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SecretAsianMan.com is a resource for artists, graphic designers and tech enthusiasts.

My name is Jack and I was born and raised in New York City.  I’ve tried my best to pull together the best guides and commentary on graphic design, software and technology, and the industry in general.  I hope you find everything useful and of a very high quality, as I’ve poured a lot of effort into them.

Thanks again for visiting!

The 5 Best Printers for Chromebook in 2018 (Quality and Price)

Chromebooks are superb for several things whether it’s browsing the web or writing a paper without having to worry about it getting infected with malware. However, unlike laptops that run on Microsoft Windows or Mac OS, Chromebooks are not compatible with USB port like printers. That means that if you own a Chromebooks laptop, you will have to get a compatible printer for your printing needs.

For one to be able to print from their Chromebooks, they’ll need to connect to the Google Cloud Print service and then share a printer. While there are printers that are compatible with Chromebooks, you can also use an existing printer that you have by downloading and installing the required software to your Chromebook; the best choice is always to buy one that is compatible with your Chromebooks laptop. Besides, having a Google Cloud Printer will print your documents or photos straight out your box and are the best Chromebook compatible printing devices.

1. HP OfficeJet 200 Mobile Printer

Introduction

If you are shopping for a Chromebook compatible printer that you can take on the go, then the HP OfficeJet 200 is your best bet as it lets you take your printing everywhere and anywhere thanks to its onboard battery. It also has wireless printing that is made possible by the onboard battery making it easy for you to print any document on the go.

Pros

The printer is small and light and can easily be carried in a backpack. It is compatible with Chromebook laptops making it the perfect printer to have. It prints the document in both color and black depending on your own preference.

Cons

Slightly expensive than most printers in its range

 

2. Canon PIXMA MG7720

Introduction

Canon PIXMMA is for anyone that likes to have a quick and easy setup of their devices. As a wireless mobile device printer, you can easily print from your Android smartphone or tablet, iPad or iPhone. You also have different powerful printing options such as Google Cloud Print, Canon PRINT app, Mopria, Air print and NFC. With NFC-enabled mobile devices, you can simply print with just one touch.

Pros

It has the Google Cloud Print option making it top the list of one of the best printer for Chromebooks. It allows for CD/DVD printing making it possible for you to create CD or DVD labels. Because it allows for other printing options, the PIXMA is suitable for a household with devices that run on different operating systems. It offers quite printing especially when you are in a noise-controlled area.

Cons

Doesn’t have a built-in Fax system.

3. HP Envy 4520

Introduction

The beauty of the HP Envy 4520 is that you are able to print, copy and scan your documents. The free HP ePrint app is an added advantage as users can print from anywhere using their smartphones and tablets. The Air Print option, on the other hand, makes it possible for those with iPads or iPhones to make their printing or alternatively print without a network using the Wireless Direct printing.

Pros

It has multiple printing options including Google Cloud Printing which makes it compatible with a Chromebook laptop. The HP Envy allows you to print on both sides of any one single paper saving you both time and money. It has an HP Instant Ink System which makes it possible for you to order cartridges to your doorstep with just one touch.

Cons

The ink pop-ups can be annoying and are not easy to disable.

 

4. Canon MG7720 All-in-One Wireless Printer

Introduction

Most printers from Canon are suitable for your Chromebook because they are compatible with Google Cloud Printer which is what Chromebooks use. The Canon MG7720 easily connects to your wireless access point making printing easy. As opposed to some printers that require some form of configuration after installation, the case is different with this printer as all you will need to do is to download a small application file that’s available on the Canon website.

Pros

Canon MG7720 can let you print, scan and copy your documents. It also requires an easy setup making it easy for you to start printing with just the click of a few buttons. Because it’s wireless, the Canon MG7720 does not require any USB connection as all printing or scanning can be done on Wi-Fi.

Cons

It holds a small amount of paper needed for printing hence the need to constantly load the tray.

 

5. Epson XP-640 Wireless Printer

Introduction

The Epson Expression XP-640 comes with creative pictures that helps deliver sharp text and great photo quality. In addition, you can scan, print and copy documents and photos as well. The printer has an auto two-sided printing capability that lets you print photos of 4 by 6 inch in 20 seconds. Besides, you are able to print from your Android smartphone and tablet as well as your iPad or iPhone.

Pros

Ability to print from your Chromebook laptop without the need of a router. The two-sided printing helps make your printing fast. The printer has a dedicated tray that lets you print both DVDs and photos from your social networks using the Epson creative print app. For all the features, it is affordable since it’s fairly priced.

Cons

It’s a low volume printer.

 

Final Thoughts

If you own a Chromebook laptop, the first thing you need to look for in any printer that you want to buy is whether it has the Google Cloud Print feature. Because Chromebooks don’t have the capability of identifying third-party drivers, you can’t err in buying one.

Another factor to consider is the print speed. You don’t want to buy a printer that takes forever to print a single document. Ideally, you should look for a printer that prints 20 pages per minutes for black and white including 16 pages per minute for colored documents.

Just because it’s 2018, it doesn’t mean that all printers compatible with Chromebooks available in the market are color printers. If the main goal of your printer is to print photos, then it’s wise to buy the best color printer for Chromebooks.

The 5 Best Portable Laser Printers in 2018 (Affordability and Quality)

Back in the day, all printers were stationary. This means that you had to be near the printer to have all your printing business done. However, over time, printers just like many other technology products, have evolved and gotten lighter and smaller due to innovation.

And while packing a printer may be the last thing on your mind, getting one of the best portable laser printer may be something that you ought to consider going forward as you never know when you’ll need to print an invoice, contract or photo. When the time comes, you’d want to be ready regardless of whether you are printing from a smartphone, laptop or computer.

Below are some of the best portable laser printers that are convenient and can fit into your backpack for you to take it with you wherever you may need.

 

1. The Primera Trio Portable All-in-One Printer with Scanner and Copier

Introduction

As one of the world’s lightest and smallest portable all in one laser printer from Primera Technology, the Primera Trio can be used for printing, scanning and copying documents while on the move. Its small size means that it can easily fit into a purse, backpack or briefcase. The input tray can hold up to 10 sheets of paper as it has a rear slot designed for heavier paper, four by six photo papers and envelopes.

Pros

The Primera Trio is ideal for those who need to scan, print and copy documents while on the move. Its light design makes it ideal to move around with without being worn down. It prints both black and colored documents and has an excellent quality.

Cons

Not ideal for printing large documents.

 

2. The Samsung CLP 300 Mini Personal Color Laser Printer

Introduction

If you are looking for a portable laser printer that will save you some space, the Samsung CLP 300 Mini is your best bet. The printer has a 150-sheet multipurpose tray and a 100-sheet output capacity. Its dpi print resolution is 2400 by 600 and has the capacity to do black prints at 17 ppm and color prints at 4 ppm.

Pros

NO NOIS Samsung feature design ensures it operates quietly and has a simple and easy toner changes making it ideal for areas where noise is a concern. Easy to set up and get printing. It has a speedy USB connectivity of 2.0 and is quite portable.

Cons

Not compatible with all MS Windows and Mac OS operating systems.

 

3. HP LaserJet Pro M125nw Wireless Laser Printer

Introduction

The HP brand has always had a name when it comes to laptops and printing devices. It’s no wonder that the HP LaserJet Pro M125nw made it to our list. This printer is a multipurpose laser printer that allows for monochrome print, copy, scan, wireless printing, Ethernet network connectivity, LCD Display and so much more. If your work requires lots of printing, this is the printer for you.

Pros

This printer prints about 21 pages every minute. The input tray has a limit capacity of 150 sheets and allows for mobile printing from anyplace using your tablet or smartphone with the HP ePrint app that is free. The printouts are of high quality.

Cons

The function window has no light.

 

4. Epson WorkForce WF-100 Wireless Mobile Printer

Introduction

Epson’s WorkForce Wireless mobile printer continues to be a trailblazer in the best portable laser printers as it’s the smallest printer in the world. Besides being small and light, it has a built-in wireless and Wi-Fi direct that makes it easy for you to print for your smartphone, iPhone, iPad, tablet or laptop. It has both an AC adapter and a USB battery charging unit that gives the battery charging flexibility making it travel-friendly.

Pros

The small design combined with the wireless mobile printing feature makes it ideal for business professionals on the go. It has a built-in lithium-ion battery that’s rechargeable. Prints quality documents as well as photos.

Cons

The nozzle gets clogged if the printer goes for long without being used.

 

5. HP OfficeJet 200 Portable Printer

Introduction

The only way to have the world become your office and print anywhere, anytime is to own the HP OfficeJet 200 portable printer. It’s also small and light in weight making it suitable for your printing needs when traveling as it can easily fit in your backpack. The printer takes only 90 minutes to fully charge when it’s off.

Pros

The HP reprint app allows you to print from anywhere without necessarily relying on a network. You are able to save energy with the ENERGY STAR that it comes with. Its small design means that it takes up very little space on your table or anywhere else.

Cons

It can only be used for printing purposes.

Final Thoughts

If you are a business professional that is always on the road and needs to shop for the best portable laser printer, it’s important that you consider the reason for the purchase. From our review, there are certain printers that are multi-purpose – i.e., they print, scan, and copy – while others aren’t. If you need a printer that can do all these, it’s important to do your research as well as read several reviews online, and what people think of the said product you have shown interest in.

Easy set up for your printer is something that you need to consider as well. When you need to set up your printer while on the go, you don’t need a printer that will take ages to set up and start. A good printer will also produce high-quality printed documents that you can even use in presentations if need be. Above all, the size of your portable printer is everything. A small and light printer will be much more efficient to move around with without feeling the weight. If you travel a lot for business, ensure that you consider the space you have for carrying a printer and if it can easily fit into your backpack.

The 5 Best Printers for Graphic Designers in 2018 (Color Quality and Price)

Graphic design is an art of communication that combines text and pictures or images. These are used largely in books and advertisements. Being a visual illustrative communication or problem-solving that includes typography and photography combined in the form of a design.

Graphic designers, therefore, require printers that take into account graphic design needs such as speed, color and image resolutions. Their illustrations need to be picture-perfect and on point. Whether you are considering a laser printer or an inkjet, whether the considerations involve the cost of the toners or cartridges, printer size or project size or paper size, some of the best choices for a graphic designer include the following;

 

1. The Canon Pixma iP8720 Inkjet Printer

Introduction

Canon printers are some of the world’s best printers when it comes to photos and graphic designs. The Canon Pixma iP8720 ranks high for any graphic designer. It can take a variety of paper weights and sizes. This means it can be used with both cardstock papers for presentation print jobs as well as the normal office paper for drafting. This makes this model of Canon printer a very economical choice. The use of the dye-based inkjet technology makes this model of printers best for fewer printhead clogs.

Pros

It supports wireless printing as well as USB connectivity. The cartridges can be replaced individually without having to invest in packs. The high compatibility with most operating systems on which most graphic designers work, with a 6-color inking system that ensures photo quality print jobs.

Cons

It relatively noisy and not as fast as its peers and the paper feeding is mostly manual.

 

2. Epson Expression Photo XP-8500

Introduction

Epson Expression Photo XP-8500 is one of the fastest illustration printers on the market. It comes with a paper tray feed that can accommodate special printing paper like the cardstocks. This makes it very ideal for any creative wanting have great quality illustrations or high contrast image prints. The 6-color photo HD ink cartridges make for a varied range of mixes and great illustrative appeal.

Pros

This printer delivers fast printing. It is also small with a space-saving design, compact and quiet with an ability to print borderless photo-quality printouts.

The printer has a PC-free print feature using built-in USB and memory card slots. These means that graphic designers can print off-office or illustrations from design stations.

Cons

It is not a multifunctional printer and can only be used for printing only. It also doesn’t come with a built-in battery for off-mains printing.

3. Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Wireless Color Wide-format Printer

Introduction

This has been described as a photography and design printer. It produces very high-quality print jobs.
Its capabilities include being able to print paper as large as 13” x 19,” and it can handle most every standard paper weight and finish with a high yield capacity for every ink cartridge.

Pros

Very easy to setup and configure with a 2.4-inch LCD interface.

Professional Ultra HD photo quality — get brilliant borderless prints up to 13″ x 19″. Individual 6-color Claria Photo HD Ink — includes Red and Gray inks for an ultra-wide color and enhanced black-and-white prints.

Professional projects are made easy as this printer features a 50-sheet rear tray for specialty media, including cardstock and holds different types of paper finishes in various borderless sizes starting from 4 by 6 to 13 by 19. Its ultra-compact wide-format A3+ printer — 30 percent smaller than its predecessor, easily fits on your desktop.
It has convenient printing features that support auto 2-sided document printing, with a 200-sheet front tray with automatic double-sided printing with extraordinary efficiency.

Cons

It is relatively bigger than some peers in the market. Can only print up to A-3 print jobs.

4. Lexmark CS410dtn Color Laser Printer

Introduction

This is a fast-graphic design printer suitable for small and medium design projects. It is comparatively heavy-duty with an estimated output of up to 75, 000 pages.

The small and quiet Lexmark CS410dn network-ready color laser printer with 2-sided printing standard, 800 MHz dual-core processor and 256MB of standard memory prints at up to 32 ppm black and color.

Pros

Lexmark Named Color Replacement and PANTONE calibration make it easy to develop a consistent brand image by accurately matching your colors. With 1200 by 1200 dpi resolution, you are able to print images with crisp graphics. The Lexmark’s Unison Toner guarantees consistent quality from the first to the last page. In addition, the printer has a monthly duty cycle of 6,000 pages that enables you to enjoy minimal maintenance hassles as a result of their paper handling that is a state-of-the-art.

Cons

The printer is bigger requiring bigger office-space and not an on the move graphic design printer. It is also not a multifunctional unit and a bit costly to acquire and run and lower resolutions.

5. Brother HLL8360CDW

Introduction

This is one of the fastest and efficient low-cost network graphic design printers available in the market today. It has a considerable cartridge yields of up to 3, 500 pages making it relatively cheaper to operate for small and medium creatives. It has a resolution of 2400 dpi. Its network feature makes it very ideal for graphic design projects working in different locations, with duplex and wireless printing capabilities.

Pros

This printer has a print speed of 33 PPM for both black and colored printing making it a high-quality and fast printer for your home or business. Because the orienting cost is low, you will spend less time replacing consumables which help cut on your operating costs as it uses a 6,500-page toner cartridge.

Flexible network connectivity and easy to setup and configure as well as convenient mobile device printing. It has an easy automatic duplex printing capability to help reduce printing costs and produce professional two-sided documents, presentations, brochures, and booklets.

The printer has a 250-sheet paper capacity with an adjustable paper tray for a legal or letter size document. In addition, it has a multi-purpose 50-sheet tray capacity for printing alternative media as well as letterheads.

Cons

It is not a multifunctional printer and can only be used for printing purposes. It is relatively big, space-consuming and not as portable.

Final Thoughts

The suitability of the best graphic design printer largely depends on the specific requirement of the designer.
However, in whichever situation, a graphic design printer needs to be easy to setup, easy to use and comes with the relevant features depending on what your specific requirements are.

The 5 Best Printers for Cheap Ink in 2018 (Great for Artists and Designers)

While buying a printer is one of the best decisions you can ever make, after a year of printing, you will realize that you have spent a lot more on printer cartridges with the cost surpassing the money you spent when purchasing the printer. It won’t be long for you to realize you have spent $150 on ink for a printer you only bought for $60. Most companies that sell printers tend to make their prices cheap because they expect to generate more revenue and make their money back through ink and toner sales.

Printer ink is quite expensive. When buying a printer, it’s important to inquire how many prints you will get with one cartridge any given time as well as factor in the cost of ink. As such, when buying a printer, you’d rather pay a lot more upfront as it will be cheaper in the long run than spend less on the printer and more on the ink and toners especially if your work involves a lot of printing.

So, what are some of the best printer for cheap ink?

 

1. Kyocera FS-2100DN

Introduction

As one of the most high-end workgroup printer, the Kyocera FS-2100DN is efficient and effective in churning out printed pages as fast as possible. It has a 40ppm print speed with a 12,000-page toner cartridge. As such, you can forget about buying toners and inks for a bit of time as there is a low running cost involved.

Pros

This Kyocera printer has a remote network management and is also expandable. Because the toner cartridge to print up to 12,000 pages, it is expensive upfront but low maintenance over the long run. Moreover, you can stack this printer on top of multiple paper trays so as to have all different types of paper ready to go.

Cons

The draft print is very faint.

 

2. Brother MFC-J480DW Inkjet All-in-One Printer

Introduction

The Brother MFC-J480DW inkjet printer was launched in 2015 but is still a favorite choice for most people. This is because of the low print cost per page (1.18 cents) and low printer price tag. It also comes with four functionalities: print, scan, copy and fax. This printer uses four ink cartridges and comes with an automatic document feeder as well.

Pros

Suitable for both home and office use. A single black cartridge prints 550 pages before you have to replace them. The magenta, cyan and yellow color cartridges also print 550 pages per cartridge. It has a one-year warranty and is affordable – less than $100.

Cons

Some users have experienced cases of slow speeds when printing.

3. Canon PIXMA MG5720 Wireless Printer

Introduction

The Canon PIXMA MG5720 is a pick for one of the best printer for cheap ink because a standard black cartridge prints 300 pages while a larger one prints 810 pages. On the same breath, a standard color cartridge will print 300 pages while a larger size will print 500 pages. Its print resolution gives up to 4800 by 1200 color dpi. The Canon PIXMA MG5720 uses five cartridges.

Pros

This printer allows you print both quality borderless photos as well as documents. With an all-in-one printer scanner technology, this particular Canon printer is suitable for use both at home and in the office. Printing can be done using a 2.0 USB port or via wireless printing.

Cons

Having to buy five cartridges once for the printer can be slightly costly.

4. HP OfficeJet Pro 6968 Wireless All-in-One

Introduction

Because HP is a well-known brand when it comes to the printing and laptop business, we couldn’t miss one of the best printers for cheap ink form the various printers that they have designed. This printer is a wireless multifunction printer with copy, print, fax, and scan making it suitable for mobile printing. Depending on the cartridge you get, the HP OfficeJet Pro printer can print anything between 300-825 pages before the need to replace it.

Pros

The HP OfficeJet Pro 6968 has a monthly duty cycle of 20,000 pages. As a multifunction printer, you can print, fax, copy and scan making it ideal for both home and office use. As a wireless printer, you are able to do mobile printing. The printer delivers 18 pages per minute for black documents and ten pages per minute for colored documents.

Cons

You will need to load papers more often.

 

5. HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 Printer

Introduction

The HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 is an all-in-one printer meaning you are able to print, scan, fax and copy documents. Besides, it has a monthly duty cycle of 25,000 pages and happens to be one of the fastest inkjet printers available as recorded on the Guinness Book of World Records. A standard cartridge can print up to 1,000 pages while a larger one can print 2,000 pages.

Pros

The HP OfficeJet Pro 8710 All-in-one printer uses ink efficient cartridges. It has a 50 percent lower cost per page printing than most laser printers available in the market. It is multifunctional making it suitable for both home and office printing.

Cons

Relatively large hence requires a large space to place it on.

 

Final Thoughts

When it’s time for you to buy a printer, proper research coupled with why you need the printer are among the factors that you ought to consider before purchasing a printer. To add to that, you need to look at the long term. There is no need to buy a cheap printer and realize that within a few months, you have spent more on cartridges than the actual price of the printer – even if you bought at a discounted rate.

That means that you need to factor in the cost of the ink and cartridge that the type of printer you buy will cost and how many papers it can print before the need to replace it. Also, is the printer for your home or office use? The size of the printer is also something to consider especially if you need it for the home and have no space. If you are looking for the best printer for cheap ink, we hope that our review has helped make your decision-making process fast.

The 5 Best Printers for Cardstock in 2018

Over the years, printing has evolved to communicate many things. Apart from the normal paper printing, human needs and imaginations have expanded into pasteboard, a paper stock that is thicker and more durable than normal writing or printing paper.

Cardstock printing requires high-quality printers that can handle pasteboard printing. Such printers come in many forms and models. They take more toner and ink than the normal regular or traditional printing, but with fewer paper jams and wastage.

I will take a review of some of the best cardstock printers available.

 

1. The Epson Artisan 1430

Introduction

The Epson Artisan 1430 is one of the worlds best high-resolution cardstock printer with a capability of borderless printing taking paper sizes of up to 13 inches by 19 inches. The high color definition is capable of printing very high-quality, scratch-resistant longer lasting pictures. With print resolutions of up to 5760 by 1440 dpi, it’s inarguably the best printer for exceptional photos, images, gallery pictures and marketing campaigns materials such as product brochures and sizeable flyers.

Pros

This printer technology also employs the use of individual color cartridges that can be replaced individually without having to buy cartridge packs every time any of the cartridges get depleted, as is normally the case of most ordinary multifunctional printers.

Cons

It cannot be used for printing large documents such as big billboards.

 

2. Dell Wireless E525W

Introduction

Dell Wireless E525W is an attractive all-in-one printer. Users find the multifunctionality very convenient and its rather not-so-big size very appealing. It’s a printer capable of cardstock printing even over wireless networks. Its Wifi feature makes for a clutter-free office space.

Its LED low-cost printing combined with the high-quality output, the Dell E525W easily stands out as one of the best cardstock printers.

Pros

This cardstock printer is suitable for highly exceptional quality printing for marketing materials such as trifold brochures, pictures, images and presentation slides.

Its LED printing makes it lower the cost of printing and makes it suitable for handling big projects. The Wi-Fi connectivity feature also makes it convenient for use in small offices that require fewer cables.

Other connectivity alternatives such as USB and Ethernet also allow for print over networks as well directly from storage devices that have USB connections.

It also delivers print quality of up to 600 dpi with acceptable print speeds and ID Copy printing capability.

Cons

It’s relatively big and a highly portable printer.

 

3. The HP LaserJet Pro 200

Introduction

The HP brand has always had a name when it comes to laptops and printing devices. It’s no wonder that the HP LaserJet Pro 200 made it to our list. It is an attractive and highly functional low-cost printer with connectivity technologies that include Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB.

Pros

This printer is easy to setup even using the printer setup wizard. It gives high-quality printouts and supports cloud-printing, ePrint services, and remote printing vial emails or web browsers and apps.

Despite being a low-cost printer, it gives great quality print jobs at considerably fast speeds and comes with an interactive 3-5-inch touch control panel that makes it more user-friendly.

Cons

It comes with a feeder that requires cardstocks to be fed in one at a time.

 

4. Epson Workforce WF-100

Introduction

The Epson Workforce WF-100 is one of the world’s smallest and lightest on the move printers that can be used to handle cardstock printing at home, in offices, while traveling or camping, for projects and research materials as well as adventures and road trips. This is a pick and carry printer that just suits almost every on the move printing requirements.

Furthermore, with the resolution of 4800 by 1200 dpi, you are assured of very high-quality print jobs for cardstocks. The paper feeding process ensures less folds and straight and neat printouts.

Pros

It’s capable of printing up to 8.5 by 14-inch paper sizes. This is in contrast to its compact design and in comparison, to other smaller or same printers in the market.

It supports connectivity through Ethernet, Wi-Fi and mini USB and comes with an internal battery. That means printing can be done even when not connected to a regular power source. Highly suitable for traveling and off-office print tasks.

The printer uses the 4-color (CMYK) drop-on-demand microPlenzo inkjet technology for exceptional print quality.

Cons

The printer uses the 4-color (CMYK) drop-on-demand microPlenzo inkjet technology for exceptional print quality. This is its undoing as the print cartridges have to be bought in packs. It is also not very suitable for bulk-printing.

 

5. Canon PIXMA Pro-100

Introduction

The Canon PIXMA Pro 100 inkjet is one of the most suitable cardstock printers for very thick cardstock printing with a capability to handle a wide variety of cardstock papers.

Employing the 8-dye-based ink printing and an optimizer for images quality that makes it printout high-quality print jobs with a printing resolution of 4800 by 2400 dpi.

Pros

The Print Studio software makes it much more easier for you to get quality results from your preferred photo applications. Allows for Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and USB connection hence making it possible to do wireless printing.

Cons

It is not a multifunctional printer and can only be used for printing purposes, and the cardstocks have to be fed into the tray one by one.

 

Final Thoughts

Based on the review above, the best cardstock printer should be suitable enough for your needs. If you are a traveler, a researcher, a student or someone on the move, then smaller lighter and easy to pack printers will be more appropriate. For an office-based cardstock printing which mostly would be bulky, the more cost-effective ones will be more advisable.

Even though the operating costs such as the cost of cartridges or maintenance should be a consideration, the suitability of a cardstock printer should be based on many other factors. Such as the use, is it a business venture that has returns, e.g., for printing flyers, marketing materials that need to be of very high quality and appealing to the intended audience, or a project that has budget allocations for it or simply a printer for family photos, images or travel pictures.

However, in whichever situation, a cardstock printer needs to be easy to setup, easy to use and comes with the relevant features depending on what your specific requirements are.

Artists’ Tips to Ergonomic Computer Equipment

The internet brought with it lots of opportunity for people to become self-employed or freelancers – known as the gig economy – and work from home or wherever they so wish. Most artists, graphic or web designers who work independently, tend to have their own offices in their homes.

While this helps save on cost, having an office set up in your home or garage needs to be ergonomic for you as lack of proper equipment, insufficient ergonomic information and poor posture contribute to a wrong computer setup. While ergonomic office chairs are just part of the needed equipment, it is not everything.

Sitting and working on your computer all day can bring with it some distress and discomfort in different areas of your body. With that in mind, here are a few tips artists’ tips on how to achieve an ergonomic computer equipment setup.

• Avoid using ergonomic guidelines about your setup unless they absolutely make sense. Ergonomics need to be based on research, experiment, facts, and theory using body techniques as the baseline
• When it comes to ergonomics, it is personal. What works for everyone else might not exactly work for you
• The lighting in your office or room needs to be sufficient so as to avoid straining
• Get an ergonomic office chair that has an armrest, has an adjustable height and that allows your feet to rest on the ground comfortably. The sit also needs to be able to fully support your back allowing you to have an upright posture

Before settling on an ergonomic office chair, ensure that you shop around and do proper research on the type of chair you’d want to invest in.

Shopping for a CAD Laptop

Engineers need the best laptop for CAD applications, and while there are many laptops to choose for this purpose, it may not be easy choosing the most ideal. If you are not on a budget, the easiest thing is to buy the best possible laptop with top of the list features. It is not so easy if your spending power is limited, yet you need the best features.

Why Shop Online?

The quality of computers you get online is the same as those you would buy from a brick and mortar store, but still, it is often better to buy online. When you are shopping online, you have a wide range of shops allowing you to compare prices and features. This is a great option compared to going to a shop and looking at different computers individually when you don’t have much time.

Ensure You Check Warranty and After Sales Services

A warranty covers you when you are buying a computer, especially if that CAD laptop is more than $2000 in price. You, therefore, have to ensure that you get a warranty with the purchase of the laptop.Other after sale services are great too.

Check for shipping as well. Some offer free shipping in some regions, and others charge a few dollars. Ensure too, that all the accessories that should accompany your laptop are all offered with it. This saves you the cost of buying new accessories after your computer.

Take Your Time To Choose

Even when you are on a budget, it is still possible to get a good computer that won’t need an upgrade soon. You need to research and compare laptops for CAD to ensure that you get value for money.

How to Avoid Back Pain and Other Issues with Ergonomic Chairs

In any office set up, a lot of time is usually spent sitting in an office chair. While it is necessary, too much sitting can lead to back pains and other spinal issues. Of course, these problems don’t just develop in a day. They take time and, in most cases, when they are being diagnosed, the condition is usually worse. However, using ergonomic chairs can help prevent both back and spinal issues, for you or your employees.

Ergonomic chairs help in supporting the lower back as well as help you maintain a good posture when sitting. While choosing the right ergonomic chair is crucial, the whole process can be tedious as there are different types that are available in the market. Although not all types of chairs are the same, there are definitely certain qualities or factors that you need to have in mind before making a purchase as they will allow you buy a chair that best suits your needs.

One key thing to look for when buying an ergonomic chair is the height of the seat. The seats need to be easily adjustable with a height that is between 16 to 21 inches. Such a seat will allow you to one adjust the seat to the level that you desire. Two, your feet will be placed flat directly on the floor allowing your arms to be even with the height as well as have your thighs in a horizontal position and your back laid well on the back part. This gives you absolute comfort as you work your day away.

Shopping for a CAD Laptop on a Budget

CAD applications are CPU intensive and will need the best computer on the market to execute smoothly. A good computer to run any software costs about $2000 or more, which is not affordable for all. This does not mean that those on a budget cannot have quality CAD laptops as shown below.

The Basic Essentials

For most CAD applications you will need at least Intel Core i3, 8GB RAM, a large screen, and good resolution and graphics. You do not need the best graphics card when starting out or the highest resolution, but you might want that in future. Luckily, most computers are easy to upgrade, and you can change the RAM, ROM and other features.

Compare Prices Online

Once you have settled on the bare essentials of a good laptop for CAD, you will need to compare prices online to get the best. If you handle the search process right and take your time, you will have a good computer without much struggle. Usually, a computer with the basic features above will cost between $500 and $1000, which is a great range for someone on a budget.

Buy Now and Upgrade Later

While a budget computer is good for students and those starting out design on a budget, it is not as fast as a full-featured computer with Core i7, 32GB RAM, and NVDIA GeForce Graphics. You might need to upgrade the computer later. You can do this rather easily at a later time when you can afford the best parts, especially the SSD, RAM, and HDD.

The Perfect Ergonomic Setup for Graphic Designers and Artists

Graphic designers and artists tend to spend a lot of their time sited. As such, they not only develop complications with their back but with their eyes and other parts of the body especially if they spend lots of hours in front of their screen. This can limit their productivity level leading to the production of work that isn’t up to the standard they or their clients would like.

Therefore, it is essential for graphic designers and artists to have the best ergonomic work setup as this is the only way they can avoid all the computer related problems that come with their line of work. Here are a few things to have in mind when setting up an office or work area for an artist or graphic designer.

• Chair

We can all agree that graphic designers and artists spend a lot of their time sitting trying to get their creative juices working for them. Bad chairs or sitting postures can lead to back problems and other related issues that can easily be avoided by investing in some of the best office chairs available in the market.

• Keyboard Positioning

Most people who don’t understand the need for an ergonomic setup may not care about the positioning of the keyboard. The keyboard needs to be positioned moderately below the elbow to allow the wrist to remain straight when one is sited in a reclined posture.

There are various factors that any artists or graphic designer need to invest in if they are to have a perfect ergonomic setup for their work. Taking breaks in between work and stretching or walking around not only helps with avoiding back problems but comes in handy with boosting the productivity levels.

How much should I spend on an ergonomic chair?

Majority of us spend up to eight hours sited on chairs in front of a computer. Siting for long hours comes with its own health issues that may develop over time and if not diagnosed early and treatment sought, can lead to disability. However, using ergonomic chairs can help avoid back issues and other spinal related complications. This is because the best ergonomic office chairs are designed to provide you with a comfortable position that prevents complications linked with all day sitting.

Ergonomic office chairs have lots of advantages such as:
• Provide support to your back, shoulders and neck
• Allows you to comfortably use your keyboard without straining your wrists, neck or shoulders
• Improves your sitting posture as it prevents slumping and slouching
• Allow you adjust your seat to a comfortable position enabling you to choose your sitting posture as well as have your feet placed comfortably on the floor

While investing in ergonomic chairs allows you to have a happier workforce, most people who want to purchase one usually look at it from the cost with many wondering how much it is they need to spend on an ergonomic chair. And they are right to ask so.

Since the best ergonomic office chairs can’t just be picked anywhere, they tend to be slightly priced than normal seats. A good quality ergonomic chair will retail at anything between $150 for starters and go as high as $2,000. However, you can still find quality ergonomic chairs that are between $150-$400. Choosing an ergonomic chair is largely dependent on your needs.

What To Buy Between Mac and PC?

You might have heard the saying that PC is for office users while Mac is for free-spirited artists and people with class. But is that statement enough to make you want to buy a Mac in place of a PC for CAD applications?

What Are You Comfortable With?

As a designer, you need to consider which computer you feel comfortable using. While the two laptops can give you the same results, they present two different ways of doing it. For instance, on PC, you can just click on the Red X on the right top corner of a window to close a window completely, but on Mac, you have to click the name of the program on the bar and then select Quit. Consider the processes that go into completing the common tasks in both machines, then determine which one you enjoy working on the most.

Price

Considering the features of each laptop, a Mac is considered relatively expensive. Over the years, however, the price gap has become significantly smaller. Matter of fact, there are some PCs on the same level as Mac that are more expensive.

For most users, the lack of a sizeable RAM and Hard Disk Space in Mac should guarantee a lower price for best CAD laptops, but this is not the case. How much of a deal breaker this is is highly dependent on the nature of work to be done on it and how much importance the user places on these features.

Let Your Preference Guide You

Each of the options is great for CAD laptops, and your budget and your preferences should guide you. If you need a classy laptop that can run both OSX and Windows, a Mac is a good choice. While on a budget, choose a PC.

The 5 Best Laptops for After Effects in 2018

After Effects is one of the most popular software for effects and animation professionals. The software is graphics and processor intensive which makes it run sloppily on normal home computers. Granted, if you use After Effects for videos, you need to choose a laptop with great graphics and a powerful processor.

Many laptops come in handy for After Effects which makes it a challenge for you to choose the best. When shopping considers screen resolution, graphics cards, processor, and RAM. Better yet, you can check After Effects system requirements online before buying a laptop.

Below are some of the top laptops for this software.

 

1. Apple MacBook Pro – with Touchbar

Intro

The MacBook Pro was designed for video editors, which makes it a great choice for running After Effects. This laptop is made better by the Touchbar which makes it easier for you to access commands. It further comes with retina display on its 15-inch model with enough pixels allowing you to edit a video in any resolution.

The laptop features Intel Core i7 with AMD Radeon Pro graphics. The laptop further has 4GB RAM making it a great choice for any Adobe Software. For a video editing laptop, having a 2TB SSD is a plus.

Pros

The video subsystem of this laptop is powerful enough to drive any monitor you may have. It has a 76Whr battery that lasts longer than most other models in its class. Its touch bar gives you a lot of options and makes it easy for you to edit videos. The unit allows up to 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Cons

For the great features, the laptop is relatively expensive. Again, the moment you choose Mac, your options for expansion are limited.

 

2. Dell Precision 5510

Intro

The Dell Precision 5510 takes after the Dell XPS, a 15-inch laptop that stands among the best laptops from Dell. The Dell Precision 5510 bears Infinity Edge Display which reduces the chassis size greatly by cutting down on the display bezels to a few millimeters.

This machine looks great and boots fast. The unit comes with Intel Core i5 quad-core processor, 16GB RAM, and NVIDIA Quadro M1000M graphic card. Instead of Windows 10, the machine comes with Windows 7 pre-installed.

Pros

The compact dimensions of this laptop make it easy to slip into a small bag. It is offered with a high-quality 4K display that makes it great when you are running After Effects. Its fast CPU and high-quality graphics make this laptop a favorite of many.

Cons

You might need to swap Windows 7 with the latest Windows 10 for better features. Its keyboard is shallow reducing typing speed, and it has a poor battery life.

 

3. HP ZBook Studio G3

Intro

Are you looking for an affordable laptop for video editing? The HP ZBook Studio G3 will give you the features that you need at a great cost. This laptop is classified in the Ultrabook category thanks to its light weight and its sleekness. The unit gives you value for money when compared to other models in its class.

It features Intel Xeon E3 CPU, 8GB RAM, 4 GB NVIDIA Quadro M1000M graphics card, 512GB SSD and a high-quality 4K display. The Intel Core i7 processor enhances its power.

Pros

If you are looking for a bargain in a video editing computer, this will give you just what you need. The computer comes with a clear 4K display and a powerful graphics card for precision editing.

Cons

The computer lacks more online configurations like its competitors such as the Dell Inspiron 15. Again, it lacks the option for a more powerful battery.

 

4. Lenovo ThinkPad P70

Intro

This is one of the notebooks to appear on the market with Intel Skylake Processor which boosts its performance, unlike other chips. The laptop comes with ample storage and enough RAM to run different video editing software smoothly. It also comes with a variety of ports for better connectivity. It is a workstation that allows you to work on the go.

Pros

The laptop comes with the popular ThinkPad keyboard that features the iconic red pointing stick for precision typing. It has a 17-inch screen which is large enough letting you edit the smallest details. It is an upgradable model with up to four memory modules and can accommodate up to four storage drives.

Better yet, the laptop features an LTE modem option and has a large battery, 96Whr. To keep your screen accurate for video editing, the laptop comes with X-Rite Pantone calibration tool. Plus, the computer is offered at a great price-quality ratio.

Cons

The battery in this laptop is non-user replaceable.

 

 

5. MSI WS63 Notebook

Intro

This is one of the laptops that offer great features for any form of video editing or design. It is offered with high-quality graphics for video editing, and its processor performs exemplary. Its 15-inch full-HD IPS display enhances its use by offering you enough to edit the minute details of a video.

The laptop’s power comes from its powerful Intel Core i7 processor with 32 GB RAM. With such a high memory, the laptop can not only run After Effects but also other heavy software. Each unit comes with 6GB Nvidia Quadro P3000 graphics.

Pros

Even with its many features, the laptop comes with a small chassis. It sports a 512 GB SSD and an added 2TB hard drive to store all your edited videos. The computer has a great resolution at 1920 x 1080 allowing you to use any software smoothly. Overall, the laptop weighs 3.96 lbs. It comes with Windows 10 Pro already installed.

Cons

The battery lasts relatively short at 8 hours with others in its category lasting for up to 13 hours.

 

Final Thoughts

Minimum system requirements can be confusing at times. You will find some Adobe software that are recommended to be used on a computer with at least 2GB RAM. While the software will install without any problem, running the software might be challenging. This is why most of the laptops above have a RAM of 4GB and above. To have a great time editing and animating your work with this software, you need the best computer you can afford for After Effects.

The 5 Best Smart Pens in 2018 (For Artists, Writers and Designers)

Technology has grown in great leaps. Since the early man discovered that he can etch carvings and drawings of people and animals on the walls of caves, a lot has happened. Smartphones came, and then people innovated smartpens. These allow you to draw on your touchscreen display and write notes the old way. If you are taking notes, the pen will convert them digitally and even make audio files of the same notes.

These pens come in handy for artists who need to go the old ways of creating art using their hand. You can then share your art or your notes online, allowing you to fit your old world into the new one. Below are some of the top pens.

 

1. Livescribe 3 Smartpen

Intro

This pen was designed for accurate drawing and writing, which makes it a favorite of many artists. It comes with a comfortable and easy to use design. Its soft rubber grip coupled with its round design makes easy to hold.

Even for a total beginner, the pen takes 30 seconds to set up. You only need to install the app on your smartphone, and you are good to go. During use, the pen records no inaccuracies, and it makes the process of digitizing your handwriting very easy. The accompanying Livescribe app also allows you to record audio.

Pros

The pens last for up to 14 hours of continuous use on a charge. You can easily charge it with a Micro-USB at its tip. It is a heavy and thick pen, but this only makes it easy to hold. The pen is competitively priced, and it writes in smooth and consistent lines.

Cons

The pen is relatively heavy, and it requires expensive Livescribe notebooks. Again, the only color available is black.

 

2. Wacom Bamboo Folio

Intro

If you do a lot of drawing, the Wacom Bamboo is a great choice seeing that it allows you to use different papers that appear on its pad. It is a comfortable pen offered with a twist-to-start mechanism. The pen does not need to be charged, but the pad that comes with it takes up to eight hours on the charge. The pad will charge and be up in less than a minute to be paired with your smartphone.

Pros

It is easy to use this pad as all you have to do is touch on any part of the pad with your pen, and it starts making your work digital. After you are done, press the only button on the pad, and your work is synced and saved into your smartphone on the Wacom Inkspace App. After saving, you can see your saved sketches and edit as necessary.

Cons

The paper to be used with this pen must be aligned with the smartpad. The battery life of its pad is relatively short, and the unit cannot record audio.

 

3. Neo Smartpen N2

Intro

This pen feels easy on your hands, making it easier to draw and write with ease. However, the pen requires special notebooks and special writing pads too. It is a long pen with an elegant metallic body. This pen is loved for its ease of use – all you need is to press the button at the bottom of the pen to switch it on or off and to toggle the Bluetooth pairing settings.

Pros

Besides the ease of use, the pen is easy to charge with a micro-USB at the top of the pen. You are able to get the pen up and running in 30 seconds, which makes it easy to pair with a smartphone or a tablet. It comes in handy for artists who are looking for a sleek, metallic smartpen that gives smooth and continuous lines. It also offers one-click emailing for prepared notes or drawings.

Cons

The battery lasts for only five hours, which is way less than other pens on this list. Again, the pen is longer than other pens and has a metallic body which makes it relatively heavy.

 

4. Mobile Notes Pro Digital Smartpen

Intro

The Mobile Notes Digital Pen is one of the most popular Bluetooth enabled smartpens. This Bluetooth feature makes the pen a unique model and allows it to quickly sync with any smartphone or computer. The pen easily converts your handwriting into text and stores that in your computer while allowing you to share with great ease.

Pros

This pen applies ultrasound and infrared technology to send messages from its tip where the sensors are located. The transfer of messages is enabled by a receiver at the top of any size of paper. Your message is then digitized.
Unlike most pens, the technology applied in the engineering of this pen allows you to write on any surface making it highly versatile.

Cons

This pen requires the writer to be very careful. Otherwise, the writing will not appear consistent. By simply bumping the sensor during drawing or writing, your work will appear distorted. The pen has to be held in a certain way to ensure that the writing is recorded digitally.

 

5. Pulse Smartpen

Intro

This is another pen from Livescribe. It is a good option when you need a pen that can record audio and can duplicate your notes for online sharing. The pen comes in handy for taking notes, but you can also use it for drawing.

Pros

At the base of the pen, there is a small OLED screen that shows you the menu, and it also has a camera at its tip. The pen allows you to use a coded paper which uses a markup language to locate the position of written content on a page. There is a specially designed tablet, The Anoto, to write on with this pen.

If you have recorded audio and you need to play it, just hit a given keyword and the audio will play. This saves you the struggle of playing, forwarding, pausing and playing again.

Cons

This pen is relatively expensive, which doesn’t come as a surprise given its unique features.

 

Final Thoughts

Smartpens are being ousted by styluses that come with smartphones, tablets, and laptops. However, they are still relevant, offering a great way to digitize handwritten notes. A pen with a voice recorder is better as it gives you more. However, if you intend to write and your handwriting is sloppy, you are better off not using a smartpen.

The 5 Best Laptops for Rendering in 2018 (Speed, Power and Portability)

It is easy to choose a business or a school laptop, but when you need to buy a laptop for rendering, the process becomes a little challenging. There are multiple features to consider including graphics, processor, RAM and much more. These laptops are used by professional architects who use software such as AutoCAD and Solidworks.

These softwares are processor and RAM intensive, and they need a powerful machine to run. For starters, you need a laptop with at least 8GB RAM and great quality graphics. If you are not on a budget, a laptop with 16GB or 32 GB RAM is preferred. Below are some of the top laptops for rendering.

 

1. Acer Aspire E5-576G-5762

Intro

This is one of Acer’s top-selling laptops. The laptop offers a set of features that make it an ideal choice compared to other laptops in the Aspire series. All these features come at an affordable cost.
First off, it comes with the 15.6-inch display. Its full HD display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It is powered by the powerful 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor. When paired with 8GB RAM, the computer performs exemplary. It sports 256GB SSD drive with a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX150.

Pros

The laptop comes with a very powerful processor that achieves up to 3.4 GHz Turbo speed. Its large display and awesome graphics and resolution make it a good choice when rendering the smallest details in your plan. Each unit comes with pre-installed Windows 10. Its battery lasts for up to 12 hours.

Cons

The laptop is relatively heavy

 

2. Dell Inspiron i5577-7359BLK

Intro

This is a perfect laptop if you are just getting started in 3D rendering. And it comes at an attractive price. This unit is power-packed with great graphics making it a great choice for not only 3D rendering but also for gaming and graphic design.

It features the 7th generation of Intel Core i7 processor that clocks at 2.8GHz. It allows you to multitask with ease with its 8GB RAM, which is easily upgradable to 32GB. It has a large storage of 1TB hard drive and 128GB SSD, allowing you to transfer and access files fast. The laptop comes with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics with 4GB dedicated memory.

Pros

The BrightView technology that powers the HD display of this laptop gives you a great viewing and working experience. The powerful processor, bright display, high resolution, large storage, 8GB RAM, and its anti-glare display makes this a great laptop. It has a resolution of 1920 X 1080 and comes with Windows 10 pre-installed.

Cons

Its battery only lasts for 10 hours

 

3. MSI WE62 Notebook

Intro

If you love MSI laptops, but you need one at a bargain, the WE62 Portable Workstation will give you the features you need. It works well for both 2D and 3D work. It comes with some great features including Intel Core i7 with 16GB RAM. You also get 256 SSD storage for fast transfer of data. The unit also comes with a slim chassis.

Pros

This laptop is offered with a powerful processor to accommodate any 3D design software. It features a sleek body and is very light. The laptop is offered at a great price, accommodating those on a budget. It comes with Windows 10 preinstalled.

Cons

The laptop is missing on storage other than the 256 SSD.

 

4. Gigabyte Aero 14Wv7-BK4 14-Inch

Intro

Gigabyte Aero is a very powerful laptop, making it an ideal choice for CAD and other rendering software. The laptop comes with 7th generation Intel Core i7 coupled with 16GB RAM for optimal performance. Further, it has NVIDIA GeForce 1060 graphics for a great display. This laptop has a 14-inch QHD display that performs exemplary.

The computer has a vivid screen with a powerful graphical ability, placing it on top of other laptops in its class.

Pros

The computer comes at a great price which sets it apart from other laptops. It is offered with 512GB SSD offering enough storage for your designs. The display sports a 2560 x 1440 resolution, while the laptop comes installed with Windows 10 Home.

Cons

The battery only lasts for 8 hours. Again, the laptop weighs relatively heavy.

 

5. HP ZBook 15 G4

Intro

The ZBook series from HP is a great choice for many artists, especially architects. It is an ideal unit for those who need to use CAD and other rendering software on the go. The unit comes with a 15-inch full HD display that bears an anti-glare coating. It sports a color accurate panel thanks to its great graphics.
The unit features Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD for CAD and other rendering software. While these are pretty standard features, the laptop comes with 4GB DDR5 NVIDIA Quadro M2200 GPU.

Pros

Considering the features of this laptop, it is offered at a great price. Other great features include a backlit keyboard with a number of slots and ports. It has a 1920 × 1080 resolution to run different design software with ease. Each unit comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed.

Cons

The battery for this laptop lasts for only 5 hours, which is less than half of what other laptops offer. This laptop is 8.1 pounds, which is also more than double the weight of other laptops.

 

Final Thoughts

The AutoDesk program you are using should determine the specifications of your computer. To be on the safe side, however, you need a computer with a gaming graphics card installed instead of a workstation graphics card. This card is more powerful, enough to handle any AutoDesk program. Screen size matters when you are designing. A laptop with less than 12-inch screen will not be easy to design on. Lastly, get the best screen resolution you can afford.
The laptops above cut across different budgets which make them great. You can buy a small-sized computer and expand it later. This is why Window-based laptops are ideal thanks to their ability to upgrade. You can change the RAM, the hard disk, and the graphics card as your needs dictate. Choose wisely.

The 5 Best Laptop for Adobe Illustrator in 2018

Professional illustrators need a laptop that can accommodate illustration software such as the aptly named Adobe Illustrator. While many laptops can technically do this, getting one capable of running the software smoothly can be challenging.

For starters, you need a laptop that has a great graphics card or GPU and a great screen resolution to ensure precise illustrations. Finally, the screen of the laptop should be large enough to ensure you do not strain your eyes during the process.

Below are a number of laptops suitable for illustrations.

 

1. Apple MacBook Air MJVE2LL/A

Intro

The MacBook Air is one of Apple’s top sellers. The laptop comes packed with a lot of great features making it an ideal choice for any creative pro. While the laptop is not a touchscreen, it accommodates and runs all design software. Its quality features make it a worthy investment for any illustrator, whether doing it for fun or as a profession.

It features Intel Core i5 dual-core processor with 1.6GHz, 4GB RAM, and 128 GB SSD. These features fall within the system requirements of most illustration software.

Pros

For precision illustration, the laptop has a 1440 x 900 screen resolution that allows you to illustrate minute details. It runs on Intel HD Graphics 6000 further enhancing the display. The laptop performs excellently, has a long-lasting battery, and is light in weight.

Cons

The laptop has no disk drive and lacks an HDMI port. Again, its SSD storage is relatively low. In addition, if you are a lover of touchscreen laptops, you might be hesitant buying this one because it lacks that functionality.

2. Apple MacBook Pro MF840LL/A

Intro

The Apple MacBook Pro MF840LL/A is a preferred laptop for artists. This is a 13.3-inch display laptop that comes with all handy features that an artist or an illustrator would require, including of course great resolution and great graphics.

It sports Intel Core i5 dual-core processor with 2.7GHz. The performance is made better by 8GB LPDDR3 RAM and Intel Iris Graphics 6100. It further features a 256 GB flash storage making it better than the MacBook Air.

Pros

The laptop has a great resolution at 2560 x 1600 for design applications. Its brilliant retina display keeps lets you run different software smoothly. It also has a fast processor and offers up to 10 hours of battery life. This is a sleek laptop that is very light in weight.

Cons

The laptop does not have a DVD drive or an audio port.

 

3. Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS

Intro

This is a brilliant and budget-friendly laptop, and it comes in our list at #3. If you are an illustrator looking for a laptop that will give you great features without breaking the bank, the Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS might be what you are looking for.

Each laptop comes backed with the latest specs for optimal performance. Most users love the Infinity Touch display thanks to its great responsiveness.

The laptop comes with the seventh generation of Intel Core i5 Quad Core Processor and 8GB RAM.

Pros

Each laptop is designed with Infinity Edge Touch display with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 for precision illustration. It has a 256GB PCIe solid-state drive, which insures quicker loading time then standard disk drives. The laptop comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed getting you started immediately.

Its incredible 4k display coupled with its carbon fiber chassis and good battery life makes this a great laptop for artists and graphic designers on the go.

Cons

While the laptop comes with great features, some users have reported random freezes and cursor lag. Since these are somewhat rare, it may be worth it considering the reduction in price compared with the competition.

4. Dell XPS 13

Intro

This is a simple 2-in-1 laptop that allows you to use it with a keyboard or as a tablet on the touch display. The laptop is popular for being one of the smallest and sleekest 1-inch laptops in the world. Like other laptops in the XPS series, it comes with Infinity Edge touch display which is highly responsive. This display offers you limitless viewing thanks to its QHD+ resolution.

The laptop features the 7th Gen Intel Core i5 dual-core processor with a turbo speed of up to 3.2 GHz. Some variants of this laptop feature Intel Core i7 processor. It further features 4GB LPDDR3 RAM and Intel HD Graphics.

Pros

The touchscreen display is very responsive. Even better you are offered a Dell Active Pen to enhance your illustrations. The pen is, however, sold separately. It comes with pre-installed Windows 10, and its battery lasts for up to 15 hours (!) on charge.

Cons

With 2048 pressure levels, the Dell Active Pen offered for this laptop might not be a precision pen.

 

5. HP Spectre X360 2-in-1 Laptop

Intro

This is a great looking laptop for those interested in looks. It has fantastic construction quality with aesthetics to redefine craftsmanship. Besides beauty, the laptop’s performance is exemplary making it a favorite of many illustrators.

It is a convertible laptop with 360-degree hinges allowing you to operate it in four different modes. It is fitted with NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics for superb visuals. This comes in handy for artists especially given that it has a 15-inch nearly borderless display. Again, the package comes with an HP Active Pen making it a complete drawing set.

Pros

The laptop comes with Windows 10 pre-installed. It operates on the 8th generation Intel Core i7 Quad-Core processor with Turbo speed up to 4.0 GHz. This is made better by 8GB LPDDR3 RAM. The laptop has a 256 GB SSD storage.

With a resolution of up to 3840 x 2160, the laptop runs any design software smoothly. In addition, it has great battery life lasting up to 13 hours on a charge.

Cons

This laptop is relatively heavy and expensive. Not great for those on the go, but for those that don’t travel often, it may be worth it for the excellent specs and features.

Final Thoughts

When you are shopping for a laptop, consider the system requirements of the software that you will be using. The requirement for Adobe Illustrator may be different from other illustration software. The trick is to have a laptop that operates smoothly irrespective of the design software you have installed in it. This way, you can change your design applications without changing your laptop. This means you should go for a laptop containing the best performance features that you can afford.

Nevertheless, there are many budget laptops you can use for illustration if you don’t have a lot of money to spend. You only need to pick the right one for the job.

The 5 Best Laptops for 3D Modeling in 2018

The tools that you will be using for 3D modeling are all graphics intensive. These programs include Auto CAD, Maya, 3D Max and Revit among others. You will require a good GPU to ensure that the workload on your CPU and your RAM is significantly reduced. Modern 3D modeling software allows you to use multiprocessors making it easy for you to create models in a short period.

While GPU is important, you need a large storage and enough RAM. Again, get a computer with a high screen resolution and a relatively large screen size. Below are some of the top laptops for 3D modeling.

1. Asus ROG G752VY

Intro

This is a powerful laptop designed to get the job done. The choice of hardware and other specifications for this laptop truly makes it amazing. It comes packed with Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and 16GB RAM to ensure it works smoothly without freezes. If you have any modeling software that is RAM and graphics intensive, this laptop will handle it. It is stocked with NVIDIA GTX 980 M.

Pros

Each laptop comes equipped with 128GB SSD making it easy for you to transfer files and load applications. This is on top of the large 2TB SATA HDD. This not only enhances the speed of the computer, but also ensures that you get enough storage. The laptop sports a full HD 17.3-inch screen. Even better, it has USB 3.0, USB 3.1 ports and Bluetooth 4.0 for connectivity. This computer is the complete package for 3D modeling.

Cons

With a screen size of 17.3 inches, the laptop is quite heavy, but it comes in handy as a desktop replacement.

 

2. Aorus X5Sv5-SL1

Intro

This is one of the popular 15-inch laptops for 3D modeling. The laptop is an absolute sensation for rendering thanks to its great graphics. With NVIDIA GTX 980M with 4GB video memory, this laptop takes on any 3D modeling app you use.

It comes with 16GB RAM, which is enough for any software, but you can upgrade this up to 64GB.

Pros

Each unit comes with a 15.6-inch display with 4K resolution letting you design the intricate details of your models. It is offered with 256GB SSD for fast transfer of data and 1TB SATA for large file storage. Aorus has made this laptop easy to use with all features allowing you to use the heaviest software for modeling. Being a brand recognized for gaming laptops, you know the quality is great.

Cons

The microphone and the speaker quality are poor. Again, the unit is almost 6 pounds heavy which is relatively heavy.

 

3. Vaio Z Canvas

Intro

This is a laptop affiliated with Sony, and this makes it a trusted brand. It comes with great hardware and other specifications, making it ideal for 3D modeling. For starters, it is powered by Intel Core i7 and 16GB RAM. It has 250GB SSD. For graphics, it is fitted with Intel 5200 graphics card.

Pros

The unit has a 12.3-inch display which is large enough for precision design and small enough to enhance portability. It comes with a digitizer pen making it highly useful as a tablet. It allows great connectivity with USB 3.0, Rj45 Lan and Bluetooth 4.0. This is a compact package with a high definition screen and a powerful processor to offer unrivaled performance. It gives great value for money.

Cons

The laptop does not offer a standalone GPU, something which is frustrating to some artists. If you need depth and power when rendering, this is a minus.

 

4. Dell Precision M5510

Intro

This laptop gives you a great balance between form factor, performance, and price. The Dell Precision M5510 will give you all the features you need for 3D modeling and more. It features NVIDIA M1000M graphics chip. It sports Intel Core i5 offering a balance between performance and practicality. Each unit has a 15.6-inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. This is an i5 based laptop.

Pros

It is fitted with 8GB RAM, which is just enough for 3D modeling. You can upgrade the RAM. It further comes with 500GB SATA for all your data storage needs. The Dell Precision M5510 is a cost-effective unit designed for 3D modeling professionals. It runs those CPU and GPU intensive applications. It is a well-balanced system with a dedicated card. It is sleek and with a good appearance.

Cons

This laptop would have been better with Core i7 and a RAM of at least 16GB for faster performance.

 

5. Asus ZenBook Pro

 

Intro

Asus has designed great laptops, and the ZenBook Pro is one of them. This laptop sports a great appearance with all the features a 3D modeling professional would need. It is stocked with Intel Core i7, and 16GB RAM, making it easy to multitask. For graphics, it is fitted with Nvidia GTX 960M for graphics intensive software.

Pros

For professionals who use 3D modeling software every day, the perfect combination of features on this laptop will give you all the performance you need. It has a 15.6-inch screen with a great 4K display. With a 512GB hard disk, you can store all your files without a struggle.

This laptop offers the best performance and value for money. It falls under the system requirements of most 3D modeling software and more. Its spectacular 4K resolution enhances the intricate designing.

Cons

The unit sports a glossy finish and its speakers are below par.

 

Final Thoughts

There are a lot more laptops that are great for 3D modeling. While the minimum system requirements will need much less than the specifications on the laptops above, you will need the best features you can for the application to run smoothly. CAD software will install without a problem in a 4GB RAM software; a 16GB RAM laptop will work better as the applications will run without freezing.

In short, you will need good quality graphics, good memory, and good screen resolution. Most laptops above have a 15.6-inch screen which is great for portability and precision design. A bigger screen will be better, but a screen less than 12 inches will not be ideal.

The 5 Best Hybrid Laptops on the Market in 2018

A hybrid laptop, also referred to as a 2-in-1 laptop gives great versatility – you can use the laptop as a tablet or use it with a keyboard like the conventional laptop. When shopping for such a laptop, there are a few things you need to consider.

For one, “does the keyboard detach or the laptop bends backward?” is a question you’ll need to think about. Bendback laptops have screens that turn 360 degrees, and they work perfectly in laptop mode with better endurance. These models have a great ergonomic keyboard with more ports for connectivity. Detachable hybrids have a simple screen that pops off. This makes them better as tablets.

You also need to consider screen resolution. This will depend on how you plan to use the laptop. Cheaper hybrids to be used with light applications have a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, but if you will be using the laptop for design, get at least 1920 x 1080 pixels. Lastly, consider the screen size of the laptop. A good hybrid should have 12 or 13 inches and less than 4 pounds in weight. If you are designing or gaming, you will need a 15 to 17-inch laptop.

1. Lenovo Yoga 920

Intro

This 2-in-1 laptop looks stunning. It has a large 13.9-inch display coupled with a great looking bronze chassis. If you love a great looking laptop, this will give you all that you need. However, this laptop cum tablet is more than just a good-looking laptop. The laptop is stocked with 8th Gen Intel Core i7 with a super fast PCIe SSD. This makes it ideal for heavy-duty applications such as gaming apps.

Pros

This laptop weighs a meager 3.05 pounds, which makes it highly portable. If you are an artist or you love taking notes on your hybrid laptop, you are offered Active Stylus 2 for precise design and notes. The pen supports a maximum of 4096 pressure levels. Even better, it lasts up to 12 hours on battery. These benefits are on top of Thunderbolt 3 and its standard USB 3.0 ports.
Users love the bright, colorful display, the attractive design of the laptop and a long battery
life. The laptops turn 360 degrees with great ease.

Cons

The keyboard of the laptop is shallow.

2. Acer Spin 1

Intro

If you are looking for a good value hybrid laptop, the Acer Spin 1 is a good deal. Not only does it cost less than $400 but it also sports some features that you only see in laptops that cost close to $1000. It is offered in an aluminum chassis giving it a great appearance and a long life. The laptop sports an 11.6-inch display which is colorful and bright. This gives you a better viewing experience.

Pros

The laptop comes complete with an active stylus letting you take notes draw. It comes with an Intel Celeron N3350 processor, which is powerful enough to accommodate a wide range of applications. It has 4GB RAM and a 1080p display. Each unit weighs only 2.65 pounds which is way lighter. It has a snappy keyboard that is easy to use.

Cons

The laptop has only 35GB storage, which is not enough if you need a work computer. Granted, you can use this laptop for research as a student, but for heavy-duty work, it may not serve you well.

 

3. Microsoft Surface Book 2

Intro

While this model is relatively pricey, it offers all the great features you would need on a laptop. You can use this laptop for design, for video editing, and for gaming. It offers great performance for virtually any application needed.

It runs on the Intel Core i7 processor, enhanced by the speed and quality of NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU. If you are into design, you will love the high-res PixelSense display. The laptop has a large 13.5-inch display with 3000 x 2000 screen resolution for a bright and clear screen.

Pros

The laptop weighs 3.5 pounds letting you slip it into any bag. The keyboard is detachable, making it easy to use as a tablet. Even better, it sports a solid keyboard that offers a great typing experience. Each unit holds a variety of ports for better connectivity including USB Type-C. Its battery lasts for up to 13 hours. If you are into inking, this is a great laptop seeing that it comes with a great stylus.

Cons

This laptop is not for budget buyers.

 

4. Dell Latitude 7212

If you are looking for a rugged laptop for field use, this is a great option for you. This is a laptop that you can take to a construction site, or to an oil rig thanks to its quality construction. You can expose this laptop to 4-foot drops, and it does not even scratch.

Pros

Each unit is offered with two batteries offering up to 10 hours on charge. It has a very bright screen completing the package. Its 11.6-inch display comes in handy when you have to do design work. It is powered by Intel Core i5 and comes with Windows 10 pre-installed. It has a RAM of 8GB which can be upgraded to 16GB. The laptop offers 256 GB HDD storage.

Cons

This laptop is relatively expensive and comes with a fuzzy texture on its screen.

 

5. Dell XPS 13

Intro

This computer has the best design that you can get on a hybrid laptop. It is a bendback 2-in-1 laptop comes with a super svelte profile and sports a luxurious carbon fiber deck. It sports InfinityEdge display, which is nearly bezel-free.
The laptop is powered by Intel Core i7 with up to 3.8GHz. This is made better by an Intel UHD graphics 620 and 16GB RAM. It has a 13.3-inch screen which is bright and clear. This screen has a 3200 x 1800 pixels resolution.

Pros

This laptop comes with a great looking screen, seeing that the contents of the screen is enclosed by a small frame. It comes with a snappy keyboard that makes it easy to use. Its fanless design ensures that it stays silent at all times.

Cons

Battery lasts relatively shorter and compared to other hybrid laptops; it is relatively slow.

 

Final Thoughts

There are more hybrid laptops on the market. You only need to choose one based on your needs. If you need a hybrid laptop for reading, you have a wide choice, but if you need a hybrid laptop for graphic design or video editing, you need to consider more factors.
Choose a hybrid laptop today.

The 5 Best Computers for Animation and Animators in 2018

It is easy to pick a computer for normal office work such as word processing and data entry and analysis. But when it comes to 2D or 3D animation, you need a special computer.

Put simply; animation refers to the art of creating illusions through moving frames. These animations are given life by 2D or 3D effects. While the specifics of creating animations are complex, with a good computer and animating software, anyone can create anime.

You will need a computer with a high-quality graphics card, a powerful processor and a RAM of more than 4GB to allow multitasking. Below are some of the top computers in this category.

 

1. Dell Inspiron i7559-5012GRY

Intro

This computer is celebrated for its great quality graphics. It is powerful and sports a large storage for storing your animated videos. It is powered by 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor with 2.6GHz. This is bettered by the incorporation of NVIDIA GeForce GT960M with a dedicated memory of 4GB GDDR5.
The computer is further fitted with 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD with an added 8GB SSD for faster file transfers. This makes the computer ideal for amateurs as well as experienced animators.

Pros

With a 15.6-inch UHD led Lit touchscreen, you can design the smallest details of your animation. This screen has a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels making it even better for heavy applications. On purchase, the computer comes with Windows 10 pre-installed.

If you love a good looking computer, the Dell Inspiron i7559-5012GRY sports a stylish look. It +4K IPS display makes it easy for you to create animes.

Cons

The computer features a glossy screen which makes it highly reflective. When multitasking, the computer consumes a lot of battery power.

 

2. Acer Aspire E15

Intro

The Acer Aspire E15 comes a great choice for animators and gamers thanks to its high-quality graphics. Even better, it is fitted with easy to use features, making it ideal for beginners and students of animation. It sports a quality build for durability.

For starters, the unit is powered by the powerful and fast 7th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. This is bettered by 2GB NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphic card. It has 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, allowing you to multitask and store your animations respectively.

Pros

You will have a comfortable experience creating animations thanks to the wide 15.6-inches LED-backlit display. Coupled with its high resolution, the display allows you to create the intricate details of your videos. It offers you extended working time, up to 12 hours, thanks to its strong battery. It has an ergonomically engineered keyboard and touchpad letting you work fast.

Cons

The wireless adapter on the computer is not stable.

 

3. MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro-230

Intro

This computer was designed for animation, and it makes the process easy and interesting. It is as good in animation just like it is in gaming. It is a compact and lightweight computer making it easy to handle and use while on the go. It is further fitted with a large storage. When creating animations, the computer works smoothly and fast.

The computer is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor with 2.8GHz and Turbo up to 3.8GHz. This, coupled with a 16GB RAM ensures that the computer performs amazingly faster. You are offered 256GB SSD, making it easier for you to transfer files on top of the 2 TB HDD storage.

Pros

The MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro-230 sports a 15.6-inch display with NVIDIA GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 making the design process smooth and fast. The computer weighs only 4 pounds, which make it highly portable. It sports a premium quality build for durability.

Cons

Even with the large display, the screen of this computer is not as bright as you might need during the day.

 

4. Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB74

Intro

The Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB74 is suited for both 2D and 3D. It sports a powerful processor and a high-quality graphics card. It is preferred and even recommended for animators and gamers alike.
The computer features the latest NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB dedicated memory. It further comes stocked with Intel Core i7 processor with 2.6GHz for super fast animations. With 16GB RAM, you can multitask and not experience freezes. Even better, it comes with 1TB for video storage.

Pros

It is easy to design on this computer with its 17.3-inch full HD display with 1920×1080 screen. It allows up to 160 degrees viewing angles. To keep it cool, the computer is fitted with duo-copper thermal module coupled with dual cooling fans.

Cons

Even with the extra cooling features, users still report overheating issues.

 

5. Acer Predator Helios 300

Intro

This is another animation computer that gives a great animation experience. It sports a widescreen and offers super-fast processing speeds. It is powered by the powerful and fast 7th Gen Intel Core i7 processor. It gives you a great experience with its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with a dedicated memory of 6GB. It offers enough storage on its 256GB SSD and its 16GB RAM.

Pros

The computer performs exemplary fast thanks to its large storage and high-quality graphics. It sports a large full HD display with a high resolution making it ideal for design work. Its matte screen is not only bright and clear, but also long-lasting. Overall, the computer features quality build for durability.

Cons

The battery of this computer lasts for only 7 hours, which is less compared to the other that last for up to 13 hours. Sometimes, the system experiences freeze.

 

Final Thoughts

The list of top computers for animation above is by no means exhaustive. There are more great computers on the market that you can use for animation. If the above computers do not fall within your budget, can choose any other computer as long as it has good graphics, a powerful processor, a RAM of at least 8GB, and a large enough screen.

The 5 Best Computers for Animation and Animators in 2018 Overall rating: 5 out of 5 based on 1 reviews.

The 5 Best CAD Laptops for Engineers and Engineering Students in 2018

Are you planning to use Auto-CAD to create 3D models? AutoCAD is processor intensive, and it also requires the best graphics available. In fact, a laptop that would be considered good for gaming will be a good option for 3D modeling with CAD. To be on the safe side choose a laptop with Quadro graphic card from Nvidia or get Firepro from AMD. These two graphics cards are designed for CAD and 3D modeling.

You also need a good CPU. A good processor should be at least Intel Core i5, i7 or Xeon. A quad-core processor is better than a dual-core processor. You can work with a laptop with 8GB RAM but in future should consider upgrading to at least 16GB for smooth running. Again, go for a laptop with a solid state drive, SSD, for faster data transfer and
HDD for data storage.

Below are some of the top laptops for CAD.

1. MSI GL62 6QF

Intro

MSI designs laptops for gaming and for design. MSI is ISV certified making it one of the popular brands in engineering work. The GL62 6QF sports intel core i7 processor, 12GB RAM, and 120GB SSD. This makes it a powerful laptop for CAD and other AutoDesk apps. This is made even better by Nvidia GTX 960M which enhances great graphics.

Pros

The GL62 6QF gives you value for money. Its large 15.6-inch display allows you to design the minute details of your models. The display features a 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution which makes it easy to accommodate different 3D modeling software. It comes with the 1TB hard drive to accommodate all your models.

Other laptops at this price have way less features. The laptop performs excellently even when you are multitasking making it a great choice for different apps.

Cons

The laptop lacks USB 3.1 C limiting the number of external displays. However, you can still connect it to three monitors via DisplayPort and HDMI. While it sports a matte finish display, it is relatively dim and has low contrast. Its battery life, is, however, the biggest issue with this laptop – it does not last for more than three hours.

 

2. Razor Blade

Intro

The Razor Blade is popular is a gaming laptop. Matter of fact, it is considered as one of the best gaming laptops that one can buy. This is not its only strong suit as the laptop comes as a great desktop replacement when you need to design 3D models. It’s hardware and other components make it a powerful computer.

It is powered by Intel Core i7 with 2.8GHz. This is made even better by Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 and 16GB RAM. With such a combination of features, the laptop exudes so much power to run any design application smoothly.

Pros

With a 14-Inch screen, the laptop offers enough size for designers but remains light for use on the go. Its screen sports a 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution for heavy applications. For storage, you get 256 PCIe SSD. It offers a long battery life, and with its 4K display option, you get great clarity.

Cons

The laptop is relatively pricey. Again, its trackpad buttons are not necessary.

 

3. MSI WT72 6QL-400US

Intro

This is another CAD laptop from MSI. Like the GL62 6QF, this is loaded with great features to run heavy AutoCAD programs smoothly. For starters, it runs on Intel Xeon E3-1505M with 2.8GHz. This is boosted by 32GB RAM and 126GB SSD for superfast performance and fast data transfer.

Pros

The laptop comes preinstalled with Windows 10 allows you to get started immediately. It sports a large 17.3-inch full HD display which is bright and clear. The laptop’s graphics are backed by Nvidia Quadro M4000M graphics card. Additionally, it features an optical drive and a Thunderbolt port. Its full-color backlit keyboard makes it easy to use during the day and at night.

For storage, you are covered thanks to the 1TB HDD rotating at 7200 RPM. It features a strong battery that lasts for more than 8 hours on the charge.

Cons

The laptop weighs 8.9 pounds which is double what others in this category would weigh.

 

4. HP Omen Pro L9U78AA#ABA

Intro

This is one of the various powerful laptops from HP. It comes stocked with Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB RAM. These two great features alone will make it install and run CAD smoothly. It is made better by a 2GB Nvidia Quadro K1100M GPU. While it does not come with an optical drive, it has all the great features needed for CAD.

Pros

The laptop is offered with 512GB SSD with Windows 7 Pro preinstalled. This lets you get started immediately. It comes with a 15.6-inch display that’s both bright and clear. The laptop weighs 4.7 pounds making it easy to carry around. It performs exemplary when you are multitasking. Its battery lasts long, and the laptop sports quality build for durability.

Cons

The laptop features no optical drive. Though, this is not important for a CAD laptop; you might need a versatile laptop. Again, the graphic card is outdated.

 

5. MSI WE62 7RJ-1833US

Intro

If you need to play games on your laptop beside design 3D models on CAD, this is a great laptop for that. It comes packed with Intel Core i7 processor whose work is made better by 32GB RAM and 512GB SSD. The SSD storage enhances booting and also facilitates file transfer and processing. It sports Nvidia Quadro M2200 with a dedicated memory of 4GB.

Pros

Out of the box, the laptop runs on Windows 10. Its 15.6-inch full HD display makes it easy for you to design to the smallest details. With TPM technology, the laptop performs even better. It comes with DVD R/W and a backlit keyboard. You is able to carry it around thanks to its 5.3-pound weight.
Being fitted with the latest GPU and a large RAM makes this unit better for CAD.

Con

The laptop is relatively expensive.

 

Final Thoughts

There are many more laptops you can choose from. If you are on a budget, choose a computer with inferior features but can still run CAD and other 3D modeling applications and then upgrade later. If you choose to upgrade, only get original parts from the laptop manufacturer. This way, you will not have compatibility problems.