Best Laptops for Music Production (Budget & DAW 2020)

Best Laptops for Music Production (Budget & DAW 2020)

As the only portable platform for Logic Pro X, the Apple MacBook is everywhere in music production, from the DJ booth and pro recording studio setups to working bands making music on the road. And also, those of us displaying a Mac proudly on our home studio desk. However, in recent years, Dell, Microsoft, Samsung, MSI, Asus, Lenovo, and others are all muscling in to give Apple a run for its money, and some of them have serious music-making clout. In this review, we’ve curated the top 5 best laptops for music production. We made this list based on our own opinion, research, and customer reviews. We’ve considered their quality, features, and values when narrowing down the best choices possible.

5. Asus ROG Strix Scar III

Best Laptops for Music Production (Budget & DAW 2020)If you are looking for a powerful, efficient, and innovative laptop with a sleek and functional design, this one's for you. This device boasts an intelligent cooling system that unleashes the raw power of the 9th Gen Intel Core CPU and GeForce RTX graphics, so it can conquer any audio production task you throw at it. It comes with a keystone feature that lets you personalize your machine and protect your personal data. It fits just right on the chassis, adding a subtle accent along with the trim. You can instantly transform this device with different effects and game-specific profiles, or even unlock access to a secret Shadow Drive for covert private storage. The Asus ROG Strix Scar III is equipped with a 2.6gigahertz Core i7-9750H processor, 16-gigabyte of memory, a 6-gigabyte GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, and a 1-terabyte NVMe SSD.

Its pros are:

  • It is upgradeable. If you need to change some features to fit your preferences, nothing is stopping you. With its system you could tinkle all you want until you come up with the monstrous machine that you are aiming for
  • It is comfortable to use. With a well-ventilated exterior and a self-cleaning thermal module that ejects dust to improve longevity, overheating will not be a problem.

However, it is bulky. If you are looking for a lightweight and slim laptop, you might want to keep watching.

The slim design is a huge price to pay for powerhouse internal features, so if weight is not a concern, then you should consider this unit. You can perform at the highest level with the Asus ROG Strix Scar III!

4. Microsoft Surface 2

Best Laptops for Music Production (Budget & DAW 2020)Speaking of a thin and portable laptop, you might want to take a look at this device. Its clean and elegant design makes it thin and light, at just around 3 pounds, so you can easily slip it in your bag. It features all-day battery life, with up to 15 hours of video playback. It also has a vibrant 13.5 inches Pixel Sense Display with interactive touchscreen and razor-sharp resolution. This Surface 2 is very user-friendly as it comes with Windows 10 home right out of the box. You’ll get to enjoy features like Cortana intelligent assistant and password-free Windows Hello sign-in. It lets you do more with the Windows that you know. The Microsoft Surface 2 comes with a 1.7gigahertz Intel Core i5, an Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8-gigabyte of RAM LPDDR3, and a 256-gigabyte SSD for storage.

The pros are:

  • You’ll have more time for your passion as it gives you more power to do what you want, with the latest 8th Generation Intel Core processor and long battery life. This is perfect for your side hustle with a little extra time for Netflix
  • It comes with Omnisonic Speakers that deliver radiant, omnidirectional sound.

However, this unit does not have enough ports. Due to its slim design, this laptop has fewer ports for its size. You may need to buy additional USB adapters to cater to all of your devices.

Microsoft Surface 2 comes with a vastly improved power profile from its predecessor. While it doesn't include tangible design changes, it ultimately achieves the purest Windows 10 experience on a laptop.

3. Huawei MateBook 13

Best Laptops for Music Production (Budget & DAW 2020)Are you always in a hurry? Then this device might just have the solution to your problem. It comes with a pocket charger that can Quick Charge your laptop and smartphone with multi-functional connectors. That gives you up to 3 hours of office use from a 15-minute charge. Convenience at its finest! The MateBook 13 boasts a borderless display. You can have a more unobstructed view of your compositions with a fully immersive visual experience with this unit. It has an 88% screen-to-body ratio with a slender 4.4-millimeter bezel that makes more room for bright, rich, and vivid graphics to fuel your imagination. Huawei is selling two configurations of the MateBook 13 laptop, an entry-grade version, and a high-end version.

Still, both contain the same 13-inch, 220 pixels per inch touchscreen in a 3:2 aspect ratio and 8-gigabytes of LPDDR3 memory. It also has a fingerprint reader embedded into the power button. The more approachable model includes an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with integrated graphics and 256 gigabytes of SSD. It also comes with an Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia MX150 discrete graphics chip inside.

The pros are:

  • It has powerful audio. It provides an immersive entertainment experience with or without a headset by producing a clear and moving cinematic experience supported by surround sound and powerful sound effects
  • It is affordable. It remains as one of the best laptops for music production from its release up to this date. It has a competitive price, giving you features, design, and performance at a low price. It can surely give you the value for your money

However, it does not have a Thunderbolt 3, so it might be a turn-off for more professional users looking for the fastest possible data transfers.

The Huawei MateBook 13 has the kind of sensibility you’ve wanted from a luxury laptop. You can easily stick to your budget with this safe, fast, and user-friendly device.

2. Dell XPS 9360

Best Laptops for Music Production (Budget & DAW 2020)If you are looking for an award-winning laptop to carry out your music production needs, we give you the Dell XPS 9360. You can have more screen with less to carry with its borderless InfinityEdge display that maximizes screen space by squeezing a 13-inch display in an 11-inch frame. The IGZO IPS lets you see content clearly from almost all angles by providing a wide viewing angle. This laptop has a long battery life. It lets you experience the longest battery life of any 13-inch laptop.

You can enjoy 13 hours of battery life when streaming Netflix content or browsing the web with Microsoft Edge. The base model of the XPS comes with a seventh-gen Core i3 and a skimpy 4-gigabyte of RAM and 128-gigabyte SSD. It has 8 gigabytes of memory and a 256-gigabyte PCIe SSD, but its main attraction is the Core i7-8550U, the first quad-core in Intel's 15-watt family. The processor has a lower base speed but higher turbo speed and numerous internal enhancements from the previous generation.

The pros are:

  • It has excellent connectivity. The Thunderbolt 3 multi-use Type-C port allows you to charge your laptop and connect to multiple devices. There is no need for those USB port adapters; you’ll have all the ports you need right here
  • It has impressive brightness. Editing musical compositions and other music production needs under the sun will never be this easy and comfortable. It boasts a 400-nit brightness, which is brighter than a typical laptop panel, so you get a great view, even outside.

However, it is expensive. But this should not be a surprise because behind every premium laptop is a hefty price tag. With Dell XPS, you get a laptop with a stunning, state-of-the-art display that can provide a fully-loaded, enhanced performance. 

1. Apple MacBook Pro 2019

Best Laptops for Music Production (Budget & DAW 2020)If you are looking for a stylish laptop that can give you everything you need and more, check out this device. It features a 6-core Intel Core i9 processor that works 50 percent faster than the previous generation. If you are doing music production tasks, you’ll get everything done a lot faster. It also comes with both Touch ID and Touch Bar. Add in more than 10 hours of battery life and you have one of the best laptops around, and the best Apple laptop for most people especially those who want a future-proof system. The MacBook Pro 2019 features a bright retina display with true tone technology. It also has Radeon Pro 555x or 560x Graphics with 4 gigabytes of video memory, as well as an ultrafast SSD and an Intel UHD Graphics 630. Aside from that, this device has the Apple T2 Chip. This includes a Secure Enclave coprocessor that provides the foundation for secure boot and encrypted storage, so you’ll never have to worry about losing your files, ever again.

The pros are:

  • It comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports for faster data transfers. It combines ultra-high bandwidth with the ultra-versatility of the USB-C industry standard to create one heck of a universal port. This makes data transfer, charging, and video output so much faster, so you’ll have more time doing what you really need to do
  • It has a touchbar. This is a new feature of the MacBook Pro that makes it more versatile and for music producers to create their custom shortcuts and increase their productivity

The con is: It comes with Butterfly switches, which have been heavily criticised for lacking decent key travel.

However, the new MacBook Pro 2020 has been updated with the Magic Keyboard. This means that the controversial butterfly keyboard is out, and the new scissor mechanism is in. The Apple MacBook Pro 2019 delivers the best combination of speed, battery life, and display quality to seduce any music producers. Still, if you have the budget, the MacBook Pro 2020 is a great upgrade.

Alex A


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