The best laptops and tablets for drawing let you easily create and fine-tune digital art
Tablets and laptops designed for artists are designed around two key factors: performance and workflow. Running the best drawing and graphic design software can be resource-intensive, so drawing tablets and laptops, like the best graphic design laptops, require a lot of power. They also needed to streamline the creative process, using vibrant, high-resolution screens that brought every digital detail to life.
1. HP Specter x360 (2021)
This computer tries to bridge the gap between laptop and tablet by using both when you need it. On the surface, it looks like a sleek, traditional laptop, but you can fold the screen all the way back to use it as a tablet-like touchscreen device.
The HP Specter x360 (2021)’s biggest upgrade over its predecessor is its components and performance, a laptop that showcases Intel’s latest mobile processors. Overall, the new CPU and up to 16GB of RAM make this machine a great little performer, and Windows 10 feels fast and responsive. Multitasking with multiple apps open at the same time, as well as multiple Edge tabs, didn’t really slow down performance either.
One of the biggest quality-of-life improvements Intel has pushed through its Intel Evo platform is long battery life, and the HP Specter x360 doesn’t disappoint in that regard. It lasted 11 hours and 22 minutes on our own battery life test, which repeatedly plays a 1080p video file at 50 percent brightness until the battery dies.
Overall, it’s a capable, portable device that, despite its price, will do just about anything you need it to.
2. Dell XPS 17 (2021)
This Dell’s 4K display is fantastic. Dell sent us a 4K touch version, and while the OLED Dell XPS 13 is still better – it’s OLED after all – it’s still one of the best laptop monitors we’ve used and great for media work
Since this laptop packs an 11th Gen Intel Core processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that it can definitely handle most workloads.
However, where this laptop really shines is in creative workloads, and this 4K monitor can really shine. Whether you’re working in Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, or Blender, you’ll save even more time with this laptop than the latest MacBook Pro, thanks in large part to the CUDA cores in the RTX 3060 .
3. Acer Spin 5 (2020)
Typically, 2-in-1 laptops have a 16:9 aspect ratio, which means they’re almost twice as long as they are wide. This can make them feel cramped while drawing. Not so with the Spin 5: its 3:2 ratio is absolutely fantastic in this regard.
The included stylus is small and feels a bit flimsy, but since it has its own charging and case ports on the side of the laptop, it’s less likely to get lost or damaged than the stylus that comes with other 2-in-1 laptops Sex is much less.
Arguably one of the most useful features of the pen should it run out of power is its super-fast charging system: just plug it back into your laptop for about 15-20 seconds and you’ll get about 90 minutes of charge time.
4. iPad Pro 12.9 (2021)
The iPad Pro 2021 12.9-inch tablet isn’t for everyone. The biggest caveat is that it’s very expensive, and it’s a very large device for those who don’t need that big of a screen (although few artists will complain about decently sized digital canvases).
The new Liquid Retina XDR Mini LED display is gorgeous, with peak brightness levels you won’t see on other tablets — a tablet that rivals Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, which feels like a tablet lately A major upgrade to the screen. The screen is one of the best for watching movies and is also suitable for everyday tasks.
Apple has come a long way with its M1 chipset, the first time the company has integrated its new desktop power chip into an iPad. Do you absolutely need it? Probably not, but if you really want impressive performance that sets other tablets apart, the latest iPad Pro is yet another solid choice.
5. Microsoft Surface Pro 8
For a device as portable as the Surface Pro 8, performance has always been a difficult balance. You want it to be fast, but you don’t want to tax it so much that the battery life drains the toilet and gets too hot to handle.
Using Cinebench R15 — a test we’ve retired and replaced with Cinebench R23 — the Surface Pro 8 was nearly 50 percent faster than the Surface Pro 7, an incredible step up a generation. The difference in GeekBench 4 isn’t as noticeable, but it’s still noticeably faster.
Even more impressive, however, is how the Surface Pro 8 compares to its big brother, the Surface Laptop Studio. The tablet was only 12 percent slower in Cinebench than Microsoft’s so-called Creative Workstation, and just 5 percent slower in GeekBench. Even though the Surface Pro 8 is half the thickness and almost half the weight of the Laptop Studio, it’s a powerful tablet for its size.
In addition to creative apps, we also review laptops for gaming—the best gaming laptops have most of the specs needed to run graphics software flawlessly. We also evaluated all the tablet’s speaker sound quality, and whether the tablet or laptop included accessories like a stylus or a real drawing screen.