Best Laptop For Silhouette Cameo

Gone are the days when vinyl cutting was the privilege of elite professionals. With devices like the Silhouette Cameo costing just a few hundred bucks, everyone is now welcome to the party. Whether you're a hobbyist creating projects for fun or aspiring designer learning the ropes, the Cameo Vinyl Plotter can help bring your creativity to life.

For those who don't know, vinyl cutting is pretty much similar to 3D printing. Instead of creating three-dimensional objects, vinyl cutting involves crafting letters, shapes and fonts from sheets of vinyl. Like other plotters, the Silhouette Cameo cuts along paths set by the design file fed into its control software.

​What Specs Do You Need for The Silhouette Cameo?

​As part of the Silhouette family of cutters, the Silhouette Cameo relies on a bundled program known as the Silhouette Studio. Being a fully-fledged design platform, this allows you to design projects and send them to the Cameo Plotter. As such, it needs a robust ecosystem in order to run properly.

So before figuring out which is the best laptop for Silhouette Cameo, let's first examine the hardware requirements. The Silhouette Studio program will only install on computers running Windows 7 and above, or Mac OS X 10.7 and higher. Other than that, you will need: 

  • 2GB of free space on the hard disk. Keep in mind that this doesn't include the memory needed to store designs. The software will not run if you have less than 512MB of space.
  • 1GB of RAM.
  • USB 1.1 Port, or higher. You may use a USB adapter if you have a Mac that only has Type C Ports.
  • 2GHz (or higher) processor speed.
  • Bluetooth 4.0 support: This only applies for the Cameo 3, as it can be connected via Bluetooth or USB.
  • You'll also want to make sure you have a recent graphics card --- or at least one running the latest drivers.

​Our Silhouette Cameo Laptop Recommendations

​Apple MacBook Pro

CPU - ​9Th-generation 8-Core Intel Core i9 | RAM - Up to 32 GB| Hard Drive - ​512 GB ​Ultrafast SSD | Graphics Card -​ Radeon Pro 560x Graphics with 4GB of video Memory | Screen - 1​5 inch | OS - ​MacOS | Battery Life - Up to 1​0 hours | Weight - ​4 lbs

​Features

  • ​Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • ​​​LED-backlit Retina display with IPS technology

​What We Liked

  • ​Super fast
  • ​Excellent support
  • ​Great reviews

What Needs Work

  • ​This is the most expensive laptop on this guide.

​It's been described as a mixed bag in recent times, but the Apple MacBook Pro is still the laptop of choice among designers and creative types. That's no surprise, considering that the latest model now packs an Intel Core i9 processor and 32 GB of RAM. With that much horsepower under the hood, the MacBook Pro should handle even the most demanding tasks with ease.

And that's good to know, because the MacBook Pro's looks alone might be enough to steal your heart (and wallet!). The wafer-thin chassis and matte skin suggest that this is the most aesthetically-pleasing laptop money can buy. But if you ask any die-hard Apple fan, it's the user-friendliness that does the trick for most people.

The keyboard comes with a touch-based OLED bar in place of the usual function keys. Known as the Touch Bar, this extends control options for whatever program you're currently using. And that's not all --- you could even add your own custom buttons. While the 2880 X 1800 display isn't the crispiest on the market, it's more than enough for your needs. The AMD Radeon Pro graphic card keeps it bright and sharp for the best color accuracy.

The MacBook Pro does have an Achilles heel though: A scarcity of connectivity options. You only get Thunderbolt 3 ports here, which means you'll need adapters for anything less than USB-C. Other than that, this device should be a worthwhile purchase... Just as long as you don't mind the ​relat​ively high purchase price.


​Acer Aspire E 15

CPU - ​8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U | RAM - ​16 GB| Hard Drive - ​​1256 GB Hybrid | Graphics Card -​ NVIDIA GeForce MX150 | Screen - 1​5.6 inch | OS - ​Windows 10 | Battery Life - Up to 11.5 hours | Weight - ​7 lbs

​Features

  • ​Card reader
  • ​HD webcam
  • ​​2 hard drives

​What We Liked

  • ​Efficient
  • ​Price
  • ​Warranty

What Needs Work

  • ​​Weighs a little on the heavy side.

​A tight budget can be limiting when shopping for computer hardware. You want a device that will get the job done without burning a hole in your wallet. The Acer Aspire E 15 is just what you need to solve that dilemma.

The Intel Core i3 variant starts at ​a reasonable price; this can handle the Silhouette Cameo but, for obvious reasons, it's best to invest in the Core i5 model. The latter packs 8 GB of ram, an NVIDIA MX 150 graphics card, and a 256 GB solid state drive. The display measures 15.6 inches, and has a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. As a whole, the hardware package hits the right spots in terms of performance without being too heavy on the pocket.

The Aspire E 15 features a modular design -- a rarity in today's consumer electronics market. In essence, that means you can add more RAM or storage long after you've purchased the laptop. Make no mistake, however: the laptop IS still a capable performer even in its stock specs.

It might not be the most compact model --- the E 15 is hefty and thick at 5.3lbs and 1.2 inches respectively. That has something to do with the built-in DVD drive and humongous battery pack (battery life is rated at 15 hours). If you care more about performance and less about looks, however, the Acer Aspire E 15 is a worthwhile pick. As a matter of fact, you won't find a better option in the sub-$1000 range.


​Microsoft Surface Book 2

CPU - ​8th generation Intel Quad Core i7 | RAM - ​16 GB| Hard Drive - ​​512 GB ​| Graphics Card - ​​NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 | Screen - 1​5 inch | OS - ​Windows 10 | Battery Life - Up to 17 hours | Weight - ​4 lbs

​Features

  • ​New USB-C port
  • ​​Vibrant PixelSense Display

​What We Liked

  • ​Long battery life
  • ​Warranty

What Needs Work

  • ​Higher price point but worth it.

​Now in its second generation, Microsoft's Surface Book is still as revolutionary as the original. Available in 13.5- and 15-inch versions, the 2-in-1 hybrid laptop allows you to detach the keyboard from the touchscreen for optimal flexibility in the studio. Compared to its predecessor, the Surface Book 2 has improved on pretty much every aspect.

The chassis remains mostly unchanged, but you now get an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU as the top-tier options. You can choose between 8 and 16 GB for the RAM, with storage options ranging between 256GB and 1TB (all SSD). Whatever you choose, you will get one USB-C and 2 USB 3.1 ports, a full-size card reader, and the Surface Connector.

Now, it's easy to get lost in the nitty-gritty and forget the Surface Book 2's biggest selling point: the display. Maintaining the 3.2 aspect ratio of the original Surface Book, the screen now measures 3240 by 2160 pixels (3000 X 2000 for the 13.5-inch). That's as crispy as you need to iron out all the details in your designs. Add the $99 Surface Pen into the equation, and you'll never again have to fiddle with mouses and trackpads in the studio.

Other things to love include the compact build and exceptionally-high battery life of up to 17 hours. As for the drawbacks, the Surface Book 2's price tag is far from pocket-friendly​. That might seem hard to swallow, but it'll be worth your while if you want maximum flexibility without cutting corners.  


​Lenovo Yoga 700

CPU - ​Intel Pentium processor 4405Y | RAM - 4 GB| Hard Drive - ​​128 GB ​SSD | Graphics Card - ​Intel HD Graphics 515 | Screen - 1​1 inch | OS - ​Windows 10 | Battery Life - Up to ​9 hours | Weight - 2.36 lbs

​Features

  • ​2 in 1 convertible design
  • ​​Touchscreen
  • ​Long battery life

​What We Liked

  • ​Efficient
  • ​Price
  • ​Warranty

What Needs Work

  • ​Some users reported issues with ​​not enough ports.

​Lenovo have a pretty straightforward nomenclature for their product lines. The Yoga family is comprised of 2-in-1 laptops similar to the Surface Book 2 above. The Lenovo Yoga 700 happens to be the mid-ranger on this branch of the family tree.

And that's easy to tell going by the looks: the matte black plastic lid and matching keyboard deck suggest that the Yoga 700 is a workhorse and nothing more. That's not to say that it's underwhelming. While the looks aren't anything to write home about, the specs more than make up for that.

The Yoga 700 is available in several configurations, each of which is powered by a 6th Generation Intel Core i-series processor. RAM options vary between 4 and 8 GB, with storage capacity ranging between 128 GB and 256 GB. The priciest variant comes with a 2GB NVIDIA GT 940M graphics card.

Whatever you pick, the display will be a 14-inch full-HD touchscreen. Though not the largest one on the list, this should be roomy enough to handle screen-intensive tasks like editing large designs. Being 360-degree flippable, this will allow you choose between modes (laptop, tent, stand or tablet) based on the task at hand.

Admittedly, the Yoga 700's keyboard, with its shallow keystrokes, does leave a lot to be desired. You might also be disappointed by the undersized right-shift and backspace keys. However, the single biggest quirk is the ​9-hour battery life --- don't expect the laptop to stay on for long when power goes out. Other than that, the Yoga 700 should fit the bill if you want 2-in-1 utility without spending much.


​HP Pavilion 15

CPU - ​AMD QuadCore A12-9420P | RAM - 12 GB| Hard Drive - ​1 TB | Graphics Card - ​​AMD R7 HD Graphics | Screen - 15.6" Touchscreen | OS - ​Windows 10 | Battery Life - Up to ​7 hours | Weight - 4.63 lbs

​Features

  • ​SuperMulti DVD+RW burner
  • ​Widevision web cam
  • ​memory card reader

​What We Liked

  • ​Price
  • ​Warranty

What Needs Work

  • ​​A little less powerful than other options here.

​The HP Pavilion range includes a handful of devices across several segments; you'll find everything from business to gaming laptops. The family as a whole has gained reputation as a formidable player in the mid-range segment. A recent addition to the family, the HP Pavilion 15 aims to strike the best balance between price and performance.

The Pavilion 15 packs an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with a base clock speed of 2.2 GHz. Combine that with 8 GB of RAM and NVIDIA's GeForce MX150 GPU, and you have some serious performance right there. The system should be capable of handling the most demanding of applications (read games). For your creative needs, though, the laptop will let you import and tweak designs without breaking a sweat.

Instead of the now-ubiquitous 2-in-1 layout, HP have opted a different route to enhance the Pavilion 15's user experience. The backlit keyboard helps you type without having to look down at the keys, ambient light notwithstanding. The 15.6 display has In-plane switching capabilities for wider viewing angles, and you can choose a touchscreen if your budget allows.

So, does that make the Pavilion 15 the best laptop for Silhouette Cameo? ​Maybe. In truth, it lags behind other laptops on the list in some aspects. Most notably, you can only have up to 128 GB of SSD storage; the rest (up to 1 TB) will be provided by the mechanical drive. That might not make a huge difference in performance but, if you're already used to flash storage, you're better off picking a more modern setup.


Silhouette Cameo Laptop Conclusion

​Once again, it doesn't matter whether you're going to craft projects for fun, school or business --- the Silhouette Cameo is well capable of bringing your designs to life. For that to be possible, though, you will need a solid ecosystem for the Silhouette Studio platform. And given that this isn't the only program you will be running, it behooves you to choose the best laptop you can afford.

From the display to connectivity options and storage capacity, there are many factors that'll go into your decision. Also remember that technology evolves quick. A laptop that seems great today might be rendered obsolete in a matter of months --- leave room for future upgrades in your budget.