The Best Lightweight Laptops for Writers
Let's be real first - a laptop for a writer is the least hardware intensive among all other requirements. The very basic and fundamental requirement for a laptop suitable for writing is the smooth operation of a word processor. So if you come across other recommendations elsewhere suggesting you to buy a $2,000 laptop for writing, you should make a 180 degree turn.
With that being said, as a writer, weight is the most important factor for me. That, and the feel of the keyboard (if you like that). Now keeping these two main requirements on top, below you will be able to find the best recommendations as per other secondary requirements that may affect your decision.
What kind of laptop should a writer buy?
In addition to being lightweight, writers require laptops that are easy to carry, boot up fast and which they can carry easily all the time without being much of a hassle.
As a writer, I want these things in a lightweight laptop for writers:
- A good screen. 15.6 inches is too big for me and I am happy with a 14-inch or even a 13.3-inch display monitor. Screen size does not matter as long as it has got a good screen resolution. If budget allows, writers must also be willing to opt for tablet-laptop hybrid. They may be expensive at first, but they are worth the price in the long run.
- Calm and Quiet CPU. That's why I would get an SSD drive instead of a traditional mechanical hard disk which makes noise as it rotates. As a writer, there is nothing more annoying than when you hear the sound of the laptop fan louder than the thoughts in your mind.
- Should not heat while I'm working. Again SSD is a good choice here because it does not create unnecessary heat as it does not have moving parts.
- WiFi is a must. Where am I gonna backup all my writing?
- Battery life should be more than 7 hours. Okay, 6 hours if you cancel one hour for lunch break. But no, I may need to check my Facebook at that time - so 7 hours is a minimum. It's 2018 so I expect that much from technology.
Other Features that are handy but which can be compensated:
- Extra USB ports
- Touchscreen displays (convenient when there is no mouse or when not used to with the touch pad)
- Backlit keyboard (although they are nice, be careful not to pay $200 premium just for having a backlit keyboard)
Do you have an Operating System preference?
What operating system would you like in your laptop?
Top Laptops for Writers
My Top 3 Choices
1. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
- With a 12.3-inch display, it is compact and I can carry it everywhere
- 1.70 pounds weight (yes, you read that correctly)
- The keyboard (called "type cover") actually feels like a keyboard - and it can be folded to protect the display
- Touchscreen with ultra HD display
- No heavy moving parts, no annoying fans - all lead to conservation of power. That's why this beast is able to provide all day battery. (Microsoft has technically said that it provides more than 13.5 hrs of video playback - I'm already sold!)
- 128GB SSD drive, Windows 10 Pro, Integrated Graphics and 8th Generation i5 processor that makes running it a breeze
- Although there is a USB 3.0 port, there is no USB-C port
- Keyboard and the touch pen are sold optional although bundles are available at Amazon
Why Surface Pro 6?
✔ The ultimate choice for Microsoft Windows OS lovers
✔ Lightweight, packed with a powerful processor and ample RAM
✔ Excellent laptop-tablet hybrid
✔ Best bang for the buck
2. Acer Chromebook 14
Chromebooks are different beasts - they don't run Windows, they don't run Mac OS, nor do they run Linux. Their operating system is the Google Chrome - which can be an advantage or disadvantage for you depending on your requirements.
One of the main advantages is that the Acer Chromebook 14 is really cheap, yet opens the world to unlimited Google Apps including Google Docs, Sheets and all Office applications (free of charge - just hookup a Gmail account).
This particular Chromebook has a gorgeous metal finish, weighs just 3 pounds, yet provides more than 11 hours of battery life. For writers who are just starting their career and are on a budget, this can be a good deal.
One of the main features is the IPS display (in-plane switching), which ensures glare free and proper display even when viewing angles are changed. This is a huge plus for writers who may want to write in different positions and places. A Chromebook is an ideal choice for a writer who wants a casual machine reserved for just writing.
And when you want to take a break from writing, just open the YouTube app and enjoy cat videos on the full HD 1080p display - all this for less than $280.
3. Macbook Air 13-inch - for Apple lovers
The Macbook Air is a very sleek, light and an extremely quiet machine.
On the other hand, if you have a lot of pictures, songs and movies you have downloaded, the 128GB model may not be enough for you. Go for the 256GB version. The hard drive is full SSD and is fast and boots in seconds.
Macbooks are versatile!
Apple MacBook Air has a glossy HD display and an LED-backlit screen that offers up to 12 hours of impressive high definition widescreen display.
What Macbook Air does not deliver in space, delivers in quality. The touch pad is absolutely to die for and is a boon for writers who don't want to carry a mouse around. It accepts all gestures like zooming in, out, controlled scrolling etc.
What do you mostly look for in a laptop?
Like I said in the intro of this article, a laptop for writing purpose does not require sophisticated hardware or software specifications. It ultimately boils down to how light you want the laptop to be, how quiet you want the fan to be, how cool you want the computer to be when you have been using it for the last 6 hours, and how long you still want to use it without having to leave this gorgeous park because the battery is dying!
Some writers really love the feel of the keyboard and how ergonomic it is to our fingers—for which, laptops like Macbook and Surface Pro 6 can be a good option. For writers on a budget, the Chromebook will be a better fit.