Over the past year we’ve seen a pretty big spike in creator laptop devices that are geared towards creative work. We’ve seen stuff from like Intel Nvidia and a whole bunch of laptop manufacturers that’s pushing that market to just, you know, selling products to people that are interested in devices for creative work. If you’re like an artist or a video editor or just anything that works with stuff making stuff, this article for you.
I’ve made this kind of buyer’s guide for people that are interested in one of those devices. It’s kind of a guide to figure out what you should look for, what you should avoid just so you don’t get bamboozled into the whole marketing thing. Because there is a lot of marketing fluff in this space right now. So, I’m just gonna address the the first point of this.
Is an age-old debate of MacBooks versus Windows laptops, and over the past couple of years there’s been a very clear and obvious winner when it comes to performance.
With Adobe products particularly, Adobe Premiere Windows laptops were just 2 or 3 times better than Mac books, like, forget about price and value and all that stuff. Just performance wise these things just crushed Apple’s Mac books. But recently around spring of 2019 Adobe updated the software to the point where Apple’s top-of-the-line Mac books are on par or just very equivalent in performance to the top-of-the-line Windows laptops. Forget about like, the potential of keyboard errors and stuff like that, I’m just talking about performance. This is like the Apple platform is a very viable platform for people that are interested in performance with Adobe’s products, as of right now it wasn’t the case.
I like to start with screens because this is something that I think is often overlooked. With kind of the generic laptop review when you talk about content creation a lot of people are interested in a screen that can display colors accurately, to an industry standard. The truth is every single laptop here every single laptop that have ever had with has an imperfect color profile. They’re never gonna be as good as like a professional calibrated screen.
Now, I want to talk about these new OLED panels that are coming into the laptop space. They’re all made by Samsung. A lot of manufacturers are marketing these panels as like, content creator screens for these devices. I have an issue with that, the Samsung OLED panel is an amazing screen. It’s bright, it’s colorful, it’s very vibrant, but, I do not consider them to be good for content creation. There’s a couple reasons why they’re very difficult to calibrate, like, super hard to do it right. One company does it properly, like the arrow 15 from gigabyte. Their new one. They run an OLED and it’s calibrated well. They lower their brightness to do it properly but every other laptop manufacturer that I’ve seen with an OLED panel has worse color accuracy than I thought. They would considering how these screens are marketed towards creative workflows.
Another thing, OLED panels use PWM to control the brightness levels. It’s not some of that’s going to affect everyone but if you’re sensitive to flickering and if you are bothered by fluorescent lights and how they flicker, the PWM on these OLED panels can give you some kind of eye strain point being. I don’t think OLED panels are the optimal choice when it comes to content creation. There are some really good IPS screens on the market right now.
The 15-inch MacBook Pro, great screen, bright color accurate. The two that I would recommend in terms of like the best screens from Windows laptops right now. The Acer concept D. Uses the same panel as the older gigabyte arrow 15. They both use a 4k IPS panel, excellent color accuracy and brights. Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of the gaming laptops right now have these 1080p high refresh screens, and they’re surprisingly good for color accurate work. They’re not great, they’re good, but you just want to expect a gaming screen to be good at all because often, they haven’t been in the past.
The Razer Blade 15. This is a 2018 model has a very usable screen for a color accurate work, once you calibrate it. The takeaway here is that you don’t have to buy an OLED screen for sure and even some of the older devices. Like, they’re great, especially some of the 4k IPS panels. They are very good for color accurate work.
OK, next thing, let’s talk about pricing and value. When you purchase a creator laptop or a laptop for creative work, there’s kind of two main things you want to keep in mind. The CPU and the GPU. You want to pick up, if you can afford it, a six core CPU that’s basically the number of cores that are in your processing unit of your laptop. You don’t need the 2019 versions, the 2018 versions are already great. The GPU, let the graphical chip inside your laptop is a much more complicated decision. It’s really dependent on what you do for your creative work. If you’re like, a Photoshop user or an Adobe Premiere user, you don’t need anything super powerful. The difference between the ten sixty and the top align our checks twenty eighty is very slights when it comes to a lot of photo and video work. Now, MacBook users have a GPU option at the top end of a Vega GPU and that graphics card is quite a bit more capable than their five 60 or five 60 X. If you can afford it and you’re one of the people that really want to use Mac for your creative stuff, I would recommend to get that Vega option. It is a worthwhile upgrade.
RAM. This is again very dependent on what you do. For the most part, 16 gigs is good enough. There are a lot of applications that can take advantage of 32GB at this point. So, if you’re a Photoshop user and your projects are like six seven hundred Meg’s, like once you get into bigger projects the extra RAM is nice. The same thing goes for video editing. I output 4k videos and I can definitely benefit from 32 gigs of ram instead of 16. That’s basically the main Hardware decisions you just gotta figure out, what you’re doing, what you need and go off of that.
I want to talk about performance a little bit. Here’s a chart that has playback and render performance for a few different hardware configurations.
The MacBook Performance is finally on par with Windows laptops, which is really nice to see. We also noticed that the GPU choice is really not all that important as long as you have something that’s pretty good, you’re gonna be great. You really don’t need the top-of-the-line r-tx hardware when it comes to Adobe’s software.