7 Best Laptop For Writers: Check Our Top Picks

a writer typing on his laptop

Writers often spend over 3 to 4 hours a day typing on their computers and have a very unique set of requirements. In this article we take a look at the best laptop, from a writer’s perspective.

If you don’t want to read the whole article, our top pick is the Dell XPS 15 9500. It is simply the most well-balanced Windows laptop in existence and nails all the basics- great screen, great keyboard, great trackpad, great battery life.

Here is our list of the 7 best laptop for writers:

  • Dell XPS 15 9500
  • Apple MacBook Air
  • HP Spectre X360
  • ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434FLC-XH77
  • Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
  • Lenovo ThinkPad E15
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 2-in-1 Laptop

Dell XPS 15 9500

If budget isn’t a restraint or you’re a professional making a livelihood from writing on the daily, the Dell XPS15 9500 is actually an excellent laptop for you.

It isn’t designed or marketed specifically towards writers, it’s more of an all-rounder and targeted at creative professionals. However, this Dell XPS might just be the best Windows laptop money can buy.

Let’s start with what Dell gets right- pretty much everything. The keyboard is excellent with just the right amount of key travel and a nice snappiness at the top which makes typing both short messages and long articles an enjoyable experience.

 There is ample space on the palm rest for people with medium to large hands, so your wrist won’t uncomfortably dangle off the edge. The trackpad is large and smooth, finally a worthy adversary to MacBook trackpads in terms of intuitiveness and precision.

 It also helps that all the heat generating components are packed away from the palm rest and underneath the keyboard.

 The build quality is truly excellent, this laptop uses CNC aluminum alloy components all over the chassis to minimize bending and creaking.

 The built-in audio is also impressive, with decent bass and clear mids.

Pros

  • Amazing build quality
  • Brilliant 16:10 FHD+ display with HDR400 support and 94% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage (Corning Gorilla Glass 6 resists scratches and reduces flex)
  • Powerful 10th gen Intel Core i7-10750H hexacore processor with 5GHz turbo boost
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650ti graphics
  • Premium materials- carbon fiber palmrest, CNC aluminum-alloy chassis, inlayed stainless steel logos, diamond-cut sidewalls
  • Quad speaker audio with carefully machined speaker holes and Waves Nx technology
  • 16GB 2933MHz high speed DDR4 memory

Cons

  • No 4th generation Ryzen configuration available
  • Mediocre webcam
  • Some units come with lots of wobble in the touchpad (this is a design defect, contact Dell support if your laptop has this issue)

Apple MacBook Air

While the MacBook Air won’t win any awards as far as performance is concerned, it gets everything else just right from the trackpad and keyboard to the display.

This little guy isn’t just extremely thin, it is also very well built with a machined aluminum chassis and has one of the best laptop displays on the market.

Even though the screen is just 13.3” across, it boasts an impressive 2560 x 1600 resolution (16:10 format). The “Retina” display means even a perfect human eye can’t distinguish individual pixels from each other, at least at a normal viewing distance. Colors and viewing angles are excellent too, and it makes watching movies or editing photos on this laptop an absolute pleasure.

The keyboard has been redesigned with new butterfly switches that feel more consistent across the board. There is precisely 1mm of travel in each keystroke, and the keypresses don’t feel loud.

 The deck underneath is solid metal with zero flex whatsoever, and the palmrest is gigantic for a laptop of this size so your hands can rest comfortably on it for hours at end with no fatigue.

Pros

  • Larger trackpad
  • 2650 x 1600 resolution Retina display with excellent colors and viewing angles
  • Ideal keyboard for long form typing, large keycaps with plenty of spacing and 1mm of key travel
  • Massive palmrest
  • Excellent speakers with extra bass and more volume than previous MacBook Air models
  • Triple microphone array for more clarity during FaceTime sessions
  • Touch ID for easier and quicker unlocks
  • 8GB RAM

Cons

  • Upgrading memory and storage isn’t really a thing on a MacBook
  • For the money you’re paying, you get just a Core i3 processor
  • Only 256GB of total storage
  • Bezels are a bit on the thicker side

HP Spectre X360

The Spectre X360 was designed specifically for college students and creative professionals. It is a premium thin & light with some really impressive hardware underneath the hood. 

For instance, this particular version of the x360 comes with a 10th gen Intel Core i7 Ice Lake processor that has 4 cores and hyperthreading.

For writers, the keyboard is pretty much exactly what you’d want- short and crisp keystrokes with just enough tactility, and not a whole lot of sound.

The professional DNA of this machine shines through in its fingerprint reader and webcam kill switch which are both excellent privacy features, ideal for office workers and students alike.

If you’re working on the move, you’ll appreciate the exceptional battery life which easily surpasses 7 to 8 hours with light browsing and word processing.

 Booting up and loading software feels really snappy thanks to the 512GB SSD, and the display ensures that you’ll enjoy the occasional movie viewing experience as well.

Pros

  • Diamond cut aluminum chassis with sharp angles and bold styling
  • Gold on black accent gives it a premium look
  • Sharp 13.3” FHD display with touch input and you even get a free stylus which can be used for drawing or taking notes
  • Can switch into tent or tablet mode
  • Great keyboard and trackpadGreat keyboard and trackpad
  • Plenty of performance for every task from light gaming to video and photo editing, thanks to the quad core 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor
  • 16GB RAM
  • Quad speaker Bang & Olufsen audio
  • Hardware kill switch for webcam and fingerprint sensor
  • Charging via Type C and Thunderbolt

Cons

  • The palm rest can feel a bit too shallow for people with larger hands
  • Prolonged heavy usage can heat it up quite a bit, especially in performance mode

ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434FLC-XH77

With a MX250 dedicated GPU and a secondary display in the trackpad, the ZenBook 14 already has an advantage over the HP Spectre x360 in terms of functionality.

Both the x360 and ZenBook 14 have quad core i7 Ice Lake processors from Intel, and 16GB of RAM. So their performance in most applications should be pretty similar.

However, the ASUS will pull ahead in 3D workloads like viewing models in Solidworks or AutoCAD.

 It will also perform better in video and photo editing within Adobe software or any software that takes advantage of CUDA acceleration from the MX250 GPU.

The ZenBook 14 doesn’t have a super smooth and precise trackpad like the HP, but it has something no other laptop in this class does- a secondary display in the ScreenPad 2.0 which can be used as a second window for applications, a launcher, etc.

Pros

  • ScreenPad 2.0 enhances your workflow within photo and video editing software, and it also allows you to sign documents/ take notes with ease
  • MX250 dedicated graphics
  • 10th generation quad core i7 processor
  • 14” thin bezel FHD display with 92% screen to body ratio
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Windows Hello facial recognition
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0

Cons

  • No Thunderbolt port
  • Battery could have been larger

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

The Surface Laptop is meant to be a fusion between a tablet and a traditional notebook. It has the keyboard of a laptop, combined with the form factor and portability of a large tablet.

Featuring a clean, minimalistic design, the Surface Laptop 3 is perfect for writers and journalists on the go who need a machine with a good display, tactile keyboard, and plenty of battery life.

It supports fast charging, has a full metal alloy body that doesn’t flex or bend no matter how hard you press down on it, and keys that feel really smooth.

You could type an entire thesis out on the Surface Laptop 3 and your fingers would barely feel tired. The trackpad is also one of the better ones, at least among Windows laptops.

Pros

  • Excellent backlit keyboard, probably one of the best among all Windows laptops
  • Really compact- light and slim
  • Enough performance for basic tasks like web browsing, casual photo and video editing, etc.
  • Iris Plus integrated graphics
  • Large precision trackpad
  • Intel 10th gen Core i5 processor
  • Great battery life
  • Superb build quality
  • Windows Hello facial recognition

Cons

  • RAM cannot be upgraded
  • 128GB of storage is a bit on the lower side

Lenovo ThinkPad E15

ThinkPads are known for having good keyboards, they are business laptops after all. And the build quality is also top of the line, even though this is just a plastic laptop.

 But, it’s really thick and high quality plastic, plus it costs less than even a MacBook Air. And you get a nice Core i5-10210U processor with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

In terms of value for money, the ThinkPad E15 is truly amazing. It doesn’t have the trackpad of a Dell XPS or MacBook, but the trackpad is decent enough for everyday use.

Plus, the display is really nice with good viewing angles and enough brightness for occasional outdoor usage.

It even supports power delivery via Type-C and has Bluetooth 5.0 in combination with ac Wi-Fi.

Pros

  • Intel 10th generation Core i5 quad core processor
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Excellent full-size keyboard
  • 220nits FHD display
  • 512GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Pro preinstalled
  • MIL-SPEC certified, it can survive anywhere you go- a desert, the Artic, humid rainforests, etc.
  • Built to be durable- aluminum top with ABS plastic base

Cons

  • People with larger hands might find the numpad slightly cramped
  • The matte surface can attract fingerprints

ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 2-in-1 Laptop

If you’re a student or aspiring journalist, this is a great option for you.

It is no Windows laptop, but as a writer you probably don’t care about the environment created by Windows unless you’re really invested into Office. There’s free alternatives like Office Suite, Google Drive, Polaris Office, etc. which you can enjoy on Chromebooks.

The thing with Chromebooks is you need constant internet connectivity since they rely so much on cloud-based storage. And they usually have weaker processors, with under 4GB of RAM.

All this goes out of the window when you pick up the Chromebook Flip C436, since it packs a 10th generation Intel Core i3 dual core chip with hyperthreading and 4.1GHz boost clock.

And there’s 8GB of DDR4 RAM combined with a 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD for lightning fast load times. Once again, this is a PCIe NVMe SSD, not some eMMC flash module.

 It is a lot more reliable and exponentially faster compared to eMMC storage which is standard on most Chromebooks. You even get Wi-Fi 6 and a 14” FHD touchscreen for added productivity on the go.

Pros

  • Excellent keyboard, it feels snappy and crisp with ample key travel and decent tactile feedback
  • The construction feels rigid, with minimal flexing in the lid or keyboard deck
  • Extremely light at just 2.58lbs
  • 2x USB Type-C ports
  • Backlit keyboard and large precision trackpad result in a superior user experience
  • Can be used in tent, tablet, stand, or regular laptop mode thanks to a 360° hinge
  • Excellent built-in audio with quad speakers from Harman Kardon
  • Magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis
  • 12hr battery life
  • FHD 14” touch display
  • 8GB RAM and 128GB PCIe NVMe storage

Cons

  • Its size and weight makes it slightly unwieldy in tablet mode (this is a 14” laptop after all)
  • Visually boring and extremely plain design
  • No Type-A USB port

How To Select The Best Laptop For Writers?

Keyboard and trackpad:

This should be pretty obvious, but a laptop for writers needs to have an excellent keyboard. One that you feel comfortable typing on for hours, without getting too much fatigue in your hands or wrists. 

There should be ample key travel, the bounce back should be snappy, the keycaps should be large with good spacing in between so it doesn’t feel cramped, and the deck underneath must have minimal flex.

A good trackpad significantly boosts end user experience since you can select items with higher speed and precision on the screen, resulting in a faster and smoother workflow.

A lot of the time you spend on your laptop is within the web browser, researching topics and looking up news/ blogs. Hence, a good trackpad makes sense.

Display:

The screen on your laptop must have a sufficiently high pixel density so letters appear smooth and free of jaggy edges.

 Pixelation with characters is a real issue on certain low resolution laptop screens, especially the older ones that were 768p despite being 15.6” in size.

 And when you look at all those jaggy characters all day, it does feel rough on the eyes.

A good display also means you can use your laptop for more than simple word processing. You can use it to watch movies, edit photos and videos, play casual games, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Conclusion

It can be said without a shadow of a doubt that the Dell XPS 15 9500 has everything it takes- an excellent display, a great keyboard, and an amazing trackpad. In fact, it has way more hardware than what the average writer needs. A core i7-10750H processor, a GTX 1650ti graphics processor, and 16GB of fast DDR4 RAM.

This laptop can do more than just word processing, it can be used for AutoCAD, music production, gaming, and video editing.

If you’re on a budget, take a look at the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 or ASUS Chromebook Flip C436.

Do you want a Mac? In that case, check out the latest MacBook Air laptop.