Just as the traditional artist needed a reliable easel for drawing, the modern digital artist needs a reliable piece of technology for drawing. Since the 2010s, tablets have revolutionized digital art. They’re affordable, and their touchscreen allows you to use your hand to the best of its ability.
However, what if you want a laptop for drawing? While a tablet is great, a laptop gives you more options. It’s much easier to use Photoshop on a PC, after all. Modern laptops have a touchscreen, allowing you to draw digitally. You can also find the 2-in-1 laptop, which will allow you to convert your laptop into a tablet.
Let’s look at some of the best laptops for drawing.
- What Should I Look For When Buying a Laptop for Drawing?
- Here’s How We Determined the Best Laptops for Drawing
- #1: Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 Laptop, 14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080) (Best Value – All-Purpose)
- #2: New Spectre x360 2-in-1 15-EB0053DX 15.6″ (Best Overall)
- #3: 2020 HP 14-inch HD Touchscreen Premium Laptop PC (Best Mid-Ranged Non-2-in-1 Laptop)
- #4: Acer Chromebook Spin 11 CP311-1H-C5PN (Best Low Cost)
- #5: ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 2-In-1 Laptop-11.6” (Most Rugged)
- Budget Options
- Can You Draw on a Touchscreen Laptop?
- What Is the Best Laptop for Art Students?
- Verdict: Your Best Laptop for Drawing
What Should I Look For When Buying a Laptop for Drawing?
Choosing a laptop can be difficult. There are laptops of varying prices, specs, and sizes. That’s why we’re here to help you find the best laptops for drawing depending on your situation. Let’s list some criteria you should consider.
Do I Need a Laptop or Tablet?
Before looking at the best laptops on the market today, make sure you need a laptop and not a tablet for drawing. Both have their own pros and cons, especially in regards to the focus of this article, which is drawing.
Laptops Allow You to Do More
A laptop just lets you do more. While tablets have evolved and can do quite a lot compared to their earlier versions, a laptop is built with more features. One example is the keyboard. The laptop uses a keyboard, allowing you to be more productive. The tablet has a virtual keyboard, and it does have external keyboards you can purchase, but the laptop is still king in this regard.
Of course, if you’re just drawing, the touchscreen works well. However, if you want to game and have more advanced features and programs available, the tablet may not be able to cut it.
Tablets Offer Portability
Obviously, the laptop is portable, but it’s still limited by its keyboard and other parts that weigh it down. The tablet is designed to be thin and not take up too much space. However, it does offer enough of a display for an artist to draw on. If you are an artist who travels a lot, a tablet may be a good option. The best laptops tend to be portable as well, but even the MacBook Airs of the world can’t compete.
They Have More Battery Life, Too
Tablets have hardware that isn’t as powerful as that of a laptop’s, so it makes sense why the battery tends to last a lot longer. The best laptops have worked hard to have a more powerful battery, but it’s rare if you can get above 8 hours with them. Meanwhile, a tablet can last 10 or more hours.
Laptops Can Store More
Tablets tend to have built-in memory that doesn’t offer too much. Usually, it has 32-64GB, with a micro SD slot to add more if you want to. However, a laptop does offer more storage, which is good if you’re someone who uses hard drives in addition to cloud storage.
They Perform More Powerfully Too
With a good tablet, you can draw, browse the web, play some video, and do basic tasks. However, doing too many tasks on them can slow it down.
Laptops can handle more tasks at once, especially if you get higher-end ones. This can sometimes be a case-by-case basis, as some tablets are designed for drawing or video editing, giving them better performance on that end. But in most cases, the best laptops exceed the best tablets for drawing and beyond.
Tablets Have Restrictive Software
With a tablet, you are only allowed to run the apps that you can download through a store, and these apps tend to be more restrictive when compared to their PC counterparts.
So, it all depends. If you are just going to use it for drawing and travel a lot, a tablet may be beneficial to you. However, in other cases, pick a laptop. There are some devices that offer both, such as the best 2-in-1 laptops. Alternatively, you may want to buy both devices if you want the best of both worlds.
The screen size of the laptop is important. After all, it’s your easel, and if it doesn’t offer everything you are looking for, that can be an issue. Of course, deciding on a screen involves several considerations. Let’s look at all of them.
Laptops come in all shapes and sizes. Some people can work on a tiny screen, but there are many who would prefer a laptop for drawing that has a decent screen size. For many, 13 inches or more is the ideal size, but it can depend on you. Some people have smaller hands or can work well on a tiny space. Others need a big screen. Pick the best size for your drawing needs.
You want a laptop that has at least full HD, 1080p resolution. Typically, this will be written as 1920 x 1080. This will allow you to get the most out of your art. There are some laptops that can go beyond that, such as 4K models, but they are beyond most people’s budgets. These are displays that go beyond 3000 x 2000, and they are great for super detailed art and for hardcore gaming.
The full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 is good in today’s modern world. Anything below that leads to low-resolution art that is not satisfying for most people. With that said, a 720p laptop may work well if you are on a budget or are casually drawing. Afterwards, you may want to upgrade and get the best laptop for the job. A 1920 x 1080 makes for a good upgrade.
What Else Are You Going to Use It For?
If you are going to be using the laptop for not only drawing, but for photo editing or video editing, and you need a good gaming computer, you may want to go with something a little more expensive and consider one of the best laptops available on the market. However, if you are just going to be using it for drawing and a couple of other basic tasks, you don’t need the best laptop money can buy.
The laptop should have a touchscreen. Besides the fact that having a touch screen in addition to a mouse is convenient, a good touchscreen will make your laptop for artists much better. You want a touch screen that you can control and a touch screen that will allow you to adjust the sensitivity when you are drawing.
Unless you’re skilled with your finger, you’ll need a good stylus, or Surface Pen. The Surface Pen glides across the screen, allowing you to get the most out of your art. Some laptops will include a Surface Pen or stylus, while others may require you to purchase it separately.
With that said, you need to realize that some styluses are compatible with only certain models. When looking for the best laptop for the job, always do a little research beforehand.
Your laptop should have USB slots that support USB type C. USB type C slots can charge your devices and power other devices such as an external storage or speakers. Always pick the laptop that has the right amount of USB type C slots.
Memory Card Reader
You want a laptop that has slots for memory cards such as an SD or micro SD card. When you are an artist, having extra space for your digital art is important, especially if you want to transfer your digital art between computers. Most laptops will have this, but you should always make sure. Some laptops, especially thin ones, may lack a card reader and instead rely on their internal storage.
Many laptops have an HDMI slot, allowing you to connect your laptop to a TV or monitor. If you want to show off your art to the world, a tiny laptop screen may not show off your digital art well. However, a large TV may be able to do so. Smaller laptops may not have this and instead have lightning slots that you can use with an adapter to show it on the TV.
Most laptops have Bluetooth of some kind. If you want to listen to some music in peace, Bluetooth allows you the freedom of wireless earbuds. You can also use Bluetooth to transfer or share your data, too. Make sure the best laptop you get has Bluetooth 5 in order to get the most out of it.
One factor to consider is whether or not you want to purchase any 2-in-1 laptops. This is a laptop that you can fold into a tablet in order to get the best of both worlds. You can also find plenty of laptops that have a touch screen but don’t have a 2-in-1 option. The downside of 2-in-1 laptops is the fact that you may have to pay a little more in order to get better specs outside of its foldability. However, many will find that the best laptops for drawing may be the 2-in-1 laptop just because of how flexible it is.
In some circles, this is also known as a convertible laptop. It may be called a convertible laptop if it has more than two ways to show itself. Some types of convertible laptop can be used like a stand. You may find a 360-degree convertible laptop that rotates in all directions, with a 360-degree offering more freedom.
How Well Does It Perform?
This is an obvious step in choosing the best laptop for drawing. You don’t need a supercomputer or anything, but you do need something that won’t slow down when you’re in the middle of an intense drawing session. The processor is important for this. The better processor you can get, the better performance you will have. However, even if you are on a tight budget, make sure you get at least an Intel Core i5 processor. This can help you run all the software without slowing you down. Later on, we’ll show you some minimum, yet ideal, requirements for a good laptop for drawing.
The battery life of your laptop is also important. When you’re on the go and you have no outlets, you want to make sure your laptop has a good battery life. You want something that will meet how long you’re going to be out without a charger.
Just remember that when it comes to battery life, the battery life shown on the box is an “up to” measurement. How much battery life you get out of it may be more or less depending on what settings you have on. For example, if it says ten hours, the battery life may be cut in half if you have many applications open and have your brightness cranked up. However, the laptop may indeed reach ten hours if you have all the energy saving settings on. Of course, there is a medium ground between decent battery life and performance.
Besides battery life, the best laptop for the job will have fast charging. You won’t have to spend hours waiting for your laptop to be at full power. Instead, a little will go a long way.
Besides the processor, how much RAM, or random access memory, your computer has, is important. It houses short-term data that apps can use to make your computer process faster. If you run a lot of apps, you’ll need plenty of RAM. Later on, we will show the ideal specs for you. Ideally, you’ll want at least 8 GB of RAM, or 16 GB if you want the best.
If you’re a traveling artist, you’ll want a laptop that is mobile. Most laptops are portable, but some manage to be more lightweight than others. Just know that lighter laptops may sacrifice some features, such as HDMI slots. Also, some people may like a heavier laptop that can be sturdy as they are drawing. It’s all up to personal preference.
How much data can your laptop store? It used to be that laptops would use an HDD, or hard disk drive. Newer laptops have an SSD, or solid state drive, which is able to access data faster. If you plan on having a lot of programs and images outside of cloud storage, you do want to make sure that the hard drive can hold it.
Just remember that the hard drive covers internal storage. You can also buy external hard drives and have cloud storage as well. With art, you never want to put all your eggs into one basket. Having multiple internal storage and external storage options can be good for you.
Your OS, or operating system, is also important. Most of the computers in this article will operate on Windows 10. It’s user-friendly, and Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro is the current OS used by Microsoft. Some older laptops can run on Windows 8, which is a nice alternative to Windows 10 or Windows 10 Pro. With that said, some people prefer Mac, especially artists. We will throw a Mac in there as well in our list of the best laptops for the job.
With laptops, the price can range from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars. Your budget can determine which laptop you get. If you’re buying a cheaper laptop, you may need to make a few sacrifices, such as a smaller SSD for a little more RAM. However, if you want a laptop that has 4K resolution and tons or RAM, you can spend more on an expensive laptop.
Most people will fall in the middle, buying a laptop that has the ideal specs for drawing and doing other activities, but it’s not a beast of a computer.
You want a company that will stand behind their laptop. The best laptops tend to have a good warranty, and if something should happen, the company will repair or replace it for you. Some companies will have shady warranties, such as charging you a lot of money to replace faulty hardware and only covering software issues. Always read the warranty beforehand, and if you want to have some extra insurance, you may want to consider purchasing additional protection plans.
This especially applies if you have an expensive laptop. Mistakes happen. You can drop it or splash some water on it, and having a protection plan that protects against accidents may be ideal.
Now, let’s look at laptop system requirements. If you are going to be drawing, the best laptops will meet the minimum requirements and ideally exceed the recommended requirements.
As we mentioned before, Intel Core i5 is the minimum CPU you need. However, if you want to have the best, something that’s Intel Core i7 or higher is recommended.
For RAM, you want at least 8 GB. However, if you want to get the best drawing performance, 16GB RAM is what you need.
A cheaper laptop will have a battery life of up to 5 hours. However, a more expensive laptop may have a battery life of up to 10 hours.
You want a display that is at least 12 inches and HD. However, the preferred recommendation is 15 inches with full HD.
Minimally, you want a 256GB SSD. If you want something more, a 512GB is good, or a Hybrid SATA, which combines both the HDD and the SDD.
Minimally, Windows 8 is a good OS for you. However, Windows 10 is recommended, and it’s what you’ll most often find. For a Mac user, macOS X Mojave is minimally what you need.
Here’s How We Determined the Best Laptops for Drawing
We chose from several of the best laptops for the situation. We looked at all the specs and tried to cover a wide variety of laptops that excelled in performance. In addition, we picked laptops that had good reviews. Now, without further ado, let’s look at the best laptops.
#1: Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 Laptop, 14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080) (Best Value – All-Purpose)
The ideal laptop for drawing is a mid-range laptop that ticks all the boxes. It’s not too pricey, but it’s not too cheap either. After some research, we determined that this model works well for that.
This is a 2-in-1 laptop that has 16 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD. In addition, it uses an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U as its processor, which is quite powerful. Despite it having all the good specs in it, this laptop is lightweight and not too thick. It also comes with its own pen for drawing.
This laptop has a display of 14-inches and is 1920 x 1080 with full HD. Turning it from a laptop to a tablet is also seamless, too. Just fold it into a tablet shape and use it for drawing. As you can expect from a modern laptop, it also has Windows 10.
Finally, we should mention that it does have up to 10 hours of battery life. It also has a quick charge option, filling up the battery 80% in an hour.
Reviews of this 2-in-1 laptop were positive overall, with most people saying it’s the perfect laptop for the job. With any piece of technology, you’re going to run into the reviewers who had duds, but they were in the minority.
Overall, this laptop should be your first choice in your search for the best laptops for drawing. It’s not too expensive but not too cheap, and it should check all the right boxes. While it’s not one of the best gaming laptops around and it’s not full 4K, it should cover every base one is looking for when purchasing the best laptop for art.
#2: New Spectre x360 2-in-1 15-EB0053DX 15.6″ (Best Overall)
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Some people have a high budget, and they want to use that budget to get one of the best laptops available on the market. If you have that desire, then this laptop is for you.
First, this is a 4K UHD laptop. There are 4K laptops out there that are cheaper, but this is a whopping 15.6 inches and has the best touchscreen features. It has 16GB of RAM and an Intel Core i7 10750H processor, making it a beast. It’s also an NVIDIA Max-Q laptop, making it great for playing games at their highest settings, in addition to drawing.
One of its biggest features has to be its hard drive. It’s an SSD that has a whopping 4TB of storage. You don’t need to worry about running out of memory any time soon with this beast. It has a battery life of up to 10 hours and an extremely fast charger, being able to recharge halfway in just 30 minutes. In addition, this laptop has a full-size, backlit keyboard for the best performance possible. It even comes with a microSD slot.
This laptop does have a positive review that praises its performance. Overall, it’s a great laptop if you are looking for something that is extremely powerful. If you want to have a gaming session after drawing, this laptop is the best for you. Some people would rather invest in a gaming desktop, as they offer more power for the same price, but if you are always on the go and want something beyond the 1920 x 1080 resolution a standard laptop provides, this may work well for you.
#3: 2020 HP 14-inch HD Touchscreen Premium Laptop PC (Best Mid-Ranged Non-2-in-1 Laptop)
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Some people may not want the best 2-in-1 laptop because they just want a classic laptop for drawing. Nothing wrong with that. More moving parts means more hassle for some people. This is a great laptop for drawing. It has 8GB fo RAM, and it uses a 256 GB SSD. It has an AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics card as well, along with a Ryzen 3 3200U processor.
With an HD display that is 14 inches, it should suit your drawing needs as well. It uses Windows 10, and it gives that mid-ranged performance you would expect from an HP computer. With a nice display screen and good performance, this is not a convertible laptop, but it’s still great for your digital art as long as you buy the right stylus.
Reviews of this laptop have been positive overall, with most people saying that it’s a powerful laptop for the price, and it should make drawing easy. While not a 2-in-1, it’s still a great touchscreen laptop and one of the best for the price range.
Overall, if you’re looking for a slightly cheaper laptop that has a touchscreen but isn’t convertible, this laptop is for you.
#4: Acer Chromebook Spin 11 CP311-1H-C5PN (Best Low Cost)
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If you’re a starving artist, there are some drawing laptops that can meet your budget. This laptop does have specs that are lower than the ideal. It has an HD display of 11.6 inches, which is a little small for some artists. In addition, it only has 4GB of RAM. Instead of using an SSD, it has an EMMC, or memory card, of 32GB. Being a Chromebook, you do have 100GB of Drive storage, however.
Battery life is strong, being up to 10 hours. In addition, it does come with all the Google apps you may be looking for. It is a touchscreen and one of the best 2-in-1 laptops if you’re on a strict budget.
Reviews of this laptop have been positive overall, with most reviewers saying that it’s not too bad for the price. A few reviewers, many of whom had their vocal minority of complaints voted to the top, had issues with the laptop working, but they were in the minority.
Overall, we recommend this laptop if you’re new to drawing or you need something temporary. It’s cheap, and it does sacrifice some specs to reach that price. However, if you play it smart, you may be able to get some power out of this laptop. While not the absolute best laptop for artists, it can work well if you are in a pinch.
#5: ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 2-In-1 Laptop-11.6” (Most Rugged)
A fine piece of art needs protection. If you travel a lot, you may want to look for a laptop that can handle drops or liquid spills. This has a body designed to withstand drops and spills. Obviously, no piece of tech is truly bulletproof, but this device should protect you from those accidental drops, or protect against some coffee spilled on it. It uses a rubber grip to reduce drops, and its finish keeps scratches and your fingerprints away from its surface.
This does have an 11.6 inch touchscreen to work with, along with a stylus that is built right in.
Its specs are not the best, but they will work well enough. It has an Intel Gemini Lake Dual-Core Celeron N4000 Processor that has 2.6 GHz. It uses 4 GB of RAM and it includes all of the basic ports you need. It even has a basic HD camera.
Reviews of this drawing device have been positive overall. On the list of best laptops, we put this on the bottom, as reviews are a bit lower. Some people say it’s one of the best laptops for drawing if you are needing something cheaper and more rugged. However, other reviewers say that it’s a little underpowered and the screen has issues for them. But overall, most customers were satisfied with what they bought.
If you’re looking for a drawing laptop and you don’t have much money to spend, it can be a challenge. However, you can find some laptops that may work decently for a couple hundred. While these are not gaming laptops, they may be able to give you enough for you to work with.
#1 Budget: 2 in 1 Laptop Jumper x1 Windows 10 Laptop FHD Touchscreen Display Laptop Computer 11.6 inch 6GB RAM 128GB ROM
This drawing laptop is a little sketchy, but it does have positive reviews. It has enough features for it to work decently, and it’s a 2-in-1 as well. There are some sacrifices you have to make with the price, such as 6GB of RAM, but overall, it may work well if you are on a tight budget.
#2 Budget: Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 11e
If you need a laptop for a cheap price, this one works well too. It’s a “renewed” laptop, but it does have a 90-day guarantee. A renewed laptop is a pre-owned laptop that has had professional testing and cleaning to restore it to look as new as possible. This laptop may have decent enough specs for you to get started.
Another idea you can try if you are looking for a cheap computer is to look to the drawing tablet. The Amazon Fire, for example, is cheap, and you can buy keyboards that can latch onto the tablet, creating something like a laptop. Think of it like a laptop that is permanently in the tablet mode.
With a laptop computer, buying it too cheap may mean you’re left with a lagging piece of junk that can’t open two apps at once. In a case like this, you are much better off purchasing a tablet. Then, you can save your money and get a 2-in-1 convertible computer down the road.
Can You Draw on a Touchscreen Laptop?
Yes, you can. If you have a laptop that has a touchable screen, you are able to draw on it using a stylus.
The challenge is that not all styluses will work on your laptop. Some laptops will have a display screen that is only compatible with certain types of styluses. This is because the display screen of the laptop uses a layer that will detect certain pens, and it will only accept compatible pens. There may be a program you can download to get around this, but the performance of the stylus may not be as good as if you used an officially compatible pen.
The best laptops for artists tend to come with a stylus included, but there are some that do not. Because of this, you may need to do some research and see which styluses will work on the laptop.
What Is the Best Laptop for Art Students?
If you are an art student, it’s important you get a laptop that will last you. It needs to have plenty of SSD storage (256GB or more). It needs at least 8GB of RAM, and it should have a good battery, as you’ll need to keep it going all throughout class.
We believe the first laptop on this list, the Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 Laptop, works well. It’s a mid-ranged laptop that has 16GB RAM, SSD storage/256GB, the ability to switch between laptop and tablet, and lots of battery life. When you’re drawing in 2020, this laptop works well.
Obviously, being a student, you may need to buy something cheaper, and you may not necessarily find the best computer for your profession. In a case like this, you may want to spend money on the best tablet, which can offer art software without costing too much. Cheap laptops are a “you get what you paid for” situation, but tablets for the same price can offer more. The best device can depend on your budget.
Verdict: Your Best Laptop for Drawing
And there you have it. Five laptops that make drawing easier. From expensive laptops to cheaper units, we believe we covered it all. In case you were doodling and were not paying too much attention, here are the top 5 laptops again.
First, we have the Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 Laptop, 14.0. This laptop is a mid-ranged unit that is a 2-in-1, with a tablet mode to make drawing easier. It has specs that should satisfy most artists.
Second, the New Spectre x360 2-in-1 15-EB0053DX 15.6″. This is a laptop for those who have a high budget. If you’re looking for a laptop with well over a 3000 x 2000 resolution, this 4K laptop is for you. It has 4TB SSD storage and 16 GB of RAM. It has powerful hardware that makes it not only a great laptop for drawing, but one of the best gaming laptops around as well.
Third, we have the 2020 HP 14-inch HD Touchscreen Premium Laptop PC. This is good if you want a laptop that doesn’t have a tablet mode and is just a laptop with a touchscreen. It has a decent performance, all available at a mid-ranged price.
Fourth, the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 CP311-1H-C5PN. This is a Chromebook, which has Google Drive storage and apps. Because of its price, this laptop is great if you have a tight budget, but some sacrifices have to be made. With that said, it may work well enough on the cheap.
And finally, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C214 2-In-1 Laptop-11.6”. If you are looking for something rugged, this works well. It gives you protection from scratches, drops, and minor coffee spills, which makes it perfect for college and work environments that require you to constantly move your laptop around.
With that, those are the top five laptops for drawing. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, having a good laptop for drawing can make all the difference in the world. A laptop is something you should think about before you make a decision, as you’ll be using it for a while. Look at the specs, look at what you’ll use it for, and find the best computer for the job.
We hope this article has shown you the best laptops for the job. Good luck.