Yes, this is an article on the best laptops for writers, authors and bloggers. But unlike the myriads of competing articles, an author has actually written this one. In reality, there are lots of options for writers when it comes to computer hardware, but the key to writing books is not letting shiny tech get in the way of you actually writing. If you have an old laptop, there is a writing solution for you. Never use your tech and lack of it as an excuse not to hit your targets and goals. Let’s get into it.
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- You can write on any laptop, writing does not require a lot of computing power.
- A good keyboard with good key travel for lots of typing.
- A good battery, so you can write anywhere.
- Compatible OS with your writing software of choice.
What Are the Computing Needs of a Writer?
From the perspective of most non writers, a writer’s computing needs are fairly simple and straightforward. A laptop with a good keyboard is really all we need and this is true when we are solely talking about writing. But, in today’s self publishing world, an indie author is more than just a writer. They are a web designer, SEO wiz, marketing guru, newsletter producer, book cover artist, book formatter, Amazon adds aficionado, podcaster, interviewer, affiliate marketers, bloggers and more. However, most of these tasks can now be done in the cloud, with SAAS (software as a service) products (Check out my AppSumo review for great SAAS), so I am going to focus purely on writing, not powerful creator orientated PCs and laptops.
So, from the perspective of what are my computing needs just for writing? We can look at the complete range, starting with Chromebooks, as they are extremely capable and are becoming increasingly popular because they’re so affordable. Then we have a Windows based machine. These are great as windows is the number one OS I the world, and for folks who predominantly write in Microsoft Office (However, you can run office on the android, chrome OS and macOS as well). Then we have apple machines, like the MacBook Pro M2 and MacBook air M1 .These are always a good option for writers who need portability and great battery. The Apple iPad , Ipad Pro and Android tablets are also a great option for writers who want a lightweight and portable option. Finally any old, second hand laptop can be used to write, no shiny tech, no bells and whistles, just a keyboard and mains cable.
My Own Set up For writing.
I have tried almost every set up for bashing out words. Currently, I do the mass majority of my writing on three devices. An extremely powerful desktop PC, an old laptop upgraded and given a new lease of life with ChromeOS Flex and a cheap and cheerful second hand Chromebook. The PC is where I sit most mornings and evenings. I originally built it for video and photographic work and the £42 second hand chrome book is my endless battery, low power typing machine but when it runs out I fire onto my old laptop, come chromebook. The Chromebooks are perfect for lunch breaks at work, evenings on the couch watching telly, coffee shops, camping adventures etc. In the past I have written with an Ipad and an Android table with an external keyboard.
The First Question. Are you looking for a laptop just for writing?
As mentioned earlier, we indie authors are now media producers. PS, if you’re struggling with content creation, social media, video, then check out my book Smartphone Smart Marketing. It has everything you need and you can do it all with just your phone. So are you looking for a machine for writing or are you planning on using it to create book trailers, video editing, podcasting, web design, etc? As the potential requirements for a media or creative laptop or PC is considerably more than a basic laptop for writing. I use my desktop to produce my creative content. My chromebook is solely a writing machine. If you are looking for a creative PC or laptop, I have added some options in at the end. These machines have more RAM, better graphics and larger storage capacities.
What Makes a Great Laptop for Writers?
There are a few things that make a great laptop for writers. First, a good keyboard is essential for writing long documents or articles. Second, battery life is important so you can keep writing even when there are no power supplies available. Third, a good processor is essential for running writing programs smoothly. Four, a back-lit keyboard is helpful for writing in low light conditions. Fifth, a large screen size is helpful for editing and revising your work. Finally, good writing software!
Best portable writing device for authors?
Even though the title is Best laptops for writers, authors and bloggers, I am going to cover tablets and briefly phones as well. As I find my self using them all in some capacity.
Laptops: Great for writers, everything is there including a keyboard.
Tablets: Great for writing but often need accessories (A keyboard – on screen typing can be tedious)) to be worthy of being a writing companion.
Phones: Some folks write entire novels on their phone, however, I mainly use mine for making notes and updating my Trello boards.
Find out about Trello and other author software in this article: best software for authors.
Which operating system should you choose?
There are many different types of operating systems available on the market today. So, which one should you choose? If you’re looking for a traditional desktop experience, then Windows or MacOS might be the best option for you. However, chrome has now entered this space. If you’re looking for something more portable, today’s laptops run a variety of operating systems including Chrome OS, Windows, MacOs and Linux. And if you’re looking for a tablet solution, then Windows, Android, ChromeOS or iPadOS is your options.
Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference. Most people stick the operating systems they are used to, however do not be afraid to do some research and try out a few different operating systems to see which one you like the best.
Created by Microsoft, lots of businesses run windows, most folks know the basics, lots of software options, lots of hardware options, variety in price.
I use windows at home and at work. Most offices are powered by a fleet of old school windows PCs, windows 10 and Windows 11 are easy to use, they run most key software and are perfect for authors of all budgets. Lots of variety.
Created by Apple, these are mainly high end machines, not as wide spread use as Windows. However, they have lots of software options, standardised hardware options, a strong eco system and integration with other Apple products. A negative might be a high starting price point.
I used MacOS at college but due to the price point and my years of building and using windows PCs, I have never ventured deep into the Apple world. I do have an Ipad and have owned Iphones, the hardware is great, but until I make JK Rowling money I am bootstrapping my author career.
Created by Google, this OS is lightweight, fast and minimal. It has a great app store, integrates well with Google products (Gmail, Google drive, Google docs etc) and everything Android. ChromeOS is famous for great battery life and a cheaper price point.
I love chrome OS, it allows me great battery life, and runs the key apps I need. Like atticus.io, and the chrome browser which I use for many of my creative outlets like my website, blogging etc. As a lot of my day to day computing task are now in the cloud, I only need a web browser and this is exactly where chrome OS comes in.
Created by Google it is just ChromeOS but it’s been designed to be installed on old hardware (any hardware) and can bring old laptops (windows, mac, Linux) back to life, extending battery life, speeding up processes.
I installed this on an old laptop and the battery life went from sub 40 minutes with the fans whirling to over 5 hrs of writing time and silence. Brilliant option for converting an old laptop in to a writing machine.
Created by Apple, it is powerful with lots of apps. Ipads have great hardware, a great eco system and are extremely portable. Before I bought my chromebook, I used my iPad and external keyboard for writing during my lunch break at work. My only two gripes were one: I am a Windows/Google/Android user and some ways of doing things on a Apple product were bizarre. But this is only because I am so used to windows and Android. 2: Finding a good Bluetooth keyboard became a hassle, the iPad magic keyboard had no key travel and became painful to type, I finally settled on a Logitech Bluetooth solution.
Created by Google this OS is powerful with lots of apps, designed for mobile devices and tablets it has a great eco system and a wide range of hardware options. I have an android phone and I use Trello and Google Keep daily to takes notes and organise my various writing projects (story, characters, blogs etc)
An open source software with many variations. Security focused, runs on lots of different hardware options, less apps, less options, more of a specialist solution. Technically Chrome and android are Linux operating systems. Runs open office so perfect for a cheap writing machine.
Best Laptops for Writers
There are many laptops on the market that are marketed as being the best for writers. However, there is no one perfect laptop for every writer. The best laptop for a writer depends on their individual needs and preferences. Some factors to consider when choosing a laptop for writing include the processor, RAM, battery life, keyboard, and operating system.
Processors: processors are typically made by Intel, AMD, QUALCOMM or Apple. The best choice for writers is generally one that offers good performance and power efficiency. Mobile processors are best at this.
RAM: RAM is important for a writing laptop, as it allows multiple programs to be open at the same time without slowing down the computer. However, most basic writing needs and software packaged do not require a lot of RAM. However, most of todays modern Operating Systems (a part from Chromes OS) really do struggle with anything under 8GB of RAM. So, if you are just using it for basic tasks like browsing the internet and checking email and writing on a word processor or web based writing programme like Google Docs, or Atticus, then 4gb of RAM should be plenty. However, if you are planning on doing more intensive tasks like opening 20 browser tabs at once, video editing, photo editing or gaming, then 8gb of RAM would be a better choice.
Battery: Battery life is also crucial for a writing laptop, as writers often need to work for long periods of time without being able to recharge their laptops. Be it writing at a coffee shop, or traveling or just changing location in your house, battery life gives you freedom to write from anywhere.
Keyboard: A backlit keyboard is also a nice feature to have on a writing laptop, as it allows writers to work in low-light conditions. My cheap chromebook does not have this and it can be difficult sometimes writing in the dark. I am embraced to say that I still look at the keys momentarily when I write, so having a back-lit keyboard when writing at night is key for me.
Some of the best laptops for writers include the MacBook Air, Asus ZenBook, Lenovo ThinkPad, Chromebook Pixel, Microsoft Surface Pro, and HP Spectre x360. These laptops all have great processors, plenty of RAM, long battery life, backlit keyboards, and light weight designs. The MacBook Air is the lightest laptop on this list and also has one of the longest battery lifes.
The Definitive Guide to Finding YOUR Laptop
If you’re in the market for a new laptop, this next section covers everything from what to look for in a laptop to the best laptop brands and how to budget for your purchase.
Keyboard: Full sized, back lit, travel, language.
The keyboard is an important part of any computer, and there are many different types to choose from. Full-sized keyboards are the most common, and they come with either back lit or non-back lit keys. However, some laptop keyboards are smaller, making them more portable. Another key aspect of a keyboard is the key travel, i.e the amount the keys travel when pushed. Laptops have far less key travel compared to a tradition standalone keyboard, and some of the ultra-thin laptops suffer from this, as these kinds of keyboards are not great for pumping out hundreds of thousands of words. Finally, laptops often come with language-specific key layout to make typing in a foreign language easier, so if English is not your first language, grab a laptop with the keys for your language. Remember, you can always buy an external keyboard if you really hate laptop keyboards.
Portability: Size and Weight
When you are looking for a new laptop, portability is an important factor to consider. Laptops come in a variety of sizes and weights, so you will need to decide what is most important to you. If you plan on travelling with your laptop, writing on the couch, the train, the coffee shop, then size and weight are very important factors. Battery life is also an important consideration when choosing a new laptop. If you plan on using your laptop for long periods of time, then you will want one with a large screen size and a comfortable keyboard. Popular writing laptops come in 11.6inch, 13 inch, 14 inch, anything beyond like 15 and 17 inches are really desktop sized beasts.
Hard Drive: Internal Storage Types
Internal storage types are important to consider when purchasing a laptop for writing. Mechanical hard drives are the most common type of internal storage, but solid state drives (SSDs) are becoming more popular in laptops. Chromebooks typically use SSDs. SSDs are faster than traditional mechanical hard drives, but they cost more per gigabyte of storage. Hard drives are more prone to failure than SSDs, but they can be replaced more easily.
If you plan on doing a lot of writing on your laptop, then you don’t really need a lot of space. However, if you are planning to do media creation, including video then make sure to get ample storage space. Internal storage is usually expandable, depending on the laptop manufacturer (Apple is very restrictive), so you may have to make sure your laptop has enough space for all your writing needs before purchase. But compared to video storage, you do not need a lot to store hundreds of manuscripts, novels and works in progress.
Back Up Storage
USB and cloud storage options. No matter what laptop or writing machine you go for, make sure you invest in some backup storage. This can be as simple as signing up for a Gmail account and getting the free 15GB of Google Drive storage to back up your writing. Alternatively, Apple offers 5GB free and Microsoft offers 5Gb free with its one drive. Or opt for a USB stick, for physical backups, these can be bought for under £10. I carry all of my WIP on my personal USB that does not leave my side.
Ports and Connectivity
Ports and Connectivity:
Ports are the physical connection points on a computer or other device where you can plug in cables or connect other devices. They come in different shapes and sizes, and each one serves a different purpose.
On a laptop, you’ll usually find ports for USB devices, HDMI or DisplayPort for connecting an external monitor, Ethernet for a wired internet connection, and sometimes audio jacks for headphones or speakers. Some laptops also have Thunderbolt 3 ports and ports which are much faster and can be used for connecting external hard drives or docking stations.
Tablets typically have fewer ports than laptops, as they’re designed to be more portable. However, you’ll still find micro-USB, USB C or Lightning ports for charging and data transfer, as well as headphone jacks. Some higher-end tablets also have full-sized USB ports and mini-HDMI ports for connecting to an external display.
When choosing a laptop, it’s important to consider what kinds of devices you’ll want to connect to it and make sure that it has the right ports to support them. There is always a dongle solution to open up the ports on any laptop. These can bring multiple port options to any laptop, especially Apple macbooks which are notorious for limited port options.
Conclusion – Best laptops for writers, authors and bloggers
Yip, if you have got this far, it is much appreciated. In conclusion, it really depends on what you are looking for. Set your budget, decide how much ram, battery life, keyboard etc you’re looking for and get yourself on Amazon or click the many links above. However, I hope this has helped de mystified some of the options.
Below I will give a brief and some links to some options.
Best Tablets for Writers At A Glance
There are many great tablets for writers on the market today. Microsoft Surface and iPad are two of the best, but there are also great options from Lenovo, HP, Samsung Note series and others. The key things to look for in a tablet for writing are a large screen size, (11, to 13 inch) a good operating system, and a keyboard. Microsoft Surface, Samsung tablets and iPad all have large screens and great operating systems. They all have keyboards that can be attached for easy typing, however key travel is not ace on the ultra thin keyboards. Google Docs, Word and Atticus.io are all great options for writing on these tablets. 2-in-1 tablets are also a great option for writers as they offer the portability of a tablet with the functionality of a laptop.
Word Processing on a Tablet
There are many great word processing software options available for tablets. Microsoft Word and Google Docs are both excellent choices that will work well on most tablets. The iPad also has some great word processing apps available, including Pages Apples free word alternative. However, if you just need a basic word processor for occasional writing needs, any tablet will do. Now if you are looking for an all in one software that runs on a tablet, laptop, phone and desktop (anything with a browser) then Atticus.io is a great option for those looking to write, track and format all in one software package.
Best Apple Laptop for Writing:
Best Windows Laptop for Writing:
The best laptop for writing is one that is comfortable to use, has a good keyboard and trackpad, and has a screen that is large enough to see without strain. It should also have a fast processor and plenty of RAM to keep things running smoothly. This is where Apples simplicity sometime wins, they have two options, widows laptops for writers, well there are several thousands of options. Lenovo laptops like the ThinkPad series have great keyboards. Asus and Acer laptops are also very popular.
Budget Chromebook for Writing:
A budget Chromebook for writing can be a great option for those who need a simple, effective way to get their work done. Lenovo, ASUS, Acer and HP are some popular brands that offer affordable options that still provide good performance.
5 Essential Gadgets for Bloggers And Writers 2022
There are a few essential gadgets that every novelist, blogger and writer should have in 2022.
A laptop carry case.
Self explanatory, case to carry and protect your laptop.
A waterproof drybag inner lining.
I usually transport my laptops in a waterproof bag, but failing that a waterproof dry bag liner is always a good option. Here in Scotland, you never know when it is going to rain, better safe than sorry.
An external mouse.
Some folks swear by an external mouse, for many years, I was one of them. But of late I have slowly but surely been adapting to the sacred ways of the mouse pad.
When the ideas strike and for whatever reason, your computer, laptop or phone are out of charge, then a trusted notepad and pen is always a great piece of old school technology to get the ideas flowing.
A USB stick
Good for backing up ideas, copies of your manuscript and other important documents. And as you know, us authors have many important documents.
A virtual private network, this is a piece of software that allows you to browse the internet securely when out and about. Especially important if you like to frequent coffee bars and cafes with your laptop, whilst you watch people, soak up conversations and get unfiltered inspiration. Make sure your network connection to the internet is secure and one of the other patrons is not intercepting everything you do online.