One of the most appealing parts of making a living as work from home professional or as a digital nomad -working remotely while traveling- is how flexible the job is.
As a general rule, you won’t need to lug around much fancy equipment with you when you connect from a nearby coffee shop or as you work while traveling around the world. In fact, you’ll be able to do your job with just what fits in a backpack.
The one and only piece of work gear work from home professionals or digital nomads really do need to have is a reliable laptop (along a reliable internet connection). In fact, it’s so important, that you should give careful consideration to which device you choose.
It needs to be light, remote-work-friendly, with features and requirements that perhaps wouldn’t be as important to somebody buying a laptop for the office or to play games, but will be fundamental in this case.
- Criteria to buy a digital nomad friendly laptop
- The best laptops for digital nomads in now
1. Criteria to buy a “digital nomad friendly” laptop that you can also use to work from home
- Weight: It’s crucial to have a laptop that doesn’t weigh you down or take up too much space in your backpack on your journeys.
- Functionality: You’ll need a laptop that is powerful and has all of the features that you need to do your work, whether that’s design and development software or productivity and communications tools. You’ll probably also need to be able to video conference with clients and family, so a built-in webcam is a major plus.
- Battery: On the road, you’re pretty likely to find yourself in a situation without anywhere to plug your laptop in to charge. For that reason, a decent battery life is crucial.
- Price: Many digital nomads are working on a budget. That makes a powerful but still affordable laptop option highly attractive.
- Meets Your Needs: Every digital nomad has different laptop needs based on the type of work that they do. A video editor, for example, will probably need to invest in a good graphics card and a fast processor whereas a writer might be able to get away with something with less storage and power.
- Ease of Repair: What do you do if your laptop breaks on the road? Unfortunately, accidents happen and it’s important to be able to maintain your laptop in good working condition from all around the world. Some brands are easier to fix than others, with more or less internationally-located authorized repair locations.
- Durability: Chances are, as a digital nomad, you won’t have the ability to replace your laptop every other year. Choosing an option that lasts is critical.
- Familiarity: If you want to get work done on your laptop as soon as you buy it, you might want to go with a brand you’ve used before so you don’t have to waste too much time learning the device’s ropes.
2. The best laptops for working remotely now
Based on the previous criteria, what are the best travel and remote work-friendly laptops for digital nomads? Here are some remote work-friendly laptops you can easily take and rely on to accompany you on your digital nomad travels.
Priced at around 225$, the ASUS C202 is a popular laptop with travelers thanks to its compact size and fantastic battery life of up to ten hours – perfect for when you’re working in the wilderness or in a cafe that doesn’t have an available power socket.
It’s shockproof, so it can take a fall without much problem, and the spill-proof keyboard is great for working by the pool or on the beach. The anti-glare screen is great for working outdoors, too. Not only that, but because it’s a Chromebook laptop, everything is backed up in the cloud. That means that if it’s stolen, you can still access all your work when you buy a new one.
The downside is that this laptop has limited functionality – though it has a webcam, it’s really a glorified internet browser. It’s fine if you’re just working in Google Docs, but the 16GB hard drive is rather limited. It’s enough space for storing documents, but you might find yourself running out of room if you store too many photos or movies on it. An external hard drive would easily solve this problem, or cloud storage if you have a reliable WiFi connection.
- Great texture, clicky-keys, and comfortable pattern–overall, a reliable keyboard.
- One of the most durable laptops–build with excellent materials.
- An ideal choice for students who want to make online assignments, browse the internet, etc.
- A great battery life! The owner can expect up to 10-12 hours of on-screen time on average workload.
- Gets security patch updates regularly from Google.
- A wide selection of ports like HDMI, USB 3.0, headphone/microphone jack, and an SD card slot.
- Due to its tough and durable build materials, Asus C202 is heavier than its competitors.
- You can expect Asus C202 to out-do windows-based laptops on editing and heavy-duty tasks.
- Display resolution is okay, and colors are kind of dull.
The Acer Chromebook is a durable laptop choice for digital nomads. Its impressive 12-hour battery life makes it a great choice for travelers. With its thin aluminum design, it looks like a MacBook but, at around $270, it’s a fraction of the cost.
Its built-in HDR webcam and enhanced wireless speeds make it perfect for video calls, while 32GB of storage gives you plenty of space without having to rely on an external hard drive. An anti-glare screen means you can use it outside and experience reduced eye strain.
- The sturdy aluminum chassis featured on the Acer Chromebook 14 makes it look and feel premium.
- 4GB RAM inside the Acer Chromebook 14 makes multitasking buttery smooth.
- Vibrant 1080p display makes videos and images look sharper and crisper than ever.
- Long battery life–up to 10 to 12 hours of on-screen usage under normal load.
- Speakers are loud, accurate, and punchy enough for a $380 laptop.
- The display is dim; users will sometimes want to turn up the brightness over the set limit.
- No SD memory reader available, meaning you can’t directly expand the storage capacity of Acer Chromebook 14.
- The processor can show its limits under heavy usage.
You can pay thousands for a Microsoft Surface Book, but the cheapest model, while still pricier than other laptops on this list at around $550, makes a great choice for digital nomads who might not have that much money to spend yet.
It’s a tablet and laptop rolled into one, making it incredibly versatile. You can use it as a standalone tablet or with the full traditional keyboard. It has front and rear-facing cameras that make it perfect for HD Skype calls, and with a whopping 13.5 hours of battery life, you won’t run out of juice mid-call.
- The futuristic and minimalistic design of the Microsoft Surface Book makes it stand out.
- 5-inch gorgeous and unrivaled display with 3,000 x 2,000 resolution and 267 pixels per inch.
- Seamless tablet separation makes Microsoft Surface Book a handy and versatile laptop.
- Wide selection of ports like 2 x USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, SD card reader, mini headphone/mic combo jack.
- Solid benchmark results, Microsoft Surface Book, scored 7,285 on 3D Mark Cloud Gate and 1,868 on Fire Strike.
- Battery life can fall below what’s promised by Microsoft under heavy usage.
- The front-facing camera needs some amendments.
For a cheap, basic, travel-friendly laptop, you can’t do much better than the Lenovo Ideapad. It’s perfect for work that doesn’t require too much processing power, such as copywriting. It’s very lightweight and has a battery life of eight hours, meaning you should get a day’s work out of it without needing to plug it in.
64GB provides ample storage for photos, movies, and work documents, and there’s a built-in camera for Skype calls. Available for around $160, it’s not going to be too much of an upset if it gets stolen or damaged while you’re out and about.
- An amazingly affordable machine that makes sure you don’t fall behind the world in terms of performance.
- Battery life goes from what’s promised by Lenovo and far beyond the competitors.
- Good keyboard with nicely laid out keys that provide a good response and feel.
- Easy upgradeable RAM and storage options
- Various port selections like HDMI, USB 3.0, Ethernet, Headphone/Mic Jack, Card Reader, etc.
- The stock storage unit (HDD) found on Lenovo Ideapad is slow.
- Webcam found on Lenovo Ideapad is flawed and not up to the modern-day image/video quality standards.
- Display viewing angles are bad.
- Build quality of the Lenovo Ideapad isn’t robust.
The MacBook Pro is considered state-of-the-art for a reason. It’s beautiful, powerful, and easy to use – but you’ll pay the price. The cheapest model, at $1,299 comes with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 8 GB of memory, and 128GB of storage, meaning it’s quite fast and powerful (though you’ll have to upgrade to a more expensive model for the really impressive speed and storage).
It comes with a built-in camera automatically linked to Facetime, making it easy to stay connected. The battery lasts for 10 hours, which is plenty for the day, and the impressive collection of applications available is highly appealing. However, you will probably need to buy several accessories, as the laptop doesn’t come with a disc drive or USB, HDMI, or SD ports.
- Sleek and slim, eye-catching design that’s made to stand out in the crowd.
- Unmatchable retina display with 2560 x 1600 resolution that produces quality images and videos.
- Work power-house! Great for developers, editors, and anyone who’s looking for a machine with the best performance.
- Mac operating system truly outshines Windows-based laptops with its premium eco-system.
- Super-fast embedded Solid State Drive for faster storing and accessing of files and applications.
- Great Mac-only apps for creators, designers, developers, and more.
- Slow-integrated graphics processor on the base models of Macbook Pro.
- No selection of ports like HDMI, Ethernet, USB, SD Card Slot, etc. Only thunderbolt ports are available.
- Internal memory and storage can’t be upgradeable on the latest Macbook Pro models.
The Dell XPS has just as much memory and storage as the cheapest MacBook Pro, with a bit more powerful of a processor and a lower price of $949. It weighs in at just under 3 pounds with a durable, all-aluminum unibody.
The Dell XPS offers a solid 12 hours of battery life, letting you get a lot of work done on the go. It even comes with a fingerprint reader for added security and ease of mind as you come in contact with a large number of strangers.
- Top-of-the-line Windows-based laptop made for people who want a true leap of performance.
- Fantastic screen with rich colors, resolution, and HDR functionality. Overall, a great screen for everyone.
- Multiple super-power processor availability like i5 and i7 for top-notch performance.
- Great keyboard and fluent trackpad that makes your work truly effortless.
- A design to fall in love for! The aesthetics of the Dell XPS are pleasing to every eye.
- With overloaded performance and features, Dell XPS has short battery life.
- Dell XPS falls short in the port variety department; it only has USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, and microSD card slot.
- Starting price point of the Dell XPS is quite expensive for a user who’s looking for a budget-friendly laptop.
The Lenovo Flex is a great option for digital nomads who want a decently powerful yet budget-friendly option. At just $377.99, the Flex has a 128 GB hard drive with 4 GB of memory. It weighs in at a reasonable 3.65 pounds and offers 8 hours of battery life with a quick charge time.
The laptop also comes with a shuttered webcam, giving you full control of what your camera sees, which should ease the mind of travelers worried about privacy. And perhaps most excitingly of all, the Lenovo Flex is as versatile as its name suggests: you can write on the touch screen with a digital pen (sold separately), and it can be used in Tent mode, Stand mode, or Tablet mode.
- Exceptionally handles tasks like photo editing, video rendering, and gaming with ease.
- Lenovo Flex gives you up to seven to nine hours of continuous battery backup on average use.
- Stylus Pen, provided by Lenovo, comes in handy for writing quick notes, drawing, and more.
- Lenovo Flex can be used as a laptop or a tablet, thanks to its two-in-one design.
- Speakers on the Lenovo Flex are a-okay, providing perfect mids and lows.
- Touchpad found on the Lenovo Flex doesn’t have a glass finish.
- No dedicated GPU is found on the Lenovo Flex, which makes it suffer in graphics-related tasks.
The HP Spectre comes in at a fairly expensive $1,299, but it’s much more powerful than the similarly-priced MacBook Pro. The Spectre boasts a 4 GHz processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB hard drive, plus a whopping 14 hours of battery life. That should be plenty even for more intensive jobs, like video editing.
And even with all that power, the HP Spectre weighs only 2 pounds and three quarters. Plus, it has all sorts of cool features like a touch screen and facial recognition. It’s sleek, fast, and versatile, making it a great choice for digital nomads who want to invest their money in a powerful machine.
- Perky performance, thanks to its high-speed Intel Core i5-1135G7 or Core-i7-1165G7 processor.
- Convertible 2-in-1 design makes HP Spectre a great & sleek laptop-cum-tablet machine.
- Keyboard found on the HP Spectre is quite comfortable as it has got nice layering and good key texture.
- Intel Iris Xe Graphics chip on Hp Spectre makes graphics-related tasks easy to handle by the machine.
- It can be a bit pricy for an average user looking to buy a laptop for everyday use.
- Microphones and speakers on HP Spectre need some improvement.
- You won’t find a security-cable lockdown notch on HP Spectre.
Last, but not least, if you’re looking for something highly portable, the Asus Zenbook proudly calls itself “the world’s smallest 13-inch laptop.” At only 3,2 pounds, 17 millimeters thin, and smaller than your standard A4 paper, it sure is tiny.
In addition to size, this laptop is a great option for anybody looking for a great display, high resolution, crisp color, and large screen area. The laptop has got everything: an ergonomic keyboard, 512 GB of storage, 14 long hours of battery life, facial recognition, and a myriad of built-in ports. And at only $849, it’s much more affordable than you’d expect for all that it offers.
- Glossy IPS LCD with Full HD resolution delivers outstanding image and video quality.
- A dedicated GPU chip is available for designers, developers, and creators who want to put Asus Zenbook on a heavy load.
- Available in Intel Core i5 and i7 processor.
- Narrow bezels, lightly built materials, and metallic lid make Asus Zenbook a piece of art.
- Excellent keyboard and trackpad.
- Fingerprint sensor isn’t available.
- Battery backup can be better.
- Webcam quality isn’t up to the mark.
Are you looking for more remote work related gear? Check out our guides about:
- Noise-cancelling headphones
- Mobile hotspots
- Backpacks for digital nomads
- International travel insurance
- International Data SIM Cards
- Top VPN Plans
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