The best laptops for drawing all have accurate and vivid touch screen displays that can handle precise drawing with a stylus pen. These laptops have fast performance and long battery life.
To help you choose the right product, I’ll show you exactly what to look for in this in-depth buying guide. I spent nearly 6 hours analyzing the latest touch screen laptops to create this guide. Based on the hardware, expert reviews, and customer reviews, I then rounded up the eight laptops for digital artists you can get today. No matter if you’re an experienced artist or just a drawing enthusiast, there’s something for you on this list!
Here are the best laptops for artists in the summer of 2021:
Best Laptops for Drawing Reviewed
#1 Most innovative Laptop for Drawing: Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
The first thing you’ll notice when looking at the Asus Pro Duo UX481 is probably the secondary monitor known as the ScreenPad Plus. This secondary screen is amazing for drawing, thanks to the many clever shortcuts and controls. You can use it to extend the main screen, but the best part is the ability to put references, source files, tools, or just handle other apps on it.
The primary screen is a 14″ FHD NanoEdge Bezel touchscreen. It has vivid colors and deep blacks. Even if the main screen covers 100% of the sRBG coverage, the ScreenPad plus only covers 59% of the sRBG coverage. This means you might notice the difference in color reproduction between the two screens. Another minor issue with the dual-screen is that it’s not the brightest, so it’s not suitable for outdoor use.
The celestial blue case has excellent build quality, and there’s no flex if you’re applying moderate pressure on it.
This Windows 10 laptop has most of the ports you’re going to need, including HDMI, USB-A, and USB-C. It lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port, but it does come with a MicroSD card reader.
It might take some time to get used to the keyboard. Asus utilizes the ErgoLift design, which means the keyboard has a slight tilt for a more natural typing position. Each key-strike feels excellent, but some people might find the keyboard a bit cramped.
The Asus Zenbook Duo is fast and can handle serious multitasking. The 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U processor combined with the 512GB SSD and 16GGB RAM can handle almost anything you throw at it. The only thing it has issues with is gaming. The integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics card will handle art and editing software, but most games will only be playable at the lowest settings.
The Asus Zenbook Pro Duo has surprisingly long battery life. With a 70Wh battery, it will last 9+ hours even with the ScreenPad activated. It’s also a quiet laptop, and you’ll only notice the fans when it’s loading something really resource intensive.
Summary: The Asus ZenBook Pro is the best drawing laptop on the market, with fast performance, the innovative ScreenPad Plus, and long battery life.
|ScreenPad Plus for increased productivity||Not bright enough for outside usage|
|Excellent build quality||No MicroSD card reader|
|The battery will last the whole day||Heavier than most 14-inch laptops|
#2 Best 2-in-1 laptop for Drawing: Lenovo Yoga C930
With fast performance and a fantastic touchscreen, the Lenovo Yoga C930 is without a doubt a top contender for the best laptop for artists. With the Lenovo Active pen, drawing feels awesome on the 14-inch screen. The only downside is that the Lenovo Active pen can sometimes be difficult to get out of its slot on the laptop’s back right edge.
The chassis is made of sturdy aluminum and has a premium look and feel. It’s 0.6 inches (15mm) thin and weighs slightly above 3 pounds (1,4 kg), so it’s quite lightweight and easy to bring with you. Another nice feature of this cheap laptop is the privacy shutter, so you can easily cover the webcam when it’s not in use.
The biggest design flaw of the Lenovo C930 is that it lacks an SD card reader and has no HDMI port. The touchpad feels a bit spongy, and the keyboard is not the best. The speakers, however, are great and will give you crisp audio.
The number one thing that makes this convertible laptop one of the best notebooks for drawing is the 13.9″ 4K touchscreen. It’s an IPS screen, so it has excellent viewing angles, and the 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD 4K) resolution will give you excellent image quality. With a brightness of 500 nits, it’s also a bright enough screen to be used in any light condition. It works well even in direct sunlight. The screen covers 100% of the sRBG color spectrum, but you need to recalibrate it to get the most out of it.
This laptop has 16GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, and a powerful Intel Core i7 processor. With the integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics card, you can run most art programs, but it’s not powerful enough to do anything demanding like gaming.
Before you buy the laptop with these specs, make sure you’re aware that the box arrives opened. Delca Electronics, who does the upgrades, will open it to upgrade the memory and storage. A 1-year warranty covers the upgraded parts.
Lenovo claims a battery life of 10 hours, but it got around 7 hours of battery life in most tests. That’s about an hour below the category average.
Summary: This 2-in-1 Windows laptop has one of the best touchscreens you can get, and it’s a great laptop for drawing. Just be aware that the box comes opened for memory and storage upgrades.
|Sturdy aluminum case||No HDMI port and no SD card reader|
|Fantastic 4K touchscreen||The pen can be difficult to get out of its slot|
|Fast 1TB SSD||The screen might need recalibration|
#3 Fastest Performance: HP Spectre x360
The HP Spectre x360 is a powerful Windows 10 laptop with an amazing screen and powerful hardware, but it does some design flaws that keep it from the top of the list.
When you first open the box of the HP Spectre x360, you’ll notice that HP included an HP Sleeve 3 for carrying the laptop and an HP Stylus pen. The pen is comfortable and works well, even when drawing small details.
The exterior of the laptop is made of a matte charcoal gray metal case. It has a subtle but beautiful design. On the sides, you’ll find a MicroSD reader, a ThunderBolt 3 port, two USB type C ports, and one USB type-A port. Having a single USB type-A slot can be an issue if you want to plug in multiple things powered by a standard USB port.
One of the things that makes the HP Spectre one of the best laptops for drawing is the 15.6-inch screen. It has a resolution of 3820 x 2160 (4K) and has a 1443:1 contrast ratio. The colors are crisp and accurate (the display covers ~99% of the sRBG color space). The screen’s biggest downside is the response time of around 36 ms, which can cause some ghosting.
The speaker from Bang & Olufsen provides loud and balanced audio, and the wifi card is reliable and supports wifi 6. The full-size, backlit keyboard will provide a smooth typing experience, but the touchpad has some quirks. It has no separate button for left and right clicks, and it can be a bit sensitive at times.
Another reason the HP Spectre x360 is a top-rated laptop for drawing is its fast performance. It has 16GB RAM and a quick 1TB SSD that will make starting up and loading programs lightning-fast. It also has an Intel Core i7 processor that will handle any demanding program you might run. The GeForce MX330 graphics card is powerful enough to run graphics design software, but it’s not suitable for gaming.
Summary: The HP Spectre is an excellent choice for a drawing laptop. Even if it has only 1 USB Type-A port and a slow screen response time, it’s still really awesome for drawing.
|Stunning 4K display||Only one standard USB port|
|HP Stylus Pen ideal for drawing||Poor touchpad|
|Reliable Intel Core i7 processor||Screen has a slow response time|
#4 The Budget Choice: Lenovo Yoga 14
The Lenovo 14 2-in-1 is a worthy contender as the best notebook for drawing. Not only does it have an affordable price, but it also has the right components to make drawing a breeze.
This Windows 10 2-in-1 laptop has a nice matte black case. It weighs 3.7 pounds, which is slightly heavier than what you should expect for a 14-inch laptop. You’ll find an SD card slot on the laptop’s right side that can read SD, MMC, SDXC, and SDHC cards.
Even if the Yoga 14 has an overall solid screen, it lags behind the rest of the best laptops for drawing. It’s a 14-inch FHD IPS screen with a brightness of 250 nits and a contrast ratio of 713:1. The colors are accurate, but it doesn’t cover the full sRBG spectrum.
The Lenovo Yoga 14 2-in-1 is a fast laptop. The 256GB NVMe SSD makes storing and loading files near-instantaneous. 12GB RAM is more than enough for drawing, and the AMD Ryzen 5 processor can handle everything from light drawing programs to demanding 3d modeling applications.
The graphics card, the Radeon Vega 8, will run graphics software without issues and run modern non-demanding games smoothly.
Lenovo claims a 10 hours battery life, and that seems accurate. When PCMag tested the battery, it lasted over 12 hours.
Summary: The Lenovo 14 2-in-1 has the right components to get you drawing without any unnecessary lag. The screen is weaker than the rest of the laptops on this list, but few can beat Lenovo Yoga 14’s affordable price.
|Will run art applications like a breeze||Low contrast screen|
|Fast NVMe Solid State Drive||Can't charge through USB-C|
|Long battery life|
#5 Microsoft’s Latest Convertible: Microsoft Surface Book 3
The new Microsoft Surface Book 3 is more than 50% faster than its predecessor, the Surface Book 2.
Drawing on this touch screen laptop is better than ever with the updated Surface Pen. It has greater sensitivity and allows for shading by tilting the pen.
This laptop is a sturdy device with a magnesium alloy case. You can tilt the glass screen to a maximum angle of 130 degrees, and you can push a button to remove it and use it as a tablet. The ability to use it as a tablet is perfect when you’re writing, for example, on lectures or meetings.
If you compare it against competing laptops from Asus and Apple, you’ll notice it’s slightly narrower but heavier. The reason it’s heavier is probably due to the sturdy but somewhat bulky hinge and slightly larger size.
The Microsoft Surface laptop has a backlit keyboard. On the sides of the keyboard, you’ll find two USB-A ports and one USB-C port. It also comes with a full-sized SDXC card reader.
One of the things that makes it a contender for the best laptop for drawing is the 13.5″ PixelSense touchscreen. It has a resolution of 3240 x 2160. The colors are accurate, and it reaches 93% sRBG coverage. With a measured brightness of 413 nits, it’s a bright screen, and the only thing that keeps it from being usable in direct sunlight is its reflective surface. The touch screen is very responsive, and creating digital art with Microsoft’s surface pen works flawlessly.
You might find yourself annoyed at the adaptive brightness setting that keeps changing the brightness even if the lighting conditions don’t seem to change much. Fortunately, you can turn that off in the settings.
Expect fast performance with the Surface Books’ solid hardware. It has 32GB RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, and a 10th Gen Intel Core Quad-Core i7-1065G processor. To top it off, it comes with a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card. It’s powerful enough to process demanding 3D rendering and can even handle gaming.
Another advantage of this laptop is how quiet it runs. Microsoft has optimized its cooling system and also made improvements to how it handles standby to improve battery life. The battery life is quite good but be prepared to have a charger with you if you want to use it for a full 8-hour workday.
Another cheaper alternative is the Microsoft Surface Go 2 that you can read more about on our list of the best netbooks.
Summary: The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is one of the best laptops for drawing, thanks to its responsive screen, fast performance, and quality design.
|The Surface Pen is great for sketching||Small trackpad that takes time to get used to|
|Runs quietly||Battery can't handle a full workday|
|Good connectivity||The Surface Pen is sold separately|
#6 The All-arounder: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
Some people call the Samsung Notebook 9 pro a Macbook killer. It has the same top-quality design and fast performance for a much more affordable price!
Much of the design reminds us of the MacBook’s design. It has silver aluminum chassis with diamond-cut edges, and just like a MacBook, it has excellent build quality. Since it’s a 2-in-1 laptop, it’s also very versatile. At 2.7 pounds, it’s sleek, portable, and lighter than most similar ultraportable competitors. You don’t have to worry about connectivity since it has most of the ports you’re going to need. The only thing that is missing is a USB-A port. The keyboard has black, rounded keys and has a pleasing typing experience.
When you first get the box of the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, you’ll notice it’s been opened. The reason it was opened was to add a better hard drive than the standard configuration. With the added 1TB SSD, you have plenty of storage and lightning-fast load and boot times. The included 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor combined with the 16GB RAM will also give the laptop fast and reliable performance. The AMD Radeon 540 graphics card is also a nice feature that will make it possible to run graphically demanding programs.
The 15-inch LED screen has a full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution and a glossy finish. The colors are vivid and on par with other premium laptops. Unfortunately, the low brightness brings the otherwise good screen down. With a measured brightness of just 254 nits, it’s considerably below what you should expect in the category.
The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro has a long battery life that will last through the full workday. Expect almost nine hours of working on your art on a full charge.
Summary: If you’re looking for the best bang for the buck, few laptops can beat the Samsung Notebook 9. This mid-range Windows laptop has excellent performance for the price, with its biggest downside being a rather dim screen.
|Excellent bang for the buck||No USB-A port|
|Sleek design||Poor speakers|
|Touchscreen with vivid colors||Dim display|
#7 A Solid Budget 2-in-1 laptop for Drawing: Microsoft Surface Pro 6
If you’re looking for a good hybrid laptop for drawing, then check out the Microsoft Surface Pro. This convertible laptop is an excellent choice no matter if you use it in tablet mode, tent mode, or laptop mode.
It has a clean, aesthetically pleasing look and weighs 2.4 pounds (~1,1 kg) with the keyboard. The keyboard is sold separately. The passive cooling system works well and keeps the temperatures down.
The Surface Pro 6 has no CD/DVD drive and lacks HDMI and USB 2.0 ports.
This Windows laptop has excellent hardware considering it’s an affordable price. With an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD, it’s fast and more than capable of running most graphics design applications. The 10″ PixelSense display has good image quality, high resolution and works well when drawing, especially if you use a good stylus pen.
The battery life can handle up to 13.5 hours of video playback, but some customers felt it diminished over time. Another issue some customers mentioned was that it would start to act inconsistently if it got too hot.
Summary: The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is one of the best convertible laptops for drawing. It has powerful hardware for an affordable price and a responsive display with vivid images. Just make sure to keep it cool for the best possible performance.
|Good 2-in-1 choice||Few ports|
|Affordable price||Some customers felt battery diminished over time|
|Responsive screen||Will throttle if it gets too hot|
#8 The Macbook Alternative: Dell XPS 9370
If you do mostly digital art then one of the best options is probably the Dell XPS 9370. It’s very similar to a MacBook, but it’s cheaper and far easier to upgrade.
It has a beautiful and sturdy design that you know is of top quality as soon as you hold it. It has a nice backlit keyboard, supports Bluetooth, and comes with quality speakers from Waves MaxxAudio Pro. It comes with a 720p webcam, but it’s placed near the keyboard, so you might need to slightly tilt the screen angle to adjust where the webcam is facing. Another drawback of the design is that there is no standard USB type A port, so you need an adapter if you want to plug in something connected via USB-A.
This powerful laptop has 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an 8th Generation Intel Core 7-8550U Quad-Core Processor. You can expect fast and reliable performance, even if you run demanding illustration software.
Even if the screen is only 13.3 inches, it provides excellent images thanks to the 4K resolution and vivid colors. It covers 98% of the sRBG color coverage and has a contrast ratio of 1113:1. Another advantage of the screen is that it has a brightness of 470 nits, so it’s bright enough to use even if you’re outside.
To save a few hundred dollars, I would recommend the renewed model of the XPS 9370. It has been verified that it has no issues or dents, and you get a generous 90-day return guarantee.
Summary: The Dell XPS 9370 is a great choice for illustrators, mostly working with a mouse and keyboard. It has an excellent screen and fast performance.
|Durable design||Weird webcam placement|
|Fast and reliable||No USB-A port|
|4K screen with vivid colors|
What Makes a Laptop Good for Drawing?
The first step to finding the best laptops for digital artists is narrowing it down to laptops with a touch screen that supports a stylus pen. However, that doesn’t narrow it down enough. There are tons of touch screen laptops on the market, and you need to know the key aspects to look for. It might also initially seems hard to know what to look for in, for example, the laptop’s screen, what size to go for or what components it needs to have.
That’s why I created this guide. I will show you exactly what to look for so you can get the best laptop for drawing!
Get The Right Screen for Drawing
There are three main aspects to look for when it comes to the laptop’s screen: the screen resolution, the color coverage, and the brightness.
The first thing to check for when it comes to the screen of the best laptop for art is the screen resolution. Screen resolution is a measurement of how many pixels the screen can display. Simply speaking, the higher resolution, the more you can see on the screen without having to scroll. Higher screen resolution will also give sharper images.
The standard resolution in the best drawing laptops is Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution. If you’re a digital artist, avoid laptops with lower screen resolution, such as HD resolution (1366 x 768),
Some notebooks also have 4K resolution (usually 3840 x 2160). If you can afford to go for a high-end laptop for drawing, it’s often worth going for a 4K laptop. The extra screen estate will help your workflow, and it’s the perfect option when doing photo editing and want the sharpest looking images possible.
Another important factor when choosing a laptop for drawing is choosing a display with good color coverage. Color coverage is a measurement for how accurate the colors are against a standard of how they should look. The most common color space to compare it against is called the sRBG color space. If you value accurate colors, look for a laptop covering 100% of the sRGB color space. If you’re on a budget and don’t mind somewhat inaccurate colors, aim for at least 70% sRBG color coverage.
If you’re going to work in sunlight, for example, outside, having the right brightness is a crucial consideration. A screen’s brightness is measured in nits. If you know glare from the sun won’t be an issue for you, a brightness of 200-300 nits is good enough. If you’re going to take it outside, aim for a brightness of at least 400 nits.
Pick The Right Laptop Size
Choosing the right laptop size will depend on how you use the laptop. If you like to bring it with you to the cafe or library or travel a lot, portability is key.
If you mostly draw in your home or your office and don’t need to carry it with you, going for a more affordable but slightly larger and bulkier laptop is often worth it.
You also have to consider the laptop’s weight. Generally speaking, here are the weight to expect, depending on the size of the laptop:
|Laptop Size||Laptop Weight (Pounds)||Laptop Weight (Kg)|
|Small (14-inch)||2 to 3 pounds||1,5 to 2kg|
|Medium (15-inch)||4 to 5 pounds||2 to 2,5 kg|
|Large (17-inch)||over 6 pounds||over 3 kg|
What Specs Do You Need?
Rendering art, especially if it’s something resource-intensive such as a 3D model, requires a good processor. Almost all of the best laptops for drawing have an Intel processor. Aim for at least an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. The current Intel generation is generation 10, so aim to get a 9th or 10th generation Intel Core processor. A good alternative to Intel-based laptops is getting one of the best AMD Ryzen laptops.
No matter what CPU you decide to go for, make sure the laptop has enough RAM to run smoothly. Aim for at least 8GB RAM, but preferably 16GB RAM.
For maximum speed, get an SSD. An SSD is a fast hard drive that will make loading all the applications saved on it lightning-fast. Another advantage of an SSD is that it has very low power consumption, so you don’t have to worry about it affecting the laptop’s battery life.
The last thing when it comes to the specs is to consider what graphics card you’re going to need:
Do you Need a Dedicated Graphics Card for Drawing?
If you do 2D art, a good integrated graphics card is usually more than enough. Some workflows in Illustrator are demanding and require a dedicated graphics card, but in most cases, a dedicated GPU is not necessary. Adobe has added better GPU utilization across its art applications, but that won’t really matter for 99% of the 2D use cases. Even if a graphics card is not necessary for 2D artists, it will make rendering faster.
If you’re working with 3D art, a dedicated graphics card will be necessary for faster 3D rendering and, in some cases, for handling the art software. A good option to look out for is a GPU from Nvidia’s RTX series, for example, the Nvidia RTX 2060.
What’s the Best Operating System for Drawing?
The best laptops for drawing come either with Windows or ChromeOS. Both operating systems have their advantages and disadvantages:
Windows is the most common operating system in drawing laptops and has the most compatible drawing software. These days I recommend Windows 10 as your Windows version. You might find laptops with older versions of Windows, but it’s usually a sign that the laptop is outdated. If you compare Window 10 Home vs. Windows 10 Pro, you’ll see that Windows 10 has added business functionality, better security features, and better control over software updates. If you’re buying a drawing laptop for personal use, Windows 10 Home is more than enough and is a more affordable option.
On budget or mid-range drawing laptops, you’ll sometimes find the operating system ChromeOS. ChromeOS is easy to use and has the advantage that it can run Android apps. The downside is that many illustration programs are not compatible with it, so make sure the programs you draw in work with a ChromeOS-based laptop.
Which Laptop Has the Best Pen?
Microsoft’s Surface Pen is often considered the best digital pen in any laptop for artists. Another solid option is is Lenovo’s Active Pen. If the included digital pen isn’t up to par to your taste, you could consider getting a third-party pen such as the Adonit Jot Pro, but before you get a third-party digital pen, make sure it’s compatible with the laptop’s display.
Are 2-in-1 Laptops Good for Drawing?
Yes, they are good for drawing. 2-in-1 laptops are versatile and often lightweight and easy to bring you. The downside of a convertible laptop is that it often have weaker hardware than standard laptops. If you follow the recommendations in this guide, you can be sure it’s powerful enough for the latest art programs.
You’ll also have to consider that since 2-in-1 laptops are made to be used as tablets, they are generally smaller than most laptops. Expect an 11 – 13-inch screen size. If you go from a standard 15-inch laptop to a convertible laptop, it might take some time to get used to the smaller size.
These days there are tons of touch screen laptops with stylus support on the market, and finding the best one can be challenging.
To help you find the best laptop for drawing, I created this guide on everything you’ll need to look for when choosing your next drawing notebook.
The Asus Zenbook Pro Duo, with its secondary monitor, the ScreenPad Plus is probably the best overall laptop for drawing. If you’re on a tighter budget, the best option is the Lenovo Yoga 14. It’s fast, has a long battery life, and has a good screen with reasonably accurate colors. Another excellent option is the Lenovo C930. The C930 has a fantastic 4K touch screen and top-notch performance.
It’s now time to choose the laptop that best suits your needs. With the right drawing laptop, you can improve your drawing workflow and take your drawing to the next level!