The best laptops for graphic design strike a balance between powerful performance and a beautifully vivid display. A great graphic design laptop will be equipped with a modern processor, at least 16GB of RAM, plenty of storage, a brilliant display, and in some cases, a discrete GPU. These hefty specs can often come at a steep price, but you'll be investing in a laptop that’ll see you through many, many graphic design projects over the next few years.
Apple comes in strong in this list, with the MacBook Pro 14 (2023) as the best laptop for graphic design overall, the MacBook Pro 16 (M2, 2023) as the no-end-to-your-deep-pockets, premium option, and the MacBook Air 15 as the best budget option. If you’re more of a Windows person or you want something that’ll double as a graphic design laptop and a gaming laptop, we’ve got you covered with stellar options from HP, MSI, Lenovo, and Samsung.
If you’re looking for a graphic design laptop with a solid battery life that’ll last you while you’re on campus or just out and about during the work day, any of the MacBooks mentioned above are solid choices. For a long-lasting Windows laptop that’s great for graphic design, you’ll want to check out Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i or Samsung’s Galaxy Book 3 Ultra.
Read on for a closer look at our top choices for graphic design. Whatever your specific graphic design needs are, one of these amazing laptops is bound to do the trick.
The Quick List
The best overall laptop for graphic design
The MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) is an all-around fantastic laptop with its top-tier internals, stunning display, and long-lasting battery.
The best Windows laptop for graphic design
Samsung’s Galaxy Book 3 Ultra features a gorgeous AMOLED display, a speedy SSD, and a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU—and it weighs just under 4 pounds.
The best 2-in-1 laptop for graphic design
The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is equipped with two vivid OLED displays, a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, and a great rotating soundbar.
The best 17-inch laptop for graphic design
HP’s ZBook Fury 17 G8 may cost a pretty penny, but you’ll get a stunning 17-inch 4K touchscreen and almost unstoppable performance with its CPU/GPU combo.
The best budget laptop for graphic design
MacBooks can be expensive, but the MacBook Air 15 is relatively affordable and still packs impressive specs and a bright Liquid Retina display.
Best High-End Windows
The best high-end Windows laptop for graphic design
The MSI Creator Z16P is a powerful performer with its 12th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080Ti (12GB VRAM), and bright 16-inch display.
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Best High-End MacBook
The best high-end MacBook for graphic design
The MacBook Pro 16-inch (M2 Max, 2023) has a ridiculous 18+ hour battery life, a stellar CPU/GPU combo, and a vivid Liquid Retina display.
Best Laptop for Graphic Design Overall
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
For most people, the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) is the best laptop for graphic design. It’s pricey, but with its powerful M2 Pro chip, consisting of a 12-core CPU and a 19-core GPU (as we reviewed it) and 16-core Neural Engine, you’ll rarely experience performance hangups.
An almost stutter-free experience with graphics-intensive tasks is worth every bit of the $3,299 our review unit cost. When we ran Geekbench 5.4 on this laptop, it earned 14,965, well above the 6,173 premium laptop average. The MacBook Pro 14 even played games like a champ with smooth graphics and no lag.
For that price, you’ll also get 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and a gorgeous 14.2-inch, 3024 x 1964 Liquid Retina XDR display. This display has a variable 120Hz refresh rate that’s great for editing videos, and it averaged 453 nits of brightness at the time of our review. Then, the MacBook Pro 14 scored 82.9% of the DCI-P3 color gamut.
Battery life on this laptop is yet another impressive feature, making it an excellent option for graphic designers who want to be mobile. During our battery test, the MacBook Pro 14 lasted 14 hours and 2 minutes, much longer than the 10:38 premium laptop average.
See our full MacBook Pro 14-inch (2023) review.
Best Windows Laptop for Graphic Design
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
At just under 4 pounds, Samsung’s Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is incredibly light, but it’s mighty. Inside, there’s a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 (with 6GB of VRAM), 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD — all working together to produce impressive performance results for $2,399.
This laptop didn’t flinch during our reviewer’s performance tests, and it scored 12,212 on the Geekbench 5.4 test, higher than the premium laptop average of 10,621. When we tested its graphics performance with the 3DMark Fire Strike test, it hit 14,307, significantly higher than the category average (8,413).
Though its performance capabilities are stellar, the real showstopper on the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is its stunning 16-inch 2880 x 1800 Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. It reproduced 86.2% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and 378 nits of brightness, both of which are lower than the premium laptop average scores of 88.8% and 393 nits. When you turn on HDR brightness, the Book 3 Ultra shines at 509 nits of brightness.
The most notable display results are from the Delta-E color accuracy test. The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is one of the most color-accurate displays Laptop Mag has tested so far, earning a 0.15 on the Delta-E test. The category average for this test is 0.24 (lower is better).
With its beautifully vivid display and powerful internals, it’s not a surprise that the Book 3 Ultra lasted 9 hours and 3 minutes on our battery test. It fell slightly below the premium laptop average (9:55), but 9 hours is still more than a full day’s work in battery life, though graphics-intensive tasks may drain the battery even faster.
See our full Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra review.
Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Graphic Design
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i may be a pricey 2-in-1 laptop at $1,999, but you get two vivid 13.3-inch 2800 x 1800 OLED touch displays. Using a colorimeter test, we found that the top display covers 136.5% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, while the bottom display covers 136.7%. Both of these scores soar above the premium laptop average of 93.3%. Then, the top display averaged 335 nits of brightness and the bottom display averaged 344 nits, lower than the category average (392).
The dual-display setup gives you plenty of surface area to play around with static graphic designs, and the 2-in-1 functionality lets you draw or design in tablet or tent mode. However, without a discrete GPU, this laptop could struggle a bit with motion graphic design projects.
Inside, the Yoga Book 9i features a 13th Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. The laptop can multitask well, balancing spreadsheets, multiple web browser tabs, and other demanding applications. On the Geekbench performance test, the Yoga Book 9i scored 7,765, incredibly close to the premium laptop average of 7,767. It’s a powerful laptop, but for those trying to edit moving graphic design animations, it’s probably worth choosing a laptop with a dedicated GPU.
Though the dual OLED displays deplete the battery faster than only one would, the Yoga Book 9i performed well during our battery test. With both displays continuously web surfing at 150 nits of brightness, the Book 9i lasted 9 hours and 18 minutes. This does fall below the category average of 10 hours and 32 minutes, but for powering those two vivid, sharp displays, that’s a long-lasting battery life.
See our full Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review.
Best 17-inch Laptop for Graphic Design
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
If you need a large 17.3-inch screen to perfect your graphic design projects, look no further than the HP ZBook Fury G8. Its 4K BrightView LED touchscreen display scored an exemplary 161.7% of the DCI-P3 color gamut during our colorimeter test. For reference, the average premium laptop score is 84.4%. The ZBook Fury 17 G8 also averaged a stunning 532 nits of brightness, higher than the category average of 392 nits.
The HP ZBook Fury G8 is one of the best workstation laptops too, so if you need a laptop for work that can handle tons of data, graphics-intensive tasks, and working in different programs at once, go with this one. This laptop is equipped with an Intel Xeon processor, a dedicated Nvidia RTX A5000 (with 16GB of VRAM), a 1TB SSD, and 64GB of RAM. With all the power it’s packing, it’s no surprise the ZBook Fury G8 performed exceptionally on our performance and graphics tests.
In our Geekbench overall performance test, HP’s ZBook Fury 17 G8 scored 9,716, almost double the premium laptop average score of 4,753. This laptop also sailed past the category average in our Lightroom Classic benchmark and Photoshop test.
Gaming or other graphics-intensive activities will be no issue with its dedicated GPU and whopping 16GB of VRAM. In our 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark, the ZBook Fury 17 G8 scored an incredible 20,444, over four times the premium laptop average of 4,351.
This laptop’s powerful internals and striking 17-inch 4K display come at a steep cost. Our review model, with all the specs mentioned above, would cost you $6,421, but you can play around with different configurations to bring the price down. It’s also worth noting that because this is a power-hungry laptop, it may be best-suited close to an outlet at all times. The ZBook Fury 17 G8 lasted 7 hours and 10 minutes on our battery test, about 3 hours less than the category average.
See our full HP Zbook Fury 17 G8 review.
Best Budget Laptop for Graphic Design
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
MacBooks can be ridiculously expensive, but not the MacBook Air 15! Our review unit was equipped with an 8-core M2 CPU, a 10-core M2 GPU, a 16-core Neural Engine, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage, and it cost $1,699. You can play around with the RAM and storage amounts to find the right price for you. No matter which configuration you settle on, all models come with the gorgeous 15.3-inch 2880 x 1864 Liquid Retina Display.
During our tests, the MacBook Air 15’s display averaged 473 nits of brightness, higher than the category average of 345 nits. It only reproduced 78.9% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, falling quite a bit short of the 129.8% category average. The Air 15 redeemed itself with its low Delta-E score of 0.17, much better than the category average of 2.62 (lower is better).
For static graphics-intensive tasks, the MacBook Air 15 should be able to handle them like a pro. On our Geekbench performance test, it hit 9,993, scoring slightly higher than the 8,389 category average. If you’re interested in moving graphic design projects, like animated videos, you may want to splurge on a higher-end MacBook or a Windows laptop with a dedicated GPU and VRAM.
If you want to be able to cart your laptop around campus, work, or home without needing to worry about finding an outlet, the MacBook Air 15 has you covered. During our battery test, this laptop lasted 14 hours and 59 minutes, just over 5 hours longer than the category average of 9 hours and 55 minutes.
See our full MacBook Air 15 review.
Best High-End Windows Laptop for Graphic Design
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
If you have the money to splurge on the MSI Creator Z16P, you’ll get an incredibly powerful tool for graphic design as well as a hefty gaming machine. At $4,299, the model we reviewed features a 12th Gen Intel Core i9 CPU, a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU (with 16GB of VRAM), a 2TB SSD, and 64GB of RAM. These beefy internals helped the Creator Z16P score 14,386 on our Geekbench performance test, absolutely smashing the workstation laptop average of 6,628.
With its dedicated Nvidia GPU and 16GB of VRAM, the MSI Creator Z16P doesn’t even flinch at graphics-intensive activities, like video editing or playing games, especially with its buttery smooth 165Hz display. To test the full extent of this laptop’s graphics capabilities, we ran our 3DMark Fire Strike test. The Creator Z16P scored 13,500, higher than the category average of 10,963.
Whether you’re playing games or working on your latest graphic design creation, you’ll see things clearly and accurately on the Creator Z16P’s vivid 16-inch 2560 x 1600 True Pixel display. In the colorimeter test, the Creator Z16P reproduced 113.4% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, earning a higher percentage than the category average of 86.5%. It averaged 375 nits of brightness, just barely above the category average of 372 nits.
With most gaming or workstation laptops like the MSI Creator Z16P, the battery life likely won’t be great. In our battery test, this laptop lasted 5 hours and 2 minutes, which is much shorter than the workstation laptop average of 7 hours and 55 minutes. As long as you don’t stray too far from an outlet, this laptop boasts performance that’s hard to beat.
See our full MSI Creator Z16P review.
Best High-End MacBook for Graphic Design
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The only thing the MacBook Pro 16-inch (M2, 2023) has against it is the steep price. For $3,499, this laptop comes equipped with a 12-core M2 Max CPU, a 38-core GPU, a 16-core Neural Engine, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and the gorgeous 16.2-inch 3456 x 2234 Liquid Retina XDR display. The model we reviewed is even more extravagant, with 96GB of RAM and a 4TB SSD bumping the total price up to $5,299. When you see the test results for this beefy bad boy, the price will make sense.
With the Geekbench overall performance test, the MacBook Pro 16 hit 15,044, lightyears ahead of the premium laptop average of 6,977. Our reviewer had so much running at once — 100 Google Chrome tabs, YouTube videos, Twitch, social media sites, and even Resident Evil Village — and the MacBook Pro 16 didn’t show any signs of struggle. That’s the type of laptop you want when you’re dealing with graphics-intensive, RAM-hungry design software.
When the MacBook Pro 16’s Liquid Retina XDR display was tested, the results were shocking because of how bright and colorful the display seems to the human eye. The laptop scored 83.7% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, below the premium laptop average of 88.1%. On the brightness test, the MacBook Pro 16 averaged 447 nits, higher than the category average of 391 nits.
Usually, when you see internal specs like these in a laptop, you think the battery life is going to be middling. That is certainly not the case for the MacBook Pro 16. In our battery test, this laptop lasted 18 hours and 56 minutes, soaring past the premium laptop average of 10 hours and 2 minutes. To date, this is the longest lasting laptop we’ve tried.
See our full MacBook Pro 16-inch (M2 Max, 2023) review.
How To Choose a Laptop for Graphic Design
When thinking about how to choose the right laptop for graphic design, there are a few key specs to consider. In order to run graphics-intensive programs effectively, your laptop needs plenty of RAM, a powerful processor running the show, a high-resolution and color-accurate display, and a discrete GPU if you can afford it. Then, your laptop needs enough speedy SSD storage to download and store your graphic design files.
Generally speaking, a great laptop for graphic design purposes should have at least 16GB of RAM, at least 512GB of SSD storage, and in a perfect world, a 4K OLED display, but it’s more important to make sure your display is bright, has a good DCI-P3 percentage, and high color accuracy. When it comes to processors, it’s best to stick with at least the latest M2 CPU for MacBooks and either a 12th or 13th Gen Intel Core i7 or i9, an Intel Xeon, or an AMD Ryzen 5000/6000 for Windows laptops.
It’s worth noting that your perfect configuration for a graphic design laptop could be different from someone else’s. If you primarily work with static graphic designs, creating fun pamphlets, engaging infographics, or other non-moving files, you may be able to save some money by choosing less storage space, integrated graphics rather than discrete, and a slightly less beefy processor. If you work with motion graphic design, you’ll need to splurge on a discrete GPU, a powerful processor, and as much RAM as you can afford.
If you plan on using your laptop to work on graphic design projects on the go, you’ll need to ensure your laptop has a solid battery life. For anyone who plans to play games on their laptop as well as use it for graphic design, one of our best gaming laptops may be more up your alley. Gaming laptops naturally share the same specs needed for graphic design software.
How We Test Laptops for Graphic Design
Every laptop we review — which includes each pick on this list — goes through a series of benchmark tests by our dedicated testing team before it reaches one of our reviewers. To find the best laptops for graphic design, we primarily looked at testing results for performance, graphics, and the display.
Performance testing includes Geekbench’s CPU Benchmark and the BAPCo Crossmark test, both of which evaluate the laptop’s ability to handle a variety of different tasks and continue running smoothly. To test a laptop’s graphics capabilities, we use the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark and see how well an older game like Sid Meier’s Civilization VI runs. Laptops with beefier discrete GPUs receive even more demanding gaming tests with newer titles.
When testing a laptop’s display, we look at how bright it gets, how accurately it reproduces colors, and how much of the DCI-P3 color gamut it covers. We use the Klein K10-A colorimeter and Klein’s ChromaSurf software to measure brightness and DisplayCal to evaluate a screen’s Delta-E value and sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamut percentages.
We also measure how hot a laptop gets after watching a 4K or 8K YouTube video for 15 minutes, as well as how long the battery lasts when the laptop continuously surfs the web at 150 nits of brightness.
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