The Best Laptops for Creatives of 2024

Whether you want to create art, music, movies, or a short story, the right laptop can help you channel your creativity. Choosing the right laptop for the job can be tough, but we’ve done all the work for you.

What to Look For in a Laptop for Creatives in 2024

We’re using the term “creative” as a catch-all here, as creative professionals don’t always limit themselves to a single discipline. Some may spend their days shooting and editing video, while others may spend the day writing or working on a piece of music. When shopping for a laptop, it’s important to consider how and where you’ll be using it the most.

For photo editing or design work, you need a computer with decently speedy hardware, but you also need an accurate display that you can count on. You likely also want a larger display so you can zoom in and see plenty of detail in the images you’re creating or editing.

For video, you’ll want an accurate display in a similarly large size as what you would want for image and photo editing. That said, video editing and rendering have much higher hardware demands, so you’ll want to make sure you have a powerful CPU and GPU as well as plenty of RAM.

For music creation and audio editing, the needs are slightly different. While an accurate display is nice, it isn’t necessary for music production, nor is a powerful GPU. That said, you’ll need plenty of storage for audio files, sample libraries, and plugins. Music production and audio editing can also be memory-hungry, so don’t skimp on the RAM.

At first, you might think that the needs for artists who draw would be the same as photo editing, and it can be, assuming you’re using an external tablet for drawing. That said, plenty of people like to draw directly on a screen, in which case you’ll need a stylus-capable touchscreen.

Writers have it easy compared to many other creatives when it comes to choosing a laptop. You don’t need much in terms of powerful hardware or even a particularly large screen. The main thing you’ll want to keep in mind for a laptop for writing is the quality of the keyboard.

The area that may be toughest to settle on is a laptop for streaming because this can mean different things. If you’re just streaming yourself on a webcam, you don’t need much in the way of power. On the other hand, if you want a laptop capable of gaming and streaming at the same time, you’ll need the hardware to handle it.

ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED

If you’re doing serious photo editing or graphic design work, you need to be able to count on what you’re seeing, and that means you need an accurate display. Of course, photo and graphics programs aren’t exactly lightweight, so having some extra horsepower can’t hurt either, which makes the ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED a perfect pick for this category.

ASUS boasts that the StudioBook 16 OLED features the world’s first 16-inch, 4K OLED HDR display. This claim may be true, but that breezes over the real reason we chose this laptop, which is the 550 nit peak brightness and the 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, which means you’re seeing true-to-life color. The display is even Pantone-validated, meaning it’s perfect for any use where color really matters.

The laptop is available in plenty of different configurations, but even the base model features an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU and an Nvidia RTX 3060 GPU. The model we’re looking at features 32GB of RAM—more than enough for heavy-duty video editing—and a 2TB SSD.

While the StudioBook 16 OLED may look like a standard laptop, it’s actually a 2-in-1 design. This means that if you want to use the laptop for drawing, it’s possible, even if this isn’t the ideal laptop for that specific use. Still, it’s better to have the option than to wish you had it available.

If you’re doing some seriously heavy work with the StudioBook 16, it’s available with up to 64GB RAM, but if you’re looking for a burlier GPU, you might need to look elsewhere. The laptop also comes with a few extras, like a three-month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED
ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED

Best Laptop for Photo Editing

The ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED combines a bright, accurate, high-resolution display and powerful hardware to create an impressive image editing powerhouse.

Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Pro)

Regardless of whether you’re using Final Cut Pro, the more standard Adobe Premiere Pro, or even Avid Media Composer, Macs are immensely popular among video professionals. The 16-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Pro) combines powerful hardware with the largest screen you can currently find in a MacBook, making this the perfect model for video editing.

When it comes to the overall build of this laptop, Apple is still producing laptops that are hard to beat. The metal build makes for no flex, particularly under the keyboard, so while this isn’t meant for writers specifically, the keyboard feels rock solid. The MagSafe adapter also keeps you from yanking your MacBook off your desk if you accidentally trip over the cable.

If you’re working with video, the display is crucial, and the Liquid Retina XDR display on the MacBook Pro delivers. Colors are accurate, and you can disable Apple’s TrueTone feature if you need to be certain that the colors you’re looking at are true to life.

You can order the 16-inch MacBook Pro with either an M3 Pro or an M3 Max chip. For most people, even with heavy video editing workloads, the M3 Pro will do an admirable job. That said, if you’re using Adobe AfterEffects or Motion for composite effects, or you’re adding 3D rendering to your video, you may want to upgrade to the M3 Max.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is available in Space Black and Silver color options. The base model comes with 18GB RAM and 512GB storage, though you can go up to 128GB RAM and an 8TB SSD if you opt for the M3 Max version of the laptop.

16-inch MacBook Pro (M3 Pro)
MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3 Pro)

Best Laptop for Video Editing

The M3 Pro variant of the 16-inch MacBook Pro provides more than enough processing power for heavy video workloads in a portable form factor with a large, accurate display and plenty of connectivity.

14-inch MacBook Pro (M3)

Similarly to the world of video editing, Macs are a near constant when it comes to music production. The difference is that they don’t generally need quite the same processing power, nor do they need as large of a screen as a video professional might need. For musicians and producers, portability is key, so a smaller model like the 14-inch MacBook Pro (M3) works perfectly.

Looking at the base model of the 14-inch MacBook Pro, you get an M3 chipset with an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, plus a 16-core neural engine. Memory and storage are somewhat limited at 8GB RAM and 512GB of storage, but even an 8GB MacBook Pro can handle a surprising number of audio tracks, virtual instruments, and plugins before it starts to slow down.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro features a pair of USB-C ports, perfect for plugging in an audio interface and a MIDI controller or external disk. Unlike some other recent MacBook Pros, you also get an SD card slot and an HDMI connector for plugging in an external display.

The smaller display here also means that you’re eating up less battery over the course of a day. This is key if you’re a musician or producer who uses a laptop in a live context, as all you need is a class-compliant audio interface. Then simply plug into a PA system and bring the party to a club without any other external hardware or complicated wiring.

As mentioned before, the 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD model is surprisingly robust, and I know that because I use a similar M1 Mac for music. That said, if you’re working on larger productions or using CPU-heavy synths or plugins, you may want to go for the 16GB or even 24GB options, which also feature more storage.

14-inch MacBook Pro (M3)
Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023)

Best Laptop for Music Production

Macs are ubiquitous in the music world, from songwriters to engineers and producers, and the Apple 14-inch MacBook Pro (2023) is the perfect balance between portability and power.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (M2)

If you’re a writer, you likely already know that you don’t need much in the way of computing power for a laptop dedicated to writing. That said, writers rarely spend all their time simply writing, so it’s nice to have power on tap for light image and graphics work, among other things. That makes the Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (M2) the perfect candidate for the job.

One of the key features of the MacBook Air line is how portable it is. This means that bringing your laptop to the coffee shop to write a few hundred words on a coffee break is not just possible, but easy. Unlike the MacBook Pro line, these are still powered by the slightly older M2 chip, but you won’t feel like you’re missing anything.

The display isn’t quite on par with the Liquid XDR display found on MacBook Pro models, but for writing, this won’t be a concern. In context, it’s more important that the MacBook Air features Apple’s True Tone, which automatically matches the white balance of the display to the lighting conditions of the room you’re in. This makes the display easier on your eyes for longer sessions.

Of course, as a writer, you spend most of your time typing, so the keyboard is a critical component. A few years ago, that may have been a problem, but Apple has replaced its subpar keyboards from years past, and the keyboard on model MacBooks, whether Air or Pro, feels much nicer to type on than relatively recent models.

The model we’re considering for this article features 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, both of which are more than enough if you’re focusing strictly on the written word. That said, if you spend your time editing more images or doing similar work, you may want to upgrade to at least 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD.

Apple 13-inch MacBook Air (M2)
MacBook Air 13-inch (M2)

Best Laptop for Writers

Writers don’t need the most powerful computers, but portability is key, and the MacBook Air 13-inch (M2) has that in spades, alongside a comfortable, responsive backlit keyboard.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Plenty of artists use an external drawing tablet like a Wacom for their digital art. However, if you don’t want to use a traditional drawing tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is your best bet, thanks to a combination of power and form factor. Just don’t forget to factor extras like the keyboard and Surface Pen into the cost.

The Surface Pro 9 features a 13-inch touchscreen, which may sound small, but it has its strengths as well. For years, Surface Pros have provided the portability of a tablet with the feel of a laptop, and that’s still the case here. The ‎2880 × 1920 resolution isn’t the highest, but it’s perfect for this screen size.

For whatever reason, Microsoft doesn’t typically stick to the cutting edge with the hardware in its builds, so while this is a relatively recent model, the hardware is a generation behind. That means you get an Intel Evo i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB display.

The build is one of the most interesting aspects of the Surface Pro 9. Unlike 2-in-1 laptops, this model works as a standalone tablet, letting you add accessories as you need them. The keyboard cover add-on is essential, as is the Surface Pen if you plan to use it for drawing. Both of these add to the base cost.

The Surface Pro 9 is available in Graphite, Sapphire, Forest, and Platinum finishes, alongside keyboards and Surface Pen finishes matching them. If you require extra power or storage, you can find models with up to 32GB RAM and 1TB storage.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9
Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Best Laptop for Drawing

$1075 $1600 Save $525

If you’re looking for a portable digital drawing table, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is as close is you’ll get, and it’s a great laptop as well. Just don’t forget that the keyboard and pen are sold separately.

ASUS ROG Strix G17 G713

If you’re going to stream from a laptop you’re also gaming on, you need a fair bit of power. The ASUS ROG Strix G17 G713 has power in spades to keep your frame rates high, especially on the higher-end configurations, but even the lower-spec models are surprisingly powerful.

No model in this line comes particularly cheap, but there’s a reason for that, as they all pack some fairly powerful hardware. The base model we’re looking at features a 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX CPU and Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU, for example.

The display is a 17.3-inch IPS model that supports refresh rates of up to 240Hz. On the other hand, while the computer’s hardware supports HDR, the display doesn’t, so you’ll need to run an external display if you want to take advantage of HDR. That said, you’re not going to spend much time worrying about this for streaming.

The build is plastic, which doesn’t feel particularly robust when you take it out of the box. While the plastic-y feel is undeniable, I’ve also owned an ASUS laptop with a similar feel for a few years now, and the laptop doesn’t feel any worse for the wear.

You can’t upgrade the internal GPU in the ROG Strix G17 easily, but that doesn’t mean this computer will let you down. You can always upgrade your gaming computer in the future and keep this model for streaming. Of course, if you’re streaming yourself chatting, doing arts and crafts, or something similar, you don’t need to worry about the gaming capabilities here.

ASUS ROG Strix G17 G713
Asus ROG Strix G17 (AMD, 2023)

Best Laptop for Streaming

The ASUS ROG Strix G17 G713 isn’t the most powerful laptop you can buy, but whether you’re looking to stream video games or a live chat show, it’s plenty capable, and the large display is great for multitasking.

FAQ

Should I buy an Apple or Windows laptop?

You’ll be able to create anything you want with both Apple or Windows laptops, so it really comes down to which you prefer. That said, if you want a touchscreen, you’ll currently only find those in Windows laptops.

How many years does a laptop last before it’s obsolete?

This depends on the laptop, but in general, you can expect from two to five years. Apple’s MacBooks are known for lasting for a longer time, but they aren’t upgradeable. While not every Windows laptop is as sturdily built, you can sometimes upgrade the RAM or storage, giving it extra longevity.

What’s the difference between a Chromebook and laptop?

Chromebooks use the same form factor as laptops, but they run a more limited operating system. You can browse the web, use web apps, and even run Android apps on some Chromebooks, but you can’t run the same programs as you can on a PC or Apple laptop.


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