Best Graphic Design Laptops of 2018

Updated on January 8, 2018

A Lot More for a Lot Less

Having watched the hardware market closely over the past ten years, I can tell you that some of the biggest gains in integrated graphics have been over the last couple of years. Intel's Broadwell and Skylake processors give you a mix of good integrated graphics and a long battery life.

If you haven't upgraded in a while, it's well worth it to take a look. Even less expensive options are better than the more expensive laptops of only a few years ago. In this post, I'll take you through pricey options with dedicated graphics cards for professionals as well as some cheap and good performing options.

5 Good Laptops for Graphic Designers Who Travel 2018

If you travel as much as I do, you know the importance of battery life, color accuracy, and weight. Here are a few laptops that offer good performance for the money you spend while making it easy for you to take them on the road.

Apple MacBook, Pro, and Air

When it comes to graphic design, it's hard to beat Apple's Macbook. MacBook's have traditionally been the go-to tool for the serious graphic designer and the latest lineup from the tech giant is no exception. It's what I use on the road although I'm a bit different as I switch to a PC that I've built myself while I'm at home.

Ideal if Color Accuracy is a Priority:

One of the main reasons I go with the Macbook Pro is because of its display. I simply need that extra color accuracy. If you're in the same boat, then this particular laptop should be at or near the top of your list. If color accuracy is not a priority, then you can focus more on performance.

The new line of MacBook Pros with the Retina Display is impressive. While the 17-inch models have been discontinued, the 15.4-inch models make up for the lack of screen size with an amazing 2880 by 1800 resolution. The higher pixel density is something I prefer because it gives me quite a bit more to work with.

Newer Models offer Superior Battery Life and Graphics:

If battery life is important to you, then I wouldn't recommend going with an older or used MacBook Pro. The newer MacBook Pro feature Intel's Skylake processor which allows the efficiency within the MacBook Pro to reach new heights. This gives users a general battery life of 9 hours for the 15-inch version and up to 12 hours for the 13-inch. For me that's plenty to use while I'm on the plane or out and about before I get back to my hotel. Previous generation models are not only offer inferior battery life, they also have inferior graphical performance.

Final Thoughts:

Overall the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro are a great choice for those who need color accuracy and good overall performance. If you do a lot of rendering and don't need color accuracy, then there are several options out there that offer similar or better processing and graphical performance for less money. That being said it's hard to argue with other intangibles like the superior battery life and Retina Display.

A Good Laptop for Gaming and Video Editing Under $1000

Performance is key when running graphic design programs. Creativity does not wait for the computer to catch up to ideas. ASUS has a tradition of building quality and reliability while providing some of the best performing laptops on the market. The Asus ROG GL702VS-DS74 gives you the power and portability to take on the most demanding graphic design projects.

This monster laptop has a large 17.3" 1080p G-Sync display. For graphics, it has a GTX 1070 which should give you a leg up on many of the others laptops on this list in terms of graphical performance.

For processor, it has the capable Kaby Lake Quad Core i7-7700HQ. Installed is 16GB of DDR4 memory that gives you the multitasking performance that graphic designers demand. The hard drive is a 512GB solid state drive along with a 1TB hard drive. This is quite impressive considering the price.


For gaming, you'll get nearly as much performance out of a GTX 1070 inside a laptop this year as you'll get outside of it. That means you can expect to slay just about any game that comes your way.

Overall, this laptop gives you a ton of performance for the $1,000 price tag. Get a good photo or video editing monitor and you should have the color accuracy you need as well.

A Good Budget Graphic Design Option

Dell XPS13

If you're looking for a laptop with decent performance and a long battery life, the Dell XPS13 could be what you're looking for. It has a color accurate 1080p borderless IPS display with an all-aluminum body.

What I like most about the XPS13 is its size. Weighing in at just 2.61 lbs it's easy to take with you anywhere you go. What's more is that it has a battery life of up to 15 hours. That should be enough to get at least a full day of work in if not more.

Additional features include a USB 3.1 Type C with Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, Waves MaxxAudio 3, Bluetooth 4.1, backlit keyboard, webcam, and a 3-in-1 card reader.

With an Intel Core i5-6200U Processor, 128 GB solid state drive, Intel HD Graphics, IPS Infinity Display, and 8GB of ram, the Dell XPS series has good enough performance and color accuracy for most.

A Good Traveling Laptop Under or Around $500

HP has a wide variety of laptop computers to address the specific need of the customer. From everyday computing to running enterprise CAD programs, there is bound to be an HP laptop that fits your needs.

One that I like is the new HP Envy convertible laptop which functions both as a laptop and tablet. I've had a few of these in the past that had a hinge that was hard to move; however, this one seems to have ironed out all the kinks.

For performance, it has an i5-6200U and uses Intel's HD Graphics 520.

For display, the HP Envy x360 has a 15.6" HD IPS WLED backlit touch screen.

Overall, this is a good performing laptop with a little more functionality than your common laptop and some color accuracy to boot as well. If you're willing to go with a used or refurbished option, you should be able to get it for as little as $500. New it will cost you around $700. It's fun to take with you on the road and the battery life should last you at least 6 hours.

A Good and Cheap AMD / Lenovo Laptop (Under $500)

My last pick is a lot less commonly known among most graphic designers but ultimately is one I couldn't leave out.

It uses an AMD Quad-Core A10-8700P accelerated processor with AMD's Radeon R6 Discrete Graphics and has a full HD IPS Backlit Display.

Since it does use an AMD processor, you'll get a lot less battery life. That being said, the 6 hours you'll get out of this Lenovo model is still very respectable. Like with most less expensive laptops, it weighs a bit more than the thin models above at around 5 pounds.

What this gives you is a laptop with a lot of graphical performance and an IPS display for a lot less money than you'd pay elsewhere. This should give you the wide viewing angles and color accuracy you're looking for while still having a laptop that can run all your power hungry software.

Ultimately, if your budget is $500, you need color accuracy, and graphical performance, this is a stellar option.

Graphic Designer / Editor Poll

Which laptop manufacturer do you prefer?

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Brandon Hart

What Laptop Do You Recommend For Graphic Design?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)