Best Laptop for Adobe Illustrator and Vector Graphics [2021 Reviewed]

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Best Laptop for Adobe Illustrator and Vector Graphics

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You could be a UX Designer, or a creative individual interested in artwork, if you want to pursue your creative endeavor in an effortless manner, then you must get a laptop well suited to handle industry standard vector graphics applications such as Adobe Illustrator

Thanks to modern advancements in technology, we now have several software applications for creating high-quality artwork. Apart from Illustrator, Affinity Designer, CorelDRAW, Sketch (Mac only), Gravit Designer, SketchUp, Inkscape and Vectr are a few other tools well known in the market for vector editing. Software performance is directly proportional to the quality of your hardware. If you do not have the right device, you may experience lag and overall poor performance. For running Adobe Illustrator, you want a well-built machine with robust hardware that will help speed up your workflow. 

There are countless laptops in the market that come with a blend of high-powered hardware and portability. However, not all of them are well suited to your needs. The Illustrator is not as demanding as Adobe After Effects or Blender, however, it still requires an excellent processor, a nice LED display, and a magnificent GPU for high definition graphics along with adequate storage for better management, and a good battery life for working nonstop without interruption. If you’re planning on running any VFX programs, then I’d recommend that you look at the best laptops for film school.

In this article, I have reviewed three of the best laptops for Adobe illustrator, all of which meet or exceed the minimum technical specs, essential for running the software. I have tried to explain every point in detail so you are able to narrow down your selection and go with a device of your choice.

Minimum System Requirements for Adobe Illustrator

Before moving on to the reviews, I’d like you to go through the minimum specifications specified by Adobe for running Illustrator. I have narrowed down the laptop selection based on the requirements set forth by Adobe. Have a quick look so you can be assured that your purchase is in line with the minimum system requirements.

Windows Minimum Specifications

Minimum requirement
Multicore Intel processor (with 64-bit support) or AMD Athlon 64 processor
Operating System
Windows 10 (64-bit) versions V1809, V1903, V1909, and V2004.
Windows Server versions V1607 (2017) and V1809 (2019).
Note: Not supported on Windows 10 versions 1507, 1511, 1607, 1703, 1709 and 1803.
8 GB of RAM (16 GB recommended) 
Hard disk
2 GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation; SSD recommended
Monitor resolution
1024 x 768 display (1920 x 1080 recommended)
To use Touch workspace in Illustrator, you must have a touch-screen-enabled tablet/monitor running Windows 10 (Microsoft Surface Pro 3 recommended)
OpenGL 4.x
Optional: To use GPU Performance: Your Windows should have a minimum of 1 GB of VRAM (4 GB recommended), and your computer must support OpenGL version 4.0 or greater. Need more? Check out how to increase VRAM on your laptop.
Internet connection
Internet connection and registration are necessary for required software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services.*
  • Note: Scalable UI feature (minimum resolution supported is 1920 x 1080).
  • GPU in Outline mode is supported on monitor with display resolution at least 2000 pixels in any dimension.

Supported Video Adapters (Windows)

Quadro K, M, P Series & GeForce GTX Series (4xx, 5xx, 6xx, 7xx, 9xx, Titan)
Quadro 6xxx, 5xxx, 4xxx, 2xxx, 2xxxD, 6xx, RTX 4000
HD Graphics 4600, 5000, 6000 Series
Iris Graphics 5000, 6000 Series & Iris Pro Graphics 500 Series
Radeon R9, R7, HD 7000, HD 8000 Series
FirePro V, W Series

macOS Minimum Specifications

Minimum requirement
Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
Operating system
macOS version 11.0 (Big Sur)
macOS version 10.15 (Catalina)
macOS version 10.14 (Mojave)
8 GB of RAM (16 GB recommended)
Hard disk
2 GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation; SSD recommended
Monitor resolution
1024 x 768 display (1920 x 1080 recommended)

Source: official Adobe Illustrator system requirements page

Top 3 Laptops for Adobe Illustrator and Vector Graphics [Reviews]

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Laptop

Microsoft is a remarkable brand with extremely positive global brand equity. The company always does a great job of satisfying its customers by providing them well-built machines in terms of price and specs. The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is an excellent choice for anyone looking to run Adobe Illustrator. You will not be disappointed with the Surface Pro 7’s iconic design which features a gorgeous slim body made of platinum in a matte black finish. 

This high-end laptop is a 2-in-1 device, so you have the added option of converting it into a tablet for convenience. With a 12.3-inch touch screen and a resolution of 2736 X 1824 pixels, the Surface Pro 7 provides exceptional flexibility for running Adobe illustrator. The screen is very responsive, and you can do your artwork using a stylus. You can enjoy watching videos in the tent mode and the standard laptop mode is great for when you feel like sitting on a desk and working in a more formal manner. The resolution and the display are excellent and offer sharp bright colors, something that is of high value for any visual artist.

With a high-performance 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, the laptop is capable of running multiple applications simultaneously. In addition to the processor, the combination of 16 GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage, and Intel UHD Graphics, makes this machine run like a beast! The memory and storage are more than enough for handling Adobe Illustrator, regardless of the workload. The UHD Graphic card is powerful and enhances your illustration and drawing experience. The display, resolution and graphics combo will deliver exceptional clarity specifically for the users of Adobe Illustrator since the display can support a file with 200h layers for A4 300 dpi layout, which is pretty amazing! 

It has a 5.0 MP front facing and an 8.0 MP rear Webcam resolution, perfect for using Zoom and other video conferencing software. The upgraded microphones offer great accuracy while recording, and the audio system gives a crystal clear, loud sound experience. The Wi-Fi 6 utility provides a strong internet connection while browsing, downloading, and uploading, and the machine also comes equipped with the Bluetooth 5.

The connectivity ports on this device include USB-C and USB-A ports, which you can use for charging or connecting other external devices. The dimensions of this slim laptop are 12.74 x 9.09 x 1.91 inches, and it weighs 1.7 lbs., which makes this device one of the most light weight laptops on this planet! You can comfortably move around and carry your laptop wherever you go.

For people used to larger laptops, it may take a little getting used to working on a smaller screen, however, the portability and the 2 in 1 feature offer so much more convenience that this tradeoff is pretty negligible in my opinion. You may feel that the thick bezels make the view a little congested, but the small screen size offers great flexibility while in tablet mode, especially when you’re drawing with a stylus. 

The keyboard is not backlit, but it is excellent for everyday use. The screen responsiveness to the stylus is best experienced on a Surface Pro, however, the device does not come with a stylus and a keyboard, so you have to buy them separately (in most cases, it is cheaper to order them separately than purchasing a bundle).

Finally, the Surface Pro 7 comes with a Lithium-ion battery which, according to the manufacturer, gives up to 10 hours of battery life. However, with a program such as Adobe Illustrator, you can expect the battery life to be somewhere between 4-5 hours with consistent usage. You can get a little more mileage on the battery by giving it rest and charging appropriately. Make sure you do not keep your laptop plugged in constantly since excessive charging can destroy your battery.

Overall, the Surface Pro 7 is a great purchase, highly recommended for illustrators. You get a very practical device that is even recommended by Adobe itself! It is very versatile and applicable to a variety of different use cases. You will definitely enjoy working on this powerful, compact device.

We also have articles to fix common problems like when your Surface Pro won’t Turn On.

Excellent graphics
Keyboard and stylus are not included
Durable and smart body
Average screen size for laptop mode
Convenient tablet mode for drawings
Strong network connection

Macbook Pro Laptop

Apple’s MacBook Pro is a high-end option for mac lovers who don’t mind spending money on a high-quality device that delivers exceptional performance for vector design. The MacBook Pro has excellent technical specifications! Perfect for photo and video editing, networking, and everything you would want a computer to do. It has a silver aluminum body, which gives it a stylish look and makes it stand out from the rest of the crowd. We also have an article which explains How to Delete Photos From MacBook But Not in iCloud.

The MacBook Pro features a diagonal 13-inch LED-backlit Retina display with True Tone IPS technology and a 16:10 aspect ratio with a resolution of 2560-by-1600 at 227 pixels per inch, supporting millions of colors. The high-resolution display is extremely bright and delivers crisp graphics! The True Tone technology offers versatile color tones with perfect saturation for a great experience while editing, gaming, or watching videos. The screen itself is much more powerful than the minimum requirements for Adobe Illustrator. 

The device comes with a powerhouse 1.4GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz and 128MB of eDRAM. It can handle any sophisticated task and allows you to manage multiple applications without issues. Furthermore, the device is equipped with 8 GB of RAM and an ultrafast 256 GB SSD (Solid-state drive). The RAM supports the speed of the processor, giving you a quicker response. The 256 GB SSD hard drive gives you robust performance and the space is more than enough for storing high quality vectors.

The machine also comes with integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 which works out great for Adobe Illustrator and other general use. However, it is not suitable for heavy gaming. For your purposes though, it is just the right fit. The keyboard on the MacBook pro is quite comfortable. These keys are very quiet, and you do not need to put in much effort while typing. It also offers quick access for navigating between different modes via the escape key. The Touch Bar is great for shortcuts and the Touch ID feature provides faster unlocking which also ensures the safety of your data. 

The laptop is also equipped with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology for fast data transfer and excellent connectivity. The Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports enable you to connect external pieces of equipment and also offer wired data transfer at a high speed of 40 Gbps. The device also features an integrated 720p HD webcam andimmersive stereo speakers.

The slim 13 inch notebook has dimensions of 13.41 x 9.76 x 2.41 inches, and weighs 3.1 lbs., pretty compact and portable, heavier than the Surface Pro 7 but totally in the lightweight range compared to other manufacturers. Other accessories include a 61W USB-C Power Adapter and a 2-meter USB-C Charge Cable.

According to the manufacturer, the battery life goes up to 10 hours, however, the actual life is dependent on the user. If you’re running multiple browser windows and also using Illustrator at the same time then you can expect about 5 hours of battery life at high brightness, which is very good in my opinion. You can definitely get more by reducing the workload and diming the screen.

In comparison with the Surface Pro 7, there is no touchscreen feature here, so naturally the device also does not come with a stylus. Being a graphic designer, you may sometimes feel the need for precision to make your artwork and drawings more effective. You can get around this by attaching an external Wacom tablet but keep in mind that this is an extra added expense. Finally, the screen size is better than the Surface Pro but not by a very high margin. Overall, a good choice for someone looking for something more powerful with minor limitations in functionality.

Another option rather than a laptop but staying within the Apple ecosystem, is to consider Adobe Illustrator for the iPad or something cheaper like Procreate. We have articles to get you started like How To Copy And Paste On Procreate.

Touch ID
No stylus and gets more expensive with the Wacom tablet
Plenty of storage and fast speed
Amazing display

Lenovo Flex 14 Laptop

Lenovo always has an excellent variety of affordable and quality build laptops that perform well in several different verticals. The Lenovo Flex 14 81SS000DUS model has an attractive design and a sturdy body, which is made of soft-touch plastic, covered with a matte black finish. It does not feel cheap and has a great look, suitable for a variety for different purposes.

This 2-in1 convertible laptop has a 14 inch Full HD Touchscreen Display with IPS technology and an LED Backlight screen with a 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution that has a brightness level of 250 nits. The combination of the screen size and resolution, along with the IPS touch screen, is extraordinary considering the price tag. For all of you Illustrators, the convertible feature is an added advantage, giving you flexibility for doing your artwork in tablet mode.

Just like the Surface Pro 7 and the MacBook Pro, the IPS display and high screen resolution on the Lenovo works really well for running editing applications. The screen exhibits sharp and vivid colors with an excellent contrast. The display may get a little dim if you plan on using it outdoors, however, it is perfect for indoor usage, and the IPS technology provides wider viewing angles with clear graphics. The laptop also comes with a pen which is responsive and provides fast access to your apps, great for drawings and other artistic activities.

The performance of this system is powerful due to the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Mobile Processor, 12GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD, and Radeon Vega 8, excellent for running Adobe Illustrator and other gaming purposes. Considering the affordability of this machine, it offers stellar performance, right up there with other high-end options. The memory and storage are enough for tackling most of the tasks, and the hard drive provides ample storage and speed while the graphics are excellent for Adobe Illustrator.

The Lenovo Flex 14 also features a backlit keyboard and a 720p webcam with a shutter which works out great when you need privacy. The fingerprint scanning feature is highly secure and offers convenient and fast access your device. There are many other built in features such as the timeline for easy access to recently used apps. Furthermore, the device comes with Windows 10 preinstalled, so you are pretty much good to go as soon as you get it out of the box!

The Lenovo Flex has 2 x 2 802.11AC WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 networking features, which offer a stable connection, excellent for everyday use. It also has a varied port selection. The right ports include the Novo button, Power button, Card Reader, and two USB 3.1 ports, and on the left it has the DC-in, HDMI, USB-C, and an Audio jack. The product dimensions are 12.91 x 9.02 x 0.7 inches, and the laptop weighs 3.52 pounds, which is more than the MacBook and Surface Pro, however still pretty decent and easy to handle, even if you are on the go. One more thing to take into account is that, while the graphic card is great for Adobe Illustrator, it is not sufficient for running high level games. You will be fine playing the occasional regular game, but this is definitely not a laptop built for gaming!

Moving on to the battery, which it excellent, and has a fast recharge technology. The battery on this machine will last up to 5-7 hours if you are using it with Wi-Fi and running other programs in the background. It will charge up to 80 percent in an hour, which is a great for consistent use. Over all, the Lenovo Flex 14 offers superior and well-executed features at very affordable price.

Slightly heavy
Good processing speed
Resolution may dim in direct sunlight
Responsive touch screen
Good display screen

Final Words

You now have a selection of three different computers that are a perfect fit for running Adobe Illustrator. Take your time to decide which one fulfills your requirements the best. All of these laptops feature excellent specs and vary in different ways from each other. Make sure that your selection not only depends on your needs but also aligns with your budget. You can rate all of these laptops according to your demands and then carefully choose the one that seems right.

The Surface Pro 7 is definitely the best laptop you can buy if you are looking for something that will maximize the speed of your workflow. It has a beautiful and responsive touchscreen with an excellent display resolution. The convenient convertible feature is excellent for day to day use and the super-fast processor, along with exceptional memory and GPU, is strong enough to run Illustrator and AAA games.

This laptop is extremely lightweight and offers ample battery time. You may feel it is expensive since you need to buy the stylus and keyboard separately, but with all these premium features, it is worth its price!

The Apple MacBook Pro is the perfect option for mac lovers! If you are accustomed to the macOS and are willing to spend extra money on the wacom tablet, then it is the ideal choice for you. The body is durable, and the screen size is great for editing. The powerful graphics help enhance artwork, and the super-fast CPU ensures a smooth and flawless performance. The battery life of this portable machine is also over the top. This is definitely a viable choice for someone with the right budget who doesn’t want to deviate from a mac!

The final laptop on the list offers competitive specs at a very reasonable price. The Lenovo Flex 14 has a large touch screen display and a convertible facility. The graphic resolution and processing speed of this device are great for Illustrator and other daily tasks. Along with a pleasant keyboard and ample hard drive space, it also offers versatile connectivity ports. This handy device with an excellent battery life will be a great choice if you are on a budget.

As far as all three laptops go, I believe that the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is the best one out of all three! It is so powerful that you can run large files with over 100 layers and your system won’t lag at all. Users have also reported having over 200h layers for A4 300 dpi layout while still being able to maintain their workflow. If you do have such intense files, just make sure not to use a very large and complex brush and also turn autosave off or your system may stall while saving which is pretty normal for any laptop regardless of the power behind it. All in all, the Surface Pro 7 packs a strong punch and will provide you with excellent portability and a lot of power for running Illustrator, anytime, anywhere!