The Best Chromebooks for Artists and Creatives [October 2019]
When you think of a laptop, your mind probably turns to a shiny new MacBook Pro, or perhaps one of the nicer PC models that are growing in both power and size. These computers are doubtlessly awesome, and pack a serious punch that makes it easier than ever for creative professionals to craft everything from pro-level movies to chart-topping pop hits in the comfort of their own living room.
The reality, however, is that most of us simply don’t need that much processing power to get through the day, and we’re dishing out way more money than we should be on admittedly awesome-looking products that do far more than we need.
For the average person who uses their laptop to surf the web, send emails and watch the occasional Netflix show, there are far more affordable laptop computers that can handle these tasks perfectly well.
These machines are called Chromebooks, but the truth is that many of the latest models can do way more than simply act as extensions of your smartphone. In fact, more and more creatives and artists are turning to the Chromebook as a valuable and affordable way to create everything from illustrations to more in-depth graphic design elements, and they’re saving a ton of money in the process.
Of course even the more high-end Chromebooks that appeal to artists aren’t created equal, and several prominent companies have scrambled to create their own version of Google’s famed infrastructure that lends itself more to design and artistry.
So before you go and select that good-looking Chromebook that you hope will help you take your art to the next level, check out our list of the best Chromebooks that artists and creatives can buy.
We understand that artists enjoy different mediums, and there’s no single type of Chromebook that’s going to completely encompass everything either an aspiring or established artist needs when it comes to creating on the go.
This Lenovo Chromebook, however, offers a unique level of functionality and affordability that makes it ideal for traveling creatives who need to jot down their best ideas at a moment’s notice.
Equipped with a Mediatech MT8173C Processor, the latest Chrome OS, 4 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and 64 GB on onboard storage, this intrepid 2-in-1 Chromebook allows you to carry out your day-to-day tasks while also unleashing your inner artist with ease.
Its sleek and stylish design makes it easy to toss in your bag at a moment’s notice (so you can get your latest ideas recorded on the train), and since it weighs just six pounds you won’t have to worry about it weighing you down even on your longer excursions.
This Chromebook has more than enough RAM for multitasking on the go, and your order even comes with an additional 100 GB of cloud storage via Google Drive—meaning that you’ll be able to upload your best ideas to the cloud for safe keeping, regardless of whether you’re running out of space on the machine itself.
There are also a series of connectivity options that make it easy to attach your go-to creative peripherals (including a USB-C, SD card reader, and USB 3 port), and a built-in 720P HD camera makes it easy to snap selfies or pictures of your surroundings in any environment.
And although it’s not necessarily a necessity for creatives who don’t consider themselves to be visual artists, this Chromebook is fully compatible with most styluses (which we recommend using in tablet mode) that allow you to sketch to your heart’s content without having to rely on your fingers.
Samsung has earned its near-perfect reputation among Chromebook manufacturers by making truly great products that stand the test of time, and this titan of creative control is no exception.
It’s incredibly lightweight at just under three pounds and easily converts into tablet mode for working or viewing. It also comes with a built-in pen that never needs charging, so you’ll be able to quickly write, sketch, edit, magnify and even take screenshots with ease.
There are dual cameras allowing you to capture clear shots and even zoom in for a closer look with the revolutionary 13MP world-facing camera with autofocus, and the pre-installed Chrome OS and Google Play Store offer limitless options when it comes to downloading and using the latest and greatest creative apps and tools.
Another impressive feature of this Chromebook is its ability to expand its on-board 32GB of built-in memory to 400GB when you use a micro SD card, which can be a major plus for artists who don’t necessarily trust the cloud with their latest masterpieces.
We were also impressed with the accuracy and reliability of the stylus pen that comes with this Chromebook, which functions well even at differing press rates and in competing apps.
Not to be outdone by Samsung when it comes to high-functioning Chromebooks that are as powerful as they are compact, ASUS has delivered this exceptionally-cool computer that’s uniquely well-suited for the more clumsy artists among us—thanks to a series of protections that help it withstand more than its fair share of drops and bumps, including rubber guards and a spill-resistant keyboard.
Like every great Chromebook, the C202SA if super lightweight at just 2.65 pounds, and the 11.6-inch HD anti-glare display has more than enough room to accommodate your latest creative ideas without forcing you to resort to an external monitor.
There’s a 180-degree hinge that allows for easy viewing at a wide variety of angles, and the super-fast Intel Celeron N3060 Processor (with 2M Cache and up to 2.48 GHz of power) delivers zippy performance across the board.
You also get 4GB of DDR3 RAM along with 16GB of flash storage, and although there’s no CD or DVD drive (and you’d be hard pressed to find a Chromebook that offers these perks) you have the option of uploading your more important files to cloud via WiFi.
You get the Chrome OS preinstalled, and a powerful battery delivers 10 hours of play or work time on a single charge—depending of course on what you’re using the laptop for.
We were also impressed with the HD anti-glare display, which allows users to see more accurate renditions of their visual work.
We weren’t kidding when we said that Samsung has spent a great deal of effort creating top-quality Chromebooks that can edge out the competition at any price range. Although a bit pricier than the Samsung at our number-two spot, this crafty touch-screen computer has a bit more power and clarity in the display.
You get an Intel Core M3 Processor that runs at speeds of up to 2.2GHz, along with 4GB of LPDDR4 memory and a respectable nine hours of battery life on a single charge.
You also get 32GB of onboard storage along with an incredibly sleek design that only weights 2.3 pounds—again making it ideal for frequent travelers or commuters who need to get their ideas down quickly and efficiently.
And just like every truly great Chromebook that fits the needs and lifestyles of our greatest artists, this computer comes with a built-in pen that lends itself to everything from doodling and sketching to writing an essay or customizing a photo on the go.
Featuring a convertible 2-in-1 design and a range of features that make it well-suited for both business and art, this Chromebook runs the Chrome OS and all of the wonderful apps and tools that come with it—including apps that allow you to draw and record your thoughts in real-time.
You get a MediaTek Quad-Core CPU, a 13.3-inch Full HD Touch Display, 4GB of memory, 32GB eMMC storage, and up to twelve hours of battery life on a single charge.
This computer also comes packed with all the connections you’ll need to attach everything from external hard drives to monitors, and an integrated Imagination PowerVR GX6250 Graphics card is perfect for visual artists who crave accurate color reproduction.
Or, if you’re more of a sound artist, this Chromebook boasts some of the best speakers we’ve ever heard on machines in this price range—with a robust yet clear low-end along with shimmering highs that will let you listen to your favorite tunes without having to resort to external speakers.
The 360-degree hinge also provides the perfect combination of flexibility and strength so you can effortlessly open the lid and enjoy a great touch experience. You can use it as a mobile Android tablet, optimize productivity in notebook mode, and share and create content with the screen folded backwards. The R13 also detects the mode you’re in and optimizes the sound accordingly through its two sets of speakers.