Best Laptops for Writers [2020]

Updated as of

Are you looking for the best laptop for writing? Then you’re in the right place.

There are many factors you’ll need to consider before you make the purchase:

  • Does the keyboard feel great for typing?
  • Is it well designed and easy to bring with you?
  • Is it powerful enough to be reliable and have fast performance?

To help you find laptops that meet these factors, I have compiled a list of seven top-rated laptops ideal for writing. These laptops are hand-picked based on the overall design, hardware, customer reviews, and expert reviews. I will show each of the laptop’s strengths and weaknesses.

Here are the best laptops for writers 2020:


Best Laptop for Writers: Dell XPS 15

Processor:Intel Core i7-9750H
Display:15.6" 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
RAM:16GB
Storage:256GB SSD
GPU:Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650
Battery:~6 hours of battery life
Operating System:Windows 10 Home

If you want a laptop that’s excellent to write on with the latest hardware, few laptops can beat the Dell XPS 15.

This laptop has a premium price, but the excellent form factor and sturdy build quality make up for it. The exterior is made of aluminum and has a keyboard deck made of soft-touch carbon-fiber. It’s not the lightest laptop with a weight of 4.5 pounds (1,6 kg).

With a 1.3mm key travel and snappy feedback, the white backlit keyboard is excellent for writing. Many writers feel this is one of the best laptop keyboards you can get when it comes to average typing speed.

Another advantage that makes the Dell XPS 15 one of the best laptops for writers is the screen. It has a resolution of 4K, vivid colors, and good enough brightness to be used anywhere.

When you power on the laptop, it will start in seconds. It has a fast 256GB solid-state drive, 16GB RAM, and a 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. With specs like these, you can be sure it will handle anything you throw at it. If you open up the laptop, you can easily upgrade the RAM and the SSD.

Another advantage of the Dell XPS is the graphics card, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. This dedicated GPU is ideal for media editing. It can even handle gaming.

The battery life is alright, but there are competitors on this list that will last far longer. Expect around 6 hours of battery life when surfing the web and a bit longer when working on text documents.

Be aware that the laptop comes with some preinstalled bloatware. If you have slower wifi than you usual, it can be a problem with the preinstalled Killer Wifi Suite. McAfee antivirus is another preinstalled program that can cause performance issues.


Summary: The Dell XPS 15 is a high-end laptop with a premium design and one of the best laptop keyboards on the market. It is fast, but it does have some programs you might want to remove for the best possible performance.

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ProsCons
Excellent build qualitySome bloatware to remove
Fantastic 4K screenRuns quite hot
Easy to upgrade storage and memoryAverage speakers


Ideapad s340 laptop

Best Budget Laptop for Writers: Lenovo Ideapad s340

Processor:Intel Core i3-8145U
Display:15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080)
RAM:8GB
Storage:128GB SSD
GPU:Intel UHD 620
Battery:Expect 8 hours of battery life
Operating System:Windows 10 Home

If you want to have the quality of a Lenovo ThinkPad but don’t want to break the bank, then check out the Lenovo Ideapad s340. This laptop is an excellent laptop for students, bloggers, and authors on a tight budget, but there are some things to be aware of.

It’s a light 15.6-inch laptop with a weight of 3.9 pounds (1.8kg). The exterior is made of plastic, and the lid has an aluminum finish. This laptop is durable and made to last.

The biggest downside of the laptop is the display. It covers only 58% of the sRGB gamut, so the colors look washed out. Having accurate colors is not important when writing, but when you’re done working and want to watch a movie, you might notice the dull colors.

Even if the keyboard has similarities to the Lenovo ThinkPad Carbon X1 keyboard, it’s still a significant downgrade. The Lenovo Ideapad s340’s keyboard has no backlight. It also has a cheaper feeling with less feedback than the X1 Carbon. However, don’t let that discourage you; it’s still a great keyboard for writing if you’re on a budget.

The hardware is powerful enough for writing work and everyday use, but on the lower end, if you want to do anything demanding. The Lenovo Ideapad s340 is on the list of the best gaming laptops under $500. However, it can only run non-demanding games on 60 fps.

The battery life is excellent for the price and can handle 8 hours before you need to charge it. It’s also a fast laptop thanks to the 256GB SSD and the 8GB DDR4 RAM.


Summary: If you want something similar to the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 but are on a tight budget, definitely consider the Lenovo Ideapad s340. It’s a good budget laptop with long battery life and fast performance.

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ProsCons
Long battery lifeThe keyboard is not backlit
FastSmall storage
Light and durableDull Screen


Best MacBook for Writers: Macbook Pro 13

Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i5
Display:13.3" Retina Display (2,560 x 1,600)
RAM:8GB
Storage:128GB SSD
GPU:Iris Plus Graphics 645
Battery:~10 hours
Operating System:macOS Mojave

One of the most popular laptops for writers at the moment is the Macbook Pro. The Mac laptop with the most value for the money at the moment is the Macbook Pro 13.

The build quality is excellent, and it has the same high-quality design you’ll find in any Apple product. It’s quite lightweight and weighs 3 pounds (1.36 kg), despite the sturdy metal case. A disadvantage of the Macbook’s design is that there’s no standard USB port. If you, for instance, use a USB mouse, you need to get an adapter.

The keyboard is something people usually love or hate. Some people think it’s the laptop with the best keyboard, but others feel it has too short key travel and compares it to typing on a glass surface. The trackpad works well and responds flawlessly to gestures.

One of the things that make the Macbook Pro stand out is the brilliant 13.3-inch display. The display has a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution, covers 100% of the sRGB spectrum, and has a brightness of 500 nits. This means it has accurate colors, top-notch contrast, and is bright enough to be used anywhere.

The specs are decent for the cost. Inside the Macbook Pro 13, there’s 8GB RAM, an 8th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, and an Iris Plus 645 GPU. You can get better hardware for the price, but with a Mac notebook, you pay extra for the trust and power of being an Apple product.

The operating system macOS X is fast, easy to use, and won’t disturb you when writing. Many writers feel the added productivity of having a Mac is worth the slightly higher cost compared to a Windows laptop. Another advantage of macOS is it’s security features.

The biggest downside of the Macbook Pro 13 is the small storage size. You’ll only get 128GB of storage. Granted, it’s on a fast SSD, but you will most likely have to get an external hard drive or cloud storage if you want to save lots of files.


Summary: If you want to get a MacBook for writing, then the best bang for the buck is the Macbook Pro 13. There are more powerful MacBooks out there, but if you’re mainly using it for writing, it’s the best value Macbook you can get.

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ProsCons
Stunning Retina displayOnly 128GB of storage
Trackpad responds well to gesturesNo USB-A port
Reasonable price for Apple product without sacrificing on performanceKeyboard has short key travel


Best Keyboard: Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon

Processor:Intel Core i5-8250U
Display:14" FHD (1920 x 1080)
RAM:8GB
Storage:256GB SSD
GPU:Intel UHD 620
Battery:Up to 15 hours of battery life
Operating System:Windows 10 Pro

The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is consistently rated as the top choice when it comes to laptop keyboards.

The keys are comfortable and have a deep keypress. The only small downside of the Lenovo ThinkPad’s keyboard is some weird key-placements. The left CTRL-key is not at the leftmost of the keyboard. Instead, you’ll find the FN button there. The cramped placement of page up and page down near the arrow keys are also less than ideal.

The 14-inch display is a matte LED screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. It’s a vibrant screen with good brightness and accurate colors (covers 95.7% of the sRGB spectrum). Below the keyboard, there’s a fingerprint reader that makes it easier to login. Unfortunately, it can be a bit inconsistent.

On the sides of the laptop, you’ll find all the ports you’ll need. There are 3 USB-C ports, 2 USB-A ports, and an HDMI socket. There’s no ethernet port, so you’ll have to use the included adapter if you want to plug in a cable for more stable internet.

The build quality of the Thinkpad X1 is excellent. Even if the design doesn’t stand out, you can feel it’s a premium laptop. The chassis is made of carbon fiber with a soft-touch coating. With a weight of less than 2.5lbs (~1.1kg), its a lightweight 14-inch laptop, perfect for bringing with you.

The hardware of the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon is more than enough to handle writing, everyday browsing, and its even capable of running some more demanding programs like editing software. With an integrated Nvidia Intel UHD 620 GPU, you won’t be able to run many games smoothly. The 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U processor combined with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD makes it fast and reliable.


Summary: If you want the laptop with the best keyboard on the list, then my choice would be the Lenovo Thinkpad X1. It’s powerful enough to run demanding programs such as editing software and has an excellent Full HD screen with vibrant colors.

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ProsCons
Excellent keyboardWierd left CTRL-key placement
Quality screen with good brightness and vivid colorsNeeds included adapter for ethernet cable connection
LightweightInconsistent fingerprint reader


Small and Fast: Asus Zenbook 13

Processor:8th Gen Intel Core i7
Display:13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080)
RAM:16GB
Storage:512GB SSD
GPU:Intel HD Graphics 620
Battery:Expect 9 hours of battery life
Operating System:Windows 10 Pro

Another 13-inch laptop choice for writers is the Asus Zenbook 13. It has a bit more unconventional keyboard design, but once you have gotten used to it, many feel it’s one of the best laptops you can get for writing.

With a Royal Blue color, it stands out. The construction is very durable and meets the MIL-STD-810 military standard for reliability and durability. It weighs 2.6 lbs (1,18 kg), about what you should expect for a 13-inch laptop. It has both a USB-C, USB-A, and HDMI ports and comes with a microSD card reader.

The keyboard has a white backlight, making it great for writing when it’s dark outside. It has a bit of an unconventional layout, and some of the keys are a bit cramped such as the arrow keys and the left shift. This means it can take some time to get used to it.

The touchpad is decent, but a few customers had an issue that it didn’t register clicks correctly.

The Asus Zenbook comes with Windows 10. It’s easy to set up, and thanks to the powerful hardware, it’s fast and convenient to use. You’ll get a 512GB SSD for storage. The fast SSD combined with 16GB RAM makes the Asus Zenbook able to load programs quickly without lag. The 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U CPU gives the laptop enough processing power to run demanding applications.

The battery life is solid and lasted 9 hours and 20 minutes on LaptopMag’s battery test.

With the powerful hardware components, it does get warm quickly. The fans do a good job of cooling it down, but they can get quite loud.


Summary: It can take some time getting used to the Asus Zenbook 13, but once you are used to it, it’s a fantastic laptop for a writer.

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ProsCons
DurableLoud fans
Fast 512GB SSDCramped arrow keys
Long battery lifeSome had issues with the touchpad


Lightest Laptop for Writers: Google Pixelbook

Processor:7th Gen Intel Core i7
Display:12.3" Touchscreen (2400 x 1600)
RAM:8GB
Storage:128GB SSD
GPU:Intel HD Graphics 615
Battery:~10 hours
Operating System:Chrome OS

Chromebooks are getting more and more popular, but they usually have some issues. They are often slow and have sub-par keyboards for writing. The Google Pixelbook is the exception with a great keyboard and performance on par with the rest of the laptops on this list.

One of the things that make the Pixelbook stand out is how light it is. This 12.3-inch notebook weighs only 2.45 pounds (~ 1.1kg) and is just 10.3mm thin. It has a lightweight aluminum body and a silicon palm rest that feels comfortable when typing.

The keyboard has a short 0.9mm key travel. You can feel each click with clear feedback and a clicky sound. If you are a fan of mechanical keyboards with long key travel, this isn’t a suitable laptop. However, if you prefer light keyboards with short key travel and a tactile click, then it’s one of the best on the market.

Another advantage of the Chrome OS is how smooth and quickly everything runs. No more tedious load time, no annoying antivirus software popups, and the 8GB RAM and the 128GB SSD makes everything running like a breeze.

Since it’s a Chromebook, you can run Android apps directly on the laptop. The downside of having Chrome OS is that you might have to find some Windows exclusive software alternatives.

There are some drawbacks to be aware of. It has only 2 USB-C ports and no USB-A port, and if you want to use the Pixelbook Pen, you need to buy it separately.


Summary: The Google Pixelbook is the best Chromebook for writers 2020. It’s a great budget laptop if you don’t need to run any Windows or Mac-exclusive programs.

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ProsCons
Very light (less than 3 pounds)No USB-A port
Everything runs quicklyPixelbook pen sold separately
Can run Android appsPoor speakers


Best Laptop with Long Key Travel for Writing: HP Spectre x360

Processor:Intel Core i7-10510U
Display:15.6" 4K (3820 x 2160)
RAM:16GB
Storage:1TB SSD
GPU:Nvidia GeForce MX250
Battery:Expect around 10 hours of battery life
Operating System:Win 10 Pro

The HP Spectre x360 is a powerful Windows 10 laptop with an amazing screen and powerful hardware, but it does some design flaws that keep it from the top of the list.

When you first open the box of the HP Spectre x360, you’ll notice HP included an HP Sleeve 3 for carrying the laptop and an HP Stylus pen. The pen is comfortable and works well for drawing or taking notes.

The exterior of the laptop is made of a matte charcoal gray metal case. It has a subtle but beautiful design. On the sides, you’ll find a MicroSD reader, a ThunderBolt 3 port, two USB type C ports, and one USB type-A port. Having a single USB A can be an issue if you want to plug in multiple things powered by a standard USB port.

The keyboard is backlit and has few design flaws. With key travel of 1.5mm, it has a longer key travel than the rest of the best laptops for writers. It has a clear response to each keypress and feels crisp and perfect for long work sessions. The cons of the keyboard are that it has no NumPad, and the arrow keys are a bit cramped.

The 15.6-inch display is almost overkill for just writing. It has a resolution of 3820 x 2160 (4K) and has a 1443:1 contrast ratio. The colors are crisp and accurate (the display covers ~99% of the sRGB color gamut). The screen’s biggest downside is the response time of around 36 ms, which can cause some ghosting.

The speakers from Bang & Olufsen provide loud and balanced audio, and the wifi card is reliable and supports wifi 6. The touchpad has some quirks. It has no separate button for left and right-clicks, and it can be a bit sensitive at times.

A reason the HP Spectre x360is often considered the best laptop for writers is its fast performance. It has 16GB RAM and a fast 1TB SSD that will make starting up and loading programs lightning-fast. It also has an Intel Core i7 processor that can handle any demanding applications you might run. The GeForce MX250 graphics card is powerful enough to run graphics design software, but it’s not suitable for gaming.


Summary: The HP Spectre has only 1 USB-A port and slow screen response time. However, the high-quality keyboard, fast performance, and vivid display make it one of the best laptops for writing.

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ProsCons
Stunning 4K displayOnly one standard USB port
HP Stylus Pen ideal for drawingPoor touchpad
Reliable i7 processorScreen with slow response time


Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Writers: Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Processor:8th Gen Intel Core i5
Display:10" PixelSense Display (2736 x 1824)
RAM:8GB
Storage:128GB SSD
GPU:Intel UHD 620
Battery:~14 hours
Operating System:Windows 10 Home

If you want a laptop for writing that can both be used as an ordinary laptop and as a tablet, check out the Microsoft Surface 6 2-in-1 notebook. Not only is it suitable for everyday tasks, but it’s also surprisingly good for writing.

Having a 2-in-1 laptop makes it easy and convenient to quickly write something down. There are cheaper 2-in-1 laptops on the market, but most customers felt it was worth going for something more premium to get the best possible hybrid laptop experience.

The exterior of the Microsoft Surface Pro has a clean and aesthetically pleasing design. It a sturdy laptop, and thanks to the passive cooling system, it stays cool even after long sessions. It weighs 1.7 pounds (0,77 kg) and has a 12.3-inches screen. It comes with a USB 3.0 port but no USB-C port and no Thunderbolt port.

If you buy it for writing, you’ll want to get the Microsoft Surface Keyboard. It has good key spacing and a high-quality build. With a 129 bucks cost, it’s quite steep for being a keyboard, but it’s probably the best attachable keyboard you can get on any 2-in-1 laptop. It has 1.3mm key travel, so it’s perfect if you prefer a flat keyboard with short-medium key travel.

It has good performance with an 8th generation Intel Core processor, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD. The battery life is excellent and will last the whole day, but a few customers felt it got worse over time.

Microsoft released the Surface 7 in October 2019 with better performance. However, at the moment, Microsoft Surface 6 gives better value for the money, so that’s the Surface laptop I would recommend.


Summary: The best 2-in-laptop for writers is the Microsoft Surface Pro 6. This lightweight laptop is easy to bring with you. It can be used as a tablet and has a great keyboard for a writer.

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ProsCons
Lightweight laptop with a weight of 1.7 poundsNeed to buy the keyboard separately
Can be used both as a laptop and as a tabletSome customers felt battery life got worse over time
Excellent batteryNo USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 port


What to Look For in a Laptop for Writing

Keyboard

How a laptop keyboard feels depends on two main factors: its key travel and feedback.

Key travel is how many millimeters you need to press the key until it registers the click. The ideal key travel length is a matter of personal taste. Some writers prefer shallow key travel, such as on a Macbook, while other writers prefer a longer amount of key travel, such as on the Dell X1.

Feedback is the response each key makes when you press it. You want good feedback that feels springy and pops back up quickly without bottoming out. Bottoming out is when you hit the base of the keyboard with lots of force and will slow you down and tire you out.

If you’re writing in dim lights having a backlit keyboard is essential. Be aware that some budget laptops lack a backlit keyboard.

Another thing that will improve your typing experience is a comfortable palm rest.

Weight

The list of the best laptops for writers covers both ultralight 10-inch notebooks and bulky 15-inch work laptops.

If you know you like writing outside of your home office desk, weight becomes crucial. Whenever you move the laptop, no matter if it’s to the nearest cafe or when traveling, every pound starts to weigh you down.

10″ is ideal for getting the most portable laptop. A size of 15 inches is the standard for a writer’s notebook. 13.3″ is a good compromise between the size of the 15-inch laptop and the portability of the 13-inch laptop.

Battery life

Another thing that will affect writers on the move is the battery of the laptop. Don’t get fooled by the laptop having a large number of watt-hours (Wh). How long a computer will last will depend not only on how large the battery is but also on how fast it consumes the battery.

Unless you’re on a tight budget, you should be able to find a laptop that will last a whole day on a single charge.

Storage

Just a year ago, the standard in the best laptops for writers was a 1 TB HDD. These days expect SSD storage in laptops for writers. An SSD will give faster load and boot times and requires less energy, so you’ll also get the added benefit of longer battery life.

CPU

You’ll usually find an Intel Core CPU in the best laptops for writers. On budget laptops, you’ll often find an Intel Core i3 processor. An Intel Core i5 processor is a good compromise between performance and price. On higher-end laptops expect an Intel Core i7 processor.

If you’re a writer, an Intel Core i5 processor is usually more than enough. A good Intel Core i5 processor will handle writing documents with ease and can handle more CPU demanding things such as photo editing.

In some entry-level laptops, you might find an Intel Celeron CPU. If you compare the Intel Celeron against an Intel Core i3 CPU, you’ll see the Intel Core i3 processor have considerably better performance. If you, for example, compare the Intel Celeron n3160 against the i3-8145U in the Dell Ideapad s340, you’ll see that the i3 have a 93% higher effective speed.

RAM

To avoid unnecessary lag and get an overall faster experience, aim to get a laptop with at least 8GB RAM. 16GB is ideal, but it’s not needed if you’re just going to use the laptop for everyday tasks and writing. 4GB can be alright, but it will lag if you have too many things open at the same time.

Screen

The first thing to look for when it comes to the display is the screen resolution. A larger screen resolution will often improve productivity since you can fit more on the screen, thanks to the added pixels. A resolution of 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) is the standard in the best laptops for writers.

The recommended brightness depends on the light conditions you work in. If you plan to use your laptop outside or in sunlight, make sure it has the right amount of brightness. Aim for a 400+ nits brightness if you want to use it outside.

Color coverage and contrast are not needed when you’re writing, but it can be important when you’re done writing and, for example, watch movies.

Many of the notebooks on the list are touch screen laptops. A touch screen can make the writing experience more convenient, but it’s not a must-have when working on your next novel, book, or article.

Windows vs. macOS vs. Chrome OS

You’ll find three operating systems in the best laptops for writers, Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS.

Windows is the most common and have the most supported applications. You usually find Windows 10 home as the operating system in a windows laptop.

MacOS is exclusive to Apple products and is known for its effective and powerful user interface. It also some great security features such a FileVault that lets you encrypt data you want to keep safe.

Chrome OS is usually found in Chromebooks and has the advantage that it can run Android apps, but it can sometimes be harder to find Chrome OS compatible programs.

Which is the best? It’s up to you! All three of the operating systems will work flawlessly for writers, and if you ask anyone, they will most likely just recommend the one that they are used to.

Budget

If you want a laptop with the best possible laptop keyboard and the latest hardware for near-instant load times, be prepared to get a laptop in the price range of 1500-2000 dollars.

This is, however, not required for a writing laptop. If you are fine with a 4/5-rated keyboard, a smaller hard drive, and can handle a bit of load time, then you can get a budget laptop for less than 400 bucks.

No matter what budget you feel comfortable with, there’s a laptop for you on this list!

Conclusion

Your writing experience will get so much better with the best laptop for writers. When you start it up, you don’t have to wait for lag or distractions; you can get straight to writing. Each keystroke has a clear tactile click that lets you notice you’re making progress on your work. With the long battery life, you can write the whole day without worrying about it dying on you.

You should, by now, know what to look for in the best laptops for writers. After much research and comparison, I have compiled this list of laptops for writers. These laptops feel great to type on and are fast and easy to use. If you haven’t already, scroll up and click on check price to read customer reviews, and you’re one step closer to your next writing laptop.

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