10 Best Budget Laptops for Designers

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Arek Dvornechcuck
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Last updated:
August 16, 2022

Looking to buy a budget laptop that you can use as a designer? Check out this list of 10 best affordable laptops in 2022.

A laptop is one of the must-have gadgets for every kind of creative nowadays.

Although it is best to invest in a high-end laptop, it is a given that not all creatives have the budget to afford it.

That’s why in this article, I will feature the best budget-friendly laptop available on the market today.

Which budget laptop is best for creatives?

Fortunately, there are various brands that are offering high-functioning laptops at a very affordable price.

Some of those brands are Lenovo, Apple, Asus, HP, Acer, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung.

And to give you the best laptop deals for creatives, I created a list of the top 10 budget laptops every designer needs.

Take note that you can buy these laptops for under $1000 and some of them are even below $500, so rest assured that you can afford them.

Whether you’re a PC or Mac user, I included something for you.

Additionally, you’ll be able to enjoy amazing features without spending more than your budget.

So without further ado, let’s dive in with the best affordable laptops for creatives.

Do you want to add your product to the list?—Find my address on the contact page and send your product for review.

Top 10 Budget Laptop for Designers

  1. Lenovo Flex 5 14"—best overall laptop
  2. Apple MacBook Air—best for Apple users
  3. Asus Vivobook 15—laptop with great specs
  4. HP Pavilion x360—best for editing
  5. Acer Chromebook 14—MacBook Air alternative
  6. Microsoft Surface Go 2—best 2-in-one
  7. Dell XPS7390 13"—best display
  8. Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light—best Windows
  9. Lenovo Chromebook Flex—best everyday
  10. Samsung Chromebook 4+—best portable

Things to consider when buying a budget laptop

What are the most important considerations for a graphic designer when buying for a laptop?

Just like any other equipment or gadgets, it is important to know the factors to consider when buying a laptop.

Top 10 Budget Laptop for Designers

Here’s the 7 points to look for before purchasing a budget laptop:

  1. Price
  2. Processor Power (CPU)
  3. Operating System (OS)
  4. RAM/Memory
  5. Storage Drive
  6. Display Type and Size
  7. Battery Life

Price

Since you’re here because you’re looking for the best affordable laptops available today, the price is one of the priorities when buying one.

Actually, the definition of "budget laptops" may vary based on one’s budget.

Some creatives consider a laptop affordable when its price doesn’t exceed $500, but some view it as budget-friendly when it is below $1000.

Before buying a laptop, it is very important to take a look at your budget first to avoid overspending.

You don’t have to worry because I will give you my reviews of the best budget laptops to help you decide which one is for you.

Processor Power (CPU)

Since the CPU, or processor, is the one that controls the functions of the computer, it is best to have a fast, powerful processor.

It is necessary for a graphic designer to look for an affordable laptop that can smoothly run complex design software.

To check if a certain laptop can assist you with your needs as a designer, you can simply search for the requirements of the specific software that you are using.

For example, if you’re a creative who uses Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and others, you must look for a laptop that meets the requirements of Adobe Software.

Operating System (OS)

One of the most important things to consider for a budget laptop is your preferred operating system.

Are you a designer that uses a PC or Mac for your creative work?

This is a necessary question to answer before buying a laptop.

Macs have several advantages, including that the monitors tend to be very color accurate with high display quality.

However, PC advantages include the ability to run more general software, which could make a difference if you plan to use your laptop for business or personal work.

Fortunately, regardless of whether you’re a PC or Mac, I included the best budget-friendly laptop for you, so check this list out.

RAM/Memory

Of course, as a creative, RAM and memory must be taken into account.

RAM is the one that allows you to run multiple applications and software at the same time.

And if you’re going to ask me how much RAM you need as a graphic designer, I would suggest going for an affordable laptop that has the maximum RAM

By that way, you can seamlessly run your software and you’ll be able to create your designs without being bothered by the lag.

Storage Drive

As a creative, you have two types of storage drives to choose from—either a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid state drive (SSD).

Even though hard drives can be cheaper and have more space, they can be hard to use in laptops.

Solid-state drives, on the other hand, are lighter, faster, and more durable than hard drives, but they are also more expensive.

Most laptops come with solid-state drives, but if your computer didn't come with one, you can buy one and put it in your computer to make it faster.

Display Type and Size

In order to have a better view of the designs that you are working with, it is ideal to look for an affordable laptop that has at least a 15" display.

Although it is a given that the larger the display, the more expensive it is, it’s important to choose a laptop that is convenient to use.

Most laptops nowadays have this 2-in-one feature where you can easily convert your laptop into a tablet.

It is ideal for designers because you can work with your designs even if you’re working away from home.

Most of the budget laptops on my list have this 2-in-one feature, so it’s just a matter of preference now.

Battery Life

As a graphic designer, it is a given that it requires a lot of focus and time to create a great design.

So it is important to look for a budget-friendly laptop that can also last a long time without charging.

In that way, you can work without interruption, and it is also ideal for on-the-go creativity.

Additionally, I would suggest going for a budget laptop that can last at least 10 hours of continuous usage.

1. Lenovo Flex 5 14"

Looking for the best all-in-one laptop at an affordable price? Then the Lenovo Flex 5 14" is perfect for you.

The best overall budget laptop for creatives.

This is the best budget laptop to buy if you want a high-functioning laptop without breaking the bank.

Lenovo Flex 5 14" Budget laptop

This budget laptop from Lenovo is thin, light, and stylish, which is perfect for on-the-go designers.

It includes a digital pen, and its screen is very soft and comfortable to use, ideal for making creative work.

The Lenovo Flex 5 14" also has a 10-point, 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS touchscreen, which makes it more convenient and preferable to use.

This laptop’s 3600 hinge lets you use your 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop in whatever mode works best for you.

Additionally, you can be sure that your work won’t be interrupted since this laptop has up to 10 hours of battery life, plus it is fast charging.

Specifications

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5
Graphics: AMD Integrated Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Display: 14″ FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS touchscreen
Storage: 256GB

Pros

  1. Flexible
  2. Great performance
  3. Comes with fingerprint

Cons

  1. Heavy
  2. Dim display

Buy Lenovo Flex 5 14" on Amazon

2. Apple MacBook Air

As for the second laptop on my list, I included the MacBook Air, which is the best budget laptop for Apple users.

The most affordable Apple laptop for graphic design.

This laptop is perfect for graphic designers since it doesn’t lag, meaning you can work on your designs without interruption.

Apple MacBook Air Budget laptop

If you’re a fan of Apple products and need a laptop that is both affordable and high-quality, the MacBook Air is definitely the one for you.

It has a very impressive battery life, which can last up to 18 hours, meaning you can work on your designs for the whole day without being bothered about charging your device.

This laptop also has an amazing performance, which is perfect for professional-editing and even gaming.

The MacBook Air can support tasks like memory-hogging multitab browsing and opening huge graphic files quickly and easily.

It also has 8GB of memory, which makes your entire system speedy and responsive, so you can work with your designs smoothly.

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1
Graphics: Integrated 7-core /8-core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB
Display: 13.3-inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology
Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Pros

  1. High quality
  2. Great value
  3. Exceptional battery life

Cons

  1. No bootcamp
  2. Limited port selection

Buy Apple MacBook Air on Amazon

3. Asus Vivobook 15

As a designer, I know that good specs are one of the most important things to consider before buying a laptop.

The best budget laptop with great specifications.

That’s why I feature the Asus Vivobook 15 for designers that are looking for a budget laptop with the best specs.

Asus Vivobook 15 budget laptop

This budget-friendly laptop is best for students or start-up designers, but also for professionals.

The Asus Vivobook 15 is one of the most affordable laptops on Amazon and it comes with amazing specifications.

It is also perfect for those creatives who want to have a compact laptop that fits every designer's needs.

This budget laptop is powered by an Intel Core i3 processor to help you get things done with the least amount of fuss.

There's also an 88 percent screen-to-body ratio, so you can see more of your creations thanks to the new frameless NanoEdge four-sided display.

Specifications

CPU: Intel i7
Graphics: Nvidia
RAM: 16GB
Display: 15.6 FHD
Storage: 128GB SSD – 1TB HDD

Pros

  1. Great battery life
  2. Excellent keyboard
  3. Superior performance

Cons

  1. Poor display

Buy Asus Vivobook 15 on Amazon now

4. HP Pavilion x360

If you are a video or photo editor and are looking for an affordable laptop for editing, the HP Pavilion x360 is a must-buy laptop for you.

The most affordable laptop for video and photo editing.

As a creative, you will be able to work seamlessly because this laptop is great for running your editing apps like Adobe Software.

HP Pavilion x360 Budget laptop

The HP Pavilion x360 has an 8GB system memory and a 128GB solid state drive (SSD), which is perfect for advanced multitasking like editing videos and photos.

It is one of the most budget-friendly laptops that is ideal for running creative software and applications.

This low-cost laptop has an HDMI output, which can expand your viewing options.

Some of the special features of the HP Pavilion x360 include a built-in media reader, wireless connectivity, and a built-in HD webcam, which is very impressive for its price.

So if you’re looking for a cheap laptop that is perfect for editing, the HP Pavilion x360is a must-buy laptop for you.

Specifications

CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i3
Graphics: Intel UHD
RAM: 8GB
Display: 14 Inches UHD
Storage: 128GB SSD

Pros

  1. Affordable
  2. Great build
  3. Excellent performance

Cons

  1. Poor battery life
  2. Lacks of power delivery

Buy HP Pavilion x360 on Amazon

5. Acer Chromebook 14

If you are not a fan of Apple and are looking for the best alternative to the MacBook Air, then the Acer Chromebook 14 is for you.

The best budget MacBook Air alternative for creatives.

This is one of the most affordable laptop today, and it can provide almost the same functionality as the Apple MacBook Air.

Acer Chromebook 14 Budget laptop

Apple is indeed a great brand for designers, but some creatives don’t prefer using this, that’s why I included the Acer Chromebook 14 in my list.

This laptop is made with a 100% aluminum chassis with symmetrical, perfect rounded-corners, and a classic hairline-brush, which makes it very stylish.

Its 14" Full HD IPS display boasts 41% more pixels than an HD display, making photos, videos, games, and presentations vivid and text sharp and legible.

The Acer Chromebook 14 is one of the best laptop deals on the market since it can last up to 12 hours, which makes it perfect for in-demand designers.

Additionally, this budget-laptop also has an ultra-thin frame, making it easy to slip into a purse, backpack, or brief case, ideal for freelance artists.

Specifications

CPU: Intel Celeron N3160
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400
RAM: 4GB
Display: 14-inch FHD
Storage: 32GB SSD

Pros

  1. Great battery
  2. Excellent audio
  3. Sturdy aluminum build

Cons

  1. Dim display
  2. No SD memory reader

Buy Acer Chromebook 14 on Amazon

6. Microsoft Surface Go 2

Since we are talking about the best budget laptops for designers, I will not miss featuring one from Microsoft.

The best 2-in-1 budget-friendly laptop.

The Surface Go 2 is one of the most affordable laptops available on the market today, yet it can provide you with a 2-in-1 function.

Microsoft Surface Go 2

This laptop can handle every to-do list throughout your day, including sketching, creating presentations, as well as graphic and logo design.

It features a new 10.5" PixelSense Display with a touchscreen that’s perfect for eBooks, web browsing, and especially for doing your creative work.

What’s more impressive about this laptop, aside from its affordable price, is its amazing accessories.

The Surface Go 2 accessories include a sleek and compact keyboard, a better and faster digital pen, and a light and portable mouse.

So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly laptop with a lot of accessories included, consider buying the Surface Go 2 now.

Specifications

CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4425Y
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Display: 10.5” PixelSense Display
Storage: 64GB – 128GB SSD

Pros

  1. Light built
  2. Impressive audio
  3. With face recognition camera

Cons

  1. Slightly pricey
  2. No keyboard cover

Buy Microsoft Surface Go 2 on Amazon

7. Dell XPS7390 13"

Graphic designers definitely need a laptop that has a great display, that’s why I also include the Dell XPS7390 13" in my list.

The best budget laptop with best display.

You are able to get a better view of the designs that you are doing without spending out of your budget.

Dell XPS7390 13"

This laptop has up to 2.5 times more performance than the previous generation and is powered by new 10th Gen Intel 10nm processors in an 8% thinner form factor.

The Dell XPS7390 13" is one of the most affordable laptops that comes with a great display, which makes it perfect for every creative need.

It also has an extremely long battery life that can last up to 17 hours of continuous usage.

This is also one of the best 2-in-one laptop, which means you can use it as a tablet depending on what best fits your needs.

So if you’re wondering which budget laptop has a very good display, it’s definitely the Dell XPS7390 13".

Specifications

CPU: Core i5-1035G1
Graphics: ‎Intel UHD Graphics
RAM: ‎8 GB
Display: 13.3 1080p, 4K
Storage: 256 GB

Pros

  1. Great built
  2. Lightweight
  3. Excellent performance

Cons

  1. Noisy fan
  2. Uncomfortable keyboard

Buy Dell XPS7390 13" on Amazon

8. Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light

If you’re specifically looking for a must-buy Windows laptop at a very reasonable price, look no further, because the Acer Swift 3 is the one for you.

The best Windows budget laptop for professionals.

In addition to its affordability, this is also a lightweight laptop, so you can take it with you whenever you have outside work to do.

Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light

The Acer Swift 3 is a new class of ultra-light laptop that is made for the digital performance you need on-the-go.

It combines the 10th Gen Intel Core performance with responsiveness that doesn’t falter when you unplug.

This budget laptop comes with a battery life optimized to last a long time, which makes it convenient to use for creating designs.

One of the best features of the Acer Swift 3 is the embedded finger print reader, which is a quick and secure way for Windows Hello to verify your identity without a password.

It also has an Intelligent Personal Digital Assistant, which can help you stay on time for tasks and meeting schedules and sync with multiple devices.

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Display: 3.5-inch FHD
Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD

Pros

  1. Lightweight
  2. USB-C supported
  3. Great performance

Cons

  1. No SD card reader
  2. Not upgradeable RAM

Buy Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light on Amazon

9. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3

If you’re an in-demand creative that is looking for the best budget laptop for everyday use, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 is a must-have laptop for you.

The best everyday laptop for work from home designers.

This laptop is perfect for designers working from home and need a laptop that can be used even for a long period of time.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 has an IPS touch display and stunning colors, so you are guaranteed to have a better view of every detail of your designs.

You can enjoy the responsive performance you're looking for with an Intel processor, ample storage, and a long battery life that helps you get everything done.

Its high-bandwidth RAM allows you to smoothly run your games and editing apps, as well as multiple programs and browser tabs at the same time.

Additionally, this touchscreen budget laptop can be charged quickly using just your Google login to give you access to all of your cloud-based designs and more.

So, if you ask me what the best everyday laptop is for designers who work from home, I'll recommend the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3.

Specifications

CPU: Intel Celeron N4020
Graphics: Integrated Intel UHD
RAM: 4GB
Display: 11.6″ HD IPS
Storage: 64GB eMMC

Pros

  1. Affordable
  2. SD card reader
  3. Great build quality

Cons

  1. Poor display
  2. Weak performance

Buy Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 on Amazon

10. Samsung Chromebook 4+

If you’re looking for the best budget portable laptop to use for your professional work, then the Samsung Chromebook 4+ is a great choice for you.

The best portable budget laptop for creatives.

This laptop is very convenient to use, which makes it perfect for on-the-go designers.

Samsung Chromebook 4+

The quality of Samsung meets the accessibility of Chrome OS. Immerse yourself in the content you love on 15.6 inches of truly maximized screen space.

Its all-new light and compact design allows you to stream, work, create, and play on a fast, secure device that you can take with you wherever you go

This Samsung laptop’s quality matched the accessibility of the Chrome Operating System.

Allow yourself to create amazing designs with the Samsung Chromebook 4+’s 15.6 inches of truly maximized screen space.

This is a lightweight and compact, budget-friendly laptop that lets you stream, play, create, and work seamlessly.

Lastly, the Samsung Chromebook 4+ can last up to 10 hours of usage on a full charge and can be quickly recharged with a USB-C charger.

Specifications

CPU: Intel
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600
RAM: 6 GB
Display: ‎15.6 FHD
Storage: ‎‎64 GB

Pros

  1. Affordable
  2. Comfortable to use
  3. With USB type-A, USB type-C (2)

Cons

  1. No HDMI port
  2. Insufficient storage

Buy Samsung Chromebook 4+ on Amazon

Conclusions

If you’re going to ask me what the best affordable laptop is, I will definitely recommend the Lenovo Flex 5 14" since it is the best overall budget laptop.

On the other hand, for Mac users, you also have the choice of purchasing the Apple MacBook Air, which is the most budget-friendly Apple laptop.

However, if you’re a photo or video editor who wants the best, affordable laptop that can run editing software, the HP Pavilion x360 will be a wise choice for you.

How to choose the best budget laptop?

In this article, I also included the things to consider when buying a laptop at an affordable price.

Some of these are the OS, CPU, RAM, storage depth, display type and size, and battery life.

These things need to be taken into consideration for you to be sure that you’re getting the best quality, even at a low price.

Now that I’m done giving you my top picks, which do you think is the best budget laptop for designers?—Don’t forget to leave a comment.

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