You’re a writer. Your craft involves your words, your ability to tell the story well, grammar and styling. In the past, telling that story involved handwriting, sometimes for hours, but since we live in the 21st century, you’re going to want a laptop. Typewriters and fancy pens just aren’t going to cut it. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list with the best laptop for writers at each price tier.
But what should you be looking for in best writers laptops. There are two essential features that writers need to consider first, portability and battery life, because these will allow you the freedom and flexibility to take your writing anywhere. The other two considerations will depend on what kind of writing you’ll be doing, and where you’ll be doing it. Storage and screen resolution are things you might be able to sacrifice if you plan to write in a mainly Wi-Fi accessible area and aren’t going to be dealing with a lot of graphics or other media in your writing projects.
What is needed for the best laptop for writers?
The first thing on any writer’s mind is going to be the portability. Most likely, you want to carry your machine with you wherever you go, which means that mere ounces will make a difference. The thinner and lighter the computer, the easier it will be to have it with you whenever idea strikes.
You could carry something like an iPad, but since your main craft is writing, the keyboard isn’t an optional feature. This means that you’ll want a laptop, or something like a Chromebook, with the keyboard built in. This way you don’t have to pony up any extra cash for a detachable keyboard.
The other first thing on your mind is probably battery life. Don’t be that person desperately searching for an outlet while your ideas and flow slip away. The best laptop for writers can offer you hours upon hours of writing time.
Anything less than 6 hours isn’t going to give you a full day writing, so if you want to keep on being a hobby writer, then it won’t matter what the battery life is like. However, if you plan to take your career seriously, look for battery life that will last you through the full work day.
The other thing to consider with battery life is what kind of display you need. Battery estimations are based on using Wi-Fi and dimming the screen as much as possible, which should be fine if you work only with basic text.
If you work a lot with graphics and need the screen bright as possible, you are going to lose some of your battery life. Go with a laptop with a longer estimation and plan to lose some time if this is the case. Buying a laptop with 6 hours of battery life on Wi-Fi and dimmed is going to be a huge disappointment if you can’t keep the same conditions.
Ideally, writers are going to need a lot of storage. However, unlike gaming or other pursuits, exactly where you have the storage isn’t something vitally important.
Now that we have access to cloud storage, through something like Google, OneDrive, or iCloud, it isn’t so important to have huge amounts of storage directly on your laptop. As long as you plan to have access to the internet, cloud storage should be just fine.
If you are the type of writer that needs to get away, and may have spotty internet access, then cloud storage isn’t going to work. You’ll need to look for higher storage capacity directly on your machine.
Some good news is that solid state drives (SSD) are becoming less expensive in newer model laptops. This means faster boot times, quieter machines, and lighter weights over all. And if you want the best laptop for writers then you’ll need an SSD.
Before you buy the best resolution out there, think about what kind of activities you do with your writing. Are you writing a long form novel that requires pages and pages of only text, or do your projects require heavy use of media?
If you work only with text, then screen resolution isn’t so important. You can adjust the size of the text and write just fine. However, if you work with a lot of graphics in your writing, then simply adjusting sizes won’t work. You’ll have to pay more attention to what happens on your screen.
5 Best laptops for Writers
Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for, here’s a list of the best laptops for writers in each price range to help you narrow down your search and get back to writing.
Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ
The first option is the Acer Chromebook CB3-131-C3SZ. If you just need a laptop to get by, this is about the cheapest option there is. Anything cheaper is going to be noticeably worse, so if your other option is a pencil, this is the one.
It features a Celeron N2840 processor, which isn’t great. The ram is a measly 2GB as well, with a 16 GB SSD. All this means that you won’t be able to store movies or photos on the laptop, which might be a good thing since you want to stay productive. The display isn’t bad, at 11.6” IPS 1366×768. It doesn’t have Windows or Mac OS software, but if you need a basic laptop to hammer out a novel, there’s no reason this wouldn’t work.
The best feature of this Chromebook is the battery life, almost 10 hours on wifi, which should buy you plenty of time at your coffee shop before you have to go running for an outlet.
The next choice is the Toshiba Chromebook. Compared to the Acer, this Chromebook version has a significantly better display at 13.3” IPS 1920×1080. This is going to give you higher resolution, better brightness, and overall better contrast. If your work includes basic pictures or media of any sort, but you still need a cheap laptop, you’re better off with this option.
The downside is that brighter screen results in a shorter battery life, though it’s above average at 7 hours and 30 minutes with normal use.
The storage is better, too. It has double the RAM (4GB), but still a 16 GB SSD and the same processor (Celeron N2840). If storage is the only thing holding you back, then cloud storage, such as Google Drive, is always an option.
Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575G-53VG)
If you have a little more in your budget, moving up to an official laptop might be worth it. The Acer Aspire E 15 is a great budget option if you need a Windows laptop. It’s currently a best seller because it’s extremely well balanced considering the price tag.
The laptop is a bit larger (15.6 inches) and it features average performance with 940 MX 2GB, and double the ram of the Toshiba at 8GB. It has an SSD with 250 GB, and a dedicated graphics card for some light gaming. It can’t do much more than that, but you’re writing not gaming, remember?
The display is decent and slightly larger at 15.6” 1920×1080. It also features a backlit keyboard if you plan to write in low light. The best part is the battery life at up to 9 hours with Wi-Fi.
Asus Zenbook UX360CA
The Asus Zenbook is a light and small touchscreen laptop with great resolution at 13.3 IPS 1920×1080. It has above average brightness and very good contrast and color coverage, so if you work a lot with graphics in your writing, this is a good option.
The battery run time is slightly above average, but it should give you about 6 and a half hours with Wi-Fi. Just make sure you dim the screen when you’re running on battery.
It offers 8GB of Ram and a spacious 500 GB SSD. If your writing process is delicate, and you are distracted by the smallest things, you’ll be happy to know that this laptop is fanless like the Chromebooks. You’ll have complete silence, at least from the computer, while you are finishing your work.
Apple MacBook Air MMGG2LL/A
The final option is the Apple Macbook Air. It features a decent Core i5 and 8GB of RAM with a good 250 GB SSD. The resolution is good at 13.3” IPS 1440×900, but if you need to deal with a lot of graphics, a higher resolution would be better.
It’s light and portable, and also fanless, which will keep things quiet. The keyboard is backlit. The highlight, though, is the battery, coming in at a whopping 10 hours when writing on Wi-Fi as long as the screen is dimmed.
Ultimately, what laptop you need will depend a lot on your personal preferences for where you do most of you writing, and what kind of writing you’ll be doing. For some a “bread and butter” laptop will suffice for writing projects and will come with a kinder, gentler price tag. For other features, you can upgrade all you want to fit your wallet and your writing style. The best writers laptops answer will depend on you.
Don’t forget to share the article with your fellow writers and bloggers if you find it helpful, and let us know if you have questions!
2 thoughts on “BEST Laptop for Writers: 5 picks for 2016”
Can I use Scrivner and Final Draft on a Chrome Book?
For the most part – no. You could use Scrivner on a Chromebook, though it requires some technical knowledge. Though there are a few of other options for writing on a Chromebook. For example, WriterDuet.