Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Best laptops for bloggers (Dec 2015)

Best laptops for bloggers

I noticed that some people have landed on my site lately because they've been searching for terms like 'best laptops for bloggers 2015.'

First: if you're looking for a term like this...welcome to the blogging community!

There are a ton of bloggers out there, writing on a variety of topics, so there's a niche for everybody! Most people report that bloggers tend to be a friendly community of helpful, like-minded people who like to share their tips and create connections with others--this has been my experience as well.

Second: there is no one-size-fits all advice. One person's needs and preferences may be very different from another's needs and preferences. Any suggestions I offer here are just that--suggestions. For an explanation of how to determine what you need, here's a link to my advice.

With that in mind, this post lists some of the best options for a variety of needs, from the cheap to the luxurious. I'm confident that this list will have something to fit your needs!

If these don't work for you, I have links with some more suggestions here and here (though there will be some overlap with the current article).

My recommendations:

Best all-around laptop:
Toshiba Satellite Radius; $680

This fairly light, yet powerful computer will give you just about everything you could ask for.

Fast processor? Check.
Plenty of RAM for multitasking? Check.
Lots of storage? Check.
Long battery life? Check.
Lightweight and portable? Check. I've long been a fan of 14" computers as a good compromise between portability and screen size.

I'd prefer a faster and more reliable solid-state-drive, but this is still a good price!

AMD FX-8800P, 14" standard HD screen, 8 GB RAM, 750 GB 5400 rpm hard drive, 4.5 pounds, over 6 and a half hours on battery.

     ASUS X550ZA; $500

     This one costs much less, yet comes with more storage space and an optical drive to play CDs and DVDs. It sacrifices some portability, but not everyone wants a small or very light computer. This one also doesn't come with a fancy hinge that lets you flip the screen around--not a huge loss in my book.

     A10-7400P, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB 5400 rpm hard drive, optical drive, 15.6" standard HD screen

Best graphics-intensive laptop:
ASUS K501UX; $800

This has just about everything computer geeks look for. A computer similar to this one--but not as fast--would have gone for twice the price, as recently as two years ago. If I weren't a grad student on a limited budget, this is what I'd get!

Skylake i7, matte Full HD 15.6" screen, Nvidia GTX 950M, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, backlit keyboard, 2 USB 3.0 ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports

Best detachable:
ASUS TransformerBook Chi; $530

I've recommended this before, but at a price over $100 higher! Who needs a Surface Pro, when this capable alternative costs much less?

Best ultrabook:
ASUS Zenbook UX305FA; $650

Again, I recommended this over 10 months ago. Since then, the price has dropped (EDIT: the price has been fluctuating wildly recently. MSRP is $699; don't pay more than that)--but a new Zenbook is just as capable as it was a year ago! Some good, recent systems are going on sale for excellent prices! You don't need the latest, most heavily-advertised machine--just one that will get the job done well.

Best low-cost laptop:
ASUS X555LA; $360

I'm not as excited about laptops that don't come with solid-state drives. But this is a good deal, even if it didn't come with a ridiculously large 1 TB hard drive! If you're on a strict budget, this is a good option.

If you're comfortable with disassembling and reassembling your electronic devices, this machine would be even faster with an SSD like the SanDisk SSD Plus (240 GB), the PNY  CS1311 (240 GB), or the Silicon Power S60 (240 GB). And you can keep the 1 TB hard drive as external storage!

Best Chromebook alternative (with Windows):
ASUS EeeBook X205TA; $200

I'll be honest--this is all about the small size and long battery life, and definitely not about speed. It's better-suited for travel than as a workhorse. But hey, it's really cheap, and it's well-regarded for its price point! Again, the price fluctuates pretty wildly on this device; don't pay more than $200.

Atom Z3735F, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB SSD, 11.6" standard HD screen, 12-hour battery life

Best Chromebook:
Toshiba Chromebook CB35-B3340; $270

The excellent screen is the real selling point here. The display is excellent, the battery life is quite good, and there's a nice amount of RAM for a Chromebook.

On the downside, it's not very fast, and storage space is minimal--but that's not the point of a device like this one. It also can't run the full version of Microsoft Office, so that's a major turn-off for many people. If you are fine with using QuickOffice, Microsoft Office Online, or Google Docs, then this won't be an issue for you.

Celeron N2840, 4 GB RAM, 16 GB SSD (no full Office; only QuickOffice/Microsoft Office Online/Google Docs), 13.3" IPS Full HD screen, 9-hr battery life

Cheapest Chromebook:
Acer Chromebook CB3-111-C670; $150

Only if you need the absolute cheapest computer you can find. Acer's computers are notoriously unreliable (particularly the cheap ones). It also lacks the storage space to run full Microsoft Office, and can only run QuickOffice, Microsoft Office Online, or Google Docs. If you're doing nothing but blogging or other simple tasks, this may suit your needs. Nonetheless, I'd recommend one of the full Windows computers listed above the ASUS EeeBook.

Celeron N2830 (a slow version of an inherently slow processor), 2 GB RAM, 16 GB SSD, 11.6" standard HD screen, 8.5-hr battery life

If I can't turn you away from Apple, I recommend these:

MacBook Air (2014); $900

The 13" version is my recommendation; it gets better battery life, and the larger screen is easier to see. But you'll get better performance for less money from a laptop running Windows; the ASUS K501 above would run circles around this--and for significantly less money!

MacBook Pro (2015); $1300

A quality option, though I'd be irritated if $1300 got me only 128 GB of storage! And for a more reasonable 256 GB of storage, you'll pay a $200 premium--$1500 total! This is one of several reasons why I don't like Apple...

All images from Amazon, unless noted otherwise.

Happy saving!