If you’re looking to upgrade an old laptop or are even just starting your journey into the world of animation, one of the most important things you’ll need is a system that is powerful enough to accomplish what you need.
While most systems will be able to accomplish your goals, if your system isn’t quite up to scratch you can spend hours trudging through crashes or even losing data because of them. A laptop is a perfect companion as it is both portable and powerful enough to complete your work.
It’s always tricky picking out a new laptop, especially if you haven’t got a lot of experience. You’ll need to make sure the laptop has enough space to hold your data, enough power to process your work and, most importantly, doesn’t break the bank.
With all that in mind, we’ve taken the time to pick out four of the best laptops available today that will suit all your animation needs. While these aren’t specifically noted as being ‘animation laptops’ they have the perfect mix of specifications to get the job done.
Our Top Picks
Best Laptops for Animation: First Look
A great gaming laptop that will easily double as a durable workhorse.
If you know you won’t be using your laptop solely for work, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus is a laptop that can really do it all. We’re particularly impressed by the cooling system and sleek design.
If you want both style and substance, the MacBook Pro is one of the most desirable and capable laptops out there
If you haven’t used a Mac before, don’t be put off! They are excellent for any and all creative work and once you’ve used one, you’ll find it hard to make the jump back to Windows.
It’s always hard making these lists, the last thing we want to do is recommend a product that isn’t any good! It takes hours of research and testing before we can get anywhere near a final decision on what counts as the best.
We also like to look at user feedback and our own personal reviews when recommending a product. If you aren’t very tech conscious it can be very intimidating going through all the specifications and listings of each product.
Don’t worry, now that you are here you’ll be able to put your mind at ease. We’ve picked a couple of our favorite options for the best laptops out there which will have you animating in no time.
Now, we can’t start recommending products without making sure they are suitable. That’s why during the product selection process for these guides we make sure that these truly match up to being the ‘best’ in their area.
We accomplish this by putting each of these products through a strict testing process before they make the list. This lets us look at all of the key areas that you’ll need to look for when choosing a good system. For the products we can’t get our hands on, we spend our time combing through all the reviews we can find and pick out some of the key pros and cons of each item.
In the case of laptops that are great for animation, we’ll be looking at laptops that have great screens, fast processors, large amounts of RAM and enough storage to hold all your work. Each of the laptops we’ll be covering today will fall into a slightly different budget bracket and will differ slightly on specifications, but any of them will make a great choice to get started with.
First and foremost, you’ll want to make the performance of the laptop you buy the highest priority. Without a good level of performance, you’ll find the programs you’ll be using for creating your animations will start to run too slowly to be useful.
Software such as Blender, 3DS Max, and MotionBuilder all require ample amounts of processing power, RAM, and GPU usage to run at their very best. You’ll want to aim towards higher clock speeds, at least 8 GB of RAM and a decent graphics card if you want to futureproof your system.
The higher you go on the performance scale will have a direct impact on the price of the laptop though. It’s best to have an idea of exactly what you are looking to achieve so you don’t end up overspending on the power that you’ll never end up using.
You’ll also likely have a lot of large file sizes if you’re going to be handling a lot of animations, as well as the rest of the storage space you’ll need for the operating system and general files and documents.
If you can, picking up a system with expandable storage is a great option to have. This will let you either upgrade the existing hard drive or add storage such as SD cards. While you always have the option of running an external hard drive, it’s often more helpful having a larger amount of storage already built-in.
It’s also worth looking at laptops with solid-state drives rather than traditional hard drives. These will vastly speed up your systems load times and will also allow your programs to run that little bit faster.
What Budget Should I Set For A Laptop for Animation?
If you’re going to be looking at laptops that offer high levels of performance to help you complete your day to day tasks, you’ll need to be aware that these will cost a fair amount more than a standard laptop. The addition of more powerful processors, extended storage and a graphics card can quickly drive the price of a laptop to $1000 and above.
We’ve tried to include laptops from slightly different price ranges today but generally, you’ll be looking at around $400 for a budget laptop, $800-$1000 for a mid-range option, and $1500+ for a top-of-the-line laptop.
The price of these laptops is so high as they aren’t solely useful for animation purposes. You’ll be able to game on these, edit videos and work on graphic design. While you’ll pay a bit of a premium if you go for more popular brands, there are still great deals to be found on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
Best Laptops for Animation
Powerful graphics card
Fans are loud under load
First on our list is a laptop that, on the surface, looks like it is purely built around gaming. While this may be the case, the amount of performance on offer here will work wonders if you choose to use this as your daily workhorse.
While the fans can get quite loud under a heavy load, they do an excellent job of cooling the system which is something you’ll want to look out for whether or not you’re gaming or working.
These fans are touted as “anti-dust” and “self-cleaning” and when paired with the 5mm vent that opens when the lid is up, they help increase the airflow by up to 22% when compared to a traditional design.
This laptop looks great too. This is definitely geared towards those who like ‘gamer tech’ with the ROG logo stamped on the back, a brushed metal design and ultra-thin bezels. Thankfully, the design isn’t too overboard which means this is something you won’t feel ashamed while working in a café.
If you’re on the move, this laptop has a great set of ports. Alongside the usual ports, you’ll find a USB Type-C port as well as an HDMI 2.0b port that supports 4K displays.
Below-average battery life
Packing up to a 9th generation Intel Core i9 processor, this laptop is a powerful machine with a fantastic graphics card, RAM, and storage options. This laptop offers up to 32 GB of DDR4 RAM which should be more than enough for you to accomplish any of your animating needs.
With the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, this will not only help your animating efforts but also will allow you to use the laptop for gaming in your off-time.
With storage up to 1 TB and a solid-state drive, you will have no issue saving all your hard work and any software you need to run will boot up as quickly as you need it to.
However, with all that power and performance, you won’t find this falls into the budget range. You’ll have to save roughly about $1,500 for this laptop which puts it on roughly the same price level as entry-level MacBooks.
The clean design and performance put it on the same high end of the value scale if you’re comparing it to Apple products. So, if you’re looking for a powerful device, this certainly fits the bill.
However, it’s important to note that the downside of having such a powerful device is that the battery life isn’t the best. This means it’s probably not a laptop you’ll want to work on while out and about unless you have access to a wall socket to keep it charged.
Great for low budget
Excellent battery life
Not the most powerful on the list
While it’s not much to look at, if you are searching for a laptop that can handle processes such as animation but don’t want to break the bank, the Acer Aspire E15 could be perfect for you.
This is a budget laptop that covers all the essentials you will need for most processes. You will have to set aside around $400-500 for this laptop which puts it at the lower end of the pricing scale.
Another plus for this laptop is that it has an excellent battery life which should be very useful if you’re spending hours creating and editing animations on the move. The touchpad on this laptop is also fairly large and supports multi-touch gestures and smooth scrolling which is handy for when you’re performing intricate tasks such as animation editing.
What holds it back is the low RAM and the overall running performance which could be better. That’s the price of a laptop this cheap, unfortunately. Bearing that in mind, you probably won’t want to use this laptop for gaming as you’ll struggle to get them to run smoothly. If you’re looking for a laptop that is great for gaming on the side, there are better options out there.
However, for the price, there should be enough for most tasks you want to get done on this machine even when it comes to animating.
Superb design and build quality
Lack of ports
It wouldn’t be a complete list for the creatives among us if we didn’t include at least one laptop from Apple. Apple is much loved among creatives such as graphic designers, video editors and of course animators.
Well known for sleek good looks and minimalist design, Apple laptops are also powerful little devices. With MacBook Pros offering up to four core processors, 16 GB of memory, and up to 2 TB worth of storage space, this is ideal for animators.
With its small-sized screen and lightweight design, it’s also perfect for anyone who needs to work on the move. If you do use it on the move, Apple has built-in its Touch ID security system to keep your laptop safe.
Apple’s touch bar system improves functionality and helps you perform tasks more quickly and efficiently which means that using this laptop will be a breeze.
It will, however, be quite an investment to set you back if you buy an Apple product. You’ll have to spend around $1,500 to pick up one of these laptops and even more if you want a more powerful variant that puts it at the higher end of the price spectrum.
If you are an Apple fan, it’s an impressive laptop that could make it worth the price, particularly if you are a professional animator.
Now we’ve finished covering the laptops which we think are the best for animation, it’s always a good idea to have a short roundup of some of the best features. We know that our readers are busy and reviews have the tendency to be quite long!
Here’s a short breakdown of some of the key areas you might be looking at and which the best laptops for the job are.
If you’re looking for a laptop that offers great design and styling to go about your work, going with the MacBook Pro could be the option for you. While you’ll pay a massive premium for the privilege, MacBooks are a top brand.
Don’t want to break the bank? It could be worth trying out the Acer Aspire E15. This little laptop might not have the same big specs as others on the list, but it will help you get started.
If you are a bit of a gamer on the side, you might want to grab something with a great graphics card in it. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim is a great laptop that handles modern titles nicely as well as having the power to work hard.
These were the best laptops that we managed to find during our search, while each of these will be perfect for the task of animating, some are definitely better than others. There are some pretty expensive laptops on our list today, we did try and include some lower-priced alternatives but if animation is your primary goal, you’ll definitely want the extra power.
Still stuck for choice? Why not check out some of the alternatives below. Any of these laptops could have easily made the list today but we simply ran out of space.
Now that you’ve finally made it to the end of this article we hope that we’ve shed some light on the world of high-performance laptops. While there aren’t any specific ‘animation’ based laptops out there, any of the laptops on our list today would make a perfect working companion.
Is there anything we’ve missed? What’s the laptop you use for all your animation needs? Let us know down in the comments section below or better still, head on over to our Community Hub where you can chat with fellow enthusiasts about all things tech.