Whether you’re a pro or an amateur, as a graphic designer, you know that your laptop is your most important tool. If it’s of subpar quality, you’ll have a hard time using the programs you need and completing your projects. In order to work efficiently and create eye-catching designs, having access to good software and hardware is an absolute must.
There are plenty of brands on the market, so there’s no shortage of well-designed laptops to choose from; however, while having a lot of options is a good thing, trying to sort through all of the different brands and models can seem like a daunting task. To decide which option will best suit your needs, you’ll need to find a laptop that offers all of the right features: a reliable battery life, great portability, a lightweight design, dependable performance, and of course, an affordable price tag.
To help you on your quest for finding the best laptop for graphic design in South Africa, our team has spent countless hours carefully assessing the different laptop specials and deals on the market, and has narrowed down the options to five of the best laptops for graphic design that strike the right balance between the above-mentioned features, and that are sold at high-, mid-, and low-range prices.
Things to Consider
Before we started our search for the best laptop for graphic design, we established six fey factors that should be taken into consideration when you’re choosing the right model to meet your needs. These six features include the following:
Operating System (OS)
When selecting the best laptops for graphic design, the operating system (OS) is the first factor that you should take into consideration. The most popular operating systems are Apple’s macOS and Microsoft’s Windows; however, in recent years, Chrome OS has become increasingly popular and is featured on the majority of budget-friendly laptops.
The CPU serves as the brain of the laptop. When you’re working on graphic design projects, having a powerful and fast processor is a must. The CPU should be able to run complex software without experiencing any hiccups. There are lots of different CPU options to choose from, but Quad-Core or Extreme Series is recommended for graphic design.
When you’re working on a project, it’s likely that you’re going to be running a lot of different programs at one time. The number of programs that you’ll be using while you’re working on a project will run a lot smoother if your laptop has a decent amount of RAM. While laptops are outfitted with pre-determined RAM capacities, you can purchase and install additional RAM, if needed. The minimum amount of RAM recommended for graphic designers is 8GB; however, if you’re going to be engaging in high-powered tasks, 16GB of RAM would be a decent place to start.
Storage is another important feature that you’re going to want to consider when you’re choosing a laptop for graphic design. Laptops are outfitted with one of two types of drives: Solid-State (SSD) and Hard Disk (HDD). HDDs drives offer more capacity and are more affordable; however, they may pose issues for your laptop. SSDs are much faster, lighter, durable, and more robust; hence why newer edition laptops usually feature this type of drive. You can modify your laptop and add an SSD if the one you select doesn’t come with one.
In order to work effectively, you’ll want your laptop to feature a display that offers spacious screen real estate and that features vibrant and rich colours. For the majority of graphic designers, a 15-inch laptop will do just fine; but, it should be noted that a bigger display may be better, so long as you can comfortably and conveniently tote it around.
You’ll also want to consider the laptop’s battery life. The more robust the battery life, the longer you can tote it around without having to worry about plugging it in to recharge. You’ll find that working is a lot easier and much more enjoyable when you aren’t constantly tethered to your workstation or a wall outlet, and instead, can work wherever you’d like.
Best Laptop for Graphic Design in South Africa
Now that you know which key features you should take into consideration when you’re shopping for a laptop for graphic design work, let’s take a look at our top picks for the best models. Below, you’ll find a list of the five best options that our editorial team selected. This list includes high-, mid-, and low-priced laptops, so no matter what your budget may be, you’ll find a great quality machine.
Dell XPS 17
Dell is one of the most trusted laptop brands, and their XPS 17 is a great choice for graphic designers. It offers enough power to handle just about any project. The specs of the Dell XPS 17 are as follows:
- 64GB Ram
- Intel Core i9 CPU
- Nvidia RTX GeForce 3060 graphics card, which makes it easy to tackle some kinds of 4k video editing; particularly if you upgrade to a UHD display
- 0.77 inches thick
Huawei Matebook X Pro
Huawei is yet another highly trusted name in the laptop industry, and their Matebook X Pro is highly recommended by graphic designers. Its performance and durability put it on par with more widely known brands, and its features are equivalent to the MacBook by Apple; however, it’s more affordably priced. The screen is quite decent and the overall specs let creative and graphic design software run smoothly. If you’re seeking a laptop that offers the sleek look and functionality of Apple products but want to continue running windows – and don’t want to pay the high price tag – the Huawei Matebook X Pro is a great choice.
Gigabyte Aero 17
Featuring cutting-edge components, such as the all-new Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card and a 10th generation Intel processor, the Gigabyte Aero 17 is an excellent choice for graphic designers. This machine can handle graphic design apps and tasks with ease, and it comes with a brilliant 4k 17.3-inch screen with a Pantone calibrated display. It also supports the entire Adobe RGB colour gamut, which is key when colour accuracy is vital. It’s durably constructed and is packed with ports, giving you plenty of space for all of those essential peripherals without the need for an adaptor. The price is a bit on the high side, however, so it may not be ideal for designers who are on a budget.
Google Pixelbook Go
If you’re on a budget, the Google Pixelbook Go is a great choice. It’s a budget tablet that’s ideal for light, simple graphic design tasks, making it a great choice when you don’t need Adobe CC and other similar apps. With a 12-hour battery life, measuring 13 mm thin, and weighing less than 2 pounds, it’s perfect for on-the-go work. The HD touchscreen display offers great picture quality.
MacBook Pro 16-Inch
A popular choice with graphic designers, the MacBook offers outstanding power, a great design, and reliable power. The 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro is the cream of the crop. Choose between Apple’s M1 Max or M1 Pro chips to replace the Intel-powered 2019 model; both chips can handle the most complex design tasks. With an impressive battery life and a stunning XDR mini-LED screen, this is a great choice for graphic designers.
If you’re on the market for a graphic design laptop, any of the options on our list would be a great choice. Whether you opt for one of these models or another, remember to keep the factors mentioned above in mind when you’re shopping to ensure you make the right choice.