Top 8 Best Laptops for Graphic Design, 3D Modeling and Animation

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Does your laptop hinder the creation of beautiful graphics and ART? Don’t you know what specs to look for in a computer that’s used for graphic design?


As a Graphic Designer to provide high-quality 2D / 3D designs require the best computer for graphic design or a strong and powerful laptop as well. Every graphic designer and digital modeler knows that to create exceptional work requires the very best software such as Photoshop and GIMP as well, but these programs require the very best hardware in order to run efficiently. Since there are thousands of laptops which from a graphic designer can choose from, we’ve reviewed the top computers in 2018 for You. Read along with our buyer’s guide and reviews of the best laptops for designers. In case if you’re in hurry:

Our Top 3 Laptop Picks for Graphic Designers & 2D/3D Animators

Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook
Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook
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Microsoft Surface Book
Microsoft Surface Book Laptop
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Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
MacBook Pro Designer Notebook
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Quick Access and table of content about the Laptops for Designers

8 Expert Reviews of the Best Laptops for Graphic Designers and Animators in 2018

 

Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook review

Today’s fast-paced economy requires everyone to be constantly on the move and the Razer Blade Stealth is pretty cool in this regard because it weighs about 3lbs and is ultra-thin enough to fit into a small bag making it the consummate companion on the go. One charge is enough to keep the Razer Blade Stealth laptop going for up to 10 hours on the QHD+ display and a whopping 15 hours with Razer Power Bank.

Most design software like Photoshop has minimum requirements of at least 4GB RAM, 64-bit processing power, an INVIDIA graphics card and sufficient storage capacity. The Razer Blade Stealth not only matches all these expectations but actually surpasses them by a milestone. With 16 GB dual-channel RAM, 1 Terra-byte of storage power and an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor you are all but guaranteed to have the best experience even when using the most powerful programs out there.

The Razer Blade Stealth can also be converted into a desktop simply by connecting it to a CPU, this offers even more RAM and memory capabilities if you should need it. Transferring data via USB port is incredibly fast with speeds of up to 40Gbps using the Thunderbolt 3 cable which comes with the laptop.

Another pretty cool feature is that newbies at design who have not yet developed skills required to design using a mouse and keyboard can do it the old fashioned way by drawing on the touchscreen display. A stylus can be pretty handy in this regard.

As the saying goes, beauty inspires even more beauty while ugliness does the same. Graphic design and modeling is artistic in nature and having a beautiful machine is important in inspiring creative juices flowing. The Razer Blade laptop is pretty slick coming in two colors of either black or gunmetal. Its keyboard allows you choose between 16.8 million different colors for each individual key so that your keyboards suit your personal tastes.

 

Pros:
  • QHD+ display
  • Touch screen display
  • Ease of Portability
  • Powerful Specifications
  • Beautiful appearance
Cons:
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Microsoft Surface Book Review

The surface book is a perfect combination of everything that you will need as an artist or graphic designer. It is a two in one, laptop as well as a tablet. It has ergonomics of a laptop and you can easily separate it into a tablet and a dedicated GPU for graphics intense use.

With Intel HD Graphics 520, you can smoothly run programs like AutoCAD. The model with performance base of i5 comes with GeForce dGPU with a GDDR memory of 1 GB. The i7 model comes with GeForce GTX 965M 2GB GPU. Whether you like to play games or run design programs, it works perfectly.

The 6th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 makes the Microsoft Surface Book a very powerful high-performance laptop. It gives you everything that you need to work with any performance-grade software. The i5 model with Intel HD graphics delivers amazing processing performance and it is supported by an 8GB RAM. The i7 option with Iris graphics makes your programs run very smoothly. You can also play many high-end games on this laptop. You can choose between 8GB or 16 GB RAM options. The 16 GB version gives greater room for your graphics intense games or programs to run.

The PixelSense display offers a very high resolution and it is optimized for touch and pen use. The display comes with a resolution of 3000*2000 and a pixel density of 267 PPI. Surface book’s display is ten point multi-touch with an aspect ratio of 3:2 and a contrast ratio of 1700:1.

The laptop gives you enough expansion options with two USB 3.0, a full-size USB card reader, two Surface connect ports, a miniDisplay port, a headset jack and it is compatible with Surface dial off-screen interaction.

Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • High Resolution
  • Fast Storage(SSD)
  • Surface Pen Support
  • The screen supports palm rejection
  • Plenty of connectivity options
  • Good battery backup
  • Powerful processor
Cons:
  • The screen does not extend beyond the 90-degree angle.
  • Windows takes more than 20GB installation space
  • It takes a little bit of time occasionally to come out of sleep.

Final Verdict on the Microsoft Surface designer laptop

Overall, the Surface book is a great companion for artists, graphics designers, 3d modelers or gamers. It offers plenty of processing power and memory to run resource-intensive programs while being a light-weight device easy to carry everywhere.

The surface pen support makes the lives of designers. You can expect the battery to last at least 8 hours, so you don’t have to worry about the power until you finish your task.

 

Lenovo 15.6″ Legion Y520 Notebook review – Best for Traveler Designers

Is it the device you should go for? If you take graphic design seriously probably not.

You can choose between mobile AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB. While they certainly are not as powerful as their
desktop counterparts, they are perfectly capable of providing you with good performance. But if your work is high-volume, these GPUs could turn out to be insufficient because of their lower processing power.

In regard to RAM, Lenovo 15.6″ Legion Y520 laptops are great. You can choose between either 8 or 16GB DDR4 2400 MHz models. If you know that 8GB will be not enough for you, go for the 16GB version, which should be enough for any of your graphic designer activities.

Being one of the most high-performance mobile CPUs, the mobile version of Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.80GHz 6MB will be surely enough for the most of the projects out there. But again, it is less powerful compared to its desktop analog, which could become an issue with complex or high-volume projects.

The display of Lenovo15.6″ Legion Y520 Notebook may be quite disappointing for some graphic designers out there, although it will be enough for those who need a good color profile. Its IPS display is nor too big neither small, but it could become a problem if you usually use a large number of tools simultaneously on your display.

Lenovo15.6″ Legion Y520 Notebook features quite a standard set of connection options – 1 USB 3.0 Type-C, 2 USB x 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 MiniDP (comes with only the GTX1060 model), 1 HDMI, audio jack,  microphone jack, RJ45 LAN, and 4-in-1 card reader for SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC (comes with GTX1050Ti and RX-560M models).

Pros:
  • An ideal choice for traveler graphic designers.
  • Great processing power.
  • Aggressive
  • Enough RAM for most of the tasks.
  • High-quality
Cons:
  • Less processing power compared to a desktop with similar price.
  • Small display, which cannot compare to professional monitors.
  • Probably won’t be suitable for professionals.

Who is Lenovo15.6″ Legion Y520 Notebook suitable for?

In our opinion, only those graphic designers who travel a lot and absolutely need mobility should go for a notebook, including Lenovo15.6″ Legion Y520 Notebook. For the same price, a desktop computer would have far more power to it and would be more durable. The display could be another issue as it certainly cannot compare to professional monitors. So all in all, we think that Lenovo15.6″ Legion Y520 Notebook would be a good choice for amateur graphic designers or those who don’t work on too demanding projects.

 

HP 17.3” ZBook 17 G4 Mobile Workstation

Dreaming about a mobile workstation you could work on your graphic design projects with? Take a look at HP17.3” ZBook 17 G4 Mobile Workstation. This is an absolute monster of a notebook capable of dealing even with the toughest tasks. But is it really that good? Let’s find out!

HP 17.3” ZBook 17 G4 Mobile Workstation offers a variety of GPU options going all the way from NVIDIA Graphics Quadro M1200 4 GB GDDR5 to NVIDIA Graphics Quadro P5000 16 GB GDDR5. While they are obviously not as powerful as their desktop counterparts, they can handle almost any of the projects thrown at them.

With a wide choice of RAM from 8GB DDR4 2400 to 64GB DDR4 2400 ECC, HP17.3” ZBook 17 G4 Mobile Workstation will be capable of satisfying the vast majority of your needs connected with RAM. While 8GB might be just barely not enough, 16GB and more will surely allow you to run multiple demanding applications at once.

CPU options go from Intel Core i5-7300HQ 2.50 GHz to Intel Xeon E3-1535M v6 3.10 GHz. For those who are not restricted by their budget, the top CPU can definitely be a must-have. But for those on a budget, although Intel Core i5 is a great processor, it will be capable of handling only moderate tasks. Display HP17.3” ZBook 17 G4 Mobile Workstation even offers you a number of displays. All of them are 17.3”, but the resolution goes from 1600×900 to 3840×2160.
Honestly, we doubt that UHD will make a big difference on such a small screen, but maybe the high-end display option can offer better color separation for your graphic designing projects.

Connection options HP17.3” ZBook 17 G4 Mobile Workstation features 1 RJ-45, 1 USB 3.0 with charging capacity, 3 USB 3.0, 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, 1 HDMI 1.4, 1 VGA, SD card reader, and Smart Card Reader. This list may vary depending on the configuration.

Pros:
  • Great for graphic designers requiring mobility.
  • Excellent performance.
  • Beautiful display.
  • Wide choice of components.
Cons:
  • The price goes up quite a bit with its top configuration.
  • The most affordable configuration is not as good of a choice for demanding graphic designers.

Who is HP17.3” ZBook 17 G4 Mobile Workstation suitable for?

Overall, buying a notebook is a good investment if you are going to be mobile and travel a lot. Otherwise, you would get a much more capable desktop PC for the same money. Is HP17.3” ZBook 17 G4 Mobile Workstation a good pick? We think that it definitely is, given that you have the budget!

Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Apple15.4″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is a lightweight powerful laptop that is preferred by most graphic designers and top executives. The MacBook has an Intel Core i7 processor which comes with a turbo boost of up to 3.9GHZ. In addition, the MacBook comes with 16GB RAM and 512GB memory making it ideal for heavy processing. The MacBook also comes with a touch bar as well as Touch ID.
The MacBook comes with Graphic Radeon Pro discrete GPU graphic card which enabled it to produce an eye-opening graphics performances. Radeon is the world first dual graphics CPU and it’s widely used in small design shops and Hollywood studios. The graphic is manufactured with the 14nm process which gives it performance efficiency coupled with electrical power efficiency. This implies that, despite the high-quality graphics, your laptop battery will last for long.
The mac book comes with 16 GB Ram and 512 GB storage. The RAM provides ample space for all the processes to run in an efficient way. This makes Apple15.4″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar one of the fastest personal computers in the market. With 512 GB storage, you can have all your documents, favorite music and other stuff in your notebook.
The powerful Apple15.4″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has elevated laptops performances to a new level. The core i7 quad-core process, with 2.9GHz, makes the notepad very fast and for people performing computer resources consuming tasks like graphic design or architecture drawings, this is the ideal MacBook for them.
The machine comes with four thunderbolts 3 USB ports and has support for charging, Thunderbolt 3, Mini Display Port which is compatible with HDMI, VGA, and DVI. When it comes to communication, the MacBook has Bluetooth which uses Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology, integrated camera, high definition keyboard and wireless LAN connectivity (WIFI).
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Cons:

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Final Verdict

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Alienware 17 R4 Review

It is no doubt that gamers and game enthusiasts have a soft spot for Alienware notebooks. The main reason for this is because of their reliability and high-quality builds. The Alienware 17 R4 has swanky looks and lots of configuration options. It is also wildly powerful.

The Alienware 17 R4 has an intel core i7 processor (Intel core i7-7820HK {quad-core, 8MB cache overclocking up to 4.4GHz}) it uses a Windows 10 Home operating system and its RAM is 16GB which is upgradable up to 32GB. It has a 1TB SATA hard drive, and a secondary SSD hard drive that is 512GB in size. Its video memory is 8GB, and it uses a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU 8GB graphics card which is ideal for gaming. It also has a Killer 1435 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 model. Its highest available resolution is 2560*1440. It also has a strong array of ports and a Tobii-eye tracking system.

Like other Alienware notebooks, Alienware 17 R4 is quite huge; probably because it has to disperse heat to maximize its full potential efficiently. It is 4.42kg, so when you decide to purchase it, do not think you will conveniently use it as an ordinary laptop by carrying it around everywhere you go. Unless of course, you do not mind the weight. The Alienware 17 R4 does not fit quite well in a 17-inch laptop case. It also has a large hinge at the back (the hinge is 1.25 inches big) which can be quite a nuisance. The reason why the hinge is quite big is for spontaneous heat emission. It gets hot when gaming. It fans are quite noisy which means that you may require using a pair of headphones for an ultimate gaming experience now and then. The HDMI, Ethernet, amplifier port and power plug are at the back of the machine. It can be annoying when you try to plug in the cables to a port that you cannot see. It has average battery life. Its huge screen means that it uses more power than its predecessors like Alienware 15.

Pros:

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Cons:

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Final Verdict

The bottom line is that the Alienware 17 R4 is a good laptop. It delivers awesome performance as well as diversity within its control system. It is easy to type with and it has an attractive design. This laptop is particularly useful to animation makers, 3d modelers, and graphic designers. You can also consider it as a good desktop replacement.

 

Acer Aspire Nitro VN7-591G-74X2 review

For decades, Acer has been at the forefront of many significant innovations in the computing industry. Acer has remained consistent in making powerful computers while incorporating the latest trends in design and technology. The Acer Aspire Nitro VN7-591G-74X2 is one of the modern creations from Acer that is creating a buzz amongst many graphic designers. This computer combines stunning looks and raw power to make it a perfect fit for any designer.

The Acer Aspire V15 Nitro packs a powerful Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and 16 GB of RAM. The laptop uses a combination of Intel HD Graphics 4600 for the regular tasks and a 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M to handle demanding applications. This makes the machine powerful enough to handle any design applications and renders finished jobs in seconds. The Acer Aspire V15 Nitro is also powerful enough to play all currently available games without lagging. If you require a lot of storage space, the Acer Aspire Nitro VN7-591G-74X2 is perfect since it has over 2TB of storage space.

The Acer Aspire V15 Nitro is indeed a well-designed machine. Its ultra slim design makes it light so you can carry it around easily. It also has a stunning 15.6-inch display that comes in Full HD or 4k depending on the machine you buy. It has a backlit keyboard so that you can work even in the dark. If you want to connect to an external monitor or TV, the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro has an HDMI port. It also has 4 USB ports so that you can connect your phone and other external devices.

Pros – Designers love the Acer Aspire Nitro VN7-591G-74X2 for the following reasons:

  • Smooth and Powerful performance.
  • High contrast, clear 4K IPS display
  • Fast solid state disk
  • Lots of storage space

Cons:

  • The only thing people complain about the Acer Aspire Nitro is the poor battery life.

Final words:

The Acer Aspire Nitro VN7-591G-74X2 is, without doubt, a designer’s dream machine. You get a computer that looks good and can handle any design application you use smoothly.

 

The ASUS 15.6″ VivoBook S15 S510UQ Notebook review

There are very few laptops that can match the ASUS 15.6″ VivoBook S15 S510UQ Notebook in regards to screen size and portability. While most compact ultra-light laptops come equipped with a 14 inch or smaller screen, the Asus VivoBook boasts of a 15-inch screen. This makes it an ideal option for graphic designers looking for an affordable and portable laptop. However, it is not just it’s screen size that makes it an ideal option for graphics designers. Weighing 3.6 pounds, this Asus notebook boasts a sleek design, an aluminum lid, and a backlit keyboard. This means it is not only functional but a good looker as well.
When it comes to performance, the VivoBook does not disappoint. It has an Intel Core i7 processor clocked at 2.7 GHz. For seamless multitasking, it comes with 16GB of RAM, more than enough for all your graphic design needs. And that not all, unlike other notebooks that feature HDD storage, this notebook has both an HDD and SSD. This means you can store all your graphic design software on the 512 GB SSD for fast load times and store your large files in the 1 TB HDD. In essence, you are getting the best of both worlds.

As a graphics designer, one of the most important components you consider when buying a laptop is the graphics card. Thus, you are bound to love the NVIDIA 940 MX graphics card that this notebook comes with. In regards to the connectivity options available, you will be spoilt for choice. There are 2 USB 3.1 ports that offer faster data transfer than the older USB 2.0 ports. A USB Type C connector is also included to make the transfer of data even easier. There is also a USB 2.0 Port, an HDMI port, and a memory card slot.

Pros:

  • The ASUS 15.6″ VivoBook S15 S510UQ Notebook offers all the features that you will need for on the go.
  • It is portable and boasts of impressive performance thanks to its 16GB of RAM and processor.

Cons:

  • the battery life of this laptop could be better while the full HD screen tends to appear washed out especially in sunlight

Nevertheless, for its price, this is a great laptop for graphic designers.

 

The best laptop for graphic design should consist of a powerful and fast processor, a high resolution, a large RAM and an exact color demonstration. If you are a professional graphic designer and you are immersed in the search of a computer to develop your work that satisfies all your graphic design needs, then reading this article will be practical. There are so many options available that this can get to overwhelm. But do not worry! We have put together a list below to help you find the best of the best in this competitive field.

How to choose the best laptop for graphic designers

Before you buy a laptop for graphic design or any other task, it is good to know what size of computer you are most comfortable to do the graphic design work . While a 15 to 17 inch graphic design notebook may sound good on paper, it may not be the best option if you are going to use it going from here to there because of its size.

In the same way, a laptop for smaller graphic design may not have the keyboard space you need if you plan to do a lot of typing. The best thing you can do is to scan laptops physically before you buy one, in stores or using laptops that a friend already has. And with this, judge better what size you need.

This may seem a very simple step to take, but a laptop for graphic design can be an investment that you will use for three or four good years before you consider getting a better and faster one. In fact, some laptops are quite large to use for a very long period of time. It is something that you want to be able to use, work, and carry comfortably. That’s why the thickness of the pc for graphic design and weight are also things that you should take into consideration.

The primary goal of laptops manufacturers is to produce a thinner notebook every time, still lighter notebooks to bring them to market, so if you have not used a laptop for a few years, you will be surprised to see how light they have become. the latest generations of laptops. Some of the best computers for graphic design can weigh less than five pounds, or even stay at three pounds. This makes buying a suitable laptop seem one more thing of comfort than functionality, and in part, it may be. As long as it meets minimum technical characteristics that we must establish, of course.

Best Laptop for design – Buyer’s guide

This equipment must have sufficient computing power to comfortably support the processing of graphic images, it is necessary to make a distinction between two types of graphic designers, firstly we have those that only process simple images such as vectors and retouching of photographs, in addition, there are those that process 3D images and rendering, the first requires a good team but the demands are not so high, however in the second case if you need the best of the best, you should know clearly what kind of work is what you do . To make things easier, let’s call the first case light processing and the second advanced processing (If you are a graphic designer you can think of a better denomination, you are welcome to propose it)

For the light processing, the approach would be in a good processor and enough RAM since this type of works do not demand extreme power to the CPU but if enough RAM, the more pixels
the image has, the more RAM you should have. On the other hand, for advanced processing, you will have higher RAM and CPU requirements and also a very good graphics card.

There are two types of graphics, those oriented to show images and those oriented to process images, the first are those that most people know, but the second are the ones that you
should really use to do these works, especially for advanced processing , let’s put it this way, some are gamers and others are professionals. Unfortunately, in the current market it is not very common to see professional cards in laptops, usually only on desktop, below you will find an example of this type of laptop, if you know of another brand that offers them, let me know in the
comments.

 

Technical aspects to consider to choose the best laptop for graphic design

OS:This is a very critical point, however I will be clear, I am not a fan of Apple (or anyone), but in my opinion your operating system is the most appropriate for these tasks, their computers are
designed with a synergy between hardware and software that is difficult to emulate in the Windows and Linux world, it is also well known how little this equipment is susceptible to virus contamination, not in Windows, Linux if it is very strong against malware and for me it is a great system but the offer of software for graphic design is more limited, although this does not mean that you can not do your work with the penguin system. Windows has in its favor the widest offer of software and also that its equipment is much cheaper than Apple’s.

The processor must offer sufficient computing capacity, it is usually thought of as the brain, but for me, it is the muscle since the execution of the brute force of processing. Currently AMD offers a series that are rather a hybrid that combines CPU cores with GPU cores in one piece and has called APU, I think an excellent idea but not for this, make sure it is the only CPU as this you will
combine with a dedicated video card, if you chose an APU you would be wasting the graphics processors of it. For light processing choose a device that has at least 2 Ghz, 2 cores with 4 threads of execution, 3MB of cache and turbo capacity up to 2.5GHz.

You must have enough memory for the task to be performed, I recommend DDR3 technology and at least 8GB for the most essential jobs and definitely 16GB for the most
demanding jobs. If you choose the first option, make sure that the equipment has an expansion slot that you can use to expand capacity in the future, if you go for 16, an additional slot is convenient, in any case it is not bad to die, you can always change the memories in use by some of greater capacity in the future and sell used the one that was installed.

Unfortunately most of the equipment available in the market does not incorporate professional chips ( NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro), in any case I recommend it to be 1GB or more, with GDDR5 memory, the more demanding the work to perform more memory you will need, if you prefer an NVIDIA or AMD gamer try to be at least 1GB GDDR5, although my recommendation is 2GB GDDR5 or more. If you do not need great computing efforts, you could omit the dedicated graphics chip and leave it all to the RAM and the CPU, however, to be sure is the best. The bandwidth of memory is an even more definitive factor than the quantity, the graphics chips incorporate processors, a chip with the same amount of memory that another can have better performance by having more and/or better processors, the problem is that this term is more technical and therefore less commercial. A ranking of dedicated and integrated graphics chips can
be very useful to compare one model against another.

This aspect is very important since it is vital that it has a comfortable dimension for the view, ideally it would be 17 “but this makes them a bit uncomfortable to wear, however if you do not mind the weight this is the size that I recommend, if instead you prefer a lighter computer; 15.6 “is your option, but you should not go down there. Keep in mind that a larger screen requires more
hardware so you should probably upgrade.

Today there are three types of hard drives, on the one hand we have the traditional HDD that are the traditional discs made up of plates, they are the most economical and also the lowest  performance, there are also SDDs that are solid state discs , are made only by electronics, are the most expensive and the highest performance, and finally the SSHD, these incorporate both technologies, have a low capacity SDD and a high capacity HDD, so the first is responsible for the reception and data transmission while the other is only for storage, this way you get disks much cheaper than the SDD with a performance of about 70%. My recommendation is the SDD but if you want large storage capacity without leaving an eye for your face you can opt for an SSD.

These allow you to connect the laptop to a screen such as a TV, monitor or video beam, HDMI is the ideal option to get the most out of the graphic quality, however you should
have a VGA connector since virtually all video equipment have one. Some very thin equipment comes with display port and an adapter cable.

Wi-Fi is still the king, its latest version is 802.11ac, it is recent but it is time to give priority over the omnipresent 802.11n. Wi-Fi has the distinction of being retrocompatible, so do not worry. Bluetooth is optional, it is not that it is used a lot but it is still convenient.

Keyboard:

Just try to be comfortable, with large and soft keys to press. I like backlit ones, but if you think about it, you should only work in bright environments. If you work a long time in it, buy an external one that is ergonomic, connect it by USB. You will thank me in 20 years.

Touchpad or trackpad:

Remember that this is what makes the mouse, in my opinion should be soft, sensitive and not break with the aesthetic harmony of the team. I must admit that my favorite is the Apple Force Touch.

Battery:

It is a team to work, so consider from 6 to 10 hours. After the buy, I recommend that you recharge it only when you reach 40%.