Introduction

People travel to explore new adventures, go for vacations and honeymoons, and even conduct research in parts of the world. What do we digital nomads do? Well, pretty much all that, but also work while on the move.

A laptop has always come in handy, and I honestly cannot remember a journey I went on without my laptop. I need to work, store photographs, stream music online and participate in video conferences. How can I possibly not care about what laptop I use?

I bet you care too. If you are looking to upgrade to a better travel laptop or to own your first, I got you. This article outlines what you need to consider before purchase and some of the top-rated laptops in the market.

What to Consider Before Buying a Travel Laptop

Type

There are three main types of laptops: Chromebook, 2-in1 laptops and Ultrabook. The Chromebook laptops use Google services like Gmail, Chrome browser and YouTube. If you are out on a short vacation or your job involves much of internet-surfing and checking emails, Chromebook is your laptop.

2-in-1 hybrid laptops are good for bloggers and lightweight travellers. They have either detachable or bendable keyboards such that you can use it in either laptop or tablet mode.

Ultrabook laptops are usually slim and have long battery life. They best suit travellers using large programs and take extensive time to work on the laptop. Choose your type accordingly.

Weight

As a digital nomad, so many things fill up your bags, and a laptop should not be among the bulky items. One weighing 4lbs or less is recommended. However, if weight is your top consideration, move on to the next feature.

Size

It is so much fun to work on a big screen and watch all the videos from there. However, you need to consider how portable you want your gadget to be. A laptop with a screen size between 8 and 14 inches serves the purpose.

Battery Life

You may just end up at the beach or in a remote area where you cannot constantly access a socket to charge your laptop. Look for one with a battery life of not less than 8hrs (and thank me later).

Cost

In as much as you are interested in purchasing the best laptop, there is, you don’t need to rob a bank to afford it. Most travel laptops are affordable. My advice though, if you have one laptop that you have been eyeing and know it is the best for your business, save up and buy it as an investment in your job.

Processing Speed

Most digital nomads need a laptop with processing speed ranging between 1.6 to 2.5 GHz. The laptop will not lag at all. If, however, you use large programs and apps, consider laptops with speed of 2.3 GHz and above. If you go beyond 3 GHz, you are hitting a jackpot.

Storage Capacity

Normally, most digital nomad laptops do not have an extra-large storage capacity, but it is enough for your documents, movies and travel photographs. If you need a lot of space, be sure to get Ultrabook and 2-in-1 laptops. Also back up your files on the cloud, Google Accounts and on your external hard disk.

6 Top-Rated Digital Nomad Laptops

Laptop Type Operating System (OS)Weight Average Battery LifeProcessor SpeedAvailable Colours
Acer Chromebook 14 ChromebookChrome OS3.42lbs12hrs1.67 GHzGold, Silver
Microsoft Surface Pro 42-in-1 hybridWindows 10 Professional1.70lbs10hrs3.0 GHzSilver
Dell XPS 13 9360UltrabookWindows 10 Home2.71lbs11hrs2.5 GHzSilver, Carbon Fibre
Apple MacBook Pro 4UltrabookMac OS x4.90lbs10hrs2.3 GHzSilver, Space Grey
Asus Zenbook UX330UA-AH55UltrabookWindows 102.60lbs8hrs1.6 GHzGrey Metal
Lenovo Yoga 9102-in1 hybridWindows 103.04lbs9hrs2.7 GHzDark Grey

 

1. Acer Chromebook 14 CB3-431-C5FM – Best Budget Laptop

You have found your laptop if all you do is surf, stream some Netflix and reply to emails when on the move. Acer Chromebook 14 is a 14-inch screen laptop with an aluminium chassis. It costs $257.96. Below are other features it has;

  • Has a 1.6Hz Intel Celeron N31 60 Quad-Core processor
  • Its average battery life is 12hrs
  • Weighs 3.42lbs
  • Operates on Chrome OS
  • Has 8GB RAM and 32GB Hard Disk space

I recommend it for those who do heavy browsing work. If you cannot do without Microsoft word and high-end video editing, Chromebooks are not for you.

Acer Chromebook 14 CB3-431-C5FM

2. Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – Best Lightweight Touchscreen Laptop

Light-travelling has never been this simplified. Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is lightweight (1.7lbs) and has a detachable keyboard. It thus functions as a laptop and a tablet at your convenience. It also comes with a surface pen, you can use whenever keyboard-typing gets boring. Other main features of the laptop are as below;

  • Has a 12.3-inch screen
  • Average battery life of 13.5hrs
  • Features 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD space
  • Has a 3GHz Intel Core i5 7th generation processor
  • Operates on Windows 10 Professional OS
  • Starting price is $1,149.99

I would advise you to purchase it if your budget shall not be strained and using one USB port is not a problem for you.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

3. Dell XPS 13 9360 – Best Windows Ultrabook Travel Laptop

The touchscreen windows 10 laptop is portable (weighs 2.7lbs) and has an incredible processor speed of 2.5GHz. It is also thin and supports large programs that consume lots of space and power. It is the ultimate windows Ultrabook laptop. It also has the following features;

  • Its 13.3-inch screen has Anti-Glare Tech
  • Has 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD space
  • Its processor is Intel 7th generation Kaby Lake i5
  • Has an average battery life of 11hrs
  • The purchase price is $793.84

This laptop is just awesome. Maybe the one thing that might bother you is that it is not pen-enabled, and I believe you can live with that.

Dell XPS 13 9360

4. Apple MacBook Pro 4 – Best Laptop for Professionals

Yep, I own one. It is the best laptop if you are a digital nomad working on large programs and you require fast processor speed. It is easy to maintain business while on the road using Apple MacBook Pro 4. It is thin and has a 10hr-battery life. Other impressive features include;

  • Has a 13.3-inch screen with retina display
  • Weighs 4.9lbs
  • Has 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD space
  • Has a 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 7th generation processor
  • Operates on Mac OS x
  • Costs $989.00

I was not bothered by the price when purchasing it because my priority was its functionality. It weighs more than 4 pounds but I really do not mind.

Apple MacBook Pro 4

5. Asus Zenbook UX330UA-AH55 – Best Laptop for Designers

This lightweight laptop (2.6lbs) has a 1.6 GHz Intel Core i5 8th generation processor. It also has an integrated graphics card suitable for extensive video-editing and graphics work. Damn, you designers are lucky! Its other interesting features include;

  • 3-inch FHD screen display with Anti-Glare
  • Has an average battery life of 8hrs
  • Has 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD space
  • Operates on Windows 10 OS
  • Its starting price is $749.00

The laptop also has 3x USB ports, a fingerprint reader and is touchscreen-enabled. It is the best laptop if you have heavy designing work to do.

Asus Zenbook UX330UA-AH55

6. Lenovo Yoga 910 – Best 2-In-1 Data Storage Laptop

Do you need a lot of disk space other than your external storage disk? Lenovo Yoga 910 has a whole 1TB SSD space and 16GB RAM. The 2-in-1 laptop has a bendable keyboard: forget about worrying where to place a detachable keyboard. Its other specifications are;

  • Has a 13.9-inch multi-touch screen
  • Its average battery life is 9hrs
  • Has a 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7 7th generation processor
  • It weighs 2.6lbs
  • Its starting price is $1,699.99

The fingerprint security laptop with a backlit keyboard is rather costly. If you can afford it, take it and run! (To happiness of course)

Lenovo Yoga 910

Conclusion

I find the thought of researching before purchase to be impressive, so kudos for thinking about it. Clearly, it is not such a hustle finding the laptops to suit your needs; you just need to know what your type is, desired processor speed and other basic digital nomad considerations like size and weight. All that is left is actually buying the PC.