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Best laptops for writers in 2021

Best Laptops 2021: HP Envy 13 (2021)
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re a writer in need of a laptop to plop down on a couch and type away on during a workday, then don't worry, there are plenty of options to get the job done, each with its advantages and disadvantages. You’ll typically want a laptop with a comfortable, easy-to-use keyboard, as getting through eight hours of work is even more exhausting when the machine you’re writing has stiff, shallow keys. Additionally, long-lasting battery life is important for those who expect to travel often, while fast performance will assist in getting work done with few slowdowns.

There are also specific advantages to certain laptops. Perhaps you’ll need something that can balance both gaming and writing, or something that won’t break the bank with its price, or maybe even a tablet-laptop hybrid!

Regardless, this list of best laptops for writers will surely help in finding the right device for you.

What are the best laptops for writers? 

The best laptop for writers is the HP Envy 13, as it starts at $849 with tons of great features, like quick SSD performance, a bright display and a snappy keyboard. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is also a great choice if you’re interested in the best keyboard on this list. The Dell XPS 13 excels no matter what you're doing with it (besides playing games), and although other laptops can do better in one category or another, the XPS 13 is consistently great across the board thanks to its large keyboard, impressive battery life, and excellent performance.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is also a great choice if you’re interested in the best keyboard on this list. And if you need something that can be used for both writing and gaming, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is a worthwhile pick. The HP Elite Folio is also worth considering if you’re constantly on the road, as its 16 hours and 21 minutes of battery life can survive almost any road trip or flight. 

With the Razer Book 13, you can get the best display out of the laptops on this list. If you’re looking for a tablet-laptop hybrid for writers, look no further than the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+, as its solid performance and a great keyboard make it a worthy pick. And with the Acer Swift 3x, you can get faster performance, although you’ll be passing up a long-lasting battery. If you’re an audiophile, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 has a sound system that is sure to blow you out of the water with its loud Omnisonic speaker system with Dolby Atmos and the keyboard comes only second to the X1 Carbon.

HP Envy 13 (2021) review

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

1. HP Envy 13

Best value laptop for writers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5-1135G7
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB
Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p touchscreen
Size: 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 2.9 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Solid battery life+Satisfying keyboard+Great performance
Reasons to avoid
- Plastic touchpad

The HP Envy 13 boasts a slew of alluring features, including long-lasting battery life and a satisfying keyboard. On the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits, the Envy 13 lasted 11 hours and 15 minutes. The keyboard’s deep travel and well-spaced keys ensure a pleasant tactile sensation with every click.

As far as performance goes, the Envy 13’s Core i5 is nothing to scoff at. Even with this processor, it performed at the top of its category and even surpassed some more expensive models that possess Core i7 processors. The Envy 13 also boasts a bright and vivid display, quick SSD performance, and a low starting price of $849. All of these incredible features in such an affordable laptop make it a great value pick for writers.

See our full HP Envy 13 review. 

lenovo thinkpad x1 carbon

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

2. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Generation)

Best keyboard in a laptop for writers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5-10310U; Core i7-10610U
GPU: Intel UHD
RAM: 8GB; 16GB
Storage: 256GB; 512GB
Display: 14-inch, 1080p or 4K
Size: 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.4 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Phenomenal keyboard+Slim and lightweight+Fast performance+Bright and vibrant display
Reasons to avoid
- Weak graphics

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s secret ingredient lies in its keyboard. While these keys have a resistance that could prove difficult to get used to initially, they reward you with a tactile bump after every click. This keyboard is snappy and responsive, with our reviewer going so far as to claim it's his favorite laptop keyboard, period. 

The X1 Carbon also boasts decent battery life, managing 10 hours and 45 minutes of runtime on the Laptop Mag battery test at 1080p (web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits). The 4K model didn’t do as well, lasting 7 hours and 23 minutes.

The X1 Carbon can also survive under harsh conditions, as it’s been tested against 12 military-grade durability tests, and that is despite having an ultra-slim 0.6-inch chassis that weighs only 2.4 pounds. This makes it a good choice for writers on the go. And although the 1080p X1 Carbon starts at a pricey $1,553, it’s worth it for those looking for fast performance, a lightweight but durable design, a satisfying keyboard and decent battery life.

See our full Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Generation) review. 

Dell XPS 13 (2020) vs MacBook Air (2020)

(Image credit: Future)

3. Dell XPS 13 (2020) 9310

The best looking laptop for writers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7
GPU: Intel Iris Plus
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
Display: 13.4-inch, 1080p
Size: 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Large keyboard+Excellent performance+Long-lasting battery+Gorgeous aluminum chassis
Reasons to avoid
- Lacking in ports

The Dell XPS 13 excels in almost every category. The XPS 13 dedicates as much room on the deck as possible to the keyboard; this edge-to-edge design means the keys are even larger, and there’s more than enough room to accommodate those with larger hands. Beyond that, the keyboard is also relatively comfortable and satisfying to use.

It also has impressive battery life, coming in at 12 hours and 39 minutes on our Laptop Mag battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits). Considering it’s packing an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor with 16GB of RAM, its long-lasting battery life is impressive. And thanks to its wonderfully bright display, loud and clear audio, and gorgeous aluminum chassis, this laptop is an all-around winner, providing great marks in nearly every category.

See our full Dell XPS 13 review.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 (GA503Q) review

(Image credit: Rami Tabari)

4. Asus ROG Zephyrus G15

Best graphical power in a laptop for writers

Specifications
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU
RAM: 32GB
Storage: 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
Display: 15.6-inch, 2560 x 1440, 165Hz
Size: 14.0 x 9.6 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 4.2 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Killer performance+Top-tier battery life+Satisfying keyboard+Powerful speakers
Reasons to avoid
-Display lacks vibrancy

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 has always been a powerhouse, but with an RTX 3080 GPU, its performance is now phenomenal. While this may seem like overkill for a writer’s laptop, it’s an excellent choice for those needing something that can double as a workstation and gaming laptop.

With its Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 GPU and 8GB of VRAM, the Zephyrus G15 crushed Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on Ultra at an average of 51 frames per second. With this degree of power, you might anticipate an unbearably short battery life. However, the Zephyrus G15 lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test, which is 3 hours and 16 minutes longer than the premium gaming laptop average.

Its keyboard is also clicky and punchy, making it ideal for people who want to balance both gaming and writing thanks to its pleasantly deep travel. While this laptop is great, its $2,499 price tag will give many buyers pause. If you only need a laptop for writing, look elsewhere on this list, but if you’re also looking to game, this is a great pick.

See our full Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 review. 

HP Elite Folio

(Image credit: Future)

5. HP Elite Folio

Best long-lasting laptop for writers

Specifications
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen2
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 690
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB
Display: 13.5-inch, 1920 x 1280-pixels
Size: 11.75 x 9.03 x 0.63 in
Weight: 2.9 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Phenomenal battery life+Clicky keyboard+Compact and lightweight+Average performance
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

Thanks to its long-lasting battery life and compact keyboard, the HP Elite Folio is a great laptop for writers who expect to travel often. This 13.5-inch chassis may not be too friendly to those with large hands, but its lightweight nature ensures you won’t be lugging a brick around while on the go. What sets the Elite Folio apart from others on this list is the pull-forward display that lets you use the Elite Folio as a 2-in-1 while keeping the keyboard right in front of you. It's an excellent design for artists or designers. 

This emphasis on portability is especially evident when analyzing its battery life. On the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the Elite Folio offered a jaw-dropping 16 hours and 21 minutes of runtime. However, the Elite Folio’s performance won’t amaze you, so if you’re expecting lightning-fast processing power and load times, look elsewhere. And for $1,889, it’s certainly not cheap, but for those who need a compact and long-lasting laptop when they’re on the move, the Elite Folio is a solid pick.

See our full HP Elite Folio review

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

6. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

Best sound system on a laptop for writers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-1185G7
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB
Display: 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504-pixel
Size: 12.1 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 2.8 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Great sound system+Bright and vivid display+Quick performance+Thick bezels
Reasons to avoid
-Few ports

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 simply has one of the best keyboards you'll find on an ultra-thin laptop. It's springy and the keys are big enough to fit most hands, which makes typing feel effortless and accurate. Additionally, the touchpad’s size makes for a comfortable fit. And although its battery doesn’t last as long as its competitors, the Surface Laptop 4 still survived for 10 hours and 46 minutes under the Laptop Mag battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits).

The Surface Laptop 4 also boasts an incredible Omnisonic speaker system with Dolby Atmos hidden beneath the keyboard, yet our reviewer screamed like a giddy child when he first heard it playing. And with fast performance, a vivid display, and a sleek aluminum chassis, the Surface Laptop 4 is a good pick for writers who need an overall winner.

See our Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review. 

Razer Book 13

(Image credit: Future)

7. Razer Book 13

Best display on a laptop for writers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core 1165G7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD
Display: 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200, 60Hz
Size: 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 3.1 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Powerful performance+Lots of ports+Comfortable keyboard+Slow file transfer
Reasons to avoid
-Can get a bit warm

The Razer Book 13 showcases the company’s big push into productivity, and it’s quite a solid laptop for writers. Its keyboard delivers firm and satisfying feedback, all while being large enough to be easily used by those with large hands. Not to mention the gorgeous Chroma lighting that can turn the laptop into a light show. 

It also boasts the longest battery life we’ve seen on a Razer laptop. On the Laptop Mag battery test the Razer Book 13 lasted 11 hours and 44 minutes. Beyond just boasting solid battery life and a satisfying keyboard, the Razer Book 13’s 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU did an excellent job in our performance tests. However, the Razer Book 13 most excels in its vivid and bright display. If you’re looking for a laptop that can balance productivity and watching entertainment, this could be a solid pick.

See our full Razer Book 13 review.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus

(Image credit: Microsoft)

8. Microsoft Surface Pro 7+

Best 2-in-1 laptop for writers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i5-1135G7
GPU: Iris Xe
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB
Display: 12.3 inches, 2736 x 1824-pixel
Size: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3
Weight: 1.8 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Bright and vivid display+Good webcam+Fast CPU and graphics performance+Battery life needs improving
Reasons to avoid
-Thick display bezels

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ is a convertible that boasts plenty of alluring features for those who need a lightweight and portable device made for writing on the go. The detachable Type Cover keyboard feels effortless and is wonderfully comfortable. Our reviewer even went as far as to say that they type with greater accuracy and speed than on most other laptop keyboards or even some mechanical gaming keyboards.

The Surface Pro 7+ also boasts formidable performance, making it easy to run relatively demanding workloads. However, its battery life is disappointing: On the Laptop Mag battery test the Surface Pro 7+ lasted only 8 hours and 49 minutes. This is significantly lower than our 10:05 premium laptop average.

However, if you’re looking for an excellent keyboard, a bright and vivid display, and a fast processor, this 2-in-1 might be a good choice for you, especially if you’re a writer constantly on the go.

See our full Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ review. 

Acer Swift 3x

(Image credit: Future)

9. Acer Swift 3x

Best performance in a laptop for writers

Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU: Intel Iris Xe MAX
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1080p
Size: 12.7 x 8.6 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3.02 pounds
Reasons to buy
+Top-tier performance+Ultra-fast SSD+Fast video transcoding+Battery life could be better
Reasons to avoid
-Dim display

The Acer Swift 3x is a great choice for those needing a laptop that can go the extra mile in performance. It’s a mighty machine that absolutely demolished our tests: Its processing speeds are higher than other laptops in its category, it can transcode a 4K video to 1080p faster than any other laptop of a similar price, and its 1TB SSD has a lightning fast transfer rate.

The Intel Iris Xe Max is a discrete GPU, which means the Swift 3x won’t handle gaming or intense video editing too well; if you expect to balance writing and light editing work, this laptop will be more than enough.

However, this power does come with a caveat. On the Laptop Mag battery test the Swift 3x lasted only 7 hours and 53 minutes. This is worse than its competition, and doesn’t even reach our preferred 8-hour minimum runtime. If you’re looking for power, the Swift 3x is a good pick, but don’t expect it to last too long on a charge.

See our full Acer Swift 3x review. 

How to choose the right writing laptop for you 

When selecting a laptop, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using it for. As a writer, the most important things to consider are a satisfying keyboard to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible, long-lasting battery life in case you need to travel for work, and fast performance to not get frustrated by slowdowns during a workday.

The Dell XPS 13 combines these three traits very well, but if you’re looking for a laptop that has a particular advantage, there’s plenty to choose from. The HP Envy 13 starts at $849, making it the most affordable of the bunch and ideal for those who aren’t looking to break the bank. And for those specifically needing the best keyboard out there, we recommend trying the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon; our reviewer cited it as having his favorite laptop keyboard.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is a great choice if you’re also looking to invest in a powerful RTX 3080 gaming laptop, as its keyboard is great for both playing and writing. If you’re a writer who’s constantly travelling and need something that will last as long as possible, look no further than the HP Elite Folio. This laptop survived for 16 hours and 21 minutes before powering down, making it the longest lasting entry on this list.

And if you need a great display to go along with your writing exploits, we recommend the Razer Book 13. The Acer Swift 3x is a good choice for those who need the best performance in a workstation, especially if you’re interested in doing light editing. The Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 is also a solid laptop, and if you want a great sound system, look no further than this.