March 30

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Best Laptop for Animation: Your Ultimate Guide

By Joshua Ouellette


As a student, beginner, or first-time buyer, choosing the best laptop for animation, gaming, and graphic design should not be a stressful task.

Thus, this post aims to help you in making the right decision. Here are 12 animation laptops you might want to look at before buying one.

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1. Acer Predator Helios 300

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: Intel i7
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 1060-6GB Dedicated
  • Display: 15.6" Full HD IPS
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD

Acer has once again introduced a solid performer with its Predator Helios 300 for animating, gaming, and multi-tasking. Resolution at 1080p, the laptop has a fast refresh rate of 144Hz. Besides, the contrasts of colors and brightness are decent, except for a visible backlight bleeding on the screen.

Packed with an Intel Core i7 processor and GeForce GTX dedicated graphics card, Acer Predator Helios 300 is the best laptop for 2D and 3D animation. However, the storage might not be enough for saving many rendering files.

Acer’s PredatorSense is the unique app in this laptop for animation. It allows you to control overclocking, monitor the system, or customize monitor preferences. In short, you can monitor the overall performance with a click.

Pros:

  • Excellent resolution for animation projects
  • Buttons to monitor performance
  • Expendable RAM and space drive for easy upgrades
  • Comfortable keyboard and smooth touchpad

Cons:

  • Average battery life if activated in full performance
  • Not enough space if you do a lot of rendering
  • Visible backlight bleeding

Conclusion:

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a middle-tier laptop for gaming and animating with good graphics and solid performance. Battery life is average, so it is best used at home. If you need to use this laptop away from a plug for an extended period, better prepare a backup power.

2. Asus Rog Zephyrus

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Dedicated
  • Display: 15.6” 240Hz FHD
  • RAM:16GB 3200MHz DDR4
  • Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD

Elegant appearance and several practical ports are just two of the many features of the Asus Rog Zephyrus. Boasting a 15.6-inch screen panel, this model is the best laptop animation for its price point.

You’d definitely enjoy doing animation projects or immersing yourself in gaming with its fast refresh rate at 165Hz. Combined with a powerful AMD Ryzen 7 and GeForce RTX, this laptop would make you finish every project before your deadline.

Plus, the 1TB SSD is amazing because it allows you to save more projects. With a battery life of up to 8 hours (maybe more or less depending on usage such as gaming), you can work all day without needing to change often.

Its most excellent feature is the speaker. This would be great if you need to insert audio in your animation projects. The audio is loud and crisp, which is surprising on a laptop.

Pros:

  • Killer Performance surpassing even an Alienware (specific model only)
  • Excellent battery duration
  • Elegant design and great display
  • Superfast panel refresh rate
  • Amazing audio quality

Cons:

  • The display is a bit lackluster
  • Webcam is removed

Conclusion:

This laptop is a great one for its price point if you don’t use a webcam that often. The Asus Rog Zephyrus can rival those high-performance laptops such as the Alienware.

Besides, it has the NVIDIA RTX GPU, which could make a difference in your animation projects or in your gaming experience.

3. Apple MacBook Pro

  • Operating System: Mac OS X
  • CPU: Intel i7 Quad-Core
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 560
  • Display: 15 inches
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD

MacBook Pro is another laptop for animation that has the highest quality in terms of performance and screen resolution. This laptop has a 15-inch display that looks a bit chunky as compared to other infinity-edge laptops out there.

This powerful laptop holds the title for being sharp and colorful in terms of screen resolution, which is expected. It boasts Thunderbolt 3 ports but doesn’t have the regular Type-A ports that most people need. The Apple MacBook Pro keyboard is soft and decent while the touchpad allows smooth navigation.

Another unique feature of the Apple MacBook is the Touch Bar. This feature is fully customizable and often reflects your current tasks by default.

Packed with an Intel Core i7 Processor, this awesome gadget is an excellent investment for an animator or a gaming enthusiast. Although pricey, you won’t regret buying Apple MacBook Pro.

Pros:

  • Superior performance and speed
  • Sharp, vivid, and colorful display
  • Powerful audio
  • Superior battery life

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Butterfly keyboard
  • No Type-A USB ports

Conclusion:

With amazing performance and extended battery duration, Apple MacBook Pro is a dream come true for most animators. Speedy and reliable, you get the worth of your money. This laptop might be pricier than its competition, but it is still the best buy if you have the money for it.

4. Acer Aspire 5

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX350 Dedicated
  • Display: 15.6 inches
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

This premium-looking animation laptop has the latest 10th Generation Intel Core i5 processor. Its graphics card is a GeForce MX350. This combination is perfect for animators who have to rely on media-heavy projects.

With a 15.6-inch screen size, Acer Aspire 5 boasts an IPS screen and narrow bezel panel. It features an app called, Acer Color Intelligence. The laptop has the Acer BlueLightShield technology that protects your eyes from long-term damages due to extended exposure to blue light.

Acer Aspire 5 has stunning visuals, built-in mics for clear communications, and lots of ports. It is lightweight, which is great in terms of portability.

Pros:

  • Affordable laptop
  • Good audio quality
  • Many ports
  • Upgradeable

Cons:

  • Mid-level performance
  • Average battery life

Conclusion:

Acer Aspire 5 is an affordable animation laptop but has mid-level performance. Still, it could handle animation software. With its specs, it is best for 2d animation.

5. Razer Blade 15

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: Intel i7 Core Processor
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
  • Display: 15.6 Inches
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD

A fairly new brand in the industry, Razer Blade has become the new rival of Acer, Apple, Asus, and Lenovo. With its newest model packed with amazing specs, this is a definitely worthy investment for animators or as a gaming laptop.

Packed with GeForce RTX and Intel Core i7 processor, this 15.6-inch laptop for animation is a beast. The Razer Blade 15 also boasts 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, which is the minimum requirement for 3D animation.

The outer casing is aluminum chassis but is a magnet to smudges and fingerprints. Still, the sleek design is great, coupled with a screen panel having a refresh rate of 300Hz (max). The laptop has a 4K option, but this one could cut the laptop’s battery life to half.

Speakers are good while the keyboard is soft. The Razer Blade 15 has lots of ports with a Thunderbolt 3 that could help you finish your animation projects a lot easier. Why? Your laptop could connect to another monitor, improving response time.

Pros:

  • Sturdy with an aluminum frame
  • Classic but sleek design
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Great audio quality
  • Awesome cooling system

Cons:

  • Average battery duration
  • A bit pricey 

Conclusion:

The price could be a deal-breaker for someone who is on a tight budget. With its current price, you might need to reconsider other options. Still, Razer Blade is a performer.

6. Microsoft Surface Book 2

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: Intel i7
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • Display: 15 Inches
  • RAM: 16 GB LPDDR3
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD

The newest version of Microsoft Surface animation laptops is out with bigger screen size, measuring 15 inches. Its amazing screen panel is maxed at 3240 x 2160 pixels, which would make every drawing full of vivid colors. Indeed, this one is recommended for 3D animators.

Since this is a touch screen, you can flip and fold the laptop and turn it into a tablet. With the awesome stylus (which is a separate purchase), simple animation and editing would be a breeze.

The laptop has an Intel i7 and a GTX 1060 GPU, which is the right combination for performance. The ports are pretty decent but still, Microsoft Surface Book 2 doesn’t include Thunderbolt 3.

Of all the laptops for animation in this list, this animation laptop has the longest battery life capping at 12 hours (keyboard-based). Battery duration is a different matter when you flip the laptop into a tablet-style.

Pros:

  • Flip-and-fold design
  • Modern and sleek appearance
  • Extended battery life
  • High resolution resulting in vivid display
  • Added USB Type-C

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Lacks a port for Thunderbolt 3 

Conclusion:

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is the most versatile on this list, boasting a solid performer processor, long battery duration, and awesome GPU.

However, it is expensive as compared to other laptops with the same hardware specifications. If you have the budget, this is definitely your next purchase, especially if you use Windows 10 your entire life.

7. Asus VivoBook

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 1050 4GB
  • Display: 15.6" Full HD
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD+1TB HDD

This premium laptop has enough power to accommodate software for animation and the projects you’d do using it. Asus Vivobook runs with Intel i7 and an Nvidia GTX model dedicated GPU.

Sleek and powerful, this laptop is one of those with an edgeless panel, which makes the 15.6-inch screen a lot wider. Asus VivoBook is boasting a UHD display with a vivid display of colors.

However, the GPU is not like those high-end models, but it could still perform as expected, fast and powerful for video editing or animating.

Its unique feature is the combination of an SSD and HDD for its storage. You got the best of both worlds. The SSD is great for faster booting and loading of applications. The HDD, on the other hand, is great for storing files. Since 3D animation needs huge storage space, a 1TB HDD would be a great addition.

Pros:

  • Stylish and portable
  • Optimal display of colors
  • Smooth Touchpad
  • Comfortable keyboard

Cons:

  • Average battery
  • A bit dim and dull 

Conclusion:

The ASUS VivoBook is an excellent choice for animation and could handle multitasking such as video editing, internet browsing, and plain office applications. Although midrange, this laptop packs a powerful processor and fast SSD. The RAM is sufficient for rendering and other animation tasks.

8. HP OMEN 15

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: Intel Hexa-Core i7
  • Graphics: NVIDIA 6GB RTX 2060
  • Display: 15.6" FHD 300Hz IPS
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD

Sporting a new and classic look, HP Omen 15 is an Intel Hexa-Core i7 laptop with a dedicated NVIDIA 6GB RTX 2060. This time, the company opted for a silent keyboard with an RGB backlight and a metal build. The design is sleek but is a bit heavy in terms of portability.

The ports in this laptop are a great combination of Type A, Type C, Thunderbolt, HDMI, among others. The webcam has a wide vision but the quality is the standard you can find on a laptop.

Amazingly fast refresh rate, this laptop has options for the common 1080p and the luxurious 4K display resolution. Despite this amazing screen display, the contrast is a bit of a disappointment.

However, the color gamut is amazing. This means the laptop screen can display accurate colors, which is important in animation projects or video editing.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great value for your money
  • Fantastic performance
  • Great cooling system
  • The refresh rate is high

Cons:

  • Heavy compared to others in this list
  • Screen wobble, especially on the hinges
  • Average battery life 

Conclusion:

HP Omen 15 is one of the best laptops for animation in terms of value and performance. It has an amazing high-definition screen despite the price. This one is a bit heavy with average battery life, so using it for an extended period outside your home isn’t ideal. Still, it’s a great buy.

9. Dell XPS 15

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: 9th Gen Intel i7 Core
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Display: 15.6 inches 4K UHD Infinity Edge
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB storage SSD

Measuring 15.6 inches, Dell XPS 15 features an Infinity Edge Touch technology. Of all the laptops on this list, this laptop has the thinnest bezel. It has an all-aluminum build, which could have contributed to its heaviness.

Another facelift on this laptop as compared to its earlier version is all USB-C ports. To make up for this change, your purchase includes a set of adapters, so you can still connect your USB-A gadgets to the laptop.

This best laptop for animation boasts a 9th Gen Intel i7 Core and an Nvidia GeForce GTX. This power duo is an excellent performer. You definitely get the value for your money.

The screen offers two options: the 1080p and 4K resolutions. 4k Resolution is something every animator likes to have because of its vivid array of colors. However, it consumes a lot of battery life.

Pros:

  • Sleek, premium-looking design
  • Vivid screen display
  • Fast performance
  • Thunderbolt 3 support
  • Adapters for USB-A and HDMI
  • High-quality audio and a wide touchpad

Cons:

  • Heavy
  • GPU is a bit so-so 

Conclusion:

The bezel-less screen is a welcome improvement in the Dell XPS 15. But the removal of USB-A is quite unexpected. Indeed, the adapters that come with the laptop could make up for the change, but using these could be a hassle for an animator. Overall, this laptop is great for its affordable price and amazing performance.

10. MSI Leopard 10SFX 

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
  • Display: 15.6" FHD 144Hz
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

Despite being a mid-sized gaming laptop, MSI Leopard is still lightweight and comes with amazing hardware. It has the latest Intel i7 Core and a high-performance NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPU.

Screen size measures 15.6 inches with a refresh rate of 144Hz. Except for the bottom part, the bezel-less monitor looks modern and makes the viewing area a lot wider.

The resolution is a full high definition at 72% sRGB but could go as high as 100% with the GeForce RTX powering the graphics.

MSI Leopard 10SFX has a great combination of type A and type C USB ports, SD card reader, HDMI, and DisplayPort outputs. It also has separate jacks for audio and microphone.

The unique feature of the laptop is the backlight for the keyboard. Each key has its own color backlight if you prefer it that way. Instead of the Windows key (left side), the MSI Dragon Center is placed there.

Pros:

  • Sleek professional look
  • Powerful performance
  • Individual RGB for each key
  • Accuracy of Color

Cons:

  • Dim screen
  • Average battery life

Conclusion:

MSI GL65 Leopard is appealing and at the same a power performer. It can compete with the other best laptops for animation on this list. The laptop is sturdy and is capable of handling software for animation or video editing.

11. Dell G5 15

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Display: 15.6" FHD LCD Screen
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD

This laptop is a plastic-build but it doesn’t look cheap at all. Still, it’s not one of those premium-looking laptops out there. With 15.6 inches for its LCD screen, Dell G5 15 has a 120-Hz display and 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution.

The powerful laptop is packed with 9th Gen Intel Core i7. A GeForce GTX model enhances its graphics performance. With the hardware, you can run and create animation projects easily and quickly.

The keyboard backlight is only limited to a blue color option. Ports include USB-A, USB-C, SD card slot, wedge lock, HDMI, and other essentials such as audio jack, and LAN port.

Storage spaces include an SSD and a hard drive, which is a great thing. You get a fast performing and quick-booting drive. At the same time, you have a 1TB hard drive that you can use to store your animation projects.

Pros:

  • Balanced hardware specs
  • Strong performance for animation
  • Extended battery life
  • Good quality for its build
  • Dual-channel RAM

Cons:

  • Average screen display 
  • Mediocre battery life
  • No Thunderbolt 3

Conclusion:

The Dell G5 15  has enough power for animators. It has decent connectivity ports. The laptop is a good performer, great value for your money, and is also one of the best gaming laptops.

12. HP 17 BY 105

  • Operating System: Windows 10 
  • CPU: 8th Generation Intel Core i5
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • Display: 17.3 Inches
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB SSD

An 8th Generation Intel i5 Core Processor powers the HP 17 BY 105. Included in the laptop is RAM of 8GB DDR4 and 256GB SSD.

The screen size measures 17.3 inches, which is the largest so far in this list. However, the graphics card in this laptop isn’t high-end since it’s an integrated UHD 620. You can also find essential ports such as USB, HDMI, internet LAN.

The battery has a capped performance at around 5 to 6 hours, which is pretty decent for animation projects or as a gaming laptop. However, this isn’t ideal if you don't have access to an electrical outlet to charge the laptop. 

Pros:

  • Affordable price for animation business laptop
  • Premium matte appearance
  • Quiet fan to cool device
  • Bigger screen size

Cons:

  • Integrated graphics card
  • Resolution is not great
  • Average battery duration

Conclusion:

HP 17 BY 105 offers a simple laptop with sufficient power for different animation tasks. The SSD might not be enough for storing projects.

Still, this is a great buy if you’re tight on budget and is best for students and beginners. Definitely, this laptop is one of the best laptops for animation, if you base your decision on price.

Best Laptop for Animation: 5 Questions to Ask

Should you get an Intel Core i7 Processor or not?

The answer depends on the type of animation and graphic design you do. If you are doing 2D animation graphics most of the time, an Intel Core i5 8 Generation and above (or the AMD Ryzen 5 3rd gen and above) would be great.

However, if you do 3D animation and graphic design, an Intel i7 Processor with 6 to 8 cores (such as the Intel Core i7 10750H) or the Ryzen 7 equivalent with the H version is the minimum processor. A higher processor than the i7 such as the Intel core i9 9980hk is an ultimate investment.

The clock speed, which is measured in Hz, is also important. If you edit and animate projects, the recommended speed is the highest you can afford. For rendering, get as many cores as your budget allows.

Would a laptop with an Intel Core i3 processor and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti handle animations? Yes, but it could limit other tasks.

What is the Minimum RAM of a Laptop for animation and graphic design?

Beginners and students would do well with 8GB of RAM. You can upgrade it to 16GB RAM or higher later once you have a full grasp of animation and have more budget.

A 16GB or 32GB RAM/memory would be an investment. So, if you have some money to spare, you can opt for a laptop with at least 16GB RAM.

Sometimes, you might see a 64GB RAM laptop but this high of RAM won’t be useful and won’t make a difference.

What is the Best GPU for 3D and 2D Animation?

The best laptop for animation would have at least a dedicated graphics card (GPU). This means the card has its separate vRAM and cores. It doesn’t share with the laptop’s processor.

But, it doesn’t mean that integrated graphics is not good for animation. You can still buy a laptop with an integrated one. It’s just that the animation you could do would be limited.

For 2D projects, the integrated graphics card would be okay. If you do lots of 3D, get a laptop with a dedicated GPU in GTX/RTX (or equivalent AMD models).

Furthermore, a student or beginner would do well with the minimum NVIDIA GTX (or AMD equivalent) such as GeForce 1650 Ti. However, if you are a professional animator, the recommended GPU is the RTX models of NVIDIA (or any equivalent AMD models).

Just remember, higher cores and vRAM mean better graphic design and performance. Yes, opt for a dedicated one, which could increase the price.

How Does the Storage Affect Performance?

The difference in performance is quite remarkable. The best laptops for animation should have a solid-state drive with a minimum of 128GB (if you do 2D animations only).

For 3D animation, the recommended minimum is 256GB and if you can afford an additional hard drive (HDD), get at least 1TB. Alternatively, buy a laptop with at least 512GB SSD.

Should You Get 4K Animation Laptops?

A 1080P resolution is enough for animation and graphic design projects, whether it’s 2D or 3D. 4k Screen is a luxury but it’s not a requirement. Besides, animation and gaming laptops with this option tend to be expensive and could create problems with some software in animating or video editing.

The best laptop for animation should have at least 15 inches. A bigger screen means more frames to see while you work as an animator.

Conclusion

The best laptop for animation and graphic design should have the most powerful processor and graphics card. The RAM also plays a role in the performance of the laptop, especially for a professional animator.

On the other hand, a solid-state drive is a must. Most importantly, the laptop could handle animation software such as 3DS Max, Blend.


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