As a writer your typing device is the most important and biggest tool for your work. Ideally every writer would love to get their hands on the best device to bring the best out of their ideas into the world.
With so many devices, choices and features being offered today it can become confusing to pick one even for something as simple as writing. As a result , most writers end up buying several laptops before settling for the right one.
Besides many of them being expensive and complicated to buy due all the the computer jargon being thrown you, the smooth talking salesman will be more than happy to lead you into buying the most expensive laptop out there which unfortunately does not necessarily translate to the best laptop for writing:
One that will be actually be useful to bring your creativity and eventually your ideas down to paper.
How can this article help?
In this article you’ll find a complete buying guide on how to pick the best laptop for writers. Most importantly how to find one that will make your writing fast, efficient, comfortable and most of all feel as natural as possible for your writing.
I’ll go through the 5 best laptops for writers I’ve found as of 2017 first for those who are ready to pick one and know what to look for when shopping for one. If you don’t , then you can always jump to the other section that will guide you to find your very own.
Top 5 Best Laptops For Writers
It was really difficult to find laptops that had both a comfortable keyboard and long battery lifetime while being portable enough at an affordable price. The main reason is the fact that manufacturers usually get really cheap when designing their build quality (keyboard included) and optimizing battery lifetimes when designing affordable laptops. You should find a suitable one depending your budget, the software you use for your writing and with almost every feature that a writers must look for in a laptop.
The Best Laptop For Writers
CPU: Intel Dual Core Core i5 1.6-2.7 GHz | RAM: 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD | Display: 13.3” LED-backlit Glossy Widescreen Display, 1440 x 900 resolution
The MacBook Air is definitely the best laptop for writers, don’t believe me? Just ask a few famous authors and see what they say. In fact, the author of the most best selling book on Amazon uses a MacBook Air too. What more evidence could we ask for?
It has the longest battery life from ultra-books at 13 hours (I used it myself and I can testify it can go as far as 15 hours). One single charge and you might be set for two days provided you don’t run anything intensive on it (computer games & movies).
Why is the battery life that good? One of the reasons is the display, it isn’t full HD (more pixels means more energy) but it’s resolution isn’t bad either. It consumes far less power while still being sufficient enough to multitask and not feel visually cramped.
Performance wise, it can actually have far too much power just for basic tasks and writing. You should just stick with the i5 processor, 128GB SSD and 8GB RAM presented here and even then that might be too much but there aren’t lower configurations than that.
A huge bonus is the SSD technology it has (PCIe flash storage), which will boot up in no time whenever you want to get anything down as fast as possible. I believe, it actually has the fastest boot up times as far as Ultrabooks go too.
On top all of that, it’s just 3lb and it’s extremely thin with a solid design made all of alluminum. It will easily fit between your physical notebooks, purse, bag or any cramped space while being quite resistant to drops and constant juggling when you are on the go.
Lastly, the keyboard as expected from Apple’s MacBook is of top notch quality. It’s simply pleasant to use. The size and travel are perfect for writing: not too squishy nor too clicky. The keyboard is actually one of the main reason why most writers love the Air. It only has 1mm of travel but still remains comfortable and responsive. On top of that, it also comes with a backlit feature.
CPU: Intel Dual Core Core i5 | RAM: 8GB 2133MHz DDR4 | Storage: 256 GB PCIe SSD | Display: 13.4” Retina Display IPS
Most famous authors either roll with the MacBook Air or the MacBook Pro. The main difference before might have been the weight but today, the new MacBook Pro is just as light as the MacBook Air (which by the way will be discontinued).
While you can choose higher end models with far more performance, this will usually fit the bill for basic tasks such as writing, web browsing and far more than that.
The main difference with the MacBook Air is the display and its graphics card, this one has an Intel Iris Graphics Card and far more resolution (retina Display) at 2880×1880. If you fancy better displaying qualities or you get better inspiration from multimedia and high quality images, then this might be for you. Also, the resolution becomes useful if you rather have multiple windows open for writing. For example two windows of the same size: one for your reference (image,book) and another one for your editor.
The keyBoard only has .5mm of travel but has great tactile feedback to give you a comfortable typing experience just like the Air. You can’t really go wrong with keyboards as far as Apple products go, no matter how old, how recent or which model you stick with, this is one of the reasons why I even listed another MacBook.
The other reason? Portability and battery life. It’s only 3lb and the battery life is nearly 10 hours despite having a far more resolution than most laptops today and new features such as the TouchBar.
Best Budget Laptop For Writers
CPU: Intel N3700 1.6 GHz, Turbo to 2.4 GHz | RAM: 4 GB DDR3 | Storage: 128GB eMMC Flash | Display: 14” Full HD
If you were thrown away by the price tags on the MacBooks, I can relate to that. When I bought the MacBook Air, it was pricey but I had saved a lot of money for it and it was a well investment. However if you are on a budget, there’s no reason you can’t get a decent laptop for writing after all that’s all you’ll be dealing with simple tasks and writing, right? If so this is the most affordable, fast and high quality laptop (with Windows on it).
It has nearly every feature a writer should aim for. Starting with the battery life at 9 hours. Wherever you go, you may never have to bring your charger along with it.
It’s also extremely portable at only 3.3lb despite having a 14” inch Screen and on top of that has a full HD for resolution which is more than the MacBook Air while having nearly the same weight.
Performance is what the manufacturer has chosen to go cheap but for writers and general computing tasks this is perfect since we won’t be needing all of that anyway. But it isn’t too bad either.
For storage it has 128GB SSD, more than enough to store your entire lifework on it plus a lot of multimedia files. The processor is not the latest but it’s sufficient for multitasking in general and the RAM is only 4GB but you don’t need 8GB unless you are have several dozens of tabs open or you are dealing with heavy multimedia applications for editing & games.
Lastly, the keyboard the most important feature is not bad either. It has 1.4mm of travel and users, reviews from amazon point out that it provides a comfortable typing experience.
Manufacturers usually go cheap on the design and construction of laptops to make it affordable. Luckily for writers they haven’t done so with the Vivobook’s keyboard making it without doubt the best laptop for writers on a budget.
Best Chromebook For Writers
CPU: Intel N3700 1.6 GHz, Turbo to 2.4 GHz | RAM: 4 GB DDR3 | Storage: 64GB Flash Memory Solid State| Display: 12.5” Full-HD touchscreen
This is a good option if all you’ll be doing is nothing more than writing and some research for references, inspiration and to keep up to date with clients and publishers. Surely you won’t get Scrivener and other third party software for document processing without a windows laptop. But you can still work with Microsoft Office, tons of online applications for writing and a few apps from the android store with this one.
This particular model is convertible, you can either use it as a tablet for reading and web browsing and as a laptop for any serious writing. It merely weights 2.6 lbs, the lightest device on this list. And has a whooping 10 hours of battery life which is typical for a chromebook and the main advantage of rolling with them.
Unlike most other choices out there, this one doesn’t have a cheap design. It’s build quality is made of aluminum with a solid feeling to it.
The Display is actually full HD, more resolution than the Air and most mainstream laptops on a budget. It has an IPS panel and an antiglare screen to protect your eyes from long sessions of writing in bright setting areas.
Performance wise, there’s nothing to worry about. It has enough RAM (4GB) and speed for heavy multitasking, watching videos and having a dozen of web browsing tabs open with it. Unlike most other choices out there, this one has an Intel core processor (Intel core m3) , which is on par with an i3 core processor that regular & mainstream laptops offer today.
The storage capacity is only 64GB but this is of course sufficient for writing and basic tasks plus you won’t be likely to lose any of you work since you’ll be using and storing everything in the Cloud (up to 100GB free of storage).
Lastly, the keyboard, is of high quality and despite not being “a real laptop” many rate it as one of the best keyboards from these devices: great travel while being responsive along with 6 stages of brightness.
So what’s the caveat here? The price, is a bit high but still far cheaper than mainstream laptops with high quality builds and keyboards.
Another one is the fact that this one has been built with the future in mind, it has ditched old USB 3.0 Ports for the new Type-C USB ports. Luckily, it has an SD Card Reader for extra storage. As a bonus, this is also designed for the myriad of android apps that will be available this year. I’m sure you’ll find many useful apps available for both writing and storage soon.
Best Lenovo Laptop For Writers
CPU: Intel Core i5-6200U Processor(Up to 2.80 GHz) | RAM: 8GB DDR3 memory | Storage: 256GB SSD| Display: 14.0″ FHD (1920×1080) Display. Anti-glare
When it comes build quality and keyboard quality, you can never leave Lenovo out of the picture especially the ThinkPad Series. For programmers, writers, scientists and those who need to input a lot of data into a computer it is one of the top choices along with the MacBooks.
While there are many thinkpads out there far cheaper, it’s not easy to find one with a decent screen size while being portable at the same time. Luckily this version has everything you need as a writer if you aren’t on a budget.
Starting with the battery life, it lasts about 9 hours despite having a 14” display size with a full HD resolution. It weights 2.6lbs which is quite unusual for Thinkpads as they can be quite heavy (in the 3.5-5.0lb range), definitely not attractive for writers on the move. You can also bend the screen up to 180 degrees to make it act more like a tablet but with that huge screen size that may not feel like a tablet at all. As a bonus it also has one of the latest SSD technologies for storage which will have your laptop boot up in seconds to get back on writing as soon as possible.
While there many old models on the market(3rd & lower generations), stick with this one which is the latest (4th generation) if you want the best quality keyboard out all of them. The keyboard has a 1.8mm of travel far more than any laptop shown here, is responsive and has a snappy feeling to it. It’s also spill resistant with a backlit feature as well. You can’t really ask for more from a laptop keyboard with it.
How to Buy The Best Laptop For Writers
Even the most outdated and slowest computer will handle writing easily. But we still have to consider far more features than just computer power to get the most out of laptops for the best writing experience. In order of priority here’s what you should be looking out for.
Recommended Features For Writing
Surely laptop keyboards do not compare with desktop or the huge keyboards computers have today but if you do your research you’ll find a keyboard that’s just right for writing and feels comfortable and natural when it comes to typing.
All laptops have working keyboards of course but some of them are actually quite bad. They will feel really flat with no deep travel at all, making typing and writing a real challenge and very distracting.
What to look for in a keyboard
A good rule of thumb is to look for responsive keys with a deep travel keyboard and if possible a full size keyboard, these features will make writing flow as natural as possible without interrupting your inspiration.
You never know when inspiration strikes and if it’s a setting where there isn’t much light around to use…, you belong to the nocturnal species of writers or if you wake up in the middle of the night with a few ideas…a backlit keyboard will help you get that down as fast as you can on your laptop.
Keyboard sizes vary among laptops. Obviously, notebooks and small size laptops, have small keyboards and they can feel too awfully compact and cramped for some of you. However, they do offer the bonus of portability: you can just tuck them in your purse, small bag, or even a wide pocket. You would have to try it and see if how you feel with them. But, you always have the option to attach an external keyboard to it if you happen to buy a notebook.
You don’t want to worry about the latest displaying features such as IPS panel, color accuracy, Ultra high definition, unless you have other activities in mind.
Most importantly, find a display size and resolution you are comfortable so you don’t feel visually cramped when writing without making your laptop being in extremely heavy at the same time.
Ideally you’d want a resolution at 1080p, although a bit under it is fine as well, and a screen size of 13” or 15”.
17” inch screen laptops are too heavy to carry and 11” notebooks might be a bit too small to see (although I heard of a few authors writing on tablets) but the call is on you.
You can the best laptop for writing in the world but if it isn’t turning on when the muse strikes, then it’s useless. You want to aim for the laptops with the longest battery lives. Battery life can actually be the most important factor for writers.
A long battery life laptop will allow you to get down all of your ideas anywhere and anytime during the day on a single charge. Be it at Starbucks, Barnes and Nobles, the bus, the train, The beach, the airport(maybe not) without you needing to waste time looking for outlets.
Beware battery lives vary widely among laptops. The more whistles and bells yours claims to have, the faster the battery life will drain out. Also the bigger the display size, the less battery life you’ll have available.
Aim for at least 8 hours of battery life tested on “continuous web surfing”, this is a more accurate representation for writers since you might be browsing around the web for inspiration and the energy spend on web surfing is about the same as typing on a word editor. 8 hours should last you an entire day on a single charge as long as you don’t keep watching too many movies on it.
Aim for a laptop around 3lb. There’s nothing more convenient than the ability to take your laptop wherever you please: the park, the cafe, the library, the train, etc. So weight might as well be as equally important as keyboard quality and battery life. Ideally you’d want a laptop with a weight that you can tolerate and it’s easy enough for you to carry everywhere without making you hesitate whether or not you should take it to another room, house or country. Unfortunately, a very portable and high quality laptop usually translates to an expensive price tag but it’s all worth it.
CPU & RAM
As a writer you don’t really have to worry about processor speed or how much memory yours has but you don’t want the slowest machine on the market either.
Luckily, most modern laptops today have more than enough power for basic tasks and that includes web browsing, watching videos and opening word editors.
Don’t worry about the processor, they’re all be fine: i3, i5, or i7 as long as the latpop is relatively modern (within the past 5 years) .
What you should be looking out for is the RAM memory. Settle for 4GB-8GB, this will allow you to heavily multitask and browse around the web with multiple tabs open to look for references, inspiration from multimedia files or any other resources to accompany your writing.
Let’s say you are a writer who gets his/her inspiration from any type of media which includes movies and videos or high resolution pictures of people who may resemble your characters. Or you actually don’t like researching books and articles but prefer by watching clips of what your character actually does: fight, work in a mine, astronaut, etc.
You don’t need the latest graphics card for that, any graphics card will do. I suggest you do not even bother looking at the graphics cards. Just avoid buying the latest and most powerful cards because they will also drain your battery life much faster.
Remember the good old days where you had to the library to check the life your favorite author or just to quote a world famous and ancient author for your writing? If you are relatively young, you probably don’t.
The internet has far more information than any library in the world these days. Having an internet connection readily available all the time is a must for writers not just for research but talking to agents, submitting your work, interacting with other writers on forums or blogs or even maybe any fans of your work.
To make sure you are connected to the internet as much as possible aim for laptops labeled with “Wireless AC”, this is the latest generation of wifi protocols that has the largest range to pick up any signal that other laptops can’t. It’ll allow you to steal, I mean, borrow your neighbors connection or anyone else’s connection you may come across when commuting.
You can fit your entire book on a floppy disk from the 90s and your entire life’s work on a 5$ USB Driver. Storage size isn’t a concern for writers.
It’s losing your storage device or if your hard drive crashes what you should be concerned about, not only will all the software be gone but every single well crafted scene , sentence and irreplaceable idea will be gone too and we both know you may not be able to reproduce them again. Since storage size doesn’t really matter….
What kind of storage device should you get? Which is more reliable and less prone to disk failure along with my career as well?
According to a recent study, it doesn’t really matter whether you get a A Solid State Drive (SSD) or a regular “hard disk drive” (HDD).
An SSD will give you the advantage of boosting up your performance with just about any software but this isn’t noticeable for everyday applications (you’ll only notice your laptop turning on faster ) which is a nice bonus. On the other hand, an HDD will simply offer you with more storage capacity. It’s a matter of preference.
They’re both equally prone to hard disk failure in which case you should have a reliable back up method.
Just save your work on a cloud storage application such as DropBox, TheCloud, Google Docs or buy an external portable hard drive yourself that way you don’t want to worry about disasters as long as you constantly back up all the important docs within your laptop.
Alternative To Laptops
If you don’t have the cash to afford a laptop, you can always get an external keyboard and attach it to your tablet device. Some writers are actually fine with this. It’s hard to think of this option being ideal to allow natural writing to flow without being too uncomfortable but all writers are different.
Personally I think this may be ok to take down a few ideas on paper but for serious writing you’d probably be better off with a laptop or a desktop.
These are smaller versions of laptops which can get really small. They can easily fit in any bag, purpose or even a wide pocket. It’s a decent choice for those who travel a lot or have constantly on the go who would rather not deal with tablets. As mentioned before, the only problem with them is their keyboard, they can get really really small and if you are not used to it it will impact your writing experience and how comfortable you feel when writing on it.
They don’t have many ports and much less a CD/DVD driver and offer way less storage capacity. If you are OK with all these drawbacks for the extreme portability and the ability to whip it out even as you walk towards a conference or waiting outside for an appointment, it’s all good.
Ethernet cable/USB Ethernet Adapter: This is useful if you happen to come across a place where there’s internet connection but not a wireless one in case you want to quickly connect to the internet.
Camera & SD Card Reader: if you are a traveling writer, then you probably have a camera with you, if so then an SD Card Reader is a must if you can’t find one on your laptop you can always buy an adapter.
It doesn’t really matter which operating system you choose, it really comes down to the software you are gonna be using. I doubt all of you are really gonna need a desktop publishing package but you are definitely going to need the text editor you are most comfortable with and the type you are most used to.
Speaking of text editors, the Mac has a lot of options which range from the most simple text editors to the ones with more bells and whistles like Microsoft Office.
With a Mac, you’ll be able to access Word, Google Docs, WordPress and pretty much any other word processor available for windows so don’t be afraid to get a Mac in fact as you’ll find out later many authors (if not most) for some “unknown reason” opt for a Mac.
Actually, the reason behind could be the fact that current Mac Versions have the ability to take up the entire screen(similar when you watch videos in full screen), that way you get a whole lot of blank space to focus on your writing and if you ever need to access any other software or just the internet, you can simply turn this feature off and switch back to desktop mode.
WordPress & Google Docs
Since these are based on internet connectivity, they’re both available on the Mac. These also have the option to go into full screen mode and no matter which OS you choose (even the ones you’ve never heard of), you can use both of them. The only downside is if you don’t have an internet connection then you’re stuck with whatever text editor you currently have installed but there are plenty out there for all operating systems. You’ll eventually find one you are more comfortable with.
If you have any suggestions or questions for this article. Please let us know in the comments below.