TOP 10 BEST LAPTOPS FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNING IN INDIA

Originally posted on Tech Crack

“Creativity is nothing but a mind set free.” The digital world is transforming because of graphic designers, video and photo editors who put their efforts into making everything on the internet more beautiful than ever. Apart from their inborn creativity, their tools help them design everything. Tools such as PCs and Tablets and according to a survey taken in 2018, laptops.

Graphic designers require powerful laptops since their primary need is working with RAM consuming media such as images, HD videos, GIFs (Jiff, as the debate goes on). This article presents you with a list of the best laptops for graphic design as well as a detailed laptop buying guide for the same.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. BUYER’S GUIDE FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNING LAPTOP
2. BEST LAPTOPS FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS
3. LENOVO LEGION Y530
4. ACER PREDATOR HELIOS 300
5. HP ZBOOK 15V G5
6. GIGABYTE AERO 15X V8-BK4K4P
7. ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR II GL504GW-ES007T
8. DELL PRECISION 5530
9. APPLE MACBOOK PRO 15 INCH
10. ASUS UX550GE-XB71T ZENBOOK PRO
11. DELL XPS 15 9570
12. MICROSOFT SURFACE BOOK 2

BUYER’S GUIDE FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNING LAPTOP

Graphic designing laptops are one of the most expensive ones since they ask for ‘A Grade’ specifications in almost all the important factors such as display, performance and graphics, which leads to only one thing, high price. Normal laptops aren’t efficient enough to run software like Illustrator or CAD or even Photoshop with some browsing.

Looking for cheap price over high quality will most probably make your graphic designing career sluggish like that sluggish laptop until and unless you opt for a valuable one. For finding the right device you should care more about some factors than the others. Below are five factors aligned according to their importance.

GRAPHICS PROCESSING UNIT (GPU) AKA GRAPHICS CARD

A GPU helps in loading videos, games and images and makes sure that they run at optimal frame rates without lag. You will generally hear about either integrated graphics or dedicated graphics card. The latter is far better than the former in terms of performance and power. But a graphic designer needs the best of the best dedicated Graphics Cards.

NVIDIA and AMD are two BIG producers of graphics cards. For NVIDIA, something close to a Geforce GTX 1050ti with 6 GB VRAM is moderate and for AMD, a Radeon pro with 6 or more GB graphics can run multiple software at once.

It is advisable to attach externally or try for a laptop with a graphics card of at least 6 GB VRAM. But something less than 4 GB is a sure shot loss for your money.

DISPLAY

The display cannot be missed at all if the primary purpose for buying a laptop is judging the colour and quality of images/videos every day and editing them. A colourful, vibrant and bright screen with awesome viewing angles and a wide resolution is perfect for the ultimate graphic designer.

Technically, a 15 or sometimes a 17-inch screen works well given that it has a resolution of something close to 2560 x 1440 WQ HD. The most eye-catching graphics can be enjoyed through a 3840 x 2160 pixel 4k resolution.

More importantly, colour reproduction is another amazing quality that separates premium from mediocre.  sRGB% is a perimeter that identifies colour reproduction. Most vivid displays have 100% or more in sRGB.

RAM

RAM is the reason why a laptop works and how it handles tasks. Every program loads and functions in the space provided by the RAM. Bigger RAM space means that you can open more applications and swiftly move from one window to another.

Modern laptops’ RAM varies from 4 to 32 GB of RAM but a good laptop that handles multiple graphics software like GIMP, Illustrator, and Sketch simultaneously has 16 GB inbuilt RAM. 8 GB RAM suits entry-level designers who make simple posters and create GIFs.

PROCESSOR

“CPU is the brain of the computer”. This nostalgic line perfectly defines why processors even matter in the first place. A processor controls everything from the start to finish. Gone are the days of Intel i3 and Reyzen 3 that worked fine four years ago.

In 2019, you need the processors that at least came out recently like the i7 or the AMD Radeon pro 560x. Updated processors are relevant 3-4 or even 5 years from the present which is why newer laptops are better investments since their processors are efficient and effective. Plus we are talking about processing 4k videos and images every second here.

STORAGE

You have game maps to create and videos to edit, but where to store these so they do not slow down the laptop’s processor? Answer: in an SSD (Solid State Drive).

SSDs are quicker, more reliable, costlier and evidently better than the Mechanical Hard Drives or HDDs. Most new laptops offer an inbuilt SSD ranging from 64 GB to 1 TB. A 512 GB SSD is convenient for storing media. There is even an option of combining HDD and SSD.


TOP 10 BEST LAPTOPS FOR GRAPHIC DESIGNERS

LENOVO LEGION Y530

PROS 

✔ HDD+SSD storage space

✔ Cheap price for good specs

✔ Screen tilts to 180 degrees

CONS

❌Average screen resolution

❌ Moderate battery life

❌ Bloated colour reproduction

Primarily an entry-level low budget gaming laptop, the Lenovo Legion Y530 is also a pretty well-suited laptop for guys who want to use After Effects, Photoshop, etc. The one thing that catches our eyesight is that it has very thin bezels that give it a look of a modern workstation with the RAM and GPU of a satisfactory graphic design laptop.

The 15.6-inch FHD IPS display seems OK for editing HQ videos but not much is to be expected here since the colour reproduction on this screen is really mediocre which makes it tough to satisfy the inner artist inside a pro designer. The brightness according to Lenovo reaches 300 nits which is nonetheless, average and nothing else.

Performance-wise, the Y530 offers high potential for multitasking. The 6 GB GTX 1060 is promising enough for using multiple files simultaneously but on the downside, it barely lasts 4 hours if you continue browsing for images, downloading and editing them.

SPECIFICATIONS

RAM8 GB DDR4 RAM
GRAPHICS6 GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1060 GPU
DISPLAY15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Display
PROCESSORINTEL I7-8750H Processor
STORAGE1 TB HDD + 128GB SSD

ACER PREDATOR HELIOS 300

PROS 

✔ HDD+SSD storage space

✔ 144 Hz screen refresh rate

✔ Latest Intel i7 8th gen processor

CONS

❌ Low colour reproduction

❌ Heavy body 

❌ Average battery life

Acer created a value for money laptop in the face of the Predator Helios and upgraded it in 2018. One thing they got right in 2018 is the screen. The screen seems nothing more than an average one but the 144 Hz refresh rate makes Video editing as smooth as glass. Though the colour reproduction is not even close to the mark, winding up at 82% of sRGB (close to 90-95 would have been good).

The red and blue aesthetics in the Helios are just like a normal gaming laptop. The body weighs 2.7 kg which is pretty heavy but you have to consider the fact that there is 16 GB RAM, a 6GB GTX 1060 and even an HDD with an SSD. The big air vents on the back ensure cooling even while multitasking.

One big feature to keep in mind is its battery life. Most of the laptops that offer great specs for graphic designing are the ones that were primarily made for gaming, which is why they consume battery like the fat uncle that eats up all the food. The same is the case with the 48WHr battery which runs note for more than 5 hours. You would have to carry your charger around adding to the 3 kg bulk.

SPECIFICATIONS

RAM16 GB DDR4 RAM
GRAPHICS6 GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1060 GPU
DISPLAY15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) Display
PROCESSORINTEL I7-8750H Processor
STORAGE1 TB HDD + 128GB SSD

HP ZBOOK 15V G5

PROS 

✔ HDD+SSD storage space

✔ Satisfactory colour reproduction

✔ Durable body that matches military standards

CONS

❌ Below average graphics quality

❌ Heavy body 

❌ Viewing angles are narrow

Workstations are very often seen as the sweet spots between daily use notebooks and heavy-duty gaming beasts, which makes them perfect for a graphic designer who wants both the efficiency of an Ultrabook and the power of a gaming laptop under a single chassis. HP’s Zbook 15v G5 delivers that sweet spot while slightly missing out on the most important media editing aspect, the display.

The G5 is equipped with a 1 TB HDD combined with a 256 GB SSD and 16 GB DDR4 RAM (varies with configuration). The 4GB NVIDIA Quadro P600 is fine for beginners but an extra GPU can be connected using thunderbolt port on the right. It can’t be denied that applications like CAD and Premier Pro can run absolutely smooth and you can do gaming as well in the free time.

This workstation lasts about 8 hours on moderate usage which is really nice because video editing uses battery life. There are a lot of add-ons built inside the G5, such as a fingerprint sensor, spill-proof backlit keyboard, HDMI and thunderbolt ports, speakers built on the chassis above the keyboard and big air vents all around for airflow. All of these make up for an in and out workload machine that just needs to fix its display problems in order to become a perfect pick.

SPECIFICATIONS

RAM16 GB DDR4 RAM
GRAPHICS 4 GB NVIDIA Quadro P600
DISPLAY15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) Display
PROCESSORINTEL I7-8850H Processor
STORAGE1 TB HDD + 256GB SSD

GIGABYTE AERO 15X V8-BK4K4P

PROS 

✔ Unmatched performance specs

✔ 4k UHD IPS display

✔ Thin bezels

CONS

❌ Screen hinge isn’t durable

❌ Lack of heat control 

❌ Webcam points toward your nose

If you want your laptop to be as functional and as durable as possible for really long term (more than 7 years on a single device), it is hard to think of a good competitor to the Gigabyte Aero 15x. It has every spec so advanced as well as accurately structured in a 2 kg body that you would rarely have to look around for better choices.

16 GB RAM, 8 GB GTX 1070, 4k UHD IPS display and an i7 combined with two slots for storage and even a colour-customizable backlit keyboard make the Aero a master of almost everything required to ace editing without your tools holding your creativity back. Gigabyte claims 100% in Adobe RGB in its anti-glare screen.

 But there are some features that really need to be checked out. The hinge looks pretty but makes the screen wobble. You need to take extra care of the hinge while opening/closing the laptop. Something that Gigabyte can work on is the 6-hour average battery life, which tops as far as gaming laptops are concerned but for a work-oriented laptop, 6 hours are pretty average.

The body also heats up with multiple software due to lack of air vents that could not be placed in the process of making the body thin. Nonetheless, the Aero is a good laptop for your buck.

SPECIFICATIONS

RAM16 GB DDR4 RAM (Upto 32 GB)
GRAPHICS 8 GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1050
DISPLAY15.6″ UHD (3840×2160) IPS Display
PROCESSORINTEL I7-8750H Processor
STORAGEEmpty slot for HDD + 512 GB SSD

ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR II GL504GW-ES007T

PROS 

✔ Fastest response time in a screen

✔ Perfect storage combination

✔ Customizable lighting in keyboard, front edge and the lid

✔ Thin bezels

CONS

❌ Average colour reproduction

❌ Beginner level screen resolution

❌ Heavy, thick body

Asus always wins the battle by somehow fitting very unseen and unique features in its laptops. The ROG Strix Scar II is an update of Scar I and it really feels like a big update because of its display. The display seems like a very normal 1920 x 1080 FHD display used for beginner media editing experience and it actually is, but that same display is speedy with its 144 Hz refresh rate, even faster than the Predator Helios 300.

Other remarkable characteristics include a whopping 8 GB NVIDIA RTX 2070 GPU and 16 Gigs of RAM, topped with an i7 8th gen CPU. One innovative thing about the design is the lighting in various places that can be customized by you at your own will. One of the models offers 1 TB SSHD (faster than an HDD) with a 512 GB SSD, which is hands down the best combination this list offers.

To remove the shiny glitter in your eyes that you’ve got till now, it is necessary to remind that the resolution, graphics detail, as well as colour reproduction (114% of sRGB), is basic, and the battery life cannot even last for 5 full hours on a single charge.

SPECIFICATIONS

RAM16 GB DDR4 RAM
GRAPHICS8 GB NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2070 GDDR5
DISPLAY15.6″ FHD (1920X1080) IPS Display
PROCESSORINTEL I7-8750H Processor
STORAGE1 TB HDD + 512 GB SSD

DELL PRECISION 5530

PROS 

✔ 2-in-1 body with included stylus

✔ Large SSD storage space

✔ Thin bezels

CONS

❌ Poor colour reproduction

❌ Low screen resolution 

❌ Mediocre battery life



Enough of heavy machinery that doesn’t even look sleek like modern laptops. Dell’s latest 2-in-1 precision borrows the small size and flexibility from Ultrabooks and hands them to the aesthetics of the original workstation without even minimizing performance anywhere.

To begin with, the most unique thing about this workstation is the 2-in-1 body on which Dell’s stylus runs extra buttery and helps you give an artistic touch to your projects. Normal workstations cannot even produce something near this. It is topped with 16 GB RAM/1 TB SSD and an Intel i7 8th gen, all are fast and efficient enough for opening multiple files.

The GPU though requires an external Graphics card attachment through the laptop’s Thunderbolt connection since the 4 GB VRAM in the Radeon Pro graphics card is not big enough to handle processes fast like converting 4k movies in Premiere Pro. Also, the screen resolution and the 98% sRGB hint towards just a decent graphic designing experience and not a superior one, even in the tablet mode itself.

The battery life just topples after 5 hours on browsing and a little bit of Photoshop, which is again a clear signal of “nothing much to be expected here”. However, the fact that Precision 5530 is able to achieve the title of the smallest 2-in-1 workstation is itself a big thing.

SPECIFICATIONS

RAM16 GB DDR4 RAM
GRAPHICS 4 GB AMD Radeon Pro WX Mega Graphics
DISPLAY15.6″ FHD (1920X1080) 2-in-1 Stylus enabled Display
PROCESSORINTEL I7-8th Gen PROCESSOR
STORAGE1 TB SSD

APPLE MACBOOK PRO (15 INCH)

PROS 

✔ 2-in-1 body with included stylus

✔ Large SSD storage space

✔ Thin bezels

CONS

❌ Mac OS doesn’t have enough flexibility

❌ Extremely highly priced

❌ Less number of ports

Apple cannot be left out from any category of best laptops (except for gaming laptops) because its minimalistic yet highly durable laptops tend to push the extra factor. The 15-inch Macbook Pro does the same with its really outstanding display which has a “True Tone” sensing technology that changes the warmth of the display according to the light outside.

On paper, the display is a 15.4 inch 2880 x 1800 IPS LED that produces 500 nits of brightness (even 300 is effective under sunlight) and reproduces 117% of sRGB. And in reality, the display is as astounding as in the paper. Macbooks have always been prominent in the display department and the one released in 2018 is at par with Apple’s standards.

Apple isn’t as flexible as Windows laptops in terms of ports, because Apple wants it slim. There are only Thunderbolt (total 4) ports in the Apple which means you would need to connect to an adapter. Apple has updated the CPU to the latest Intel i9 9th gen. Other necessary specs include a 16 GB RAM/512 GB SSD and an AMD Pro 560x with 4 GB VRAM. You can connect to an external GPU to maximize productivity while working on peak software. The battery lasts for 10 hours which is humongous

One thing that Apple notoriously manages to do well is to make users pay more for the value, which means the Macbook isn’t a cheap deal at all.

SPECIFICATIONS

RAM16 GB DDR4 RAM
GRAPHICS4 GB AMD Radeon Pro 560X Graphics
DISPLAY15.4″ (2880×1800) LED LIT IPS DISPLAY
PROCESSORINTEL I9-9th Gen Processor
STORAGE512 GB SSD

ASUS UX550GE-XB71T ZENBOOK PRO

PROS 

✔ Exceptional color quality and reproduction

✔ Touchscreen available

✔ Upgradable to i9 8th gen Intel processor

CONS

❌ Average built quality

❌ Battery lasts for just half your day

❌ Cooling mechanism isn’t effective

Some of the readers love windows laptops for what they are, and yes, it is pretty normal since they are very functional and flexible in terms of configurations and ports. Asus took care of this fact in mind while redesigning the Zenbook pro 15 this year to make it as an alternative to premium Apple Macbook and it really shows.

One big reason why the Zenbook is on this list is the display. It is unmatched if we combine colour reproduction, details and brightness together in a laptop. The 4K UHD version outperforms Apple Macbook with a 132% sRGB (Macbook stopped at 117%) to begin with. Moreover, the panel is touch-enabled for every sort of extra finishes that you cannot make singularly on the trackpad. BUT the 4k display eats up a lot of battery as well.

Performance specs in the Zenbook pro are as awesome as they seem for video editing and rendering. There is a 16 GB RAM/ 512 GB SSD, and an i7 8th gen Intel combined with an NVIDIA GTX 1050ti with 4 GB VRAM. Asus allows you to plug in extra graphics through the Thunderbolt ports. Being cheaper than a Macbook, you can buy an extra GTX for times when things get serious.

SPECIFICATIONS

RAM16 GB DDR4 RAM
GRAPHICS 4 GB NVIDIA GTX 1050ti Graphics
DISPLAY 15.6” LED-backlit 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) Display
PROCESSORINTEL i7-8750H Processor
STORAGE512 GB SSD

DELL XPS 15 9570

PROS 

✔ One of the brightest, most vivid 4k displays

✔ Comes with  a backlit keyboard and fingerprint sensor

✔ One of the thinnest and lightweight bodies

✔ Awesome battery life

CONS

❌ Webcam points at your nose

❌ Heating problems and fan noise persist

❌ Expensive

You have probably heard of the Dell XPS before if you are into laptops and Ultrabooks but instead of just being the talk of the town, the XPS lineup is worth the hue and cry, at least for graphic designing. But why is that? It’s the display and premium aluminium built in a thin, but powerful device that makes it so unique. And the XPS 15 9570 introduced in 2018 is no anomaly.

The Infinity Edge 4k Ultra-HD display has really thin bezels to maximize the viewing and editing experience. One sacrifice that had to be made was the webcam that had to be adjusted on the bottom bezel, which points straight up to your nose and you cannot change that. Though the score of 99% at Adobe RGB may seem normal on paper, it’s actually a lot more vibrant because of the glossy panel and 400 nits of maximum brightness.

Performance in the XPS 15 outweighs competitors like Lenovo Thinkpad and even the Apple Macbook Air, because of the Intel i9 and 16 GB RAM (up to 32 GB)/ 1 TB SSD combination. It is very similar to the competitors but the GTX 1050ti gives it a plus point and makes it much more valuable. Another huge winning factor is the battery life of this XPS that reaches 10-11 hours. No laptop combines these specs together.

SPECIFICATIONS

RAM32 GB DDR4 RAM
GRAPHICS 4 GB NVIDIA GTX 1050ti Graphics
DISPLAY 15.6” LED-backlit 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) Infinity Edge Display
PROCESSORINTEL i9-8th gen Processor
STORAGE1 TB SSD

MICROSOFT SURFACE BOOK 2

PROS 

✔ Detachable 2-in-1 laptop with magnetic stylus

✔ Bright, vivid and colorful 3:2 4k Display

✔ Ahead of the generation Aesthetics

✔ Gigantic battery life of 10+ hours

CONS

❌ The most expensive laptop in this list

❌ Tablet alone runs for 2.5 hours only

❌ Unnecessary thick and dark bezels

“Bizarre”. There is no better reaction to the Microsoft Surface book 2. A completely detachable tablet and keyboard that fit magnetically added to a touchscreen and a WACOM Stylus, added to a 3240 x 2160 display makes it useless to buy a tablet at all. But Microsoft isn’t stupid for letting out all that value because it is probably the priciest convertible. The question arises, is it worth it?

Being a new generation convertible, Surface Book 2 does not miss when we talk about Memory and Graphics. There is a 16 GB LPDDR3 RAM (we may see DDR4 in upcoming years) and an SSD that ranges from 128 GB to 1 TB in the Surface Book with the choice of a 6 GB GTX 1060. It is recommended to go for all the high limit specs if budget isn’t a problem for you.

Coming to the display, the 15 inch 4k screen becomes a tablet in a snap. You can run the stylus on for giving artistic touches. The colour reproduction on this thing is 131% of sRGB which is a pretty respectable score. The tablet can even be rejoined opposite to the keyboard. Microsoft did a commendable job with battery life here, which lasts for 10-11 hours.

If you are a serious graphic designer and want the ULTIMATE device for nailing every project, you should definitely consider buying the Surface Book 2.

SPECIFICATIONS

RAM16 GB LPDDR3 RAM
GRAPHICS 6 GB NVIDIA GTX 1060 Graphics
DISPLAY 15” PIXELSENSE DISPLAY (3240 X 2160) 3:2 RATIO
PROCESSORINTEL i7 8650U Processor
STORAGE1 TB SSD

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