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Best laptop for writers in 2020: the 10 best laptops for authors and journalists

Best laptop for writers
We put together a list of the best laptops for writers

Not every notebook can be the best laptop for writers. Much like photographers, 3D designers and video editors, writers have specific needs when it comes to their main writing tool, even if it seems to outsiders that all they need are Microsoft Word and a working keyboard.

If you’re spending hours typing, for example, having a functional keyboard just isn’t enough. You’ll need one that’s extremely reliable and accurate, comfortable to use, and has a satisfying bounce and tactile feedback. In fact, you’ll need one of the best keyboards on a laptop, if you hope to type on it for eight hours straight without fatiguing. You’ll also need one with an excellent display, one that lets you see things when you’re outdoors and isn’t eye-straining even when you’re indoors. And ideally, the best laptops for writers are sleek and compact, because you never know when or where inspiration will strike.

With these considerations in mind, we found all the best laptops for writers 2020 has to offer. So you’ll spend less time scouring the computing market yourself, and more time writing.

Best laptops for writers at a glance

  1. Google Pixelbook Go
  2. HP Spectre x360 (2020)
  3. Asus Chromebook Flip
  4. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019)
  5. Surface Laptop 2
  6. Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F)
  7. MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)
  8. Acer Switch 3
  9. Acer Chromebook R11
  10. Surface Pro 7

Google Pixelbook Go

(Image credit: Google)

1. Google Pixelbook Go

The best laptop for writers overall

CPU: Intel Core m3 - Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8GB - 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) or 4K LCD touchscreen | Storage: 128GB - 256GB eMMC

Incredible battery life
Amazing ‘Hush’ keyboard
Iffy pricing at mid- to- high-end
No biometric login

Google Pixelbook Go may not be the most powerful Google Chromebook – that title belongs to Google Pixelbook – but it's the best Chromebook ever in our view. It’s also still plenty powerful without the premium price. It also has a few things going for it beyond the specs. Its battery life, for instance, a little over 11 hours so you can write for ten hours and still have enough juice left for unwinding with a good Netflix show. It also boasts an incredible keyboard, perfect for long hours of typing, and that rare 1080p webcam so you come out sharp as tack when video conferencing with clients. There’s a couple of useful features that Microsoft may have sacrificed for the price, but overall, this is an excellent laptop for writers.

Read the full review: Google Pixelbook Go

HP Spectre x360 (2020)

(Image credit: HP)

2. HP Spectre x360 (2020)

HP’s flagship 2-in-1 gets a 2020 refresh

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | : | Screen: 13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS BrightView micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch – 13.3" diagonal 4K (3840 x 2160) UWVA BrightView micro-edge AMOLED multitouch | Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Stylish and high-quality finish
Great all-around performance
Built-in security features are useful
Battery life takes a hit
Can run hot at times

With its stunning, gem-cut chassis that truly separates it from the best laptops out there, the HP Spectre x360 (2020) is without a doubt one of the most stunning laptops today. But, it’s more than just looks. This is one of the top contenders out there, if you’re looking to switch over to Windows, thanks to the powerful internals that make it great for multitasking. That 2-in-1 design and touchscreen display also make this laptop primed for any entertainment needs post- or in between writing sessions. Last but not least, that excellent keyboard will let you type up those articles or your great American novel for hours without fatiguing. It helps too that it’s got many of the ports you’ll need to connect your other devices.

Read the full review: HP Spectre x360 (2020)  

Asus Chromebook Flip

(Image credit: Asus)

3. Asus Chromebook Flip

Premium Chromebook specs, economic Chromebook pricing

CPU: Intel Pentium 4405Y – Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | : | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC

Elegant tablet mode
Tactile keyboard
No out-of-box Android app support
Middling speakers

Before Google rolled out the Pixelbook, and showed us exactly what the best Chromebooks should be, the Asus Chromebook Flip was the Google laptop a lot of Google laptops aspired to be. With a full Intel Core processor and a full-HD display, the Asus Chromebook Flip was certainly a game-changer. These days, in the shadow of Google Pixelbook, the Asus Chromebook Flip is the best Chromebook for you if you want the Pixelbook’s key features, but cannot afford its steep price. If you're on a budget, this is one of the best Asus laptops to consider.

Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip  

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019)

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019)

The best premium laptop for writers

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD – Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.4" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare – 13.4" UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflecitve | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD

Stunning, extremely portable design
Great performance
Gorgeous, responsive screen
Battery life is just ok
Only decent sound
Lid hard to open

You’ll be hard-pressed to find fault in the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019). Design-wise, not only is it incredibly compact and lightweight, but it also boasts that gorgeous responsive display, stunning woven design and delightful to use keyboard. But, it’s more than just looks. It’s pretty impressive as well when it comes to performance, thanks to its 10th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Plus graphics. If you’re looking for the best 2-in-1 with more than enough power, a lot of versatility and a stunning design to boot, you’ll be crazy not to get this.

Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2019) 

Surface Laptop 2

5. Surface Laptop 2

The purest Microsoft laptop

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB-16GB | Screen: 13.5-inch 2,256 x 1,504 PixelSense Display | Storage: 128GB-1TB SSD

Quad-core processing
Gorgeous easy-to-read display
No Thunderbolt 3

Even in the face of the best touchscreen laptops, sometimes you just want a powerful, traditional laptop that feels great to type on. And, while the Surface Laptop 2 does, in fact, have a touchscreen, everything else about it is the culmination of all the best laptops for writers. The keyboard is tactile and comfy, the screen is the perfect size and resolution, and it’s got plenty of power for all the Chrome tabs you’ll have open while researching. One of the only things that holds it back is the lack of Thunderbolt 3, but with everything else this laptop does right, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best laptops for writers.

Read the full review: Surface Laptop 2

Asus VivoBook S15

(Image credit: Asus)

6. Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F)

Thin, light and capable

CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6” LED-backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 Frameless four-sided NanoEdge display | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Bright, colourful 15.6-inch screen
Weighs just 1.8kg
Powerful i7 processor
Merely average battery life
Only 1080p resolution
ScreenPad is a bit weird

If screen size matters, and you need lots of it without having to lug around a heavy laptop, then the Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) is all you need. This laptop weighs just 1.8 kg (3.96 lbs) – that’s lighter than the MacBook Pro 16-inch. If you need power, it’s equipped with 10th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel UHD 620 graphics. Plus, its 15.6-inch screen is bright and vibrant, taking care of all your post-work entertainment needs. The best part is that it won’t cost you a fortune. There are some compromises you have to put up with here: the screen is only 1080p and the battery life is average. But, overall, this one’s an ace.

Read the full review: Asus VivoBook S15 

MacBook Pro 13-inch (2019)

(Image credit: Apple)

7. MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)

No longer a compromise?

CPU: 1.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 – 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 – 655 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2560 x 1600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology | Storage: 128GB – 2TB SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 0.59 x 11.97 x 8.36 inches

Good build quality
Thin and light design
Excellent battery life
Pricey
Not the most powerful laptop

While not the most powerful MacBook Pro out there, the MacBook Pro 13-inch is the most portable option, which makes it a great traveling companion for digital nomads and traveling writers. That’s especially considering that MacBook Pros are known for their hefty build – these will survive hard knocks and falls like only the sturdiest laptops can. Sure, that 8th-generation Intel Core processor might be aging at this point, but it’s still more than enough power for writers. And, that Intel Iris Plus graphics card will certainly get you through light photo editing. If you’re invested in the macOS and don’t want to go big, pick this one up.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2019)

Acer Switch 3

8. Acer Switch 3

A great Surface Pro competitor at half the price

CPU: 1.10GHz Intel Pentium Quad Core N4200 - Intel Core i3 7100U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.2-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD touchscreen | Storage: 64GB - 128GB eMMC

Excellent build quality
Great screen
Superb value
Good battery life

If you have your eyes on a Surface Pro, but you don’t want to spend that much money, the Acer Switch 3 is definitely up your alley. It’s designed around the same basic concept as the Surface Pro and it’s only a little less capable. However, for most tasks, especially if you’re a writer, it’s a brilliant little machine. What’s more, to add further value, this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet comes with the keyboard upgrade which means little extras to pay for. As usual, it comes in several different versions, with USB Type-C, 8GB RAM, an IPS display and an Intel Core i3-7100U processor coming with the more expensive option. 

Read the full review: Acer Switch 3
See more like this: The best 2-in-1 laptops 2020 

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: Check out a fine alternative in the Microsoft Surface Go.

Acer Chromebook R11

9. Acer Chromebook R11

An incredible Chromebook at a crazy cheap price

CPU: Intel Celeron N3150 1.6GHz – Intel Celeron N3160 1.6GHz | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics - Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 2GB - 4GB | Screen: 11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 HD IPS touchscreen | Storage: 32GB

Very versatile
Very cheap
Good battery life
Awkward trackpad

The Acer Chromebook R11 is probably the best cheap laptop around at the moment, and it's a great laptop for wirters. Like the Acer Chromebook Flip higher up this page, this laptop runs Chrome OS so does away with all the overheads that Windows brings. Consequently it's able to run nice and fast on less powerful components, which means a very cheap price! Its touchscreen is decent, though it's only HD, and it will flip to become a tablet too. What's more, it'll run practically all day thanks to its excellent battery life. So if you're looking for a capable but very cheap laptop that you can whip out and begin writing on, then this one is your best bet.

Read the full review: Acer Chromebook R11
See more like this: The best Chromebooks 2020 

Surface Pro 7

(Image credit: Microsoft)

10. Surface Pro 7

Best mid-range tablet with keyboard

CPU: 10th-gen Intel Core i3 - i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics - Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 4GB - 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB - 1TB

Tried and tested quality hybrid
Upgraded to cutting-edge CPU
Starting to feel dated
Battery life isn’t the best

If you’re wondering what a tablet’s doing in a laptop list, then let us assure you: the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is among the most powerful tablets out there. Just take a look at its specs – this tablet boasts 10th-generation Intel Core processors and the best integrated GPUs on the market. Microsoft then pairs that sheer tablet power with its Type Cover’s keyboard that’s bouncier and has deeper travel as well as touchpad that’s smooth and responsive. And, if those aren’t enough to convince you, it also has a USB-C port and Wifi 6 support. It’s a worthy contender for writers who want to stay very mobile and still have a reliable laptop.

Read our full review: Surface Pro 7 

  • Want more choices? Check out our list of the best laptops
  • Bill Thomas has also contributed to this article