As an artist or designer, your imagination is your canvas. But in today’s digital world, that canvas often takes the form of a screen. That’s where the best 2-in-1 laptops come in. These versatile devices combine the power of a laptop with the flexibility of a tablet, making them the perfect tool for bringing your creative vision to life.
But with so many options on the market, choosing the right 2-in-1 laptop for your needs can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide, highlighting the top contenders in 2024 and what makes them stand out for artists and designers.
Factors to consider before you buy
Before diving into specific models, let’s consider the key factors you should prioritize when choosing a 2-in-1 laptop for creative pursuits:
- Performance: a powerful processor and ample RAM are crucial for handling demanding creative software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Autodesk Maya. Look for Intel Core i5 or i7 processors or AMD Ryzen 5 or 7, with at least 8GB of RAM.
- Display: a high-resolution, color-accurate display is essential for artists and designers. Look for IPS panels with a resolution of at least QHD (2560 x 1440) and excellent color accuracy. OLED displays offer even better color reproduction, but can be more expensive.
- Pen support: a responsive stylus pen is a must-have for artists and designers. Look for laptops with Wacom EMR technology for the smoothest and most natural pen experience.
- Battery life: long battery life is crucial for on-the-go creativity. Aim for a laptop that can last at least 8 hours on a single charge.
- Portability: a lightweight and thin design is ideal for artists and designers who are always on the move.
- Budget: 2-in-1 laptops can range in price from around $500 to over $3000. Determine your budget and prioritize features accordingly.
Best 2-in-1 laptops for artists and designers
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best 2-in-1 laptops for artists and designers in 2024, across different budget ranges:
High-End 2-in-1 laptops for artists and designers
1. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio | 14.4″ Touchscreen | Intel 11th Gen i5 | RAM 16GB | SSD 256GB | Windows 11 Home
The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is definitely a great option to consider for high-end 2-in-1 laptops for artists and designers. Here’s why it stands out:
Strengths for artists and designers:
- Vibrant touchscreen display: the 14.4″ 120Hz touchscreen with true-to-life color is perfect for creative work. It provides a high resolution and smooth responsiveness for drawing, painting, and editing photos.
- Studio hinge design: this unique hinge allows you to transition the laptop into various modes, including a “studio mode” that’s ideal for drawing and sketching. It gives you a more natural and comfortable drawing experience than a traditional laptop setup.
- Surface Pen support: the Surface Pen offers a natural and precise drawing experience, with tilt sensitivity and haptic feedback that mimics the feel of traditional pen and paper. This is crucial for artists and designers who rely on pen input for their work.
- Powerful performance: the Intel 11th Gen i5 processor and 16GB of RAM can handle demanding creative applications like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Autodesk Sketchbook with ease. This ensures smooth performance even when working with large and complex files.
- Thunderbolt 4 ports: These ports offer fast data transfer speeds and allow you to connect to multiple high-resolution displays, which is useful for designers working on large projects.
Additional points to consider:
- Storage: the base model comes with 256GB of SSD storage, which might be limiting for artists and designers who work with large files. Consider upgrading to a higher storage capacity if needed.
- Battery life: the battery life is decent, but not exceptional. You might need to plug it in more frequently if you’re working on demanding tasks for extended periods.
- Price: the Surface Laptop Studio is a premium laptop with a price tag to match. It’s definitely an investment, so consider your budget and whether the features justify the cost for your needs.
2. MSI Summit E16 Flip EVO 16
MSI Summit E16 Flip EVO | 16″ QHD+ 165Hz Touch 2-in-1 | Intel Core i7-1360P | Intel Iris Xe | 32GB DDR5 | 1TB NVMe SSD | 360 Flip | Pen | Win 11 Pro
The MSI Summit E16 Flip EVO is another excellent contender for high-end 2-in-1 laptops for artists and designers, especially if you’re looking for a larger screen and cutting-edge performance. Here’s a breakdown of its strengths and weaknesses to compare it to the Surface Laptop Studio:
- Larger QHD+ 165Hz display: the 16″ QHD+ 165Hz touchscreen offers even more real estate for your creative work, ideal for multitasking and viewing high-resolution images. The 165Hz refresh rate provides a smoother experience for drawing, scrolling, and animation.
- Powerful Intel Core i7-1360P processor: this 13th Gen Intel chip delivers even better performance than the Surface Laptop Studio’s 11th Gen i5, making it ideal for intensive creative applications and large projects.
- Abundant 32GB DDR5 RAM: this generous amount of RAM ensures smooth multitasking and handling of demanding apps without lag.
- Ample 1TB NVMe SSD storage: this spacious storage is perfect for storing large design files, photos, and videos without worrying about running out of space.
- 360° hinge and pen support: similar to the Surface Laptop Studio, the 360° hinge offers various modes for different creative tasks, and the included MSI Pen provides a natural and precise drawing experience.
- Windows 11 Pro: this version of Windows offers additional features and tools that can be beneficial for professionals, such as BitLocker encryption and Remote Desktop.
Weaknesses to consider:
- Bulkier and heavier: The larger size and more powerful hardware make the MSI Summit E16 Flip EVO heavier and less portable than the Surface Laptop Studio.
- Battery life: While decent, the battery life might not be as long as the Surface Laptop Studio’s, especially under heavy workloads.
Brand recognition: MSI is not as widely known for consumer laptops as Microsoft, so you might receive less after-sales support and warranty options.
Both the MSI Summit E16 Flip EVO and the Surface Laptop Studio are excellent choices for high-end 2-in-1 laptops for artists and designers. The best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and priorities. Here’s a quick comparison to help you decide:
Choose the MSI Summit E16 Flip EVO if:
- You need a larger display with a high refresh rate.
- You require the raw processing power of a 13th Gen Intel Core i7.
- You need ample storage space.
- You prefer Windows 11 Pro features.
Choose the Surface Laptop Studio if:
- You prioritize portability and a slim design.
- You value a unique and versatile hinge design.
- You’re familiar with the Surface brand and ecosystem.
- You’re on a tighter budget.
Ultimately, I recommend trying out both laptops in person, if possible, to see which one feels more comfortable and suits your workflow better. You can also research online reviews and comparisons to get a more comprehensive picture of each option.
3. Dell XPS 13 9315 2-in-1
Dell XPS 9315 2-in-1 | 13 inch 3:2 3K Touch | Intel Core i5-1230U | Intel Iris Xe Graphics | 8GB RAM | 256GB SSD | Windows 11 Home
The Dell XPS 9315 2-in-1 is a sleek and powerful option, but it has some trade-offs compared to the other laptops we’ve discussed. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:
- Gorgeous 3:2 3K touchscreen: this stunning display offers a unique aspect ratio ideal for viewing documents, websites, and creative projects without needing to scroll as much. The high resolution ensures sharp visuals and vibrant colors.
- Compact and lightweight: the smaller 13-inch size makes it incredibly portable, perfect for artists on the go or those with limited desk space.
- Sleek and premium design: the XPS series is known for its stunning aesthetics, and the 9315 lives up to the reputation with its aluminum chassis and near bezel-less display.
- Good performance for everyday tasks: the Intel Core i5-1230U processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics can handle most creative applications and everyday tasks smoothly.
Weaknesses to consider:
- Limited RAM and storage: 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD might be limiting for demanding creative work, especially if you work with large files. Consider upgrading for heavy-duty tasks.
- No dedicated GPU: unlike the MSI Summit E16 Flip EVO, the XPS 9315 doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, which can impact performance in graphics-intensive applications.
- Smaller screen: while suitable for portability, the 13-inch display might feel cramped for artists who prefer a larger canvas for detailed work.
Overall, the Dell XPS 9315 2-in-1 is a fantastic option for artists and designers who prioritize portability, stunning visuals, and a premium design. However, the limited RAM and storage, lack of a dedicated GPU, and smaller screen might be dealbreakers for those who need more power or screen real estate for complex creative projects.
4. Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel
Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel | Intel i7-10750H | GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q | 14″ FHD Gorilla Glass | Pantone Validated | 100% sRGB | RAM 16GB | 512GB NVMe SSD | Wacom AES 1.0 Pen
Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel is a great choice for artists and designers who value color accuracy, a versatile design, and a good pen experience. If you primarily work with 2D art and light 3D projects, it’s a compelling option. However, if you need top-tier performance for demanding creative workloads or prefer a higher resolution display, consider the Surface Laptop Studio or XPS 13 2-in-1.
The specific Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel configuration you mentioned has some pros and cons to consider for artists and designers:
- Affordable: at a lower price point than many high-end 2-in-1s, it could be a good budget option for artists starting out or looking for a portable workstation.
- Good performance for everyday tasks: the 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q graphics can handle most 2D design work, photo editing, and light 3D projects.
- Color accuracy: Pantone Validated display with 100% sRGB color gamut ensures your work looks true to life.
- Wacom AES 1.0 pen: included pen provides a decent drawing experience, although not as advanced as the EMR technology on newer models.
- Durable and portable: 14″ FHD Gorilla Glass display offers good touch functionality and protection.
- Older specs: the 10th Gen processor and GTX 1650 graphics are not the latest and might struggle with demanding 3D tasks or newer software.
- Lower resolution display: FHD resolution might not be ideal for detailed artwork compared to higher-resolution options.
- Smaller screen: 14″ screen might feel cramped for some artists working on intricate projects.
- Older pen technology: AES 1.0 pen lacks the pressure sensitivity and tilt support of newer EMR pens.
Overall, this specific ConceptD 3 Ezel could be a good choice for budget-conscious artists and designers who primarily work with 2D design and photo editing. However, if you require top-tier performance for demanding workloads, prefer a higher resolution display, or want a more advanced pen experience, consider newer models with 11th Gen processors, RTX graphics, and EMR pen technology.
Mid-Range 2-in-1 laptops for artists and designers
5. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14″
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 | 14 inch 2.5K | AMD Ryzen 5 5500U | 8GB RAM | 512 GB SSD | Digital Pen | Windows 11 Home | Storm Grey
This sleek and stylish laptop offers a great balance of performance, portability, and affordability. The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 inch 2.5K is a versatile 2-in-1 laptop that looks like it could be a good option for a variety of users, including artists and designers.
Here’s a breakdown of the specs:
- Display: 14-inch 2.5K (2560 x 1600) IPS touchscreen display with 300 nits of brightness. This resolution is great for creative work, as it provides plenty of space for all your tools and projects. The touchscreen is also a nice bonus for artists and designers who like to work directly on the screen.
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U. This is a powerful processor that can handle most everyday tasks, including photo editing, video editing, and light gaming.
- RAM: 8GB. This is the minimum amount of RAM that I would recommend for creative work, especially if you plan on doing any multitasking. 16GB would be ideal for heavy workloads.
- Storage: 512GB SSD. This is a good amount of storage for most users, and the SSD will make the laptop feel snappy and responsive.
- Pen: Digital Pen included. This is a great feature for artists and designers who want to take advantage of the touchscreen display.
- Operating System: Windows 11 Home. Windows 11 is the latest version of the Windows operating system, and it includes a number of new features that are designed to improve productivity and creativity.
- Color: Storm Grey. This is a sleek and stylish color that looks great in any setting.
Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 inch 2.5K looks like a great option for artists and designers who are looking for a versatile and powerful 2-in-1 laptop. It has a beautiful display, a powerful processor, and plenty of storage. The digital pen is also a nice bonus, and Windows 11 includes a number of features that are designed to improve productivity and creativity.
Here are some additional things to consider:
- The battery life of the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is not the best, so you’ll need to be sure to plug it in if you’re going to be working on it for long periods of time.
- The laptop is also not the lightest or thinnest on the market, so it may not be the best option for users who are looking for a highly portable laptop.
However, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 inch 2.5K is a great option for artists and designers who are looking for a versatile and powerful 2-in-1 laptop.
Budget-Friendly 2-in-1 laptops for artists and designers
6. Lenovo 2022 IdeaPad Flex 3 11.6
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 Chromebook 2022| 11.6″ HD 2-in-1 Touchscreen | 8-Core MediaTek MT8183 | 4GB RAM | 64GB eMMC | Stylus | Webcam | Flip Convertible Home Education Laptop | IST Computers Pen | Chrome OS
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 Chromebook 2022 is a budget-friendly 2-in-1 laptop that could be a good option for artists and designers on a tight budget. Here’s a rundown of its pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right fit for you:
- Affordable: the IdeaPad Flex 3 is one of the most affordable 2-in-1 Chromebooks on the market, making it a great option for those on a budget.
- 2-in-1 design: the 360-degree hinge allows you to use the IdeaPad Flex 3 as a laptop, tablet, or anything in between. This is great for artists and designers who need a versatile device that can be used for sketching, drawing, and note-taking.
- Touchscreen: the touchscreen display is great for artists and designers who want to use their fingers or a stylus to interact with their work.
- Stylus included: the IdeaPad Flex 3 comes with an included stylus, which is a great bonus for artists and designers.
- Chrome OS: Chrome OS is a lightweight and fast operating system that is perfect for everyday tasks like browsing the web, watching videos, and using web-based apps. It’s also very secure and easy to use.
- Small screen: the 11.6-inch screen is on the small side, which could be cramped for artists and designers who need a lot of space to work.
- Limited storage: the 64GB of eMMC storage is not a lot, so you’ll need to use an external hard drive or cloud storage if you plan on storing a lot of files.
- Not powerful: the MediaTek MT8183 processor and 4GB of RAM are not the most powerful, so the IdeaPad Flex 3 may not be able to handle demanding tasks like photo editing or video editing.
- Chrome OS limitations: Chrome OS is not as powerful as Windows or macOS, so you may not be able to run all of the software that you need.
Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 Chromebook 2022 is a good option for artists and designers on a budget who need a versatile and affordable 2-in-1 laptop. However, it’s important to keep in mind the limitations of the device, such as the small screen, limited storage, and lack of power.
Here are some other things to consider:
- What kind of art and design do you do? If you do a lot of photo editing or video editing, you’ll need a more powerful laptop than the IdeaPad Flex 3.
- How much storage do you need? If you plan on storing a lot of files, you’ll need a laptop with more storage than the IdeaPad Flex 3.
- Do you need to run specific software? Make sure that the software you need is compatible with Chrome OS before you buy a Chromebook.
7. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3 Chromebook
Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3 Chromebook| 11 inch 2K Touchscreen | Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c | 8GB RAM | 128GB eMMC | Chrome OS | Storm Grey USI Pen 2
The Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3 Chromebook is a good option for specific types of artists and designers on a budget, but it has some trade-offs compared to the laptops I recommended before. Here’s a breakdown:
- Very affordable: starts around $350 USD, making it significantly cheaper than the other options.
- Decent performance for Chrome OS: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c and 8GB RAM can handle most Chrome apps and lightweight design tools.
- 2K touchscreen display: great for drawing and offers sharp visuals.
- USI Pen 2 support: provides a good drawing experience (pen sold separately).
- Chrome OS simplicity: easy to use and secure, ideal for basic design work and online creativity.
- Limited software compatibility: Chromebooks primarily run web-based apps, which might not offer the full functionality of professional design software like Photoshop or Illustrator.
- Less powerful than Windows/Mac laptops: Not suitable for demanding tasks like 3D modeling or video editing.
- Smaller screen: 11 inches can feel cramped for detailed design work.
- Storage limitations: 128GB eMMC storage might not be enough for storing large design files.
- Battery life: can be average compared to dedicated laptops.
Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3 Chromebook is a good choice for:
- Budget-conscious artists and designers who do light work, like sketching, illustration, or graphic design using web-based tools.
- Students or hobbyists who want a portable and affordable device for creative tasks.
- Anyone who needs a basic laptop for everyday tasks and occasional creative work.
However, if you need to run professional design software, work with large files, or require more power and versatility, there are better options at the top of this list.
Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific needs and budget. Consider what software you need, how demanding your work is, and how important portability and affordability are to you.
Beyond the Specs: software and accessories
Choosing the right hardware is just the first step. To truly unleash your creativity, you’ll need the right software and accessories. Here are some recommendations:
Creative software: Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, Procreate, and Clip Studio Paint are just a few of the popular options for artists and designers. Explore and find what works best for your specific needs and budget.
Stylus pen: invest in a high-quality stylus pen like the Microsoft Surface Pen, Apple Pencil, or Wacom Bamboo Ink Plus. These pens offer the best pressure sensitivity and accuracy for a natural drawing experience.
Drawing tablet: some artists prefer the feel of a dedicated drawing tablet over a laptop screen. Popular options include the Wacom Intuos and XP-Pen Artist series.
Portable hard drive: back up your important creative work with a reliable portable hard drive.
Carrying case: protect your 2-in-1 and accessories with a sturdy carrying case.