Best Laptops For Architects & Architecture Students


If you decided to become an architect, I wish you good luck on your journey. To congratulate you, I decided to review the 5 best laptops for architects that you can buy right now. You probably know that architecture requires powerful hardware to run animations and design software such as AutoCAD. High-end laptops cost a lot, but I decided to keep the list as budget-friendly as possible. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Microsoft Surface Book 2

The Microsoft Surface Book 2 is the best for an architecture laptop thanks to its multi-purpose nature, and it has been crowned as the best 2-in-1 laptop in the market by many critics. It is equipped with a pretty big screen, high-performance specs that are capable of even gaming, lengthy battery life, best cooling in the category, and exceptional drawing performance.

The manufacturer has opted for the same design as the legacy model, and in my opinion is a perfect choice, because it is just amazing. It has a magnesium chassis to make it very sturdy, and I even tested bending the device and noticed no creaks. I am a big fan of the “muscle wire” mechanism of the detachable display, delivering plenty of flexibility and smooth attachment/detachment. The device is about 0.9-thick and about 3.38-pounds heavy resting right on the middle of the lightest and the heaviest.

Like its predecessor, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 has the same 3000×2000 13.5-inch Vibrant PixelSense Display, resulting in 267ppi. The display is also touchscreen capacitive and when coupled with the amazing Surface Pen it delivers perfect drawing performance. The display produced amazing contrast at 1460:1 and a max brightness of 402nits, deliver amazing blacks at wide viewing angles.

The keyboard is not the deepest with just 1.2mm of travel, but it delivered a decent typing experience, with plenty of tactile response. The touchpad is also pretty good, and it supports Windows gestures, with its precision drivers.

In the performance department, the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is extremely powerful, with its amazing Intel Core i7 CPU with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD delivering plenty of productivity power. It can even go head to head with some gaming laptops with its Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, handling every triple-A game smoothly and with plenty of frame rates.

The battery life is also improved, as this laptop can last about 8 hours with continuous HD streaming, something unheard in a 2-in-1 laptop.

This laptop can easily handle your architecture software, gaming, and you can pleasantly watch movies. Perfect architecture laptop that will make your peers jealous. Definitely deserves its spot in this best laptops for architects list.

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2. Dell XPS 15

One would never expect a lackluster machine from Dell, and their latest iteration of the XPS 15 series comes in as one of the best laptops in the market, suiting the needs of the budding architect. It provides excellent value, decent performance, lightweight and portability despite its 15-inch screen size, and a great overall package that will suit your needs.

The Dell XPS 15 resembles its predecessor, however, you will notice some tweaks in the design that makes it look different upon closer inspection and it feels different. It has an aluminium body that is CNC machined and it rocks a premium look, unlike its older sibling. On the lid, you will also spot the new and updated Dell logo, which looks perfect in every manner. On top of all this, the device is just 17.7mm thick and has a lightweight of just 2 kilos to make it extremely portable.

The Dell XPS 15 rocks a 15.6-inch InfinityEdge touchscreen panel, with a native resolution of 4K Ultra High-Definition and a Corning Gorilla Glass on top of it. The panel achieves a maximum brightness of about 400nits, however, even in lower brightness settings, everything is visible thanks to its matte coating. It has a contrast ratio of 1638:1, delivering excellent blacks, vivid colours and truly amazing image.

Under the hood this laptop is equipped with top of the line parts, first off, it has a 6-core 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8750H processor, with a boost clock speed of 4.1GHz, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD for storage, making it an amazing workhorse. The company has not stopped there as it has equipped this laptop with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics unit with 4GB of VRAM. With a spec sheet like this, the Dell XPS 15 can run even the most demanding triple-A games smoothly and it will plough through any task.

Despite having a touchscreen display with 4K resolution that can get pretty bright, this laptop amazed with its battery life. Overall this laptop has no real caveats and will please you with its entirety, amazing job by Dell.

Dell XPS 15 9570 is equipped with high-spec components performance-wise. Under the hood, it packs a 6-core 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H CPU with 16GB of RAM and an incredibly fast 1TB of PCIe SSD. This is insane for that price and a laptop this thin. During daily use it can be used with 40 Chrome tabs open, 1080p streaming and Candy crush running in the background and it wouldn’t flinch. In synthetic benchmark tests, such as Geekbench 4 it has excelled with incredibly high results.

In the graphics department, it has a GTX 1050 Ti, which is enough to run most of the games smoothly. In the more demanding games with higher settings there will be seen some framerate drops, but considering that it is not a gaming laptop, the graphics performance is perfect. Taking into consideration that the Dell XPS 15 has a 4K touchscreen display, we see that the battery life is pretty good, it has averaged around 9 hours of battery life while doing browser working and listening to music.

Overall a great laptop providing performance for its value, perfect for designers who value their money.

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3. MSI GL62M

The MSI GL62M may be marketed as a gaming laptop, with its amazing processor and high-end graphics unit, and amazing design. However, thanks to its mighty performance specs in both processing and graphics department, the MSI GL62M is a perfect choice for architects and their demanding software.

Aesthetic wise the MSI GL62M rocks a pretty interesting design, with the trademark MSI boxy body shape, but just the MSI logo that is backlit on the lid to make it a little smoother. The lid of the device is matte black and is very soft, delivers a premium and luxury feel, but as every device that has a smooth surface, this laptop to suffers from fingerprints.

However, this issue can be negated by carrying a microfiber cloth in your back to keep your electronics shiny at all times. The deck of the device has the same design, and the keys are backlit in red as well, and it is also worth mentioning that it has a wide selection of ports you can choose from.

Interestingly, the 15.6-inch LCD has a resolution of 1920×1080 and has displayed amazing colours, however, it lacks brightness, taking a lot from the experience.

The details are amazingly sharp and the colours are extremely vivid, with plenty of contrast. Besides the lacking brightness, it is pretty good, managing to reproduce about 153% of the sRGB colour gamut. The island-style keyboard of this laptop is built by SteelSeries to deliver the best gaming experience in a laptop without an external keyboard.

In the performance department, the MSI GL62M is equipped with a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU with 8GB of RAM and 1TB of HDD topped with 128GB of SSD for faster booting times. For graphics performance it is equipped with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU with 4GB of VRAM, taking all this into consideration, this laptop is one of the most powerful devices in the market, it is capable of heavy gaming, and can go through your arch software like AutoCAD or 3DS Max.

If you want a laptop that can do it all, this MSI fits the bill.

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4. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Architects and architecture students most definitely need high-performance devices, however, they also need laptops that will stand the test of time. If you are on the market for the most durable architecture laptop the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is one of the best, with its amazing battery life, and amazingly designed carbon fiber body that will last ages. It is not hard to see as to why this is an excellent choice, with its minimalistic design that will suit modern tastes, this laptop is one that will impress your clients before you show them your project.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon rocks a powerful and refined design, just perfect. It has a lightweight but rock-solid body that is the same as its predecessor. However, the manufacturer now has used premium materials, such as the hybrid magnesium alloy on the base and carbon fibre lid, to pass every durability test with flying stars. It has passed tests for extreme temperature, vibrations, shocks and many more, and despite being a pretty slim device it has rich options in connectivity.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is equipped with a 14-inch LED panel with a resolution of 1920×1080, and it is touch capacitive. The panel delivered pretty sharp details with amazing colours, and it could achieve a brightness of 469nits. It is an appropriate laptop that is good even for designers with amazing colours that were pretty accurate.

In the performance department, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is packed with an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB of SSD. This setup delivered an amazing performance, meaning that it will handle all your software that is needed for your job. It surpassed the majority of its competitors in the synthetic benchmark tests, and through my testing, I saw that it is capable of some light gaming.

The battery life was amazing as well, providing 11 hours of continuous use, which means that you can easily go to the office without packing a charger.

If you want a durable laptop, that looks amazing, plus packs the most performance, you can’t go wrong with the X1 Carbon. It can run most of the architecture software without any problems, and that’s why i included it in this best laptops for architects list.

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5. ASUS VivoBook S

Hunting a laptop for architecture can get a little annoying because there are a lot of devices that compromise a lot going down in the price range. However, ASUS has always delivered excellent options with great all-around packages, especially the VivooBook S. It comes with a nice set of features that are apparent in its bigger brother the ZenBook S, such as the ErgoLift hinge, amazing design, great performance, lengthy battery life and many more, in this extremely valuable package.

One would assume that the manufacturer has cut some costs in the design and aesthetics department, but this laptop is breathtaking. This laptop comes in different paint jobs all more attractive than the other, just stunning, they consist of the Star Gray with yellow trim which is my personal favourite, the same Star Gray with red trim, Silver Blue, Gunmetal and Firmament Green. If you want the most eye-catching model, you should opt for the latter with an interesting shade of green on its brushed aluminium lid and plastic deck, just amazing.

The ASUS VivoBook S rocks a 15-inch with 1920x1080p resolution, excelling in nearly every department, sharpness, brightness and contrast. However, it lacks a bit in the colour reproduction, managing to reproduce just 68 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut, which was a little disappointing, as I expected so much more from this colourfully designed laptop. The brightness was pretty good though, as it achieved a maximum brightness of about 257 nits, which makes it usable even outdoors.

In the performance department, the ASUS VivoBook S is the best in its category, it packs an Intel Core i7-8550U CPU with 8GB of RAM and for storage, it has 1TB of HDD and 128GB of SSD for faster booting times. As expected from these specs, the ASUS VivoBook S performed like a dream, running through tasks with ease, and I have no complaint about the performance of this laptop. It will most definitely run your architecture software with ease and will represent you in the best manner to your clients.

Combined with the longest battery life of about 9 hours of streaming time, this laptop will be your best friend, regardless if you are still a student or a professional architect.

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