A 2 in 1 laptop is a great option for artists. It combines the flexibility and screen features of a tablet, with the more powerful hardware of a laptop. In this guide we are going to go over what we think are the best 2 in 1 laptops for artists in 2020.
We are assuming that you are looking for something that you can use for drawing, regular laptop use, and for other media creation. A 2 in 1 laptop is a great option for those things, but if you want to play video games and do video rendering then you might want to look into more powerful options.
For this guide we have spent a lot of time looking at the different options that are available. We have broken the laptops into various categories, so that it is easier to find what is best for you. Most people don’t need the most fancy option, especially if you are just testing the water with creating digital art.
If you are interested, we have also included a cheaper drawing tablet option at the end. This might be a better option than investing in a 2 in 1 laptop, as you can get drawing tablets that are quite cheap.
We hope you find this guide helpful in navigating the various offers out there.
Best 2 in 1 Laptops for Artists
Based on our research, our pick as the best 2 in 1 laptop for artists is the Dell XPS 13 (#ad).
Best overall – Dell XPS 13
We think the Dell XPS 13 is the best overall 2 in 1 laptop for artists. It offers the flexibility of a tablet, with surprisingly powerful parts. Often, 2 in 1 laptops are not as powerful as the regular plain laptop counterparts, but the Dell XPS 13 really puts up a good fight.
One of the main reasons why this is really good for artists is because of how bright the screen gets. It gets up to 500 nits, whereas a lot of others will only get to around 300. A bright screen is important for a higher quality display in daylight. At night you won’t nearly need to have it on max, but if you plan to do sketches on it during the day then this is great. The only thing about the screen is that you might want to go with a 4k option if you are really going to get into a lot of details, but for most people you won’t see much difference.
Lots of graphics take up lots of space. Because of that it is great that this laptop has 512 GB of SSD. 512 GB is really good considering that it is an SSD. The laptop is not cheap of course, so this is a decent amount considering.
There is also a mind boggling 32 GB of RAM. That is a really high amount, and more than likely more than what you need. 2 in 1 laptops and tablets often can feel a little sluggish, but with 32 GB this laptop is able to perform multitasking activities with ease. There is also a 10th gen Intel Core i7-CPU so this laptop will feel fresh for a long time.
You should really check out this laptop, and see if there are any features of the laptop that might be particularly interesting to you.
See the Dell XPS 13 2 in 1 (#ad) on Amazon.
Best Budget 2 in 1 – Dell Inspiron 14
Not everyone is looking for the latest and greatest, as that often comes at a price. If you are looking for something that is a lot more budget friendly, then the Dell Inspiron.
This laptop is not nearly as powerful as the more expensive options, but it is a lot more budget friendly. Perhaps the biggest drawback is the screen, as it is only an HD option which is 1366×768. If you want to get something better, then you either have to go with a Chromebook which I do not recommend, or something a bit more up in price.
The Dell Inspiron 14 has okay parts. An 8 gen Intel core i3-8145U is not going to win any performance awards compared to more powerful options, but it will get the job done. This is not a CPU that is any good for gaming or rendering video. If you want to stay in a lower price range and achieve those things then you should look into a desktop and a drawing tablet instead.
There is also 4 GB or RAM which is not a lot, and 128 GB of SSD storage. The fact that it comes with an SSD is great as it really makes a big difference in performance. It will boot fast, and the programs you have installed will feel smooth as long as they are not too power hungry as the rest of the hardware is not really powerful.
Overall the Inspiron 14 is a great option for someone who is looking for a very budget friendly option.
See the Dell Inspiron 14 (#ad) on Amazon.
Best Runner Up – Microsoft Surface Book 3
The best runner up 2 in 1 laptop for artists is the Microsoft Surface Book 3. The reason why this one did not make it all the way to the top is because of the hardware you get for your money compared to the Dell XPS. One thing this laptop does come out on top for though is the design. The laptop is one of the better looking laptops out there in general.
One of the reasons why this makes it so high up the list is the close integration between the laptop and the surface pen. When sketching you want a pen that works really well with the device you are using, and what better than one that has been customly made for your device.
Another big advantage with the Surface Book is that it has a GPU. It is of course not the most powerful option out there, but this makes it more suitable for other things such as playing video games or if you are looking for something to edit videos on. This is the best 2 in 1 laptop with a GPU.
There is also over 15 hours of battery life, which is important when you want to take it away from home. Perhaps doing some sketches on a trip, or just going to the campus if you are in school. For a professional artist who has access to a studio with outlets all day then this is not the most important feature, but for some the battery life really matters.
See the Surface Book 3 (#ad) on Amazon.
Best Alternative Option – A Drawing Tablet
I wanted to also point out that there are alternatives to 2 in 1 laptops. If you are looking for a 2 in 1 because you want to get started using digital art, then you might want to check out a cheaper drawing tablet first just to try it out. A lot of them are significantly cheaper so it is a safer option to try it out.
You use the drawing tablet with a laptop, so if you don’t have a regular laptop you can use then perhaps you can borrow one just to try it out with the tablet. Even if you want a laptop regardless, the drawing boards should be part of your toolkit so check it out.
The drawing tablet that we recommend is the Wacom CTL4100.
See the Wacom (#ad) on Amazon.
What about a regular laptop?
Now, you might also want to consider getting a regular laptop. You can get really good cheap laptops that have better hardware than what you will find in most 2 in 1 laptops. As the laptop is specialized, it is priced a little different that regular laptops. Also, there are fewer manufacturers which drives up the price as there is less supply. If you first try out the drawing tablet then you might end up deciding that you want a regular laptop instead.
You can see our guide on the best laptops for artists here.
Should you get a regular tablet?
The last option you might want to consider is to get a regular tablet. If you are not interested in the laptop part of the 2 in 1, then it might be an option. I would only recommend Apple Ipads, and they are a little pricey so it might not be for you if you are looking for something on a budget. A tablet is also not a laptop replacement, as there are things you can’t really do there. I would recommend that you either go with the 2 in 1 option, or perhaps the regular laptop and drawing tablet option.
In the end, the best 2 in 1 laptop for artists is one that can support the type of art you plan on using it for. Most 2 in 1 options will work just fine, but the more power you need (i.e. video rendering and the like), the more you should consider some alternatives.
I am a Software Engineer who enjoy writing about things that interest me. Here on OamaTech I write about programming as well as other tech related topics. Visit my author page to learn more about me and what I am working on right now.