While some artists may choose to use a tablet for drawing by connecting it directly to a PC, the truth is that you can gain a lot more accuracy with your work by drawing directly on your laptop screen. Not only is the process simpler, but laptops are now designed with higher-resolution screens that can compete with graphics tablets. Along with more sensitive pens, artists now have a competitive alternative to a separate tablet.
On the other hand, not all of these laptops are created equal, and there are some essential features you need to consider before you make a purchase. Not all new laptops come with a color-accurate display, and a graphics tablet can’t be connected to every device. If you want to be able to create on your laptop, there are going to be certain specifications you need to look for.
What makes a good drawing laptop?
A drawing laptop needs to have the features of a graphics tablet, such as a pen that can recognize different pressure levels and a color-accurate touch screen. High resolution is also essential. Most importantly, the laptop needs to be powerful enough to smoothly run design software without crashing. You may also want to consider a laptop that’s light enough to easily carry around.
For most artists, a 2-in-1 hybrid laptop is your best option. They are most often convertible, which means they can perform many functions, and relatively lightweight, which makes them a breeze to take with you. They also come in a number of different price ranges, so it’s easy to make a decision that works for your budget. HP® has plenty of options for artists looking for the best laptop for drawing and animation.
How to pick the best laptop for artists
From the type of software you use to the amount of storage space you may need, there are a number of features you’ll need to keep in mind when choosing your new device.
Design software can demand some serious performance from your device, but that level of performance does depend on the software you use. If you work with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or Autodesk Sketchbook, you will need to consider a laptop that’s different from one needed to create 3D designs.
The processor will also be handling complicated applications, so you will want to purchase the newest option. Intel® offers a suite of processors that can more than handle basic design creation.
Performance or touch screen?
Many laptops used for design can also be used for gaming, as well. Since they tend to have the same type of graphics cards and similar hardware, your device for art can also double as a solid gaming laptop and vice versa. These computers often don’t have touch displays, though, so you’ll have to also decide if you want to use a pen to create or if you’re fine with a mouse or electronic drawing pad.
You will need to determine whether you would like to have the option of drawing freehand on a screen or if you would prefer a graphics tablet. HP® is one of the few companies that has laptops with enough power to handle design applications that can also be used as a hybrid 2-in-1. This can allow you to explore your creativity in new ways without giving up functionality and power.
What kind of graphics card you need for your designs is also worth considering. You’ll most likely need to have a card that can handle high-definition images and that’s compatible with the types of programs you use to create your art. Most of the computers that work for gaming also offer options for artists because they can showcase high-quality visuals while handling several programs running at once.
If you’re working with files that can take up quite a bit of room on your hard drive, then you should keep in mind that the amount of storage you have can affect your computer’s performance. Many design laptops can be purchased with up to 2TB of storage (including HP models), which is helpful for storing your photos and artwork locally.
Of course, price can determine which device you choose. Fortunately, there are drawing laptops available at a number of price points. You can find a device that offers more portability and flexibility for a more affordable price, while you can also invest in a more powerful machine that costs more.
Much of your budget considerations will depend on how you use your computer. If you plan to use it for work, you may want to spend more than if you are using it as a hobbyist.
Best HP laptops for drawing
Here are some great options from HP® that can work for any type of drawing.
1. HP ENVY x360 15T touch laptop
The HP ENVY x360 offers functionality for a variety of purposes. Along with a 15-inch touch screen that can be used at different angles, it includes a full-sized keyboard. Whether you are planning to use your device for sketches or note-taking, this computer feels natural. It is also equipped to handle almost all drawing applications.
The best thing about this HP ENVY is that is starts at a lower price point. This makes it the perfect option for students who need a slim device within their budget to take to class. It can also be easily converted into an entertainment center in a matter of seconds.
With HP Audio Boost, you can enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows with great sound - also the perfect inspiration for your next piece of artwork.
It also includes Windows 10 Home 64, an operating system that allows you to take on any job, along with Intel UHD Graphics 620™, built for handling Adobe Photoshop and other programs. And if you need to store your large files locally, you’ll love the 1TB HDD.
With 9 hours of battery life, you’re set to take your artwork with you as a portable portfolio. The HP ENVY x360 also weighs in at only 4 lbs, making it the ideal computer for creatives on-the-go.
With 16GB of memory, the HP Spectre x360 is designed to take your work to the next level. It has 1TB of SSD storage, too, which allows you to carry all of your artwork with you no matter where you choose to go. The 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor has you covered for all types of software and will run several of them at once without making you worry about crashes.
The 4K display makes your work stand out the way it is supposed to. It also has micro-edge and digital pen compatibility, so you can create without limits. You can worry less about damaging the screen, too, because it includes Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 so you know that it can handle nearly anything. This tough device weighs in at a mere 4.5 lbs, making it easy to carry on your commute or to your next proposal.
This HP Spectre also has one of the best graphics cards on the market with the AMD Radeon™ RX Vega M. This guarantees that your system can run any type of art program and also play the latest game on it as well.
With the included IR camera and fingerprint reader, you don’t have to worry about stolen designs or someone hacking into your device. The HP Spectre also includes a free McAfee LiveSafe™ software trial and Absolute Home and Office to keep your computer safe and sound. This way you can create and know that you won’t lose your valuable work.
Full-sized, backlit keyboard
Fast battery charge at 90% in 90 minutes
Intel 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2x2) WiFi
HP Audio Boost
Upgrade possible for 2TB SSD storage
3. HP Pavilion x360 14t touch laptop
Sometimes, lighter is better. The super-functional HP Pavilion x360 offers flexibility and a sturdy frame, allowing you to dig into your art and know that your device will be able to perform. It also has an Intel Pentium processor and 8GB of RAM so you can use your favorite design software while browsing the internet for inspiration.
The 14-inch screen provides you with an HD display that also rotates on a 360-degree hinge. Whether you’re watching videos on YouTube or want to rotate the screen to start creating, you’ve got a powerful PC that allows you to accomplish both. You don’t have to lose the feeling of pen on paper either, because you’ll have a sensitive touch screen that won’t hold your art back.
You also have 500GB of storage, which is plenty of room for keeping all of your files in one location. The full-size island-style keyboard means you can easily type up any reports and invoices by day and spend the night creating.
This computer suits the creative eye, too, with your choice of silver, gold, and blue colors. Along with accessories that include the HP Pen with N-trig technology, you’ve got a device that looks good and that gets the job done. The 9 hours of battery life don’t hurt either and will keep you working throughout the day.
If compatibility is something you need as an artist, you’ll love this HP Pavilion’s included SD media card reader and USB and HDMI ports. This can come in handy if you plan to display your work from your computer.
Lightweight at 3.72 lbs
1-year limited hardware warranty
Includes a Kensington Nano security slot
Microsoft Office software trial
Upgrade optional for Intel Core i5 processor and NVIDIA® GeForce® MX130 graphics
4. HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5 notebook
With 360 degrees of flexibility, the highly-portable HP EliteBook x360 has everything you need to make a big impact with your art. This laptop computer has a 14-inch touch screen with privacy display, so you can keep your work hidden until you’re ready to share it. You also don’t have to worry about additional security threats thanks to HP Sure Run and HP Sure Start Gen4, making it simple to keep your computer free from any malware.
With the Intel UHD Graphics 620 and 8th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, you can load programs in a matter of seconds to finish any last-minute projects. This model includes options such as a 4G LTE connection and an HP Rechargeable Active Pen, allowing you to work just about anywhere.
Those features alone make it a laptop designed to take on-the-go. And for when you’re working outside the office, you’ll enjoy the HP EliteBook x360’s advanced audio and video components for collaboration. With a world-facing microphone, you can talk to coworkers, friends, and family like they’re in the same room. This laptop is customizable, too, so you can really make your experience your own.
128GB SSD internal storage
Lightweight at 3 lbs
Spill-resistant, backlit keyboard
1080p Full High Definition (FHD) webcam camera
Corning Gorilla Glass 5 touch screen
5. HP ZBook x2 G4 detachable workstation
For top-of-the-line performance, it’s hard to beat the HP ZBook x2 G4 detachable workstation. With the Intel i7 as your processor, you can run a number of applications at once without issue. You also get the astounding NVIDIA Quadro® M620 graphics card, so your work will look the best it possibly can.
This laptop is also great for taking on the road and working from any location you choose. It comes with a pen that doesn’t require charging and a detachable Bluetooth keyboard, making your ability to work as flexible as you are creative.
The HP ZBook’s stunning 14-inch 4K screen is designed to help you take your work with you, from your office to a hotel on the other side of the world. And with a battery life that lasts up to 10 hours, you can keep working on your latest and greatest piece.
4.78 lbs in laptop mode, 3.64 lbs in tablet mode
Clickpad with multi-touch gesture support
720p HP webcam
Smart card reader and SD card reader
Windows 10 Pro
There are plenty of laptop options available for artists at almost every price and skill level. You’ll want to consider a number of features before you make your pick; from those features you absolutely need down to which types of programs you use most.
With these great HP laptops to choose from, though, you can be confident that you’ll find the right one with plenty of power and the right tools to help you create your next masterpiece.
About the Author
Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.
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