Digital Artists: 9 Best laptop for drawing and animation in 2023

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A laptop for content creation is very different from a laptop for content consumption.

best laptops for drawing and animation

Since drawing and animation are graphics-intensive tasks, they require a laptop that can handle large projects and sustained workloads.

An ideal laptop for graphics should have a high-resolution color-accurate screen, powerful processor, good graphic performance as well as adequate ports to connect peripherals such as a graphics tablet.

Some of the popular laptops in the market simply cannot fulfill these requirements and won’t fit your needs as a digital artist.

After spending over a week – comparing, testing, and benchmarking over 30 laptops, we have finally been able to find some of the best laptops for drawing and animation.

Our top pick is Asus ZenBook Pro 16x OLED (Amazon), a laptop that has been designed for digital artists from the ground up and comes with unique features you won’t find anywhere else.

Other options include laptops with pen support, 2 in 1 convertible, ultrabooks, etc.

It took us a lot of time to create this list.

Our curated list has something for everyone – No matter whether you are looking for a budget option or a powerful top-of-the-line laptop, or something unique and eye catchy.

Top Recommendations

In a hurry? Here are our top picks…

Apple Macbook Air M2 for drawing and animation
Apple Macbook Air M2
  • 14.2-inch screen
  • 16:10 Aspect ratio
  • Apple M2 Pro chip
  • Integrated GPU 10 cores
  • DCI-P3 wide color gamut
  • All-metal body
  • Premium
recommended laptop for artists - asus zenbook Pro 16X
Asus Zenbook Pro 16X
  • 16-inch 4k screen
  • 16:10 Aspect ratio
  • Intel® Core™ i7 or i9
  • NVIDIA® RTX 3060 Graphics
  • 100% DCI-P3 color
  • Great build quality
  • All-rounder
lenovo ideapad 3i budget laptop for artists
Lenovo IdeaPad 3
  • 15.6-inch screen
  • 16:9 Aspect ratio
  • AMD 6600 series processor
  • NVIDIA® RTX 3050 Graphics
  • Full-size keyboard
  • Super affordable

Minimum hardware requirements for drawing/animation

One of the first steps when buying a laptop is to be aware of the basic requirements.

A laptop with a slow processor and low RAM simply does not have the horsepower to smoothly run any graphic-intensive application.

Here are some of the minimum requirements your computer needs to have…

Processor – Faster processor equals smoother performance

  • 6 core 12 threads for Intel Processors
  • 6 cores and 6 threads for AMD processors

RAM – for stability and better multitasking

  • Ideally 16 GB

Storage – More is always better

  • 512 GB min storage – NVMe or SSD

Other requirements

  • More than 95% sRGB color gamut coverage (color accuracy)
  • Screen brightness of more than 300 nits
  • 1440p (2k), 60Hz output for external monitors

All the laptops mentioned in our list fulfills the minimum requirements mentioned above.

1. Asus ZenBook Pro 16x OLED – The “Best” Laptop for Drawing and Animation

Our pick
Asus zenbook pro 16x OLED drawing laptop for artist and animators

Asus ZenBook Pro 16X OLED

Incredible screen, innovative design, powerful internals, specialty features, and Excellent build quality. Hands down the best laptop for Digital Artists and Animators.

• OLED screen
• 4k Resolution
• Excellent color accuracy
• Programmable Dial
• Stylus support

Check on Amazon

From our initial list of a little over 30 laptops, we had a number of potential candidates for being at the top spot for the best laptop for drawing and animation.

Out of all these laptops, the Asus ZenBok Pro 16X (Amazon) stood out as a deserving winner and is hands down the perfect choice for digital artists.

The ZenBook Pro 16X is essentially made for creative professionals from the ground up and has a number of art-centric features.

These features simplify your workflow and make working on this laptop convenient and enjoyable. 

Starting with the screen itself. It comes with a 16-inch screen which is a nice middle ground between 15 and 17 inches.

asus zenbook pro 16x OLED laptop front view

Plus it has a 16:10 aspect ratio giving your more vertical space which is widely considered better for productivity-related tasks. 

You will also appreciate the 4k resolution, which is not that common in this price range.

Finally, the OLED screen and the color accuracy and contrast that comes with an OLED screen – act as a cherry on top.

Well, if that was not enough – it also comes with a pressure-sensitive stylus support with the stylus included in the box.

The Asus Zenbook Pro 16X is not a slouch either when it comes to performance.

It comes with an Intel i7-12700H series CPU with 6 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores (total 14 cores) and 20 threads.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU has got you covered in the graphics department.

When you open the laptop, the keyboard raises at an angle for a comfortable typing experience (This also improves the airflow for cooling).

asus zenbook pro 16x numpad inside touchpad
Numpad integrated into the touchpad

The digital Numpad is integrated into the touchpad and can be turned on and off as per the need.

Talking of the touchpad, it is large, very responsive, and comes with haptic feedback.

If you notice, there is a programmable circular touch Dial right next to the touchpad.

You can set it to perform any keyboard combination within any program or control things like brightness, and volume, or launch an application. (Similar to what you find in some Wacom drawing tablets)

Overall, the Asus ZenBook Pro 16X OLED does everything right. It comes with an incredibly high-quality screen, power internals, and a number of unique features – all at a reasonable price.

This is hands down the best all-rounder laptop for digital artists.

Asus ZenBook Pro 16X OLED - Features and Specs.  (click to expand)

Resolution: (3840 x 2400) 4K resolution – 283 PPI

Size and aspect ratio: 16 inches, 16:10 aspect ratio

Color Accuracy: 100% DCI-P3 color coverage

Max Display Brightness: 550 Nits

Processor: Intel® Core™  i7 or i9 options (12th gen)

Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3060

RAM: 16 GB / 32 GB LPDDR5 SDRAM – (soldered)

Storage: 1 TB/ 2TB optional

Backlight (keyboard): Yes (RGB)

Ports: 2 x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x barrel style power in, 1 x HDMI 2.1, 1 x Audio Jack, 1 x SD card reader

Upgradeability: Yes, only memory not RAM

Weight:  5.29 lbs (2.39 Kg)

Battery: 96Wh (Decent battery life)

Pros – What we liked

  • The real star of the show – 16-inch 4K resolution screen
  • OLED screen with outstanding 1,000,000:1 contrast
  • Color accuracy – 100% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage 
  • 16:10 aspect ratio (taller screen is better for productivity, helps with drawing/ animation software)
  • 550 nits brightness for good outdoor visibility
  • 12th Gen i7/i9 processor (uncompromised performance)
  • RTX 3060 Graphics – easily handles all your graphics requirements
  • Pressure-sensitive stylus support (can draw right on the screen without needing a dedicated drawing tablet)
  • Stylus included in the package (The stylus latency is surprisingly good)
  • Touch-based Programmable Shortcut Dial
  • Tilted keyboard for comfortable typing and better airflow
  • RGB backlight on the keyboard
  • Large trackpad with digital, illuminated Numpad
  • Hepatic feedback enabled touchpad (click anywhere)
  • Good port selection
  • FullHD camera with AI sound canceling for superior video calls (filters background noise)
  • 6-speaker system for superior sound
  • Overall very compact and functional design
  • Good cooling system (can handle sustained workloads like rendering)
  • The best choice for digital artists

Cons – But not dealbreakers

  • A bit on the heavier side – 5.29 lbs (2.39 Kg)
  • Larger 200W power brick
  • Soldered RAM (not user upgradable)
  • Some people may feel weird using the tilted keyboard, but you will get used to it pretty quickly
  • Okish battery life (but most of the powerful laptops have similar battery life)

Check on Amazon →


2. Apple MacBook Air M2 – Incredible power, unmatched battery life

Popular choice

Apple Macbook Air M2

All-rounder. Powerful/ power-efficient processor, longest battery backup, color accurate/ high res. screen, top-tier build quality, in a thin, compact, and lightweight package.

• 100% DCI-P3 color accuracy
• Compact and portable
• Longest-lasting battery life
• 500 nits brightness
• Premium, metallic build quality

Check on Amazon

Apple laptops have been a popular choice among artists and designers. After the arrival of Apple’s own M series processors, they have gotten even better.

The incredibly fast and power-efficient M2 processor plus a sharp color accurate screen all resting inside a metallic external shell are some of the main reasons why people like this laptop so much.

macbook pro 14 3d design and graphics

Now as you might have noticed, there are many laptops on this list whose screen is technically capable of displaying good colors. But many of those displays are not calibrated properly – resulting in the color output being a little off.

The Apple laptops are some of the best color-calibrated displays out there which gives you near-perfect colors right out of the box.

As far as the other thing is concerned, including the build quality – since it is Apple, it is no surprise that the overall fit and finish, and quality is of the highest standards.

Apple Macbook Pro 14 - Features and Specs.  (click to expand)

Resolution: 2560 x 1664 pixels, 224 PPI

Size and aspect ratio: 13.6 inches, 16:10

Color Accuracy: 100% DCI-P3 Wide color gamut coverage

Processor: Apple M2 Chip 8-core CPU

Graphics: Integrated 10-core GPU

RAM: 8 GB, or 16 GB (integrated/unified)

Storage: 512 GB (optional 1 TB, 2TB)

Backlight (keyboard): Yes

Ports: 2 USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, Headphone, MagSafe (charging)

Upgradeability: No

Weight:  2.7 lbs (1.24 kg)

Battery: 52.6Wh

Pros – What we liked

  • Compact, lightweight, and portable
  • Powerful M2 Processor
  • Good graphics performance
  • Incredibly good battery life
  • 13.6 inch, 2560 x 1664 pixels sharp display
  • Taller 16:10 aspect ratio
  • 100% DCI-P3 color support
  • Good color calibration right out of the box
  • 500 nits of brightness
  • The best trackpad
  • 1080p video calling camera
  • Good microphone
  • One of the best speakers on a laptop in its segment
  • Backlit keyboard (No RGB)
  • One of the lightest laptop
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Premium metallic unibody design
  • Excellent choice for design and art professionals

Cons – But not dealbreakers

  • Notched screen
  • No face Unlock (in spite of having a notch)
  • Integrated memory (not user upgradable)
  • Limited connectivity ports

Check on Amazon →


3. Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 – Incredible value-for-money laptop with a really good screen

Value pick

Asus ROG Strix Scar 15

Popular laptop with powerful internals, flashy RGB lighting, quality screen, and good design aesthetics – without over-the-top pricing. Highly recommend.  

• 15.6-inch FHD screen
• Good color accuracy
• Powerful i9 processor
• Good use of RGB lighting
• Upgradable RAM and Storage (2 slots each)

Check on Amazon

There are a number of laptops on the market that comes with incredible power. But most of those laptops are incredibly expensive as well – making them out of reach for most people.

What if you could get near top-level performance without spending the top dollars?

That is essentially what you get with Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 (Amazon). It is very popular amongst gamers as it brings a lot to the tablet.

All that gaming-centric features combined with a beautiful color-accurate screen, make the Asus Strix Scar 15 a very promising option for digital artists and designers.

It comes with a 15.6 inch 16:9 FullHD screen with respectable color accuracy of 100% sRGB color gamut coverage.

The real selling point of this laptop is the power it packs. It is one of the most powerful laptops in its price segment.

asus ROG Strix Scar 15 powerful laptop for digital artist

It comes with an Intel Core i9 12900H processor, which easily handles large art and animation project files or anything else that you throw at it.

On the GPU side of things, it has NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060. More than good enough for the price.

When you buy this, you will also appreciate the smaller things such as how good the keyboard feels, thin bezels around the top and sides as well as integrated Numpad on the touchpad.

The RGB lighting on this laptop is very well done. You get a full RGB keyboard control with sync option. The ASUS ROG logo is illuminated and supports RGB.

There is also an RGB underglow which looks great at night and is positioned in a way such that it does not directly hits your eyes.

The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 is a very popular laptop. It is powerful, and flashy, comes with a good screen, and does not have over-the-top pricing – making it a very practical option not only for artists and animators but also for design and 3d graphics related work.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 - Features and Specs.  (click to expand)

Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels, 141 PPI, 300 Hz

Size and aspect ratio: 15.6 inches, 16:9

Color Accuracy: 100% sRGB color gamut coverage

Processor: Intel Core i9 12900H processor

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics


Storage: 512 GB

Backlight (keyboard): Yes (RGB)

Ports: 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen1, 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (DP and power delivery), 1 x USB-C Thunderbolt 4, 1 x HDMI 2.1, Audio jack, 1 x LAN

Upgradeability: Yes, RAM and Storage with 2 slots each

Weight:  5.07 lbs (2.30 kg)

Battery: 90Wh

Pros – What we liked

  • 15.6-inch FHD – Good screen
  • 100% sRGB color accuracy
  • Thin bezels on top and sides
  • Excellent future upgradability (RAM and Storage with 2 slots each)
  • Numpad integrated into the touchpad
  • Precise and smooth touchpad  
  • Semi-transparent keyboard deck
  • Excellent keyboard quality and typing experience
  • Customizable RGB keyboard backlight
  • RGB underglow for the added flare
  • Ports at the back for cleaner wire setup
  • Handles temperatures well and keeps the laptop cool (liquid metal applied)
  • Good build quality

Cons – But not dealbreakers

  • larger footprint
  • Thicker form factor
  • No SD card reader
  • Does not come with a webcam

Check on Amazon →


4. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio – Hybrid laptop with Surface Pen Support for Drawing and Animation

Microsoft surface laptop studio in stage mode

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

One-of-a-kind laptop – that instantly transforms into a drawing tablet. Comes with Surface pen support. Designed for digital artists.

• Taller 3:2 aspect ratio
• Bright and color accurate
• Thin bezels around the screen
• Surface Pen support
• Premium, metallic build quality

Check on Amazon

It is not every day you come across a laptop that seems to be purpose-built for creative professionals.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is a very special laptop and has a special design concept that no other laptop on the market offers.

It features a unique hinge that instantly transforms the laptop into a drawing tablet or an intermediate position (called stage mode) for use as a multimedia device.

When folded flat, it acts as a drawing tablet and comes with support for the Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2, using which you can draw stuff right onto the laptop itself.

Having a drawing tablet built into the tablet is a big advantage as you as an artist do not necessarily need to go buy a separate Wacom drawing tablet.

The Surface Studio comes with a 14.4-inch screen and as we just mentioned it has support for the pen as well as touch input.

drawing using slim pen 2 on Microsoft surface laptop studio

Talking of pen input, the screen on this laptop has a 120Hz screen refresh rate resulting in a much enhanced and smoother pen experience.

The screen of this laptop comes with a 3:2 aspect ratio. Compared to a 16:10 aspect screen, the 3:2 screen is slightly larger in screen height and a bit lesser width.

Now as an artist most of you are gonna use a mouse with this laptop. But it is reassuring to know that the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio comes with a precision trackpad, and it is one of the best trackpads in Windows laptops.

This laptop is best suited for Digital Artists who are planning to get a laptop and do not have a drawing tablet with screen. This laptop is one of a kind very versatile device and you will definitely have a good experience working with it.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio - Features and Specs.  (click to expand)

Resolution: 2400 x 1600 (201 PPI)

Size and aspect ratio: 14.4 inches, 3:2

Color Accuracy: Full sRGB color coverage (very accurate, source)

Max Display Brightness: 500 nits

Processor: Intel® Core™ i5 or i7 (11th gen)

Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 3050 Ti

RAM: 16 GB, or 32 GB (LPDDR4x)

Storage: 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB

Backlight (keyboard): Yes

Ports: 2 USB Type-C port (USB 4.0/Thunderbolt™ 4), 3.5 mm headphone jack, surface connect port for charging

Upgradeability: not user upgradable (soldered RAM)

Weight:  4.00 lbs (1820 grams)

Battery: 56.3Wh (Mediocre battery life)

Pros – What we liked

  • Doubles up as a drawing tablet
  • Eye-catching design with Unique 3-in-1 hinge
  • Uniform Bezels from all 4 sides
  • Excellent color accuracy
  • 3:2 aspect ratio (taller screen)
  • 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate for a buttery smooth experience
  • Styluses magnetically attach to the laptop and charge there
  • Tilted screen for comfortable drawing when folded down
  • Precision trackpad
  • Outdoor visibility: 500 nits max brightness
  • Windows Hello (face sign-in)
  • Backlit keyboard
  • High-quality all-metal construction 
  • Decent webcam
  • Powerful internal components – can easily handle creative tasks as well as gaming

Cons – But not dealbreakers

  • Surface Slim Pen 2 (Amazon) needs to be purchased separately
  • Not user-upgradeable RAM
  • No number pad
  • Only USB-C ports (lack of non-USB-C ports)
  • The base of the Surface Laptop sits taller on the desk (as it has a 2 step design with vents at the bottom) and has relatively sharper edges
  • Display with rounded corners (not a big deal but something to note)

Check on Amazon →


5. Lenovo Ideapad Gaming 3 – The cheapest laptop we recommend for artists

lenovo ideapad 3i budget laptop for artists

Lenovo IdeaPad 3

The cheapest laptop we recommend to artists. Comes with a good processor and a dedicated graphics card, powerful enough to handle demanding tasks such as high-resolution project files.

• AMD 6600 series processor
• Dedicated GPU
• Incredibly low price
• Full-size keyboard

Check on Amazon

When we search for affordable laptops, we find that the screen is one of the most common compromises these budget laptops make to keep the prices low.

This screen issue is so prevalent that you will find lower-quality screens – even in some mid-tier gaming laptops. 

But since we are talking about professional digital art and animation, a quality screen is important and we cannot overlook this part.

So when we go to find an affordable laptop with a good screen – two things happen.

  1. You get laptops from a couple of years back that got their prices reduced as their hardware became outdated
  2. Or you find laptops whose variant with a better screen is so expensive that it is not right to consider them affordable.

Then we thought, why not get a budget laptop and turn it into a perfect working setup for color sensitive tasks.

After a lot of research and comparisons, we came to the conclusion the Lenovo Ideapad 3 (Amazon), is the right choice for artists who wants to build a digital art setup with a limited budget. 

In spite of the lower prices the laptop comes with a powerful AMD Ryzen 5 6600H processor and surprisingly enough – a dedicated graphics card.

The Lenovo Ideapad 3 comes with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Graphics.

This combination of CPU and graphics makes the Ideapad 3 one of the most powerful laptops in this price range.

Now coming to the screen situation.

This laptop comes with a 15.6-inch FullHD (120Hz) screen, which is good enough for day-to-day usage, but certainly not good enough for professional art and design work. 

Since the price of the laptop is so low, our recommendation is to get a 21 or 24-inch monitor (Amazon). This gives you a larger screen, good color accuracy (around 100% sRGB), and a dual-screen setup, not bad if you ask us.

lenovo ideapad 3i laptop and monitor combo digital art setup

This is a better solution than spending a couple hundred bucks extra for a laptop with a color-accurate screen.

Overall, the Lenovo Ideapad 3 is an affordable device that looks good, works great, and gets the job done.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 - Features and Specs.  (click to expand)

Resolution: 1920 x 1080 p (FullHD)

Size and aspect ratio: 15.6 inches, 16:9

Color Accuracy: below average, good for day-to-day tasks, but not good enough for professional color work

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 6600H series 

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Graphics

RAM: 8GB (upgradable)

Storage: 258 GB SSD (upgradable)

Backlight (keyboard): Yes

Ports: 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (DP 1.4 with power delivery), 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI 2.0, RJ45, Headphone jack, power input

Upgradeability: Yes, 2 user-upgradeable RAM slot and NVMe storage slot

Weight:  5.10 lbs (2.3 kg)

Battery: 45Wh

Pros – What we liked

  • Incredible value for the money
  • Comes with everything you need
  • 15.6-inch screen with FullHD resolution (good enough for daily use)
  • 16:9 aspect ratio with 120 Hz refresh rate 
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Powerful AMD Ryzen 5 6600 H series processor
  • Dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Graphics
  • Keyboard with Numpad
  • Reverse notch for the camera
  • Ports at the back to minimize cable clutter
  • Comes with USB-C port with display port 1.4 (can connect to a monitor using a single USB-C cable)
  • Good construction – made of PBS plastic but strong and tough in-hand feel
  • Paired with a color-accurate monitor, they become a great workstation for artists and animators

Cons – But not dealbreakers

  • Mediocre inbuilt speakers
  • Thick laptop with a larger footprint
  • Only 45W battery (but comes with fast charging)

Check on Amazon →


6. LG Gram 17 – 17 inch ultra lightweight laptop for artists

Large screen

LG Gram 17

Lightweight, slim, portable 17-inch laptop with professional-grade color accuracy.

• (2560 x 1600) 17 inch
• (100% DCI-P3) Outstanding color accuracy
• Thin bezels around the screen
• Anti-glare screen
• Intel i7 Processor

Check on Amazon

As an artist, one of the things that has the largest influence on your drawing experience is the screen. 

Often when working on a smaller size laptop screen, the UI element of the art program takes up a significant amount of screen space. Leaving a smaller screen to work.

Having a 17-inch screen gives you a huge advantage as working on this screen size gives you a much superior drawing experience.

Plus the fact that it comes with a higher resolution 2560 x 1600 pixels IPS screen with great color accuracy (99% DCI-P3 color coverage) – acts as a cherry on top.

Now some of you may be wondering, isn’t 17 inches a little too big from the portability viewpoint? 

Well LG gram is an ultralight laptop with a thin profile. Plus it has narrow bezels around the screen which further shrinks the overall footprint.

This laptop can definitely be carried around in a medium size backpack with ease.

Under that thin and lightweight design, the LG Gram still manages to pack in a good punch.

It comes with the latest gen intel i7 processor with 4 power and 8 efficiency cores (a total of 12 cores), giving a good balance between power and efficiency.

It also comes with NVIDIA RTX2050 GPU. This is not the fastest graphics processor on the market, but good enough for all your complex animation needs.

Overall, if superior drawing experience is what you are looking for and you are comfortable with the 17-inch size, this should be the number one laptop on your list.

LG Gram 17 - Features and Specs.  (click to expand)

Resolution: 2560 x 1600 (177 PPI)

Size and aspect ratio: 17 inches, 16:10

Color Accuracy: 100% DCI-P3 (extremely good colors)

Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 

Graphics: NVIDIA RTX2050 GPU

RAM: 16 GB (soldered – non-upgradable)

Storage: 1TB

Backlight (keyboard): Yes

Ports: 2 x USB-C (thunderbolt 4), HDMI, Audio jack, 2 x USB-A, Micro-SD slot

Upgradeability: User-upgradeable storage only

Weight:  2.9 lbs (1350 grams)

Battery: 90 Wh

Pros – What we liked

  • Larger 17-inch screen (16:10 aspect with ratio)
  • Ideal for multitasking with multiple windows
  • Thin bezels around the screen
  • Higher resolution 2560 x 1600 (177 PPI)
  • 99% DCI-P3 color accuracy
  • Lightest 17-inch laptop
  • Plenty fast Intel i7 processor
  • NVIDIA RTX2050 GPU (justified for the price)
  • Incredibly fast 5200MHz  LPDDR5 RAM
  • Great battery life
  • Quality FullHD webcam
  • Built-in AI sound that reduces background noise during video calls
  • Full size keyboard with Numpad
  • User upgradable memory

Cons – But not dealbreakers

  • Weird placement of home/end/pg up/pg-down buttons
  • Okish trackpad
  • Soldered RAM, not user upgradeable (but plenty fast)
  • Straight power cable connector (L-shaped preferred)

Check on Amazon →


7. Asus Zenbook Flip 13 OLED – Foldable laptop for drawing and animation (with stylus)


Asus Zenbook Flip 13

Compact, lightweight, practical laptop with support for a pressure-sensitive stylus that folds into a drawing tablet-like form factor. 

• FullHD OLED screen
• (100% DCI-P3) Outstanding color accuracy
• Foldable design (360-degree hinge)
• Comes with pressure sensitive stylus
• Minimal, professional-looking build

Check on Amazon

Unlike Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo, Hp, or even Razor – Asus is one of those brands that do not often get all the credit they deserve.

But they work in silence and keep on making banger products anyways.

The Zenbook Flip 13 is a very special laptop and comes with a very impressive list of features. 

For starters, it is a two-in-one laptop with a 360 folding hinge. Plus the fact that it supports touch input and works with an active stylus.

This enables you to flip the laptop over and convert it into a tablet-like form factor and use your stylus over it in software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or any other program of your choice. 

We also like the fact that, unlike other laptops with pen support, the Asus Zenbook Flip 13 comes with the supported pen in the box.

The stylus is an active pen and has 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity.

The next great thing about this laptop is the display.

If you know about screens you might know that OLED screens are known for their superior colors and contrast. 

What is amazing about this Asus ZenBook Flip 13 is, in spite of being relatively cheap compared to some of the other laptops on this list, it still comes with a beautiful OLED screen.

And its color accuracy of 100% DCI-P3 (133% sRGB) is just bonkers for this price range.

asus zenbook flip 13 folded

The laptop is powered by an Intel Evo i7 11th gen processor with integrated graphics.

It can handle any drawing or animation-related tasks. 

Its 13-inch highly color-accurate screen, its compact form factor with foldable design, touch and pen support, powerful internals, and reasonable pricing make it a great choice for anyone looking for a compact and capable laptop for drawing and animation.

*Tip – Since the RAM is soldered on and can’t be upgraded, make sure to go with the 16 GB of RAM.

The laptop is one year old, but considering the price, features, OLED screen, stylus, and folding function – it still makes sense to buy one of these. Incredible value indeed.

Asus Zenbook Flip 13 - Features and Specs.  (click to expand)

Resolution: 1920 x 1080 FHD resolution

Size and aspect ratio: 13.3 inches, 16:9 (OLED)

Color Accuracy: 100% DCI-P3 or 133% sRGB

Processor: Intel® Evo Core™ i7 (11th gen)

Graphics: Integrated

RAM: 16 GB

Storage: 1 TB

Backlight (keyboard): Yes

Ports: 1 USB-A and 2 USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, HDMI

Upgradeability: RAM (No) and Storage (YES – NVMe)

Weight:  2.87 lbs (1.3 kg)

Battery: 67 Wh

Pros – What we liked

  • Compact, thin and lightweight
  • 13 inch FullHD OLED screen 
  • Exceptional colors – 100% DCI-P3  (133% sRGB) color gamut coverage
  • Small bezels on three sides
  • Foldable design with a 360-degree hinge
  • Supports pen and touch input
  • Stylus comes included in the box
  • Fast charging enabled
  • Convenient “Windows Hello” face unlock
  • Well built – good in-hand feel 
  • Numpad integrated into the trackpad
  • Great value for money
  • Good option for artists and animators who have to hand draw stuff

Cons – But not dealbreakers

  • Insufficient cooling
  • No fingerprint reader
  • No storage/magnetic slot for a stylus anywhere on the laptop

Check on Amazon →


8. Microsoft Surface Pro 9 – Best laptop alternative for drawing

microsoft surface Pro 9 for animation and drawing

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

A portable laptop that runs Windows OS, good for artists who want a full-fledged desktop drawing experience in a ready-to-go form factor.

• Compact 13-inch device
• Decently powerful in spite the smaller size
• Supports keyboard accessory (not included)
• Microsoft slim pen 2 support
• Metallic build quality

Check on Amazon

The Microsoft Surface Pro may physically be the smallest device on this list. But do not underestimate its power by its size.

First things first, the Microsft Surface Pro 9 comes with a stylus and is designed to be used with a stylus (Microsoft Slim Pen 2 – Amazon). 

The Surace Pro 9 is geared towards people who travel a lot and want a handy device they can take anywhere with them.

Unlike its competitors such as iPad Pro and Samsung tablets – Since it is Windows-powered, it can run all your industry-standard drawing and animation application. 

microsoft surface pro 9 for drawing
Microsoft surface pro 9 running photoshop

Not only that you can also use 3D software such as Blender, Zbrush, and Maya on this tablet.

The device is capable enough to handle regular 3D tasks as long as you are not doing crazy particle or fluid simulations.

microsoft surface pro 8 tablet with type cover

This tablet can be instantly be transformed into a full-fledged laptop with the help of the Surface Keyboard accessory (sold separately).

One of the neat features of the Surface Pro 9 is the fact that it comes with an inbuilt Kickstand.

The hinge allows you to prop up the tablet at any angle of your choice. Plus it is strong and sturdy enough to support the weight of your hands while drawing on it.

So in a nutshell, if you are someone who wants a compact portable Windows-powered device that comes with an excellent stylus for their 2D art and graphics tasks, the Surface Pro 9 is undoubtedly the best choice.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 - Features and Specs.  (click to expand)

Resolution: 2880 x 1920 (267 PPI) (120Hz refresh rate)

Size and aspect ratio: 13 inches, 3:2

Color Accuracy: 100% sRGB

Processor: Intel® Core™ i5 or i7 

Graphics: Integrated Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics

RAM: 8, 16 or 32 GB

Storage: Removable (128 or 256 GB), Inbuilt (512Gb or 1TB)

Backlight (keyboard): Yes (on the keyboard accessory)

Ports: 2 USB-C Thunderbolt 4, Headphone jack, Surface Connect

Upgradeability: User-upgradeable storage only

Weight:  1.96 lbs (891grams)

Battery: 50 Wh

Pros – What we liked

  • 13-inch screen (larger than previous generations)
  • Smaller Bezels
  • Good display brightness (500 nits)
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Excellent pen performance
  • Compact, powerful, and portable
  • Runs all design and creative applications (Windows)
  • Inbuilt kickstand
  • User upgradeable Storage
  • One of the lightest devices on the list (without a keyboard accessory)
  • An excellent alternative for people on the go who do not want to carry a laptop as well as a drawing tablet

Cons – But not dealbreakers

  • Does not come with the stylus and keyboard accessory 
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Mid-tier graphics performance, good enough for creative tasks but can’t play games

Check on Amazon →


9. Acer Predator Helios 300 – Jack of all, laptop for digital artists

Do it all
acer predator helios 300 laptop for art

Acer Predator Helios 300

Well balanced, good screen, fast processor, decent graphics, reasonable price – nothing really to complain about.

• Bright 500 nits screen
• Excellent use of RGB lighting
• Lots of ports and connectivity options
• Good price-to-performance ratio
• Aluminum and plastic build

Check on Amazon

We have listed a number of laptops in this list. Some are cheap others are expensive, some offer unique designs, and others offer practicality.

But if we have to select a laptop that does a bit of everything, kind of like an all-rounder – The Acer Predator Helios 300 is our choice.

This laptop offers incredible value for money, if you are someone who wants excellent internals, good screen, great design – all at a reasonable price – this one is for you.

It comes with a 15.6 inch FullHD IPS screen with beautiful colors. Since it is also a gaming laptop it has 165Hz screen refresh rate.

acer predator helios 300 2022 screen quality

Coming to the processor, it comes with 12th gen i7 processor along with RTX 3060 graphics. The power output is incredibly good and it easily flies through everything tasks.

No matter how big file resolution you use or what kind of texture brushes or complicated animation you do – this laptop is not gonna buzz.

The Predator Helios 300 is made out of the combination of aluminum and plastic and feels sturdy. The hinge on this laptop is very good.

As per upgrade options, this laptop comes with user-upgradable RAM as well as memory with 2 slots each.

The RGB lighting it uses is one of the highlights of this laptop. The lights are bright and vibrant and have a good inbuilt lighting control system.

acer predator helios 300 keyboard and trackpad

You will also be impressed by its trackpad. It comes with precision trackpad with a glass surface which feels really smooth and satisfying to use.

Overall you are getting a solid laptop that has a bit of everything and as an artist, you will surely be satisfied with this purchase.

Acer Predator Helios 300 - Features and Specs.  (click to expand)

Resolution: 1920 x 1080 p (FullHD)

Size and aspect ratio: 15.6 inches, 16:9

Color Accuracy: 100% sRGB

Processor: Intel i7-12700H

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

RAM: 16GB DDR5 (Higher options available)

Storage: 512 GB SSD (Higher options available)

Backlight (keyboard): Yes (RGB)

Ports: back (power-in, USB-C Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, miniDP 1.4), left side (RJ45 ethernet, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, Audio), right side (2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2)

Upgradeability: Yes, 2 user-upgradeable RAM slot and 1 NVMe storage slot

Weight:  5.5 lbs (2.5 kg)

Battery: 90Wh 

Pros – What we liked

  • The best value for money
  • 15.6-inch screen with 100% sRGB color accuracy
  • 165 Hz refresh rate with 500 nits brightness
  • RGB keyboard light
  • Powerful Intel i7 processor with 14 cores
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 delivers great graphics performance
  • Superfast DDR5 RAM
  • User upgradable RAM and Storage with 2 slots each
  • Ports at the back for cleaner wire-free setup
  • Excellent cooling design
  • Keyboard with Numpad
  • Larger 90 wh battery
  • Precision trackpad with glass surface
  • Excellent RGB setup
  • Good construction – a combination of aluminum and plastic material
  • An excellent choice for any graphic and processor-intensive task (rendering, animation, drawing, gaming, working with 3D files)

Cons – But not dealbreakers

  • Mediocre inbuilt speakers
  • Havier laptop with a larger footprint
  • Mediocre webcam
  • Large power brick

Check on Amazon →


(Second look) Why you should get the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio as a digital artist

microsoft surface laptop studio

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio

3 in 1 design, great display, excellent color accuracy, use of premium materials, large trackpad, backlit keyboard, face login, great sound quality, 500 nits screen brightness, support for pen and touch input, and much more…

All these features make the Surface Laptop Studio the best laptop in the market for drawing, animation, 3D, or any other graphics work.

Buy on Amazon

Generally speaking, it is not that often that laptop brands go beyond the boundaries and experiment with new designs.

As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it“.

This leads to all the laptops essentially looking exactly the same, boring – with no cool factor or no special feature to look forward to.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is one of the few laptops that tried to do something new, and it has worked incredibly well.

The Laptop studio has a pivoting hinged screen that can be repositioned at different angles or can be laid flat. Plus it comes with a very good stylus system that turns it into a real drawing tablet.

Now there are other laptops with stylus support, but they either get the economics wrong (who wants to draw/write on a wobbly screen at an uncomfortable angle), or the stylus is not good enough.

With Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio, both these concerns are well handled. 

Unlike other pen-enabled laptops, the performance of Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2 stylus is smooth and stable. The pressure-sensitive works great and so does the tilt sensitivity.

Also, when you fold down the laptop in tablet mode, the screen is actually titled at a comfortable drawing angle, which is super comfortable to draw on longer drawing sessions.

The power and performance of this laptop is right on point. It very well handles even the most demanding creative applications starting from Adobe, Affinity suite of apps to big boys such as Maya, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Substance, or Blender.

Its 120Hz color accurate screen, large Precision trackpad, tactile keyboard – Everything wrapped in a unibody metal (magnesium-aluminum) shell gives you a confident, reassuring feel and reminds you of the incredible engineering that went into making this laptop every time you use it.

You do pay a steep price for all that shimmer, plus you also compromise on port and connectivity options (since it only has USB-C ports). If you can live with that, Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio (Amazon) is the right laptop for you.

Buyers Guide

Laptops are an important tool. Once you buy them, they are probably gonna stay with you for the next few years. So we want to make sure you get it right.

To help you get the perfect laptop for drawing and animation, here is a detailed buyers guide that will help you pick the perfect laptop for yourself – that meets your expectations and serves you well.

If there is something that we missed or if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section.

Understanding Processors

processor on a laptop

There are three brands of laptop processors available in the market

  • Intel Processors (11th gen) – based on 10 nm architecture
  • AMD Processors (5000 series) – based on 7 nm architecture
  • Apple Silicone (M1 Pro and Max) – based on 5 nm architecture

Size of transistors and their effect on processors

A processor is made of millions of transistors. They are the fundamental compute units of a processor.

The larger the number of processors, the faster it can make calculations.

Also, the smaller the size of individual transistors {measured in nanometers (nm)}, the less power it needs to carry out that operation. ie. better power efficiency

11th gen Intel processors have transistors of 10nm, followed by AMD 5000 series processors with 7nm transistors.

The Apple silicone (M1 Pro and Max processors), have the smallest 5nm (nanometer) transistor, making them the most power-efficient processor. This results in excellent battery life and low thermal load.

Classification of laptop processors based on power

Comparing these processors requires a dedicated article of their own. So for this short comparison, we will keep things simple and easy to understand. 

Based on their power, these processors can be divided into four groups.

Entry Level – Intel core i3, AMD Ryzen 3

Mid Range – Intel core i5, AMD Ryzen 5

Top End – Intel core i7, AMD Ryzen 7, Apple M1 Pro 8 core

Max Power – Intel core i9, AMD Ryzen 9, Apple M1 Pro 10 core

For a detailed benchmark and performance result of the processor of your choice, you can head over to (new tab).

Which is the right processor for drawing and animation

Since the price of the laptop is heavily influenced by the processors used inside them.

Therefore it is important to pick the right processors that meet your requirements and do not overpay for power and features you don’t need.

One of the first processors you should strike out of your list is the Intel Core i3 and AMD Ryzen 3.

These are entry-level processors which are fine for browsing the web and basic computing, but not up to the task for graphic work.

Intel i5 and AMD Ryzen 5 is good starting point. These are great for light to moderate level graphic tasks.

If you are an intermediate or a pro user, who use hundreds of layers and complicated texture brushes and blend modes. Or you are creating high-resolution long-duration animation with advanced keyframing. 

In both these cases the Intel i7, AMD Ryzen 7, or the 8 Core Macbook Pro with M1 Pro chip are the right choices for you.

These are not only good enough to handle 2d design but also great for demanding 3d applications and light rendering.

The Intel i9, the AMD Ryzen 9, or the 10 core Apple M1 Pro is for power users and professionals who want the best of the best and do not want to compromise with performance.

We mostly recommend these processors if your workflow requires the use of a lot of 3d applications, rendering, or large project files with thousands of asset files.

What is the right laptop size for drawing/animation?

The bigger screen size is always better when we talk about graphics work. But when we talk about laptops we also have to consider other factors such as portability, compactness and weight.

Generally saying, if portability is your priority you can get a 13-inch laptop. But in that case, we highly recommend you to get a monitor as well.

With a smaller laptop plus monitor setup – you get the benefits of a larger screen when you are at your primary workplace, at the same time have the freedom to easily take your laptop and work wherever you go.

But this 13-inch laptop is not the ideal size for everyone.

For most people, we recommend getting a 15-inch laptop – as it is a sweet spot between screen size and portability. Especially the screens with a taller 16:10 or 3:2 aspect ratio – as they provide more vertical screen space.

Laptops like Dell XPS 15 (Amazon) are an even better choice as they come with a 15-inch screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio. Plus its bezels around the screen are nonexistent, which helps them pack a 15-inch laptop inside the body of a 13 or 14-inch laptop.

Is the inbuilt graphics enough? or you need the dedicated graphics?

The inbuilt graphics kind of gets the job done on less graphics-intensive tasks and some light drawing.

But, for the best performance, you should definitely look for a laptop with dedicated graphics.

Is 8 GB enough RAM for digital artists?

how much ram does a laptop need

Yes if you are doing light graphics works such as drawing and not working with crazy resolutions, then 8 GB of RAM is okay.

But once you start working on large projects with massive resolutions or a huge number of layers with crazy filters, layers, and textures – you will need the 16 GB of RAM.

For that reason, you should look for a laptop that has a user-upgradable RAM slot – where you can easily and cost-effectively increase the size of the RAM if you ever feel the need to do so.

How much storage do you really need in a laptop?

Well, it is different for everyone and depends on individual usage. As per the general consensus – “a larger the memory capacity is always better”. But it will also cost you more.

256 GB is the bare minimum storage capacity you should have but we would advise you to go for at least 512 GB of storage.

What are Intel Evo certified laptops – does it matter as for digital art

A few of the laptops mentioned in this list come with Intel EVO certification.

It is a certification that is given to the manufacturers that achieve the standards of sleekness, power, and performance.

Since this certification is indicative of a better user experience, it is nice to have the EVO badging on your laptop, if not necessary.

What else do you need for getting started with drawing and animation?

macbook pro with a drawing tablet Graphics tablet: Other than the laptop you will most likely need a graphics tablet such as Wacom Intuos (Amazon). This will allow you to digitally draw stuff no matter whether your laptop supports the stylus or not.

And even if the laptop you choose supports stylus input, the quality of the lines drawn and the overall drawing experience would be way better with a dedicated graphics tablet.

A secondary screen: As we said earlier, more screen is always better. And a vast number of digital artists use a dedicated monitor for drawing and animation purposes.

But instead of getting a full-fledged monitor, you can also get a thin and portable secondary screen just like this one on Amazon.

You can simply connect them to your laptop and push all the menus and buttons on the secondary screen, and work comfortably on your primary screen.

Check out our guide on essential tools for digital artists (new tab).



Related: Best laptop for Autodesk Maya



Aaron Levie

Aaron Levie loves painting. he started as a traditional watercolor artist and later switched to digital. He really likes freedom and control that digital art provides.

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