choose a laptop for writers

Are you a writer looking for a new laptop?

I know how important it is to have the perfect device for your creative endeavors. 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 we’ve put together this guide on how to choose the best 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.

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!

Decide how you want to use the laptop

Alright, fellow writers, let’s chat about laptops! If you’re in the market for a new one, there are a few things to mull over before you whip out that credit card.

Firstly, think about what you’ll be using your shiny new laptop for. If you’re mostly hopping onto Word and typing away, you don’t need to splash out on the latest, high-spec machine. But if you’re dabbling in graphics-rich activities or indulging in some gaming between writing sessions, then a beefier laptop might be calling your name.

Next, envision where you’re sitting down to write. For those who’ve got a dedicated workspace or home office, a laptop with a broader screen can be a game-changer – hello, multitasking! But for the wandering souls typing away in cafes or parks, something compact with a battery that lasts longer than your coffee might be the ticket.

Let’s get into the specifics of what to look at when choosing a new laptop for writers!

10 Aspects to Consider When Choosing a Laptop for Writing

how to choose a laptop for writers

1. Screen Size

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

When it comes to choosing a laptop for writing, one important factor to consider is the screen aspect ratio. Will you be mostly writing text-based documents, or do you plan on working with multimedia as well?

If you are doing a lot of writing, you’ll want a laptop with a 16:10 or 3:2 aspect ratio so you can have two full-size pages side-by-side. However, if you are working with video or images as well, 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 that has 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 plan on writing outside the house, such as at coffee shops or at the park.

You won’t need to worry as much about battery life if you are mainly going to be writing 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 handle most writing-related tasks with ease. 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

When it comes to choosing a laptop for writing, one of the most important things to consider is the operating systems that the computers use. While Windows and MacOS are both popular choices, they each have their own 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 a lot of 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 a small amount of 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 make sure to 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) that the laptop includes, especially if you need to connect other laptop 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 Considerations

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

If you plan on mainly writing at home, then a heavier or larger laptop might be good enough.

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, for those moments when you need to present your work on a larger screen or share it during meetings, an HDMI port can be your best friend. With it, seamlessly linking your laptop to projectors or larger monitors becomes a breeze. In short, when you are choosing a laptop, ensuring you have versatile connectivity options can be just as important as any writing-specific feature.

Bonus Tip: 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

Our top choice for the best overall laptop for writers is the Asus VivoBook S15. Our second choice is the Apple MacBook Air, and the third option is the Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop. Our top pick for a budget laptop is the Acer Aspire 5 Laptop. You can read more about these laptops in our article, the best laptops for writers.

Our overall Pick for writers

Asus VivoBook S15

The VivoBook S15 is a great laptop for writers who need a reliable, quality laptop that won’t break the bank and that has good storage and processing speed.

best premium laptop

Apple MacBook Air

Apple laptop lovers rave about this lightweight, easily portable laptop! It is easy to use and has a long-lasting battery.

best gaming-style laptop

Lenovo Legion 5 Gaming Laptop

For writers who are looking for something a little more flashy or who want to use their laptop for both gaming and writing, check out this Lenovo option!

best budget laptop for writers

Acer Aspire 5 Laptop

The Acer Aspire 5 laptop is a fantastic option for budget-conscious writers. It’s got a large screen, a great backlit keyboard, and a long battery life that will let you write at your favorite coffee shop all day!

How to Choose a Laptop for writers

Summary: How to Choose a Laptop for Writers

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!

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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