Not every laptop is ideal for writing; it should feature the right combination of portability, comfort, and performance that can help you optimize your productivity. With so many laptops available on the market nowadays, it can be a daunting task to do your own research on which is the best laptop for writers. This is exactly why we created this list. After having spent hundreds of hours reviewing and testing different laptops, here is the absolute best of the best of them for the purpose of writing.
What Should I Look for When Buying My Laptop for Writing?
1. Portability (Size and Weight)
Laptops come in many different sizes and weights, and which one is the best for you may ultimately be a matter of preference. A large screen laptop is easy on the eyes and particularly helpful for those with vision problems. With a smaller laptop, on the other hand, you obviously get much more portability, which is essential if you move around places often.
With that said, a laptop weighing in 4 pounds or less and having a screen size of 13.3-inch to 15.6-inch should offer just the right mix of practicality and portability to most writers.
2. Battery Life
Long battery life would certainly be a plus but not the most essential if you generally sit in one area through your entire day or writing session.
However, if you are on the move often or like to work outdoors where a power cord isn’t readily available, a laptop’s battery life should definitely be one of the factors that impact your purchase choice.
Ideally, in the case of the latter situation, you should aim for a laptop with at least a 10-hour battery life or more. It could additionally help to reduce the need to carry around those unwieldy laptop cords while you are at work.
If you are a frequent traveler, a laptop’s durability is another important factor to take into consideration. Ideally, you should aim for a laptop with a metal or aluminum chassis and featuring a Solid-State Drive (SSD). While more expensive, compared to a conventional HHD, an SSD is more robust, retaining your data’s integrity even when your laptop gets dropped, jostled, drowned, or suffering any other kind of abuse. For added protection, consider it worthwhile to invest in a quality padded laptop case or backpack.
Since your main work is writing, the type of keyboard featured on your laptop is a critical factor to consider. There are three main styles of laptop keyboards – traditional, chiclet, and mechanical.
A traditional keyboard provides more surface area and key travel, and the lost or damaged keys are easier to replace.
A chiclet keyword features thinner keys with more space in between them, and since they produce no clicking noise when hit, they are much more suited for use in quiet public spaces. A major drawback is that lost or broken keys are really hard to replace.
Lastly, a mechanical keyboard, which employs real mechanical switches under the keys, carries the advantage of being long-lasting and comfortable for fingers as well as generate great feedback when clicked. However, they are generally rare on laptops, being heavy and much pricier. They are also loud, so not very suitable for public spaces.
Apart from screen size, there are many other vital factors to consider when looking for a laptop. If you work mostly outdoors, you should aim for a laptop that features a bright enough display for the environment.
And then there is the trade-off between glossy and matte displays to consider. A glossy display features richer colors and contrast but also has the drawback of producing a lot of glare. A matte display, on the other hand, comes with anti-glare properties but at the cost of decreased contrast and color intensity.
In addition, if you have other uses for your laptop, such as video gaming or graphic design, having a high resolution could also be important. Plus, it is also better if you have difficulties seeing or just like your display to look crisper.
For a writer, their laptop is their most important piece of equipment they have, and hence, not something to cheap out on. Think of your laptop as an investment. A new laptop in the $600-$1000 price range is potentially going to provide you with far greater returns than one offered at $350 or less.
The last thing any writer would want is for their laptop to suddenly stop working, start acting up, or – the absolute worst of the worst nightmare, the stored data becoming corrupted.
The cheaper laptop is cheap for a reason. It could be using inferior, lower-quality, or outdated hardware that cannot run your tasks smoothly. This could also mean that it could start degrading much more quickly and require replacement.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Be more generous with your purchase and avoid the anxiety and frustration that comes with having a sub-par quality laptop. Opt for a laptop from a reputable company – one that can stay with you for the next 5 years or so.
7. Memory (RAM)
RAM is what allows you to read and change data on your computer. The more the RAM, the greater the volume of data that can be processed. However, in the case of most writers, who mainly work with such software as Word or Google Docs, 8 GB of ram is more than ample.
However, if your tasks also include photo or video editing, or graphic design, you should aim for a laptop featuring at least 16 GB of RAM.
8. Storage Space (ROM)
As with RAM, the same considerations should be applied with ROM. If you are mainly doing writing-related work, a few hundred GB of storage space should suffice. But, if you are working with more audiovisual content (images, video, and sound), you’d want much more space – at least 500 GB, but 1 TB is ideal.
In addition to this, you should consider the storage type. Hard Disk Drive (HDD) makes use of a magnetic spinning disk to store data. It has the advantage of being cheaper, but as mentioned previously, is much more fragile, plus has relatively slower data loading times.
A Solid State Drive, on the other hand, makes use of an integrated circuit composed of individual ‘memory cells’ to store data. Compared to an HDD, it is much faster and more durable but also more costly. Due to their non-mechanical nature, they also use up less power, translating to more battery life.
If you can afford it, there’s no reason not to go with a laptop with SSD storage. With that said, there are also laptops with ‘hybrid’ storage, with programs and task files stored in the SSD component, while larger or longer-term data is stored in the HDD component.
9. Ports & Connectivity
This used to be a major factor when it came to choosing laptops, but now, with the advent of the Cloud and the Internet of Things, these have become less important. Still, any laptop you choose should have at least two or more USB ports with backward compatibility.
Be also sure to take into account whether a laptop features a particular type of USB port you are looking for (e.g. Type C, Type B, thunderbolt, etc.) as not all feature them.
If you are going to use your laptop mainly for writing purposes, you don’t need a dedicated graphics card. However, if you would like to play AAA game titles or make use of heavy software such as a professional video editor, then it is very much an essential feature. A GeForce GFX 1050 Ti should be more than ample for the purpose.
Just be sure to know that the beefier the graphic card, the more power it will consume, translating to much lower battery life.
Now that we have covered the important factors, here’s how we weighted our assessment.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Laptops for Writers
Each writer has their different needs, and as such, it would not have been made for a worthwhile buying guide had we just made a generic countdown list of the. Making use of the criteria defined above, we have compiled our list with your specific preferences in mind.
Of course, every standout feature comes with its own trade-off. If you want portability, you might have to compromise on power. And if you want both because you make use of heavy software and move around a lot, be prepared to consider increasing your budget range.
If screen size is of critical importance to you, the laptop’s portability is also compromised. If you spend a lot of time typing, you want a laptop with a more comfortable and ergonomic keyboard, but that could come in the form of a greater expense or weight.
Now, if affordability is your main target, obviously it would not be wise to think of the newest and most powerful laptops on the market as you might derive more value from an older version.
Now, without further ado, let’s start with our list.
Here’s What We Recommend if You Only Buy Apple Laptops
#1: Apple MacBook Air (Best Portable)
Offering a good combination of both excellent power and portability, the Apple MacBook Air was a natural pick for us in this category. Living up to the ‘Air’ part of its name, the laptop is extremely lightweight, weighing in just 2.8 lbs. It is also incredibly thin, measuring just half an inch at its thickest.
Despite the thin size, the laptop is still relatively durable, being encased in a single piece aluminum chassis. Despite its highly compact design, Apple has somehow managed to still make their laptop a highly proficient work machine, featuring the System on Chip (SoC) Apple M1 chip, 8 GB of RAM, and SSD storage space of up to 512GB.
Its gorgeous 13.3-inch Retina display is also an important highlight, featuring a crisp resolution of 2560×1600, which rather exceeds that of most laptops featuring a similar screen size. At 15 hours, its battery life also is among the highest of any machine on this list. Additional awesome features on the laptop include a backlit keyboard and a Touch ID for secure login.
Being an Apple product, you will certainly find the MacBook Air a bit pricy, but surprisingly, it is actually one of the more affordable Macs out there. Regardless, you certainly get what you pay for as the MacBook Air is known to be long-lasting, offering itself as quality, highly writing laptop that will remain virtually as good as new for years to come.
#2: Apple MacBook Pro 16” (Most Powerful)
While the specs on a MacBook Air will be more than enough for your writing needs, it might still not be enough for more memory-heavy tasks such as HD video editing. For such purposes, the MacBook Pro should be your prime choice.
By far the most expensive product mentioned on our list, it is, nonetheless, also one of the most powerful. It comes with a mighty 2.4 GHz 8-core Intel i9 processor, RAM configurable up to 64 GB, and up to 1 TB of SSD storage, but most importantly, it comes featured with a potent AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphic card. However, despite all this power, the laptop still manages an excellent battery life of nearly 11 hours on a single charge.
All in all, judging by the specs, this Apple laptop packs in more than enough to ensure smooth operations of your even most demanding of tasks and should be able to play most triple AAA games at high settings. Yes, in reference to the latter, while the macOS comes installed by default, as with all Macs, you can opt to install Windows on the machine if that is your preference.
Moving on, its 16-inch Retina display can be said to be standout on the market. All in all, it packs in a total of a whopping 6 million pixels, which is more than the clear majority of laptops on the market save for the even more high-end purpose-built gaming laptops.
But if you wish to work on still a bigger screen, through its high-speed thunderbolt ports, it provides plug-in support for two external monitors of up to 6K in resolution. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feature
Other key highlights include a backlit keyboard, Touch ID, and a six-speaker system with force canceling woofers.
#3: Apple iPad Pro (Best for Frequent Travel)
For some writers who are always on the go, even the highly portable MacBook Air might not suffice. The need is there for a device that is even more lightweight but with a big enough screen size to remain practical for writing.
As such, the iPad Pro is our recommendation, being just .23 inches at its thickest and weighing in at a mere 1.41 lbs. It features a rich 12.9-inch Retina display and comes along with a proprietary 2.49 GHz 8-core A12Z Bionic processor paired with 6 GB of RAM and up to 1 TB of SSD storage.
These specifications should be more than enough to handle most of your writing tasks and some basic level graphic design and audio processing. Just connect it to Apple’s magic keyboard (sold separately), and you are good to go. Providing a battery life of up to 10 hours, it should be ample for a single day of work without the need for a recharge.
While not relevant to our main criteria, its 7 MP front and 12 MP+10 MP back dual camera are still worthy highlights. They can be highly useful for videoconferencing purposes, giving a crisp visual of you to the people on the other side of the communication.
The Best Laptop for Writers with a Windows PC
#1: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Best Overall)
The Surface Laptop 3 is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s MacBook, and in many ways, offers a product of virtually equal value at far less of a price. The laptop is highly configurable, its lowest end model features a 13.5-inch touchscreen display, a 10th generation Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage.
Battery life is also superb, lasting 11.5 hours on a single charge. Of additional note is its keyboard, which features decent key travel and is a delight to type on. Unfortunately, it isn’t backlit, unlike the MacBook’s, making it not a viable option for a dark environment.
Its most high-end version, one that is a direct rival to the MacBook Pro, on the other hand, comes with a stunning 15” touchscreen display and a beefy AMD Ryzen 7 8-core processor paired with 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of SSD storage. One clear advantage the Surface Laptop 3 15″ has is that it features a lighter weight of just 3.4 lbs. versus a MacBook Pro 15-inch model at 4.02 lbs. It additionally comes with both USB-C and USB-A ports, the latter of which is found lacking in its Apple counterpart.
#2: Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (Best Portable)
Arguably, THE best laptop for a writer leaning towards a heavy preference for portability but still doesn’t want to compromise too much on power. This laptop is the perfect example of the age-old adage, “big things come in small packages.” With a phenomenal 2736 x 1824 resolution, its 12.3-inch touch screen display beats that of the even the already spectacular MacBook Air’s. And what’s more, its keyboard can be separated, converting it into a tablet.
As with our previous mention, Pro 7 is also highly configurable with its most high-end version offering a 10th generation dual-core Intel i7, 16 GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. In addition, the Intel Iris Plus graphics card does seem to do a fine job with handling mid to low-level graphic tasks.
All of this is packaged into a device that weighs just under 1.7 lbs. (minus the keyboard cover). Battery life is a good 10.5 hours long, and thanks to fast charging, the laptop can be charged fully in roughly one and a half hours.
#3: Acer Predator Triton 500 (Most Powerful)
This was a difficult choice to make. While there are plenty of really high-end laptops out there on the market, not all of them are fit for writing, because of being too bulky, too costly, hard to type on, not having a long enough lasting battery, or other such shortcomings.
But the Acer Predator Triton 500 seems to be the perfect candidate for this category, bringing in both power and practicality. Starting with the specs, the laptop comes with an 8th generation 4.1 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 32 GB of RAM, 1 TB of SSB storage, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 8 GB graphics card with overclocking built-in, the latter of which should be more than able to help run the most graphics-heavy tasks and software.
Its 15.6-inch display is certainly a bit of a downer, at least relative to many of our other mentions on this list. At just 1920 x 1080 resolution, it’s actually a bit of a disappointment given the expectations you generally have for a laptop of this price range. Still, the contrast and colors are really rich on the display, and resolution isn’t that important if your main task is writing.
To avoid overheating when running memory-heavy programs, the laptop features three high-end cooling fans and 5 copper heat pipes for quick heat dissipation. Its keyboard is a notable highlight, very comfortable to write on, and features a customizable RGB backlight.
To enhance its durability, all its sides are metal, including the vent grills. While not exactly lightweight, it isn’t too heavy either. At 4.63 lbs. it is under the range to be easy to carry. Battery life is 8 hours, which is decent.
#4: ASUS VivoBook 15 (Best Value)
In terms of value, the choice of the best writer’s laptop would easily go to ASUS VivoBook 15. Being offered at a very affordable price range, it is a testament to the fact that the latest innovation isn’t always limited to the most premium products.
For the price, you are offered a lot more than what you would come to expect from a laptop of this price range. It comes with a powerful 3.6 GHz AMD Ryzen 7 quad-core processor, 8 GB of RAM, 512 GB of SSD storage as well as an AMD Radeon Vega 10 graphic card.
With a resolution of 1920 x 1020 pixels, its 15.6-inch display is pretty standard for a laptop of its price, but it does outshine competitors in terms of color and brightness. Its well-designed keyword is certainly its notable highlight; its chiclet-style backlit keys are spaced in a way to enhance typing speed and comfort.
Despite the relatively large screen size, the device is actually somewhat deceptively compact, being roughly the same size as a 14-inch screen counterpart. This is thanks to its extremely thin bezel that allows the laptop to achieve a stunning 88% screen to body ratio. In addition, its portability is further augmented by its low weight (3.53 lbs.) and thin frame (0.7 inches at its thickest).
Even in terms of connectivity, the laptop goes above and beyond its rivals and even those on the higher end, featuring ports for both USB-C and USB-A with backward compatibility as well as HDMI. For added security, the laptop also comes with a fingerprint sensor.
There is one shortcoming, though, and that is in battery life, which is a mediocre 5 hours 20 minutes. Still, this is standard for a lower mid-range laptop, so it wouldn’t be fair to criticize this otherwise amazing laptop too much.
#5: Asus ExpertBook B9450 (Best Battery Life)
From the get-go, this is a laptop that is meant to grab attention while still paradoxically managing to retain a discreet, professional look. The machine is super thin at just 0.6 inches at its thickest, but make no mistake, this isn’t a fragile piece of hardware but far from it. It’s probably one of the most durable mentioned here. Its chassis is composed entirely of ‘military-grade’ magnesium alloy. The keyword is spill and tear-resistant, and its 180-degree rotatable webcam comes with a built-in webcam shield.
Moving on to its specs, the laptop features a 10th generation 4.9 GHz Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and up to 1 TB of SSD. It features a 14-inch display with a standard 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution.
But, of course, the main highlight of this laptop is its truly extraordinary battery life, which very few can equal. It can continue working continuously for up to 24 hours on a single full charge, and a full recharge only takes roughly 1 and a half hours. There certainly are a few laptops that can rival or exceed the ExpertBook in battery life, but they tend to be bulkier or much more prohibitively expensive.
Aside from its exceptional battery life, another of its notable highlights is its LED-backlight trackpad that doubles as a number pad perfect for quickly crunching numbers. It also has a built-in bar light for easy key navigation in dark conditions
Despite its metallic exterior and powerful battery, the laptop is actually extremely lightweight, weighing in at just 2.2 lbs., making it a breeze to carry around with you anywhere.
In the connectivity department, the laptop is certainly no small hitter, coming with a full set of I/O ports, including both USB-A and USB-C, thunderbolt, HDMI, and Micro HDMI. In addition, there is also a built-in microSD card reader – an extremely helpful feature that one would wish was common when it came to laptops.
Other awesome features of this laptop include a fingerprint sensor and premium built-in speakers by Harman Kardon.
#6: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14″ (Best Affordable)
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 14 offers you an extraordinary mix of both performance and value for money. Being a two-in-one laptop, it provides the functionality of two devices for the price of one.
It comes with a 14-inch touch display, a formidable 4 GHz AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of SSD storage. These kinds of specs should be more than enough for your day-to-day writing needs and occasional multimedia editing. Color and contrast are rich, but screen brightness isn’t the most remarkable but still decent enough, given its price.
It features a fully 360-degree rotatable hinge, allowing you to use it both as a laptop and a tablet. The device is also very portable, being decently lightweight at 3.64 lbs. and the ultra-thin bezel aids in its compactness. Additional highlights include a physical camera shutter, a well-designed ergonomic chiclet keyboard, and a soft, comfortable exterior making it easier to hold for an extended period.
Battery life lasts a good 10 hours, allowing you to go about your entire days of work without needing to plug in the power supply. Recharging is also quick, with the laptop becoming fully charged in less than one and a half hours.
#7: Acer Aspire 5 (Best Cheap Laptop for Writers)
It’s actually hard to find a decent enough laptop under $500 that isn’t a Chromebook that lasts with you for 5 years or more without failing. Yet that doesn’t imply that they don’t exist. There are certainly a few really amazing under $500 options, and one of them is the Acer Aspire 5.
The laptop comes with a potent 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce MX150 2 GB graphic card. All in all, this machine is certainly powerful enough to allow you to conduct all your writing tasks smoothly and even allows you to play the latest AAA games (provided you tone down the settings). It should also be noted that both the storage space and memory are upgradable.
Size might be an issue, but only slightly. While its 1920 x 1080 pixels LED display is acceptable at 15.6 inches, the thick surrounding bezel does make it not exactly the most compact machine. And, in regards to its weight, not exactly the lightest out there, is still an easily tolerable 4.41 lbs.
Battery life is above average for its price range, lasting up to a workable 7 hours. The keyboard is backlit, and the laptop comes with USB-C and HDMI ports, but support for USB-A is missing.
#8: Dell XPS 15 (Best Display)
If you are looking for a laptop that boasts the best display, the Dell XPS 15 is our recommendation. The device features a 15.6-inch 4K OLED display – one of the brightest and most vivid we’ve seen on any laptop. It blasts an astonishing 239% of the standard RGB color gamut found on screens, packs 500 nits of brightness, and features a contrast ratio of a spectacular 1650:1, which in the company’s own words, allows you to “see the brightest of bright and the darkest of dark.”
For a better comparison, the MacBook Pro features only 100% of the standard RGB color gamut, the same level of brightness, and a contrast ratio of 1,409:1. On top of that, the screen is anti-reflective and touch-enabled.
Of course, to bring excellent performance on a beautifully rich screen, you do need some pretty good specs, and the XPS 15 delivers in spades. The laptop’s hardware is highly configurable, with the most end version (9500) coming with a 10th generation Intel Core i7, 32 GB of RAM, 1 TB of SSD storage, and a potent Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti 4 GB graphic card.
Even with these power-hungry specs, the laptop’s battery life is truly exceptional, lasting for a total of a remarkable 17 hours. In addition, the machine is also really thin and lightweight, being at its thickest just 0.7 inches and weighing just 4.5 lbs. respectively. To enhance durability, its hardware is housed inside a high-grade machined aluminum chassis. In terms of connectivity, the laptop has both USB-C and USB-A ports with backward capability, not one but two thunderbolt slots, an HDMI port, and a full-sized SD card reader.
With all this taken into consideration, this is really one of the best laptops for writers and photographers who place a heavy emphasis on a good display but don’t want to compromise in any other performance department.
#9: Dell XPS 13 (Best 2-in-1)
2-in-1 laptops certainly hold great versatility, with you being able to utilize them as both a laptop and a tablet. However, their slim and lightweight form does often come at the cost of performance because they simply have less space to put in beefier components. Conventional laptops in the same price range will almost always offer better specs.
Nonetheless, the Dell XPS 13 is a strong outliner. This laptop is a highly compact powerhouse, with its most high-end version featuring a 10th generation 3.9 GHz Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of SSD storage, and an integrated Intel Iris Plus graphics card. The OLED 4K touchscreen display is also gorgeous to look at, comparable in detail to the MacBook Pro’s.
The hardware is housed in a high-grade machined aluminum chassis, and the screen is protected by the latest Gorilla ® glass, making the laptop highly resistant to impact and accidental abuse. All of this is offered as a very competitively priced package.
However, it is not just in the performance that this convertible scores high in – so does it in terms of portability. The laptop is just under 0.6 inches at its thickest and is super light, weighing just 2.65 lbs. This, along with its extraordinarily thin bezel (making it nearly comparable to a 12-inch standard laptop in size), means that carrying it around while on the move is always a breeze.
Battery life lasts a good 12 hours, more than ample for your work needs. 2-in-1s are known to be prone to heating, but the XPS 13 resolves that with a highly advanced integrated thermal system that not only efficiently dissipates the generated heat but also provides limits heat spread to other components.
#10: Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Best for Writers and Photographers)
Packing both power and versatility, the Surface Pro 6 presents itself as a prime solution for your writing and photo editing needs. As with other models in the Surface series, the Pro 6 is also highly configurable with its most powerful version featuring an 8th generation Intel i7 quad-core processor, 16 GB of RAM, an entire one TB of SSD storage, and the formidable Intel Iris Plus graphic card, all packed in a device weighing just 1.7 lbs. Coming in at just 0.33 inches – it is also super slim, even by tablet standards.
Its 12.3-inch touchscreen display is among the best we’ve seen on any laptop/tablet of its size class. It has a stunning 2736 x 1824 resolution with a good 136% sRGB color gamut and a brightness of 408 nits. The device also features ambient light sensors that will automatically adjust the screen brightness. This is especially a helpful feature for photographers who need a consistent viewing experience while editing.
What additionally makes it great for professional photographers and writers alike is its built-in kickstand, allowing you to easily lower the tablet to the optimal angles for photo editing and writing respectively. Both the 5 MP front and the 8 MP back camera provides a 1080p full HD video recording – providing for quality conferencing.
Despite its slim and compact design, the Pro 6 still manages to have a remarkable battery life, with a continuous runtime of up to 13 and a half hours.
Be sure to know before buying that its keyboard and pen don’t come included with your purchase and have to be brought separately. Microsoft really charges a hefty price for the official type cover, which does dent some of the value you get for the money spent.
The Verdict – The Best Writer’s Laptop
If we had to pick the absolute best that is workable for any writer, then our definite pick would be the Surface Laptop 3.
Needless to say, all of them would be a great fit for the main job of writing, and it is in different departments that one or another shines more in.
With that said, we know each individual’s requirements are different. What we have listed here should serve merely as your starting reference point on your journey towards finding a laptop that perfectly fits your needs and budget.