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Best Laptop For Animation

A deeper look at the laptop market place to try and find the best for individuals who work with animations

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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

01
Editor's Pick
Best Laptop for Animation

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming PC Laptop

4.8
/5
Editor's Rating
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming PC Laptop

Processor

Intel Core i7-8750H

Memory

16 GB DDR4

Operating System

Windows 10

Graphics Card

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Max-Q) 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM

Screen Size

15.6 inches

Storage

512 GB Flash Memory Solid State

4.8
/5
Editor's Rating
02
Runner Up
Best Dell Laptop For Animation

Dell XPS 15

4.7
/5
Editor's Rating
Dell XPS 15

Processor

Up to 9th Generation Intel Core i9-9980HK

Memory

Up to 32 GB, 2 x 16 GB, DDR4, 2666 MHz

Operating System

Windows 10 Home 64 bit

Graphics Card

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4 GB GDDR5

Screen Size

Up to 15.6 in. display

Storage

Up to 1 TB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid-State Drive

4.7
/5
Editor's Rating
03
Value Pick
Best Value Laptop for animation

Acer Aspire E15

4.7
/5
Editor's Rating
Acer Aspire E15

Processor

3.5 GHz Ryzen 3 2200U

Memory

4 GB DDR4

Operating System

Windows 10 Home

Graphics Card

AMD Radeon Vega 3

Screen Size

15.6 inches

Storage

128 GB Flash Memory Solid State

4.7
/5
Editor's Rating
04
Apple Pick
Best Apple For Animation

Apple MacBook Pro

4.8
/5
Editor's Rating
Apple MacBook Pro

Processor

Up to 4 core Intel Core i7

Memory

Up to 16 GB

Operating System

macOS

Graphics Card

Up to Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655

Screen Size

13.3 inch

Storage

Up to 2 TB

4.8
/5
Editor's Rating

How We Choose

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.

How We Test

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.

Things To Consider

Performance

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.

Storage

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

01
Editor's Pick
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming PC Laptop

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming PC Laptop

  • Processor Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Memory 16 GB DDR4
  • Operating System Windows 10
  • Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Max-Q) 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM
  • Screen Size 15.6 inches
  • Storage 512 GB Flash Memory Solid State
02
Runner Up
Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15

  • Processor Up to 9th Generation Intel Core i9-9980HK
  • Memory Up to 32 GB, 2 x 16 GB, DDR4, 2666 MHz
  • Operating System Windows 10 Home 64 bit
  • Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4 GB GDDR5
  • Screen Size Up to 15.6 in. display
  • Storage Up to 1 TB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid-State Drive
03
Value Pick
Acer Aspire E15

Acer Aspire E15

  • Processor 3.5 GHz Ryzen 3 2200U
  • Memory 4 GB DDR4
  • Operating System Windows 10 Home
  • Graphics Card AMD Radeon Vega 3
  • Screen Size 15.6 inches
  • Storage 128 GB Flash Memory Solid State
04
Apple Pick
Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Pro

  • Processor Up to 4 core Intel Core i7
  • Memory Up to 16 GB
  • Operating System macOS
  • Graphics Card Up to Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • Screen Size 13.3 inch
  • Storage Up to 2 TB

In-depth Review

01
Editor's Pick
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming PC Laptop

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S Ultra Slim Gaming PC Laptop

  • Processor Intel Core i7-8750H
  • Memory 16 GB DDR4
  • Operating System Windows 10
  • Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (Max-Q) 8 GB GDDR6 VRAM
  • Screen Size 15.6 inches
  • Storage 512 GB Flash Memory Solid State
Pros
  • Powerful graphics card
  • Great fans
Cons
  • 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.

02
Runner Up
Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15

  • Processor Up to 9th Generation Intel Core i9-9980HK
  • Memory Up to 32 GB, 2 x 16 GB, DDR4, 2666 MHz
  • Operating System Windows 10 Home 64 bit
  • Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4 GB GDDR5
  • Screen Size Up to 15.6 in. display
  • Storage Up to 1 TB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid-State Drive
Pros
  • Crisp display
  • Slim design
Cons
  • 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.

03
Value Pick
Acer Aspire E15

Acer Aspire E15

  • Processor 3.5 GHz Ryzen 3 2200U
  • Memory 4 GB DDR4
  • Operating System Windows 10 Home
  • Graphics Card AMD Radeon Vega 3
  • Screen Size 15.6 inches
  • Storage 128 GB Flash Memory Solid State
Pros
  • Great for low budget
  • Excellent battery life
Cons
  • Not the most powerful on the list
  • Looks dated

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.

04
Apple Pick
Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Pro

  • Processor Up to 4 core Intel Core i7
  • Memory Up to 16 GB
  • Operating System macOS
  • Graphics Card Up to Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • Screen Size 13.3 inch
  • Storage Up to 2 TB
Pros
  • Superb design and build quality
Cons
  • Lack of ports
  • Incredibly expensive

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.

Final Word

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.

Technology Writer AT WEPC

Aaron Ritchie

From halcyon days playing Sonic 2 on the Megadrive, to trying to work out how to make the 'TOASTY!' man appear on Mortal Kombat 3, many of Aaron’s fondest childhood memories are associated with gaming. He regrets nothing. First getting into PC gaming through exposure to Drug Lord 2.0 and then the original Half Life, he has been a fiend ever since. If you need to know anything about gaming laptops, he's your guy.