These are the best creator laptops in 2022
Content creation, whether that’s photo or video editing, 3D rendering, or streaming, requires a powerful PC. You see a lot of content creators on the internet nowadays, but making that work happen is challenging, and doing it efficiently means you need the hardware to get things done quickly. If you’re trying to grow in this market, investing in a powerful PC can be worth it, and to help you out with that, we’ve rounded up the best laptops for creators you can buy right now.
Now, if you’re just getting started, or you just want to dip your toes into some kind of content creation, you might not need a super-powerful laptop. Modern ultrabooks can handle photo editing fairly well, and video editing, while it may take a while longer, is still doable at lower resolutions. This list features laptops meant for people who want to do this professionally. They all have very fast processors and graphics cards, which means they can handle high-resolution video editing and streaming, 3D rendering, and more without a problem.
So, what are the best laptops for creators right now? Let’s dive into it.
Navigate this article:
- Best overall: Dell XPS 17 9710
- Best for on-the-go creation: MacBook Pro 16-inch
- Best dual-screen laptop: ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo 15 OLED
- Best convertible laptop: Surface Laptop Studio
- Best laptop with OLED display: Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED
- Best 15-inch laptop: Dell XPS 15 9510
- Best business laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4
- Best laptop for gamers: Razer Blade 17 (2022)
Best overall: Dell XPS 17 (9710)
When it comes to professional laptops, few have the reputation of Dell’s XPS family, and the XPS 17 in particular is one of the best options for content creators. As you’d expect from a high-end creator laptop, it has powerful specs, a large display, and a surprisingly compact design.
First off, the Dell XPS 17 is packing very high-end specs, starting with 11th-generation 45W Intel Core processors up to a Core i9-11980HK. That’s an 8-core, 16-thread processor with boost speeds up to 5GHz, which is already enough to make this one of the most powerful laptops you can buy. You can also add up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card with 70W of power, though, giving you a lot more performance for some rendering tasks. Beyond that, you can configure the Dell XPS 17 with up to 64GB of RAM and a whopping 8TB of storage. Both the RAM and storage are upgradeable, too, so you can buy a cheaper configuration and upgrade later.
Another important aspect for a creator laptop is the display, and the Dell XPS 17 delivers. It’s got a 17-inch panel, giving you plenty of real estate for your apps, and the tall 16:10 aspect ratio makes it ideal for content creation apps like Photoshop, Premiere, and so on. The base model includes a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) panel, but if you want the best experience, it’s worth considering the Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) model, since the extra resolution can fit that many more UI elements on screen. The Ultra HD+ panel also covers 100% of Adobe RGB, so it’s great for color-sensitive work.
One downside of the Dell XPS 17, particularly if you’re interested in streaming, is the built-in webcam. It’s a 720p webcam and it uses a small 2.25mm, so it can’t let a lot of light in, and that ends up making the image grainy. It does have Windows Hello facial recognition, though, and you get a fingerprint sensor for that purpose too.
In terms of design, the Dell XPS 17 is surprisingly compact for the specs it comes with, and it comes with Dell’s signature dual-tone look. The exterior comes in a “platinum silver” color, while the interior uses a black carbon fiber material for a more unique look and feel. It’s just over 19mm thick, which is impressive for the hardware inside, but it’s still a bit heavy at 4.87lbs. That’s something you’ll see a lot on this list, though.
Finally, in terms of ports, the XPS 17 comes with four Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone jack, and an SD card reader. If you need some legacy ports, a USB Type-C to Type-A and HDMI adapter is included, which means this covers most of the basics, though it requires you to carry a dongle around. It could be worse, but it could also be much better at this size.
Overall, this is one of the very best laptops out there today, especially for content creators. You can buy it below, or check out other configurations on Dell’s website. You can also read our Dell XPS 17 review to learn more about it.
Best for on-the-go content creators: MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021)
The MacBook Pro has long been many creators’ favorite laptop, and with the recent models powered by the Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max processors, that’s completely deserved. These are powerful laptops that compete with the best Windows laptops for creators in terms of performance, but push much further ahead in terms of battery life. It’s not a cheap laptop, but you get what you pay for here.
As we’ve mentioned, the MacBook Pro (16-inch) is powered by Apple’s M1 Pro or M1 Max processors, which are based on Arm technology, and thus, they include CPU, GPU, RAM, and more all in one package. The CPU has 10 cores, two for efficiency and eight for performance, and it lives up to some of the best 45W processors on Windows laptops. For the GPU, the M1 Pro has 16 cores, while the M1 Max can go up to 32, and in that maximum configuration, performance rivals many high-end dedicated GPUs on Windows laptops, particularly for content creation. You can also get up to 64GB of unified memory (RAM), which is shared between the CPU and GPU as needed, along with up to 8TB of SSD storage.
What’s most impressive about all of this is, because it’s based on Arm technology, these processors are incredibly efficient compared to the Intel or AMD processors you might find elsewhere. And while it’s not the only Arm-based laptop out there, it’s the only one that delivers this kind of performance and battery life in one package. That’s a balance you won’t find anywhere else, so this truly is the ideal laptop for on-the-go creators.
That’s not all that’s impressive with the MacBook Pro, though. The 16.2-inch display is another highlight, being one of the first laptops to use mini-LED technology. That means it can individually dim different areas of the screen, allowing for higher contrast ratios and more vivid colors. It can also reach a peak brightness of 1600 nits (1000 nits sustained full-screen brightness), something else you won’t find on any other laptop. It’s very sharp, too, featuring 3456 x 2234 resolution that results in an aspect ratio slightly higher than 16:10. The cherry on top is support for ProMotion with adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz.
The display does have a notch, which some might not like, but it houses the new and improved 1080p camera, which is enhanced by AI processing courtesy of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets. Despite the large notch, there’s no Face ID camera, though, so you still have to use Touch ID to log in.
The design of the MacBook Pro may be somewhat boring by now, but it’s premium and sleek. This iteration brings back a physical function row, and it also has some good news in terms of ports. MagSafe charging is back (now even faster), along with an SD card reader, HDMI 2.1, and a headphone jack with support for high-impedance headsets. This is on top of three Thunderbolt 4 ports, which means you can connect up to four external displays (on the M1 Max models), or all kinds of other accessories.
This is easily one of the best creator laptops you can find right now, and while the starting price of $2,499 can be a bit prohibitive, you can’t deny the MacBook Pro gives you something you can’t find anywhere else. You can buy it below, or check it out on Adorama to find a few more configuration options. We’ve also reviewed the MacBook Pro if you’d like to learn more about it.
Best dual-screen creator laptop: ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15
If you’re looking for something a bit more unique, the Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED fits the bill, and this design has some benefits for content creators. It’s also just a great laptop overall, featuring powerful specs and great displays.
Performance-wise, the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED comes with an Intel Core i7-10870H, which has 8 cores, 16 threads, and boost speeds up to 5GHz. There are newer models with 11th-generation Intel processors, but this processor is far from weak, and this model is easier to find. It also comes with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 laptop GPU with up to 110W, so this is definitely not lacking in power for all kinds of creative workloads. Additionally, you get 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD storage rounding things out.
What’s truly unique about this laptop is its display, or rather, displays. The main screen is a 15.6-inch panel and it’s got a super sharp Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) resolution. It’s also an OLED panel, so it can produce true blacks, vibrant colors, and high contrast ratios. This panel also covers 100% of DCI-P3, it’s Pantone Validated, and it has a Delta E < 2, so it’s very color accurate for creative professionals that need it.
What’s truly unique is the secondary display, though. The ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED has a secondary screen, called ScreenPad Plus, above the keyboard, and it has the same width and horizontal resolution (the actual resolution is 3840 x 1100) as the main display. You can use this secondary screen to display more apps, but in some apps, it can also give you extra controls, freeing up space on your main display. For example, you may get a color wheel in Photoshop for intuitive touch-based controls.
A downside of this laptop is that, despite its price, it still has a 720p webcam, so it’s not great if you need to hold meetings or if you’re interested in streaming content online. It does support Windows Hello facial recognition, though, so you still have that extra convenience.
Design-wise, the Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED has to make some adjustments because of its huge secondary screen on the base. The keyboard is pushed down to the bottom half of the base, and the touchpad is actually on the side of the keyboard instead of below it. The touchpad also doubles as a number pad, something ASUS also does often with its Zenbook. Between the powerful specs and the two displays, the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED weighs 5.16lbs, which is quite heavy for its size, but that’s understandable with everything going on here.
Finally, for ports, the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one USB Type-A, HDMI 2.1, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. That’s a solid enough setup that covers most basic needs, and it’s about as much as you can ask for when how much is already packed into the base of the laptop.
You can buy the model we described here using the link below. There’s another model, with newer Intel processors, a GeForce RTX 3080, and 32GB of RAM, but at writing time, it’s only available via third-party sellers on Amazon. If you’re comfortable with that, you can buy that one here.
Best convertible creator laptop: Surface Laptop Studio
While we’re on the topic of unique laptops, the Surface Laptop Studio is another outstanding example. It’s a convertible, but it’s not like a traditional convertible that rotates 360 degrees on a hinge. Instead, it has a dual-hinge mechanism that allows you to use it in a few different stances depending on your needs.
In regards to performance, the Surface Laptop Studio is a bit less impressive than other laptops on this list, but it’s not bad by any means. It’s powered by Intel’s H35 series of processors up to a Core i-11370H, which has four cores, eight threads, and boost speeds up to 4.8GHz. This model also includes Iris Xe graphics, but if you want more power, there’s a dedicated GPU in the form of an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, which allows this laptop to handle tasks like photo and video editing without a problem. It also comes with up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage, so you have your bases covered.
The Surface Laptop Studio has a great display, too. It’s a 14.4-inch panel and it comes in the typical 3:2 aspect ratio that most Surface devices have. The resolution is 2400 x 1600, which is more than sharp enough for a display of this size, and it’s also one of the very few non-gaming laptops to have a 120Hz refresh rate for the display. The main appeal of the Surface Laptop Studio is that, because of its dual-hinge system, you can pull the screen closer to you (as seen above) or lay it flat over the keyboard base, giving you an ideal stance for drawing and other artistic work using the Surface Slim Pen 2. On that note, the Surface Laptop Studio also supports tactile signals (haptic feedback) on the Surface Slim Pen 2, creating the sensation of drawing with a pen on paper. This is a big part of why this is one of the best creator laptops.
The webcam on the Surface Laptop Studio is also one of the better ones you’ll find on a laptop. It’s a 1080p webcam, so you should look great during meetings and video calls, plus it also supports Windows Hello facial recognition.
As for the design, we’ve already mentioned the dual-hinge approach Microsoft is using for its convertible form factor, and it’s also worth mentioning the cutout on the underside of the laptop, which is where you can store the Surface Slim Pen. This is also one of the lighter laptops on this list so far, starting at 3.87lbs, or 4lbs for the model with dedicated graphics.
One big downside here is in the ports, with the Surface Laptop Studio only including two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone jack, and a Surface Connect port that’s used for charging. While the addition of Thunderbolt 4 has been a long-standing request from Surface fans, not having any other ports like USB Type-A or HDMI is unfortunate, and it would have been nice to see.
Regardless, the Surface laptop Studio is definitely one of the best laptops for creators right now, and you can buy it below. You can also read our Surface Laptop Studio review if that interests you.
Best creator laptop with an OLED display: Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED
OLED displays have become much more common in smartphones over the past decade, but many laptops still don’t give you that option or don’t include it by default. If you want a powerful creator laptop with an OLED panel, the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED is one of your best options.
First off, in terms of performance, the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED is everything you’d want in a laptop for content creation. It’s powered by up to an Intel Core i9-11980HK, a 45W processor with 8 cores, 16 threads, and boost speeds up to 5GHz. That’s already one of the most powerful processors out there, but it’s also powered with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 with 105W of power. It also comes with up to 64GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD for storage.
Of course, as we’ve mentioned, the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED has an OLED display, and unsurprisingly, it’s a 15.6-inch panel. What’s great about it – aside from the benefits of OLED such as true blacks and high contrast ratios – is that it’s a Samsung panel and it comes in a super sharp 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution. It also has tiny bezels and it’s very color-accurate: It’s rated for Delta E < 1, and it’s certified by X-Rite/Pantone for color accuracy.
The problem with those tiny bezels we mentioned is there’s no webcam above the display on this laptop. Instead, Gigabyte put the camera on the base, pointing up at the user. That’s a less than favorable angle for any kind of video call or streaming, plus there’s no Windows Hello facial recognition support. You do get a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello, though.
The design of the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED is about what you’d expect for a gaming brand making a more professional laptop. It’s an all-black laptop and it looks fairly subdued, though the design on the lid kind of gives away its gaming roots. There’s also per-key RGB lighting for the keyboard, but it’s done in a way that’s subtle so it doesn’t stick out in a bad way. It’s a somewhat thick laptop, though, measuring 21.5mm at its thickest point and starting at 5.07lbs of weight.
As for ports, this is one of the most complete laptops on this list. it comes with a Thunderbolt 4 port, three USB Type-A ports, HDMI 2.1, mini DisplayPort 1.4, 2.5Gbps RJ45 Ethernet, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and an SD card reader. That doesn’t just cover the basics, it covers just about any need you could have, even including two display output, something we don’t see very often in laptops.
While it has roots in gaming, the Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED is easily one of the best laptops you can buy as a creator, as long as you don’t need a webcam or plan to buy an external one. You can buy this laptop below.
Best 15-inch laptop: Dell XPS 15 (9510)
We’ve already praised the Dell XPS 17, but if you want something even more compact and/or with a different look, the Dell XPS 15 has quite a lot to offer, too. It’s not quite as powerful as its larger sibling, but it’s still more than capable enough for content creation and it has its own benefits, too.
In terms of performance, the Dell XPS 15 comes packing Intel’s 11th-generation 45W processor up to a Core i9-11900H, with 8 cores, 16 threads, and boost speeds up to 4.9GHz. That’s not far from the XPS 17, but it does fall further behind in the GPU department. The Dell XPS 15 comes with up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 45W of power, which isn’t as impressive, but it’s still a very capable GPU that can handle all kinds of creative tasks without much of an issue. The CPU does a lot of the heavy lifting in these tasks, so it’s not as big of a deal as you might think. It also comes with up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB of SSD storage, just like its larger sibling.
For the display, you get a 15.6-inch panel and it comes in the 16:10 aspect ratio, just like other XPS laptops, with all the benefits that come with a taller display. The base model is, once again, a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) panel, but that’s more acceptable at this size. And if you want an even better experience, you get the option for a 3.5K (3456 x 2160) OLED display, which gives you an extra sharp panel and the benefits of OLED technology. There’s still an option for an Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) IPS panel if you prefer that, and that covers 100% of Adobe RGB, and both of these panels include touch support.
Unfortunately, the Dell XPS 15 has the same downside as its larger sibling. It comes with a tiny 2.25mm webcam with 720p resolution, so it’s not great if you plan to take video calls or meetings on this laptop. You’ll most likely want an external webcam for that. The built-in camera does support Windows Hello facial recognition, though, and the laptop also has a fingerprint sensor for that purpose.
The design of the XPS 15 follows the same philosophy as its larger sibling, and you can get it in the same platinum silver/black carbon fiber dual-tone look if you want to. However, the XPS 15 gives you another option, featuring a “frost” exterior and an “arctic white” fiber glass composite interior (as seen above). This actually looks more modern and sleek (personally speaking, of course), so you may very well prefer this model. It’s also a smaller laptop in every dimension, and it starts at 3.99lbs of weight (4.31lbs for touch-enabled variants).
Finally, in terms of ports, the Dell XPS 15 is also similar to its bigger brother, but even more limited. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a standard USB Type-C port, a headphone jack, and an SD card reader. It includes the same USB Type-C to Type-A and HDMI adapter, so you still have your basic needs covered, as long as you carry the adapter with you. Still, it’s not exactly an impressive setup.
If you want a compact, but decently powerful creator laptop, the Dell XPS 15 is certainly one of the best options you can find. You can buy it below, or check out our Dell XPS 15 review to learn more about it.
Best business laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4
Business and content creation don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and Lenovo has done a good job of creating a laptop that can cater to both sides. The ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 is a surprisingly powerful machine with the iconic ThinkPad design and features.
Performance-wise, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is every bit a creator laptop as the best laptops on this list. It comes with 45W Intel processors up to a Core i9-11950H, a CPU that includes 8 cores, 16 threads, and boost speeds up to 5GHz, but also supports Intel’s vPro technologies for business. Backing that up, you can configure it with up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 laptop graphics card with 16GB of memory, ideal for creative workflows and more. Aside from that, you can configure this beastly machine with up to 64GB of RAM and 4TB of SSD storage, with a caveat – if you equip the laptop with a GeForce RTX 3060 or above, you’re limited to a single SSD slot, and thus, only 2TB of storage.
For the display, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 packs a 16-inch panel and it has the tall 16:10 aspect ratio that’s increasingly popular in laptops. The base configuration is already great, being a Quad HD+ (2560 x 1600) panel with 400 nits of brightness. However, you can upgrade to an even better Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) panel with 600 nits of brightness, including optional touch support. You’ll be very well served either way, so the upgrade is totally optional, but it’s certainly better.
The ThinkPad X1 extreme also doesn’t cut corners with the camera. You get a 1080p camera by default, so you can expect to look quite good in meetings and video calls in general. By default, you don’t get Windows Hello facial recognition support, but the option is available, and you do get a fingerprint reader as standard.
In terms of design, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 is everything you’d expect from a ThinkPad. It’s a black laptop with red accents, and it even includes classic features like the red TrackPoint and the mouse buttons above the touchpad. The lid of the laptop also comes in a carbon fiber weave style if you upgrade to a 4K panel for a more unique touch. What’s impressive here is that the laptop measures just 17.7mm thick (18.2mm for non-touch models), and it starts at 3.99lbs of weight (4.1lbs for touch models), which is surprising considering both the specs and the additional bells and whistles and the inclusion of the ThinkPad features we’ve come to expect.
Finally, in regards to ports and connectivity, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme has a fantastic setup including two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, and an SD card reader. That covers most basic needs, and as a bonus, this is the only laptop on this list that offers optional cellular network support. You can configure it with a Snapdragon X55 5G modem for fast connectivity on the go, but there’s another caveat related to the GPU – picking the GeForce RTX 3060 or higher models removes the space for the cellular modem, so you can’t get the best GPU alongside 5G support.
Like many business laptops, the best option for buying the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is straight from Lenovo’s website below. You can learn more about the laptop in our ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 review.
Best laptop for gamers: Razer Blade 17 (2022)
If you’re both a content creator and a gamer, then the latest Razer Blade 17 is the best option for you. It’s the only laptop on this list that already has a 2022 refresh on the way, so in some ways, it’s the best option you can get right now.
That’s because it’s already been upgraded with Intel’s latest 12th-generation Intel processors, and it comes with up to an Intel Core i9-12900HK with 14 cores (six P cores, eight E cores) and 20 threads, capable of boosting up to 5GHz on its P cores. This is because of Intel’s new hybrid architecture that has yielded great results on desktop, so we expect the same to happen on laptop processors like this. Additionally, the Razer Blade 15 (2022) comes with up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, which is a significant upgrade over the RTX 3080 we’ve seen in other laptops, and it has 130W of maximum power. On top of that, it comes with 16GB of DDR5 RAM (which you can upgrade to 64GB) and 1TB of PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage (upgradeable up to 8TB with two M.2 slots).
On the display side of things, the Blade 17 has three options available. It’s a 17.3-inch panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio, but the resolution and refresh rate varies depending on your needs. You can get the Full HD (1920 x 1080) panel with a 360Hz refresh rate if you’re more of an esports gamer, go for the middle ground with a Quad HD (2560 x 1440) 240Hz panel (a cheaper 165Hz option is also available), or opt for the Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) option with a 144Hz refresh rate, which is the ideal option for creators. This panel also covers 100% of Adobe RGB, making it even better for color-sensitive work.
All configurations of the Blade 17 also come with a 1080p webcam that supports Windows Hello, which is very much welcome and somewhat rare to see on a gaming laptop. This means you can feasibly stream gaming sessions online with the built-in webcam if you don’t have an external one.
Design-wise, the Razer Blade 17 isn’t a super compact laptop, as you’d probably expect from a 17-inch machine. It measures just under 20mm thick, and its weight starts at 6.06lbs, which isn’t very light, but it’s also not outrageous. It’s a standard Razer affair in terms of looks – an all-black laptop with a green Razer logo on the lid and an RGB backlit keyboard that’s still subtle enough to not be obnoxious in a public setting.
As for ports, the Razer Blade 17 isn’t lacking in options. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, three USB Type-A ports, HDMI 2.1, 2.5Gbps RJ45 Ethernet, a headphone jack, and an SD card reader, so it covers just about every need you might have. This is a great setup, as you’d expect for a large 17-inch laptop.
The Razer Blade 17 (2022) is available to pre-order right now, and it should start shipping on February 22nd. If you want something a little more compact, the Razer Blade 15 has very similar specs (but a slightly less powerful GPU), and it’s also available to pre-order now.
Those are what we’d consider the best laptops you can buy if you’re a content creator looking for a new rig. The Dell XPS 17 kind of offers a perfect balance of powerful specs, a compact and stylish design, and a fantastic display. It does have a downside in its camera, but there’s a good chance if you’re a professional streamer, you’ll have an external webcam (or you’re willing to buy one) anyway. Personally speaking, my favorite laptop on the list is the Surface Laptop Studio, though it’s true I wouldn’t be doing heavyweight content creation on it.
If these all seem like more than what you need, maybe stop by our list of the best laptops you can buy right now. We have something for all kinds of different needs there, so you might find a better fit for you.