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The best laptops for remote working are reliable, lightweight, and efficient. Whether you’re working from home or living abroad as a digital nomad, you’ll need a quality laptop to do your remote job.
Remote working has a lot of benefits, such as the freedom to work from any location and to pick your work hours. And a wide variety of job roles are suitable for remote work, like freelance writers, virtual assistants, or graphic designers.
But all these jobs require the right tools, and a good laptop is vital for most remote workers.
The laptop you choose doesn’t necessarily need to be the most expensive laptop or the latest model with all the latest advanced features. But it does need to be powerful enough to carry out the tasks that your job entails, and it also needs to be priced within your budget.
So whether you want a budget laptop to handle content creation and word processing, or a high-spec machine with the latest technology to carry out complex graphic design tasks, this guide will help you to find the right laptop for remote work.
Features to consider when choosing laptops for remote working
When deciding on the best laptop for remote work, there are a few specifications to bear in mind, and you will likely have to prioritize certain features within your price range.
If you are looking for the best budget laptop for remote work, you can still find plenty of laptops with good specifications, especially if you’re willing to buy one that isn’t the latest model.
Which do you prefer: Windows or Apple macOS? This is the first thing you need to decide about your new laptop for remote work. Business users generally pick Windows laptops, while creative professionals often love Apple products.
As a travel content creator, I use and love Apple products.
If you don’t need to install any software on your laptop, a Chromebook could be a more affordable option. It will still allow you to check emails and browse the web.
The processor (or CPU) is the component that performs commands on your computer, so the faster the processor, the better performance you will see. But at the same time, your high-performance laptop is likely to be more expensive.
For graphic design or video editing tasks, you should buy a faster processor like the Mac M1 or an Intel Core i7. But if you will mainly use your new laptop for web-based word processing and checking emails, you could save money by buying a less powerful processor like an Intel Core i5.
Size and Weight
A heavy laptop isn’t ideal for remote work, especially if you intend to work from different locations and need to move around with your laptop.
Slimmer, lighter laptops are often more expensive as they use high-end components to keep the weight down, and larger screen sizes will tend to weigh more.
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is the quick access space that your computer uses to process data. So it’s essential to have enough memory for the type of work that you want your laptop to carry out.
8GB should be enough for basic office work, but you will need more if you run multiple programs simultaneously or use software for video editing or graphic design.
Some laptops will let you add extra RAM in the future, but others have the chips soldered in, which means you can’t expand the RAM.
The hard disk, or storage, is where your laptop keeps your program files and documents. There are two types of storage: a traditional hard drive (HDD) and a solid-state drive (SSD). An SSD is an excellent choice because it is faster than an HDD, but that also makes them more expensive.
128GB is enough storage capacity for most remote workers. If you need more than that, you can buy a laptop with more storage capacity onboard or store your files on the cloud or an external hard drive.
Screen Size and Quality
If you’re spending hours looking at your laptop screen, it’s important to choose a type of laptop with a good-quality screen. Higher resolution screens will help you to avoid eye strain, and Apple products are known for their excellent displays.
Most modern laptops have integrated graphics cards that will be sufficient for most remote workers. If you’re planning to use your laptop for graphic design or video editing, you should check that your graphics and video cards are suitable for the task.
Long battery life is an essential feature for remote workers. The latest laptops have batteries that can last as long as 20 hours, but six to eight hours should be your absolute minimum.
The increased importance of Zoom calls, video conferencing, and streaming means that web cameras are now a vital feature on many laptops for remote workers. Be sure your webcam is suitable for your needs; if you only use it for Zoom calls, you don’t need a 4K webcam.
Make sure that your type of laptop has all the functionality you need. You might want a headphone jack, USB ports to connect external devices, and an SD card slot to quickly transfer photos from your DSLR camera.
If your type of work involves photo or video editing, you might need to connect an external display via HDMI.
Of course, it’s vital to consider how much you are willing to spend on a laptop for remote work. If you have a large budget, you can get a top-of-the-range laptop, but you can also get a good laptop for office tasks for under $500.
Your goal should be to find a laptop with as many of the features on your wishlist as possible but without breaking your budget.
The best laptops for remote work
Once you know the specification you’re looking for, it’s time to go shopping. Here’s an overview of the best laptops for digital nomads.
|Macbook Pro||M1 Pro or M1 Max||1.3-22kg||17-21 hours|
|Microsoft Surface Book 3||10th Gen Intel Core i7 quad-core CPU||1.9-2.25kg||15.5-17.5 hours|
|Apple MacBook Air M1||M1 Chip||1.24kg||18 hours|
|Microsfot Surface Pro 7||Intel core i5||0.77kg||10.5 hours|
|Lenovo IdeaPad 5i||Intel Core i5||1.75kg||10 hours|
|Google PixelBook Go||8th Gen Inter Core i5 or i7||1kg||12 hours|
|Acer Aspire 5||Interl Core i5 or i7||1.65kg||8.5 hours|
|Acer Swift 3||Intel Core i7||1.18kg||14 hours|
|HP Envy 15T X360||11th Gen Intel Core i7||1.97kg||10 hours|
|Dell XPS 13||11th Gen Intel Core i7||1.28kg||12 hours|
Apple MacBook Pro
If you have a generous budget and want a top-of-the-range laptop that can handle intensive processing tasks, the MacBook Pro is an ideal choice.
It comes in a range of screen sizes and configurations, and its high-speed processing will handle just about any task. The Retina display looks fantastic, and the Magic Keyboard and Touch ID manage standard functions with a single keystroke.
The Apple MacBook Pro is a high-end laptop that is beloved by creative professionals. Its power and versatility make the higher price tag worthwhile for remote workers who are graphic designers or video editors.
The price tag might make you wince, but the strength and adaptability of the MacBook Pro mean that it’s worth considering.
It’s the laptop I’ve been using for the last four years, and it meets all my needs as a travel content creator.
- Processor M1 Pro or M1 Max
- Display Up to 16 inches
- Memory Up to 64 GB
- Storage Up to 8TB superfast SSD
- Weight 1.3 – 2.2 kilograms
- Battery Life 17 – 21 hours
- Powerful processor and graphics card
- Long battery life and fast charging
- Liquid Retina XDR display has excellent resolution
- Includes 1080p HD webcam
- Light and slim
- High price range
- No ability to expand storage or RAM
- Faster charging is not available on the entry-level model
- Scrolling can be slow
Microsoft Surface Book 3
If you prefer to avoid Apple devices, the Microsoft Surface laptop is a high-performance Windows laptop that can handle most remote work tasks.
It’s small and sleek with a touchscreen display and detachable keyboard, which means you can use it as a tablet as well as a laptop.
The Surface Book 3 has enough processing power, RAM, and storage for most remote workers, and its 15.5 hours battery life makes it ideal for working on the move. You can choose from two screen sizes, and it’s great for sketching and drawing as well as standard office work.
- Processor 10th Gen Intel Core i7 quad-core CPU
- Display Up to 15 inches
- Memory Up to 32 GB
- Storage Up to 512GB SSD
- Weight 1.9 – 2.25 kilograms
- Battery Life 15.5 – 17.5 hours
- Incredible performance that can handle most software
- High-quality display
- Touchscreen and detachable keyboard give great versatility
- Long battery life
- Detaching the screen reduces battery life, as the main battery is housed on the keyboard.
- Expensive compared to other laptops with a similar spec
Apple MacBook Air M1
The Apple MacBook Air M1 is the best option for remote workers who want to work on an Apple device but don’t have the budget for a MacBook Pro.
It’s Apple’s thinnest and lightest laptop so far, which makes it particularly great for digital nomads. But the M1 chip packs plenty of processing power into the sleek aluminum case.
The fantastic Retina display offers 2560 x 1600 resolution, which looks terrific, and the high-quality HD webcam is ideal for Zoom calls and video conferencing. And the low weight and long-lasting battery make the new MacBook Air a perfect laptop to throw in a bag and head off to work in a local coffee shop or bar.
With up to 24GB of RAM and up to 512GB SSD storage, the MacBook Air will easily handle document processing and light photo editing. But this laptop may not meet your requirements if your remote work involves intensive photo editing or video editing.
- Processor Apple M1 chip
- Display 13.3-inch
- Memory 8 GB – 32GB
- Hard drive 256 GB – 512 GB
- Weight 1.24kg
- Battery Life 18 hours
- Excellent processing and graphics capabilities
- Thin, lightweight, and easily transportable
- Useful battery life
- Clear and vivid Retina display
- Not possible to upgrade RAM or storage
- Only 2 USB-C ports
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a high-quality tablet with an external keyboard, which offers real competition to Mac laptops. The Intel Core i5 processor and SSD hard drive make it suitable for most office tasks and it’s lightweight enough to fit easily in your bag.
Combined with a high-resolution touch screen display, the Surface Pro 7 will suit many remote workers except those carrying out high-end graphics tasks. It is also at the more affordable end of the price range for laptops.
- Processor Intel Core i5
- Memory Up 16GB
- Storage Up to 1TB SSD
- Display 12.3”
- Weight 0.77 kilograms
- Battery life Up to 10.5 hours
- Solid processing capability
- Lightweight and slim
- Touchscreen display
- Affordable pricing
- The external keyboard cover and Surface pen are additional costs
- Battery life is not as good as other laptops
- Dated design
Lenovo IdeaPad 5i
The Lenovo IdeaPad 5i is a mid-range laptop that is a good option for many remote workers. It has an Intel Core 5i processor, 8GB of memory, and a massive 1TB SSD hard drive, making it ideal for many remote working jobs.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 5i has a 16″ HD display, 11-hour battery life, and valuable features like an SD card reader and fingerprint reader. It’s a solid laptop for remote workers at a very reasonable price.
Of course, you will have to compromise on specifications when you pay a lower price. This laptop only has a 720p webcam, and at 1.75kg, it’s a little heavier than some of the other laptops in this guide. But if you’re willing to accept those compromises, this is an excellent laptop in the budget-friendly range.
- Processor Intel Core i5
- RAM 8 GB
- Storage 1TB SSD
- Display 16”
- Weight 1.75kg
- Battery life 10 hours
- Decent processing power
- Large HD screen
- Separate number pad makes data entry easier
- Great specification for the price
- Large chassis may be bulky for travel
- RAM may not be sufficient for some tasks
Google PixelBook Go
The Google PixelBook Go is a Chromebook that runs on Chrome OS. There are some advantages to a Chromebook: they’re affordable, lightweight, fast, and secure. But there are also some disadvantages, particularly the inability to install software on them.
So if you do your remote work in the cloud, using Google Workspace or similar, a Chromebook might be a good choice. However, if your remote work requires you to install software like Adobe Photoshop or you don’t have access to a reliable internet connection, you will not be able to use a Chromebook.
The Google PixelBook Go is a fast, reliable, and lightweight Chromebook with excellent processing power and plenty of storage. There is a range of specifications, including one with a fantastic 4K Ultra HD Molecular Display.
If you don’t need a high-specification laptop for your remote work, and you have a stable internet connection, this could be a great option for you.
- Processor 8th Gen Intel® Core™ m3, i5 or i7 processor
- RAM 8GB – 16 GB
- Storage 128GB – 256GB SSD
- Display 13.3″ touchscreen display
- Weight 1kg
- Battery life Up to 12 hours
- Solid processing power
- Portable and lightweight laptop
- Excellent display options
- Good battery life
- Expensive compared to non-Google Chromebooks
- No ability to install software
- No internal SD card reader
Acer Aspire 5
The Acer Aspire 5 gives you good technical specifications at a reasonable price, making it an affordable option that’s suitable for most remote workers.
Depending on your budget, you can choose from Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, and the range offers 8GB RAM, which is expandable. The 256 SSD hard drive and 15.6″ full HD screen will be sufficient for most remote workers.
This model is priced very competitively, so it’s ideal if you’re just getting started in remote work.
- Processor Intel Core i5 or i7 processor
- RAM 8GB expandable
- Storage 256GB SSD
- Display 15.6″ HD display
- Weight 1.65 kg
- Battery life 8.5 hours
- Good specification at a competitive price
- Large HD screen
- Expandable RAM allows you to update in the future
- USB-C and HDMI ports for connecting external devices
- Web browsing can be slow
- Low battery life may be a problem for remote workers
- Embedded battery can not be replaced in the future
Acer Swift 3
With a powerful Intel Core i7 processor and an amazing 2K (2256 x 1504) 13.5″ screen, the Acer Swift 3 is a great laptop at a surprisingly affordable price. The specification also includes 8GB of memory and a beefy 512GB SSD, making this laptop suitable for many remote workers.
The Acer Swift 3 also has an impressive 14-hour battery life and weighs in at just 1.18kg, making it ideal for digital nomads and remote workers on the move. And there are even additional features like Windows Hello and Acer Bio-Protection Fingerprint Solution to keep your remote work laptop secure.
The Acer Swift 3 packs a big punch for a mid-range price tag and will satisfy many digital nomads and remote workers.
- Processor Intel Core i7
- RAM 8 GB
- Hard Drive 512 GB
- Display 13.5 2K screen
- Weight 1.18kg
- Battery Life Up to 14 hours
- Great specification at an affordable price
- One of the best-performing laptops in this price range
- Lightweight design
- Great battery life ideal for remote work
- RAM can’t be expanded
- Speaker quality isn’t great
HP Envy 15T X360
The HP Envy 15T X360 is a high-specification machine that you can use as a regular laptop or flip over to use as a tablet. It comes with a stylus pen for drawing or taking notes on the 15.6″ edge-to-edge touchscreen display and has an 11th-Generation Intel Core i7 processor.
Combined with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD hard drive, it has the processing power and storage you’d expect from a laptop at the top end of the market.
The HP Envy 15T X360 is one of the most versatile and powerful laptops on the market. It is undoubtedly one of the best laptops for remote working.
Of course, the HP Envy 15T X360 comes in at a higher price than some of the other laptops in this guide. But with its sleek aluminum case, backlit keyboard, and separate number pad, you get a lot of laptop for your money.
- Processor 11th Generation Intel Core i7
- RAM 16 GB
- Hard Drive 1TB SSD
- Display 15.6″ touchscreen display
- Weight 1.97kg
- Battery Life Up to 10 hours
- Fast Intel i7 processor and plenty of RAM for excellent processing power
- Doubles as a tablet
- Good battery life
- Expensive compared to some of the other Windows laptops
- Heavy laptop may not be ideal for travel
Dell XPS 13
Dell laptops offer impressive specifications in a compact chassis, and the Dell XPS 13 could be the best laptop for remote workers, but it does come at a higher price.
The slim, lightweight laptop houses a powerful Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 512 SSD. You also get a crystal clear 13.3″ FHD display and a high-quality webcam, making it ideal for remote workers who need to jump on a Zoom call regularly. This is a premium laptop with USB-C, Bluetooth, WiFi-6, a microSD reader, and up to 12 hours of battery life.
It also weighs a slim 1.28kg, which is another reason why the Dell XPS 13 is one of the best laptops for remote working.
- Processor 11th Generation Intel Core i7
- RAM 16 GB
- Hard Drive 512GB SSD
- Display 15.6″ FHD screen
- Weight 1.28kg
- Battery Life Up to 12 hours
- Great processing power, memory, and storage
- Enough battery life for a full day of remote work
- Slim and light, perfect if you’re on the move
- Sleek design looks fantastic
- Average webcam
- Limited port selection
- Relatively expensive compared to other Windows laptops
So now you know all the details and specifications of the best laptops for remote working.
Whether you choose a high-end MacBook with intensive processing power, a versatile Microsoft Surface Book 3, or a budget-friendly Acer Aspire 5, I hope this list could help you find the ideal laptop for your remote work journey.
Jumping into the digital nomad lifestyle? Don’t miss these posts!
- Where To Find Digital Nomad Communities
- Can You Travel While Working Remotely?
- The Best Digital Nomad Luggage
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