Best Laptop for Digital Art and Artists in 2022

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: May 27, 2022 •  Guides

I get a lot of questions from both established and aspiring artists about what computers, and especially laptops, are best for digital art, and so I decided to put this guide together to help you decide which laptop is best for you as a digital artist. Let’s have a look!

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If you’re in a hurry, here are my top two recommendations for the best laptop for digital art:

  1. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch with M1 Pro chip
  2. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch with M1 Pro chip

    Best Apple laptop for digital art and for myself!

    16 Inch Liquid Retina XDR Display :: Apple M1 Pro chip with 10‑core CPU and 16‑core GPU :: 16GB RAM :: 512GB SSD :: 3 Thunderbolt Ports :: Up to 21 Hours Battery Life


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15.6 Laptop with ScreenPad Plus
  4. ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15.6 Laptop with ScreenPad Plus

    Best Windows laptop for digital art

    15.6 Inch 4K OLED Display :: Tilting ScreenPad Plus :: Intel Core i7-10870H Processor :: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Graphics with 8GB VRAM :: 16GB RAM :: 1TB SSD


    Buy Now on Amazon

Table of Contents

Overview: Best Laptop Digital Art and Artists in 2022

  1. ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15.6 Laptop with ScreenPad Plus
  2. ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15.6 Laptop with ScreenPad Plus

    Best Windows laptop for digital art

    15.6 Inch 4K OLED Display :: Tilting ScreenPad Plus :: Intel Core i7-10870H Processor :: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Graphics with 8GB VRAM :: 16GB RAM :: 1TB SSD


    Buy Now on Amazon
  3. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch with M1 Pro chip
  4. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch with M1 Pro chip

    Best Apple laptop for digital art and for myself!

    16 Inch Liquid Retina XDR Display :: Apple M1 Pro chip with 10‑core CPU and 16‑core GPU :: 16GB RAM :: 512GB SSD :: 3 Thunderbolt Ports :: Up to 21 Hours Battery Life


    Buy Now on Amazon
  5. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio with 14.4 Inch Touchscreen
  6. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio with 14.4 Inch Touchscreen

    Laptop for digital art with brilliant design and performance

    14.4” PixelSense Flow 2400x1600 Touchscreen :: 11th Gen Intel i7 :: GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Graphics :: 16GB High Bandwidth RAM :: 512GB SSD :: Hybrid Laptop/Tablet Design


    Buy Now on Amazon
  7. Asus ZenBook Duo 14 Laptop with ScreenPad Plus
  8. Asus ZenBook Duo 14 Laptop with ScreenPad Plus

    Exceptional Value Windows Laptop for Digital

    14 Inch FHD Touchscreen :: Intel Core i7-1195G7 Processor :: GeForce MX450 Graphics :: 16GB RAM :: 1TB SSD :: ScreenPad Plus :: Windows 11 Pro :: WiFi 6E


    Buy Now on Amazon
  9. Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch with M1 Chip
  10. Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch with M1 Chip

    Best value MacBook for digital art

    13.3 Inch Retina Display :: Apple M1 Chip with 8 core CPU, 8 Core GPU :: 8GB High Speed RAM :: 256GB SSD :: WiFi 6 :: 2 Thunderbolt Connectors

    

    Buy Now on Amazon
  11. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 Inch FHD Laptop/Tablet
  12. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 Inch FHD Laptop/Tablet

    Best value Windows laptop/tablet hybrid for digital art

    14 Inch Full HD Touchscreen Display :: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U Processor :: AMD Radeon Graphics :: 16GB RAM :: 256GB SSD :: Foldable Laptop/Tablet Hybrid Design :: Windows 11


    Buy Now on Amazon
  13. Acer Aspire 5 15.6 Inch Full HD Laptop
  14. Acer Aspire 5 15.6 Inch Full HD Laptop

    Best Budget Windows Laptop for 2D Animation and Digital Art

    15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Display :: 11th Gen Intel Core i5 :: Intel Iris Xe Graphics :: 8GB DDR4 RAM :: 256GB SSD :: WiFi 6 :: Windows 11


    Buy Now on Amazon

What Should You Look for in a Laptop for Digital Art?

Even though I’m not into specifications that much, I still know that performance is extremely important for an artist’s laptop, and lack of performance often drives a working artist crazy – and can even frustrate and block creativity.

I think the best laptops for digital art and artists should have the following specs, at a minimum:

  • 8 GB of RAM – and preferably 16 – 32 GB (I recommend 32GB for 3D artists and animators)
  • 256 GB SSD storage – and preferably 512 GB – 1 TB
  • HD Display – and preferably Full HD or 4K (all Apple laptops have QHD or higher resolution)
  • A fast, powerful latest generation processor and a good, fast graphics coprocessor

Now a laptop with 32 GB memory, 1 or 2 TB of onboard storage, and full 4K display may cost more than some of us paid for our last car!

But if we stick to at least the minimums (like every laptop on my list) we can find great laptops for digital artists, which are actually reasonably priced and which will fully support our work (and even our occasional play) and never stand in our way.

Because, believe me, there is nothing worse than being in the flow and having your laptop – or any artist’s tool – stand in your way.

Are Macs Better for Artists and Digital Art?

As you may imagine, one of the questions I hear most often is should I get a Mac or a Windows laptop computer for my artwork?

From my own experience, me included, most artists I know use MacBook Pro laptops for digital art.

For many years, decades now even, the Mac has always been considered the “artist’s laptop” and the Windows PCs to be more for… well, I don’t know – the sort of mysterious daily activities that all those non-artists get themselves up to all the time. Spreadsheets? Databases? Coding?

But that is definitely not the case anymore.

Windows laptops and computers have always been known for their flexibility in terms of custom setup and scalability in terms of memory and storage space. And this flexibility has made them a favorite in a community of tinkerers and technically capable artists. They might have started with a cheaper model with less hardware but over time, by adding the right parts (RAM & storage space), they made it into a very powerful machine.

On the other hand, Apple laptops, or better said, MacBooks have been always known for their intuitive and easy-to-use operating system. Just press the start button, log in, click the Photoshop (or other digital drawing software) icon and you can be creating your next artwork in a matter of minutes. Try that on Windows laptops five years ago (!)

In terms of programs, the most important high-end software for creating digital art has been made available for Windows and Apple for many years now – such as Adobe Creative Cloud’s Photoshop & Illustrator, and Krita, Rebelle 5 for example.

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of your own experience and preference. Both the right Windows laptop and an Apple MacBook can be fabulous laptops for digital art, and great choices for any artist.

Both can have extremely high performance, incredibly high-resolution screens, and all of the best art software you could want or need – from the simplest to the almost absurdly complex and advanced.

So, if you know and love Macintosh, get a MacBook, and if you are a Windows fan, get a Windows laptop.

Either way, you will be amazed at how the right laptop can help, inspire and even advance you and your art.

How Much Should You Spend on a Good Laptop for Art?

Having a good, high-quality laptop can make all the difference.

Yes, there are lots of laptops out there at very low prices, and they are generally fine for most uses – binge-watching, surfing the internet, playing most games, and using basic programs like word processors.

However, we artists need more from our laptops. We need fast processors, plenty of memory, good fast storage, and bright, high-resolution screens with excellent color fidelity.

And this can come at the cost of anywhere between $500 – $2,500 depending on promotions and discounts. I believe that even if you’re on a budget, or just starting out, don’t cut back on your laptop.

You need to run any and all art software without problems or delays, see your work (and possibly show it to clients) beautifully, with accurate colors and in real detail, and keep your entire portfolio on your local drive if you choose.

To spend too little on your laptop can even be a worse idea than spending too much – you can easily end up with a machine that will be frustrating to use, that will discourage you and even hold you back in your learning, advancement and enjoyment.

And it will almost certainly cost you more in the long run due to wasted time, missed opportunities and eventual replacement.

At the same time, of course, if you are a new, aspiring artist, you don’t have much money and/or haven’t yet established a clientele or reliable income, please don’t overspend on a laptop! Just make sure you are getting what you need!

So, to sum up, budget model laptops are really not for us, and I can’t stress this enough.

Best Laptops for Digital Art in 2022 – A Detailed Guide

Best Windows Laptop for Digital Art

My Windows Pick
ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15.6 Laptop with ScreenPad Plus

Best Windows laptop for digital art

15.6 Inch 4K OLED Display :: Tilting ScreenPad Plus :: Intel Core i7-10870H Processor :: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Graphics with 8GB VRAM :: 16GB RAM :: 1TB SSD


Buy Now on Amazon

Many artists say that you shouldn’t try to make art directly on your laptop’s screen, but I’m sure none of them ever tried this incredible machine, with its amazing dual touchscreen, beautiful 4K resolution and high sensitivity pen.

An expensive laptop, the Asus Zenbook Pro Duo touch screen laptop is also one of the most innovative, advanced and genuinely useful laptops ever made, and incredibly fast and powerful, and even at this price users consistently report that it is well worth the money – and then some!

The ZenBook Pro comes standard with the latest Intel i7-10870H, 16 GB of ultra-fast RAM, an astonishing 8 gigs of video RAM and 1 TB of internal SSD storage, so even the most serious or advanced artists, animators, 3-D modelers, photographers and videographers will have the memory, processing power and storage space they need.

And that screen!!! I should put triple exclamation points after a remark about the second screen, the amazing and highly useful tilting touchpad/workspace display thingy, but the main screen is what I mean – so incredibly deep, shart and realistic. If you’ve ever thought that you weren’t seeing everything, or that the visibility on your laptop’s display was holding you back, this is a whole new level!

Someday all laptops will be this cool and clever, but for now you will have to pay to get what might well be the best laptop for digital artists ever made – a true advancement and a brilliant tool, this should be on the short list of any advanced artist.

Features of Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15.6″ laptop for digital artists

Pros & Cons of Asus Zenbook Pro Duo 15.6″ laptop for digital artists

Pros:

Cons: 

Best Apple Laptop for Digital Art and for myself!

My Pick
Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch with M1 Pro chip

Best Apple laptop for digital art and for myself!

16 Inch Liquid Retina XDR Display :: Apple M1 Pro chip with 10‑core CPU and 16‑core GPU :: 16GB RAM :: 512GB SSD :: 3 Thunderbolt Ports :: Up to 21 Hours Battery Life


Buy Now on Amazon

The best Apple laptop made, the MacBook Pro has an absolutely top-notch screen – so good, in fact, with so much depth, resolution and energy and such beautiful and accurate colors that it can make any artist better (and any prospective client more appreciative).

The Apple MacBook Pro is also extremely fast and powerful, and in my experience is so glitch free and problem free that it never stands in my way when I’m working. It just supports me and allows me to do whatever I want to do, and shows me the results exactly and beautifully.

In fact, the color accuracy, the lack of any kind of distortion, the phenomenal brightness and contrast, the intense levels of detail and everything else afforded by the Liquid Retina XDR monitor, working with this latest generation M1 chip, quite probably represents the most accurate and reliable display you can get today – at least without getting into crazy-expensive laboratory or special-use industrial computers and monitors. And yeah, maybe even then….

The MacBook Pro is not only one of the fastest, most powerful and most accurate premium laptops you can get, but also a stunningly beautiful premium product in every way. Maybe we artists are more sensitive to these things than others, but I’m sure anybody can and would appreciate the incredibly high levels of fit and finish, the sheer beauty of this laptop, and the long term durability and reliability.

Capable of running any and all art software on the Macintosh platform, and able to store the largest files and even complete portfolios, and display that work with awesome detail, color and life, the Apple MacBook Pro is definitely the best Apple laptop for artists on the market today – and, as I say to anybody who will listen, I absolutely adore mine, and can’t imagine being without it!

Features of Apple MacBook Pro 16” laptop for digital artists

Pros & Cons of Apple MacBook Pro 16” laptop

Pros:

Cons:

Laptop for Digital Art with Brilliant Design and Performance

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio with 14.4 Inch Touchscreen

Laptop for digital art with brilliant design and performance

14.4” PixelSense Flow 2400x1600 Touchscreen :: 11th Gen Intel i7 :: GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Graphics :: 16GB High Bandwidth RAM :: 512GB SSD :: Hybrid Laptop/Tablet Design


Buy Now on Amazon

One of the main reasons I wanted to revise this article on the best art laptops for 2022 – besides significant advances and upgrades in the Asus and Apple laptops above – is so that I could include this amazing and all-new Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio – which, if coolness were your main concern and criterion, would be the default choice.

Seriously, the way this folds from fully functional touchscreen laptop to sleek, highly usable flat tablet – allowing for a bit of binge-watching in display mode along the way – is so different from other products, and so, well, cool. It is also very well considered and highly useful for artists.

But coolness isn’t our main consideration, and I wouldn’t include the Surface Laptop Studio just because I like the way it folds – “infinitely flexible,” as Microsoft says.

The Studio also has an absolutely astonishing screen, with beauty, depth, detail, color saturation and accuracy, low distortion and high brightness and contrast that are surpassed by very, very few computers of any type on the market today – including the Apple and Asus above, but really just barely.

The newest generation Nvidia 3050 processor supports this phenomenal display, and does so with such speed and reliability that all work – the most complex digital images, the highest resolution scans or photographs, even 3D rendering – is lightning fast and glitch-free.

And the likewise latest generation Intel i7 is equally fast, powerful and reliable, and puts the Laptop Studio at the top of the heap in terms of processing performance and capability, as well as making it a great choice for professional artists.

If you love the idea of having a top-level premium laptop that you can also use as one of the finest drawing tablet available, with a perfect screen, a perfect work surface and an absolutely ideal pen-to-screen interface, this is the laptop for you!

Remember to also get the excellent Microsoft Surface Pen or the newer Surface Slim Pen 2 (sold separately) to really take advantage of what this amazing machine can do!

Features of Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio for digital artists

Pros & Cons of Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

Pros:

Cons:

Exceptional Value Windows Laptop for Digital Art

Exceptional value
Asus ZenBook Duo 14 Laptop with ScreenPad Plus

Exceptional Value Windows Laptop for Digital

14 Inch FHD Touchscreen :: Intel Core i7-1195G7 Processor :: GeForce MX450 Graphics :: 16GB RAM :: 1TB SSD :: ScreenPad Plus :: Windows 11 Pro :: WiFi 6E


Buy Now on Amazon

Ok, so maybe you can’t afford a ZenBook Duo Pro – does this mean you should miss out on what may be the coolest, most innovative and useful laptop design for the digital artist to come along in a long time?

Not with the next laptop in my guide for the best notebooks for artists, the Asus ZenBook Duo, which has the same brilliant two screen layout, with a fantastically bright and accurate main touchscreen and a secondary tilting screen for all kinds of added functionality.

No, this standard ZenBook Duo doesn’t have the jaw-dropping 4K resolution of the Pro, but it’s still full high definition, and way more than sufficient for even the most detailed and complex images to really come to life, and for you to be able to work at the highest levels of complexity, detail and precision, and always see perfectly what you’re doing.

It’s also way more powerful and faster than virtually any artist might need, and will run all professional art and photography software with no problems. In fact, with the latest generation Intel Core i7 CPU this is a top-level laptop.

And really it’s pretty much just as cool as the Pro – and at around half the price!

Features of Asus ZenBook Duo 14” laptop for digital artists

Pros & Cons of Asus ZenBook Duo 14” laptop

Pros: 

Cons: 

Best Value MacBook for Digital Art

Affordable MacBook
Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch with M1 Chip

Best value MacBook for digital art

13.3 Inch Retina Display :: Apple M1 Chip with 8 core CPU, 8 Core GPU :: 8GB High Speed RAM :: 256GB SSD :: WiFi 6 :: 2 Thunderbolt Connectors



Buy Now on Amazon

This is the lowest priced Macbook currently available, and for the price you get a whole lot of computer.

It should be said right up front that this is a smaller screen than I would normally recommend on a digital art laptop, but this 13.3 inch full HD+ monitor is so bright and clear as to make it quite usable, and this cool little notebook is absolutely perfect for working on the go, for taking to clients’ offices or for even just moving around your home or studio.

Of course, I should be careful calling this a “cool little” laptop, considering the Air has a standard-setting Apple M1 processing chip, for incredibly fast and reliable processing of high resolution graphics, videos, animation and everything else. So yeah, small, light and elegant, but a serious top-level notebook that in many ways will outperform anything in its class.

To make the “work on the go” experience even more fun and productive, you might also consider the brilliant new Wacom One digital pen display and stylus to plug into your new MacBook Air – a complete working mobile art studio in your rucksack!

Inexpensive and yet fully up to Apple’s high standards of quality and performance, fit and finish, and able to run, and nicely display, any professional art software on the Macintosh platform, the Apple MacBook Air is the perfect small laptop for any artist, and an incredible value!

Features of Apple MacBook Air 13.3” laptop for digital artists

Pros & Cons of Apple MacBook Air 13.3” laptop

Pros:

Cons:

Best Value Windows Laptop/Tablet Hybrid for Digital Art

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 Inch FHD Laptop/Tablet

Best value Windows laptop/tablet hybrid for digital art

14 Inch Full HD Touchscreen Display :: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U Processor :: AMD Radeon Graphics :: 16GB RAM :: 256GB SSD :: Foldable Laptop/Tablet Hybrid Design :: Windows 11


Buy Now on Amazon

A great and highly affordable touch-screen 2-in-1 notebook / tablet computer, the Lenovo Flex 5 has a nicely sized 14 inch display – big enough to work on with real control and precision, but small enough to make it so nicely portable.

And the Flex 5 is built so well, with strong and solid design and construction and first rate material quality, that you can throw it in a backpack or art bag and take it with you without worry.

The touchscreen display is a real joy to work on, with amazing brightness, color, energy and detail, and an optimal pen to screen interaction with the included Lenovo Active Pen digital stylus. With tons of memory and an at least sufficiently sized SSD storage drive, this is a highly useful and valuable art tool.

The hybrid design of this and other laptops on our list really is fantastic for artists, as it allows you to work beautifully on any kind of digital art or image and to use it in a laptop normally as a part of your commercial art business and as a normal personal computer.

While it has to be said that a lot of similar products at this low price level are not so great, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 offers really great performance and great quality, and is a really amazing value.

Features of Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2 in 1 Touchscreen laptop for digital artists

Pros & Cons of Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2 in 1 Touchscreen laptop

Pros:

Cons:

Best Budget Windows Laptop for Digital Art

Affordable Pick
Acer Aspire 5 15.6 Inch Full HD Laptop

Best Budget Windows Laptop for 2D Animation and Digital Art

15.6 Inch Full HD IPS Display :: 11th Gen Intel Core i5 :: Intel Iris Xe Graphics :: 8GB DDR4 RAM :: 256GB SSD :: WiFi 6 :: Windows 11


Buy Now on Amazon

The least expensive choice in my list of best laptops for digital art and artists in 2022, the Acer Aspire is a pretty amazing performer for its price.

The processor and graphics, RAM and solid state storage are all seriously fast, allowing any artist – including even animators and videographers – to fall into their creative flow and stay there, without any delays, glitches or snags.

And with the latest-generation Intel i5 processor, you can run absolutely any art software – including the most powerful and advanced professional-level programs, with no issues at all.

This is a big computer for a laptop, with a striking 15.6 inch full high definition screen, and so it is a bit more work to take it with you. At the same time, though, the screen’s fantastic color depth and saturation, its brightness and contrast and its amazing sharpness and detail display all artwork – and anything else – with maximum impact and beauty.

There are less expensive laptops out there, but the Acer Aspire 5 has much better performance than any of them, and even handily outperforms other laptops at its price level. When you also factor in its fantastic material and build quality and its gloriously beautiful and powerful display, this is for my money the best value windows laptop for artists in 2022, and highly recommended!

Features of Acer Aspire 5 15.6″ Full HD laptop for digital artists

Pros & Cons of Acer Aspire 5 15.6″ Full HD laptop

Pros:

Cons:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Best Laptop for Digital Art

Can You Do Digital Art on a Laptop?

Yes, absolutely, modern laptops have enough RAM and processing power (both CPU (main processor) and GPU (graphics card)) that they are able to run all modern and industry-standard digital art programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Krita, Rebelle 5 and other. What is more, they are fairly light and very portable, so you can easily do digital art at home, in a cafe, or at school.

How Much RAM Do I Need for Digital Art?

At a minimum, 8GB of RAM, so the digital art program such as Photoshop and Illustrator run smooth, without lagging. More is better though, and I myself use 16GB of RAM on my MacBook Pro.

Which Laptop is Best for an Art Student?

If you are an art student and you are on a budget, you should aim for a minimum of 8GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD storage, HD display, and the newest Intel processor & GPU unit (or the newest Mac chip) available. Lenovo Flex 5 and Acer Aspire 5 on my list above could be great Windows choices. If you are an Apple fan, then the MacBook Air with an M1 chip can work nicely for you, too.

Is a PC or Laptop Better for Digital Art?

This greatly depends on where you want to do digital art and if you need your computer to be portable. If you are sure you will only do digital art at home, then go for a desktop computer which allows for more flexibility in terms of scalability. If, however, you know you will work at home, in a cafe, at school, in a client’s office, or remotely on an island in the Caribbean, then get a laptop.

I hope you found inspiration in my recommendations for the Best Laptop for Digital Art and Artists in 2022. Make sure to check out my site – Art Side of Life – for more artist guides, articles, online art courses, and all kinds of other resources for artists!

Other articles in the Laptops for Artists and Designers series:

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, teacher, and the founder of Art Side of Life™. I've worked as a commercial artist since 2009. 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, to contribute to waking up your creative genius.

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