A zoomed shot of the MacBook Pro 13 inch keyboard from Apple.

MacBook Pro 13-inch Retina screen computer by Apple. Perfect for writers.


Once again writer Vern is on the search for the ultimate notebook computer. I’ll use it for writing and a little bit of video editing. A writer needs a notebook that is different from what a computer programmer needs.

In particular, I want my next notebook computer to facilitate my writing career. It should:

  • be lightweight – very lightweight (under 3 lbs.)
  • never get hot, because I actually put my notebook computers on my lap sometimes
  • never get hot, because the keyboard needs to remain cool so I don’t sweat as I type – nothing is more annoying to me as I write
  • be minimum 13 inches – 14 is good – 15 is ok, maybe getting a bit large
  • have an awesome keyboard – a full-size chicklet style notebook keyboard works for me
  • have great battery life – 7+ hours would be nice
  • have a backlit keypad – or a light on top of the screen shining on the keys like the IBM ThinkPads have
  • accept gestures on the mouse pad
  • have good speakers – I often listen to music as I write
  • have a decent web camera – 2MP minimum

That’s about it for the writing aspect. For my own use, as I’ve mentioned, I also will need to be editing video on it sometimes in a crunch, so the processor shouldn’t be weak – the RAM should be 3GB or more, and the faster the BUS speed is – the better. The new SSD hard drives are ideal – very fast, and also saves on heat being created, and sucking the battery empty too fast.

What did I come up with for notebook computer options?

These are the best computers to write with. I’ll choose one in the next couple days – need to research fully and make sure I pick the right one – they’re all rather expensive.

Macbook Air 13.3 Inch


  • 13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display with a 1440 x 900-pixel resolution
  • Up to 7 hours of wireless productivity plus up to 30 days of standby time
  • 1.86 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6 MB on-chip shared L2 cache and 1066 MHz frontside bus.
  • 128 GB flash memory storage
  • 2 GB installed RAM (1066 MHz DDR3; supports up to 4 GB)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor (with 256 MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory) for an outstanding everyday graphics experience.
  • Built-in FaceTime camera for video chatting
  • Wi-Fi wireless networking (based on 802.11n specification; 802.11a/b/g compatible)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) for connecting with peripherals such as keyboards, mice and cell phones
  • Two USB 2.0 ports with networking using optional Apple USB Ethernet adapter
  • SD card slot
  • Mini DisplayPort output port with support for DVI, VGA, dual-link DVI, and HDMI (requires adapters, sold separately)
  • Built-in stereo speakers along with omnidirectional microphone, headphone minijack
  • Full-size keyboard
  • Multi-Touch trackpad for precise cursor control; supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities
  • Dimensions: 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.68 inches (WxDxH)
  • Weight: 2.9 pounds

Rumor – this latest Macbook Air doesn’t have backlit keyboard. The previous one did – so, not sure if that’s true or not. Doesn’t make sense for it not to have it really, but, in all their wisdom – they may have just left it out.

Lenovo 100s IdeaPad

Add some extra RAM to it and it works. The fact that it has XP Professional is a BIG plus in my book – I cannot stand Windows 7 – even Windows 7 Ultimate – I had it removed from my present computer and replaced with Windows XP Pro. There is no better operating system for me. It is very stable and very easy to find everything. When I write – my computer should feel familiar – not have the whole menu system re-arranged like Win 7 does.

Oh, and it’s 14.1 Inches. That’s great too.

This comes with the 128GB Solid State Flash Drive and no spinning hard drive.

Samsung Series 9 – 13.3″ Ultralight Notebook

These are the ultimate Windows machine from what I have found. 7 hours of battery. 128GB SSD drive. 4GB RAM. Ultra-lightweight – thinner and lighter than the Macbook Air. I don’t think it gets better than this…

If I can spend the money – I’ll get this. Realistically the way each of us should look at an expense like this is that – we write with our computer. It is a part of us… we’ll write 1,000,000 words on it this year alone. We NEED this. We CANNOT live without this.

That’s the way I’m going to look at it this time. Whatever I NEED, I’ll get. Just from the 3-4 hours, I’ve spent looking at the options – this Samsung is quite high on the list – and if I had to pick a winner – this would be the computer I buy.

What about you? Which computer do you want/need? Amazon has nearly all computers – all brands – and you can search once there.

UPDATE – know which one I ended up with?

I went big. I bought the MacBook Pro 13-inch with retina screen. I am loving life. Yes, it was very expensive – $1,400, but it has the amazing screen, perfect trackpad, and nice keyboard. Everything a writer needs in a piece of tech.

I strongly suggest you also get the MacBook Pro 13 or 15-inch with retina screen and stop considering anything else. Save up for it. Get a MacBook Air first if you can’t afford the Pro – sure, but eventually GET THAT PRO.