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1. Best overall: MacBook Air (M2)
2. Best budget: Acer Chromebook
3. Best premium: Surface Laptop Studio
4. Budget MacBook: MacBook Air (M1)
5. Best mid-range: Acer Aspire 5
6. Best 3:2: MateBook X Pro
7. Best Chromebook: Lenovo IdeaPad
8. Most powerful: MSI Creator Z17
9. Best portable: LG Gram 17
10. Best all-rounder: Surface Laptop 4
Finding one of the best laptops for writers isn't as simple as choosing the biggest or most powerful. Word-processing software isn’t too taxing on laptops, so you won't need a gaming-spec powerhouse – but there are still plenty of other factors to consider.
The most obvious requirement is a good keyboard. While you’re at home, you might be happier using an external keyboard, but when you’re away from your desk, it’s essential to have a laptop that is comfortable to write on for long periods. Likewise, the screen needs to be suitable for long writing sessions to minimize the strain on your eyes and give you enough space to work with.
We've compiled the below list of the best laptops for writers based on specs like battery life, value for money, comfort, and more. When we review a laptop, we make sure to look beyond the pure specs or raw benchmarks (although those do help) and really get a feel for how it is to work and live with the machine over a prolonged period of time.
This quick list will give you a brief rundown of all our picks, what we love about them, and who we think they're best for. You can click on each to take you to the fuller overviews below.
Our top pick just ticks all the boxes for most folks when looking for a laptop for writers. It has a fine keyboard and, a great design, and also includes all the features you'd want in a laptop that can do it all, from a great processor to an improved webcam, and an excellent battery life.
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For those on a budget, then look no further than Acer's Chromebook 314 machine. Slimming everything down, it's Chrome OS is perfect for those not looking to get any extra fuss in their laptop. It's got stupendous battery life too, and will also support all the major word-processing apps.
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If you're looking to go premium and to future-proof yourself with your selection then the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio is for you. It's a 2-in-1 device so can be used as a tablet for great flexibility, and has one of the best keyboard-screen-stylus-support combos in a laptop for writing that money can buy.
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MacBooks will always be some of the best laptops for writers, and if you're after one without breaking the bank then the 2020 Air model is a top pick in our eyes. Sporting great battery life, a wonderful keyboard, Apple-pedigree, and plenty of power for other creative work, it's still a superb bit of tech.
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If you're somewhere in between budget and premium and want to maximize your value on something that's in the middle of the pack then the Acer Aspire 5 is a great pick. It's solid and dependable, won't cost you a fortune,m and performs well in terms of performance and for writing.
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Those who want a 3:2 ratio laptop for writing should give close consideration to the Huawei Matebook X Pro. That ratio offers more vertical space for writing, and it complements that with a a top keyboard, a nice touchscreen, and offers great capabilities for extra creative work too.
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Offering incredible bang-for-buck value, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook is another good pick at the budget end of the spectrum - and for those looking for a hybrid machine. It has superb battery life too, and a detachable keyboard so strong portability and durability are its strong points.
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Primarily a beastly machine aimed at creatives, this laptop can basically do it all and is perfect for anyone looking for maximum power. It can do it all, and do it all well, while also offering a great touchscreen and hefty specifications.
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the Gram 17 is a large laptop but is an extremely portable one given its design and overall weight. This makes it perfect for those who prefer larger screens and are also intending to be mobile a lot. Importantly it's got the chops to back that up too in some great specs, a lovely keyboard, and a long battery life.
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The best laptops for writers we recommend in 2023
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The best laptop for writers overall
When it comes to the best laptops for writers, the 2022 MacBook Air is now our top pick overall. It's even thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and still offers brilliant battery life, making it perfect for taking it out and about with you. It also comes with a great keyboard and a responsive trackpad. The 2020 MacBook Air's keyboard was a more tactile upgrade on its predecessor, and it has been kept for the new version.
The improved webcam is also great for people who need to make a lot of video calls (these days that’s most of us), and the battery life is phenomenal.
However, the higher price does put it out of the reach of many people. Thankfully, the M1 MacBook Air is still on sale, and it’s still a fantastic laptop for the price. It offers much more power than what you'll need for writing alone, making it ideal for writers who might also need to use their laptop for other things. It also comes with a great-looking screen, making it a great choice for writers who will be working for long periods of time. And now that it's been out for a little while, we're seeing discounts on it more frequently.
See our full MacBook Air (M2, 2022) review for more details.
The best budget laptop for writers
If you're looking for a cheap laptop for writing, a Chromebook is probably the way to go. They cost less than Windows laptops, and much less than the MacBook Air above, but offer great battery life since they require little power. Just bear in mind that Chromebooks take their name from the fact that they run Chrome OS, not Windows, so you can't use every Windows app you might be used to.
That isn't a problem for writing since there are word processors available for Chrome OS, including both Microsoft Word and Google Docs. This Chromebook also has very little internal storage, so you'll be saving work to the cloud. Unlike in the past, you no longer need to be connected to the internet to use a Chromebook though, so you can work pretty much wherever you want.
Some Chromebooks feel a little too small to be comfortable as laptops for writers but when we reviewed it, we found the 14-inch Chromebook 314 to be a nice size, and the keyboard is well laid out and comfortable to use. We found the screen to be good for writing too, with an anti-glare, matte finish. All in all, this is a solid top choice as the best laptop for writers on a budget.
See our hands-on Acer Chromebook 314 review for more details.
The best premium Windows laptop for writers
If you want to treat yourself to a truly premium Windows laptop for writing, then the Surface Laptop Studio fits the bill. It offers a lot more power than you need for word processing – and costs a lot more than you really need to pay for a laptop for writing – but the keyboard is a pleasure to write on, the screen is gorgeous, and the touch screen has stylus support, which could come in handy for note-taking.
This is a 2-in-1 device, which means it also converts into a tablet format, which can be useful for reading over your work when you're on the move, even on the train. It's not the most portable 2-in-1 but you get great battery life and when we reviewed it we found it runs Windows 11 incredibly well.
See more details in our full Surface Laptop Studio review.
The best budget MacBook laptop for writers
The 2020 MacBook Air may not be our top choice any more, but it's still a great laptop for writers and a more affordable alternative for those who want a MacBook but can't stretch to the budget of the 2022 M2 MacBook Air. It's wonderfully thin and light and offers brilliant battery life, making it perfect for taking it out and about with you.
The M1 MacBook Air may not have the M2's more powerful chip, but still offers enough power for creative software alongside writing software, making it a viable option for those who need more than just writing capacity. The screen, while a tiny bit smaller than on the new model, is still a great piece of tech that's easy on the eyes. Best of all, the 2020 model has been coming in for more regular discounts now that the newer 2022 M2 MacBook Air has been released.
See our full MacBook Air (M1, 2020) review for more details.
The best mid-range Windows laptop for writing
The Surface Laptop Studio is a laptop for writers who are feeling flush – if you want to wait until you get that deal for your first novel before splashing that much money on a computer, there are plenty of much more affordable Windows laptops for writers. The Acer Aspire 5 is a good laptop for writers who want a solid and dependable device without spending a fortune. With a plastic body, it doesn't exactly have a premium feel but it's solid enough to carry around.
It also performs well considering the price, especially if you're going to be sticking to word processing tools. The keys don't have the most travel, but the keyboard is well laid out for writing on. Overall, the Acer Swift 3 is a great affordable laptop for writers on a budget but feel that a Chromebook like number 2 on our list would be too restrictive.
See our full Acer Aspire 5 review for more details.
The best 3:2 laptop for writers
Most laptops have a traditional widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9. That's great for watching movies, but not necessarily the most convenient format for writing, which often requires scrolling up and down vertically oriented documents. An aspect ratio of 3:2 gives you more vertical space, allowing you to see more text on the screen at once. And it also works better for graphic-design work, so is the perfect ratio if you're a writer who also likes to or needs to work on more demanding visual software.
Huawei delivers all of that with the MateBook X Pro, and a very nice touchscreen it has too. This latest MateBook is a great performer – more than powerful enough for writers who also need to use design software regularly – and the keyboard is comfortable to work on. The downside is that if you're in a country like the US, which has blocked access to many Huawei devices and services, you don't get the benefits of the wider Huawei ecosystem. However, if you don't care for ecosystems and just want a premium laptop for writing and doing visual work on, the Huawei MateBook X Pro is a decent option.
See our in-depth Huawei MateBook X Pro review for all the details.
The best Chromebook hybrid laptop for writers
If you want a really cheap laptop for jotting down notes on, no matter where you are, then the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet is a great choice for those looking for the best laptop for writers on a budget. It comes with a detachable keyboard, so it's incredibly easy to carry around, and as it's a Chromebook, it's also very cheap.
It also boasts almost 22 hours of battery life, so you could comfortably take this away with you and write somewhere remote for a few days, and still have battery life left.
There are some downsides though. The keyboard is small and not as comfortable as other laptops in this list. This is why we'd suggest using the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet for quickly jotting down notes, rather than typing up pages and pages of text in one go. But, with the portability and long battery life, the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet lets you note down your thoughts whenever inspiration strikes.
The most powerful Windows laptop for writers
The MSI Creator Z17 is a large laptop made for professional creatives, and it has a lot of power inside, so it's a great option for all-around pros who need a laptop with a good screen that's easy on the eyes, but need to be able to draw on loads and loads of computing power for burlier creative tasks.
The screen is a touchscreen too, and is great for creative tasks, drawing and note-taking, and the 9th gen processor and 32GB of RAM future-proofs you for increasing demands year-on-year. One caveat is that while its screen and connectivity shine brightly, the poor battery life lets it down. If that doesn't bother you, and if you can afford it (yes, it's quite expensive), there's a lot to like about the Creator Z17 for writers who need the POWERRRR.
Read our full MSI Creator Z17 review for more.
The best portable laptop for writers
LG Gram 17 (2021) is a large but light laptop, which makes it an unusual one for my list. The great thing about writing is that you can do it almost anywhere, but in the past, if you wanted something extremely lightweight to carry around with you, you had to make do with a small screen. Larger laptops didn't tend to be light and portable enough to make them good companions for travel writers.
However, the LG Gram 17 isn't just one of the lightest laptops in the world (so light, you can hardly notice it when you carry it in a bag), but it also offers a large 17-inch screen, which is ideal for writers.
Inside, it's also packed with some great tech, including 11th generation Intel processors, and a long battery life. The keyboard is also comfortable to use. If you do a lot of travelling while you write, then this is a great investment. Sure, there are cheaper laptops out there, but none offer such a large screen while keeping the overall weight of the laptop down.
The best all-rounder laptop for writers
The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is older than the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio above, but it's a great option for a cheaper alternative to the Studio or an all-around laptop that's truly great for writing.
The screen comes in two size options, 13.5 or 15 inches. The 13.5-inch model is cheaper, and still large enough for any writing endeavour so we can heartily recommend the base spec as one of the best laptops for writers anywhere. The tall 3:2 aspect ratio screen makes it very comfortable to write on, and it's a touchscreen too, perfect if you like to make tactile-feeling notes on your work.
The battery life is excellent too, so you can travel about all day without worrying about finding a seat next to a power outlet on a train or in a café. And as it's been superseded by the newer Studio model and the Surface Laptop 5, expect to see discounts for this laptop popping up more regularly.
Check out our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review for more details.
What makes a good laptop for writing?
As we mentioned in our introduction, some of the key factors in choosing the best laptop for writers include comfortable screens and keyboards, battery life and portability. If you can find a laptop that delivers in these areas, you’re on to a winner.
There are some other nice to have features to look out for, too - for example, anti-glare screens if you work outside often. You might also value having a touch screen or writing pad if you’re an avid note-taker.
Historically, storage has also been a consideration, but with the rise of cloud storage, many writers only worry about this if they don’t have regular WiFi access - plus, USB storage is a perfectly viable option.
How do I choose the best laptop for writing?
We think the laptops above are some of the best around for writing, but you’ll want to think about your own budget and needs as well as our recommendations. Setting a budget and sticking to it is important, especially in light of the increased cost of living, so we’ve included laptops at a variety of price points to cover all bases to help you choose the right model for you.
An Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020) might be stylish and sophisticated, but a more reasonably-priced Acer model like the Aspire 5 or Chromebook 315 might give you everything you need.
Thinking about which value-adding features you’ll actually use is key, too - for example, a touch screen is nice to have, but if you’re unlikely to make use of it, it’s not worth the extra investment.
Should I get a MacBook or a Windows laptop?
Ultimately, this is a question of preference, but there are a few differences between MacBooks and Windows laptops for writers. While many writers have more experience with Microsoft Word, the software will set you back financially whereas the slightly less sophisticated Pages on Mac comes free. Of course, you could also just use Google Docs if you're regularly connected to WiFi and confident in its Offline Mode.
MacBooks are generally more pricey, as are Mac-compatible peripherals, but can last longer than more budget-friendly Windows laptops.
We can’t definitively say Mac or Windows is better for your personal writing preferences, but we will say that the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is at the top of our list for a reason.