Last updated on February 15th, 2020 at 06:38 pm

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 (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.

1. Apple MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air MJVE2LL Applications
Apple MacBook Air MJVE2LL Closing
Apple MacBook Air MJVE2LL Sizes
Apple MacBook Air MJVE2LL Sleek


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.


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.


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

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – Main
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – Side
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – Bottom
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – Top
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar – Close


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.


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.


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

3. Dell XPS9560

Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS 15.6 Right Side
Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS 15.6 Keyboard
Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS 15.6 Top L Side
Dell XPS9560-5000SLV-PUS 15.6 Top


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.


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.


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

Dell XPS 13 9365 13.3 2 in 1 Laptop FHD Touchscreen 7th Gen Left Side
Dell XPS 13 9365 13.3 2 in 1 Laptop FHD Touchscreen 7th Gen Back Left
Dell XPS 13 9365 13.3 2 in 1 Laptop FHD Touchscreen 7th Gen Back Right
Dell XPS 13 9365 13.3 2 in 1 Laptop FHD Touchscreen 7th Gen Main


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.


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.


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

Premium 2019 HP Spectre X360 13.3 Dual
Premium 2019 HP Spectre X360 13.3 Laptop Form SIde
Premium 2019 HP Spectre X360 13.3 Laptop Form
Premium 2019 HP Spectre X360 13.3 Pen
Premium 2019 HP Spectre X360 13.3 Tablet Form


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.


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.


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.

6. Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft Surface Book 21
Microsoft Surface Book 22
Microsoft Surface Book 23
Microsoft Surface Book 24
Microsoft Surface Book 25


Because of its speed and power, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is one of the best
laptops for illustrator that you can get. Unlike other laptops that tend to drag when
it comes to operating Adobe software, that isn’t the case with the Surface Book 2.


  • The best 2-in-1 laptop for illustrations that also doubles up as a tablet which
    means you can work on the go
  • It’s immensely powerful and fast thanks to its Core i7 processor as well as 16GB
    of RAM
  • It has an amazing battery life that can last you up to 17 hours
  • Considered as one of the fastest Surface Book laptop
  • The screen has an amazing color-accuracy and a crisp display
  • One of the most versatile laptops that can be used for graphics design, sketching
    or for photo and video editing
  • Uses some of the best graphics for enhanced performance
  • Can be used in four different modes – in tablet mode, view mode, studio mode,
    and laptop mode – and easily adapts to your style of work
  • Lightweight making it an excellent choice for creatives who are constantly on the


  • Very expensive
  • It does not come with the Surface Pen, and this has to be bought separately which
    drives up the cost

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.

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