The 5 Best Laptops for Writers in 2020 (Picked by Famous Authors)

It goes without saying that as a writer the most important tool for our work is whatever we use to transcribe our ideas down to paper.

Ideally  we would all love to get our hands on the most comfortable device ever produced.

Why?

The better your working space area, the better the flow of your ideas.

But…

With so many devices (from tablets to desktops), models and computer jargon, this can be difficult, confusing and time consuming. 

Unfortunately…

Most writers, like myself, end up knowing more about computers than a geek squad technician.

Heck, we could go even onto making extra cash from advertising laptops! 🙂

Why?

Most of us went through dozens of laptops before settling for the right one.

Not because we were too cheap to opt for a high quality laptop or because we couldn’t just handle all computer jargon…

It was because the smooth talking salesman was more  than happy to make us just about anything!

Especially if you glance over (even for a few milliseconds) for anything that’s expensive! 

Which as you’ll find out soon does not necessarily translate to the best laptop for writing. 

How can this article help you?

In this article, I’m going to be brutally honest. Tell it like it is for you to git-r-done.

I’ll mention exactly what computer specs you should be looking for and justify why you need it.

All this information is included in a buying guide I’ve decided to leave up to the last section.

Given the proper amount of time to read, even if you live in the antartica it’ll make sure you end up with a laptop that will make writing feel as natural as possible.

Recommended Specs for Writers

Because most of you want to get back at writing ASAP, I’ll quickly summarize what you need to look for here and consequently present you with 5 laptops that satisfy all of these requirements.

Keyboard
Obviously, the number one feature . If you don’t know much about computer keyboards (travel distance, chiclet types, etc), then you better read the guide below.

If you don’t even have time for that, I’ll tell you a few pointers:

If you are opting for a windows laptop = low travel distance equals bad keyboard.
Apple laptops have perfect keyboards.
Thin Windows ultrabooks above 600$ have pretty good keyboards.
Windows UltraBooks below 500$ bucks are iffy and you really have to thoroughly research and read reviews about ’em.

RAM
Avoid 2GB like the plague for Windows Laptops, heck you’ll lag even with just notepad.
4GB: Perfect even if you multitask heavily.
8GB: This is the limit. Anything more is unncessary.

CPU
This is only relevant for Windows Machines. ChromeBooks/MacBooks all have decent CPUs.

Avoid anything CPU labeled with Celeron,Pentium and Core i7s. The formers are too slow and the latter way too fast for writing, web browsing and any other writer related activity.

Storage
If you can afford it, choose an SSD. It will not only make your computer turbo charged but it’ll make looking for particular excerpts across the entire device crazy fast.

Display
Avoid 15-17” if you value portability. 11-13” are the perfect size, which of the two to choose is really a matter of taste and how big you’d like your keyboard to be. 

Top 5 Best Laptops For Writers

In the following reviews, I will not restate specifications and flood you with affiliate links to buy something.

I will tell you why this laptop is expensive, what are the advantages of paying for it and for the cheap ones I will mention their drawbacks.

The specs are listed there for you to compare if for some reason you are interested in computer power rather than ergonomics.


1. MacBook Air

Best Mac Laptop For Writers

  Dual-core Intel Core i5

  8GB RAM DDR3

   Intel HD Graphics

  128-256GB Flash Storage SSD

  13.3” HD Glossy

  3 lb

  +13 hours

The main ordeal of finding the best laptops for writers is to find the holy trinity all packed into one: extreme portability, insanely long battery life and even more important: a top of the line keyboard.

Power and display are really secondary because honestly we are not in the 90s anymore. Both computer power and displays from laptops are decent enough not just for writing but even for precise photo editing and you don’t have to pay an eyeball for any of them.

Is it really that hard to find a superb keyboard and an extreme long battery life?

Well in fact it is, the thing is…. manufacturers know consumers just look at the processor, RAM and graphics cards. So these guys just leave design (which includes keyboard + battery life) to draw and luck or they simply cheap out on it.

One way to avoid this is to go for a premium laptops, you have several options which will go through. However at the end of the day you’ll always come to the same conclusion: the MacBook Air is the best of them all, there’s simply no rival even in 2019.

If my word is not enough to convince you just check out what famous authors have to say about it. Just like me most of them have touted the Air, mostly the keyboard, as the best keyboard ever designed on a laptop.

In fact, the author of the best selling book on Amazon (I’m sure you can figure out who that is) uses a MacBook Air too.

Anywas, enough talking…let us go through what exactly has given the MacBook Air this god-like status among writers and why it is still the best selling laptop on Amazon: keyboard, battery & portability.

P.S: If you’ve watched that MacBook Air Review Video, read the comments too.

 Keyboard

The Air’s keyboard is what you call a low-travel island type keyboard. Low travel keys are very hard to design and by this I mean to make them responsive enough for the user to get a nice tactile feedback.

The Air has managed to do this. I can hit my fastest typing speeds on the Air and I must say I love typing on this thing as you can see by the length of this review. Yes, typing on it as we speak.

The traveling distance is only 1/2-1mm (depending on which model you buy, we’ll get to that soon).

 Portability

Since its release with Steeve Jobs in 2009, the Air has kept its form factor and most of all its thinness which is what differentiates the Air from all other Mac Models or any other laptop really…

Although you can find laptops a tad lighter than the Air, like the ASUS ZenBook, you probably will not end enjoy the same thinness an weight distribution. These two features make the Air so easy to fit in pretty much any bag and inside any notebooks. It also allows you to grab it with just one hand as if it were just a piece of metal.

 Battery

Leaving ChromeBooks aside, the Air has one of the longest battery lives among all laptops.

I haven’t been able to get my hands on every single laptop in the world but I haven’t heard of a laptop having ~13 hours of battery life either.

I’ve used the Air recently on a 14-hour flight (interminently) and I still had some juice left after the entire trip.

Back in college, I also had a few times where I just didn’t feel like bringing my charger and had the Air lasting me two consecutive days without having to recharge it! (I had to stay in the library for finals and type my brains out…you know the story). Those were the days!

Now onto the big catch!

The one shown above and being talked in this review is the old MacBook Air. It’s not really old/used, it’s just the older model designed when Steeve Jobs  was still in charge and which Apple decided to replace it a few years ago for an even thinner, lighter laptop with much higher resolution, this is the so called “New MacBook Air”

By doing this, the New MacBook Air wasn’t able to keep two of the most important features of the the one recommended here: keyboard & battery life. Making it thinner has resulted in a keyboard with less travel which has made it less responsive and less “clicky” than the Old MacBook Air shown here.

However the New MacBook Air still makes any other laptop’s keyboard look like a silly toy, it’s just the Old MacBook Air Keyboard is one (or two) steps above and well as writers, we need to get the best out of the best, don’t we?

Another huge difference is the battery life, only the Old MacBook Air has about 13-15 hours of battery life while the New MacBook Air advertises “12 hours”. 

In reality, the New MacBook Air should have around 10, that’s because the New MacBook Air has a retina display which means higher resolution which means more pixels which means more LEDs which means more energy consumption which means less battery life.

The Old MacBook Air has a HD+ resolution instead of retina resolution so it consumes far less energy and therefore squeeze out 13-15 hours, simple as that.

TL DR; The Old MacBook Air has better keyboard, better battery life and is much cheaper than the New MacBook Air. You can get it from Amazon or Apple Store section. If you can’t afford a brand new “Old MacBook Air” you can always get it refurbished I bought mine refurbished and it’s still kicking after years

Should I really buy a “renewed” or “refurbished” laptop?

I’m aware that most of you are hesitant to buy refurbished MacBooks but we are talking about Apple here. The quality and manufacturing process is entirely different from most windows machines out there, a refurbished MacBook will basically perform just as well as a new MacBook but will cost you an eyeball less.

How do I know this? I have bought 2 Refurbished MacBook Airs with no issues whatsoever. Plus you also get a 90 day warranty which is enough for you to find out if there are any faults in it and return it.

If you are not into older models, my next suggestion is to either buy the New MacBook Air or the New MacBook Pro, the latter has actually a better keyboard(even though it has 1/2 mm of travel distance!) unfortunately it is far more expensive has too much power for a writer luckily it still has around the same weight.

The choice between the Old vs New MacBook Air really comes down about how picky you are about keyboard and how important it is for your workflow!

Old MacBook Air:

In summary, if you want the best keyboard in the world buy a a new or refurbished Old MacBook such as the ones on these links:

Core i7 Old MacBook Air 8GB RAM

Core i5 Old MacBook Air 8GB RAM

Core i5 Old MacBOok Air 4GB RAM

There are several more on this link.

The prices range from 500-900$ depending on how much power/storage you want.

New MacBook Air & New MacBook Pro:

If you want the second best keyboard in the world with a much higher resolution (which in turn will give you more space area to write), then get the New MacBook Air or the New MacBook Pro.

Your Call. If you can’t afford either or rather have a Windows Machine…..keep on reading.

Buy Now


2. ASUS ZenBook

Best Budget Laptop For Writers

  Core i5 8265U

  8GB RAM DDR4

   Intel UHD 620

  512GB PCIe M.2 SSD

  13” full HD IPS 

  2.5lb

  10 hours

 Hardware

I’m not going to go onto details about the ZenBook, the design, power and even the weight and battery life are pretty close to the MacBook Airs.

One huge technical difference is the fact that the ZenBook hosts a full blown 8th generation Core i5 processor, by this I mean that it hasn’t been downclocked undervolted or any of that shenanigans so it will be faster than the New MacBook Air which has accomodated a relatively weaker 8th Core i5 in order to keep its long battery life.

The ZenBook has around ~3-4 hours less than the Air.

 Performance

The performance will be about the same level as the New MacBook Pro which is really damn fast already.

Just like the Air and the Pro, the Zenbook has an SSD which will make loading up any software, looking up keywords, booting up your system crazy fast.

The new 2019-2020 model has a PCIe M.2 SSD which is basically on the same speed level of the MacBook Airs. With the release of PCIe NVMe SSDs in laptops,  Apple can no longer claim the advantage of having the fastest SSDs.

Although all the MacBooks still have a faster SSD(technology propietary of Apple) it’s just a tiny bit faster these days.

 KeyBoard

To be brutally honest, the keyboard might get sometime getting used to. 

I’m telling you right off the bat that you won’t be able to hit your fastest typing speeds on it because some of the keys (not the letters) are positioned unconventially. Still you get a back lit keyboard with low travel distance and decent feedback.

The display is full HD, which has a higher resolution than the Old MacBook Air but still lower than the New MacBook Air’s retina display.

While it may not be as bright as the average premium laptop, this is a bonus for battery life! 

In case you are dissapointed in the battery life (which is def shorter than the Air), remember that it is impossible to find a 13 hours battery life in a Windows Machine.

Windows consumes quite a lot of power. MacBooks and ChromeBooks have been optimized to work with the hardware (which their respective companies, Apple and Google, took part in their design) .

In other words, if the manufacturer of the hardware took a huge role in the manufacturing of the software = more efficient energy consumption and performance.

Still the ZenBook series if probably the best windows laptop you’ll find for a writer. 

Buy Now


3. Lenovo Yoga 730

Best Lenovo Laptop For Writers

  Core i5 8250U

  8GB RAM DDR4

   Intel UHD 620

  256GB SSD PCIE NVME

  13.3” full HD IPS 

  2.9 lbs

  9 hours

If you don’t like Apple products and you are not a big fan of ASUS either ( I am by the way!), your next obvious and only choice is a Lenovo. Why?

The Lenovos, especially the Yoga and The ThinkPad Series, are known for their legendary keyboards. 

 Hardware

There’s no difference between the hardware components of this Yoga and the ZenBook. Same CPU, SSD and even RAM.

Although the MacBooks may have a weaker CPU than both the ZenBook and the Lenovo, keep in mind that CPU should never be a concern to a writer.

SSD (or storage drive) on the other hand will make an impact in how long it takes to boot up your machine (and get back to writing) and how fast you can find a document/open stuff and even make it super fast to find a particulard word within all documents throughout the entire storage device.

If you want the same performance in the reading/writing data department as any of the MacBook Models, you should look for PCIe NVMe SSD (x17 faster than HDDs and ~x2 faster than regular SSDs) which this and the ZenBook already have.

 Design

For a writer it’s all about design, especially keyboard design, it should be your top priority. Having a few seconds saved here and there thanks to SSD performance will not have as much of an impact on your workflow as much as the keyboard.

And well Lenovos are known for their legendary keyboards in fact they are the only ones that can rival Apple’s keyboards. Generally speaking nearly all Lenovo laptops have high quality keyboards.

The difference with Apple’s keyboards is that these have a lot of travel.This is excellent if you are more used to old fashioned typing keyboards or desktop keyboards but this also means the design will be be bit more thick and heavier.

Now let’s talk about the chicken guano:

There are a few models that seem to have a flickering screen, this issue can be solved by either asking Amazon for a new unit or just follow a youtube video that shows you how to fix it.

There are some users that report a very loud fan but this seems to happen on very few units. I bet this is true for users located near florida on a hot summer…this would happen with every laptop.

Again not all users have these issues and you can always return it (free of charge from amazon) and have a new unit shipped back to you.

Why must I go through all this trouble for this model?

Well you won’t have to go through all of it, as long as you get a good unit.

Why risk it or take the time to return in the off chance I get a bad unit or even spend my precious time trying to fix it?

Well that’s because it is extremely difficult to find a laptop with a superb keyboard, lightweight portability and a really long battery life.

You can be my guest and look for it. Go online and try to find the holy trinity on your own and please post in the comments section.

Oh I forgot to mention this is tablet-like laptop which has a touchscreen feature too !


4. ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02

Best Laptop For Writers Under 300

  1.6 GHz Intel Celeron

  4GB RAM DDR3L

   Intel HD

  16-32 GB eMMC

  11” HD Anti Glare

  2.2lbs

  10 hours

If budget is an issue you can still find the holy trinity if you don’t mind a ChromeBook. They’ll give you portability, keyboard and battery life at an amazing price (usually less than 250$).

 Hardware

The main drawback is the hardware. All hardware components installed inside ChromeBooks are pretty low end.

It’s not just the CPU. You also get low RAM and low storage capacity. By the way the CPUs or processors are also used on tablets and sometimes smartphones.

Now now. I’m not trying to scare you with this.

I’ll explain why this is the case.

 Performance

Well the reason is obvious. Weak hardware doesn’t have a single effect on a ChromeBooks performance.

Why? Because ChromeBooks have been designed for web browsing, typing, programming and watching videos. Such activities do not require the latest generation processor and a lot of memory(remember you can do these same activities with your phone!)

So they’re basically designed for actual work so they do not allow you to install any “heavy” software (such as games) on it. So there’s no need for more storage, more RAM and a stronger processor.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use Excel, Office and useful apps such a movie player, music player,skype and so on.  Although these basic programs are natively installed you can also install even more apps (even games/photo editors/video editors and so on). Any app/software that doesn’t require a lot of computer power or graphics cards basically.

Another reason why ChromeBooks don’t need high end components is because you’ll be web browsing all the time, even when typing and writing a story (you’ll more than likely be using Google Docs) and well ChromeOS and Chrome (the web browsing software), do not consume much resources on a ChromeBook.

 Design

Having low end components plus an operating system that doesn’t consume much power or resources is what make ChromeBooks have out of this world battery lives. Heck they’re even longer than the MacBooks.

As for this ChromeBook, which I also happen to have, the battery has lasted me for more than 3 days(used interminently of course)! It can go to sleep for a week and still have battery! 

Another great great great feature is their portability: they don’t weight anything more than 2.5 lbs! Even this model which is supposed to be heavier because of its “rugged military grade design” only weights 2.2lbs!

By the way, this “military tested design” , which makes you think that they have tested bombs next to it, is not so much of an exageration.

This thing is rugged all over, it’s pretty solid and the hinges are undestructible (because they will flip all the way back to 180).

Beware that there are hundreds of ChromeBooks to choose from. But you shouldn’t really prioritize on RAM,CPU, Display. All chromebooks will have about the same performance so its all about the keyboard and perhaps display! If you have to pay more money for a ChromeBook make sure it’s for the display.

Why do I even own this laptop?

Well just like you I am a writer by passion and write short stories whenever I think I won’t have enough time to add good material to my main novel.  That’s all I do on laptops, write write and write even the size of these reviews are reflective of what I mean when I say I write a lot. I also have colleagues hating me for my long texts & emails too.

This is the reason why I bought this laptop, there are a few instances where I know I can’t bring my MacBook Air with me. Perhaps some crazy bumpy trip that only this laptop (or ChromeBook) can withstand or any other place where I may be completely away from charges for a few days and all I need to do is type type type (the battery life on this one sometimes last me about 15 hours).

Sometimes I even bring both my MacBook Air and my ChromeBook to make sure i never run out of juice on the go too.

I actually ownt this ChromeBook for several years before I bought a MacBook Air.

Enough about you, more details about the keyboard, please?

The keyboard is made out of plastic. It feels cheap because it is cheap. If you want an aluminum case around the keyboard you’d have to pay a few hundred bucks more and you step into MacBook price territory.

Even with the plastic case, the keys have a nice bounce to it. The tactile feedback feels kind of like a mechanical type writer without so much trouble. You can hear the keys bang loudly when you type on them (while MacBooks have nearly silent keys). But I’ve had no problems whatsoever typing on this thing. Like I said, it’s my second go to notebook after the Air and I’ve had for it several years ago.

I also own an Acer Aspire with a dedicated graphics card(Well I did, it kind of stopped working a few months ago). It’s keyboard was awful. It didn’t make it impossible to write but it sure pretty uncomfortable. It got to the point I actually had to attach an external keyboard to it and that external keyboard had about the same feeling as this ChromeBook’s keyboard.

What about other software?

There’s plenty of software(or more precisely apps) that can be installed on a ChromeBook as long as they are on the Google App Store: Lightroom, PhotoShop, Word,Excel, PowerPoint have been there for ages including tons of apps you can choose to write/save your work as well. There’s always plenty more apps being released too!

Just don’t expect to have a crazy video/photo editor or a 3D game released for a ChromeBook.

If you are into programming or you actually like using third party “light” software that’s available for Windows and Linux. You can also transform this ChromeBook into a full blown windows-like laptop by installing Linux on it (which I did and can now choose between launching ChromeOS or Ubuntu) .

I only did this to be able to install Linux software that’s pretty close to the windows versions you know of : Office, EverNote, etc.

Buy Now


5. Acer Aspire E15 E5-575

Best Cheap Laptop For Writers

  AMD Ryzen 3 3200U 3.5GHz

  4GB RAM DDR4

   AMD Radeon Vega 3 

  128GB PCIe NVMe SSD

  15” full HD IPS

  3.97lb

  10 hours


Lastly, the smallest of the fries! Though the biggest among them!

Why?

This is not the best selling “traditional laptop” on Amazon for no reason. It’s been like that since its release in 2015. Now 2020 has brought an even cheaper and faster version thanks to the release of the AMDs Ryzen CPU series which has blown its competition  out of the water.

So, if you are on a super budget and need a Windows Machine AND don’t want to even consider ChromeBooks or refurbished MacBooks, this is the cheapest best option you’ll find on Amazon

There’s a bunch of incredible good features you get for only ~300 bucks.

 Hardware

The entire hardware is up to date: the processor, the RAM and the graphics card (though the latter doesn’t affect performance much). they were released just in late 2019 and like I said they are better than their intel counterparts according to benchmark studies. 

The past versions managed to make it the cheapest laptop by having an slow 1TB HDD on it, however, this new 2020 version has the fastest SSD out there: PCIe NVMe while being 30 bucks cheaper than its older versions.

No it’s not like they’re losing money doing this…it’s just SSDs prices have been droping down subtantially over the past year so its not a surprise that you find a PCIE NVMe SSD on many budget laptops these days. 

 Performance

 

That being said, the SSD and the CPU, should give you a super and responsive machine with the downside of having only 128GB for storage. But if you really a writer and not a gamer or a movie collectionist, this shouldn’t be a problem at all. 

If you are a blogger and plan on doing some video/image editing with this thing, you can actually do that no problemo. Past versions would slow down to a crawl while doing so but the new one’s will definitely allow you to do all of that heavy workload especially if you invest on an additional 4GB RAM stick to make it 8 Gigs.

Note that this laptop comes with Windows S Mode, this is a restricted version of Windows and what actually makes this laptop extremely fast. 

Windows S mode is basically like Chrome OS, you can’t still software from the web only what’s found on the Windows App Store. 

 Design

If you are still bummed about the lack of a space, you can actually upgrade it later with a 1TB HDD or another SSD. What made this laptop so famous over the years, it’s how easy it was to do these upgrades.

I will create a separate post on how to do this and from what I’ve already worked with (with a model from the same company that has about the same design) but just so you know it only takes 2 minutes(remove one or two screws w/o the need to open up the entire laptop).

 KeyBoard

The keyboard is comfortable(otherwise I wouldn’t list it here would I?). Very easy to type on.

The keys are backlit and its a full size keyboard as well.

It’s not the best out of the entire list but it is definitely the best among the entire line of windows laptops around 300 to 400$. 

Note that this is a 15” laptop so the screen size comes with the downside of being more heavy(1lb heavier than a premium laptop or a MacBook), so i’d suggest to buy this one if you are doing most of your writing at one place and not moving around too much.Unless of course you are like Shaquel O’Neall and this extra pound really means nothing.

Buy Now

Windows 10 S vs Windows 10 home:

It is not adviceable to get rid of Windows S and install Windows 10 Home in this laptop. If you really DO want a full blown cheap Windows 10 Machine like the ASUS ZenBook. You can consider the following models, they’re basically the same as the Acer Aspire with either more cost or less power:

Honorable mention:

The way I narrowed it down to the 5 laptops above was:

  • By reading countless of reviews and comments on several different websites about all laptops near the 300-800$ price range that were portable and had long battery lives.
  • Then asking Amazon to ship me these models.
  • Tested them to confirm the data I collected
  • Finally returning them or selling them ASAP :’) . 

Unfortunately it seems I’ve missed one huge candidate which now that I think about should be placed after the ZenBook and before the Acer Aspire. This laptop is the Lenovo IdeaPad being talked about in this long review. Which by the way, also confirms the MacBook Air as the holy grail laptop for writing

Of course not all of us can afford it and not all of us can stand the big apple logo in the back. Perhaps some day you will but until then seriously consider these 4 laptops along with this Lenovo IdeaPad.

There are several IdePads to choose from but if you care about performance I’d just avoid any model that doesn’t have a “core” label next to the processor. Depending on how many tabs/software you have open when writing it may get a bit too slow!


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.

Keyboard

With most computers today having more than enough power for the average user, besides having a decent display you really should invest all of your budget on a decent keyboard.

Don’t be mistaken, not all laptops have a keyboard that’s smooth to type. There’s a huge difference between my MacBook Air, which I am using to type this post, and my Acer Laptop for which I usually attach an external keyboard (yeah it’s that bad).

If you want to avoid making the same mistake , you need to know a few terms:

Travel Distance

It pretty much means how far the keys have to travel down to register a character. Picking the right travel distance is crucial for you to hit your fastest typing speed. 

High Travel Distance: If you are opting for cheap laptops, then you better make sure it has a high travel distance.

It is both expensive and difficult to make a keyboard with low travel distance so most “windows laptops” end up having lousy keyboards if and only if they try to make them with low travel. 

 

Picking a cheap laptop with low travel distance will feel really flat and unresponsive to fast typing speeds which in turn will make writing a challenge and quite distracting. 

Where to find them? Thick laptops will have enough space to allow more vertical travel. 

These thick laptops are usually cheap windows laptops that are very heavy or expensive gaming laptops which need all the extra space for ventilation and more powerful computer parts.

Low Travel distance: Thin laptops have to settle for shallow vertical travels which isn’t really bad news.

Yes, despite the low vertical travel, there’s a few “expensive” ultrabooks that have managed to make their keyboards just as responsive if not more responsive than thicker laptops.

In fact, they usually have better tactile feedback and build quality than thicker laptops.

The most obvious example is the MacBook Air, which still in my opinion, has the best keyboard of all time. Most ultrabooks above 700$ will have about the same quality of the MacBook Air. If you see a relatively thin laptop that costs below 600$, you need to run fast.

Noise

I remember sitting at starbucks once and there was a guy pounding hard on his keyboard just to show people he was doing actual work.  If you like pounding hard on your keyboard to start sounding like Ernest Hemingway on a typerwriter (believe me some writers do), either do that or go for laptops with huge travel distances.

Low travel keyboards obviously tend to be less noisy, in fact, the MacBook Air/ASUS ZenBook are almost silent.

Avoid cheap windows laptops with low travel(below 600$). Low travel keyboards are okay for premium ultrabooks

Layout

 
Next thing to consider is the layout.  But this is a matter of preference, it won’t really affect your writing speeds.
 

Island vs Convential Type

Island types have more space around each key(hence the name). 

On the other hand, conventional keys are all mashed together. The picture you see is from the latest MacBook Pro which is of an island type.

As for me, I use both of them (as I mentioned above the convential is external because my acer’s keyboard simply sucks).

I have no problems switching back and ford between them. I can hit my fastest typing speeds on either.

Backlightining

Inspiration can strike anywhere and any time. If you end up in a place where there isn’t much light you can always use your phone but nothing compares to using a full blown keyboard on a giant screen.

Because of this, there are some writers who actually carry a bluetooth keyboard they can connect to their laptop.

You’ll find backlit keyboards across all premium ultrabooks (above 600$). For any other laptop you’ll have to check the description or ask the manufacturer.

Brightness

Some laptops allow you to control the brightness usually using one of the F keys.  These are usually found on premium laptops.

Size

The size of the laptop will dictate the size of the keyboard. Obviously, bigger keyboards are always better but this isn’t ideal if you want a portable device.

I would just recommend you avoid netbooks and any laptop below 11”. The perfect size is actually 13”, although they don’t include a numerical keypad they offer you with the conventional size for the rest of the keys.

How about 11” laptops?

Well it’s a matter of preference. I have no issues typing fast on my 11” MacBook Air and I have huge hands but some writers may find it too awfully compact and cramped.

The Obvious advantage is of course that you can just tuck them in your purse,small bag or just a wide pocket.


Display

There are tons of features to consider: IPS/TN panel, color accuracy, resolution,etc.

You can forget about all of them. Just focus on size:

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.

11”: These are too small to have several windows next to each other. If you are okay switching back and forth between tabs, they’re fine, I use this size myself.

13”: This is the perfect size. It has enough space for you to have several windows open next to each other and perfect keyboard size.

15-17”: These are too heavy for writers. Definitely avoid these unless you are only using your laptop at home.

Battery Life

It’s pretty pointless to tell you that you want a long battery life. Instead I’ll tell you where to find the longest battery lives. Basically you have three options. I’ll start with the easiest:

ChromeBooks: 99.9% of ChromeBooks have about +10 hours of battery life. The 0.01% which do have a short battery life (well relatively short ~6-8 hours) are the ones equipped with more powerful computer components which consume more energy and are totally unnecessary for writers. These usually cost +450$.

As long as you pick a ChromeBook for less than 400$, you’ll end up with a +10 hours battery

Apple Laptops: All apple laptops have =+10 hours of battery even the modern ones with a lot of power. The problem is of course these are very expensive when bought new. Refurbished ones will give you around 6-8 hours but they are way cheaper! Regardless they charge fast as hell.

Windows Laptops: Nearly all windows laptops across all price ranges have awful battery lives. The main reason is that , unlike ChromeOS and OSX (the operating system of both apple and chromebooks), Windows does consume a lot of energy. You will rarely if ever find a windows laptop with +10 hours of battery. Premium and expensive ultrabooks such as the ones posted above will give you 8-10 hours at the most. 

To get the best battery out of them and your budget, avoid anything with a core i5/core i7. You don’t need that much power and core i3 laptops do consume far less energy hence more battery. Another way to more battery out of windows machines is to discard IPS panels and higher resolutions.

Performance

This section isn’t necessary to read unless you are really after a lot of computer juice. You don’t really need to worry about storage/graphics cards and any other shenanigans inside computers.

If anything, you just need to worry about CPU/RAM.

CPU

Although virtually all CPUs today have way too much power for the average user, you still need to make sure you end up with the right one.

ChromeBooks and Apple Laptops all have great processors and you don’t really need to look at their specs when buying a laptop, just pick whatever your budget can afford.

Windows Laptops on the other hand can carry extremely weak processors even for writing. As a good rule of thumb, avoid any Windows Laptop below 350 bucks. They will either carry a Celeron,Pentium or an outdated/downgraded Core i3 processor that just can’t handle more a two programs open at once.

RAM

As long as you avoid any Windows Laptop below three-fiddy, the only component you should look out for is RAM.

2GB: Again anything below three-fiddy is more than likely to give you only 2GB which is just really infuriating, it won’t even handle running the OS smoothly. That means, it will take a while for MS Office or even notepad to open.

4GB: This might or might not be okay. If you multitask a lot and you happen to have Windows 10 on your laptop, then you’ll face a few slow downs here and there. If you go for an Apple or ChromeBook, 4GB is more than enough though.

8GB: This is the perfect amount for windows. Anything more is unnecesary. You’ll be able to do pretty much anything and throw in hundreds of internet tabs and never feel slowed down.

Storage

There’s not much to say about storage capacity. You can a hundred books on a floppy disk from 90s or the work of your entire lifetime on a 5$ USB Drive.

However…storage realibility and speed are a whole different issue.

If your storage device fails that means every single well crafted scene, sentence and idea will be long gone and who knows if you’ll be able to reproduce all of it again, more than likely, NO.

Solid State Drives and Hard Disk Drives

These are the two types of storage devices available for laptops today. Solid State Drives are slightly more reliable.

But they have the advantage of making your computer fly:

  • Looking up for a particular sentence/word/document using the search bar insanely fast.
  • Booting up your machine will literally be done in 5-8 seconds.

Regardless you still need a reliable back up method.

Back Up

If you opt for a ChromeBook everything will be nicely stored in the cloud, that is, at Google’s cluster of computers and they even have a back up in case someone hacks or destroys their entire headquarters.

If not you can use a cloud storage on a Windows/Apple Machine: DropBox, TheCloud, Google Docs .

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