How to Choose a Laptop for Writers in 2024 [9 Essential Tips]

how to choose a laptop

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose a laptop with a screen size and resolution that makes reading and writing clear and comfortable.
  • Look for a keyboard that’s comfortable for long writing sessions, likely with backlighting for easier typing in low light.
  • Ensure the laptop has a long battery life to support your addiction to writing at the coffee shop or library!
  • Select a laptop with ample storage space for all your documents and an operating system you’re comfortable using.

Are you a writer looking for a new laptop?

I know the importance of having the perfect device for your writing. As a working writer, I’ve created scripts and manuscripts from the comfort of my home, and I’ve also had to do the same on location.

Whether on a closed film set, like in Christmas Cupcakes, where I had to make script adjustments on a nearly daily basis, or a location-heavy film set, like A Frosty Affair, where I was required to be ready to write at a moment’s notice – indoors or out – the only way to make it happen is with a great laptop.

That’s why I’ve put together this guide on how to choose a laptop for writers. It’s packed with information on specs, features, and what to look for when making your purchase.

A new laptop will help you take your story writing or screenwriting career to the next level. With the right tools, you can produce better work in less time.

how to choose a laptop for writers

In this laptop buying guide, we will discuss the factors you should consider when buying a laptop for writers. We will also recommend some models that are perfect for everyday use!

Neil Chase Film is supported by its readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Thank you for your support!

How to Choose a Laptop for Writers

1. Screen Size

As any writer knows, the screen size is important when it comes to getting work done on a laptop. A screen that is too small can make it difficult to see what you’re writing, while a screen that is too large can be a distraction.

The ideal screen size for writing depends on your personal preferences and working style.

Larger screen sizes may be a better choice if you like to have a lot of information visible at once or if you often work with long documents.

On the other hand, if you prefer to work in short bursts or if you tend to get easily distracted, a smaller screen may be a better option.

overall screen Size recommendation:

Most of the time, I’ve found that larger screens are best for writers!

Look for screens between 14” to 17“, if possible.

2. Screen Resolution & Display

Another critical aspect is screen resolution. A higher screen resolution will allow you to see more characters on the page, which can be helpful when editing or revising your work.

Screens with a lower picture quality can make it more difficult to catch errors and can also be more demanding on the eyes over long periods of use. In contrast, a clear, sharp screen reduces eye strain.

person using MacBook Pro

Another thing to consider when buying a laptop is whether you need a touch screen or not. Many modern laptops include touch screens, and some even allow for the screen to be removed from the keyboard, turning it into a tablet!

You may also want to think about screen brightness. A laptop’s screen brightness is important for writers because it can help to reduce eyestrain. Choosing a laptop with adjustable brightness can help you create an optimal environment for writing.

Lastly, consider a laptop with anti-glare capabilities if you tend to write for extended periods.

screen resolution & Brightness recommendation:

Try for a high-resolution screen of 1920 x 1080 or higher to get an optimal viewing experience.

Choose a laptop with an adjustable brightness setting and anti-glare capabilities so that you can type in all environments.

3. Screen Aspect Ratio

One important factor to consider when choosing a laptop for writing is the screen aspect ratio. Will you mostly write text-based documents, or do you plan on working with multimedia, too?

If you are doing a lot of writing, you’ll want a laptop with a 16:10 or 3:2 aspect ratio to have two full-size pages side-by-side. However, if you are also working with video or images, a 16:9 aspect ratio might be a better fit, as it provides more horizontal space. (most gaming laptops are 16:9)

screen aspect ratio recommendation:

Most writers will appreciate a 16:10 or 3:2 screen aspect ratio.

4. Keyboard: Backlit vs. Non-backlit

Another consideration is what kind of keyboard is best for writers. Think about whether you want a backlit keyboard or not.

A backlit keyboard will allow you to see the keys in low light conditions, which can be helpful when you’re writing in a dimly lit café or on an airplane.

black and gray computer keyboard

However, backlit keyboards also tend to be more expensive. If you don’t think you’ll need the extra light, you can often save money by opting for a non-backlit keyboard.

In addition, a comfortable keyboard is essential for any writer. Most users will want to look for a laptop with a full-sized keyboard layout with plenty of space between the keys. Ensure the keys have a comfortable depth and spacing.

Keyboard recommendation:

Get a laptop with a backlit keyboard if you do lots of writing at night!

I’ve found that most writers appreciate a larger keyboard layout with space between each key.

5. Battery Life Considerations

A laptop with great battery life is crucial for writers who want to work on the go.

Make sure to choose a model that can last at least five hours on a single charge if you write outside the house, such as at coffee shops or the park.

You won’t need to worry as much about battery life if you mainly write at home… although sometimes it’s nice to have options!

battery life recommendation:

Ensure your new laptop lasts at least 5-8 hours on one charge if you like working outside the house, such as at a library or coffee shop.

laptop, coffee, arm

6. Processing Speed

When considering processor speed for writers, the specific speed isn’t as critical as the type and generation of the processor. However, to ensure smooth performance, especially if you’re multitasking or using resource-intensive applications, here are some general recommendations:

  • For Basic Tasks (e.g., word processing, web browsing): A recent-generation Intel i3 or AMD Ryzen 3 processor should suffice.
  • For Moderate Tasks (e.g., multiple tabs, basic photo editing, occasional video streaming): An Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 from one of the recent generations would be ideal.
  • For Intensive Tasks (e.g., heavy multitasking, advanced photo editing, light video editing): You might want to opt for a recent Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 processor.

Keep in mind that as technology advances, even lower-tier processors can easily handle most writing-related tasks. It’s also important to consider other factors, such as RAM (8GB is a good starting point for writers) and SSDs, which can significantly boost performance.

Lastly, always check reviews and real-world performance tests when choosing a laptop, as specs on paper don’t always translate to real-world efficiency.

processing speed recommendation:

Honestly, I think that this will depend on if you use your laptop for tasks other than writing. An average speed laptop of 2.1 – 2.7 GHz is enough if you only type and surf the web for research.

If you work with videos or love gaming, you’ll want a laptop with at least 2.10 – 4.10 GHz.

7. Operating System

Another important aspect to consider is the operating systems that the computer will use. While Windows and MacOS are both popular choices, they each have their pros and cons.

For example, laptops with the Windows operating system tend to be more affordable, while Apple’s Mac OS laptops offer a smoother and more user-friendly experience.

Macbook Pro

In the end, the best operating system for you will depend on your personal preferences. If you’re looking for an affordable option with many features, the Windows operating system might be the way to go.

However, if you’re willing to invest a bit more money for a better user experience, Mac OS is definitely worth considering.

In addition, you could also be looking for a Chromebook with Google’s Chrome OS.

Whichever way you go, make sure to do your research so that you can choose the best laptop for your needs.

operating system recommendation:

This one is totally up to you. I am happy with my Windows laptop, but I know many writers who won’t use anything other than their MacBook Pro!

8. Storage Space

A laptop with small internal storage space will fill up quickly, especially if you’re working with large multimedia files.

Make sure to get a laptop with at least 250GB (preferably 500 GB to 1 TB) of SSD storage space, or store data in the cloud.

You’ll need a storage capacity of at least 8GB of RAM for normal word processing and web searching and more like 32GB of RAM for gaming or video editing.

You may also want to consider the number and type of USB ports (i.e., USB-A, USB-C) the laptop includes, especially if you need to connect other accessories such as a mouse or external hard drive.

storage space recommendation:

8GB of RAM at least for storage capacity.

250GB of storage space at least, more if you are a prolific writer or don’t use the cloud.

9. Laptop Size & Weight

Next, you need to think about the weight and portability of the laptop. If you do a lot of writing on the go, you’ll need something lightweight and easy to carry around.

A heavier or larger laptop might be good enough if you plan on mainly writing at home.

macbook, laptop, google

Also, consider that you may not want something too heavy to carry around with you, but at the same time, a laptop that’s too light can feel flimsy and less than ideal for extended periods of typing.

size and weight recommendation:

Typically, writers love larger laptops, as it is easier to see your work.

Weight is a personal preference, with heavier laptops typically being cheaper but less portable.

10. Connectivity

In today’s interconnected world, a writer’s laptop isn’t just a solitary workspace—it’s a hub for sharing, presenting, and collaborating.

When picking out the perfect laptop, don’t overlook the connectivity features! Multiple USB ports are a godsend, allowing you to plug in essential devices like external hard drives, flash drives, or even a good old-fashioned mouse.

And let’s not forget Wi-Fi capabilities! A strong and consistent Wi-Fi connection is great, especially if you’re the type who thrives in coffee shops, libraries, or any space with public internet.

Finally, when you must present your work on a larger screen or share it during meetings, an HDMI port can be your best friend, as it becomes so much easier to link your laptop to projectors or larger monitors. When choosing a laptop, having versatile connectivity options is as important as writing-specific features.

11: Price Considerations

When it comes to laptops, there’s no such thing as one size fits all. Depending on your needs and budget, you might prefer a Chromebook, a MacBook, or something in between.

Price is important. You don’t need to break the bank to get a good writing laptop, but you don’t want to skimp too much. After all, a laptop is a long-term investment, and it’s worth getting something that will last.

There are great budget laptops out there, but it may take a bit more looking to find them!

Great laptops to consider

My top choice for the best overall laptop for writers is the Apple MacBook Air – it’s the best-reviewed and top-quality laptop out there right now. My favorite Windows laptop is the Asus VivoBook Go 15, and my top Chromebook is the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. You can read more about these laptops in my article, the best laptops for writers.

Best Laptop Overall
Apple 2020 MacBook Air Laptop M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage
$749.99
Pros:
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Comes safely packaged
  • The keyboard is backlit
  • Speaker sound is high-quality
  • Great Apple quality and features
Cons:
  • Expensive (buy the 2020 version for a great deal!)
Learn More
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03/07/2024 09:28 am GMT
Best Overall For Windows Users
ASUS Vivobook 15 Laptop, 15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080) Display
$339.99
Pros:
  • Very affordable for all of its features
  • The keyboard is backlit (great for writers!)
  • Windows-based (not a Chromebook)
  • Very light and portable
  • The camera is pretty good for the cost
Cons:
  • Doesn't have much RAM - may need to add more
  • Battery life could be better
Learn More
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 05:17 am GMT
Best Chromebook For Writers
Acer Chromebook Spin 311 Convertible Laptop
$185.00
Pros:
  • It's a great lightweight Chromebook!
  • Can stand upright and be a screen, or be a laptop
  • Good battery life
  • Has a touchscreen
  • The keyboard is backlit
Cons:
  • Only 4 GB of RAM memory
Learn More
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 04:37 am GMT

Final Thoughts

If you are in the market for a laptop to write on, there are a few things you should consider. The most important factor is the type of writing you will be doing.

If you plan to do a lot of word processing, then you need a laptop with a good keyboard. If you plan to do a lot of online research, you need one with plenty of ports and storage space.

If you plan on writing at a coffee shop or library, you’ll want to look at thin and light laptops with longer battery life.

You’ll also want to think about which operating system you might want to use – are you looking for a Windows laptop or an Apple computer?

By considering your needs and budget, you can find the right laptop for your needs!

How to Choose a Laptop for writers

Common Questions (FAQs)

What screen size is best for writing on a laptop?

A larger screen, between 14″ to 17″, is generally better for writers to see more information and work comfortably.

How important is screen resolution for a writer’s laptop?

High screen resolution, ideally 1920 x 1080 or higher, is important for clear text visibility and reducing eye strain.

How much storage space do writers need on their laptops?

A minimum of 250GB, preferably SSD, is recommended to store documents and multimedia files without quickly running out of space.

Looking for the best tools for writers? Check out these great articles:

The Best Writing Tools for Fiction Writers (Reviewed!)

The 75+ Best Gifts for Writers (For Every Budget)

7+ Best Book Writing Software Programs for Authors

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