In this article
We have reviewed the best laptops for animation which have been selected after thorough research based on their performance, hardware specs, display, and other features that are essential for animation and modeling. Further, we have also discussed all of those specs in detail which makes a laptop great for animation purposes in the guide section. Apart from this, relevant questions have been answered in the FAQs section so that you have complete knowledge about animation laptop before purchasing it.
Best Laptops for Animation 2021
- Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 – Best Dual Screen Laptop
- MSI P65 Creator-1084 – Best 4K Display
- Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 – Best Powerful Laptop 2021
- Dell Precision 5520 – Best Design
- MSI Creator 17M – Best 17-inch Laptop 2021
- ASUS ROG Zephyrus S – Best 144Hz Display
- Asus ZenBook 15 Ultra-Slim – Best Ultrabook 2021
- LG Gram 17 – Best Mid-range Laptop
- Acer Aspire R 15 – Best 2 in 1 Laptop
- Lenovo ThinkPad E580 – Best for Keyboard
All the animation students and professionals who seek best laptop for animation, we will escort you. One thing you may know that to achieve a cardinal result you need a laptop with a very powerful configuration. As you have to work on software like Blender, 3ds Max, and MotionBuilder, so in order to balance the requirement, your laptop should come with a fast processor, sufficient RAM capacity, strong dedicated graphics card, and huge storage capacity. Only then you will be able to create absolute animations.
All the laptops that you will find on this page have the required features for animation. Plus, they will take your work to next level. We also have not ignored the fact that it is difficult for beginners to spend on luxurious laptops. Therefore, we have included some reasonably priced laptops for users with limited budgets as well. In addition, if you can’t decide which laptop is right for you then the recommended configuration portion will help you find the most appropriate laptop.
Our Top 3 Picks
1. ZenBook Pro Duo
Display: 15.6″ (3840×2160)
2. MSI P65 Creator
Display: 15.6″ (3840×2160)
3. Zephyrus G14
Display: 14″ (1920×1080)
Recommended Configuration for Animation Laptop
If you are a professional animator then you will definitely need such a laptop that has housed top-of-the-line specs so that it can easily and efficiently run all of the high-end animation softwares be it 2D, 3D, VR, and AR. Animation applications like Harmony, After Effects, Blender, AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Adobe Animate, Maya, 3ds Max Design, Vyond, Cinema 4D, or other softwares need a powerful laptop.
The processor is one of the vital hardware components in a laptop for animation. Although, animation seems to be a visually demanding task but it’s the CPU where all the calculations about the scenes, rigs, simulations, soft body dynamics, or hair splines take place. As you have known that a powerful CPU is a must component for an animation laptop. But which CPU-feature makes the CPU great for animation; Is it the clock speed, number of cores, cache size, or just the brand: Intel or AMD?
Well, to keep it brief, it’s the clock speed of the CPU which makes it great for animation. Further, the clock speed of CPU is more important than having multiple cores or getting a specific brand. More, if your CPU comes with a low clock speed, your Viewport will become very sluggish and you won’t be able to animate in real-time. In addition, the CPU should have a higher Base clock speed and a higher Turbo-Boos clock. Now if the CPU has a high Boost-clock then it will definitely speed up your Viewport’s snappiness while animating considerably.
Now which CPU models are best for animation laptop? Well, it depends on the performance needed for the animation softwares on which you are working. But, if you want to get maximum and smooth performance from your laptop for running high-end animation applications then it should be equipped with at least a 9th or 10th Gen Intel i7, or AMD Ryzen 7 processor. Although an Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor can run these applications but you will not get that performance which an Intel i7 or Ryzen 7 provides. Moreover, if you don’t have for spending on such high-end processors then you could go for lower-tier CPUs. But be sure to go for such CPU that offers maximum Base and Boost clock speeds.
Another essential factor is the RAM for an animation laptop. Also, the RAM speed isn’t that much of a factor but it’s the size of RAM because if you get a laptop with less RAM, you will see some major drops in frame rates and firmness. But if you are working on complex scenes, multiple characters, long animations, and high-resolution meshes & textures then a higher RAM will do wonders.
Hence, an 8GB RAM will do the job done but for much better experience and optimal performance, get your hands on that laptop that has housed 16GB RAM. Additionally, 32GB RAM will help you in some cases like extremely complex scenes, animation simulations, and large textures that are not keyframe-driven but will need to be cached. Plus, more RAM helps in running the memory-intensive applications smoothly.
Since, all these animation applications use graphics for creating animated videos, pictures, and gifs. That’s why a dedicated GPU is very important for handling all these graphical needs. Moreover, the GPU helps in displaying textures and other shaders and Real-time effects such SSAO, Realtime Shadows, Anisotropic Filtering, Anti-Aliasing for a more realistic experience. For example, the Maya Viewport 2.0 uses such effects very heavily and for this, you will need a solid GPU.
Furthermore, if you are working on basic modeling & animation and don’t rely on a realistic Viewport but mostly animate in shaded low-quality wireframe preview modes without any fancy effects then a low-tier Nvidia graphics card i.e GTX 1660 Ti, GTX 1660 Super, GTX 1650 Super, GTX 1650, GTX 1080 Ti, GTX 1080, GTX 1070 Ti or GTX 1070 would be a great choice. But if you are into some serious animation or modeling and plan on using GPU Render Engines like Octane, Vray-RT, FurryBall, or Redshift then you should have to invest in a better and powerful GPU like the Nvidia RTX 20 or 30 Series graphics cards. Because these Render Engines utilize graphics cards instead of a CPU for rendering scenes.
Moreover, We have tried our best to list out the laptops with powerful GPUs so that you will never face any performance issues.
Well, the larger and higher resolution will be display, the better you can deal with animation tools. But depending on how you use your laptop, you should choose the display accordingly. So, if you are a student or animator who works at different places, go for a smaller display. A 15 inches display is the perfect size in this regard because you will have more portability. Also, a 14 inches display is perfect for animation as long as the laptop is powered by powerful internals.
On the other hand, if you work from a single place where you don’t need much portability a 17 inches display gives you more details. However, if you want an even better display, the laptops included here come with an HDMI port to connect them to an external display.
You may know that a laptop either comes with SSD or HDD to store your data. HDD is preferred by users because it is cheap and provides huge storage capacity. On the other hand, SSD is faster but storage capacity is low and expensive than HDD. Anyhow, here we are talking about animation laptops so do not even think about traditional HDD no matter how enormous it is. In the case of SSD never accept anything less than 256GB. Whereas, if the laptop comes with a hybrid drive like 1TB HDD along with 128GB SSD then it is also acceptable.
The longer the battery life, the more comfortable you will feel while working for a longer session. But as animation laptops are very powerful, so finding a laptop with longer battery life is difficult. Fortunately, except few all the laptops included in our list has a battery life of more than 8 hours, hence you should not worry about it at all.
Users who give more importance to portability should give special attention to this factor because carrying a laptop around and worrying about a charging station is annoying. Nonetheless, even the portable laptops that you will find here come with solid battery life.
Best Laptop for Animation Reviews
1. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581
Ever have seen a laptop that offers two screens? ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 is that nice-looking beast mainly designed for animation. You know what’s different in this laptop for animation, it’s the addition of ScreenPad Plus which makes performing different tasks at the same time easier. Moreover, the screen is 15.6-inch and comes with thin bezels, making the screen wider. Whereas, the 4K UHD touchscreen makes everything easy as it’s sufficiently bright, detailed, sharp, and color-rich. Speaking of the hardware, this laptop comes is packed with the 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor alongside a powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card which is a perfect combination for designing lag-free animations. On the other hand, the limitless 32GB RAM on the ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 speaks for itself. It keeps the multi-tasking smooth. Also, the keyboard is springy and provides a good typing experience. In short, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 is one hell of a beast loaded with the required hardware for designing animations.
Pros: Powerful performance, 2 beautiful 4K touch displays, ErgoLift design, Keyboard, Cool-Air express system, Built-in Alexa, Facial recognition, Wi-Fi 6, Thunderbolt 3 port
Cons: Less Portable, Battery life, Weak audio
2. MSI P65 Creator-1084
MSI has participated in all fields and here’s one best of the best performers from them on the side of the animations, the MSI P65 Creator-1084. It might not look as stunning as the other laptops for animation look but still, its decent looks are acceptable to some extent. More, the 15.6-inch UHD display is almost bezel-less, delivering resolutions of 3840 x 2160 pixels. On the other hand, the display has anti-glare technology and is quite colorful and bright. Further, this flagship is as powerful as the other laptops for animation are, as it’s housed with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, 9th Gen Intel CPU, and 32GB RAM. The combination of these hardware components makes it a complete beast not only for creating animations but also for almost everything you throw at it. As for the keyboard of the best laptop for animations, it offers a comfortable typing experience. A long story short, the MSI P65 Creator-1084 is one fine flagship for all purposes.
Pros: Solid performance, Descent display, 144Hz refresh rate, Design, Keyboard, Fingerprint reader, Durable, Thunderbolt 3 port
Cons: Mediocre battery life
3. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
Surely Zephyrus G14 is a gaming laptop but the 120Hz bright display, robust specs, and long battery life are those features that make it the best laptop for animation. Plus, professional creatives will love it for the performance that it offers despite how memory-intensive and graphics-hungry applications you run on it. Further, G14 looks attractive and gorgeous with the Moonlight White finish on the magnesium alloy chassis that also gives it more durability. ROG Zephyrus G14 sports a 14-inch display that provides a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The FHD display is very color-rich and bright and the produced images are vivid, sharp, and clear. Moreover, you will be surprised by the solid performance of this portable laptop and it’s because of the latest AMD Ryzen 9 CPU which is accompanied by a GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics card with 6GB of VRAM. Hence, this beast can efficiently handle all types of graphics-intensive applications.
Pros: Strong performance, Display , Attractive look, VR Ready, 120Hz refresh rate, Battery life, Portable, Backlit keyboard, Wi-Fi 6
Cons: Loud fans under load, Lacks Thunderbolt 3 port
4. Dell Precision 5520
Dell Precision 5520 is the best laptop for animation in 2021 and has secured a position on our list. The reason behind it is the powerful specs and excellent display. The screen is surrounded by almost unnoticeable bezels giving the laptop a premium look. The typing experience is made even better by it’s backlight keyboard offering 1.4mm key travel and require 58 grams of actuation force. Plus, the touchpad provides a solid feel to each click and smooth navigation. Further, the 1080p anti-glare display is vivid, bright, and sharp. Precision 5520 is a productivity powerhouse for animations, professional 3D modeling, CAD, and other intensive tasks as it is armed with an Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and Nvidia Quadro M1200M graphics card. Moreover, this laptop offers a long-lasting battery backup of up to 12 hours, which is very rare to find for such a powerful beast. Thus, if you are in search of best laptop for animation and graphic design, Dell precision 5520 should be at the top of your list.
Pros: Fast performance, Vivid display, Battery life, Lightweight design, Durable, Thunderbolt 3 port
Cons: Awkwardly placed webcam
5. MSI Creator 17M
Wider display, FHD resolutions, sporting a nice-looking design, and powerful hardware is what the MSI Creator 17M is offering to its users. As for the display, this laptop for animations has a 17.3-inch display, 1920 x 1080 pixels resolutions and above that, it’s featuring IPS technology. Whereas, the display on the MSI Creator 17M has a decent refresh rate of 120Hz and low response time. What makes it the best laptop for animations is its powerful hardware components which include a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX1660 Ti graphics card with 6GB GDDR6 memory. All these components make the MSI Creator 17M a perfect beast for animations and other memory-hungry intensive tasks. In addition to these, Creator 17M has housed a large backlit keyboard with NumPad that offers decent key travel and enjoyable tactile feedback. So if you’re planning on changing or buying a new laptop for creating animations, the MSI Creator 17M can be your next flagship.
Pros: Robust performance, Outstanding Display, Premium keyboard, Portable, Durable, Cooler Boost 5 technology, Wi-Fi 6, Thunderbolt 3 port
Cons: Battery life
6. ASUS ROG Zephyrus S
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S packs powerful specs and a gorgeous display in a very thin chassis. The lid is made of aluminum and below it is the sleek cutout for the hinge, which in turn provides extra ports and LED indicators. More, the keyboard uses a forward-facing layout and utilizes RGB backlit which gives the laptop an astounding look but the low key travel and positioning of keys make the keyboard a bit uncomfortable. Also, the touchpad which turns into a number pad with a click of a button is responsive and accurate. Further, The 15.6 inches FHD display of Zephyrus is outstanding with a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. Along with this, the IPS panel is very bright, detailed, and color-rich. Besides, the best laptop for animation sports a 3.9GHz Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, so performance is just world-class. And by weighing 4.63 pounds and thickness of 0.6 inches, Zephyrus S is one of the lightest and slimmest laptops. Hence, if you want the best laptop for 3D animation, go for ASUS ROG Zephyrus S.
Pros: Potent performance, Stunning display, 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, Appealing design, Rog active Aerodynamic System, RGB keyboard, Durable, Ultraportable
Cons: No Thunderbolt 3 port, Uncomfortable keyboard, Grainy webcam, Battery life
7. Asus ZenBook 15 Ultra-Slim
Yet another ZenBook from ASUS designed for animation creators and graphic designers. The screenPad 2.0 on the Asus ZenBook 15 Ultra-Slim is one fine feature that you won’t find on any other best laptop on the market except the Zenbooks. On top of that, the laptop is slim and easy to carry around. But you know what’s more interesting about flagship? No? it’s a long battery life of over 8 hours which is really helpful during long business trips. More the 1080p display of ZenBook 15 is sufficiently vivid, colorful, and bright, and on top of that super-slim bezels make it more immersive. Talking about the performance of the best laptop for animation, ZenBook 15 offers top-of-the-line performance that will please the animators and this is due to the 10th Gen Intel i7 processor and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q graphics card along with 16GB RAM. Furthermore, the snappy and well-placed keys make the keyboard of ZenBook 15 ideal for typing.
Pros: Excellent performance, Display, ErgoLift design, Comfortable keyboard, Advanced cooling system, Facial recognition, Durable, Portable, Built-in Alexa, Wi-Fi 6
Cons: Lacks Thunderbolt 3, A bit expensive
8. LG Gram 17
As you know that the larger the laptop screen, the heavier it is. But LG has changed this concept. With the release of the new version of LG Gram 17, a 17-inch laptop that weighs less than 3 pounds, it is remarkably the lightest and portable laptop. Yet you have to make a compromise on its average battery life and flexing lid & keyboard. The manufacturer has used a special metal alloy comprised of nanocarbon and magnesium as a build material which makes it a durable one. In addition, the typing experience on the full-size keyboard is comfortable with 1.2mm key travel. The best laptop for animation features 17 inches display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600. Also, the panel is sharp, colorful and very bright. So, you will love creating animation on such an immersive display. Although LG Gram is not the fastest laptop because it lacks discrete graphics, yet performance is admirable with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and Intel UHD 620 Graphics. Hence, if you want a 17-inch laptop with great portability, LG Gram is the best option.
Pros: Performance, Sharp & Colorful display, Sleek design, Battery life, Keyboard, Extremely lightweight, Fingerprint reader, Port selection, Affordable
Cons: No Ethernet port, Lid and keyboard flex
9. Acer Aspire R 15
Acer Aspire R 15 is a 2-in-1 laptop that comes with better performance and display at a very reasonable price. Both lid and deck are made of aluminum, which you rarely find in this price range. Plus, the 360 degrees hinge, let you use it in laptop, tablet, and display mode. In addition, you will love the backlight keyboard while typing because it is snappy and responsive with a strong tactile feel which you can’t find on most competitors. Further, the 15.6 inches FHD display of Aspire R 15 is sharp and colorful. Also, the panel is very bright with 310 nits. Along with this, the touchscreen accurately registers inputs while drawing or sketching. Moreover, the best laptop for animation is equipped with a 7th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 12GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics card for robust performance. Thus, if you are looking for a powerful 2-in-1 laptop that offers great performance for animation, good battery life, portability, and on top of that, a reasonable price tag then do not miss Acer Aspire R 15.
Pros: Performance, Bright & colorful display, 2 in 1 versatile design, Battery life, Keyboard, Fingerprint reader, Durable, Portable, Affordable
Cons: Mid-tier GPU, No Ethernet port, Not a smooth touchpad
10. Lenovo ThinkPad E580
Lenovo ThinkPad E580 is the most affordable laptop that you will find on our list. Yet, performance, a comfortable keyboard, and pleasing design are praiseworthy. The lid is made of aluminum whereas the rest of the body is made of plastic. ThinkPad’s laptops are famous for comfortable keyboard and E580’s keyboard even standout among them. With 1.78mm key travel and 72 grams of actuation force, this keyboard is the best of all the laptops included here. More, the 15.6 inches display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 is good enough for productivity but it is dim and covers only 80 percent sRGB color gamut. However, if you want to upgrade the display to Full HD, it will cost you just 50 dollars. Furthermore, configurations like Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and Intel HD graphics 620 are satisfying for such an affordable laptop. Anyhow, 500GB HDD is not much appreciable because it is not faster like SSD. Thus, beginners who want a budget laptop for animation with a solid battery life of over 8 hours and justifiable performance should go for ThinkPad E580.
Pros: Performance, Attractive design, Affordable, Battery life, Comfortable keyboard, USB Type-C port, Fingerprint reader, Durable, Portable, Upgradable RAM
Cons: Dim screen
Frequently Asked Questions
Do animators need dedicated GPU?
Obviously, a dedicated GPU is one of the important specs that the animation laptop should have. As you should know that animation softwares/programs need enormous resources and are also graphics-hungry in nature. Also, dedicated GPUs increases the visual performance of a laptop which is the need of every animator. That’s why it is advisable that every animator should have a dedicated graphics card on their laptop for experiencing an outstanding visual performance.
Is 144Hz screen helpful for animation?
A screen having a higher refresh rate means that it will become your overall animating experience concise. More, a display with higher better refresh rate helps you in a situation where you are working inside a complex interface and needs the smoothest experience. Also, when designing games, it will help you to test the games at a higher quality.
Are gaming laptops good for animation?
As gaming laptops are equipped with powerful and high-end internals which makes them great for gaming. But this doesn’t mean that they are specifically manufactured for gaming. Gaming laptops can also be utilized for animation works and content creation because of all those features and specifications which are needed for animation or content creation, gaming laptops are loaded with. So, yeah, gaming laptops are best for animation.
Is SSD storage necessary for animation laptops>
Certainly, because SSD is way more faster and it increases the overall performance of a laptop. Further, SSD offers a fast and convenient experience which is essential for any animation laptop. Along with these, any animator wants better rendering times which can be achieved by having an SSD in their laptops.
How effective are mini laptops for animation works?
For animation works, mini laptops are not that much effective and productive because of two drawbacks; first, mini laptops have a small screen and secondly, they do not provide powerful performance because of their low-end internals. While for animation, a larger screen i.e 15.6 or 17 inches, and powerful performance, both are necessary.