Only buy ENBLE creator laptops as a reviewer.

Only buy ENBLE creator laptops as a reviewer.

The Best Laptops for Creators: A Comprehensive Guide

Acer Swift X 14 Image source: Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

In recent years, laptops designed for creators have gained immense popularity. These laptops cater to the needs of high-end photo and video editors who require fast performance and displays with wide and accurate colors. Typically, such laptops feature 15-inch displays or larger, with high-end CPUs and discrete GPUs to enhance the creative workflow. However, finding the best option within each price range can be a daunting task. In this article, we break down the laptops we’ve reviewed and provide the top choices at various price points.

Less than $1,500 — Acer Swift X 14

The Acer Swift X 14 is a remarkable laptop that offers exceptional performance and display quality at an affordable price. Priced at $1,499, it comes with an Intel Core i7-13700H, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an RTX 4050 GPU, and a 14.5-inch 2.8K OLED display. While it may not be the highest-specced laptop on our list, it delivers commendable performance in CPU-intensive tasks and scores a solid 849 in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark. The Swift X 14’s OLED display stands out with its 96% Adobe RGB and 100% DCI-P3 coverage, displaying colors with incredible accuracy (DeltaE of 0.72). Its simple design and portability make it an excellent value option, although its battery life is subpar.

$1,500 or more – Lenovo Slim Pro 9i

The Lenovo Slim Pro 9i, priced at $1,800, is a newly released model known for its sleek design and impressive performance. It features a 16.0-inch Mini-LED display and comes equipped with a Core i9-13905H, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, and a 16.0-inch 3.2K Mini-LED display. Despite its entry-level discrete GPU, the Slim Pro 9i delivers exceptional performance, outperforming even the MacBook Pro 16 and the XPS 15 with a score of 1,114 in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark. While its display has slightly narrower color coverage (88% Adobe RGB and 99% DCI-P3) and lower contrast compared to other models, it remains an excellent choice for most creators. The Slim Pro 9i boasts an attractive design, comfortable user experience, and relatively affordable price.

$2,000 or more – Dell XPS 15

The Dell XPS 15 offers a unique combination of productivity and creative capabilities. Priced at $2,599, it features an Intel Core i7-13700H and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU. The XPS 15’s 14-core processor delivers reliable performance, and its GPU is equipped with Nvidia Studio drivers optimized for creative applications like Adobe’s. The XPS 15 may not be the fastest laptop on our list, but it holds its ground with a score of 1,023 in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark, capable of handling demanding creative workflows. The optional 15.6-inch 16:10 3.5K OLED display offers excellent color coverage (96% Adobe RGB and 100% DCI-P3), providing rich and detailed visuals for creators. With its contemporary design, comfortable keyboard and touchpad, and decent battery life, the XPS 15 is a solid choice for creative professionals seeking a balance between performance and portability. An honorable mention in this price range is the HP Envy 16, offering similar performance and display quality at a slightly lower price.

$3,000 or more – Apple MacBook Pro 16

Apple MacBook Pro 16

Apple’s MacBook Pro 16 is the epitome of a well-rounded laptop for creators, albeit at a higher price point. Starting at $3,499 for the recommended configuration, it boasts an M2 Max with 12 CPU cores and 38 GPU cores, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. The MacBook Pro 16 offers outstanding performance, and for professionals seeking the utmost efficiency, it can be upgraded to 96GB of RAM and an 8TB SSD. Featuring the M1 Pro CPU, the MacBook Pro 16 shines in performance, as demonstrated by its remarkable score of 1,093 in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark. The upcoming M2 Max version is expected to achieve even faster speeds. The laptop’s 16.2-inch Mini-LED display is truly exceptional, with high brightness levels, deep contrast, and 90% Adobe RGB and 97% DCI-P3 color coverage. Notably, the MacBook Pro 16 stands out for its impeccable build quality, superior keyboard and touchpad, and exceptional battery life, offering up to 18 hours of web browsing and 23 hours of video looping.

What to Avoid

When looking for a creator’s laptop, there are certain aspects to avoid to ensure the best performance and display quality. It is advisable to steer clear of lower-power CPUs and opt for Intel’s 45-watt 13th-gen, AMD’s 45-watt Ryzen 7000 series, or Apple’s M2 Pro or M2 Max processors. Additionally, a discrete GPU is crucial for optimal performance in Intel- or AMD-based machines.

Standard IPS displays should generally be avoided unless specifically optimized for wide color gamuts. These displays typically offer around 75% Adobe RGB and 75% DCI-P3 color coverage with less color accuracy (DeltaE of 2.0). While they are sufficient for productivity work, they fall short in providing the precise color reproduction required for creative tasks.

While some gaming laptops may offer impressive performance and displays, they often come at a higher price and may not be suitable for intensive creative work due to issues with heat and noise. However, they can serve as a dual-purpose option for gamers who require both gaming capability and creative functionalities.

In conclusion, the best laptops for creators are those that strike a balance between performance, display quality, design, and battery life. Depending on your budget and requirements, you can choose from the Acer Swift X 14 and Lenovo Slim Pro 9i for more affordable options, the Dell XPS 15 or HP Envy 16 for mid-range choices, or the Apple MacBook Pro 16 for the ultimate creative experience. By considering the specific needs of creators, avoiding subpar components, and opting for laptops with powerful CPUs and exceptional displays, you can find the perfect device to bring your creative visions to life.