Whether you’re an author, screenwriter or journalist by profession, or have a job entailing a lot of research and emailing, the right laptop is the most critical tool of your trade. Even for students who need to compile pages upon pages per written assignment, and hobbyists who dabble with fanfiction or like blogging on the side, having the right laptop is critical to letting your creative juices and productivity flow and making the most of a serious writing session. And all this is possible with a small handful of important features, so you won’t have to worry about any snazzy upgrades or high-end specs. A good, wide screen that lets you enlarge your document as you work, easily make out the text of the research you’ve got open and make toggling between umpteen tabs a breeze are all attractive features compared to a tiny 11-inch laptop where you have to scroll down every two lines to read what’s next.
Meanwhile, a comfortable keyboard with ergonomically spaced out keys that enhance your precision and accuracy give your writing zeal momentum, rather than stealing your thunder every time you hit the wrong button, or experience a lag with the vertical travel, in tandem with mounting frustration. Long battery life and portability are also attractive features for the writer who likes to move around – some find inspiration on a park bench, in the solitude of a library, or in the buzz and activity of coffee houses and airports. For the writing needs of the professional and the amateur enthusiast alike, we’re shortlisted our picks for the best laptop for writers.
Macbook Air 13.3 Inch
The ‘Air’ in Macbook Air is no exaggeration. Weighing less than 3 pounds, with an impressive battery life of 12 hours, this is the perfect laptop for the on-the-go writer. You can slip this laptop into your handbag or side-bag for travel, easy to whip out for security or in your train, airplane or bus ride to get some work done on the road, not adding any cumbersome weight to your baggage and lasting several long hours until you find a plug-point to charge up. The keyboard is spacious despite the small size of the laptop, with ample room between the keys for a natural and effortless typing experience, with a backlit feature that lets you see what you’re doing even in dimmer or darker environments. The 13.3 inch screen is just large enough to go easy on the eyes without being so large that it takes up half the space of the narrow table you snagged at a busy coffee-house, or awkward sitting on your lap as you type away, while the 1440 x 900 resolution is just sharp enough to render images and graphics clearly for you to sift through pictures, gifs and videos to accompany your text.
8GB of RAM also ensures you incredibly swift performance – you can have quite a few applications running at the same time without having to worry about your laptop starting to lag, or throwing a wrench into your creative process. Though this is plenty for just a writing laptop, the 8GB is definitely nice to keep the option of playing games or watching movies open on your laptop as well. Meanwhile, the dual-core Intel Core i5 processor is heavy-duty enough to give you strong performance and durability, just right for those long-haul writing and research sessions. A 256 SSD hard-drive replacing traditional spinning hard-drives not only makes for a very compact, quiet and lightweight machine, but also gives you a high degree of responsiveness. The unit is also a huge plus for anyone who owns an iPhone – you can receive and answer messages on your desktop and easily sync files, images and more back and forth between your devices.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
HP Notebook 15-ay011nr
If you’re constrained by budget, but are still looking for a workhorse of a laptop that’ll lend you relentless support in your writing endeavours, this machine fits the bill beautifully. At almost 5 pounds, it may not be the most portable of laptops, but we consider the trade-offs worth it – for starters, the wide 15.6 inch screen is a blessing for those of us who have to frequently flick back and forth between PDFs and internet tabs to cross-reference our information, and need the text big, bold and comfortably fitting into the screen as we type.
With a roomy palm area and spacious keyboard, the laptop is not only ergonomically comfortable but also swift and heavy-duty in performance, with an 8GB RAM and Intel Core i5 processor making sure your device runs smoothly, even with several applications running at once. Though we wish the battery life was a little higher – it promises a maximum of 7 hours – this is nonetheless the perfect laptop for those of us who like to go at it hard, in hour-long work sessions, plugged in to a power-socket with a 1TB hard disk storage, Windows 10 operating system and integrated graphics card making it not only a great unit for work, but also for entertaining ourselves. In fact, the anti-glare screen comes in High Definition, 1920 x 1080 resolution, meaning you can get up to anything from photo- and video-editing to supplement your writing work, or simply lay back and enjoy some Netflix, all in quality, high resolution.
Lenovo Thinkpad T460 14-Inch Laptop
Quintessentially a behemoth of a laptop, this unit boasts some genuinely impressive specs. With a battery life that can run for 12 hours straight, this is the perfect pick for long-haul writers, weighing just a little short of 4 pounds – although not as portable as our top pick, it’s not too arduous to carry with us on our travels or for a caffeine-and-creativity session at the nearest Starbucks. Packing a whopping 16GB of RAM – so you can sneak in some gaming, movies, music, Photoshop and what have you in between the writing without slowing your laptop down – the laptop features a 14-inch screen, not too big but not so little that you find it uncomfortable to work with. The spaced-out keys of the keyboard are backlit, great for use in dimmer environments, while the Intel Core i5 processor makes for swift and heavy-duty performance round-the-clock.
ASUS ZenBook UX330UA
Here’s another lightweight, ultra-portable entry to the list – just under 3 pounds, this sleek and compact laptop comes with a 13.3 inch wide screen just big enough to let you read and work comfortably without pressuring your eyes or making you struggle to read a single document without scrolling every second. An 8GB RAM and Intel Core i5 processor make for swift and decisive performance, enhanced by the smooth-running operation of a 256GB SSD hard-drive. Pre-installed with Windows 10, this versatile laptop also features an ergonomic keyboard to make the writing experience smoother, if not more enjoyable too.