It may be fun to wax nostalgic about the days of click-clacking away at a typewriter or scrawling your novel into a leather-bound journal, but those romantic ideals are impractical for the modern-day writer.
(Unless, of course, you’re writing longhand to get your creative juices flowing.)
A writer’s laptop is her best friend.
Like any best friend, a good laptop should be there for you through thick and thin, from bustling airports to cozy coffee shops, from the triumph of a strong WiFi signal to the heartbreak of no available outlets.
A reliable laptop lets you take your writing anywhere, whether you’re researching a freelance article or drafting your latest novel idea.
We rounded up the best laptops for writers based on categories that matter most to wordsmiths.
Check out our top picks to find the laptop that’s perfect for your writing needs.
Note: The links to the laptops recommended below will take you directly to Amazon for easy shopping. Because each laptop model comes with a wide range of options and because Amazon’s prices can vary from day to day, we suggest you check out the manufacturers’ websites if you need more info before making your purchase.
Many of you are on a budget as you start your freelance writing career or work on creative writing on the side. Laptops aren’t exactly known for being cheap, but there are budget-friendly options if you’re willing to compromise on storage space and fancy add-ons.
Starting at $399, the ThinkPad 13 Chromebook can’t be beat for affordability.
Writers will appreciate the comfortable keyboard and 10-hour battery life on this lightweight laptop. Although Chromebooks can’t run Word and they have limited functionality away from an internet connection, many users have found that the offline functionality of Google Docs is good enough to make this laptop a stellar deal.
Best battery life
You’re at your favorite coffee shop making huge progress on your latest writing project. That’s the exact moment when your laptop’s battery indicator turns red, warning that you only have a few precious minutes before your computer shuts down.
Avoid the scramble for an open outlet at coffee shops, libraries and airports.
Instead, go with the ThinkPad T470 (starting at $881.10). With up to 18 hours of continuous runtime, this laptop will never leave you stranded with a dying battery.
Whether you’re a digital nomad who’s constantly on the move to the next freelancer-friendly city or a hometown writer who enjoys working from coffee shops, laptop portability is an important factor for many writers.
There’s no need to schlep a heavy laptop around when you have options like the MacBook Air (starting at $999). Weighing just under three pounds and less than three-quarters of an inch thick, the Air is ready to take your writing wherever the wind blows you.
Most people probably don’t think twice about their keyboard. Writers, on the other hand, can be obsessed with them.
A responsive, ergonomic keyboard is essential for writers, and not all laptops deliver.
For those who are picky about their keyboards, it’s probably best to test-drive a few models in-store to get a feel for what you do and don’t like.
If you need a place to start, look no further than the Dell Inspiron i5567 (starting at $599.99). This backlit keyboard gets rave reviews from users, who appreciate its spacious keys and responsive typing feedback.
A laptop isn’t something you want to upgrade every other year.
In most cases, the brand of laptop you choose has more impact on reliability than which specific model you go with. Overall durability, customer support and warranty options all come into play in this category.
Apple is well known for its excellent support staff, especially since the bountiful presence of brick-and-mortar Apple stores often means you won’t need to ship your computer to the manufacturer for servicing.
Try the classic MacBook (starting at $1,299) for a laptop that’s stood the test of time.
A strong PC brand is Lenovo, with helpful customer service reps and plenty of warranty options, including accidental damage protection. Their rugged ThinkPad 13 (starting at $549) is designed to handle everyday wear and tear like a champ.
Best screen display
No one likes squinting at tiny text on a screen they can barely see. A larger screen is particularly important for writers who need multiple documents open side-by-side or who are working through tedious revisions.
The best in show for top-of-the-line screen displays goes to the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW (starting at $1,499). Its 4k touchscreen display delivers images with four-times the quality of HD, and the 15.6” screen is perfect for anyone who values display size over portability.
Best 2-in-1 option
Versatile 2-in-1 laptops give you the flexibility to interview a source with a lightweight tablet in the morning, then type up your notes on a full-sized keyboard in the afternoon.
Frequent travelers and journalists will especially appreciate how quickly a 2-in-1 laptop can transform to meet their needs at any moment.
The Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (starting at $499.99) is an easy option for writers who want versatility. Its pricetag makes it more affordable than similar hybrid laptops, and its backlit keyboard and quality screen resolution seal the deal.
Now you’ve got all the info you need to choose the perfect laptop for your writing life, no matter which features are most important to you.
Do you have a favorite laptop or brand that hasn’t failed you yet? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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