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 for 2019 to find the laptop that’s perfect for your writing needs in the year ahead.
Note: Most 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 $183, the Samsung Chromebook 3 can’t be beat for affordability.
Writers will appreciate the comfortable, spill-resistant keyboard and 11-hour battery life. 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 Lenovo Yoga C630 (starting at $859.99). With up to 22 hours of continuous runtime, this versatile two-in-one 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 $1,199). 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 Lenovo ThinkPad T480 (starting at $839.99). The optional backlit keyboard gets rave reviews from users, who appreciate its spacious keys and responsive typing feedback. The built-in TrackPoint mouse is an added bonus that lets users navigate their mouse without taking their hands off the keyboard.
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 $1,249) for a laptop that’s stood the test of time.
A strong PC brand is Dell, with helpful customer service reps and plenty of warranty options, including accidental damage protection and hardware repair for laptops less than five years old (even if they’re outside the warranty!). Their Latitude 3490 (starting at $789.99) has undergone military-grade testing for reliability and was designed to keep data secure at all times.
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 VivoBook S15 (starting at $679.97). Its NanoEdge HD display includes 178-degree wide-view technology that makes it easy to view the screen from any angle, and the 15.6” screen is perfect for anyone who values display size over portability.
If you need a stellar display that’s not too big to travel well, the Dell XPS 13 is your best bet (starting at 854.99). This laptop boasts a 13-inch display whose nearly borderless InfinityEdge technology makes the most of every inch of screen space.
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 Microsoft Surface Book 2 (starting at $1,499.99) is an easy option for writers who want versatility. It’s not the cheapest 2-in-1 laptop out there, but the Surface Book 2 doesn’t skimp on high-quality features that make it just as powerful as a regular laptop.
If you’re looking for a two-in-one that can pull its weight without breaking the bank, check out the Asus Chromebook Flip (starting at $475.05). Its pricetag makes it more affordable than similar hybrid laptops, and its backlit keyboard and 10-hour battery life seal the deal.
Best for entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurial writers need a laptop that can keep up with whatever task they’re tackling, whether it’s creating a promotional video, researching a story or recording a podcast episode.
Apple lovers can’t go wrong with the MacBook Pro (starting at 1,349.99). This cult favorite has been the top pick for entrepreneurs for years, and for good reason. The high-quality performance, Retina display in a variety of screen sizes and excellent customer support make the MacBook Pro a classic choice for business-minded writers.
If you’re in the market for a PC, consider the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (starting at $1,393). This well-rounded laptop boasts RapidCharge technology to bring your laptop up to 80% charged in under an hour, plus high-speed memory and performance to help entrepreneurial writers manage all their job duties.
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!
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!
This post was updated in January 2019 so it’s more useful and relevant for our readers!