In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that my interior design world would collide with the tech world. The concept that I can sip a margarita on the beach, while simultaneously designing the kitchen of my client’s dreams, is mind-boggling. I can no longer imagine a life without technology.
It’s virtually impossible for any designer today to have a thriving business without using a computer or laptop. You can bring your design concepts to life by creating digital boards and communicating with clients worldwide, with the click of your keyboard.
So, I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts on the best laptops for designers and which one I’ve chosen to help advance my career.
Interior designers are often assigned to the task of creating architectural solutions for residential and commercial buildings. They want optimum software that will allow them to design eye-catching models and 2D rooms. If you choose the right laptop, you can enhance your business. An advanced laptop will allow you to upload the most current software, which is key in the design field.
There are a few important details to consider before taking the leap and purchasing a laptop. For interior designers who might be on multiple job sites a day, always out of their office, battery life becomes very crucial. You have to be sure the device has many hours of battery backup while on the road. A good rule of thumb is not to go below about four hours of battery life.
Over this past year, I’ve been using a MacBook Pro 16”, with 16 GB of memory. In my opinion, it’s the best computer I’ve used thus far. It has an Apple M1 Pro chip, which in layman’s terms means it’s 12% faster than the 13” MacBook Pro.
According to Alex Wawro, senior editor at Tom’s Guide, “when you factor in its comfy keyboard, great speakers, and 15+ hours of battery life on a single charge, the MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch) is already a strong contender for one of the best MacBooks on the market and one of the best laptops, period.” On a side note, the sound system is top notch.
As MacRumors.com points out, “There’s a high-fidelity six-speaker sound system in the MacBook Pro that includes two tweeters and four force-cancelling woofers for 80 percent more bass. Apple says it is the best audio system in a notebook.” This is ideal for zoom meetings and listening to music while working.
I’m a creature of habit in my daily life, so when I learn how to use a device, I try not to deviate from it. However, in the tech world, you’re often faced with a new update or better version of the laptop or device you currently own. For this exact reason, I always gravitate toward Mac laptops because they are easy to learn and offer extraordinary results.
Mac laptops are the cream of the crop for interior designers because you can create superior projects using state-of-the-art interior design software. The keyboard is easy to use and quiet, allowing for a better daily, albeit, peaceful experience.
You’d be surprised to learn that noise matters, especially in a work environment when you are close to other people. Consistent typing on your computer can sound like a co-worker is tap dancing on a desk.
Lenovo Legion 5
For beginners who have just decided to make interior design their career, I recommend the Lenovo Legion 5. This laptop is a smart choice for interior design students who are looking to learn how to use architectural design software for 3D designs. It provides users with a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1650Ti graphics card, a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with six cores, and 4GB of memory.
It can manage difficult functions like editing, programming, or 3D rendering. According to a recent review in the UltrabookReview.com, “There’s a decent selection of IO on this device. On the left side, there’s a single USB-C port and a headphone/microphone combo jack. On the right-hand side, there is a USB-A slot and a physical switch that disconnects the microphone.
I like that switch a lot by the way. There’s also a small indicator light for the power. The last thing to mention is Lenovo’s standard proprietary power connection, which is also on the back. This is probably my favorite power connection on any laptop available. It’s easy to connect, robust and reversible.
And the cord is out of the way, being in the back.” It’s a safe bet that the Lenovo Legion 5 has the best features for beginner designers, and the best option out there.
Dell XPS 13
If you are looking for a stylish and exceptional device, the Dell XPS 13 is the one. It comes equipped with an amazing touchscreen that makes it easy to draw on. This is convenient for designers who rely on sketching for 2D or 3D room designs. It’s thin and lightweight, which makes it easy to travel on job sites and has a very long battery life.
According to Tom Bryant who writes for PC Mag, “The 2020 version of Dell’s venerable XPS 13 ultraportable laptop has a slightly larger display in a redesigned chassis that’s minutely more compact than its predecessor’s. It also boasts a significantly more futuristic design.
With CNC-milled aluminum and ultra-thin screen bezels, the XPS 13 (model 9300) has a striking look in line with its high price tag. (It starts at $999.99 and is $1,749.99 as tested, a few hundred dollars higher than competing systems with Intel Core i7 processors and full HD screens.)
But, the value equation aside, the XPS 13 is way cooler than the Inspiron. It’s the best high-end, clamshell-style ultraportable you can buy, and the clear choice for Windows users who want to make a statement.”
Mircrosoft Surface Pro 9
If you’re a designer or non-conformist and you like to spend minimal time working on a laptop and more time creating tangible mood boards, then the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 laptop is for you. You will get reliability, which is important, then that is what you’ll get, plus a few extra features.
It’s a great option for designers who need to use Photoshop in their daily work, as it has the necessary specs to run the software smoothly. It comes in two new vibrant colors, forest green, and sapphire blue, not just the run-of-the-mill silver and black.
Some Pro 9 users have complained about the loud fan noise, but Monica Chin, a writer for the Verge, says “During my testing process, even while on video calls, I never felt any significant heat or heard the fan (which the Intel Pro 9 does have). It helps, of course, that the keyboard and touchpad are detachable and would probably remain cool even if the tablet were blazing hot.”
MSI P65 Creator
Like the MacBook Pro, the MSI P65 Creator is a high-performance and high-price point of the five listed and comes with an ultra-sleek exterior design. This interior design model features the newest 9th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, which supports considerable rendering and multitasking. You will love the firm aluminum frame which makes for a stable working experience.
According to Christian de Looper, who wrote a review for the Insider online, “We have no trouble with photo editing either. Using software like GIMP, the laptop can handle large files and multiple layers with ease and without any real lag. Even after editing multiple images for a solid 30 minutes, the laptop remains cool to the touch.”
The bottom line is that the MSI P65 Creator can take everything you throw at it, including the kitchen sink.
As I stated at the beginning, technology has come a long way and it’s incredible the freedom laptops have given us. The truth is, when it comes to making a decision, you need to decipher what features are most important and balance that with your overall budget needs. In my personal and professional opinion, I’m always going to navigate to Mac products.
They offer simple operating systems and high-quality products across the board and the MacBook Pro 16 is no exception. However, there are several other middle-of-the-road and high-performing laptop options for you to choose from. Ones with a range of price points and skills for beginners to advanced designers.
Remember, if budget isn’t an issue, then be sure to focus on the criteria you need to advance your business and shop wisely.