Technology

The Best Laptop for Writers [2020 Update]

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Are you a writer looking for a laptop that fits your needs and lifestyle? In this article, I will give you tips and guidance on how to find the best laptop for writers like you. Then, I will follow up with nine laptop offerings for our definitive list of the best laptops for writers.

This article is for you if you… 

  • Spend a full workday (8 hours) writing novels, articles, or blog posts.
  • Microblog on social media.
  • Do UX writing/design and need a laptop powerful enough to handle a lot of graphics.

The ideal laptop specs for you will be different for you depending on various factors like your average daily writing time and the software/applications that you plan to run. This guide will provide you with the most important features of a great laptop for writers so that you can make the right purchase for your writing career.

What are the must-have features and minimum requirements for a laptop for writers?

With so many choices out there, how do you decide which laptop is best for you? It all depends on your specific needs. Let’s get into what you need as a writer from your laptop. Here are the must-have features and minimum requirements for your next laptop.

FeatureMinimum RequirementsIdeal Spec
Display13 inches15 inches
RAM4 GB8 GB
CPUIntel Core i5Intel Core i7
Storage128 GB SSD256 GB SSD
Battery Life5 hours8 hours

Keyboard

red letter keyboard close up
Photo by Dominique Knobben on Unsplash

It’s important that you find a laptop with a comfortable keyboard that works well when writing in low-light (backlit keyboards are great for this).

Unlike desktop computer keyboards, good laptop keyboards don’t have number pads on the right side of the keyboard. Letters should be your focus and keyboards that pack too much into a small space make typing less comfortable and harder to find and access important keys (like delete or arrow keys) during fast typing.

When purchasing the best laptop for writers, you’ll find that the most quality laptop keyboard will have a comfortable layout, full-sized keys, and space around the arrow keys for optimum productivity.

Portability, Design, and Screen Size

Size and weight: Unless you plan for your laptop to be a stationary part of your home office setup, go for a lightweight option (4 pounds or less).

Screen size and quality: Laptops screen sizes usually range from 11.6 in – 17.3 in, but a screen size anywhere between 13-15 inches is suitable for writers. You want the screen to be large enough so that you won’t have to strain, but not so big that it makes the laptop too bulky to move around with ease.

Chances are you’ll be staring at a screen all day while writing, so glossy screens that are susceptible to reflecting light aren’t a good choice for writers. The glossy screens (most touchscreen laptops) look good but the reflected light can be harsh on the eyes, especially if you’re writing outdoors. I recommend going with a matte screen with 1920x1080px resolution (Full HD).

Battery Life

Laptop battery life is crucial for writers. There’s no guarantee that you’ll have access to an electrical outlet when you’re writing at the coffee shop.

So many things can affect battery life — the brightness of your screen, WiFi, Bluetooth activity, keyboard backlight brightness, which operating system you’re running, how many applications you’re running at once, and more; it all depends on how you use your laptop while working.

A good rule of thumb is to select a laptop that provides 5-8 hours of battery life after a single charge. Again, it all depends on how you use your laptop and where you plan to use it. Will you be writing in coffee shops and diners or in your home office where you can keep your laptop plugged in?

Solid State vs. Hard Drive Durability

If you plan on traveling with your laptop and if speed is a concern, then a writer’s laptop with a solid-state drive (SSD) is the best type of laptop to purchase. A solid-state drive is a storage device that uses integrated circuits to store data using flash memory instead of a spinning disk like a traditional hard drive (HDD). 

If a laptop with a hard disk drive is dropped or roughly handled, the HDD could break and all of its data could be lost. On that note concerning durability, invest in a good laptop case, bag, and/or backpack that fits your laptop’s size and weight.

Storage, RAM, and CPU

Storage: While standard hard drives (HDD) offer more capacity and are cheaper than solid-state drives, go with a solid-state drive because they keep laptops fast, thin, and lightweight.

As far as capacity/storage, 256 GB SSD is the ideal drive type and size for a writer’s laptop. This will give you enough room for additional software and storage for larger files like podcast audio and videos. You may find laptops with a combination of hard drive and solid-state drive. This combo cuts down on the cost of an all SSD storage laptop but doesn’t compromise too much on speed.

RAM: 4 GB of RAM (random access memory) should be the absolute minimum for a laptop that will be used ONLY for writing. Go with 8 or 16 GB if you use your laptop for more tasks like graphic design, video work, and podcasting. The more RAM that your laptop has, the more applications that it can run simultaneously.

CPU: An Intel Core i5 processor is a nice CPU to have inside your writing laptop but an i7 is even better if you want your laptop to perform at its best. Be warned, however, i7 processors could cause your laptop base to get hot and have cooling issues, which isn’t good for long-term use or product life. A hot laptop isn’t the best for comfort and productivity if you’re a writer who likes to write with your laptop on your lap.

Customer Service and Warranties

No matter how great your laptop is, accidents happen. It is a machine, after all, and it could break down before or after the warranty period. As a writer, you can’t afford to be without your laptop for a long period of time!

Look into the details of the manufacturer’s warranty:

  • How long will the laptop be covered? 
  • What parts of the laptop are covered by the warranty?
  • Can you purchase an extended warranty for the laptop?
  • What kind of access do you have to customer service — 24/7, chat support, phone, email? 

Warranties are especially important if you’re purchasing a refurbished or used laptop.

Price

Going back to durability, you want to invest in a laptop that will work for you for at least 3-5 years. That doesn’t mean that you need to fork up a ton of money in every situation to find the best laptops for authors, bloggers, journalists, etc. A laptop below $1000 could fit your needs perfectly! In general, great quality laptops for writers can be found at various price points between $350-1200. 

Brand names aside, the type of processor a laptop has plays a major part in the cost. Laptops with the fastest processors usually cost the most. If you plan on doing graphic design work, audio work, and/or video work, you’ll want to invest in a laptop with a fast processor (i5 or i7).

How to Shop for the Best Laptop for Writers

I know that there are a lot of features to keep in mind, so start with YOUR top 3-4 must-haves in your writer’s laptop. Is your list big screen size, long battery life, and large drive storage?

Start right here in this article and spend some time researching the laptops out there that work for your situation and use your list of must-haves as a guide. Make a list of your top three laptops and do the following:

  1. Write a good ol’ fashioned pros and cons list and compare the laptops to each other
  2. Read reviews from different sites and ask other writers in your community for their opinion
  3. Double-check the laptop’s warranty information and make sure you get a great insurance plan to keep you covered

The 9 Best Laptops for Writers

Based on our research, here are the 9 best laptops for writers like you. We have a nice range of laptops for you to pick from $350 to $1200.

1. Apple MacBook Air

Display13-inch Retina display
RAM8GB RAM
CPU1.1GHz dual-core 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor w/ Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
Storage256GB SSD
Battery LifeUp to 11 hours

The Apple MacBook Air owns the crown as the best laptop for writers because of its speed, durability, and almost 12 hours of battery life! All of this helps the MacBook Air be the best MacBook for writers. And if you’re looking for laptops with the best battery life, you can’t get any better than the MacBook Air.

You’ll fit right in at your local coffee shop with this writing laptop. It may not be the best laptop for writers on a budget, but it’s the most powerful and aesthetically pleasing machine on our list. Also, the Mac OS is way more intuitive than Windows (in my opinion). So if you’re looking for the best laptop for journalists, then the MacBook Air is for you.

Make the Apple MacBook Air your writing laptop.

2. ASUS Chromebook 2020

Display11.6 Inch Non-touch Laptop
RAM4GB LPDDR4
CPUIntel Celeron N3350 up to 2.4 GHz
Storage32GB
Battery LifeUp to 9 hours

Can I tell you how much I love Chromebooks as writing laptops? I think they make the best laptop for blogging especially because it ranks highly among the lightweight laptops, has the super-fast and easy-to-use Chrome OS, possesses elite battery life, and delivers seamless connection to Google Docs and Google Cloud.

I use an older version of the ASUS Chromebook 2020 when I’m writing at the coffee shop. My Chromebook is my go-to portable laptop that helps me write with confidence when I’m surrounded by other writers typing away on their Apple MacBook Air.

Make the ASUS Chromebook 2020 your writing laptop.

3. HP 14” Touchscreen Home and Business Laptop Ryzen 3-3200U

Display14″ Touchscreen
RAM8GB RAM
CPUDual-Core up to 3.50 GHz
Storage128GB M.2 SSD
Battery LifeAbout 6 hours

The HP 14” Touchscreen Home and Business Laptop Ryzen 3-3200U is the best cheap laptop for writers on a budget. It almost serves as a 2-in-1 laptop because of its 14” touchscreen display. There’s a lot to love about a laptop offering that gives you 8GB of RAM, SSD, and 6 hours of battery life for under $600.

Make the HP 14” Touchscreen Home and Business Laptop Ryzen 3-3200U your writing laptop.

4. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Display15.6 inches Full HD IPS
RAM4GB DDR4
CPUAMD Ryzen 3 3200U, 3.5 GHz
Storage128GB SSD
Battery LifeAbout 7.5 hours

The Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop is a popular, highly rated budget laptop that’s perfect for writers. The backlit keyboard and long battery life help you have long writing sessions deep into the night.

Make the Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop your writing laptop.

5. Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Display14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080)
RAM8GB DDR4
CPUAMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor
Storage256GB SSD
Battery LifeAbout 8 hours

With the Lenovo IdeaPad 3, you get 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and a long battery life for under $500. Sign me up.

Make the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 your writing laptop.

6. 2020 Premium Dell Inspiron 15

Display15.6 inch HD Touchscreen
RAM16GB
CPU10th Gen Intel Quad-Core i7-1065G7
Storage512GB SSD
Battery LifeN/A

The 2020 Premium Dell Inspiron 15 is a perfect laptop for writers who also work with graphic design, video editing, and/or podcast editing. Its 16GB of RAM, Intel Quad-Core i7 CPU, and large capacity 512GB SSD makes it a good multimedia laptop for the creative who’s on a budget.

Make the 2020 Premium Dell Inspiron 15 your writing laptop.

7. 2020 HP 17.3″ HD+

Display15.6″ Touchscreen
RAM8GB DDR4
CPU10th Gen Intel i3
Storage1TB HDD + 128GB PCIe SSD
Battery LifeAbout 5 hours

Get more done with the 2020 HP 17.3″ HD+ and its 15.6” touchscreen and ample storage.

Make the 2020 HP 17.3″ HD+ your writing laptop.

8. Lenovo ThinkPad T590

Display15.6”
RAM8GB
CPUIntel Core i7
Storage512GB SSD 
Battery LifeAbout 6 hours

The Lenovo ThinkPad T590 is a good laptop for writers who want to repurpose their content into audio and/or video.

Make the Lenovo ThinkPad T590 your writing laptop.

9. HP 14DF

Display14” Full HD 1080p
RAM4GB
CPUIntel Core i3-8130U
Storage128GB SSD
Battery LifeUp to 5 hours

When considering the best laptop for writers, you have to check out the deal on the HP 14DF for under $500.

Make the HP 14DF your writing laptop.

In Conclusion: Which laptop should you buy?

We’ve given you nine great laptop offerings to choose from. Now it’s up to you! 

You’re equipped with the intel you need to select the best laptop for you.

  • Make a list of your 3-5 must-have features
  • Do tons of research (like reading this article) and compare models
  • Get the extended warranty!

So when considering the best laptop for writers…whether you purchase the Apple MacBook Air or ASUS Chromebook 2020, I trust that you will make the right decision for your needs.

Chris Craft

Follower of Jesus. Husband. Father. Founder of InspireFirst and Nao Media.