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What Are the Best Computers for Writing a Book?

computers May 19, 2021

You know when you have the right tool, getting the job done is much easier. The same applies to writing.  That’s why I created this list of the top computers, keyboards, and word processing programs for writers.

Fortunately, you can get by with a few basic items to write your book. Most authors only need a simple laptop and a word processing program. But having the right ones make a world of difference in how efficiently you work.

Whether you’re in the market for a new computer or you want more sophisticated tools to help you write and self-published your book(s), think of this article as a buyer’s guide to make your writing journey more productive and enjoyable.

 

Computers

Let’s start with the most essential tool for authors, the computer. Yes, some people still write with pen and paper, but if you’re like most of us, you’ll be using a laptop computer to write your book.

If you have a reliable computer that meets your needs, stick with it. There’s no need to buy a new one simply for writing your book. However, if you need a computer, here’s how to choose a good one.

The first question is which operating system do you prefer: Chrome OS (Chromebooks), Windows (PC computers), or Apple macOS. If you’re uncertain, here’s a comparison:

 

  Chromebooks PC Computers Apple Computers
Operating System Chrome OS Windows macOS
Price Range $250 - $750+ $400 - $1,500+ $800 - $2,000+
Pros

Inexpensive

Long battery life

Simple to use·   Fast

Runs the widest variety of software programs

Broadest range of prices & options to choose from

Fast

Easy to use

Premium look & feel

Comes with lots of free software

Cons

Limited software options

Requires Internet connection for optimal use

Shorter battery life

More complicated to use

More prone to viruses

Expensive

Fewer software options than PCs

Best choice if … … you’re on a budget, and you won’t use your computer for much more than writing … you plan to use your computer for business purposes, playing games, and more … you plan to use your computer for graphic design, video production, and more

 

The computers listed below were selected based on user ratings and features that are useful for writers. Those features include a comfortable keyboard, a good monitor, reliable file storage, long battery life, portability, and quality construction.

 

Chromebooks

 

Budget Choice: HP Chromebook 14

Price: ~$260

Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Pros: long battery life (15 to 18 hours), affordable, easy to use, good sized screen (14.0 inches)

Cons: limited on software it will run (not ideal for Microsoft, multimedia, games, Scrivener, etc.), not ideal when disconnected from the Internet, a bit heavier than other Chromebooks (3.2 pounds)

Bottom Line: good choice for people who like Android devices and Google apps (Docs, Drive, Classroom, etc.)

Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/3n0p229

  

Premium Choice: Google Pixelbook Go

Price: ~$650

Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Pros: lightweight (2.0 pounds), long battery life (10 to 12 hours), affordable, easy to use

Cons: limited on compatible software (not ideal for Microsoft, multimedia, games, Scrivener, etc.), not ideal when disconnected from the Internet

Bottom Line: good choice for people who like Android devices and Google apps (Docs, Drive, Classroom, etc.)

Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/3b1RnQU

 

PC Computers

 

Budget Choice: Acer Aspire 5 Slim

Price: ~$430

Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Pros: affordable; plenty of power; good keyboard, webcam, and microphone; large, high-quality screen (15.6 inches); runs a wide variety of software programs

Cons: relatively short battery life (6 to 8 hours), heavier than other laptops (4.0 pounds), comes with a lot of unnecessary software

Bottom Line: inexpensive choice for people who prefer PC computers and Microsoft programs

Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/3sxKIE2

 

Premium Choice: Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Price: $800 to $1,000   

Amazon Rating: 4.6 out of 5

Pros: lightweight (1.1 pounds), long battery life (10 to 12 hours), runs most software programs, touchscreen

Cons: expensive, many software programs require subscriptions, small screen (12.3 inches)

Bottom Line: excellent choice for people who want portability and like PC devices and Microsoft programs

Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/2P8EJYI

 

Apple Macs

 

Budget Choice: Apple MacBook Air

Price: ~$1,000 

Amazon Rating: 4.8 out of 5

Pros: lightweight (2.8 pounds), portable, long battery life (10 to 12 hours), great display, simple to use (if you’re an Apple user)

Cons: expensive, limited upgradeability, not ideal for Microsoft programs, small screen (13.3 inches)

Bottom Line: excellent choice for people who want portability and like Apple devices

Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/3duIsJe

 

Premium Choice: Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch

Price: ~$2,400 

Amazon Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Pros: big high-quality display (16 inches), portable, long battery life (10 to 12 hours), great display,  simple to use (if you’re an Apple user)

Cons: expensive, limited upgradeability, not ideal for Microsoft programs, heavier than other laptops (4.3 pounds)

Bottom Line: excellent choice for people who want a large display and like Apple devices

Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/3h30rsG

 

Keyboards

If you write for extended periods of time, you might notice pain in your wrists or forearms. A good ergonomic keyboard can help with this issue. I’ve found that wireless keyboards work best since wired keyboards tend to be clumsy and glitchy. Here are the best wireless keyboards on the market today.

 

Budget Choice: Jelly Comb KE68 Wireless Keyboard

Price: ~$70     

Amazon Rating: 4.8 out of 5     Operating Systems: any

Pros: ergonomic design with comfortable typing position, adjustable keyboard heights, works well with multiple devices, convenient wireless feature, long-lasting rechargeable battery

Cons: requires occasional recharging

Bottom Line: excellent choice for a wireless, ergonomic, rechargeable keyboard

Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/3tzzD6L

 

Premium Choice: Logitech Ergo K860 Wireless Keyboard

Price: ~$130    

Amazon Rating: 4.7 out of 5

Pros: ergonomic design with comfortable typing position, comfortable wrist rest, long-lasting rechargeable battery

Cons: takes up more space than keyboards without wrist rests, requires occasional recharging

Bottom Line: excellent choice for a wireless, ergonomic, rechargeable keyboard

Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/3v8eO2H

 

Software

Once you have a good computer, choosing software to write your book is easy. For most writers, simpler is better when it comes to word processing programs. Added bells and whistles are typically distractions when all you want to do is get words out of your head and into your computer.

The notable exception is Scrivener. It’s a software program designed specifically to help writers write books, and it’s compatible with all computers. It has handy features to help you create outlines, format book files, track writing progress, and much more. It takes some effort to learn, but if you like working on programs with a wide variety of options, you might want to consider upgrading.

Here are the software programs that work best with each type of computer.

 

All Computers:

Budget Choice: Google Docs

Price: Free      

Pros: Easy to learn, easy to share files with other people, automatically saves as you type

Cons: Formatting options are limited, works best only when connected to the Internet

Bottom Line: Great when you want to share your writing document with other people

 

Premium Choice: Scrivener

Price: ~$50

Pros: Great for developing book outlines, building character profiles, tracking writing progress, and more

Cons: Challenging learning curve, occasionally stalls while saving files

Bottom Line: Great for computer-savvy writers who are willing to learn advanced features

 

PC Computers:

Microsoft Word

Price: ~$70/year (includes Microsoft 365 bundle)

Pros: Easy to learn, does basic formatting well

Cons: Expensive if not already installed on your computer, recurring subscription cost

Bottom Line: The “go-to” solution for people who use PC computers

Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/2QfXLge

 

Apple Computers:

Apple Pages

Price: Free

Pros: Easy to learn, does basic formatting well, free for Apple devices

Cons: Only designed for Apple devices, challenging converting files for use on non-Apple computers

Bottom Line: The “go-to” solution for people who use PC computers

 

 

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing more frustrating than using the wrong tools when you’re writing a book. It can result in you wasting time and, worst of all, losing files that contain the output from your hard work. That’s why it’s important to get a computer, word processing software, and if needed, an extra-comfortable keyboard.

If you have a writing system that works for you, I don’t recommend changing it. But, if you don’t, use the suggestions above to make your writing life easier.

 

DISCLAIMER: Some of the links above are affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service using the links I provide, I might receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you, and I appreciate your support when you make a purchase using one of my affiliate links. 

 

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