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10 Best Computers for UX design

10 best computers for ux design

For software designers, there's multiple computers that are considered ideal for the process. Which particular computer are the 10 best computers for UX Design?

The answer to that question weighs heavily on the designer and what they're comfortable using. Of course, you have those who swear by Windows. On the other side of the coin, you have Apple enthusiasts - and everything in between.

While many designers search out the best computers manufactured by certain tech companies, the most seasoned typically prefer to craft their own piece-by-piece. In this article, we'll cover the most pertinent questions pertaining to UX design.

By the conclusion of this article, you'll know the most important components needed to put together a PC optimized for constructing UX designs. We'll answer all the most critical questions regarding the subject. And in conclusion, just for the designers who prefer to purchase their design tools already put together, we'll highlight the best models on the market for this form of design.

Components for Building for UX Designers - Piece by Piece

First, you need to start with the most basic - the actual computer itself. Do you need a laptop or a desktop?

Desktop vs. Laptops for UX Designers

Desktop vs laptop

One of the first questions you need to answer is whether you need a laptop or a desktop. In many cases, it's the industry standard for the organization you're working with to provide you with a laptop.

Let's rewind for a moment. Before you make any decision, you should go into the process looking for quality. Anything you purchase should be vetted for quality. Don't skimp out and buy from the clearance shelf - you'll only regret it in the long run.

When it comes to choosing a laptop vs. desktop, there's no denying the fact that a desktop always outmatches a laptop in terms of capability. Pound-for-pound, it's nearly impossible for a laptop to keep up with a desktop in terms of performance.

People make a big deal about having a laptop for mobility. However, most users end up placing their laptops on a desk anyway, where they sit indefinitely. If you can manage, it's better to go with a desktop, especially if you're a newcomer. It's important to have all the specs you need instead of wanting more by opting for a laptop. In the end, you can just do so much more with a desktop PC.

Battery life also comes into play. Remember, being mobile has no advantages if you don't have a source to replenish your battery life.

What Type of Processor Do UX Designers Need?

Your processor plays a huge role in how fast your computer operates, and when you've got applications and multiple windows open for design apps and more, you're going to want something substantial. A quad-core should do the trick, but it never hurts to go with someone bigger.

When you go with a quad-core, multi-tasking becomes much easier - and trust us, you'll be doing quite a bit of juggling. If there's one piece of advice you take, it should be to never purchase weak processors for UX design - or any type of design, for that matter. It's last important to keep in mind the graphics processing unit.

You'll want something that yields accurate color and a high-quality picture. You don't need a graphics processing unit that gaming laptops would have - but you definitely want something above average.

If you want to go top-of-the-line, a dedicated NVIDIA GEForce Graphics processing unit is

the way to go. You'll want to get a large monitor with a big enough screen resolution so you don't waste all that power.

How Much RAM (Random Access Memory) Do UX Designers Need?

You can never have too much RAM (random access memory). The average amount of random access memory included in most computers is typically between 4 and 8 gigs. 4 is sufficient for typing and simple document processing, and surfing the web without any videos or downloading. 8 gigs allow you to stream videos and movies and run an additional program or two.

If you're doing any type of designing or coding, you should go with at least 16 gigs - and that's at the low end. If you work from your computer - even as a hobby, let's say you build websites or create blogs. How many windows and tabs do you have open at any given moment? Two or three windows? And about 10-15 tabs for each browser?

If you work remotely, you're definitely multi-tasking. You've got your team chat platform up, whether it's Slack, Teams, Skype, or any other option. A couple of design windows consisting of a heavy-weight program like 'Adobe Creative Suite. Maybe a few document windows. You need your PC to run efficiently with all these things running at once.

Hard Drive Space for UX Designers

If you were thinking 60 or 90 gigs, think again. We're not even dealing in gigs here. We're talking about at least 1TB or better. Most likely you're dealing with extremely large files. If you play games or have apps, that's another story. Even if you don't have any currently, it's best to plan ahead.

UX Designers Screen Size Options

When you design anything on a desktop, believe it or not, a good screen can improve your work a lot more than you think. Laptop screens can only get so big. If it's been a while since you've experienced operating a PC on a large screen, you've probably forgotten the convenience. Do yourself a favor - hook up your laptop to a flatscreen TV or monitor via HDMI and tell us what you think, then.

When you have the additional screen space, performing multiple actions at once becomes much easier. Before you pull the trigger, make sure that your computer is able to power a 4K display. Choosing something that has a high percentage of sRGB coverage is your best bet.

Graphics Card for a UX Designer

Do you know why you never see a hardcore gamer playing on a laptop? Because a dedicated graphics card is better suited for a desktop. If you absolutely have to go with a laptop, go with a 16-inch or better. If you're staring at a screen all day, you want high-quality graphics - well, just because - and, you want to be able to actually SEE what you're doing to produce the best product possible.

PC vs. Mac for a UX Designer

This battle belongs with the greats - McDonalds vs. Burger King, Ali vs. Frazier, Pepsi vs. Coke - you get the picture. Overall, a PC is substantially lower than a Mac, with a lot more room for customization. However, we strongly suggest going with a Mac unless you play video games on your computer. If you're really hard-pressed and must have access to Windows, there are workarounds if you use a Mac.

Can a UX Designer Use a Tablet?

Many novice designers inquire about whether they can use a tablet. While a tablet is nice for lightweight tasks, it's not very useful for any type of major design. The lack of full-service applications, a real graphics card, bad lighting, and the small screen just doesn't lend to UX design very well. In addition, the short battery life of a tablet is also a pain, and the screen resolution just isn't there.

Why the Apple Macbook Is Such a Great Option for a UX Designer

We discussed the Apple Macbook a bit earlier, but let's get into why it's such a great option for UX design. First, the attached hardware and software are just conducive to incredible UX design. Let's be honest - an Apple Macbook delivers nothing but power, without fail, for an extended period. They're as fast as lightning, and they keep ticking.

So, which Mac should you get? Most people assume that the latest is always the most efficient.

However, in this case, this might not be your best option. Opting for a 2015 version because of the retina display is an excellent option for this type of design. Remember, one of the most important elements is color accuracy, and the 2015 model really delivers on this front.

Another advantage of the Macbook is the battery life. You'd be hard-pressed to find anything that operates Windows besting a Macbook in battery life and total running time.

What If I REALLY Want to Use Windows?

If you absolutely must use a Windows PC, there are a few things you need to remember. It's important to note that when you're using Windows, it's not a good idea to opt for a throwback as in the case of the 2015 Mac. With Windows, you always want the latest. If you can't afford the latest, at least get something respectable made within the last couple of years.

The Bottom Line On the Big Two

if you can afford it, opt for a Macbook. However, it's important to keep in mind the lack of memory upgrades and storage options. However, this won't be a problem if you build it right. If you enjoy being able to customize your setup and prefer to build on it as time passes, go with a Windows. However, you'll be trading customization for overall life and battery power.

Pre-Built Models for a UX Designer

In the first portion of the article, we gave you all the specs and recommendations based on someone who was building their own machine for UX design. If you have the knowledge, this is definitely the way to go - you'll always know what you've got in the machine, financially and literally - giving you the ability to run it the way you see fit.

Obviously, not everyone is into building their own machine. Luckily, there are plenty of efficient computers on the market for UX design that more than accommodate your needs. We tested out a good portion of these and studied reviews of dozens of models - and we came up with a list of the best laptops for UX designers.

The 10 best computers for UX Design

1. Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro 14" - Best Overall for UX Designer

This powerhouse has no problem making it through an eight-hour or more workday and definitely delivers what you need regarding speed and storage. The Macbook Pro is definitely one of the best laptops for UX designers. Any visual designer would agree - the unmatched speed and performance can't be beat, and the longevity is unreal.

2. Lenovo Legion 5 - Best Windows Laptop/Gaming Laptop for a UX Designer

The Legion 5 is a versatile laptop. This one has a significant amount of processing power, graphics chops, and RAM. It actually doubles as a gaming laptop, so if you're into that kind of thing, the Legion 5 is right up your alley. Lenovo is known for making stout laptops, and this one doesn't disappoint.

3. Acer ConceptD 3 - Best Two-In-One for a UX Designer

This is a high-end model with lots of bells, whistles and plenty of performance specs. It doubles as a touchpad and comes with pencil capability.

4. MSI GF63

This is an excellent model with a huge screen, making it ideal for UX designers.

5. Samsung Galaxy Book Odyssey

This is Samsung's version of the Macbook. We must say - we were pleasantly surprised with this model, as it's more than efficient.

6. HP i5 Touch

Excellent graphics and a handy touchscreen make this one a favorite for UX design.

7. Apple Pavillion

The Apple Pavillion uses GeForce GPU and has a huge amount of SSD storage, meaning you can put all your favorite programs on here with no problem.

8. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

This is similar to the other Lenovo on our list, only more cost-efficient and a little less powerful.

9. Microsoft Surface Book 3 13.5"

This is another touch with Pen support, giving you another 2-in-1 option that works great for design.

10. Asus ZenBook 14" - Best Budget Laptops for UX Designers

If you're on a budget but still want something efficient, this Asus model gives you enough to get the job done.

How to Find the Most Cost-Efficient Models for UX Designers

If you're on a budget, you don't need to break the bank on building a computer or buying the most expensive model. It's possible to stay within the limits of your budget and still obtain a computer suitable enough to get the job done.

  • While it's tempting to purchase the laptop or desktop with the biggest and best screen, this isn't always the best way to save money. If you have your eyes on a certain model and the price point is more than you'd like to spend, the chances are high that there's a cheaper model if you opt for smaller screen size. Laptop manufacturers usually create three or four different models, each with different screen sizes. Instead of going with the biggest size, take it down a step or two, and you'll probably save a few hundred dollars.

  • Most UX designers will jump on a computer with an i7 processor - and why wouldn't they? It is the most appropriate for the job, but it's not the most cost-efficient. You can still make things work with an i5 and even an i3 if you have to. These will lower the price of your computer significantly, netting you a large amount of savings in the end.

  • If you're pinching pennies, opt for a laptop with less internal storage. It might not be the most favorable situation, but you can definitely make it work to accommodate your budget. There's no shortage of options regarding storage space for laptops. If you look for a model with HDD instead of SSD, you'll save yourself quite a bit in the end. However, try to avoid purchasing a laptop with eMMC storage, as these are only efficient for small files, and you'll definitely go beyond the capacity of what they deliver.

  • If you really need to save a few dollars, go with a laptop that yields 8GB of RAM instead of 16 or better. You can still operate at an appropriate level of speed with 8 gigs of RAM. However, you should know that dipping below the 8 gig mark seriously disqualifies your ability to operate more than one program or work on more than one project at once.

Choosing the Best Option for UX Designers

So what's the best option for UX designers? Well, that depends on a few important points. Do you have the ability to build your own computer?

If you have the know-how and the funds, crafting your own unique model is the way to go. Another advantage to this is making upgrades is much easier, as you'll know your way around the computer and know with 100% certainty what's been installed hardware and software-wise.

However, if you're not confident in your ability to build a computer from the ground up, it's probably best to purchase a good old-fashioned retail model. If it's your first computer for UX design, go with something a little more economical until you get your feet wet. As we said earlier, you don't have to break the bank to accomplish UX design in a professional manner.

UX Designers FAQs

What's the better option - a Mac or Windows operating system for UX designers?

This is a question that always causes controversy or argument - mostly because of the die-hard fans of either operating system. Normally, you're either all-the-way Apple or all-the-way Windows.

In our opinion, because of the importance of everything running fluidly without any crashes or restarts, a Macbook is just much more efficient and possesses more powerful equipment to operate in the way you need it to.

That said, this doesn't disqualify Windows computers for UX designers completely. You can still find plenty of models that operate on a Windows operating system that will deliver the performance you require.

Can UX designers use tablets?

While theoretically, you could, especially if the tablet you had was able to handle the installation of a program or app that allowed you to complete your design.

Unfortunately, technically, the performance just isn't there when it comes to a tablet. There's no substantial processing power, no graphics power to speak of, a lack of RAM, and the screen just isn't large and sharp enough to give you the view you need to visualize your work. As a general rule, you want a screen that's at least 13 or 14-inches, and even that's cutting it close. Ideally, you want a screen that's upwards of 20" - 27 or 28" to be exact.

Should UX designers use laptops or desktops?

This is another commonly asked question. While both are used to complete this scope of work, we feel as if a desktop is a more appropriate option in this case. The power that a desktop is capable of delivering can't be matched by that of a laptop, and that's important in a situation where performance is key.

Sources: Laptopified | Uxmag | Techbii

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