Lets Talk Computers, Laptops & Tablets
It is so hard finding the right computer to craft with. There are so many available and it can all get very confusing. I have a very high spec tower system and laptop which will not be what most of you are looking for. But I, as always have done plenty of research and am confident in my recommendations.
Before we begin its important to know the differences as to what different devices can offer in terms of Design Space.
Windows Devices offer a lot in terms of Design Space. You get Design Space in all its glory and many Design programmes work well with Windows.
Mac Computers are a designers dream. Whilst Design Space offers the same be it on a Mac or Windows device external design programmes are often more productive on Mac than Windows. You will find more design programmes available for mac than windows
iOS Devices - iPhone and iPad
Again these are great. The iOS App is different to the Desktop version of Design Space. There is no pattern fill although there is a easy workaround to achieve this. There is also no Curve tool so you do have to manually curve your text. You can not use the Knife Blade or the Foil System with the app. You can easily install fonts to your iOS Device and upload different image formats. One thing it does have that the desktop version does not is the snap mat feature. This is truly brilliant when wanting to use offcuts of the same material, in different colours on the same mat.
These are not compatible with Design Space. There is a work around to get the android app version on your Chromebook but we don't recommend it.
So lets look at these four laptops first. The first two are a good price for what they deliver and are perfect for those that want a general use laptop and to be able to use design space and do basic design editing in 3rd party programmes. The next two are not for most users. They are are high use laptops perfect for creators rather than general users.
A good entry level laptop. With a 15" screen its a decent size to be able to work efficiently. A Ryzen 3 processor is these days seen as entry level whereas it used to be top of the range, but the world of computers moves quickly. It's a decent enough processor though and fine for everyday use and Design Space, you can even stream Netflix comfortably. If you want to start designing from scratch then this won't cut it but for Design Space and entry level design programmes such as Inkscape or SCAL 5 it will cope adequately as long as its kept clean and doesn't get bunged up. 4gb of ram again is perfectly adequate for basic design use.
It has 256 GB of storage. This is plenty for Design Space and entry design programmes. Depending on what else you load onto the laptop will dictate how much space you have for Fonts and Svgs. The storage is a solid state Drive which makes it faster and more economic than the older hard drives so your computer will perform tasks at a greater speed than older models. It also helps to increase the battery life as it uses less power than a generic hard drive model.
I'm not a huge fan of the touchscreen but if you love working in the app then this will feel very similar but with more Design Space benefits.
Acer Aspire 3 A315-53
This is a great entry - low mid range computer with a good spec for it's price range. I5 is a good processor. Whilst its a few years old it is still considered great and it offers a great operating system for everyday and basic design use. With 4gb ram its great for Design Space and will handle some design programmes such as SCAL and Inkscape adequately. It won't handle complex designing, but for the crafter who likes to play with designs and make a few changes it more than fits it's purpose. What I love is that it comes with 1TB of storage which is plenty big enough for a large amount of fonts and Images. It's not an infinite amount but many will struggle to fill that. If you did though you can pick up a external hard drive for a reasonable amount. The only thing about the storage it it's HDD (Hard Disk Drive) rather than SSD (Solid State Drive). The HDD is a older version of hard drive and is a spinning drive as opposed to the SSD which is a flash drive. The HDD tends to be a bit cumbersome and can slow your computer down when compared to a SSD and can reduce the battery life but with the other specs of this computer it won't make a huge amount of difference and it's a fantastic amount of storage for the price.
Acer Aspire 5 A514 -54
This is a serious Laptop. Far to powerful for general Design Space use. This is for someone that really wants to get into Design. If your just changing a few svg's or creating some basic from scratch designs this is way more powerful than you need and frankly a not needed expense. With it's I7 processor it is super powerful and quick. 8gb of ram and 1TB of storage make this one hell of computer.
HP Spectre x360
I often get asked about my devices so I am including my Laptop but seriously this is far to advanced for what many of you will be doing. I have this laptop for in the house where I do my editing and all my artwork, photo editing and create my own designs although I rarely have time to do that any more.
This beauty has a i7 processor with a very powerful 16gb of ram and storage of 1TB SSD. This really is unsuitable for the majority of Design space users but I love it. Its super fast and reliable and it handles everything I throw at it. Some days it can be on for the best part of 16 hours and it never lags or slows down. I can upload 3 64gb SD cards full of footage and audio using a external USB card reader and it doesn't even flinch.
There are two main ways to create a tower system. The first is to purchase a all in one system which is your tower, monitor, keyboard and mouse. The other is to purchase these items separately. The both have pros and cons. You can often pick up a top of the range tower on its own for what it would cost for a all in one. This works if you have a monitor spare already and a mouse and keyboard although to be fair you can pick all three of those items up for £150 new. But, you do have to do your homework and make sure they will all work together. You normally need a VGA port in both the computer tower and monitor and most do, but it's worth checking.
Asus Vivo AIO V222FAK
I have to say this is a great desktop for the price point. A duel processor makes it suitable for everyday tasks, streaming, downloading and working in Design space and compact design programmes such as Inkscape and SCAL. If I wanted to use programmes like photoshop I would prefer something with a bit more punch but it will handle those programmes at a beginner level. However, be aware that if you don't clean it regularly, it may start slowing in programmes that need a fair amount of power. Plus it doesn't have the graphics power for complicated design, if you wanted to have a tinker in design it would manage. If you want to seriously start designing then it does not have the punch needed.
It has 8gb Ram which again is great for it's price point and with 1TB SSD it has plenty of storage. Although that's fully dependant on your self control in the fonts and images department of which I have zero!
High spec Desktop
In terms of a windows pc that packs a serious punch you can purchase plenty however, I personally prefer to custom build. PC Specialist is a great company that builds superb pcs with a higher spec than lots of well known brands for the same sort of budget. To be honest you want a decent quad processor with 8/16gb ram for many of the price points but you can pick up a powerful tower only custom build for anywhere of £800 upwards. That will give you plenty of power to perform complex design and editing tasks. The storage is really here nor there at that level because chances are you'll be doing so much that you will probably have a few external hard drives on the go.
The other type to look out for is gaming Pc's / laptops. You can rarely go wrong with these. The graphics are superb and the specs are high. If it has a good rating with the gaming community then it will most likely be perfect for everything you would want at that level.
You can't go wrong with a mac. I keep toying with the idea but I don't cope very well with change. Ive been using windows since my teenage years and the thought of learning a complete new system scares me. Yes, I know its apple and I love my I phone and iPad but a computer is different. There is so much more to it and I know my way round a windows pc. But I still keep going back to the idea of it. If I was to purchase a mac then it would be between the two below.
Apple MacBook Air M1
So this particular model comes with the M1 processor which is the rock star of processors. Whilst initially it feels like a big expenditure and it is, all macs are, if you are really wanting to create your own designs, you can't go wrong with a mac. They are all designed for creating. Be that creating digital art, videos, SVG'S and more.
Most macs come with this capability to create and they all cope very well with complicated tasks. The M1 processor though excels. It eats 3 you tube videos worth of footage as a snack and then says "Excuse me sir, can I have some more". With 8gb of ram and 512gb storage SSD this is really for someone who wants to do more than just be in Design Space but in all honesty this goes for a lot of Macs.
The storage is fair and actually not bad for a mac, I remember the days when a £1500 mac came with 32gb of storage! That's what always put me off them. Things however have changed and just as with windows, you can always pick up a external hard drive. A 1TB USB storage drive will set you back about £50.
This is the future. It's so unique and so powerful. Now, you do need to add a screen, keyboard and mouse to it but that's easy enough to do and as long as the screen has a VGA port you can use any brand of screen. With the M1 chip this a powerful little thing. Little being the right word! If you are short on space then this is amazing and portable. Instead of putting everything on a USB I could literally plug this into my monitor in the studio and then plug it into the screen in the house. It is very tempting I have to say. Now this particular model comes with 8gb ram and a storage of 256gb SS, I would personally choose a model with more storage but equally I could just use a external hard drive for all my SVG's and Fonts which is what I do with all my devices anyway.
Apple 10.2 iPad
You will note that three devices are missing from this list. The first to my utter disgust is the Kindle.
I love my two Kindles but they are not actually android devices and they are not Design Space Compatible.
The second Is the chrome book. Technically the chrome books do not support Design Space. There is a work around to this but we do not recommend it as it can mess with your system.
The third very obvious dismissal is Android. The truth is I just don't know enough about them in general and so it would be wrong of me to comment on something I know little about.
Affiliate Links are used in this post. They do not cost you anymore to shop through them but I do earn a small monetary reward. Not all links are affilate and I only links to products that I use or have a genuine belief through hours of research that they do the job they claim to do. If I know they are cheaper somewhere then I will always link to the cheaper version, affiliate or not.