We get it. There’s nothing like the flow of a smooth pen or the texture of good paper. Sure, there’s a lot to be said for writing things by hand, but a functional writer’s laptop is essential for writers in 2019: drafting, revising, editing, proofreading, producing manuscripts, sending your writing to magazines and journals, like Adroit. Even if you swear by the power of the good old pen and paper, the best laptops for writers don’t have to replace the quill. When choosing the top laptop for writers, keep a few points in mind.
Characteristics of a good laptop (for writers):
Lightweight and thin: You want your laptop to be portable for writing-on-the-go. Your laptop should be light enough to follow you on your journeys to mystic dungeons and wobbling skyscrapers—or to the local coffee shop.
Storage: Ample storage is gold for novel writers, memoirists, or poets who write really, really epic poems. Aim for at least 250 GB.
Memory: Sufficient memory allows writers to access files and run programs at higher speeds, which is important for video editing or in-between-drafts gaming. Most laptops have 8GB of internal memory.
Battery life: You can’t conquer dragons with a magic sword that’s run out of magic. The best laptops for writers should charge quickly and have a generous battery capacity.
Big screens with high resolution: This is more a matter of personal preference, but having a large display and a quality visual display may make the hours of typing easier on the eyes. And if you need to binge-watch your favorite shows to break up writer’s block, it is essential.
Backlit keyboard: If you’re blazing through that midnight oil, or if the perfect word hits at 3 am, you’re going to need a backlit keyboard to fuel your creativity. Trust us, you’re not going to remember that stroke of genius in the morning.
What are the best laptops for writers in 2019?
Here’s a list of our favorites:
With its Intel Core i5 processor and 256GB storage, the Asus Zenbook is a powerful contender for the top laptop for writers. It features a 13.3-inch HD display and a backlit keyboard. The laptop weighs a feather-light 2.5 pounds but still manages to pack in three USB ports (but no optical drive for CDs or DVDs). For those who need a personalized lock on their top-secret documents, the laptop also comes with a fingerprint reader under its arrow keys. It runs on Windows 10 with a battery life of up to 15 hours and costs around $800.
On the higher end of laptops, the beautiful 13.3-inch Dell XPS 13 weighs just 2.7 pounds for some models. It can be customized to store 256GB or 512 GB and comes with 8GB of memory and eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processors. The laptop has a full array of ports and features: a fingerprint sensor, powerful voice recognition technology, an SD card reader, one USB 3.1 port, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports for a wide range of connectivity options. The stunning 4k touch screen display makes it one of the best laptops for writers—and for non-writers. In addition, ninety percent of the laptop’s parts are recyclable.
The HP Pavilion’s 360 flip-and-fold design and touchscreen display make this 14-inch laptop stand out. It weighs 3.73 pounds and comes with a stylus, which allows it to double as a tablet. It comes with 8GB of memory, and its impressive hard drive capacity of 500GB provides double the storage of many standard laptops. Lightweight and versatile, this laptop is perfect for drafting on the move. Unfortunately, the keyboard is not backlit, which could make it more difficult to write through late nights and on dark subways.
Another 360-flip 2-in-1 laptop from HP, the 13.3-inch HP Spectre x360 weighs 4.62 pounds, slightly heavier than the Pavilion. On the other hand, it boasts a 512GB SSD and a 16GB RAM, so you’ll be able to store and access files at incredible speeds. The hybrid laptop also comes with a stylus and up to 16 hours of battery life, compared to the Pavilion’s 10.5 hours of battery. In addition, it includes a backlit keyboard, a feature also missing from the Pavilion. What’s more, this laptop has both two Thunderbolt 3 ports and one USB 3.1 port, making it compatible with a variety of accessories and devices.
What makes the Dell Inspiron 17 unique is its complete set of accessories. The laptop comes with three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 port, an SD card reader, an HDMI port, a LAN port, and a DVD drive that can read and write DVDs and CDs. The tradeoff for these features and its anti-glare 17.3-inch display is its weight; the computer weighs a little over six pounds, a pound or so heavier than most laptops on this list. If you don’t mind the extra weight, the laptop has a powerful Intel i5 CPU, and its 256GB storage can be upgraded to 16GB for those extra-long novels, including every draft and revised manuscript.
The Microsoft Surface Laptop has all the basics: a 13.5-inch display, 256GB of storage, 8GB of memory, up to 14.5 hours of video playback, and an impressive processing speed of 3.1 GHz. The Surface only weighs 2.76 pounds and comes in four elegant colors. The backlit keyboard is also covered in Alcantara fabric for a pleasant typing experience. It costs $700, but you can choose between storage capacities of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB and internal memory capacities of 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB at varying prices. The newest version—the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2—costs around $1500 and has many of the same features.
A sensible, no-frills laptop, the Acer Chromebook has most of the essentials: two 3.0 USB ports, an HDMI port, an anti-glare display with 1080p resolution, and 12-hour battery life. The only drawback is that it comes with only 32GB of internal memory and 4GB RAM, but the storage is sufficient for most writers working with text files. At $300, this laptop’s performance and efficiency make it a great deal and one of the best laptops for writers at its price.
Known for its sleek, smooth design and retina display, the Macbook Air is ideal for writers with style. With costs starting at $1099, the Macbook Air sits on the pricier side, but at a lightweight 2.75 pounds, it packs in a decent 16GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage. In addition, the laptop features Touch ID and 100% recycled aluminum and can share and receive pictures, videos, and documents from your iPhone. The Thunderbolt 3 USB, unfortunately, requires additional accessories to use normal 3.0 USBs, CD/DVD drives, and SD cards, but the newest model has two Thunderbolt 3 USB ports as opposed to the singular port of older generations.
The Lenovo Ideapad is a good starting laptop for writers looking for a decent battery, above-average processing speed, and great audio quality at an affordable price. Different versions will vary in storage and RAM capacities, but the device usually weighs under five pounds, features a 15.6-inch display, and operates on Windows 10.
The Acer Aspire 5 also costs around $300 and is another affordable option. It has a powerful 3.5 GHz processor but only has 4GB of memory and 128GB SSD. It does, however, feature one 3.1 USB port, two 2.0 USB ports, an HDMI port, and a backlit keyboard. It weighs 3.97 pounds–not too light, but not heavy, either, considering its 15.6-inch display.