Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The 6 best 2-in-1 laptops for drawing in 2024

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Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

Best overall 2-in-1 laptop for drawing

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8

Runner up

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Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i

Best budget 2-in-1 laptop for drawing

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Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Best detachable 2-in-1 tablet for drawing

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Acer Chromebook Spin 714 Laptop

Best Chromebook 2-in-1 for drawing

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Apple iPad Pro 12.9-Inch

Best iPad for drawing

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Whether you’re a seasoned professional or enjoy drawing as a hobby, investing in a 2-in-1 laptop is a great idea for all sorts of artists. Drawing on a laptop makes it easy to quickly share your creation with others, which is especially useful if you’re doing it as a professional–negating the need to upload your pen-and-paper sketch to the computer before sending it to a client. Moreover, working on a laptop lets you undo mistakes, zoom in to better handle small details, and quickly change utensils.

There are a lot of perks to drawing on a 2-in-1 laptop, but not all of them are great for creators. Some have unresponsive displays that can’t register all your movements, while others might have a lackluster resolution or color spectrum that turns most images into a muddled mess. Because of that, it can be hard figuring out which laptop is best for your needs. And if you’ll be spending a good chunk of change on the laptop, you’ll want to make sure you get it right.

To help you with your search, we’ve compiled a list of the best 2-in-1 laptops for drawing. This includes everything from Surface Laptops and Lenovo ThinkPads to budget picks and iPads. Whatever your needs, you’re bound to find something perfect for your artistic endeavors on this list. If you don’t find anything, consider looking at our best 2-in-1 laptop roundup for more ideas.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

Best overall 2-in-1 laptop for drawing

Pros

  • Unique folding design
  • Vibrant display
  • Tons of storage

Cons

  • Expensive

Specifications

Display
14.4 inches

CPU
Intel Core i7-13700H

RAM
32GB

Storage
1TB

No matter how you cut it, the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 is an absolute powerhouse. Along with a fascinating design that lets it fold flat into a tablet or upright into a laptop, it comes packed with premium hardware for a smooth drawing experience.

Part of the appeal of the Surface Laptop Studio 2 is its touchscreen display, which boasts a 2400 x 1600 resolution and is plenty large at 14.4 inches. You’ll want to pair this with the Surface Slim Pen 2, which supports over 4,000 points of pressure sensitivity and has an eraser on the end for quick edits. What’s even cooler is the built-in haptics, giving you feedback for your actions.

Aside from a great stylus and screen, Microsoft loaded the Surface Laptop Studio 2 with tons of high-end components. This includes an Intel Core i7-13700H, GeForce RTX 4050, 32GB RAM, and massive 1TB SSD. We’re also big fans of the overall style of the laptop, which is highly adjustable and lets you find the ideal layout for drawing whether you’re sitting at a desk, hunched over a table at a coffee shop, or commuting on the train.

If you like most of what you see on the Surface Laptop Studio 2 but want to make a few tweaks to its hardware, you’ll find versions with less storage and RAM – which also lowers its price tag. And if you need even more storage, consider looking at the model with the 2TB SSD. Of course, a product this luxurious doesn’t come cheap, and you’ll be looking at close to $3,000 if you want to add the Surface Laptop Studio 2 to your arsenal. But if you want the best 2-in-1 for drawing without any compromise, it’s hard to beat Microsoft’s powerhouse.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

Best overall 2-in-1 laptop for drawing


Lenovo

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8

Runner up

Pros

  • Staggering 64GB RAM
  • Plenty of storage
  • Several stylus options

Cons

  • Expensive

Specifications

Display
14 inches

CPU
Intel Core i7-1370P

RAM
64GB

Storage
2TB

If you’re looking for a traditional 2-in-1 that’s a bit more affordable than the Surface Laptop Studio 2, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 is a great alternative. Despite being cheaper, it offers plenty of great specs, including 64GB RAM and 2TB SSD, both of which outshine the Surface Laptop Studio 2.

Unlike Microsoft’s laptop, this one uses a standard 2-in-1 design, meaning it simply folds flat instead of doing the acrobatics of the Surface Laptop Studio 2. So while it’s not as innovative, it still works perfectly fine as both a tablet and laptop. Its display is also shockingly vibrant, clocking in at a resolution of 3840 x 2400.

You’ll also have plenty of pens to choose from, as Lenovo’s stylus selection includes multiple products that run the gamut from entry-level to professional. Toss in the Intel Core i7-1370P, and you’ve got a well-rounded laptop that’s just as great for watching TV or replying to emails as it is drawing. Be sure to give this a look if you prefer the traditional 2-in-1 format and want something that’ll save you a few bucks.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8

Runner up

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Lenovo

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i

Best budget 2-in-1 laptop for drawing

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Lenovo reliability
  • Premium “Micro-Edge” screen design

Cons

  • Underpowered components

Specifications

Display
14 inches

CPU
Intel Core i3-1115G4

RAM
4GB

Storage
256GB

Clocking in under $500, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is much more affordable than the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5. It’s still built to the same high standards of Lenovo, and while its hardware isn’t quite as exciting, it’s a great budget option for artists.

One of the coolest features of this affordable 2-in-1 is its display. At 14 inches, it’s both large enough to see all your work yet small enough to toss into a backpack or suitcase. It even manages to boast a 1920 x 1080 resolution, so you should have no problem tackling all the small details in your piece. The big draw, however, is what’s described as its “Micro-Edge” appearance, allowing the screen to run incredibly close to the edges of the laptop and leaves no wasted space.

Lenovo rounds out the IdeaPad Flex 5i with a 720p webcam for video chats, an SD card reader for additional storage, and a decent 256GB SSD. You can further modify your rig with additional storage–with prebuilt models maxing out at 2TB. It’s hardware won’t let you handle additional tasks like editing or gaming, but if you only plan to draw and browse the web, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is a great option for burgeoning artists.

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i

Best budget 2-in-1 laptop for drawing


Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Best detachable 2-in-1 tablet for drawing

Pros

  • Portable footprint
  • Impressive display
  • Tons of additional accessories

Cons

  • Not a “true” laptop

Specifications

Display
13 inches

CPU
Intel Core i7-2640M

RAM
16GB

Storage
256GB

Not a fan of the 2-in-1 design that forces you to fold the keyboard to the back of the screen? Then a detachable 2-in-1 might be a better option. These are essentially tablets that let you snap on a keyboard when you’re ready to type. But when you’re not typing, they can be removed to create a streamlined drawing device. Few products in this category are as well-rounded as the Microsoft Surface Pro 9, as it’s responsive screen and good hardware make it ideal for drawing.

Like our best overall 2-in-1 for drawing, this one is developed by Microsoft. That means you’ll get a reliable device destined to last years before showing signs of wear. It also means you can use its powerful stylus, so it’s a perfect companion for artists and creators. Keep in mind that both the stylus and detachable keyboard are sold separately, though since the Surface Pro 9 clocks in just over $1,000, it’ll still end up being much cheaper than either of our top picks.

The components inside the tablet are pretty solid, including 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and an Intel Core i7-2640M. For drawing, it benefits from Dolby Vision IQ – a fancy way of saying it produces robust visuals for all your favorite content. Its 13 inches screen might be too small for some, but it’s perfect if you want a portable device that doesn’t skimp on the drawing experience.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Best detachable 2-in-1 tablet for drawing


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Acer

Acer Chromebook Spin 714 Laptop

Best Chromebook 2-in-1 for drawing

Pros

  • Simple ChromeOS
  • Affordable price
  • Minimalist design

Cons

  • Lackluster RAM
  • Better stylus on other products

Specifications

Display
14 inches

CPU
Intel Core i5-1335U

RAM
8GB

Storage
256GB

Prefer Chromebooks to standard Windows laptops? Then be sure to look at the Acer Chromebook Spin 714, as it’s a great laptop for drawing that won’t break the bank. In fact, it’s almost as affordable as out best budget pick – making it a great alternative to Lenovo’s 2-in-1.

Though it doesn’t come with a stylus, you can pair it with a USI stylus from Acer to better replicate the pen-on-paper drawing experience. Its sizable 14-inch display boasts a 1920 x 1200 resolution, so you should have no problem working on intricate projects. And since it features ChromeOS, programs load fast and are responsive despite just 8GB RAM.

Like most Chromebooks, this one features a minimalist design composed of black and a few bronze accents. It looks pretty sharp considering its price, and since the large screen has tiny bezels, it looks more premium than you’d expect. We’d recommend looking for something with a bit more RAM if you plan on doing any intense photo editing, but 8GB and its Intel Core i5 are more than enough for drawing.

Acer Chromebook Spin 714 Laptop

Best Chromebook 2-in-1 for drawing


Apple

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-Inch

Best iPad for drawing

Pros

  • Designed by Apple
  • Premium M2 Chip
  • Several addtional keyboards and stylus

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Cramped typing experience

Specifications

Display
12.9 inches

Chipset
M2 Chip with 8-core CPU

Storage
256GB

We get it – the iPad Pro isn’t technically a 2-in-1 laptop. However, it can be paired with several different Apple keyboards, turning it into a detachable device much like the Microsoft Surface. And because it’s such a great option for artists and creators, it’s a worthy inclusion on this “laptop” list.

This version of the iPad Pro offers a 12.9 inch display, which is quite small, but since it’s a Liquid Retina XDR display, all your drawings are brought to life with stunning clarity. We’d primarily recommend it for folks who love drawing while away from home, as the small screen makes it ultra-portable and perfect for working in coffee shops or while on public transit. Apple notes that this version also works with the Apple Pen (2nd Gen) and Apple Pencil (USB-C), so you’ve got a few options when it comes to choosing a stylus.

Like all things Apple, the iPad Pro doesn’t cut many corners. It’s M2 Chipset is powerful enough for both drawing and light photo editing, its 256GB SSD gives you plenty of space for storage, and the overall style of the tablet is sleek and streamlined. And despite its tiny footprint, it comes with a 12MP camera, USB-C port, Face ID, and the ability to work with Wi-Fi 6E networks.

The main drawback to the iPad Pro? It’s not a dedicated 2-in-1, so you’ll need to carry around a keypad with you. It’s also quite small, so the traditional laptop experience might be cramped for some users. Besides those caveats, there’s little to complain about when it comes to drawing on the iPad Pro.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-Inch

Best iPad for drawing

How we chose the best 2-in-1 laptops for drawing

There are hundreds of great 2-in-1 laptops available in 2024, and narrowing down the options isn’t easy. However, you can make your search a bit easier by focusing on a few key factors that are important for artists, including how well the laptop handles the overall drawing experience, whether it’s built by a reputable company, and what sort of hardware is packed inside. Here’s a look at what we used to create our list of the best 2-in-1 laptops for drawing.

Smooth drawing experience

The most important factor to consider when searching for a 2-in-1 tablet for drawing is whether or not the drawing experience is comfortable and enjoyable. Not all laptops offer responsive touchscreens, and many don’t even offer a stylus or let you customize their performance. Of course, not all artists are searching for the same thing in a tablet, and some might prefer certain setups over another, but all the products on this list include a responsive display and should meet the majority of criteria for even the most demanding creator.

Large, vibrant display

Laptops are great for drawing, as they let you zoom in and perfect the tiniest of details. However, it’s also useful to have a large canvas to work with, as this lets you get a better look at your drawing and see more details without the need to constantly zoom in and out. Some of the products on our list are a bit more compact than others, making them great for travel, but all of them offer brilliant displays and serve as ideal alternatives to pen and paper. Better yet, they’re also great for watching movies or streaming your favorite TV shows, allowing them to work as an entertainment center when you’re not drawing.

Processing power

Drawing doesn’t require nearly as much firepower as video editing or gaming, but you still don’t want a laptop that’ll slow down in the middle of your work. Products with premium processors and a good chunk of RAM ensure your laptop will keep pace with your workflow. Some products even come with a nice GPU, so if your creative endeavors expand beyond drawing, you should have no problem tackling more intensive content creation.

Storage

If you’re constantly working on large projects, you’ll quickly realize you need a lot of storage for your images. Ideally, you’ll have a rig with at least 512GB, though you can get away with less if you rely on cloud storage or like saving your files to external drives. Regardless, it never hurts to have a 2-in-1 laptop with a large SSD, as it ensures you’ll never have to erase old creations to make way for new ones.

Durability and longevity

A 2-in-1 laptop is an investment. Opting for one of the best will cost you around $1,000, and you’ll probably want it to last years before needing a replacement. Because of that, we stuck to trusted brands like Microsoft and Lenovo for this list – all but guaranteeing you’ll get a quality laptop that’s built for longevity. We also took into account overall build quality and durability, as there’s a good chance you’ll want to toss your 2-in-1 into a backpack when you hit the road, as you never know when inspiration will strike.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

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