Best laptops for writers in 2023 – XDA Developers

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These laptops have great keyboards, but that’s only the start.
The best laptops for writers are more than just a comfortable keyboard and a bright display. Many of the usual indicators when buying a laptop — features like long battery life, suitable amount of overhead processing power, and sleek design — still apply, but there's a careful balance between getting something you need and overspending on unnecessary features. I've put together this guide of laptops for writers that I've personally used or that we've reviewed here on XDA. All picks have a keyboard that won't distract, they all have modern performance hardware, they have clear displays that won't hurt the eyes, and they fit into a range of different budgets. Whether you're a writer by trade or by hobby, these laptops will suit your needs.
An incredible tool for writers
Apple’s MacBook Air with M2 CPU is our top pick when it comes to laptops for writers. The potent combination of extreme battery life, reliable performance, snappy keyboard, and lightweight design make it well worth the money.
Apple's MacBook Air, launched in 2022 with an M2 processor (CPU), is the laptop that I and many colleagues use for writing articles on a daily basis. Even with other laptops thrown into the cycle for testing and for personal preference, the MacBook Air remains a lightweight go-to that sips battery. It weighs in at about 2.7 pounds (1.24kg) and measures just 0.44 inches (11.3mm) thin, with a rounded aluminum body and slab-like cut.
The keyboard's 1mm key travel doesn't sound great on paper, but it's not as bad as I was expecting. Key response is very snappy and the keycap sizing and spacing is perfect. I can type quickly and accurately. Centered below the keyboard is an enormous touchpad that is as good as any I've used. Even if you don't use key shortcuts, the touchpad makes for easy navigation.
As mentioned, battery life is outstanding. In his MacBook Air M2 (2022) review, Editor-in-Chief Rich Woods remarked that "You just don't have to think about charging with this laptop. […] It's a different mindset, when you suddenly find yourself not thinking about bringing a charger." And when you consider the 13.6-inch display at a 2560×1664 resolution and with up to 500 nits of brightness, that battery life becomes even more impressive.
Performance, as a writer, won't be a problem. I can run multiple web browsers with countless tabs, Word, GIMP, Spotify, and can have a handful of other tools hanging around without any hiccups. MacOS will take some time getting used to if you're coming from a different platform, but it's fairly straightforward and the vast majority of the apps I use elsewhere are compatible.
Affordable and modern Chromebook
ChromeOS is a lightweight system that can help you be productive as a writer, and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook is one of the latest convertible laptops to hit the market. At about $349, it’s a cheap way to land a modern and versatile laptop.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3i Chromebook is an affordable laptop that was recently released as a successor to the older Flex 3. Some of our colleagues have already got their hands on it, and it's proving to be a well-built, versatile convertible for anyone who loves ChromeOS. In usual Lenovo fashion, the keyboard is quite comfy with keycap spacing that won't make your hands feel cramped, at least as long as you're not working with oversized fingers. There's no backlight, but the grey keys offset nicely with the Abyss Blue finish.
The starting $349 price lands you a 12.2-inch touch display with 1920×1200 (FHD+) resolution, 300 nits brightness, glossy finish, and TÜV Low Blue Light certification to help protect your eyes during long days of writing. The fact that the display can rotate around for tent, stand, and tablet modes gives you more options beyond the traditional clamshell setup, though there is no pen support.
This Chromebook is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom N100 CPU, 4GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage. This is lightweight performance at its best, and it will handle your word processor and browser tabs without breaking much of a sweat. Port selection is also quite generous, with USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1), USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2), HDMI 1.4, microSD card reader, and 3.5mm audio jack. Be sure to check out more of the best Chromebooks if this one isn't quite what you need.
Luxurious convertible
The HP DragonFly Folio G3 is the nicest laptop I’ve tested and continue to use, but its price is prohibitively expensive. Still, professionals with money to burn will want to check it out.
The HP Dragonfly Folio G3 is another laptop in my rotation that I love to use for writing. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a premium PC, except even in that realm it's quite expensive. In my Dragonfly Folio G3 review, I mention that "you're not really paying for high-end performance here; most of the money is instead going to the innovative design and security features." The Folio G3 has a pull-forward display design that lets you sit the screen ahead of the keyboard for a wedge shape, or all the way forward for an angled tablet. When you aren't using the keyboard to type, you can handwrite notes and sketches with the included active pen.
With a faux leather wrap around the outside covering the hinge system, it all looks very serious. The keyboard is one of the best that HP has ever put into a laptop. There's lots of key travel, the square keys are spaced well, the backlight helps with working after hours, and the overall typing feel is really second to none. The Dragonfly Folio G3 is dripping with security and collaboration features — like an 8MP front-facing webcam with IR, many picture improvements (including AutoFrame), quad speakers, and optional 5G connectivity — making it a perfect option for professionals.
The laptop is powered by Intel's 12th Gen U-series CPUs (with vPro options mixed in), up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and your choice of M.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD up to 1TB in capacity. The 53Wh battery does an OK job of keeping everything going, and I was able to get about seven hours on a charge. That was with the FHD+ screen; bumping up to OLED at a 3000×2000 (3K2K) resolution will certainly cause that number to drop.
Haptic touchpad, seamless keyboard
The Dell XPS 13 Plus is a great laptop to get if you enjoy trying out the latest laptop designs. Its haptic touchpad, non-islanded keycaps, and touch function bar come together to deliver an experience unlike the regular XPS 13. As far as sleek 13-inch Ultrabooks go, this is one of the best.
When Dell first introduced the XPS 13 Plus in 2022, it became clear that the company wasn't going to sit back and let its regular XPS 13 do all the talking in the coming years. And now that Dell has performed a slight refresh to get the XPS 13 Plus up to 13th Gen Intel Core P-series CPUs, you don't have to worry about not getting the absolute latest hardware. You'll have no performance issues with up to a Core i7-1360P CPU, 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and 2TB of M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD storage. And with a 55Wh battery, you can expect about five hours of real-world runtime. That's not terrible when you consider how many features Dell has packed in.
The new keyboard's larger keycaps have minimal space between them, and you'll probably either love or hate the feel. Keys have about 1mm of travel, with a bright backlight to help with late work. In his Dell XPS 13 Plus review, Editor-in-Chief Rich Woods remarked that "this keyboard is really comfortable to type on." There's also a haptic function touch bar above the keys, with a seamless haptic touchpad below. It all makes for a futuristic look.
In usual Dell fashion, the screen choices are some of the nicest you'll find in a laptop today. Though you can go all the way up to a 13.4-inch 3.5K screen with OLED panel and 400 nits brightness, I've traditionally used the FHD+ model with no issues. The 1920×1200 resolution is crisp enough at this size, it has plenty of brightness, and you can get it in touch or non-touch. This is the best Dell laptop you can buy today, though you will pay more for it compared to the regular XPS 13.
Typing supremacy
Looking for a business partner that’s geared toward an incredible typing experience? Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 11) has arguably the best keyboard of any laptop, and it comes with the usual ThinkPad security, durability, and collaboration features.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been Lenovo's flagship business laptop for years, and it has now reached its 11th generation. We lasted reviewed the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 10), which has remained mostly the same other than a processor bump, camera improvements, and the use of more sustainable materials in production. Editor-in-Chief Rich Woods calls this "the Cadillac of keyboards" in his review, and indeed this is about the best you'll find. Keys are slightly cupped, they have 1.6mm of key travel, and there are dedicated navigation keys to make it easier to navigate Word documents.
You might be tempted to buy the laptop for the keyboard alone, but know that there are many high-end features to enjoy. There's a generous selection of ports including Thunderbolt 4, and a quad-speakers setup (with a couple flanking the keyboard) produces excellent sound with Dolby Atmos support. The new camera setup has up to a 1080p resolution, IR sensor, and Computer Vision (Lenovo's version of human presence detection) to keep collaboration and security at the top of priorities.
This is no chunky business laptop, either. The aluminum base and carbon fiber lid together weigh about 2.48 pounds (1.12kg) and measure about 0.59 inches (15mm) thin. That's even more impressive when you consider the agile 13th Gen Intel Core P-series chips and wide selection of 14-inch displays. Choose from multiple FHD+ options, or go with 2.2K or 2.8K OLED for a real treat. Be sure to check out more great Lenovo laptops if you love the brand but not this particular model.
Classic Surface quality
Looking for a clean clamshell notebook with a comfy keyboard and high-res 15-inch touch display? Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 5 is not as expensive as you might think, and it should suit those who want a no-nonsense laptop for writing and productivity.
Microsoft's Surface Laptop 5 is one of our top picks of all the best Surface PCs thanks to its clean clamshell design, snappy performance, and comfy keyboard. Editor-in-Chief Rich Woods says in his Surface Laptop 5 review that "Surface [keyboards] aren't too deep or too shallow, and the resistance feels just right to where I don't miss any keystrokes." You get a backlight to help work after hours, and nav keys have their own inputs instead of relying on a Function shortcut. The touchpad is probably too small for the chassis, but it points accurately.
The 15-inch Surface Laptop 5 has a sleek aluminum chassis and a display with 2496×1664 resolution. The 3:2 aspect ratio provides plenty of vertical screen real estate, and there's even support for inking and touch. The Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos put out quite a bit of sound, and the IR sensor that joins the 720p webcam gives you some added security.
Performance is snappy thanks to 12th Gen Intel Core U-series CPUs joined by up to 32GB of LPDDR5x RAM. This translates to about seven hours of real-world runtime on one charge, which is respectable in most scenarios. The laptop comes with just one USB-A port and a 3.5mm audio jack aside from the Thunderbolt 4 port. At least you can always connect to a great Thunderbolt 4 dock to expand connectivity.
Affordable AMD convertible
Lenovo’s Yoga 6 (Gen 8) seems like it should cost a lot more than it does at about $550. If you’d like a convertible PC with AMD hardware, it doesn’t get much better than this (especially thanks to the comfy keyboard).
I last tested the seventh-gen version of the convertible Yoga 6, and the laptop has now seen an eighth-gen refresh for new AMD Ryzen 7000 mobile CPUs. Not touching anything else is largely fine by me, as this is one of the best budget convertible I've ever used. Senior Editor João Carrasqueira agrees, noting in his Lenovo Yoga 6 (Gen 7) review that "the [laptop] nails almost all the basics of being a great convertible in this price range."
Everything from the 13.3-inch FHD+ touch display with Dolby Vision and TÜV Low Blue Light support, to the top-firing speakers with Dolby Atmos improvements, to the 1080p webcam with shutter and IR sensor makes this laptop hit different even outside its price range. The keyboard is as good as you'll find anywhere at this price, and it will even compete with laptops that cost twice as much. One small drawback is that nav keys are doubled up and require a Fn shortcut to reach.
With a starting price of about $550, the Yoga 6 (Gen 8) should be mighty attractive to anyone looking to spend less and still get a killer laptop that can handle writing duties and more. If it's not quite what you need, our roundup of the best cheap laptops has more quality options.
Durable and convenient
HP’s EliteBook 1040 G10 is one of the best business laptops around. It’s packed with security and collaboration features, it’s durable, and it’s powerful. The keyboard is top-notch, making this a popular pick for professionals who need to do a lot of writing.
The HP EliteBook 1040 G10 saw an early-2023 refresh, bringing the latest 13th Gen Intel Core U- and P-series CPUs, better power management for improved battery life, and some new collaboration features for the 5MP webcam. If you're a professional looking for a high-end business laptop, this is one of the best. It has undergone 19 different MIL-STD 810H durability certifications, meaning the aluminum build can withstand daily use and abuse.
There are multiple 14-inch displays to choose from, including up to a QHD+ resolution with 120Hz refresh rate and 500 nits brightness. Spend less, and you can still get a great FHD+ display with anti-glare finish. HP has paid close attention to its keyboard quality in the past few years, and the result is a comfortable typing experience with well-spaced keycaps and clear backlighting.
The sheer amount of collaboration tools onboard here should be enough to suit even the busiest professionals, and the performance is also quite good thanks to the generational Intel bump. A wide selection of ports, including dual Thunderbolt 4, two USB-A, HDMI, Nano SIM for optional 5G connectivity, and 3.5mm audio, make for easy connectivity.
Gorgeous laptop with ChromeOS
HP’s Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is arguably the best that you can buy today. It’s powerful thanks to a 12th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, the display is brilliant at a QHD+ resolution and 1,200 nits brightness, and the RGB-infused keyboard is just delightful to use.
Fans of the Google Pixelbook rejoice: the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is a second coming. HP worked with Google to create this Chromebook, and the result is what is arguably the best Chromebook on the market today. If you're a fan of ChromeOS and have an investment in the Google ecosystem, this is going to be one killer laptop.
It has a 14-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, 2560×1600 (QHD+) resolution, and up to 1,200 nits of brightness to make working outdoors in bright sunlight a non-issue. Editor-in-Chief Rich Woods reviewed the HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook, noting it "has one of the best displays you can get in a laptop." The Chromebook also has top-firing speakers (two on top and two on the bottom), an 8MP webcam, and four Thunderbolt 4 ports.
The keyboard has enough travel to remain comfortable during long days of typing, and an RGB backlight is there to add a bit of style to your workflow. The Windows version of the Dragonfly Pro that we also reviewed has the better overall keyboard, but this one is still quite good. The laptop is powered by a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U CPU, with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a 256GB SSD.
Professional and casual writers looking to land a great new laptop should almost always focus on the keyboard first; that's why we've put such a heavy emphasis on key quality in this collection. However, there are more features that will make your life as a writer as easy as possible. A nice, clear screen — especially with a high resolution and taller aspect ratio — lets you see what you're working on, modern performance hardware keeps you from waiting around when inspiration strikes, and long battery life can keep you working after hours to hit a tight deadline. All the laptops above are geared toward writers, but you only want one.
Our top pick is Apple's MacBook Air M2, released in 2022. The combination of lightweight aluminum construction, sleek slab design, incredible battery life, and snappy performance are enough to sell it on its own, but the dazzling display, comfy keyboard, and enormous touchpad push it over the edge. I and many of my colleagues use this laptop every day to write thousands of words, and it has become a mainstay in my usual rotation of laptops.
If you're not comfortable switching to MacOS or don't want to spend the money, something like the Lenovo Flex 3i Chromebook (for fans of ChromeOS) or the Lenovo Yoga 6 (for fans of Windows) can also get the job done at a much lower price. Lenovo knows what it's doing when it comes to keyboards, and the modern convertible design in each is versatile and attractive. You can also check out more great laptops under $1,000 if these aren't quite what you want.
Apple’s MacBook Air M2, released in 2022, is the best laptop out there for writers. It’s lightweight, it’s powerful, and the battery just goes and goes. The comfy keyboard, enormous touchpad, and dazzling display come together to promote productivity.
Cale has been testing and reviewing laptops, PC hardware, and accessories for more than six years, with hundreds of reviews to his name. He is a multi-platform user with no real staked allegiance, though he does have a soft spot for Windows laptops and PC gaming.

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