When you consider buying a laptop to do graphics related work and ask around for suggestions, you will come across two different schools of thought. People who prefer and suggest one of Apple’s Macbook variants, and people who suggest one of the many Microsoft’s Windows OS running machines from different manufacturers like HP, Acer, or Lenovo.
So, which one is good for you?
Well, the answer to this actually depends upon your personal preference. If you enjoy using Apple products or locked into its ecosystem, a MacBook would be the right choice, since you will also be easily able to sync the data on all your other Apple devices. However, if you enjoy a little freedom and an unbelievably humungous software library at your disposal, a Windows machine is the right choice.
But, things aren’t quite as simple.
Creative suites like Adobe Creative Cloud are very resource hungry. So, you also need to consider the hardware that would be powering your preferred laptop. From storage space and RAM to the processor and graphics card, everything counts.
The Ultimate List of Best Laptops for Adobe Creative Cloud Users in 2020
Since the latest iteration of Adobe’s creative suite is unmatched in the media creation field, I have assumed that that’s what you would be using on your new laptop. Based on that assumption, I have compiled this list of the best laptops for Adobe Creative Cloud for you guys.
#1. Lenovo Flex 14″ 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop – Best Overall
The Lenovo Flex takes everything good about the Acer Spin 3 and Microsoft’s Black Beast and puts them together in a single affordable package. At under $600 you get an AMD Ryzen 5 processor with 12GBs of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage.
The laptop sports a 14 inch full HD touch display with Radeon Vega graphics support for photo and video editing. You get a stylus straight out of the box for note-taking and drawing on the go. The inbuilt webcam also has a privacy shutter to manually close the camera when it’s not being used.
As the name suggests, the lid on the Flex 14″ can be fully flipped to turn the laptop into a tablet when needed. You can also buy it in matte black that resembles the color of the Surface Pro 6. With more than 10 hours of battery life and Windows 10 running on the Flex, your productivity will never stop regardless of where you are.
If you are worried about connectivity options, don’t be. Packed in its clamshell designed chassis, you will find ample ports and sockets. These range from multiple USB-C to a full-sized HDMI 1.4b output. That last one especially is a must-have for many professional graphic designers and video editors, as it allows them to connect the device to a bigger, higher fidelity monitor and take their workflow to the next level.
That said, the built-in 14” touch-enabled IPS LCD panel on this machine isn’t too shabby either. Sporting a resolution of 1920 x 1080 with 250nits of brightness, it is perfectly suitable for professional-grade content creation. As a cherry on top, the stylus that comes with the machine support 4098 levels of pressure sensitivity. This helps further reduce the friction between the flow of ideas from your brain and onto paper. Moreover, it enables you to record your artistic inspirations as they come, no matter where you are.
Content creation is not the only thing the Lenovo Flex excels at. It is a great companion for when you want to share progress or ideas with clients on the go. Just flip the screen and you are ready for a slide show presentation.
#2. Spin 3 Convertible Laptop by Acer – Budget Friendly Pick
Ever since Chromebooks were introduced, laptop manufacturers have tried their hands on many different form factors. And Acer has been on the top of that list. With Windows 10 being fully capable of supporting touchscreens, Acer tried to one-up the competitors with its convertible Spin 3.
The Spin 3 is a fully functioning Windows machine that converts into a tablet when needed. Its tablet mode along with the included stylus makes it great for graphic designers.
Hardware-wise, the Spin 3 is powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The display is a 14 inch LED with HD resolution. Other standard features include a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0 port, external HDMI display connectivity and an SD card reader. It’s reasonably priced and comes with Windows 10 Home preloaded.
Internals aside, this machine is a looker as well. The brushed metal aluminum finish would fit right in at any executive meeting or seminar. The chassis is only 21mm thick and the whole thing weighs a mere 3.3 pounds, making it a breeze to carry and use on the go. Moreover, with its 360-degree intuitive hinge concept, the machine screams premium without being priced as such.
In the battery life department, this device would easily get you around 8 hours of screen on time. That is while going some heavy graphics editing work. However, work is not the only thing the Acer Spin excels at. Watching movies on its 14” widescreen IPS LCD panel while in tent or tablet mode is a joy. The colors are rich and the brightness is perfect, even in outdoor situations.
Last but not the least, let’s talk about power. What makes this device a graphical horsepower is under the hood. It is powered by the latest Intel quad-core mobile processor clocked at 2.8GHz, alongside Intel’s UHD graphics. This allows the machine to breeze through any software in Adobe’s Creative Suite lineup. To keep things feeling fast is dual-channel DDR4 memory and an SSD. All of this not only makes the device a perfect companion for content creators, it also gives it considerable future-proofing.
#3. New Apple MacBook Pro – For Mac Lovers
Nothing new can be said about Apple’s latest iteration of MacBook Pro. The company has been known to reinvent and improve its products with every new release and the same is the case with this notebook. Dubbed to be the most powerful MacBook ever, the machine doesn’t let you down on any count.
You get a brightly lit 16-inch Retina display that uses true tone technology to deliver vivid colors that are true-to-life, whether you’re watching a movie or creating your next graphics masterpiece.
Running under the hood is a 9th generation Intel core processor combined with 16GBs of DDR4 RAM that deliver unmatched performance in every usage scenario. This baby can take everything you through at it, believe me. For storage, you get 512GB of ultrafast SSD that boasts faster loading and bootup times.
The new internal architectural design provides increased airflow and a larger heatsink to ensure the performance never drops and you stay productive without missing a beat. The MacBooks are already known for having the best keyboard and trackpad compared to the competition, and that doesn’t change here either. In fact, to improve your productivity, Apple has introduced a new feature called the touch bar that houses all of your favorite commands and brings them well within reach.
One of its highlighting features and why the new MacBook Pro made it to my list is the fact that it comes with the new AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series GPU. Ask anyone who uses heavy graphics editing and creation tools like the Adobe Graphics suite and they’ll tell you, it’s one of the best graphic GPUs out there. Combining its power with Apple’s Retina display and Intel’s 9th generation Core i7 or Core i9 processors and you have one of the best laptops to run Adobe Creative Cloud applications.
Specifications aside, one of the most common reasons people, especially creative individuals go for an Apple device is due to the software experience. There is just something about MacOS that gives it the feeling of being much more refined and elegant than its PC counterpart. As a result, artists find that the flow of ideas is much more seamless on a Mac.
One thing to note if you are choosing a Macbook over any of the Windows-powered machines reviewed above is that you will be giving up on stylus functionality. None of the devices in Apple’s lineup come with touch capability either. You do, however, get the brand new touch bar which can open up productivity venues in supported software.
When it comes to laptop design, there are no surprises here. Everything screams classic Mac, which, if you have used one of these machines in the past, may feel like coming home. One of the most notable improvements over the last year, however, has been made to the keyboard. Gone is the custom switch design that had made the headlines due to how unreliable it was. The butterfly mechanism is back, and this time it’s better than ever!
#4. Latest LG Gram 17″ Slim & Light 10th Gen – Runner Up
Before moving any further with its features, let me just tell you that LG Gram is known for being one of the lightest weight laptops available in the market. So, if you are looking for something that you can carry without feeling bothered, LG Gram is made for you, period.
Although somewhat expensive, this 17-inch laptop is designed for productivity and mobility at the same time. Under the hood, you get an IPS display with 2560 x 1600 resolution running on an Intel 10th generation Core i7 with 512GB of SSD and 16 gigs of RAM.
Powering all that hardware is a 72Wh battery that just keeps ongoing. This ultra-thin laptop doesn’t lack any connectivity options either. You get a 3.5mm audio jack, a thunderbolt USB Type-C port, HDMI out, 3 USB 3.1 ports and an on-board SD card reader.
The very idea of a laptop of this size that weighs under 3 pounds is mind-boggling. What’s even more amazing is the power its packing is that slim and light package. A processor that goes up to 4GHz and the latest Intel Iris Plus graphics will keep performance blazing fast no matter what you throw at it.
If you are thinking that in achieving such a lightweight profile, the device may have made quite a bit of compromises, think again! The keyboard on the LG gram, even with little travel is on par with some of the best in the business. It is backlit and due to the size, there is enough space for a full-length keyboard which ensures a comfortable typing experience anywhere. The touchpad is also second to none.
Finally, on the connectivity front, you are looking at one full-sized HDMI port, as well as a Thunderbolt 3 enabled USB-C port which allows you to connect up to two displays at a time for an ultimate productivity boost. The USB-C port is also capable of charging the device using any charger, so no need to carry a separate power adaptor with you on the go.
All in all, the LG gram is a beast of a machine given its size and weight. While its main selling point is how light it is for a 17” laptop, lighter than a lot of laptops with much smaller screens either, it is no slouch in any other department either.
#5. Asus ZenBook 15.6” with GeForce GTX 1650
Before I get into the details of this ZenBook, let me first just highlight its most innovative feature, the interactive ScreenPad. A touchscreen placed inside a trackpad (that can be activated with just a touch of a button) to double it as a secondary display with a plethora of features. You can literally use it to run just about every software, even Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite.
Other features include a large 15.6-inch full HD display with wide viewing angles. The bezels surrounding the screen are almost invisible so you won’t get distracted when you are doing graphics or video editing work. The ZenBook is powered by a 10th Gen Core i7 and, like the previous entrant, comes with an NVIDIA GTX 1650 graphics card.
Things are also quite strong on the memory side. You get a 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM for optimum performance and a 1 terabyte of PCIe NVMe SSD for data storage. Built-wise, the ZenBook is just as impressive as it is performance-wise. Made out of a lightweight aluminum type of material, the ZenBook is breathtaking to look at. The deep color body, the ultrathin design, and 3.6lbs of weight, all make it one of the best heavy hitting laptops you can find in the market today.
On the port side, you get an assortment of USB 3.2 ports, both full-sized and Type C variant. Unfortunately, this port is not Thunderbolt-enabled, which means you cannot use it to connect to an external monitor. But fret not, as there is a dedicated HDMI port for display output to an external monitor or TV.
That said, the built-in display is more than capable of producing good pictures. The 15.6” IPS panel features a matte coating to reduce glares and offers great viewing angles. The screen gets sufficiently bright to allow the device to be used in outdoor environments. Contrast and color reproduction are also top-notch, making this laptop an easy recommendation for content creation work.
Battery life is another aspect where this laptop shines. The 82Wh Lithium pack is powerful enough to keep the device juiced up for 12 hours straight on medium brightness under moderate loads. This, however, comes at the cost of processing speed, as the quad-core chip clocks down to as low as 1.3GHz on battery power.
Finally, thanks to being equipped with a dedicated mobile GPU from Nvidia, this graphical prowess of this device is exemplary. Not only is it able to render and manipulate high-resolution imagery in mere seconds, but the machine is also capable of running AAA games that are formidable framerates.
#6. MSI P65 Creator – RTX Studio Laptop
The MSI P65 comes with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 on board, hence the name RTX Studio. Apart from the NVIDIA graphics, you get 32 gigs of RAM and a 9th generation Intel Core i7 processor with clock speeds of up to 4.5Ghz. You also get 1TB of storage drive out of the box.
Some of its other features include a 15.6-inch wide-angle Ultra HD 4K display, a fingerprint scanner built into the trackpad for secure sign-in, other Windows Hello sign-in options, Windows 10 Pro, an exclusive creator center for performance optimization, and of course, an 82Whr battery that can last you almost 8 hours.
On the right side, you get the AC adapter port, a full-sized HDMI port, a mini display port, and a USB 3.0 port. The left side holds two USB 3.0 ports, an RJ45 port or the LAN connector, a thunderbolt USB type C, a mic-in, and a headphone out. On the whole, this 4.9 lbs laptop is a performance powerhouse.
As the name implies, this laptop is designed from the ground up to be used by creators. The processor, coming in at six cores, is the most powerful one out of any laptop on this list. The same is true for the graphics processor. This is the only laptop featuring a dedicated RTX enabled mobile GPU from Nvidia, giving it some serious muscles. No matter if it is 3d rendering or video editing, or even playing the latest AAA games, this laptop will breeze through it all with ease.
The 32 gigs of RAM that this thing sports not only make it a capable rendering machine but also ensure future-proofing for when professional software will demand that much RAM to run smoothly. Plus, with 1TB of built-in storage, albeit being the slower mechanical drive variant, there is plenty of room for high-resolution video projects and graphics work. In case you ever run out, swapping drives is easy. Moreover, if read and write speeds are your concern, you can always switch to an SSD as well.
Of course, when it comes to a laptop aimed at professional artists and creators, design also takes precedence. You wouldn’t want to carry around an ugly looking machine to a design meeting now, would you? MSI knows this and has crafted the RTX Studio with utmost precision. Every curve, every texture is well thought out, and even at a glance, the device screams premium.
#7. Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop by Acer
Acer’s Predator series is considered among some of the best gaming laptops available in the market today. But thanks to its powerful hardware specs, gaming isn’t the only thing it’s good for. The Predator Helios 300 is also one of the best laptops around for running heavy graphics editing software suites like the Adobe Creative Cloud.
Apart from the necessary basics like a large 15.6-inch hi-res screen and an RGB backlit keyboard, it comes with NVIDIA’s GTX 1660 graphics card preinstalled with 6GB of dedicated VRAM. The GTX 1660 makes it a breeze to edit and render videos effortlessly on this machine. Under the hood, this Predator is powered by Intel’s 9750-H, a 9th generation Core i7 processor. You also get 16GB of RAM for optimal performance divided over 3 separate slots with being easily accessible for easy upgrades, making Helios 300 futureproof.
There’s also a hard drive bay available for attaching an external drive to expand the storage, in case you find the 512GB of SSD that comes with the Predator is insufficient. One thing that I found really amusing about the Helios 300 is the way it kept its cool under the most toughest of tasks. I literally ran Adobe Premier, Illustrator and After Effects at the same time on this machine and that too for a good amount of time (around 5 hours), and I was amazed to see that the laptop hadn’t started heating up or dropped in performance, thanks to its latest generation of AeroBlade fan technology.
There is also another niche feature not seen in any other laptop to date: Turbo mode – a built in switch at the top of the keyboard which allows you to overclock the dedicated GPU for a bit more performance with the push of a button. This enables the device to keep going despite increased stress from graphic intensive tasks such as video rendering or 3d gameplay.
Keep in mind that the Helios is primarily Acer’s gaming lineup, but there are plenty of features here that will appeal to the content creator as well. For example, the IPS LCD screen boasts a refresh rate of 144Hz and full support for Adobe’s RGB color spectrum, making it the perfect device for video and graphics editing work.
Another thing worth mentioning is the keyboard, which, thanks to being designed with gamers in mind, offers ample key travel, making for an amazing typing experience anywhere. The touchpad also features Microsoft’s precision technology, so even though you may want to connect a dedicated mouse to the device for professional work, it is more than usable for giving presentations or making some quick edits on the go.
What Are The System Requirements to Use Adobe CC Apps?
Depending on which application you use the most from Adobe’s Creative Cloud collection, the system requirements can slightly vary. While applications like Photoshop and Illustrator share the same hardware requirements: a 64-bit operating system no older than two versions whether you’re on Mac or Windows, a minimum 8GB of RAM, a Multicore Intel or AMD processor, and at least 2-3GB of available disk space.
For applications like Premiere Pro and After Effects, two of the heaviest hitters in the Creative Cloud collection, all the requirements are almost the same with the exception of additional free disk space of up to 5GB and at least 2GB of GPU VRAM.
Remember, these are just the bare minimum requirements that I have mentioned for some of the most used apps on the Creative Cloud. Having the latest and more powerful hardware will only improve the performance of the suite and your experience using it.
For the exact requirements of each of the unique applications, you can refer to the official Adobe Creative Cloud website.
Which Laptop is Best for Adobe Creative Cloud?
Following are the best laptops for Adobe Creative Cloud:
- Lenovo Flex 14″ 2-in-1 Laptop
- Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop
- New Apple MacBook Pro
- Latest LG Gram 17″ Laptop
- Asus ZenBook for Adobe CC
- MSI P65 Creator
- Predator Helios 300
Choosing the Right Laptop for Professional Designers and Editors – Complete Buyer’s Guide
So, have you decided which one is right for you?
I understand it isn’t easy making a purchase decision just by going through a list of laptops. Besides, the technology is changing so fast these days that it has become important to buy a gadget that would serve you well for at least a few years before becoming obsolete.
With all that in mind, I have created this buying guide that will most definitely help you (no matter if you are a beginner or a professional) choose one of the best laptops for Adobe Creative Cloud.
Before you make a decision, carefully check the specs of your chosen devices. Make sure that the processor they are running on isn’t older than a year or a maximum of 18 months. Also, ensure that the supported RAM is of the current generation. You also need to establish the complexity of your projects and whether you require the laptop to have a graphics card support or not.
Another important aspect that you need to look at is the ecosystem you want to be connected with. While the Adobe Creative Cloud works perfectly well on both macOS and Windows, the former is simply doesn’t have as many options as Windows does, when it comes to finding software for performing different tasks. Many people don’t consider this limiting factor to be a matter of concern though. However, if you are investing in a new laptop, it’s better to stick to an ecosystem you are comfortable with.
You should also consider which of the many form factors is perfectly suited for your needs. Again, this depends on the complexity level of the projects you handle or want to handle on the laptop. If you are into logo or poster designing kind of stuff, a foldable touchscreen laptop with stylus support would be perfect. But if you are more into video editing and special effects creation, the usual form factor with a larger screen should do the trick.
Once you have narrowed down your list to 2 or 3 laptops to choose from, look at the accessories they ship with. For example, if you are going for a two-in-one, you may have to buy the detachable keyboard separately, or a stylus. If that is the case, you also need to look at the cost of such accessories.
And of course, the budget. Before you come to a decision, you have to take into account your budget. If you haven’t set an amount that you are willing to spend on a new laptop, you will have a hard time narrowing down your choices. If you like a machine that costs over $1000 but you can only currently spend, say $700, you’ll be back at square one just as you look at the price of your preferred laptop. So, first, decide your budget then begin your hunt.
From two-in-ones and convertibles to ultra-thin laptops and MacBooks, this list includes everything in every price range possible.
The best thing about all the machines on this list is that they are all high-end in terms of specs and performance. But they also have their differences.
What you choose depends on your individual needs and preferences. But one thing that I can guarantee you is that all of these machines are among some of the best laptops for Adobe Creative Cloud and whether you use the creative suite casually or professionally, by choosing one among these, there’s no way that you can go wrong.