PC Gear Lab

5 Best 2 in 1 Laptops for Artists in 2020

If you are a digital artist, then you need a tool that can serve your artistic needs well. A 2 in 1 laptop is generally considered to be the right tool by many.

In this article, we will look at some of the best 2 in 1 laptops for artists with different feature sets. Why? Because they bridge the gap between two popular devices. They have the capacity to act as a tablet for drawing, but also have the performance and the hardware of a laptop.

This makes a convertible notebook basically a high performance drawing tablet.

The good news is that most of the models suitable for artistry are quite within financial reach of most professional artists.

List of Best 2 in 1 Laptops for Artists in 2020

The following laptops have been selected based on reviews and performance / dollar value.

  1. Lenovo Flex 5 81X20005US – 14″ – Recommended 2 in 1 Laptop for Artists
  2. Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3″ – Popular Among Artists
  3. HP Envy X360 2020 – 15.6″ – High RAM
  4. Lenovo – ThinkPad L13 Yoga – 13.3″ – High Performance Processor
  5. SP513-54N-74V2 Acer Spin 5  – 13.5″ – Ultrabook Convertible Laptop

1. Lenovo Flex 5 81X20005US – 14″ – Recommended 2 in 1 Laptop for Artists

If there is a singular laptop that we can recommend in a heart beat for any digital artists, it is this Lenovo Flex 5.

The sheer value it offers allows this convertible laptop to set a new standard in the current gen configuration.

This is a 14″ convertible laptop with a Full HD touch screen and support for a Digital Pen. 14″ laptops are comfortable to work on as compared to 13.3″ laptops and at the same time are more portable than 15.6″ laptops.

However, the real beauty of this laptop lies in the fact this features a powerful AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor at a very low cost.

The Ryzen 5 4500U is the latest processor and one of the greatest released. It improves by almost 50% compared to the previous gen 3500U processor.

AMD 4500U vs AMD 3500U
AMD 4500U (Left) vs AMD 3500U (Right). Source: CPU.Userbenchmark.com

On top of that the Intel Core i5 from the 10 gen Intel series are nowhere close to the performance this offers.

Hence, if you want a great performance at a great value then we cannot recommend this laptop enough.

Furthermore, it comes with a good 16 GB of RAM. This is the recommended amount for most art and designing software.

Finally it features 256 GB of SSD. While SSD is a welcome feature, 256 GB can be seen as lacking in capacity by most. Honestly at this price range you cannot really ask for more. If you want a larger storage capacity, then we recommend investing in an external hard drive.

All in all, if you want a model with the best value proposition in our opinion, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptop for artists in our opinion.

2. Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3″ – Popular Among Artists

Next up we have the most popular Windows based convertible laptop for Artists. Microsoft Surface requires no introduction.

These are particularly streamlined, designed as well as advertised to cater to artists and content creators.

The Surface Pro 7 is the latest series featuring the 10 gen Intel processors. This particular model features a low power Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 128 of SSD.

While the hardware may seem lacking compared to the previous laptop, the main selling point with this is the screen and portability.

The screen on this laptop has a very high resolution of 2736 x 1824. A high resolution on a compact 12.3″ screen gives an amazing DPI here. On top of that, this also supports the sRGB color space that is generally the ideal color space for content creators.

If you are a sucker for screen colors and fidelity, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptop for artists.

Another critical feature this offers is the fact that this is a portable device. Unlike the rest of the convertible laptops mentioned here that have a hinge rotate mechanism, this is a device that offers all the hardware behind its screen.

Therefore, this is tablet first and a laptop second. It should be noted here that the Surface Pen, another useful product, is sold separately.

Other than that, this is a highly reviewed product both by professionals as well as by customers.

3. HP Envy X360 2020 – 15.6″ – High RAM

This HP Envy X360 is perfect for those who work on very large projects and very large files. This is basically a higher performance convertible laptop for artists.

For starters, this has a large 15.6″ screen. A larger screen means more comfort of work. While this may not be as portable as the laptops mentioned above, if you want a good size to work on, then this will help you.

As far as the performance goes, this laptop offers the AMD Ryzen 4500U processor – the same as the Lenovo Flex 5 above. Hence, you are more or less covered when it comes to most high level projects.

The differentiating point here is that it offers a whopping 20 GB of RAM. This is sufficient in case if you work on projects larger than 500 MBs or if you work on multiple demanding software at once.

A high RAM is also essential for rendering work.

Other than that, it also offers a decent 512 GB of SSD. This is more than sufficient to store most of your immediate work on the machine.

So if you work on some seriously large size projects, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptops for artists in our opinion.

4. Lenovo – ThinkPad L13 Yoga – 13.3″ – High Performance Processor

If the 15.6″ and the 14″ 2 in 1 laptops seem too large for you and if you want something more portable, then we highly recommend that you go for 13.3″ laptops.

The Lenovo ThinkPad L13 is a mid range 13.3″ laptop that is portable and boasts reasonable hardware.

The great thing about 13.3″ inch laptops is that they are easy to carry around, they are light weight and can also work excellent in tablet mode and on the top of your palm.

Hence for those always on the move, the 13.3″ laptops are generally the way to go.

The one unfortunate aspect is that 13.3″ laptops are more expensive than their regular sized counterparts as they are rarer and do charge a premium for their form factor.

This particular laptops features a mid range Intel Core i5-10210U processor. Compared to the Ryzen 4500U it is weaker but still quite respectable for most designing software.

Intel Core i5-10210U vs Ryzen 5 4500U
Intel Core i5-10210U (Left) vs Ryzen 5 4500U (Right). Source: userbenchmark.com

It does have a low 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of HDD. We would recommend that you upgrade the RAM to 16 GBs if you plan to work on heavier software.

All in all, if you are looking for a compact mid range model, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptop in our opinion.

5. Acer Spin 5 SP513-54N-74V2 – 13.5″ – Ultrabook Convertible Laptop

Finally here we have a premium convertible laptop. This is basically an ultrabook with the convertible mechanism

If you are looking for a compact laptop with a very high performance hardware, then this is the best 2 in 1 laptop for artists in our opinion.

For starters, this has a small 13.5″ screen and thus a small form factor. It is thin as well as light. On top of that, it features a beautiful screen with 2K resolution – much higher than a normal FHD resolution.

Therefore, if you want a high pixel density on your screen then this is an excellent model.

The real beauty, though, lies in the fact that despite being a small and a compact laptop it packs a powerful Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, a huge 16 GB of RAM and a large 512 GB of NVMe SSD.

This hardware is good enough for very large artistic projects. It also comes with a rechargeable active stylus pen.

In short, if you want a high performance compact model, then we recommend this.

FAQ

best 2 in 1 laptops for artists
Stylus support is important for any artist.

How to Choose the Right Convertible Laptop for Artists?

The easiest way to gauge the type of hardware that you need is to look at the specifications and the requirements of the software that you use.

For Adobe Photoshop, for instance, the most critical component is the processor. The better the processor, the more streamlined will be your digital designing tasks.

If you are a 3D artists, you can have a look at specification for software like 3DS Max.

We will have a look at each and and every important component below and talk about its usage for artists.

Processor

performance adobe photoshop processor
Performance and processor comparison on Photoshop. Source: PudgetSystems

As mentioned earlier, processor by far is the most important component when the performance is concerned.

You would most certainly see a drastic performance difference when moving from a slower to a faster processor.

As such, when doing digital art, we do not recommend that you go for entry level processors such as Intel Celeron or Intel Pentium processors. We also do not recommend Core i3 or Ryzen 3 processors.

The least we would recommend is that you stick with Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processors. Of course, there are different variants of Core i5 and Ryzen 5 processors so you have to be careful there too.

The point is to look at a mid range processor with the higher single core performance.

Single core performance matter a lot since there is a limited amount of Cores that the software can utilize.

This also means that as you go towards the high end range, the performance difference between successive high end processors becomes marginal since most software do not utilize the many cores they have.

Hence as a starting point, stick with mid range processors.

Also Read: Best 2 in 1 Laptops for Photo Editing

Graphics Card

photoshop gpu
Source: Pudget Systems

The usage of graphics card is subjective. Do you work on 2D graphics? If so then you will only need a limited GPU acceleration?

Do you work on 3D designs? Then sure a graphics card becomes more important.

Even so, for a casual or an intermediate artist working on 3D models, you do not need a top of the line graphics card.

In most cases, the integrated graphics card that comes with the CPU works quite well.

Unfortunately, if you are looking for a 2 in 1 laptop with a dedicated graphics card, then you will be disappointed since most convertible laptops lack such feature.

The ones that do have a dedicated graphics card only feature an entry level model.

Also Read: Best 2 in 1 Laptops for Graphic Design

RAM

RAM is another very important consideration for artists. The higher the RAM the large the image size you will be able to manage without any lag.

On top of that, if you have multiple software and windows open at a once, then a higher RAM is critical.

For any artists, we recommend that you go for 16 GB of RAM. However, if you are on a budget, you can look for 12 or 8 GB RAM as well.

32 GB of RAM would only make sense if you are working on very large files for a very big project.

16 GB of RAM works perfectly fine for documents upto 500 MBs in size. If your project is larger than this, you will benefit from a higher RAM.

Storage

We recommend that you go for SSDs in a heart beat. SSDs give you the most visible performance difference on your PC. From booting your system quickly to opening very large files in mere seconds. Hence an SSD is highly recommended if you want to save time and frustration.

There are two types of SSDs: SATA and NVME SSD. SATA SSDs are about 5 times faster than an average HDD, where as the NVME is 5 times faster than the SATA SSD.

Hence, NVME is the way to go for. Fortunately, most of the 2 in 1 laptops for artists offer NVME SSD.

The only issue with SSD is that they are expensive when you take the per GB cost. Hence, generally laptops have a small SSD capacity.

If you have a very large media or data to archive we recommend that you invest in an external hard drive.

Final Words

In this article we looked at some of the best 2 in 1 laptops for artists. You may have realized that most such laptops are in the mid – high price range.

That is because a hardware good enough for digital artists is not an entry level one. On top of that, 2 in 1 laptops in general are hard to find in entry level specs anyways.

2 in 1 laptops are particular made for catering to those who will make use of the touch navigation efficiently. This generally means artists, designers and content creators. All of this requires a decent hardware to operate.

Despite that, we did mention a few laptops that truly stand out in terms of value and performance / dollar factor.

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