If you are reading this article, you’re probably looking for a laptop that meets your graphic design needs and falls within the budget. So allow me to tell you about the 5 best budget laptops for graphic design in today’s market.
What is the best budget laptop for graphic design?
These are the top 5 best budget laptops for graphic design in 2021.
- Acer Swift 3
- HP 15
- Acer Aspire 5
- ASUS VivoBook 15
- Lenovo IdeaPad 3
Let’s dig deep now and discover the minimum requirements of the most popular graphic design programs.
Laptop Minimum Requirements
Most graphic designers use Adobe Photoshop, vector editor Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign. To run them smoothly, you need to meet their minimum requirements.
Adobe Minimum Requirements
Photoshop minimum requirements: Intel® or AMD processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or later, 8GB of RAM.
Let’s look at Illustrator’s minimum requirements. You’ll need a Multicore Intel processor (with 64-bit support) or an AMD Athlon 64 processor, 8GB of RAM (16GB recommended).
Adobe Indesign is the least demanding of the bunch. To run it smoothly, you will need an Intel® Pentium® 5 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor and a minimum of 4GB of RAM (16GB recommended)
Talking from my experiences here. Even though Adobe recommends 16GB of RAM, I’ve worked multiple years with 8GB RAM and create numerous designs with it.
So the majority of the budget laptops on this list will come with 8GB of RAM. It can be easily upgraded in the future if you’ll feel that 8 gigs are insufficient for your day-to-day work.
Having a sufficient processing unit and RAM is not enough, but there other factors that you need to consider when buying a new laptop. So we’re going to cover them next.
The Factors you Should Look for When Buying a New Laptop:
Last year, you might have come across a battle of the processor titans – AMD and Intel. At the end of the year, Apple released its new game-changing M1 chip that shook the world with its performance.
Having a bit of competition is almost always great for the consumer. Since the prices of one of the most essential hardware components will most definitely drop, so you will get more for less.
Getting the right hardware: processor, RAM, and quick SSD disk is essential for smooth, lag-free graphic design work. Otherwise, opening power-hungry software like Adobe Photoshop will take ages – literally.
IPS screen technology is also beneficial for a build-in laptop monitor. The IPS display panel has better color reproduction, an important feature when dealing with pixel-perfect graphics. Besides that, it delivers wider viewing angles.
For some, this may be the least important factor about a laptop, but for most of us, it’s a huge one.
If the price wasn’t a factor, you could buy the latest and most expensive laptop. Still, this article is not written for people with unlimited funds. It is written to help people getting the best graphic design laptop for their budget.
A Closer Look at 5 Best Budget Laptops for Graphic Design:
1. Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light Laptop Inexpensive Laptop
Despite the fact, this laptop is 0.63 inches thin and weighs merely 2.6 lbs is packed with power. It comes with a mighty AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core Mobile Processor, with a turbo boost of 4.1 GHz. For good measure, it comes with a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD disk, so you can store all of your creative files on it.
Acer took care of its screen quality as well. It offers a 14″ Full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS LED-backlit display that will make your color to be as accurate as it can be. The battery life will average last up to 11.5 hours, so you can peacefully work through your day without any uninterrupted power supply.
The fingerprint reader is another excellent feature of this laptop. Not only for security reasons, but it makes your life a lot easier when you’re unlocking or logging in.
During quarantine, I’ve learned that you need an excellent webcam and a microphone capable of capturing clear voice sounds. 2 built-in microphones with Acer Purified Voice and an HD Webcam will ensure the exceptional quality of your picture and voice.
The only drawback and I’m being a bit nitpicking here, is it’s 8GB LPDDR4 RAM. Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier, it is sufficient for everyday graphic design life.
In essence, the excellent build quality and outstanding performance, brilliant IPS screen toped with a beautiful design. Acer Swift 3 is a superb choice for every graphic designer looking for an inexpensive laptop for his career.
2. HP 15 Touchscreen Affordable Laptop
When I was updating the list, I couldn’t decide which laptop should be the number 1 choice, should it be HP 15 or Acer Swift. But in the end, the Swifts’ price prevailed.
Although this HP laptop is the most expensive on the list, it is loaded with powerful specs. A 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 with a turbo boost of 3.6 GHz is responsible for quick program execution.
But it doesn’t end here.
Let’s explore the real highlight of this computer— a 16 GB RAM unit. More RAM allows computers to do more tasks at once, and in graphic design, this is an essential feature. Some might even say that having more RAM and an average processor is better than the other way around.
Not only that, a 512GB SSD can store all of your files. Combined with a huge RAM and powerful processor, it will open them with blazing speeds.
This portable computer’s total weight is 5.4 pounds, which is more than some other alternatives on this list but is still comfortable enough when you carry it around.
All the performances aside, the WLED-backlit touchscreen display is the downside of this computer. The HP would use IPS technology in the perfect world, but in that case, its price would be substantially higher. Having touchscreen technology is a silver lining of this monitor and is there to accelerate your workflow.
Everything is packed in a metal body, merged with a black plastic keyboard surface. All the different materials put together make it premium looking. I must say that I really like the design of this one!
We are going to sandwich the HP 15 with another Acer laptop. So let’s explore its specifications.
3. Acer Aspire 5 Low-cost Laptop
The Acer Aspire 5 was my favorite budget laptop choice in the past, but the first two options are more powerful than this one, so it lost a few places. Nevertheless, with the affordable price and good performance is still an inexpensive laptop contender.
The 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 is the brain of this laptop and will run up to 3.6GHz with a turbo boost. Fused with 8GB DDR4 of RAM, it will take care of smooth and efficient work.
It comes with all the bells and whistles as the bigger brother on this list – Acer Swift 3. It has a fingerprint reader for easy access, a backlit keyboard, two built-in microphones, and an HD camera for well-defined video communication.
On top of that, it has 15.6″ FHD IPS 1920 x 1080 pixel display that reproduces stunning colors. Also, the Acer BlueLightShield protects your eyes from blue light exposure.
Acer promises 8 hours of battery life with regular use. Still, if you push it a bit as you would with professional graphic design work, you will get an hour or two less of it. So have the charger with you if you’re planning to work extra long.
The disadvantage of this laptop is its SSD memory size. It can only store 256 GB of data, which might get filled quickly with the larger files that graphic design programs can create. However, you can easily extend its memory with an external disk or cloud storage.
The lower price doesn’t show the lack of materials used and overall build quality. Acer designers decided to put an aluminum top cover found in some of the high-end laptop choices.
4. ASUS VivoBook 15 Budget Laptop
ASUS produces one of the most reliable laptops on the market and continuously pushes its product innovation. Therefore it would be a crime if I don’t include this excellent inexpensive option on the list.
VivoBook 15 comes with the 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU capable of up to 3.6 GHz clocking speed. 8GB RAM ensures trouble-free working in your favorite design software. Moreover, its beasty 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD has the capacity of storing all of your artwork in one place.
Like some choices on this list, this reasonably priced laptop comes with a backlit keyboard and fingerprint sensor. Additional ErgoLift hinge adds up to the device’s ergonomics. All these little things combined contribute to the work comfort.
You know that feeling when you’re rushing to the meeting, and you find out your laptop battery is almost drained? Vivos’ feature of charging the battery to 60% in 49 minutes makes this inconvenience a thing of the past.
As you can see, VivoBook 15 has a lot of offer. Its only drawback is the lack of the IPS monitor panel.
Moving to the last low-priced laptop option.
This one is perfect for those who are really on the budget. It checks all the minimum requirements that a laptop needs to run the graphic design apps efficiently. However, you’ll have to upgrade to a more advanced model faster than the other options on the list.
5. Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Pocket-Friendly Touchscreen Laptop
Lenovo IdeaPad comes with the Intel 10th Gen Dual-Core i3-1005G1 CPU and is not as fast as the other alternatives on the list. Even though it doesn’t offer an ultra-high-speed processor, it’s armed with 8GB DDR4 RAM.
You can store your designs on the 256GB PCI-e SSD, which is on the lower end of the storage capacity. However, it is enough for someone who doesn’t work daily with Adobe programs that might create enormous data files.
Its 15.6″ display is not powered by IPS technology, but it offers a touch screen feature. It comes in handy for choosing different program tools and adds up to work productivity.
Let’s not forget the looks of the Lenovo IdeaPad. Although it is the cheapest option on the list, it looks remarkably modern.
Now that we covered the selection of inexpensive laptops, let’s compare them side by side.
Comparison Of The Best Budget Laptops
|Title||Acer Swift 3||HP 15||Acer Aspire 5||ASUS VivoBook 15||Lenovo IdeaPad 3|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core||10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1||10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1||10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1||10th Gen Dual-Core i3-1005G1|
|RAM||8 GB DDR4||16GB DDR4||8GB DDR4||8GB DDR4||8GB DDR4|
|Storage||512GB PCIe NVMe SSD||512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD||256GB NVMe SSD||512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD||256GB PCI-e SSD|
|Screen Size||14″ Full HD IPS||15.6″ HD Touchscreen||15.6″ Full HD IPS||15.6” Full HD||15″ HD Touchscreen|
|BUY ON AMAZON||BUY ON AMAZON||BUY ON AMAZON||BUY ON AMAZON||BUY ON AMAZON|
I hope after reading this article you have found your perfect fit. Now, if all the above laptops are still out of your budget, you can go for a refurbished or secondhand laptops. They may not have been unused, but they will meet your requirements.
As mentioned before, technology changes and develops fast, which is good as the prices become more budget-friendly. So, if you find a model that is not the newest but meets the requirements, you should consider buying it!