A good laptop for writing is key to the word weaving work of writers. While most may think a pen and paper will do, the reality is that modern writers have a particular set of needs that need to be met to bring words to life.
Whether you are a budding scribe or seasoned journalist, a laptop with a smooth, responsive keyboard, plenty of battery life, and a form factor suitable for home and outdoor use is crucial. To that end, we gathered together recommendations for the best laptops for writers currently out there.
Trawling for laptops for writers is different from hunting down, say, a gaming laptop. The list of criteria steers far more to the practical than simply searching for the most decked-out option.
We relied particularly on more tangible factors such as construction, design, battery life, and keyboard quality and feel. We also factored in hardware specifications, price, and operating system. Screen size and the quality of the display also played a big part – laptops with bright screens, equally suitable for indoor and outdoor use, that don’t strain the eyes scored extra points.
In the end, we narrowed our search down to the five laptops that, in our estimation, are great options for writers looking to upgrade their primary writing tool. We’ve included both Chrome OS and Windows options, as well as a variety of sizes and price points. Read on to find a review of each alongside quick pros and cons. Let’s get into it.
Best Laptop For Writers in 2021
12 hour battery life
Silent, comfortable, and responsive ‘Hush’ keys
Good hardware at this price point
Top-end construction and sleek design
Cost can rise fast for the highest spec model
The Google Pixelbook Go is an ultra-compact, ultra-lightweight 13 mm thin, 2.3 lb Chromebook that should suit writers already loyal to Google’s suite of applications as well as those that want a stylish and portable workhorse laptop at a very reasonable price point.
The Google Pixelbook Go hides ample power under its sleek, refined, finely painted magnesium outer shell and sturdy construction. There’s plenty of scope for customization here with CPU options ranging from an Intel Core m3 to a Core i7, RAM up to 16 GB, SSD storage up to 256 GB, a high-quality 1080p webcam, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an extra-large etched glass trackpad, and a beautiful 13.3-inch LCD touch screen display – there’s even a high-end model that features a 4K Ultra HD Molecular Display. However, you’ll pay considerably more for the pleasure.
The full-size backlit keyboard marries both silent operation with satisfying bounce back and tactile feel thanks to Google’s proprietary ‘Hush’ keys. Typing away for extended periods is a genuine pleasure, and those looking for an excellent keyboard at a reasonable price should strongly consider the Google Pixelbook Go.
Battery life is another draw of the Google Pixelbook Go. A single charge delivers an astounding 12 hours of power, and through quick charging, the laptop can scoop up two hours of battery life for 20 minutes of charging.
If you don’t mind Chrome OS’s limitations and prize typing comfort above anything else, then the Google Pixelbook Go comes highly recommended.
Beautiful 4K UHD touch screen
Great specifications and performance
12 to 17-hour battery life
Sturdy construction and sharp looks
Alongside portability, flexibility is a top requirement for writers hunting down their next laptop. In that sense, the HP Spectre x360 is a strong contender for the best laptop for writers and, without a doubt, the best 2-in-1 laptop for wordsmiths. With, as the name suggests, a well-designed 360-degree hinge, the HP Spectre x360 converts from laptop to tablet mode smoothly and quickly, adapting to any situation with ease.
Constructed from a single sheet of precision CNC machined aluminum, the HP Spectre x360’s build quality is nothing short of incredible, lightweight, compact, and looks sharp with a nightfall black and copper-accented color scheme (others are available from Poseidon blue to natural silver).
The HP Spectre x360 is available in a variety of configurations. For a balance between good performance and price point, we favor the one that features an Intel Core i7-10510U, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB SSD, NVIDIA GeForce MX330 GPU, Wi-Fi 6, Bang & Olufsen audio, and a bunch of useful I/O ports.
The keyboard is also worth mentioning, with on-point spacing between the well-sized backlit keys and a perfectly tuned feel with just the right amount of force and tactile feedback. This is one you’ll easily spend hours using without discomfort or strain. With writing in mind, we are also impressed by the beautiful, near-borderless, anti-reflective 15-inch 4K UHD IPS touch screen that produces vivid colors, deep blacks, and plenty of brightness even in outdoor settings.
Battery life sits at an outrageous 17 hours, according to HP’s marketing. In reality, mileage varies considerably based on usage and configuration. Straight writing in a word processor without any other apps loaded, browser tabs open, or Wi-Fi connection on the lowest-specced entry-level model edges close to 17 hours, but anything more, and it drops accordingly. Our configuration of choice pushes around 12 hours per full charge.
While there’s plenty great about the HP Spectre x360, the price leans towards the expensive, especially for the higher-end configurations.
Beautiful construction and design
Gorgeous 4K UHD+ display
On the heavy side
Another top contender for the best laptop for writers is the beautifully constructed and designed Dell XPS 15 with a premium CNC machined aluminum chassis that oozes elegance. It’s one for those that want to write in style with plenty of juice under the hood.
Numerous configurations are possible. We particularly liked the Intel Core i7-10750H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 TI, 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, 1 TB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and 86 WHr battery version. That’s because the desktop-class hardware and performance make it a viable substitute/replacement for a full desktop PC, expanding functionality to modest gaming and creative tasks. It comes at a price, it has to be said, but every dollar is well spent in our opinion.
The Dell XPS 15 sports a fantastic backlit keyboard with large, generously-spaced keycaps with 1.3 mm travel and responsive tactile feedback. Coupled with this quality keyboard are a spacious trackpad and soft-touch carbon fiber palm rest. Combined, all these features deliver a premium typing and user experience.
Another feature worth mentioning is the gorgeous 15.6-inch 4K UHD+ display. With its 500-nit brightness, anti-reflective coating, HDR and Dolby Vision support, tiny InfinityEdge bezels, and 92.9% screen-to-body ratio, the Dell XPS 15 easily offers one of the best laptop displays around. Colors are sharp and vivid, blacks are convincingly dark, and the detail is, frankly, terrific.
Compared to other laptops in its class, the Dell XPS 15 is a little on the heavy side but still incredibly portable. Battery life isn’t the best out there, chiefly due to the high-specifications, but you’ll easily get 8 to 10 hours of regular use per charge. Similarly, the 720p webcam is a little lackluster, although plenty suitable for Zoom calls and the like.
Solid battery life
Top-notch keyboard experience
I/O offering a little thin
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 successfully combines a sleek, slim form factor with excellent specifications, all while offering solid battery life and rugged, long-lasting construction at a price well below rival machines.
Under the hood, Microsoft has a few different configurations that differ mainly on what CPU, RAM count, and SSD size you opt for. Aiming for value, we’d recommend the Intel Core i5-1035G7, 8GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD, and Intel Iris Plus Graphics configuration as it keeps the price below $1000.
The keyboard is unquestionably a highlight. Despite the 13-inch build, the key spacing is generous with just the right amount of key travel and tactile feedback. For us, there’s nothing Microsoft could have done to improve the typing experience – it’s one the best out there regardless of price. There are options too: either a cloth-like Alcantara or aluminum keyboard deck, available depending on the color scheme you opt for.
Battery life is solid, pushing somewhere between 8 and 10 hours under typical loads. The I/O offering is a little lacking, in our opinion, with just one USB-C, one USB-A, an audio jack, and a Surface Connect charging port. There’s no Thunderbolt 3, which feels like a significant omission at this price point.
Compact and portable
Slightly heavy for a small laptop
Lastly, we’ll round off our recommendations for the best laptops for writers with a budget pick – the ASUS Chromebook Flip. Aside from Google Pixelbook Go, the ASUS Chromebook Flip is one of the best Chromebook options out there. The entry-level model keeps costs down while offering respectable specifications alongside a slim, compact, and comfortable 14-inch form factor.
The construction is sturdy and impressive, if a little heavy, for a highly reasonable price with a precision-engineered hinge that allows the laptop to double as a tablet, 87% screen-to-body ratio with slim 5mm bezels, and stylish all-metal chassis with diamond-cut anodized edges.
The specification, while modest, are more than enough to power everyday use and cover writing tasks in all their forms: Intel Core m3-8100Y, 14-inch FHD display, 4GB of RAM, 64 GB SSD, Wi-Fi 5, HD webcam, Bluetooth 4.0, and decent I/O with two USB 3.1, one USB 3.1 Type-A, microSD card slot, and audio jack.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip’s keyboard is nothing short of exceptional with 1.4 mm key travel, full-size backlit layout, and satisfying tactile feel. Battery life stacks up to respectable 10 hours of use on a full charge.
Things To Consider
Keyboard Quality and Comfort
The keyboard is often a minor consideration for the average user browsing the web and bingeing their favorite shows. But for writers who spend hours bringing their ideas to life through the written word, a comfortable keyboard that delivers satisfying and responsive keypresses makes all the difference.
For laptops, keyboards start at a disadvantage before we’ve even considered tactile feel due to the size limitations inherent with their smaller footprint. Nevertheless, the laptops for writers feature ergonomically designed keys and layouts with the right amount of spacing between keys and tactile feel that reduces finger fatigue but at the same time lets the writer know that each keypress registers correctly.
While the problem can easily be circumvented by plugging in a USB keyboard, especially if you prefer the feel of mechanical switches, this isn’t convenient for those that like to take their writing on the move.
If possible, we suggest trying out a laptop before committing to a purchase to ensure the keyboard fits your typing style and won’t cause strain hours deep into a prolific writing session.
Writers favor laptops because they are the digital equivalent of a notebook or writing pad – portable, easy to pull out on a whim when inspiration strikes even at the most inconvenient of times, and durable, able to withstand trips to the coffee shop, the park, and shared work spaces.
To that end, battery life is, alongside the keyboard, one of the most important factors of a laptop fit for a writer. In general, non-gaming laptops tend to offer respectable battery efficiency with at least six to eight hours between charges on average, while higher-end options top out at 12 hours.
Whether your favorite writing haunts don’t have a power outlet at hand or inspiration comes to you in the great outdoors, the last thing you want is an ominous pop-up warning of an imminent shutdown. We urge you to spend a little more, if your budget allows it, for better battery life – you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
Screen size dictates the size of the laptop and keyboard, so you’ll need to weigh up whether you prefer more on-screen real estate to write and check research materials or a smaller footprint, so the laptop easily slips into a satchel. It’s a balance between efficiency and portability.
As a happy middle ground, we favor 15-inch options: plenty of on-screen space to view all your text, but small enough for easy transport. 13-inch laptops are ultra-compact and lightweight, but if you’re a writer that prefers to see the written page in its entirety rather than a paragraph or two at a time, they may stunt your workflow.
17-inch laptops fit for writing do exist and are great for writers that have a fixed writing spot in a home office and aren’t often on the move, in which case, you may want to consider a desktop PC.
The best operating system comes down to personal preference. Your preferred OS will largely dictate your laptop options.
macOS is smooth, efficient, and incredibly easy to use and navigate with few crashes. Mac laptops offer a premium experience but come at a substantial premium, not necessarily something a struggling, destitute writer can afford.
Chrome OS, Google’s Chrome browser-based OS, primarily operates alongside an internet connection and is an excellent option for those already invested in the Google ecosystem (Google Docs, Gmail, etc.) and have a constant Wi-Fi signal they can rely on. They generally sell for much cheaper than their Mac and Windows counterparts.
Last but not least, we have the most popular – Windows. This one needs no introduction and should be the OS of choice for those that want versatility and the broadest selection of laptops to choose from.
Our top Chrome OS recommendation is the impressive Google Pixelbook Go. Plenty of battery life, genuinely fantastic ‘Hush’ keys and top-notch construction make it a top choice for writers.
For those on the lookout for a versatile 2-in-1 laptop, it’s hard to beat the HP Spectre x360 with its beautiful 4K display, excellent specifications, and a comfy keyboard.
In the 15-inch class, the Dell XPS 15 trumps the competition thanks to its stylish construction, superb display, and quality keyboard, although these benefits come at a premium.
Among 13-inch laptops, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is easily the best option for writers with a solid battery, a slim design, an excellent keyboard, all while keeping costs down. Finally, for those on the budget, the ASUS Chromebook Flip is a low-cost, feature-full option.
With that, we’ll wrap up our recommendations for the best laptops for writers. Feel free to hit us up in the comment section below with any questions or recommendations of your own.