radeon Graphics :: USI Compatible :: 16GB RAM :: 256GB SSD :: Chrome Enterprise OS


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Acer Spin 713 2-in-1 Chromebook with 13.5 Inch 2K VertiView Touchscren
  4. Acer Spin 713 2-in-1 Chromebook with 13.5 Inch 2K VertiView Touchscren

    My Personal Pick for Chromebook

    13.5 Inch VertiView UHD Touchscreen :: Intel i5-10210U Processor :: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM Memory :: 128GB SSD :: Aluminum Frame :: Backlit Keyboard


    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. ASUS Flip CX5 Chromebook Laptop/Tablet with 14" FHD Touchscreen
  6. ASUS Flip CX5 Chromebook Laptop/Tablet with 14" FHD Touchscreen

    A Great Creative Experience

    14 Inch Full High Definition NanoEdge Touchscreen :: Intel Core i3-1110G4 Processor :: ‎8GB LPDDR4X RAM :: 128GB SSD :: USI Stylus Included :: Aluminum Chassis 


    Buy Now on Amazon
  7. Acer Chromebook Spin 314 Convertible Laptop with 14 Inch HD Touchscreen
  8. Acer Chromebook Spin 314 Convertible Laptop with 14 Inch HD Touchscreen

    Best Value Chromebook for Artists

    14 Inch High Definition Touchscreen :: Intel Pentium Silver Processor :: 4 GB LPDDR4X RAM :: 128GB eMMC SSD :: Wi-Fi 6 :: OceanGlass Touchpad


    Buy Now on Amazon
  9. ASUS Chromebook 10.5 Inch Table with Detachable Keyboard
  10. ASUS Chromebook 10.5 Inch Table with Detachable Keyboard

    Perfect Portable Chromebook for Artists

    10.5 Inch WUXGA (Full HD+) Touchscreen :: MediaTek 8183 Processor :: 4GB RAM :: 64GB SSD :: USI Stylus Included :: Detachable Keyboard :: Integrated Stand :: Aluminum Body


    Buy Now on Amazon

Best Chromebook for Artists Overall

Best Chromebook for Artists
Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook Enterprise with FHD Touch Display

Best Chromebook for Artists Overall

13.3 Inch FHD Touchscreen :: AMD Ryzen 7 3700C processor :: Radeon Graphics :: USI Compatible :: 16GB RAM :: 256GB SSD :: Chrome Enterprise OS


Buy Now on Amazon

The Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga is an awesomely fast and powerful computer, which will immediately blow away any preconceptions about how a Chromebook can’t possibly perform as well as a Windows PC or Apple MacBook.

In fact, if you compare the C13 Yoga to any computer in its price range, it is more than competitive, and offers such a brilliant foldable hybrid laptop/tablet design, and such high material and construction quality, that it ends up being far more desirable than pretty much any of them.

With a ton of RAM – 16 gigs – and a Ryzen 7 processor, any graphics software will run with absolute ease and flow, and even the largest and most complex digital artwork, the highest resolution photos or videos will present no problems at all.

The Yoga’s touchscreen display is engineered to have the highest color range and accuracy possible, and the saturation and energy of colors is pretty spectacular, as are the brightness, contrast, detail and depth – a really nice monitor for making art, especially with the amazing USI digital pen that’s included.

And while most Chromebooks are all about connection and collaboration, the C13, with lots of connectors and the top-level Enterprise version of Chrome OS, takes this to a new level. If you are working in a creative workshop or studio, and regularly share your work or co-create, this is the best choice imaginable.

Probably the most powerful Chromebook on the market today, the Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga is also the very best Chromebook for artists, and highly recommended! 

Features of the Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook

Pros & Cons of the Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook

Pros:

Cons:

My Personal Pick for a Chromebook

My Chromebook Pick
Acer Spin 713 2-in-1 Chromebook with 13.5 Inch 2K VertiView Touchscren

My Personal Pick for Chromebook

13.5 Inch VertiView UHD Touchscreen :: Intel i5-10210U Processor :: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM Memory :: 128GB SSD :: Aluminum Frame :: Backlit Keyboard


Buy Now on Amazon

As much as I admire the Lenovo Yoga above – and do think it is the best Chromebook you can get, and an especially good choice for a busy commercial artist – I have to say that for myself I would rather have this Acer Chromebook Spin 713.

I’m not sure why – they are both super-speedy and glitch-free computers, and this Asus doesn’t particularly seem to perform better – and indeed the more expensive Lenovo has a slight edge in terms of connectivity and collaboration, memory and storage.

Somehow, though, the Acer is just cooler. There, I’ve said it!

With an ultra-strong and rigid magnesium alloy frame, the Spin 713 has a solidness that is instantly attractive, and the premium fit and finish all around make this a really beautiful Chromebook. This quality carries through to all of the components and materials, as well as the construction quality, and it has a reputation as a very durable and dependable computer.

I will say that the touchscreen is actually noticeably better on this Acer as compared to the Lenovo. With ultra high definition resolution and exceptional color range and accuracy, it is wonderful to work on – especially with the right USI pen, like the excellent MoKo USI Stylus Pen for Chromebook or the highly popular Penoval USI Stylus Pen for Chromebook.

The stability of this Asus Chromebook Flip, along with the beauty of the screen and the lag-free flow of the speedy processor, memory and storage – and therefore the work itself – helps you get lost in your creativity – especially in tablet mode.

A premium Chromebook with top-notch hardware and performance, as well as real material quality, durability and reliability, the Acer Spin 413 is equally great as a laptop and a tablet, and is one of the finest Chromebooks for artists.

It is also my personal favorite, and the best value Chromebook I’ve found.

Features of the Acer Spin 413 Chromebook

Pros & Cons of the Acer Spin 413 Chromebook

Pros:

Cons: 

A Great Creative Chromebook Experience

Creative Experience
ASUS Flip CX5 Chromebook Laptop/Tablet with 14" FHD Touchscreen

A Great Creative Experience

14 Inch Full High Definition NanoEdge Touchscreen :: Intel Core i3-1110G4 Processor :: ‎8GB LPDDR4X RAM :: 128GB SSD :: USI Stylus Included :: Aluminum Chassis 


Buy Now on Amazon

This Asus Flip CX5 is not substantially less expensive than the Acer above, and it does have a slightly slower processor and lower resolution, but it also has something pretty remarkable for this price level – a super-strong, rigid and light aluminum frame.

Now I have used the Acer quite a bit, and never felt even a tiny bit concerned that it might get damaged with heavy use or moving it around – it is, in fact, a very well made and durable computer. But this Asus Chromebook is moreso – a very stable portable computer that is so easy to hold, so easy to take with, and just inspires confidence.

It’s the same when using the Asus for normal laptop computing as well – it is stable, rigid, easy to hold and easy to type on, and you can work for hours no problem.

The Asus Flip CX5 still has a brilliant and beautiful full high definition display – again, not quite as sharp as the Acer’s, but definitely good enough for artwork on any level, and with exceptional color range, accuracy and saturation, screen brightness and contrast.

And this Asus has a nice – in fact, a really, really nice – USI stylus included, which works on the touchscreen with an almost elegant feel, has beautiful flow and beautiful control, and really allows your full range of natural expressivity to come through.

So yeah, the Acer just above is maybe a slightly better Chromebook, but there is something about this Asus Flip CX5 that seems to encourage you to take it with you, to use it, to fall fully into your creative zone and to forget about everything else.

So, in this wonderful way at least, the CX5 is the perfect Chromebook for drawing, and in pretty much every way it is a really great choice.

Features of the Asus Flip CX5 Chromebook

Pros & Cons of the Asus Flip CX5 Chromebook

Pros:

Cons:

Best Value Chromebook for Artists

Affordable Pick
Acer Chromebook Spin 314 Convertible Laptop with 14 Inch HD Touchscreen

Best Value Chromebook for Artists

14 Inch High Definition Touchscreen :: Intel Pentium Silver Processor :: 4 GB LPDDR4X RAM :: 128GB eMMC SSD :: Wi-Fi 6 :: OceanGlass Touchpad


Buy Now on Amazon

With the Acer Spin 314 we’re definitely getting into a much lower price category, and you will notice that there is less memory and storage, a lower level processor and a lower resolution touchscreen.

That said, for this price level the Spin 314 is a remarkable performer – the Intel Pentium Silver is much faster than you’d imagine, and all tasks – even complex and demanding graphics – run smoothly and with no issues. It is as good a laptop as it is a tablet, and in both modes it is so nice to work on.

The screen is still high definition, and while it may not have the stunning depth and realism of the much more expensive Chromebooks above – especially it’s line-mate, the Acer Spin 413 – it is nonetheless a beautiful screen, with great contrast, brightness and energy, excellent color range and accuracy and a wonderful feel with the right USI digital pen.

The Spin 314 doesn’t come with its own USI stylus, but as with the 413 I think the MoKo USI Stylus Pen for Chromebook is an excellent match.

A small and light Chromebook, especially considering its nice 14 inch screen, the Acer Spin 314 is very well made, strong and durable, and works great as a standalone art tablet and as a laptop computer – a very nice package, a great value for the money and an easy recommendation.

Features of the Acer Spin 314 Chromebook

Pros & Cons of the Acer Spin 314 Chromebook

Pros:

Cons:

Perfect Portable Chromebook Tablet for Artists

Super Portable
ASUS Chromebook 10.5 Inch Table with Detachable Keyboard

Perfect Portable Chromebook for Artists

10.5 Inch WUXGA (Full HD+) Touchscreen :: MediaTek 8183 Processor :: 4GB RAM :: 64GB SSD :: USI Stylus Included :: Detachable Keyboard :: Integrated Stand :: Aluminum Body


Buy Now on Amazon

This is my favorite Chromebook. Oh no, wait, I already said that the Acer Spin 713 is my favorite! Can I do that? Can I have two favorites?

Ok, the Acer is a brilliant Chromebook – premium quality, incredible performance, beautiful screen and wonderful art tablet / laptop in every way.

But this Asus mini Chromebook is, well, mini!

Asus doesn’t officially call their CM3 “mini,” and in fact the screen size is quite respectable for a tablet, and perfectly usable for drawing, painting and pretty much everything else. But compare this surprisingly fast and powerful little guy to anything above and it seems positively wee!

But let’s get serious – the screen really is as big as many great art tablets out there, and has exceptional WUXGA (ahem, widescreen ultra extended graphics array) resolution – an impressive 1920 by 1200 pixels. This sharpness, along with the amazing brightness and contrast, the excellent color depth and accuracy and the stability of the image, make the CM3 easier to draw, paint or edit on than even many larger screens.

Especially with the really nice, expressive and natural feeling USI stylus that’s included.

And the performance overall is amazing – fast, reliable and capable of opening and working with even very large and complex images and high resolution photos and videos. The CM3 also has very fast RAM and a small but also quite speedy SSD hard drive, and in fact can outperform some larger and more expensive computers..

A premium Chromebook tablet with a nice detachable keyboard, the Asus CM3 is exceptionally well made, light and durable, with a super strong aluminum frame, and is beautifully finished and a lovely product.

It’s also the best portable Chromebook I’ve used – ok, they’re all pretty nicely portable, but this mini gem is really easy to take anywhere. If you want a superb digital art tool that is always with you, whenever and wherever inspiration strikes, the surprisingly fast and powerful Asus CM3 Chomebook tablet is the perfect choice.

Features of the Asus CM3 Chromebook

Pros & Cons of the Asus CM3 Chromebook

Pros:

Cons: 

Bonus: What Are the Best Art Apps for Chromebook?

Now that Chromebooks are so powerful, have superb high resolution touch screens, tablet configurations and really usable form, and especially – if you get the right one, of course! – such precise and expressive USI digital pens, they seem like a wonderful choice for any artist.

And they are, but there is one more consideration which may hold some artists back – software.

With a Chromebook your main choice of software is the same as with an Android phone or tablet – that is, the apps available at the Google Chrome store. This means that the really high end programs, like Corel Painter, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, ProCreate and others, won’t be available to you.

What Are the Best Android Apps for Drawing?

But not all is lost, especially since in recent years the selection of highly capable art software available for Android and Chrome OS – and often free of charge! – has increased dramatically. These days you can, with the many art apps you can get from Google Play Store, create some pretty amazing stuff.

Some of my favorite Google apps for art are:

What About Linux Art Apps on Chromebook?

You may also have heard that newer Chromebooks (from 2019 on, and of course all of the Chromebooks recommended here) also run Linux software, and this does help a bit. As one example you can get a full-function version of Krita, which is a very good program (although the newly available Android version is pretty good too).

With Linux you can also run GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), which can also be very powerful and useful, and is a splendid piece of software, as well as other less powerful, but still nice, apps like Vectr, Karbon, Inkscape, and others.

But we begin to miss out on one of the most wonderful aspects of the Chromebook, and what attracted so many artists to it in the first place – simplicity. 

Are Web-Based Apps Good for Artwork?

Android apps are more powerful than many people think, and can be useful for even top-level commercial and fine artists, and they are simple to use – pretty much without exception!

Also so simple to use are web-based apps, which have gotten pretty darn good lately, and can be quite helpful to artists at all levels – and they are almost all free to use.

Of course web apps also get at another fine quality of Chromebooks, and that’s their cloud-centered philosophy, which seems to be the way everything – really, everything – is going these days – work online, save and store online, share and collaborate online, publish and sell online, shop online, walk your dog online…

Ok, maybe not, unless you’ve got a virtual dog!

So let’s close this section with a shortlist of some of my favorite choices for online artwork – the best web based art apps I’ve found, and programs which you can use so beautifully to draw, paint and work on art on your Chromebook:

Is a Chromebook With a Stylus a Good Choice for an Artist?

If you had asked me a few years ago if a Chromebook was good for drawing, painting or other creative work – back when Chromebooks with Chrome OS were still new and the platform relatively unsettled – I would have said no, it’s better to stick with something already established and proven like Windows or, of course, Apple OS. 

Even more recently, before the USI protocol was established, I would still have said no, because the machines just can’t offer a good, high quality creative experience, and that will severely limit your expressive range and technique.

But now, there are several factors coming into play, including:

All of this, in addition to the already established niceties of the Chromebook world – like price-to-performance ratio, ease of use, built-in malware and fuss-free updates, light weight and overall cool and useful design – really changes things.

In fact, I can now highly recommend any of the above Chromebook computers to any artist – not just beginners and art students, who might have budget concerns, but any artist on any level can use a Chromebook for anything and everything they might need or want to do.

Thanks so much for reading my latest article – Best Chromebook for Drawing in 2022 incl. Drawing Apps and Stylus – and I encourage you to visit my blog – Art Side of Life – for other buyer’s guides, online courses, articles and lots of other resources.

Other articles in the Laptops for Artists and Designers series:

Lis cet article en français 🇫🇷 Le meilleur Chromebook avec stylet pour les artistes et les graphistes en 2022

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, founder of Art Side of Life®, and Top Teacher on Skillshare. Since 2009 I've worked as an illustrator, character designer, art director, and branding specialist focusing on storytelling, concepts, and animation. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways, so I've made it my mission to teach you everything I know and help wake up your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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