The 10 Best Laptops for Drawing - 2020 Review

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IN THIS POST

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1. Best Overall: ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

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2. Budget Pick: Microsoft Surface Go

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3. Microsoft Surface Pro 7

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4. Microsoft Surface Book 2

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5. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

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6. Dell Inspiron XPS

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7. Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

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8. ASUS Chromebook Flip

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9. Premium Pick: HP ZenBook G5

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10. Apple MacBook Pro 13''

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Three Things to Look for in a Laptop for Drawing

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A Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Digital Artist

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Best Software for Digital Drawing on a Computer

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Digital media and graphic design are becoming the norm in today’s technological age. Gone are the days of drawing with charcoal pencils on an oversized sketch pad. Today’s sketch pads are powerful laptops with 4k displays and sensitive touchscreens.

This new technology gives artists the ability to draw, edit, and post on the fly. Gone are the days of fiddling with detachable drawing pads or trying to upload a physical piece of a graphic design onto the laptop in a way that works. Now, everything is seamless.

If you are looking to buy a new laptop aimed at drawing and editing, look no further. Here are 10 of the absolute best drawing laptops on the market today. Whether you are looking to spend a pretty penny on a machine made for industry professionals or are simply looking to get into a new hobby, there is a laptop for drawing on this list for you. 

                            Best Overall

The Asus ZenBook Pro is the complete, innovative drawing laptop that every artist dreams about. The total package. It has super fast and powerful processors, a phenomenal highly detailed screen display with resolutions that are way higher than the competition and it comes with a full terabyte of storage giving you plenty of room to store all of your work and more. 

Asus ScreenPad Plus Feature

The real selling point here though is Asus’s ScreenPad Plus feature. This adds a second screen perpendicular to the main screen that is the same resolution and has the same touch capacity as the main screen. 

This allows you to draw or edit in a more natural position, where your hands like to rest while doing other work as well or running additional programs giving you the most flexible multi-windowed or split screen capability on the market today.

The functionality of ScreenPad Plus is absolutely mind blowing. There are uses that go far beyond drawing and extend into editing, music production, gaming, programming, and more. It is a true innovation that puts this drawing laptop above the rest.

All-around Laptop for Drawing

The only issue is the price. At $2300 for the base model and nearly $3000 for the upgraded model (specs below for the base model), it is not a cheap laptop. On the other hand, if you are looking to invest in a laptop for drawing that is going to last and is going to do everything you need it to then this is the only purchase you will need to make.

Not only is this the perfect computer for drawing and editing, but it is also powerful enough to be an all-around computer for everything. It can game, code, design, run your business software, and anything else you can think of. One, albeit large, purchase can set you up for a very long time. 

Key Features

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Graphics Card
  • Intel i7-9750H Processor
  • ScreenPad Plus with ASUS Stylus Pen
  • 3840 x 2160 Pixels resolution with touch screen

Specifications

  • Screen Size: 15.6-inch
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Battery Life: 4.5 hours
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
  • Storage: 1TB PCIE
  • Weight: 5.5lbs
  • Dimensions14.1 x 9.7 x 0.94 in
Pros
  • Amazing SmartPad Plus technology increases functionality tenfold
  • Super powerful specs - run anything you need to
  • Phenomenal screen resolution will make all of your creations pop
Cons
  • Pricey, won’t be affordable for people on a budget
  • Large and heavy body reduces portability
  • Relatively short battery life

The Microsoft Surfaces

From the NFL to the college classroom the Microsoft Surface has exploded in popularity due to its simple interface, competitive price, and versatility. All of the Surface models are great for drawing or sketching because they are lightweight, affordable, and durable. The next three candidates in our TOP 10 of best Laptops for Drawing are the Surface models.

                        Best Budget Pick

The Microsoft Surface Go is the leanest and lightest version of the Surface. As you can tell from the name, this laptop is ready to be on the move. It comes in two different configurations, one being slightly more powerful than the other, but the base model is more than serviceable and plenty affordable. 

What you are getting with the Surface Go is a true tablet-laptop hybrid. The Surface fills in the gaps that a standard tablet has in terms of power and software. The 4GB of RAM, which can be upgraded to 8GB for those who want it, ensures that this laptop runs quickly through the basics. The touchscreen is fairly large at 10” and has a sharp 1800×1200 pixel display that looks and feels great. 

Feather-Light Weight

The biggest upside to the Surface Go compared to other Surface models and other similar machines are the size. Weighing in at just over a pound it is feather-light and extremely thin. You will hardly know it is there, whether it is in your backpack or purse. 

The low weight allows you to carry it around like a clipboard with complete ease, evoking the days where artists could walk around with their sketchbook in hand. This makes it easier than ever for you to draw on the fly, whenever the mood strikes you. 

Amazing Battery Life

Combine the size with the 9 hours of battery life you can get out of it and you have a laptop that can be used all day, whether for work or for play, without causing you any issues at all.

Key Features

  • Intel® Pentium® Gold Processor 4415Y
  • Intel® HD Graphics 615 Graphics Card
  • 10″ PixelSense™ Display with 1800 x 1200 (217 PPI) resolution with touch

Specifications

  • Screen Size: 10-inch
  • RAM: 4GB or 8GB (Amazon link with 8GB)
  • Battery Life: 9 hours
  • Operating System: Windows Surface Go
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Weight: 1.15lbs
  • Dimensions: 9.65 x 6.90 x 0.33 in
Pros
  • One of the lightest laptops ever made
  • extremely long battery life
  • great price for what you get
  • Large and responsive touch display, especially for the weight
Cons
  • Runs on Surface OS, a slimmed down version of Windows 10 for touch
  • Surface Pen not included, which adds potential dollars to the final price
  • Sometimes feels more like a tablet than a laptop

The Surface Pro 7 is just right. Not too light, not too expensive, it is the perfect middle of the road for anyone who likes the Surface lineup but doesn’t like how slim the GO is and doesn’t want to drop a grand or more on the Surface Book 2. This gives the average user, with an average budget, above average performance.

It has good specs that can be easily upgraded to great specs. It is almost as light as the Surface GO with much better internal hardware and software included. If you are looking for an affordable laptop for drawing option that is going to be familiar, fun, and easy to use, then the Surface Pro 7 is going to be the way to go.

However, if you are looking for a little bit more power in a larger more versatile body, you are probably going to look to upgrade, either within the Surface family or outside of it. 

Key Features

  • Quad-core 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 Processor
  • Intel® UHD Graphics (i3) Graphics Card
  • 12.3” PixelSense™ Display 10″ with 2736 x 1824 (267 PPI) resolution with touch

Specifications

  • Screen Size: 12.3-inch
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Battery Life: 10.5 hours
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Weight: 1.1lbs
  • Dimensions: 12.80 x 2.68 x 9.21 inches
Pros
  • Has all of the best Surface features without going overboard
  • extremely long battery life
  • Surface Pen included
Cons
  • The screen might be a little small for some

If you like the Microsoft Surface and want the absolute best iteration of it, then the Surface Book 2 is the laptop for you. While the other Surface models try to stay slim for the sake of size or budget constraints, Surface Book 2 pushes the Surface design to its limits and the results are good. Really good.

Where the Surface GO sometimes feels like it leans too far towards tablet territory, the Surface Book 2 leans the opposite direction where it feels like a fully fledged computer with all of the best features of a tablet. 

Beefy Specs for any artist

It has beefy specifications. That means tons of storage, a fantastic graphics card, a fast processor, and great battery life. Everything you want and expect out of a portable laptop for artists.

Overall, for the price, specs, and size this is a fantastic package that any artist can love.

Key Features

  • Surface Pen
  • 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8650U quad-core processor, 4.2GHz Max Turbo Processor
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 discrete GPU w/2GB GDDR5 graphics memory
  • 13.5” PixelSense™ Display with 3000 x 2000 (267 PPI) resolution

Specifications

  • Screen Size: 13.5-inch
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Battery Life: 17 hours
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Weight: 3.6lbs
  • Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.14 x 0.9 in
Pros
  • Tons of power and performance in the base model at a competitive price
  • Perfect to take with you
  • useful for many different applications
  • Great screen and pen make drawing fun
Cons
  • The fully upgraded model gets expensive
  • The heaviest Surface model by far

The Rest including Best Value & Premium Pick

We had the best, we saw the Surfaces, now here are the rest of the drawing laptops. These are a mix of powerful premium picks, affordable budget picks, versatile, and different laptops that can fit specific needs or budgets.

The IdeaPad Flex 5 by Lenovo is a fantastic middle of the road laptop that does a lot for a little. This foldable, 2-in-1 laptop is a lot beefier than some of the other affordable laptops on this list without sacrificing much of anything. If you are looking for a sweet spot that is between super high end and affordable, then the IdeaPad Flex 5 is the perfect landing point.

Upgraded AMD equipment

With this model, you get a significant upgrade in AMD equipment over similar Intel chipsets. The Radeon graphics are integrated and made to work in harmony with the Ryzen processor.

Everything about this laptop runs fast and works smoothly for an excellent user experience. You still get the fully foldable, large 14” 1080p touchscreen at a price that is half as much as some similar models available. 

I suggest immediately buying the Lenovo Active Pen at the same time, for an additional $60 this well rounded 2-in-1 machine is taken to the next level. The Active Pen reminds me of the Samsung Note Pen in all of the good ways. It is light, easy to use, and functions perfectly on the touchscreen.

The whole set together is an awesome combination that any artist, graphic designer, or drawer will love and all for a reasonable price.

So what’s the catch? Sometimes you get what you pay for. Lenovo’s ThinkPad and IdeaPad lines have had technical issues in the past, such as slow performance to nonfunctional parts. These are by no means widespread but they have cropped up enough to be worth mentioning. But if you don’t get a lemon, this laptop for drawing is well worth the asking price.

Key Features

  • AMD® Ryzen™ 7 4700U Processor
  • AMD® Radeon™ Vega 8 Graphics Card
  • 14.0” FHD with 1920 x 1080 pixel display with touch

Specifications

  • Screen Size: 14-inch
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Battery Life: 13 hours
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Weight: 3.3lbs
  • Dimensions: 12.90 x 8.00 x 0.70 in
Pros
  • Powerful and fluid AMD hardware works great in this Lenovo machine
  • 360-degree range of motion for touchscreen
  • Excellent battery life for the size and performance
Cons
  • The pen is needed to make this laptop truly shine but is not included
  • Some people prefer Intel to AMD
  • IdeaPad brand has had hardware issues in the past

If you are someone who is both artistically gifted and technologically gifted, you are going to like Dell’s approach to their 2-in-1 laptop line. Dell has opened the floodgates and allows you to configure and customize your computer to the highest levels. If the rest of the computers on this list make you feel like you are in a box, then try out Dell’s options.

The Dell XPS is a sharp and smart folding laptop with an excellent screen resolution and sensitive touch capabilities. Those things come standard, so whatever other options you choose you are going to appreciate the high resolution display.

Maybe you want a computer with long battery life and don’t need a ton of memory. Or maybe you need a computer with powerful graphics to run your professional editing software. Or maybe you want to get the best bang for your buck by choosing options that maximize your dollar.

Whatever your computer preferences are, Dell gives you tons of options to customize, upgrade, or downgrade their XPS systems. If choosing between four different graphics options, three RAM options, and four processing options doesn’t excite you, you might want to stick to computers with fewer customization options. 

Key Features

  • 10th Generation Intel Core i5 Processor
  • Intel® Iris Plus Graphics Card
  • 13.3 inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) Touchscreen Widescreen LED Display

Specifications

  • Screen Size: 13.3-inch
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Battery Life: 12 hours
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Weight: 3.2lbs
  • Dimensions: 12.1″ x 8.5″ x 0.6″ in
Pros
  • Dell offers a large array of customization options for your hardware, software and more
  • A great base computer on which to build on
  • Fantastic display resolution and sensitivity
Cons
  • Options might be overwhelming for those who aren’t tech-savvy
  • Pen not included
  • Some options run up the price very quickly

Samsung was one of the first technology manufacturers to mass produce a stylus focused phone and tablet so it is fitting that they make this list with their Notebook 9 Pro laptop. If you like Samsung products or their design philosophy you will like the Notebook 9 Pro.

Versatile Samsung Stylus

This computer comes with the versatile Active Pen included which allows you to draw, sketch, color, and edit with extreme ease. It also features air gestures and voice notes, all available from the pen. This makes the Samsung stylus one of the best on the market when it comes to functionality and usability. 

The computer has a sleek and modern design and is 100% foldable. It is light and has tremendous battery life. All of these things combined to ensure that this laptop will be able to keep up with you when you’re on the go or if you just want to settle in for an all day drawing session.

Studio Plus Software package

When it comes to editing, Samsung has a leg up on the competition with their editing software package that comes included in this model. Studio Plus is easy to use and is a feature rich editing package that allows you to easily modify pictures, videos, and your own drawings. It is a great valuable add on.

You will like this laptop if you are a Samsung fan. It shares overlapping features and design philosophy with their Galaxy phones, tablets, and Galaxy Note models. It can also seamlessly integrate with any other Samsung devices you may own. 

Key Features

  • Studio Plus with Active Pen
  • 8th Gen Intel® CoreTM i7 Mobile Processor
  • Intel® UHD Graphics Card 620
  • 13.3″ FHD LED Display (1920 x 1080p) with Touch Screen Panel

Specifications

  • Screen Size: 13.3-inch
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Battery Life: 15 hours
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Storage: 256GB PCIE
  • Weight: 2.8lbs
  • Dimensions: 12.14 x 8.13 x 0.55 in
Pros
  • Comes with Studio Plus and runs it natively
  • Includes the versatile Active Pen
  • Extra-long battery life
  • Great for anyone who owns multiple Samsung device
Cons
  • If you don’t like Samsung, you probably won’t like this computer
  • A bit more expensive than similarly built computers

The ASUS Chromebook Flip is a laptop designed for the budget conscious shopper or the dabbler who is not ready to blow the budget on a higher end computer just yet. If you have been in the market for a solid drawing laptop recently, you probably have noticed that some of these machines are expensive!

Fair Price

This computer aims to bring the functionality of a foldable touchscreen laptop at a price that is fair and affordable. The hardware itself is basic. With only 4GB of RAM and only 32GB of hard storage, on its face, it seems like this machine is lacking.

The tradeoff here is that it runs on Chromebook’s own operating system which is a light and fast platform that does a select few things well but does not have the full range of usefulness that a Microsoft system has.

The good news is, you can find plenty of drawing and editing apps on the Play Store and this laptop itself is solidly built and folds down like many other far more expensive models. If you are familiar with Chromebooks or are looking for a simple laptop that you can focus on drawing and surfing the web on, this is a fantastic and affordable option.

Great Battery and light weight

With over ten hours of battery life, the sleek design of Google Apps, and a measly 2.6lb weight, this can be a carry-anywhere tool that you take outside to your favorite drawing spots before going home to check your email. Not everyone needs an expensive behemoth to fit their artistic and web surfing needs. 

Key Features

  • Intel Celeron 2.6GHz Processor
  • Intel UHD Graphics 600
  • 11.6 inch screen (1366 x 768 pixel) with touch

Specifications

  • Screen Size: 11.6-inch
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Battery Life: 10+ hours
  • Operating System: Chromebook OS
  • Storage: 32GB
  • Weight: 2.6lbs
  • Dimensions11.50 x 7.80 x 0.80 in
Pros
  • A foldable, touchscreen laptop at an affordable price
  • Lightweight with a long battery life
  • Chrome’s operating system is lean and functional
Cons
  • Not everyone likes Chromebook’s system and apps
  • No stylus or pen included
  • Lack of powerful editing software you can get on Windows

HP has appropriately dropped the title of laptop from their ZBook line of machines because this is so much more than just a laptop. Instead, they have called this a studio and fully convertible workstation. That is because this computer is one of the most unique and innovative available today and pushes the boundaries of what many think of as simple laptops.

The HP ZBook G5 Workstation comes with everything you expect out of a professional caliber laptop. It has a large 15.6” 4k touch screen, 32GB of RAM, a powerful i7 processor, and Windows 10 PRO comes included and runs natively. 

Folding in half

What makes this machine special is its ability to fold itself in half. It can be set up in a propped up position for quick and easy editing with the powerful x360 Pen or can be completely folded flat, screen facing up, to create a versatile tablet.

This makes drawing and editing a breeze and when you’re done sketching up your newest creation, simply reset the computer back into its traditional laptop form so you can post it to your social media accounts.

All of this comes at a cost, this model is going to run you around $1999 depending on the options you choose. The upside is, this has the potential to be your mobile workstation. You can set this up in your office, take it with you on trips or use it as a clever tablet-laptop hybrid.

Laptop that can do it all

It does come in on the large side, but you will appreciate that when you are drawing and at 4.9lbs it is not much heavier than a MacBook. If you are looking to go all in, make one large purchase, and then be set for a long time, this is a fantastic option. The software, the hardware, and the versatility of design mean that this laptop can really do it all. 

Key Features

  • HP ZBook x360 Pen using AES technology
  • Intel 8th Generation Intel i7-8750H 6-Core Processor
  • NVIDIA Quadro P600 with 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • 15.6″ diagonal 4K touch display

Specifications

  • 4Screen Size: 15.6-inch
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4
  • Battery Life: 8 hours
  • Operating System: Windows 10 PRO
  • Storage: 2TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD+2TB HDD
  • Weight: 4.9lbs
  • Dimensions14 x 10 x 1 inch
Pros
  • A powerful suite of hardware included
  • Brilliant touch display and sensitive pen make drawing and editing fluid and easy
  • More than just a laptop
  • Windows 10 PRO included
Cons
  • The cost might be too high for some
  • If you have a cheap tablet, you might not appreciate the tablet configuration

The MacBook Pro by Apple is the drawing laptop for those who do not like to draw on their actual laptop. Drawing is a very personal experience and there are many people who still like to use a drawing pad, digital or otherwise, and upload their creations to the computer rather than drawing straight onto a touchscreen. 

For the ones out there who like to draw elsewhere and only use your laptop to enhance and edit, you can’t go wrong with the classic MacBook Pro. It is lightweight and durable meaning you can take it anywhere with you or set it up in your home office, either way you will be happy.

Retina Display with True Tone

With Apple’s industry recognized Retina Display you will be able to get the most out of your colors and lines especially with their recent addition of True Tone which enhances the colors even further giving you one of the absolute best displays on the market today.

The 8GB of RAM and 10-hour battery life gives this laptop the power and longevity it needs to upload, edit, and redesign your favorite drawings. If you do not like touchscreen laptops or do not like Windows machines then the MacBook Pro is definitely the setup for you. If you do your drawing on an Apple tablet instead, this computer will integrate seamlessly with your other Apple devices.

Key Features

  • 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5Processor
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • 13.3-inch LED-backlit Retina display with True Tone

 

Specifications

  • Screen Size: 13-inch
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Battery Life: 10 hours
  • Operating System: Catalina OS 64bit
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Weight: 3lbs
  • Dimensions: 12″ x 8.3″ x .60″ in
Pros
  • Seamless integration with other Apple devices, such as their tablets
  • Powerful editing tools and software
  • Great longevity of Apple products
Cons
  • No touchscreen
  • No pen
  • Few innovations compared to Windows machines

3 Things to Look for in a Laptop for Drawing

After going through this enormous list of great laptops, you may be left wondering how to decide on one of them or whether you can pick a completely different model. If you are looking to buy a laptop not mentioned here, there are a few things you are going to want to keep in mind while you are searching for your perfect drawing focused computer.

1. First, the display on a laptop focused on drawing and artwork is very important. Having vibrant and accurate colors is going to give you the focus and eye you need to enhance your work and ensuring that it will look consistent on other high end machines.

2. Second, you are going to want to find a touchscreen and pen combination that allows for a large range of sensitivity so that you can press down and get thicker lines like you are drawing with an actual pen. This will increase the authenticity and feel for your drawing.

3. Lastly, you need to consider the power and hardware. If you use specific editing tools or have a preference for certain drawing programs, you want to make sure that your chosen computer will be able to run it smoothly. Also keep in mind that the better the hardware, the more expensive the computer is going to be. 

A Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Digital Artist

As most of you can imagine drawing on a laptop vs on paper is definitely a learned skill. Instead of deciding what kind of paper and colors you use, you have to decide what kind of hardware and software will be your go to. 

We have compiled a great hardware list of laptops that will fit your drawing needs. Next I want to quickly touch on software needed and how to start drawing on a laptop.

Since drawing is a visual medium just writing about it won’t cut it. Instead I have found two very great videos that can showcase the skill very well. The first one goes into detail how to start out as a digital artist and the second one shows how to sketch on a laptop if you’re new to the craft.

1. A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO BECOME A DIGITAL ARTIST

2. HOW TO SKETCH ON THE COMPUTER

Best Software for Digital Drawing on a Computer

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP

The most prominent of them all but also the most expensive. You will have to subscribe to a monthly fee. Luckily if you’re a student you can get a great discount. This program was not only made for artist but can also be used for image manipulation and editing in general. If you are serious to pursuing digital art as your profession, this one is worth all the hype and money!

 

PAINT TOOL SAI

Loved and preferred by a lot of artists, but doesn’t have all the extra features that Photoshop comes with.  It was purposely made for drawing and is known for having an amazing brush set which paints and blends at the same time. 

 

AUTODESK SKETCHBOOK – FREE

This amazing sketch tool is NOW FREE FOR EVERYONE! So it cannot hurt to download it and try it, especially if you’re at the beginning of your digital drawing journey. You can get this for PC and the tablet. 

 

PROCREATE – IPAD APP

If you’ve got an IPad Pro – this app is perfect. You can use layers and make your own brushes and even export your file to use in Photoshop later.

CLIP STUDIO PAINT

This can be used as an app on an Ipad or Iphone or as a program on a computer. It runs on Windows and Mac. This program has a wide range. You can use it for animation, comics and mangas, character art & drawing and concept art and painting. 

 

Conclusion - Best Laptops for Drawing

Whether you need a powerful computer to run a business linked to drawing or if you are just looking for something cheap to fuel your hobby, there is a laptop for drawing out there for you that will fit your needs. Whether your perfect fit is on this list or not, these are some of the best options available in 2020 for the digital minded artists out there.

Do you know about a great laptop for drawing that wasn’t mentioned on our list? If so, we’d love for you to share with our audience by contacting us!

 

Happy laptop hunting!

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