Choosing a laptop is never easy, but this guest post from might make it a little bit easier. As well as featuring the best laptops from brands like Dell, HP and Lenovo it also lists apple laptops for the Mac-lovers out there.

The Graphic Designer

You are a Photoshop maven.  But you’re more than that – you design art and graphics using the whole of the Adobe Creative Suite.  You need a display that is both excellent in color quality and large enough to hold all your pallets, and you need enough power for some moderate rendering too.

PC: The Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds


It’s a clunker, but the ThinkPad W700ds has everything a graphic designer needs.  Its most unique feature is the dual screen, which is designed to give you all the real estate you need to design efficiently.  The main display is already a roomy 17” 1920×1200, but it has a secondary display which literally slides out of the first one, measuring 10.6” and 1208×768.  The W700ds also comes with a built in color calibrator and Wacom digitizer, a must for anyone concerned with color representation.  Throw in the Quad-Core Extreme CPU, up to 8GB RAM, a 1GB GPU and almost 1TB of HDD space, and you’ve got a desktop replacement that will handle all your design needs without tying you down to one room.

Mac: The MacBook Pro 17”

macbook pro 171

The versatile MacBook Pro 17” has the largest display in the MacBook suite, which almost gives it this category by default.  But the MBP17 is ideal for the graphic designer for more than just its 1920×1200 resolution.  The color representation is the best it’s ever been on a Mac and the 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU in tandem with 4GB RAM, switchable graphics (NVidia 9400M/9600M), and 320GB HDD is easily sufficient for a graphic designer’s needs.  Throw in the [relative] portability of the MBP as a bonus, and you’ve got a laptop you can enjoy designing on.

The Web Designer

You work with the web.  It would be nice to have a large screen and extra power, but you don’t really need it as much as other designers.  It’d be nice to be able to work on the go and maybe save a few bucks while still meeting all your needs.

PC: Dell XPS 16

dell xps 16

The Dell XPS16 is a rare 16” laptop that still sports a 1080p 1920×1080 resolution, allowing you to have a little more portability without limiting your pixel count.  It also uses a new RGB LED backlit display which claims to display a full 100% of the Adobe color gamut, so you don’t have to worry about that either.  The XPS 16 comes with a 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo CPU, up to 8GB RAM ,and a 512MB ATI GPU to go along with a 500GB HDD.  The overall package is stylish and relatively light, making this notebook an ideal choice for a web designer.

Mac: MacBook Air


You’ve been eyeballing the MacBook Air for a while now, haven’t you?  Well fret not web designer, you are the one branch of designing that can probably get away with the MBA’s limitations and guiltlessly enjoy its perks.  The 13.3” 1280×800 display is just large enough to work with the web without excessive scrolling, and you shouldn’t have to do any complex rendering or processing that would overtax the 1.86GHz CPU or the 2GB of RAM.  The 128GB SSD should be enough to store everything you’ll need and the portability and sleek design makes it ideal for bringing it to (and showing it off at) the coffeeshop or elsewhere, so you can get work done on the go.

The 3D artist

You’re a 3D artist, maybe an architect.  You constantly render in 3D with AutoCAD or Autodesk 3ds Max.  You need POWER.  A large display would also be nice so your designs don’t get cluttered, and accuracy would be a perk, but you really need the thing to render without breaking a sweat.

PC: The Dell Precision M6400

dell precision m6400

This laptop comes with an Intel Quad-Core Extreme CPU, a 1TB GPU, 1TB of HDD space and – my personal favorite part – up to an eye popping 16GB RAM.  You better believe this thing will run AutoCAD.  Add in the fact that the 17” display manages a full 1920×1200 resolution and claims to display a full 100% of the Adobe color gamut, and you’ve got a laptop that answers every need of the 3D artist.  It’s no featherweight, but it will do everything you ask it to.

Mac: MacBook Pro 15”/17”

mac book pro 172

The beefed up MacBook Pro is the most powerful laptop in the MacBook fleet, and a natural choice for any 3D designer who wishes to use a Mac notebook.  We already mentioned the excellent specs above – They aren’t quite as ridiculously excessive as the M6400, but they should be able to run complex 3D software without too bumpy of a ride.  The only choice here is whether a 1920×1200 resolution is something you think you need – 1440×900 might be enough to do what you need to do, allowing you to save some money and get a lighter, smaller notebook.

The Motion Graphics/Video Designer

You work with film, with movies, with video.  You are editing and designing and rendering motion graphics with regularity.  You need a laptop with enough power to handle that and with a good quality, highly accurate HD display.

PC: HP Elitebook 8730

hp elite book 8730w

The HP Elitebook 8730 comes with HP’s unique DreamColor technology.  A collaborative work between HP and Dreamworks Animation, DreamColor selectively backlights the LCD and displays more than 16 million beautiful colors, so the quality bit is taken care of.  The 17” display has a full 1920×1200 resolution – points were almost taken off for it not being a 16:9 1920×1080 resolution, but in the end it was decided that more pixels were still a good thing.  It can manage a Quad-Core Intel Extreme CPU and up to 8GB RAM and a 1GB GPU for all your rendering needs.

Mac: MacBook Pro 17”

macbook pro

We’ve praised the MBP 17” for having the largest display and the strongest processing power separately for the graphic designer and the 3D designer – now we’ll praise it for the video designer because it has both.  There’s no going less than 17” to get a good HD display, and that leaves you with the MBP 17” as the only choice for any Mac user who is serious about motion graphic design.  Fortunately, Apple has made their 17” model strong enough to handle HD video decoding without any issues too, making this a fine overall choice – and a fairly portable one – for any video artist.

Enjoyed this post? Share it!