Are you a professional journalist or a journalism student who is in search of a reliable laptop? You don’t need a powerful laptop that comes with the high-end Intel i9 or i7 processor for your work. Also, you really don’t need a laptop with a high-end discrete graphics card like RTX 2080, RTX 2070, or RTX 2060.
In most cases, when it comes to professions like journalism, the organizations generally offer a work laptop to their journalists. However, if you are a journalism student or have the freedom to choose the machine, then you are in the right place.
In the subsequent sections, we have enlisted a few factors to consider when buying a laptop for both studies and profession regarding journalism.
- Portability: Your laptop has to be thin and lightweight. Appearances matter a lot in a journalist’s profession. You meet important people. Lugging a heavy laptop meant for gaming while meeting them is not a good idea.
- Strong Build: Yes, the journalists who cover war-prone areas have exceptional cases built for their laptops. Even if you are not covering a warzone, you need to ensure that the laptop is built strongly enough to handle significant day to day wear and tear.
- Big Battery: If there’s anything confirmed in a journalist’s job, it’s long hours. You could end hours waiting for an interview, with nothing else to do but work with your laptop unplugged.
- Spacious Keyboard: You spend a lot of your time writing articles, just like a writer. So, you need a spacious and comfortable keyboard.
- Pleasant, comfortable display: You spend a lot of time typing and looking at the screen and watching the videos and recordings from the cameraman. Therefore you need an excellent screen as well.
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
- Best Laptops for Journalists & Journalism Students in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: Asus ZenBook 15
- 2. Best Runner Up: Dell XPS 13
- 3. Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro 6
- 4. Best Battery Life: LG Gram 14
- 5. Best with Dual Storage: ASUS Vivobvook
- 6. Best Under Budget: HP Envy 13
- 7. Best with MacOS: Apple MacBook Air
- 8. Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin 13
- 9. HP 15 i5825T
- 10. Best with Chrome OS: Samsung Chromebook 4
- 11. Cheapest Option: ASUS Chromebook
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|CPU||10th Gen Intel Core i3||9th Gen Intel Core i5 or better|
|Storage||256GB SSD||512GB SSD|
|Display||15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)||15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)|
|GPU||Integrated Intel HD 610||Integrated Intel UHD 620 or better|
|Battery||Up to 5 hours||Up to 10 hours|
Best Laptops for Journalists & Journalism Students in 2021
|Asus ZenBook 15|
|Dell XPS 13|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 6|
|LG Gram 14|
|HP Envy 13|
|Apple MacBook Air|
|Acer Chromebook Spin 13|
|HP 15 i5825T|
|Samsung Chromebook 4|
Mostly, a laptop for a journalist will be a word processing machine. Even a Celeron based laptop that costs around $300 to $400 or the low powered CPUs that are built for mobile computing will do the job well for a journalist. However, we recommend you go for models that come with Intel i5 or above for getting things done quickly. As you won’t use a laptop solely for journalism, you would want to perform several other tasks like accounting, financial modeling, recording podcasts, editing photos and sharing them on social media.
1. Best Overall: Asus ZenBook 15
The featured Asus ZenBook 15 is one of the best notebooks a journalist can purchase, courtesy of the future-proof processor, exceptional display, and a brilliant keyboard that leads into a different yet efficient touchpad.
Taking care of the processing performances is the Intel Core i7-10510U chipset. The best thing about this low-power mobile SoC is the minimal heat dissipation despite reaching turbo clock speeds of up to 4.9GHz. The quad-core processor is perfectly complemented by the GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU, which is slightly underpowered as compared to the vanilla variant.
However, the existing graphics card can still take care of certain creative indulgences and leisure gaming requirements without breaking a sweat. As journalists rely heavily on research and online interactions, the 16GB RAM associated with the existing ZenBook 15 becomes all the more important. Besides, the 512GB NVMe-compatible SSD storage is also worth mentioning as it allows you to store important documents and files, whilst guaranteeing faster retrievals.
The existing SSD also boots up the Windows 10 Home OS in virtually no time. However, the 4K panel is actually the standout performer, allowing you to experience the documents and visuals in Ultra HD. The overall resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K) is worth mentioning followed by the NanoEdge paneling, which furthers the screen real-estate to up to 92 percent. Besides, the existing display also exhibits a 178-degree, wide-angle visual experience.
Productivity-wise, the Asus ZenBook 15 outperforms other gadgets on the list. To start with, you get access to a spacious, backlit keyboard with excellent key travel. As journalists need to type a lot, the ErgoLift design makes a lot more sense, offering an optimized typing scenario to the users. Besides, the enhanced thermal setup aims to keep the device temperature within permissible limits.
The 3.6-pound device also flaunts an IR-powered webcam for attending video conferences on Skype or Zoom. It also flaunts potent speakers and the revolutionary ScreenPad 2.0. Better termed as a functional touchpad, the ScreenPad 2.0 comes across as a 5.65-inch screen that can be used as an app switcher. The connectivity suite perfectly justifies the price point and includes USB 3.1 Gen 1, MicroSD card slot, Type-C, HDMI, and ultrafast wireless standard.
Moreover, you also get a decent battery backup that closes in on 9 hours of autonomy, qualifying the Asus ZenBook 15 as one of the better laptops for journalists.
- The processor doesn’t heat up a lot
- Mid-range GPU for leisure gaming
- Exceptional keyboard layout
- Long-lasting battery
- ScreenPad 2.0
- Not meant for power users
- Lacks premium connectivity specs
2. Best Runner Up: Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 is a high powered machine for a journalist’s needs, but it is nevertheless a good buy. The 10th gen Intel Core i7-10710U processor combined with 16GB of RAM can help you with your research by allowing you to surf the internet with a lot of tabs open and also run other tasks simultaneously without any lag or heating issues.
The 13.3-inch display with a screen resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels makes it one of the sharpest displays on this list. In case you’re more into touch-based systems, consider getting this as a perfect choice for you. However, if a touch-based screen isn’t important, then you shall consider saving a few bucks by getting the non-touchscreen model.
The laptop comes with a 512GB SSD which allows you to store all the information in the world. It doesn’t matter if you need to store videos or research databases like data scientists. Also, If you work closely with the cameraman, then you can also store the videos or interviews on your laptop.
The backlit keyboard is good news for the people who use keyboards all through the day and the night. It’s a short travel keyboard, making typing on this laptop all the easier. Also, the machine offers fingerprint security as well, and the fingerprint is integrated into the power button.
Coming to the connectivity, it has a USB-C port & MicroSD card reader followed by most loved Thunderbolt 3 for faster data transfers. Although, we live in a wireless world, but when you’re stuck without wireless technologies, these connectivity models shall be really helpful.
The build quality is reliable and robust, and it weighs 2.8 pounds making it a super handy notebook for travel use. The laptop looks every bit the premium, strong device that is and retains some of the design aesthetics from the earlier XPS machines. It’s an aluminum build, making it all the more strong.
- Good battery life
- Powerful 4K display
- Touch screen suppport
- Thunderbolt 3 port
- Thin and lightweight
- No dedicated graphics card
3. Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro 6
The Microsoft Surface was the ultimate word in portable computing when it was released. The design makes this a hybrid between the laptop and a large tablet. The various design accents and colors make the Surface lineup of laptops a bold step forward for mobile computing.
The Surface Pro 6 is highly portable, thanks to its hybrid design. You can either attach the keyboard or use it as a tablet. In a word, this laptop is beautiful, and that’s why it’s most preferred by art students, drawing enthusiasts, doctors, and even students studying in the fields like medical, law, business, or nursing school. Surface Pro 6 is very portable, making it a device of choice for journalists who are always on the move.
The Surface Pro 6 has a 12.3-inch PixelSense Display. The resolution here is a top-of-the-line 2736 x 1824 pixel, one of the sharpest and crisp displays in the laptop market. The added advantage is the capacitative touch and pen support. Microsoft clumps this together and calls it the PixelSense Display.
Another added feature is the Surface Dial, an intuitive tool that’s used to navigate menus, control volume, etc. The processing power here is the Intel Core i7 8th Gen.
- Sleek build
- 2-in-1 convertible
- Can be used as a laptop or tablet
- Touchscreen support
- Stylus pen support
- No Ethernet port
4. Best Battery Life: LG Gram 14
A bit pricey, but a worthy contender is the LG Gram 14. The laptop line, whose brand name promises sleekness and portability, has a 13.3-inch FHD and touchscreen. The display has an ultra-slim bezel display, which gives much more display real estate. It juices upon the reliable system memory of 8GB RAM. The HDD is a 256GB SSD.
LG promises two things with this model, a whopping battery of up to 24 hours and an ultra-lightweight laptop. The company has done an excellent job of keeping the weight just about 2.19 lbs. The battery life is a tremendous advantage, as well. Another advantage is the fingerprint sensor as security.
It also offers a host of connectivity options. It has two USB 3.x ports and one USB Type-C port. Along with all this, it offers a Micro SD card reader as well. With this design, size, and weight, putting all this together is commendable.
- Light and sleek
- Good, eye-catching design
- Long battery life
- The fingerprint sensor is a bit off
5. Best with Dual Storage: ASUS Vivobvook
Laptop makers are finally rising to the idea that big screens with FHD display are not just for the realm of gamers. So, we now have sleek, compact laptops with the said displays. Our eyes thank the laptop makers for that.
The ASUS Vivobook has a 15.6-inch FHD display and has four display modes, Normal, Eye-care, Manual and Vivid. It boasts of a NanoEdge display, which gives it a narrow bezel of 0.3. Basically, this is more display real estate.
The ASUS Vivobook is one of the thinnest laptops in the Vivobook series, weighing 3.7 lbs. Even though it is the thinnest, it makes way for connectivity ports, like the USB-C, a USB 3.1 and a USB 2.0 port. Along with that, it also has an HDMI and SD card ports.
The laptop offers one essential feature that’s a must for the roving journalist – fingerprint security. Journalist does have important and sensitive documents and spreadsheets on their laptops routinely. A little bit of enhanced security never hurt anyone.
The keyboard is a bit underwhelming, though. It doesn’t have a backlight – which is mandatory in 2021. Also, there’s a little bit of a keyboard flex to be experienced – not something a keyboard warrior/journalist would like.
- Premium Build
- FHD, big display
- Sleek design
- Latest processor
- Lower priced
- No backlight for the keyboard
- Keyboard flex
6. Best Under Budget: HP Envy 13
The HP Envy 13 has an i5 processor and 13.3 Full HD screen. The touchscreen makes it simpler to use. It has 8GB RAM and an SSD of 256GB. At 13.3 inches, the laptop is perfect for portability, reading and the long hours of typing that the journalists are usually involved in.
For connectivity, it has a USB Type C and an SD Card reader. It also has two USB 3.x ports. The all-metal laptop has thin and light. It has a unique aspect, where the display slightly hinges on the keyboard area, making for better reading angles. The laptop also has a single HP Fastcharge charger, the charger that powers the battery up to 90 percent in 90 minutes.
- Metal Build
- Good keyboard
- Good performance
- Battery life is less
7. Best with MacOS: Apple MacBook Air
The Apple MacBook Air packs a new M1 chip and makes a style statement, even though Windows-based laptops have been playing catch with Apple for decades now. This is a sleek, well-built machine that weighs around 2.8 lbs.
The Apple Macbooks are standard devices in the entertainment and media industry. The Air was launched with the idea of making a slim, portable laptop, and this one blew the competition out of the market ever since its launch. For connectivity, the Apple Macbook Air M1 has two USB C ports and, of course, a Thunderbolt port.
The keyboard well is deep and broad enough to allow typing comfortably, the benchmark of a good laptop for a journalist. If you are coming from a Windows laptop, the display is stunning, crisp, and just what the doctor ordered to combat eye-strain.
It works on the 7-Core M1 chip, which is a pretty fast processor for all the tasks that a journalist would need for their daily tasks – typing, browsing the internet, watching that odd video, using video conferencing calls, etc. The 8GB RAM helps in making this machine a robust one. The Apple Macbook comes with SSD, which makes the laptop lighter and faster compared to HDD speeds.
- Sleek and portable
- Performance-friendly chip
- Long battery life
- Excellent Retina display
- Strong build
- Affordable price
- Thunderbolt 3 support
- No ethernet port
8. Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin 13
The Acer Chromebook offers the right combination of style and processing power. It has an i5 processor and 8GB RAM.
The display is a touch-screen. A Corning Gorilla Glass and a touch screen display make this the right decision for journalists who are on the road all the time. The resolution, at 2256 x 1504, is bright and gives sharp images and crisp quality. It’s IPS with Corning Gorilla Glass, making the display more durable.
The Spin feature is a good one, allowing the user to use the laptop as a thick tablet and a computer. It also has pen support. This is a Chromebook, so it runs on the Chrome OS and features Google Play. So, you can download and use Android apps as well.
For ports, it offers 2 USB Type-C ports, one USB 3.1 port, and a USB 3.0 Type-A port. This is an aluminum build, making it a durable, strong laptop.
- Unique spin design
- Good Battery Life
- No HDD
- Runs on Chrome OS
9. HP 15 i5825T
HP finally brings back the DVD drive to laptops with its latest, the Newest HP 15.6. This could have been the perfect portable laptop, but sadly it isn’t, because it doesn’t have a Full HD display. It offers a 1366 x 768 resolution with a touch screen. The touchscreen is a good idea, though, making the user’s life a bit simpler.
At 15.6-inch HD display with touch, The laptop looks sleek and compact and s well worth its place in a corporate setup. It’s good to see that HP is still retaining its slightly clamshell type design for this laptop. HP also gets it right with a spacious keyboard that includes the numeric keypad too. It is a nod to the retro designs with a DVD drive and an ethernet port.
Journalists who need to travel out of city areas routinely will love the LAN. The DVD drive ensures that you don’t need to kiss your software CDs, just as yet. The laptop packs a USB 3.0 port and an SD card reader in this compact design.
- Big screen
- LAN port
- DVD drive
- Widescreen display
- No FHD
10. Best with Chrome OS: Samsung Chromebook 4
Samsung brings to you a Chromebook 4 to run if you are a journalist on a budget. The device runs on the Intel Celeron processor. It has a large, 15.6-inch display. The display is full HD, so you have crisp, sharp images – a needed feature for journalists.
And all this is housed in a perfect build. Samsung says this is military-grade durability. It is a robust and robust build. It weighs around 3.75 lbs. The keyboard setting is spacious, offering the user good typing real estate.
The device runs on a Chrome OS and offers a 32GB eMMC. Along with all the deliciousness of the Chrome OS, it is Google Assistant-enabled as well. For connectivity, it provides 2 USB-C ports.
- Full HD
- Google Assisted
- Newer USB-C Ports
- Chrome OS
- Limited storage
11. Cheapest Option: ASUS Chromebook
The ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 is the best of both worlds, with rugged construction and light in weight. The rugged construction ensures you can lug the laptop around in an effortless manner. The less weight ensures you don’t get bogged down by lugging it around the whole day. The laptop has a cute yet rugged look, which stands out among the many other laptops that have hit the market.
It runs on the Chrome OS and has in-built virus protection. The processor for this one is the Intel Celeron N3060. The 11.6 inches display is armed with Anti Glare and a unique hinge that allows it to tilt to a full 180 degrees. The anti-glare is easy on the eyes. Precisely what the journalists need. The 180-degree hinge is an excellent addition for journalists who have to give an impromptu presentation to four people over a dinner table.
- The ASUS Chromebook has a sleek, modern look
- Spill-resistant keyboard
- It runs on the Chrome OS, which is essentially free and you don’t need to buy any software
- It has an inbuilt anti-virus system
- Huge battery life
- Small Screen
- The processor is pretty old
These ten laptops cater to all budgets and requirements and are perfect for word processing and browsing the Internet. The list includes some of the newer models, which make it easier to access and use the laptop, like touchscreen and secondary screens. While the MacBooks offer great value for money and have a great ‘ooh’ value, the Chromebooks offer cheap solutions for journalists on a budget.