Whether you’re a musician or a professional DJ, you’ll need a laptop that has one of the best processors and plenty of fast RAM. This is because these components will let your laptop handle multiple music tracks without hiccupping. Finding a laptop with one of the best SSDs, or even a capacious hard drive is also recommended, as you’ll be working with large file sizes. Finally, you’ll want awesome sound, obviously, whether it’s through outside speakers or the ones built in.
Plus, especially if you have to travel between gigs often, you want to find a laptop that can take a beating. You probably don’t want to go for something like the best rugged laptops, but you want something that’s not going to break because you dropped your backpack. While we’re on the subject of mobility, you’ll want to find a laptop that’s thin and light, so you may want to take a look at an Ultrabook.
To make choosing a laptop easy, we’ve included our exclusive price comparison tool, so you know where to find the best deal. If you want to see a more comprehensive list of prices and retailers, just click the ‘view all prices’ link on each widget.
The best laptops for music production and DJs:
1. Apple MacBook 12″ (2016)
Apple remains the number one choice for music makers and DJs
CPU: Intel Core M3 1.2GHz – Intel Core i7 1.4GHz | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12-inch, (2,304 x 1440) IPS 16:10 | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD
Just one USB-C port
The new Apple MacBook is the slimmest, slickest and best-looking Macbook the Cupertino company has ever created, and it’s one of the best selling laptops on the market. This, along with the excellent music production software available for Macs means it’s the best laptop for music production. It’s an extremely slim and light notebook that you can take anywhere without even noticing the weight, and gives you the same slick macOS performance.
Read the full review: Apple Macbook
2. MacBook Pro (15-inch, mid-2018)
The most powerful MacBook ever made
CPU: 6-core Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 540X – 560X, Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16 – 32GB | Screen: 15.4-inch, 2,880 x 1,800 Retina display | Storage: 512GB – 4TB SSD
The MacBook Pro has a reputation for being the go-to laptop for musicians all around the world, and the 2018 version is no different. As long as you can justify the expense, the MacBook Pro is one of the best laptops for musicians. With its Core i9 processor and up to 32GB of RAM, you’re going to be able to load up as many tracks as you need in Logic Pro X without having to worry about your laptop slowing down. It’s also incredibly sturdy – you don’t need to worry about things bumping into it in your tour bag, thanks to its robust aluminum unibody design.
3. Surface Pro 6
The Windows tablet, refined
CPU: 8th-gen Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing
Long battery life
Still no USB-C
If you want a music production laptop that can double as a Windows tablet in your downtime, the Surface Pro 6 should be at the top of your list. Not only does it pack the hardware necessary for music production, but it has a beautiful display, and plenty of legacy connections for connecting your equipment. It lacks USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, but if you’re just in it for music production, that shouldn’t really matter.
Read the full review: Surface Pro 6
4. Dell XPS 13 (2018)
CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160) | Storage: 128GB – 256GB SSD
The Dell XPS 13 has been one of the best laptops you can buy for a few years running now, and the 2018 version is no different. For aspiring music producers, the XPS’ move to an 8th-generation Intel Kaby Lake R CPU should be appealing, as it will trim down the time it takes to process tracks, allowing you to minimize downtime. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find a 1TB storage drive anymore, but when you get a laptop that looks this good and runs this fast – it’s a worthy tradeoff.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 (2018)
5. Surface Laptop 2
Microsoft’s laptop, perfected
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch 2,256 x 1,504 PixelSense Display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD
Much more powerful
Gorgeous new black color option
No Thunderbolt 3
With all the 2-in-1 laptops that convert into a tablet, packed with unnecessary features, sometimes a straight Windows 10 laptop is just what you need. Luckily, Microsoft has released the Surface Laptop 2, one of the best laptops in its arsenal. Not only does this thing feature a quad-core processor and plenty of RAM, but it has a lovely touch display and all the ports you need – even if it’s lacking Thunderbolt 3. As long as you don’t need Logic Pro X, you really can’t go wrong with the Surface Laptop 2 – it’s one of the best laptops for music production.
Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2
6. MacBook Air (2018)
Thinner. Lighter. Faster.
CPU: 8th-generation Dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 617 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch Retina (2,560 x 1,600) | Storage: 128GB – 1.5TB PCIe SSD | Dimensions (W x D x H): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56cm
Even thinner and lighter
We’ve been left wanting for a new MacBook Air for a few years now, and we finally got a new one. The new MacBook Air brings Apple’s thin and light mainstream laptop into the modern day with a sleek aluminum build, a Retina display and an actual modern processor. This all makes for one of the best laptops for musicians that want to stay with macOS – though you’ll want to invest in a couple of dongles, the two Thunderbolt 3 ports aren’t compatible with a lot of music equipment.
Read the full review: MacBook Air
7. Dell XPS 15
The best 15-inch laptop available this year
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ – i7-7700HQ | Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB DDR4 | Screen: Up to 15.6-inch Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) InfinityEdge touchscreen | Storage: 1TB HDD – 512GB SSD
Poor webcam position
If you’re looking for a larger and more powerful laptop for running music production software on, then the Dell XPS 15 could be for you. Packing the same InfinityEdge technology as the smaller XPS 13, the screen extends right to the edge of the machine which means it’s as small as it’s possible to make a 15-inch laptop in 2017. It’s quite pricey though, depending on which version you get. The very top end version has a 4K color-accurate display, which can give you an excellent overview of all the tracks you’re working on.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 15