Best Laptop for Digital Art and Artists in 2022

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Aug 25, 2022 •  Guides

I get many questions from established and aspiring artists about what computers, especially laptops, are best for digital art. 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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Top 4 Laptops for Digital Art Compared

This is a quick comparison of my favorite laptops for digital art and artists. Find more picks in the overview below, including more macOS and Windows picks.

Value Pick
Budget Pick
My Pick
Windows Pick
Description:

Best value 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrid for digital art

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


Description:

Best Budget Windows laptop for digital art and 2D animation

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

Description:

Best Apple laptop for digital art and myself!

macOS :: 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

Description:

Best Windows laptop for digital art

Windows 10 Pro :: 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

Value Pick
Description:

Best value 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrid for digital art

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


Budget Pick
Description:

Best Budget Windows laptop for digital art and 2D animation

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

My Pick
Description:

Best Apple laptop for digital art and myself!

macOS :: 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

Windows Pick
Description:

Best Windows laptop for digital art

Windows 10 Pro :: 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

Table of Contents

Overview: Best Laptops for Digital Art and Artists in 2022

Budget Windows Pick: Acer Aspire 5

Budget Pick
Acer Aspire 5 15.6 Full HD Laptop

Best Budget Windows laptop for digital art and 2D animation

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

Get it 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

ProsCons
➕ Big, sharp, and very bright screen with excellent colors➖ Too big for some – not the most portable
➕ Fast CPU and graphics processing
➕ Quite affordable for how powerful it is
➕ Durable and reliable
➕ Long battery life

Value Pick: Lenovo Flex 5 2-in-1

Value Pick
Lenovo Flex 5 14-inch FHD 2-in-1 Laptop/Tablet

Best Value Windows 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid for digital art

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

Get it 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, construction, and 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 optimal pen-to-screen interaction with the included Lenovo Active Pen digital stylus. This is a highly useful and valuable art tool with tons of memory and an at least sufficiently sized SSD storage drive.

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

ProsCons
➕ Brilliant Full HD display➖ Small capacity SSD drive
➕ Great touchscreen for art with digital pen included!➖ Lower resolution than more expensive laptops and tablets – though still full high definition
➕ Very fast processing, memory, and storage
➕ Useful hybrid laptop-tablet design
➕ Well built and durable

My Pick: 2021 MacBook Pro 16

My Pick
2021 Apple MacBook Pro 16 with M1 Pro chip

Best Apple laptop for digital art and myself!

macOS :: 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

Get it 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, it is so glitch-free and problem-free that it never stands in my way when I’m working.

It supports me, allows me to do whatever I want, 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 a 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. Still, 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 displaying 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

ProsCons
➕ Superb liquid retina XDR display➖ Price
➕ Best Color gamut and accuracy
➕ Amazing brightness and contrast
➕ Exceptionally fast Apple M1 Pro processor
➕ Amazing material quality and reliability

Budget Apple Pick: 2020 MacBook Air

Budget Pick
2020 Apple MacBook Air 13 with M1 Chip

Budget Pick MacBook for digital art

macOS :: 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

Get it 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. Still, 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, taking to clients’ offices, or even moving around your home 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 will outperform anything in its class in many ways.

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 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

ProsCons
➕ Retina display➖ Smaller screen
➕ Bright display with lot of contrast, color gamut and accuracy
➕ Fast processor, RAM and SSD storage 
➕ Light but durable
➕ All-Day battery life

Windows Pick: ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15.6

Windows Pick
ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15.6 Laptop with ScreenPad

Best Windows laptop for digital art

Windows 10 Pro :: 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

Get it on Amazon

Many artists say that you shouldn’t try to make art directly on your laptop’s screen, but I’m sure none have 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

ProsCons
➕ Smart touchscreen ultra high definition (UHD) display➖ Price
➕ Amazing color gamut and accuracy
➕ Useful ScreenPad Plus tilting secondary touchscreen
➕ Incredibly fast and powerful processor

Also Great: ASUS ZenBook Duo 14

Great value
ASUS ZenBook Duo 14 Laptop with ScreenPad

Great Value Windows laptop for digital art

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

Get it 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 most 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. However, 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, this is a top-level laptop with the latest generation Intel Core i7 CPU.

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

ProsCons
➕ Almost similar performance to Due Pro 15.6 at a much lower price➖ Smaller screen and lower resolution than the Duo Pro 15.6
➕ Full HD resolution touchscreen
➕ Great color gamut and accuracy
➕ Useful ScreenPad Plus secondary touchscreen
➕ High material quality and reliability

Design Pick: Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2-in-1

Design Pick
Microsoft Surface 14.4-inch 2-in-1 Laptop/Tablet

Laptop for digital art with brilliant design and performance

Windows 11 :: 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


Get it 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 outstanding 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 get the excellent Microsoft Surface Pen or the newer Surface Slim Pen 2 (sold separately) to 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

ProsCons
➕ Amazing color, contrast, brightness and detail➖ It will make your friends jealous – wait, should that go in the Pros list? 🙂
➕ Highly advanced hybrid design with superb touchscreen
➕ Hyper-fast central and graphics processing
➕ Elegant, strong, light and incredibly powerful
➕ One of the best personal laptops and one of the best art tablets in a single package!

Main Criteria for Choosing 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. 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 reasonably priced and 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 often hear is, should I get a Mac or a Windows laptop computer for my artwork?

From my experience, I included that 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, they made it into a very powerful machine by adding the right parts (RAM & storage space).

On the other hand, Apple laptops, or MacBooks, have always been 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 (!)

The most important high-end software for creating digital art has been available for Windows and Apple for many years, 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 get a Windows laptop if you are a Windows fan.

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, many laptops are 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 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.

Spending 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, 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, 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.

FAQs – Best Laptop for Digital Art

Can you do digital art on a laptop?

Yes, modern laptops have enough RAM and processing power (both CPU (main processor) and GPU (graphics card)) that they can run all modern and industry-standard digital art programs, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Krita, Rebelle 5, and other. Moreover, 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 of 8GB of RAM, digital art programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator will run smoothly without lagging. More is better, though; I 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 could be great Windows choices. If you are an Apple fan, the MacBook Air with an M2 chip can also work nicely for you.

Is a PC or laptop better for digital art?

This 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 my guide helped you to find your new laptop to make awesome digital art!

Visit 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, 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 illustration, 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 either wake up or develop your creative genius. Learn more about me.

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