The buying guides for the laptops for drawing

So, you want to buy a new laptop for drawing and don't know how to pick up the right one. Here is a detailed article that focuses on the 16 things that you should consider before buying a brand-new laptop.

Table of Contents  [ ]

The main goal of this article is to leave unbiased on the selection of the brand-new laptop for drawing.

Our conclusion

What is it in short?

The laptops that you are going to buy for making drawings need a minimum of Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen-3 CPU. Furthermore, the drawing tasks can be done without a high-end Graphics chip. The touchscreen supports greatly enhance performance. The touchscreen laptops need to have at least 120 Hz display.

Furthermore, If you have planned to go for the non-touchscreen laptops, The Stylus on the touchpad can do the same job and it only requires a 60 Hz display.

Here are the 16 things that a drawing-purpose laptop must meet

The 16 things that you should consider step-by-step before buying the laptop for drawings. The list of all important-things is below.

  • Operating system
  • Display
    • Size, type, resolution, screen refresh-rate, touchscreen support, anti-glare or glossy
  • CPU
    • Types, Cores, and clock speed
  • Graphics
  • RAM
  • Storage
    • HDD, SDD
  • Connectivity, ports, and weight
  • Keyboard and touchpad
  • Battery

Choose the right operating system

Either Windows or Mac OS. What's best for making drawings?

There are plenty of OS in the market, but to select the right one is a bit challenging task. According to StatCounter, The most popular computer OS is Windows, followed by Mac OS, Linux, and Chrome OS. Windows is leading the world in the market of computer operating systems by 77.74% market share.

As per the Art Rocket, the drawing software supported by Mac OS is supported by Windows OS also but not vice versa. See the following drawing software with its supports for OS.

  • Photoshop CC (Windows, Mac OS)
  • Clip Studio Paint (Windows, Mac OS)
  • Paint Tool SAI (Windows)
  • Adobe Fresco (Windows)
  • MediBang Paint Pro (Windows, Mac OS)
  • Corel Painter 2020 (Windows, Mac OS)
  • Krita (Windows, Mac OS)
  • Paintstorm Studio (Windows, Mac OS)
  • GIMP2 (Windows, OS)

Windows OS fully supported by many popular drawing software, but Mac OS is not. Also, Apple laptops are too much pricey. Have a look at both OS below.

Windows

Windows OS based laptop

Windows laptops are not too less costly than Apple Macbooks. As Windows is the leading computer operating system, all the major drawing software is supported by it. Hence, It must be the first choice if you are going to buy a laptop with as same specs as Apple MacBook. Moreover, the latest windows laptops made by Lenovo, Dell, HP, Microsoft, and many more are supporting the touchscreen which Apple doesn't.

Mac OS

Mac OS based laptop

You need to buy the Apple Macbook to use the Mac OS. The benefits of heaving apple's laptop are smooth performance, long battery life, and better display. The only thing lack in Apple's laptop is its 2-in-2 convertibility. MacBook doesn't have support for touchscreen though they are too expensive.

So, concluding this section, Windows should be the first choice since drawing on a touchscreen laptop is far way better than just use of mouse or touchpad.

Pick the right display

The selection of the display on laptop

It's a display that display something on it! Hence make a better selection of it.

Here, In this section, The focus is on picking up the right display - Its size, type, resolution, touchscreen, anti-glare, and the most important one - refresh rate.

Display size

The display of laptops is coming in various sizes ranging from 11 inches to 18 inches. But, Every size is not suitable for making drawings. The laptops with 13-inches and 15-inches display are most popular since all depend on the screen resolution - I will describe it later. See the following chart that best describes the variation in display-size with size-ratio.

The chart of the size-comparison of laptop display sizes with ratios.
Screen size comparison. Image credit: Laptoping.

Display type

According to the Electropages, Until now, the laptops are coming with OLED, LED - (TN, IPS, VA), and LCD.

  • OLED display: It is expensive, but nor bright as an LED display. Its image quality is excellent with better screen uniformity. And, the viewing angles won't degrade the picture quality.
  • LED display: It is expensive than an LCD screen but has a better viewing angle with a long life span. Furthermore, LED displays are more energy-efficient. Its sub-types are TN, IPS, and VA display. First, LED display with IPS panel makes the user-experience way better since its color reproduction is better. It has a better viewing angle with one drawback of slow pixel-response time. Second, LED display with TN (Twisted Nematic) are low-cost and have fast pixel-response time with two main disadvantages of poor color reproduction and a poor viewing angle. And, the last one, LED display with VA (vertical alignment) panel have excellent color accuracy with great viewing angles. Furthermore, it's contrast ratio is almost better with one drawback of slow pixel-response time.
  • LCD: It is using the Liquid crystals and provides brighter pixels but has poor viewing angles. Furthermore, the color accuracy is just fine with the fast pixel response time.

The below GIF explains in a better way how the overall picture quality is affected with change in the viewing angles between IPS and Non-IPS (TN) displays.

The image of the comparison of viewing angles between IPS and Non-IPS display.
Comparison of viewing angles between IPS and Non-IPS display.

Screen resolution

The screen resolution varies in laptops from HD to 4K. The screens are coming with HD, FHD, QHD, QHD+, UHD, 4K resolutions.

  • HD: 1366 X 768
  • FHD: 1980 X 1080 (1080p)
  • QHD: 2560 X 1440 (2K)
  • QHD+: 3200 X 1800
  • UHD: 3840 X 2160 (4K)

There is a lot of difference between the screen-size and screen-resolution. A screen-size refers to how big it is to hold. A screen-resolution defines how much content it can display in the viewable part of the screen.

Hence, a 13-inches sized display with QHD resolution is way better than the 15-inches sized display with just FHD or HD resolution. Let's understand it better by the following image.

16 thing to consider before buying a laptop for drawing: The comparison of the screen resolution with the content size.
Comparison of the screen resolution with content size. Image credit: Laptopmag.

In short, The resolution is going to deal with the amount of content whereas the display-size is going to deal with its physical size. See the following pictures that shows how much contents fits in HD and FHD display.

The amount of contents that fits in the HD display.
The amount of content on the HD display. Image credit: Laptoping
The amount of contents that fits on the FHD display
The amount of contents that fits on the FHD display. Image credit: Laptoping.

Touchscreen supports

The touch screen laptop

The 2-in-1 laptops have a better-looking touchscreen display. You can do a lot of stuff by a stylus or your finger. In my opinion, the use of a stylus will be beneficial for you in making drawings on it.

On the laptop, You have only two ways to go for making drawings by your fingers, either use mouse or touchscreen for better making it. But, You cannot ignore the touchpad since it can do the same with the help of a stylus.

Screen refresh rate

It's an optional factor and only going to affect your drawing performance when you will be making the drawing using the touchscreen. The higher it is, the more detailed and smooth movement you will see. It defines how many times the picture is going to refresh in a second. Hence, a 60 Hz refresh rate means the screen will be changed 60 times in a second.

If you are going to use the touchscreen, the screen refresh rate must be 120 Hz or more. But, If you are going to do the same using a stylus on a touchpad or mouse, a 60 Hz refresh rate will be work.

See, below GIF on drawing performance comparison on 60 and 120 Hz refresh-rate screens.

Comparison of 60 and 120 Hz refresh-rate screens of iPad Pro.
Comparison of 60 and 120 Hz refresh-rate screens.

Anti-glare display

Anti-glare refers to how much light it reflects to use. In simple words, the mechanism to see the difference between screen-content and light that is reflecting. Understand it better by the following image.

Drawing Laptop buying guide:The comparison of Anti-glare and Glossy display
Anti-glare vs Glossy display. Image credit: Laptoping

So, Anti-glare display helps in getting rich-results from the screen compared to glossy display. The more common problem with touchscreen laptops is they tend to attract the fingers and have glossy-displays.

So, concluding this section, The laptop must come with at least 1080p resolution, 13-inches display size, and anti-glare display. In addition to that, the touchpad should be large enough for the better use of a stylus on it else anti-glare touchscreen laptop is better if you ready to spend high-budget and its screen refresh-rate is minimum of 120 Hz.

Go for the right configuration

The display is only its look, The specs are its brain - too important!

In this section, I am going to explain the needs of CPU, GPU, RAM, Storage, Connectivity, Ports, and Weight.

CPU for the laptop

16 things to consider before buying a laptop for drawing: CPU of the laptop

The laptop that you are going to buy for drawings-only doesn't need to have a high-specs CPU. The low-spec CPU like Intel Core-i3 or AMD Ryzen-3 can do that job very well. The drawing operations are mainly related to the display of laptops that we have discussed earlier.

In addition to that, the popular software that I have listed at the beginning of this article also supports the low-spec CPU such as Intel Core-i3 or AMD Ryzen-3. So, you don't have to waste your money by buying one with Core-i5, Core-i7, Ryzen-5, or Ryzen-7 CPU. But, often with high-budget, the laptops have higher CPUs. The touchscreen laptops often have higher CPU - that's great!

Now, coming to the CPU clock speed, measured in Hz. The higher the CPU speed, the faster it can execute the instructions. It means CPU with 2.0 GHz is higher than 1.6 GHz CPU. In drawing operations, the minimum CPU clock speed should be 1.6 GHz.

The CPU must have a minimum of 2-cores. The Core is the single unit that executes the multiple processes at a time. Hence, the higher number of Core, the more parallel execution will take place. But, in the same way, It drains the more battery even.

The recommendations are given based on the testing of all the above software on Intel Core-i3, 1.6 GHz clock speed, 2 Core.

Graphics chip

The graphics chips used to accelerate the graphical performance of the machine. It consumes more power compared to the normal one, but it can run high-end graphics smoothly.

So, we have tested the above software parallelly and found that they don't need any high-end graphics. Our tests conducted on Intel Core-i3 CPU with Intel UHD graphics powered Dell laptop has revealed that all you need is an SSD storage.

So, concluding it, the laptop's integrated graphics chip is okay as for this laptop for drawing tasks, it can do the same job the high-end graphics chip does.

RAM capacity

The higher the RAM, the better the multitasking!

The RAM is on which the apps run. So, higher RAM will provide more space for the apps to run. But, the usual 8GB RAM is enough to make a great drawing. The laptop over 60,000 INR often has 8GB RAM, at least.

Furthermore, Windows 10 needs more RAM compared to Windows 8 and 7 due to its high background processes. We have tested all the apps on 4GB and 8GB RAM laptops simultaneously, and the results revealed that the multitasking on 4GB RAM lasted no longer smooth compared to 8GB RAM on Windows 10.

Storage

The storage devices are mainly HDD and SSD that come with storage. The HDD is cheaper compared to SSD. However, in terms of performance, the solid-state drive is far more superior than hard-disk. Nowadays, the hard-disk is coming with the most common 5400 and 7200 RPM, but both sucks in front of SSD.

The solid-state drive is expensive. It loads the files very faster than hard-disk. The software files installed on SSD responded way quicker in our tests. Even the 1.3 GB of large-sized one poster loaded on Corel Photo-Paint X7 within 5 seconds on a solid-state drive. And the same has loaded in 1 minute and 13 seconds on HDD.

SSD + Graphics card boost the performance of laptop drastically!

The laptops with SSD are 15,000 INR more expensive than the same specs laptop with HDD. Hence, the one you are going to buy for making drawings must have at least 128GB of SSD storage.

Connectivity

The connectivity in this section refers to the wireless-connectivity. Wi-Fi 6 is in the market, and you will be lucky if it is coming with your laptop. It offers better speed with accuracy than a Wi-Fi 802.11ac. In addition to that, Bluetooth 5 is the latest technology that provides the fastest wireless transmission using a Bluetooth device.

Bluetooth 4.0 is also fast. So, the laptop for drawings must have that. And, If you are willing to buy a touchscreen laptop, make sure it has support for 4G LTE. The most touchscreen 2-in-1 convertible laptops nowadays show support for it.

Ports

The laptops generally have USB 2.0 and 3.0 version ports nowadays. But the latest laptop is coming with USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3) port that provides a high data transfer rate compared to 2.0 and 3.0.

And, If you need to connect a 4K monitor to the laptop then It is the thunderbolt-3 port is a minimum requirement. The 4K monitors provide better visual help compared to the VGA monitors. Although, the use of 4K monitors is power consumptive.

Weight

The weight of a laptop depends on how you are going to use it - On the desk all the time or as a laptop way. If you are going to use it on the desk all the time, the weight factor becomes negligible here else it should be approx 2.0 Kg or less.

But, In front of high-end specs, I often advise skipping the weight.

Keyboard and touchpad

That are the only things that deal with your fingers, So you may gonna hit it if it don't work!

Keyboard

The keyboard of a laptop

It's okay if it doesn't have a num-pad.

The keyboard is of two types - Full-sized and short-sized. The full-sized keyboard has the spaced for num-pad, In the short-sized one, you will miss it. Having a keyboard with a num-pad doesn't help a lot. So, it's better if it is not coming.

In the keyboard, all you need to focus on is the gap between the keys and how much it goes deeper when you press it. The most higher-spec laptops nowadays have keys that go 1-2 mm deeper and the gap between keys is optimized to reduce unintended pressing of keys.

Touchpad

16 things to consider before buying a laptop: The touchpad of a laptop

The touchpad is going to play a major role for those who are buying the laptop for drawing. Because Stylus is another option of touchscreen laptops for making great drawings. The smooth touchpad is going to help you.

However, It shouldn't smooth only but also big enough to move the stylus easily on it. The previous Dell laptops had small touchpad that made even finger movement limited.

Battery

The lifeline of your most loved laptop!

16 things to consider before buying a laptop: The battery of the laptop

Don't expect it to last long a day!

The laptop with high battery capacity is often the first choice of people. The manufacturer claims that the laptop will live up to 6 hrs, 7 hrs, sometimes 8 hrs long. But that's not in reality. Running of heavy software drains the battery much and lets it last-long up to 4 hrs or 4 and a half hours.

In the drawing operations, Running of Corel draw, and Adobe Photoshop will last the 42-Wh battery up to 5 hrs. The touchscreen laptops consume more of it, so that must have a high-capacity battery.

So, that's all for now on how to select a laptop for drawing tasks.

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