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5 Best Chromebooks for Graphic Design in 2020

Thanks to the internet, and the cloud infrastructure, you can find online apps and services that can easily help you with your designing and editing needs.

If you enjoy using online designing software like Pixlr, GIMP, Adobe Lightroom App, then you will enjoy the Chromebook environment.

In this article we will review some of the best Chromebooks for graphic design. However, if you never used a Chromebook before, the change may involve a learning curve.

Chromebooks don’t quite function as your average desktop PC or Windows or Mac based laptops.

Chromebooks use Chrome OS and are heavily reliant on the Google App Store. The apps may not be as robust as the PC version (at the moment), they are generally  more than suffice to beginner to intermediate user level.

Comparison of Top Chromebooks for Graphic Design

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List of Best Chromebooks for Graphic Design in 2020

The following are powerful Chromebooks designed for professional and power users including graphic designers.

  1. Samsung Galaxy XE930QCA – 13.3″ – Recommended Chromebook for Graphic Design
  2. Google Pixel Slate – 12.3″ – For Those Who Prefer the Tablet Mode
  3. Google Pixelbook Go – 13.3″ – Lightweight Chromebook for Portability
  4. Lenovo Flex 5 – 13.3″ – Affordable Chromebooks for Graphic Designers
  5. ASUS Flip C434 – 14″ – Large Screen Convertible Chromebook

1. Samsung Galaxy XE930QCA – 13.3″ – Recommended Chromebook for Graphic Design

One of the first Chromebooks that we highly recommend to you as a power user and a graphic designer is this. We believe that it offers the best value taking its hardware configuration into consideration.

You will notice that this, as well as the rest of the Chromebooks below, are not your average inexpensive model. Instead, this a premium machine built for those who want to take their Chromebook usage to the professional level.

Now this is a 13.3″ Chromebook, which seems to resonate well with many users of Chrome OS. Chromebooks with 13.3″ are received as having a comfortably large screen with an overall highly portable form factor. This is in itself is a big selling point for most graphic designers who move around.

Speaking for form factor, this is a 2-in-1 Chromebook and as such can be flipped on its keyboard to act as a tablet.

Now the real and critical aspect of this Chromebook lies in its hardware configuration. This is one of the few Chromebooks that manages to squeeze a fairly powerful hardware.

As such, it offers an Intel Core i5, a good 8 GB of RAM and a decent 256 GB of SSD. While this hardware is good enough for an average Windows or Mac based laptop, for Chromebooks designed mostly to rely on server side and cloud computation, you can consider this as a high end hardware and worthy enough for a graphic designer.

Coming to the screen, it is another beauty to behold. This Chromebook features a 4K display with AMOLED technology that naturally features a very high contract ratio and can cover the sRGB color space. All of this is excellent for content creators.

To top it all up, it even comes with a especially designed Galaxy Chromebook Stylus Pen for designers and artists.

It should be noted that not all Styluses are created equally, this particular Chromebook has a stylus as well as a pressure/tilt sensitive screen that can capture even the minutest of details you draw with the pen

All in all, if you want to go for the option that we personally recommend based on customer review and feature set, then this is the best Chromebook for graphic designers.

Also Read: Best Chromebooks for Video Conferencing

2. Google Pixel Slate – 12.3″ – For Those Who Prefer the Tablet Mode

Next up we have another Chromebook which is arguably one of the most powerful Chromebook in the market.

For professional designers, this is the ultimate Chromebook to go for taking the overall hardware configuration into consideration.

This is one rare Chromebook that manages to pack an Intel Core i7 processor along with a very high 16 GB of RAM and a decent 256 GB of SSD.

4 GB of RAM is common in Chromebooks, 8 GB is rare but finding 16 GB of RAM in one is setting a new standard.

While for a normal PC or a laptop this hardware would be an overkill for most designers. Finding the same in a Chromebook which already is designed to use online resources in tandem, is like getting your hands on a professional workstation.

You get all that in a small and very portable 12.3 inch 2 in 1 tablet. The display isn’t an ordinary one as it manages to pack 6 million pixels.

The only drawback here, of course, is that this is an expensive device and you have to procure the stylus separately. Hence, this may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

However, if you want the ultimate performance, then this is the best Chromebook for graphic design.

3. Google Pixelbook Go – 13.3″ – Lightweight Chromebook for Portability

Here we have another Chromebook from Google. However, unlike the two above, this isn’t a convertible device. This is a simple 13.3″ notebook having the Chrome OS.

This device can be found in many different configurations with processor selection including Intel Core M3, Core i5 and Core i7, RAM selection of 8 and 16 GB and storage rating of 64, 128 or 256 GB SSD.

This is basically designed to appeal to those designers who use their good old mouse to do most of the designing. While it does have a touchscreen, the lack of a flip mechanism makes this less ideal for designer who use stylus.

The laptop features a comfortable 13.3″ screen along with a long 12 hours of battery life and a very thin and portable profile making this an excellent choice for those on the go – as the name suggests.

Furthermore, if you do choose to go for the low end model featuring the Core m3, 8 GB of RAM and 64 GB of SSD, you can have  a Chromebook for fairly cheap.

Even with the lowest configuration, this Chromebook is far more phenomenal than its competitors which generally feature an Intel Celeron, 4 GB of RAM and negligible storage capacity.

All in all, if you value portability, then this is the best Chromebook for graphic design.

4. Lenovo Flex 5 – 13.3″ – Affordable Chromebooks for Graphic Designers

If you are looking for affordability as well as a small and a premium 13.3″ form factor, then this is the best Chromebook for graphic design.

For starters, note that this is a very capable machine. It may have a low 4 GB of RAM, but it has a very decent processor.

Intel Core m3-8100Y vs Intel Core i3-10110U
Intel Core m3-8100Y (Left) vs Intel Core i3-10110U (Right). Source

The Chromebook features an Intel Core i3-10110U processor. Compared to the Intel Core M3 found on most Chromebooks, this is a far more capable processor.

Hence, most of casual and intermediate levels of online design would be no issue on this machine.

But one the best aspects is that despite being an affordable Chromebook, compared to the rest above, this manages to fit the convertible feature.

Hence you can use your active stylus for fine graphic designing and digital art here.

5. ASUS Flip C434 – 14″ – Large Screen Convertible Chromebook

Finally, here we have a larger Chromebook featuring a 14″ screen size. Compared to the rest of the Chromebooks mentioned here, this is the largest in terms of size.

And to add to that, this is also a convertible 2 in 1 Chromebook. For graphic designers who want a large screen for visual comfort, this is the best option.

However, it may not be the best option for those who want a lightweight machine for portability or for those who want a machine small enough to be used in Tablet mode easily.

The device features a low-level Intel Core M3-8100Y processor, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of eMMC storage.

The hardware configuration is not the best, but for the price and size, this is one of the best Chromebooks for graphic design.


Can You Design on a Chromebook?

What are the Common Graphic Design Software for Chromebook?

Graphic Designing on Chromebooks works a bit differently as compared to on PC or MAC.

Here you can’t install PC or MAC based software like Adobe Photoshop, 3D Studio Max etc.

Instead, what you with Chromebook is apps. Apps on Chromebooks work more or less like how they would on an Android Tablet or an Android Phone.

Fortunately, there is a huge selection of graphic designing apps on Chromebook. Here is a short list

Can Chromebooks Support Stylus?

best chromebooks for graphic design

Only the Chromebooks with touch capability can support stylus.

Stylus are great for precise graphic designing and digital art. However, you should note that there is a significant difference between an active and a passive stylus.

A passive stylus is a non electronic device use generally for navigation. They have a thick pointer and thus are not capable of delivering the control and precision and graphic designer may need.

Active Stylus, on the other hand, are electronic devices. These have a pin point accuracy and a have a pointed the size of a usual ball pen.

They are pressure and tilt sensitive and thus they give the best real life pencil/pen experience on a digital surface.

If you are graphic designer looking for a Chromebook to particularly work on with a digital pen, we recommend an active stylus.

Also Read: Best 2 in 1 Laptops with Stylus Pen

How to Choose the Right Chromebook Hardware for Graphic Design?

The hardware on Chromebooks, just like any other computer out there, depends upon the level of work you plan to perform.

If you just want to indulge in very light designing work, then you would naturally go for a cheaper entry level hardware.

However, if you design art and graphics in 4k resolution spanning 100 of MBs, then you will need a fairly powerful hardware to cope with it.

Generally, it is believed that Chromebooks do not need as powerful a hardware as a normal PC. The Chrome OS is not very resource heavy and Chromebooks do leverage the cloud computing infrastructure.

However, when it comes to professional work, you will definitely see a tremendous uptick in performance if you have a powerful system.

The norm of Chromebooks is to feature entry level processors i.e Intel Celeron, Pentium or AMD Athlon processors with a low 4 GB of RAM and small 64 GB of storage.

However, there are high end Chromebooks that feature a powerful hardware – as we saw above. This can include a processor ranging from Intel Core i3 to Core i7, RAM ranging from 8-16 GB and storage capacity of as much as 256 GBs.

If you are a power user, we would recommend you invest in a good hardware to save you from the frustration of a lagging interface in the future.

Final Words

If you love using online software or apps for designing your graphics, then Chromebooks are the way to go.

Most online content creators, social media users etc do not have the time nor the patience to learn the complexities of a desktop based software, that is where Chromebooks and online apps come in to play.

If services like PIXLR, GIMP, Google Photo appeals to you, then we believe the selection of the best Chromebook for graphic design here may have piqued your interest.

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