The earliest writers did not need anything more than a sharp stick and a cave wall. Then came the pen, which was truly mightier than the sword. Typewriters made writers work easier to produce and reproduce. In the new millennium, writers have even more tools at their disposal.
Indeed, the meaning of “tablet” for writers has changed over the centuries. But the work remains the same. Luckily, the writer’s life has been made easier by new technology.
Which means there are a lot more factors to consider when choosing the laptop on which you will write your masterpiece or just some quick content to pay the bills. The laptops out there make it possible to write and be creative in almost any circumstance, without worry.
This article will cover what to consider when making such an important decision and what to look for so your computer can cater to all your creative needs and more. So you can focus on the actual writing!
There are some essential factors that make up the genetics of your laptop that may seem complicated but are quite simple. Here is a break down of these factors and the best laptops for those features:
The first thing to consider is the operating system. The options available to you depend on the system you choose. If you choose a Mac, then your options will be much more limited.
PCs generally run on the Windows operating system, produced by Microsoft, although in some cases they use Chrome, which is a Google-produced Operating System.
Selecting a PC will give you access to a wider range of brands, styles and features. However some users swear by the user-friendliness of Mac processing and other features Apple has to offer. You may have difficulty running some programs or apps you might want may not be available on one or the other system.
It’s up to you, so take the time to research the operating system before going any further.
Don’t Forget Your Memory
Fast processing power is essential on any computer and processing power is determined by the storage capacity and what kind of drive is inside.
Writers will not need the processing power of a graphics designer or effects guru, so a 8GB memory is more than enough in 2020. Some laptops only have 4 GB and will serve your basic needs. This kind of memory is typically referred to as RAM (random access memory).
Internally you will want an SSD (Solid State Drive), as opposed to HDD (Hard Disk Drive) drive. HDDs use a spinning disk, which puts your data at risk. SSDs are much better suited to a writer’s lifestyle, since they are designed to withstand more movement, like, for example,when you are trying to finish that deadline on the turbulent plane ride home.
The amount of RAM is a flexible option and will affect pricing.
Long Live The Battery
Probably the most important factor for writers, because you never know when inspiration will hit or how long you will be typing away when it does!
Where writers find that inspiration also counts. Nature or the seaside may not provide outlets, or the coffee shop might be full that day, so you don’t want to be dependent on power.
Of course, again, writers drain power a lot slower than a graphics designer, depending on what program you are running. So you are more likely to get a longer battery life from your laptop as a writer. Time to take a more specific look at laptops with great battery power.
- Dell Latitude 7400 is the winner with over 17 hours of battery life! Almost any Dell Latitude falls in the top 10.
- In the portable category, the HP Spectre x360 is on almost every Top 5 list for battery life.
- The MacBook Pro 16 is Apple’s best option for long battery life.
- A worthy alternative is the Lenovo IdeaPad, an almost universally loved-by-writers model. The Lenovo Chromebook can also be found on a number of Top 5 battery life lists.
- Don’t count out the Asus Expert or Samsung Galaxy models. LG is also a reliable provider of energy, along with Acer notebooks and laptops.
Tapping The Keyboard
Arguably a more important feature than battery life! Keyboards are getting more and more sophisticated and technologically advanced every day.
First consider the simple pleasures. The sound of the typing. Does the keyboard light up so you can write by moonlight late into the night? Do you want an ergonomic design to take some of the pressure from your wrists and avoid early onset arthritis?
Decide for yourself what is important since none of these will have all of the features. All kinds of new features await you too, like integrated web function keys and multicoloured backlighting. You can even get a touch screen keyboard if that’s your bag, baby.
- Lenovo makes keyboards as well as laptops so if the keyboard is the most important factor for you, Lenovo is a brand worth checking out first.
- The Apple Macbook also has a keyboard which is writer-friendly .
- HP’s best keyboards are on the aforementioned Spector 360 or the Envy model.
- The Google PixelBook has a cool, unique feature called a Hush keyboard and may also suit your other needs well. It runs on the Chrome OS.
- Writers also suggest the Chromebook Flip c434 or Asus Zenbook, not just for the typing functions but a number of other features which will be noted later in this article.
Weighing The Portability
The last essential factor for a writer to consider when purchasing the perfect laptop is portability. A writer who wants to go places will need to take their laptop with them. Everything from screen size to battery life to keyboard shape have an influence on the portability of your laptop.
As a writer you may feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders so you don’t want a heavy laptop weighing on your shoulders too. There are many choices for lightweight and portable laptops on the market.
- Coming in ahead of the pack are the Acer Swift in the PC department and Macbook Air on the MAC side.
- Also worth considering are the Asus Zenbook, Dell Xbook, and HP Elite or Spectre.
- The Lenovo IdeaPad is a budget lightweight option and the Galaxy Book S suits portability needs nicely but keep in mind the screen is not 4K. An affordable edition of the IdeaPad is the Thinkpad E15 model.
- If portability is number one on your list of factors, you may want to consider an Ultrabook, which is not technically a laptop but performs most of the necessary functions. Try the Chromebook Flip C434 from Asus, a great value for the money.
- You can look up the weight in specifications during the research phase of purchasing.
Programming Your Laptop
Not like programming as in writing code, but as in choosing what programs you want handy on your laptop, since these will affect pricing, too.
Some laptops have programs already installed, like Microsoft Office, or you can add them on for a mildly higher price tag. Keep in mind Mac computers may not run some programs you want. But most programs, from Office to Final Draft, are available in both PC and Mac versions.
Recommended Software for Writers
For novelists, Scrivener or Ulysses are recommended.
Final Draft is the industry standard for screenwriters, playwrights and – surprise – comic book writers! But it’s not the only software. There’s also Movie Magic Screenwriting, Celtx and Fade In. For remote collaboration, try WriterDuet.
For content writers, Microsoft Word is standard and you can also use Google Docs. StoryBase can help with optimized content and MarketMuse assists with research and creates content briefs to help with keywords and search terms.
Research what programs are recommended for your vocation and then here’s a Pro Tip: Factor the additional cost of the programs into your budget when adding up the final costs, including essential accessories, which will be mentioned later in this article.
All Things Considered
That wraps up the essential influencing factors. Up next, a look at other options that can make your writing life more comfortable and worry-free.
Let There Be Lighting
Everything lights up these days! Screen brightness is important. It can tire your battery and your eyes if not calibrated correctly.
Also, keyboard lighting has become much more sophisticated! There are light sensors built into some models. You can choose an LED backlit version. There’s even anti-glare options.
The Dell XPS 13 has a cool feature where it adjusts to the surroundings based on the intensity of already available ambient light.
Screen Size Matters
A lot of writers forget to think about screen size, imagining that it’s just words they are working with. But screen size plays a big part in the laptops functioning.
It affects weight and portability. It affects price. And don’t just consider size, also pay attention to the resolution.
Things to think about include eye care and not having to squint so much. If you are researching for articles on the internet, screen size affects tab visibility. Then there are graphics and logical display size to consider. Research these factors further before making your decision.
A short list of laptops with screen considerations applicable to writers include the Microsoft Surface, which also sports one of those cool ambient light sensors.
The Asus Chromebook Flip, previously mentioned as lightweight and portable, offers a bigger screen and stylus interactivity. The Lenovo IdeaPad comes with the anti-glare feature for it’s 15-inch screen, which is a big plus for writing outside on a beautiful, inspiring sunny day.
A Touching Screen
Along the lines of screen size, many laptops and laptop variations like ultrabooks and tablets, come with a touch screen. Some writers find it beneficial, others consider it blasphemy.
As with most features, a touch screen “writing pad” is a personal choice that may or may not work for you. There are pros and cons. Pros include greater portability; Cons include a potentially dirty screen.
If you do want to give touch screen writing a go, a recommended laptop is the Dell Inspiron 13 5358, an affordably priced machine with optional touch screen that is reported to work quite smoothly. This way, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to use it.
As a writer, you are probably thinking, “what do I have to care about graphics? I don’t write with pictures.” Just because you’re not using photoshop doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
For example, if the laptop comes installed with a graphics card that is more than a writer needs, it could unnecessarily drain your battery and cut your writing time.
On the other hand, it does affect the quality of the image on the screen, which can reduce eye strain from long periods of inspiration.
Don’t fully ignore your graphics card as a specification. It could save you money and time.
Speaking Of Speaking…
Audio is another component worth considering. Both recording and playback.
Specifically, recording. Writers have different ways of working. Some sit, some pace. Some type, some talk.
You can consider a speech recognition program. Or speech to text. Or dictation. Some models have good programs already running on them.
So you will want a good internal microphone as well as decent internal speakers for playback and music.
The Price Is Right
Before the short list of best laptops for writers arrives, in conclusion the important thing is not to skimp on your equipment. Saving in the short run will hurt you in the long run.
There are affordable options up and down the scale. Luckily, many laptops often land on both cheapest and best laptop for writers lists. There are ways to save, like considering memory and screen size and graphics cards, as mentioned earlier.
What follows is our list of the Top 5 best laptops for writers, and in which areas each model excels. While somewhat unscientific, the list is a combination of how many times the laptop is mentioned in this article and research conducted from examining recent articles.
A list of the “Best laptops for writers on a budget” will follow the Top 5 best in any price range.
Top 5 Best Laptops for Writers
HP Spectre x360
The HP Spectre x360 excels in a few areas and in those areas, it extra excels! It has long battery life, a comfortable keyboard and portability, three of the most crucial features for a writer. The Spectre x360 retails for around $1400.
Asus Chromebook Flip C434
The Chromebook flip is an almost universal choice for most best laptop for writers lists. It excels in the area of keyboard and portability while offering a bigger screen size and touch screen option. Plus it is affordably priced, coming in at under $500 USD. Worth mentioning is that as suggested by the name, it uses Chrome as its OS.
Also universally adored on best laptop for writers lists, the IdeaPad excels in portability, keyboard and battery life. It also has the anti-glare feature. The IdeaPad is loaded but on the pricier side, coming in at over $1500 USD.
Apple Macbook Pro 16
There has to be a Mac on the list and the Macbook Pro is the one. It’s a premium pricer but worth it if you are a Mac loyalist. The Pro 16 features long battery life and a writer-friendly keyboard. And it’s pretty portable.
The ZenBook excels in a number of areas including a touch screen feature that allows you to hand write your content! Or if you prefer typing, it features a dynamic keyboard in a light as air package. It’s a little expensive but versatile, also available as a 2-in-1 flip version.
Budget Laptops for Writers
Lenovo ThinkPad E15
The ThinkPad is the budget version of the IdeaPad and a great entrance point into Lenovo products. It features an exceptional keyboard and as mentioned earlier, portability. You can find it for less than $800 USD.
The budget version of Macbook Pro. Lightweight, accessible and fulfilling most of a writers basic needs, it’s a good alternative for Mac lovers with a lighter wallet. It’s been a leader in the market for many years.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The first Microsoft product to appear on the list. As noted earlier, this laptop has the ambient light feature. Technically, it’s a tablet but it has a keyboard. Go with a 4 GB version to save even more money.
Lenovo Chromebook c330
A more affordable Chromebook, if the c434 is still a little out of your price range. It’s got low specs but runs Chrome OS, conserving processing power, and it boasts fantastic battery life. Most of the quality functions you will find on a pricier Lenovo function just as well on this tiny gem.
Acer Chromebook – As mentioned in battery life, Acer is a solid brand name when it comes to laptops for writers. An Acer Chromebook will offer you most of the Acer quality functions without breaking your bank. It costs under $300.
Adding The Accessories
No laptop has everything! Here are some accessories you may or may not want to compute into your budget.
Headphones because if you’re going to consider portability, you’ll want to be able to listen wherever you go, no matter how public. Plus, it’s an easy way to improve audio quality for music listening and focus when playing back ideas.
An external hard drive is essential so you can back up your brilliant content for eternity and conserve processing power without stuffing the internal drive with files.
Of course, a carrying case!
You can also purchase a wireless mouse or keyboard to give you even more freedom.
And you’ll want to keep your laptop preserved and healthy as long as possible no matter the cost so invest in a screen cleaner and a keyboard cleaning kit and commit to a regular dustoff.
Wrapping It Up
Don’t consider this article the final word. It’s a jumping off point. Be careful in your research so you don’t end up with a case of buyer’s remorse. That’s not inspiring. As a writer, your laptop will be an extension of your voice, so choose loud and choose proud! Good luck!
- MacBook Air (M1, 2020) The best laptop for writers overall. ...
- Acer Chromebook 314. The best budget laptop for writers. ...
- Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio. ...
- Acer Aspire 5. ...
- Huawei MateBook 14s. ...
- Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook. ...
- HP Chromebook 14. ...
- LG Gram 17 (2021)
A laptop for writers needs to have certain features to be good for most writers. It needs a backlit keyboard, a comfortable trackpad, a responsive processor, and preferably a matte display. A gaming laptop might not seem like the obvious choice, but the Lenovo Legion 5 Laptop has all of those features and more!How much RAM does a writer need? ›
If you are only using Microsoft Word now and then, you may not need to have much more than 8 GB of RAM. However, if you like to browse the web and watch high quality videos, powerful art or music software, etc., you want at least 16GB of RAM.What is the best device to use to write a book? ›
After spending weeks testing the top models on the market, we believe that the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is the best tablet for writers available on the market in 2021.What laptop does JK Rowling use? ›
Since finishing the Harry Potter novels, Rowling has gone on record saying she now uses a MacBook Air to write.Is it better to write in a book or laptop? ›
One good rule of thumb is to write shorter pieces (short stories, poems, essays etc) using pen and paper and longer pieces (novels, autobiographies, courses) on the computer. Fact: Many poets still write on paper. The older generation still writes on paper. Paper is not a thing to be ridiculed as a medium of writing.Is Mac or PC better for writers? ›
As a writer, you must decide what is most important to you on a computer. If you value things like affordability and more options for hardware upgrades, then a PC might be the best choice. However, if you prioritize user-friendliness and built-in writing software, a Mac could be better suited for your needs.What is the best laptop for writing and drawing? ›
- Surface Pro 8. The best laptop for drawing overall. ...
- Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook. The best budget laptop for drawing. ...
- Microsoft Laptop Studio. ...
- Asus ZenBook Pro 14 Duo UX482E. ...
- Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2021) ...
- Acer Spin 5 (2020) ...
- HP Spectre x360 (2021) ...
- Lenovo Yoga 9i.
Key takeaway: Opt for 8GB of RAM if you want decent performance on less demanding titles, but go for 16GB if you want to play the latest and most resource intensive hits. If you want to do things like stream to Twitch, we'd recommend opting for the 32GB options offered on many gaming PCs.Is it better to have more RAM or storage? ›
More RAM will make it easier for your computer to perform multiple tasks at once, while upgrading your storage will improve battery life, make it faster to open applications and files, and give you more space for photos and applications.
For those who want to push the boundaries of a PC's capabilities and run several large programs at once, 12GB RAM laptops, 16GB RAM laptops, 32GB RAM laptops, or even 64GB are considerable options. If you're an average PC user outside of heavy data processing, you probably won't need more than 8 to 12GB of laptop RAM.Is it better to write a book on a computer or on paper? ›
Writing on a computer has obvious advantages when it comes to rewriting and editing. Writing on paper (either with a typewriter or pen and paper) is, for the majority of people, a slower process. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, and some people like the slow and methodical art of writing this way.Which platform is best for writers? ›
- Write Access.
- Fiverr – Best Content Writing Platforms.
- Media Shower – Best Content Writing Platforms.
- Constant Content.
- Italics – Best Content Writing Platforms.
- Textbroker – Best Content Writing Platforms.
- Free Writing Software. Zoho Writer. LibreOffice. Google Docs. FocusWriter. Evernote.
- Paid Writing Software. NovelPad. Ulysses. Hemmingway App. Scrivener. FastPencil. Microsoft Word. Grammarly. Freedom. ProWritingAid. FocusWriter.
Its 15 inch macbook pro.What laptop do Navy Seals use? ›
The Black Hawk Toughbook by Panasonic. Black Hawk Toughbooks used by U.S. Navy SEAL and OED Teams.Do most authors use Microsoft Word? ›
Today, even though there are many other word processors out there, Word is still the most widely used book writing software in the U.S. Millions of people continue to use it for their writing needs. And it's easy to see why. Word has a lot going for it!How many hours a day do professional authors write? ›
“…about 2,500 words a day, writing at around 500 words an hour. My production is more about being consistent than about being fast. I do tend to write around ten hours a day.”What application does Stephen King use to write? ›
Interesting fact: Stephen King uses MS Word writing software to draft his book manuscripts. He uses Final Draft to write screenplays. How much does MS Word cost? Microsoft Word costs $139.99 as a one-time purchase.What should every writer own? ›
- An Ergonomic Chair. Ergonomic chair. ...
- Comfortable Desk Space. Office Desk. ...
- A Notepad/Planner. The Happiness Planner. ...
- An Ergonomic Mouse. Ergonomic mouse. ...
- A Hard Drive for Storage. 1TB Hard Drive. ...
- A Good Pen. Parker Ballpoint Pen. ...
- A Paper Shredder. Paper Shredder. ...
- A Keyboard Cover. Keyboard Cover.
While using a personal computer or tablet is the preferred method of writing for most professional writers, many novelists choose to handwrite at different creative stages of the creative writing process.Are Chromebooks good for writers? ›
Are Chromebooks good for writers? Absolutely. Chromebooks are light and allow easy access to numerous writing applications, making them shine as laptops for writing. They also tend to wake up fast and generally feature long-lasting batteries that will allow you to write all day before needing a recharge.Are notebooks more powerful than laptops? ›
Since laptops tend to range higher in price, the integrated features have a higher ceiling and higher performance power. Standard notebooks generally keep features minimalist, giving users enough processing power to complete all of their personal computing tasks without any hassle or extra fancy tech.Why do designers use Mac instead of Windows? ›
The Mac has a history dating back to the 80's where it classically performed as the better design tool. It has been known to render fonts better. It's had a superior user experience for years. And finally, it's consistent, well-made, and good looking.Why do designers prefer Mac over PC? ›
As a graphic designer there are plenty of reasons to pick either a Mac computer or a PC. However a large majority of graphic designers choose Mac over PC because it is widely used across the industry, it's simple operating system, and the amazing build quality Apple produces.Which Mac is best for writers? ›
- Best performance: MacBook Pro (M2, 2022) ...
- Best value: MacBook Air (M1, 2020) ...
- Best alternative: 13-inch MacBook Pro M1 (2020) ...
- Best premium: 16-inch MacBook Pro (2021) ...
- Best desktop: iMac 24-inch (2021)
For writers, the iPad does offer every bit of this content consumption, and it offers it extremely well. But every iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro is also a writing studio that is about as light and convenient as you could imagine, and at least as powerful as you could hope.How much RAM do I need for drawing? ›
Memory-wise, although you can draw using only 4 GB memory, we recommend going with 8 GB or more if you want to get the most out of your new device. Many recommend Mac computers for drawing, but you can absolutely draw without any problems on a Windows computer or on a laptop.What laptop do illustrators use? ›
Best Laptop For Illustrators Apple - MacBook Pro 14-Inch (2021) MacBooks have long been the favourites for graphic designers and illustrators, and the MacBook Pro 14-Inch (2021) is the latest and greatest iteration of Apple's all-conquering ultrabook.Can you tell the difference between 8GB and 16GB RAM? ›
8GB vs 16GB RAM: Key Differences
It's mostly similarities between the two options. There aren't really any pros and cons. Anyone would just rather have more RAM if you had the choice between the two. Although, It's not really that necessary unless you play video games or run a bunch of programs at the same time.
Frequent User: (8GB)
If you are using a computer or laptop for all these things, 4GB to 8GB RAM is enough for you. The majority of the devices are equipped with 4GB RAM. However, if you want better performance, you can upgrade your RAM to 8GB. It will be enough for basic gaming as well.
8 GB is plenty much space for current applications and programs. It's ideal for high-end multimedia businesses. Likewise, 16 GB gives you a lot of comfortable space for future applications. Anything above that is probably overkilled unless you have specific uses for it, depending on your business's industry.What makes a laptop run faster? ›
Cleaning your disk, uninstalling unused programs, preventing programs from starting automatically, deleting temporary files, installing a solid state drive, adding an external drive, adding more RAM, defragging the hard drive, and removing dust.Do you need more than 64gb RAM? ›
Is 64/128 GB of RAM Overkill? For the majority of users, it is. If you plan on building a PC purely for gaming and some general, basic, everyday activity, 64 GB of RAM is just too much. The amount of RAM you need will ultimately depend on your workload.Which is better increasing RAM or SSD? ›
As our test results show, installing a SSD and the maximum RAM will considerably speed up even an ageing notebook: the SSD provides a substantial performance boost, and adding RAM will get the most out of the system.Should I get 64 GB or 256GB? ›
If you're a regular cloud services user, 64GB of local space should be just fine for your daily needs. If you plan to travel or otherwise be offline, consider 128GB or 256GB.What is better 256GB or 64 GB? ›
64GB: enough for basic use. 128GB: enough for the average user. 256GB: store photos, videos, series, and music offline. 512GB: store your entire photo, video, and movie collection.What is the best amount of GB for a laptop? ›
A minimum of 2 gigabytes (GB) is required for basic computing, and 12GB or more is recommended if you're into graphics and advanced photo or video editing. Most laptops have 4GB–12GB pre-installed, and some have up to 64GB. If you think you might need more memory later, choose a model that lets you expand the RAM.Should you edit your book as you write? ›
This week Thought Catalog repeated this dogma in a piece called “The Big Mistake Every Beginning Writer Makes.” “Never edit as you write” is the most important rule, the author Michael Malice says. “Editing should be done…not in chunks, but from start to end. No one has a good first draft, let alone a great one.Does Stephen King write by hand? ›
Stephen King has been known to work in longhand often and wrote his novel Dreamcatcher completely in longhand while he was recuperating after a 1999 car accident. In an interview with Bryant Gumbel, King explained writing in longhand brought the “act of writing back to its very basic level.”
Writing a novel is definitely worth it. You'll have the satisfaction of knowing you've created something entirely new, not just rewritten what other people have done. You'll be able to share your story with readers all across the world (if you're at all famous) and earn from it.What software do most authors use? ›
- Scrivener. Scrivener is the ultimate book-organization tool. ...
- Google Docs. Google Docs is a great collaborative tool. ...
- Freedom. ...
- ProWritingAid. ...
- Grammarly. ...
- Novel Factory. ...
- Hemingway Editor. ...
I use Scrivener and OmniOutliner to plan and write my novels. I loathe Microsoft Word. What tools do you use?Which Microsoft is best for writing a book? ›
Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word happens to be the most used and popular word processor. You can use it as your book writing app as it offers you everything you need to write an amazing book. It is a simple, popular, and feature-rich word processor that comes as a default writing tool in Microsoft Windows.What laptop does Stephen King use? ›
Stephen King—The Shining
He states that the key to writing is to do it relentlessly, every day, no matter what. Those are powerful words coming from someone who survived being hit by a car. King uses an iMac or a MacBook Pro to write his novels, including the upcoming Mr.
Q #2) Which writing software does Stephen King Use? Answer: As mentioned on his website, he uses MS Word for books and the final draft for screenplays.Is there a device just for writing? ›
The Freewrite tool is a smart typewriter with the speed of typing and the convenience of seamless backups. This distraction-free writing device takes away all the clutter of a computer – including extra keys like “alt” – and replaces it with a simple typing system.What word processor do most authors use? ›
If there was a popularity test for word processing tools, Scrivener would be a major contender. It's a top tool for all types of writing, from novels to screenplays to memoirs and much more. If you're looking to organize your writing, research, notes, thoughts, and all in one central place, Scrivener delivers.Is a Chromebook good for a writer? ›
Are Chromebooks good for writers? Absolutely. Chromebooks are light and allow easy access to numerous writing applications, making them shine as laptops for writing. They also tend to wake up fast and generally feature long-lasting batteries that will allow you to write all day before needing a recharge.What size font do most authors use? ›
For most books, a font size between 10 and 12 is generally used for fiction and non-fiction printed books. Basic recommendations for font selection: Fiction, memoirs, and (auto)biographies: A classic serif font that is easy to read is the safest choice.
- Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word is one of the oldest word processors out there, and it is still widely used for writing books. ...
- Scrivener. Scrivener is an advanced writing software created with serious novelists and nonfiction writers in mind. ...
- Ulysses. ...
- Google Docs. ...
- Grammarly. ...
- Dramatica. ...