Best Laptops for Freelancers (2020)

Freelancing has gained a lot of acclaim in recent years. Most people who embrace this unique way of life appreciate its freedom and autonomy. As a freelancer, you’re as rich and free as you want to be. That is unless you have a crappy laptop.

There are many types of freelancers, and all specialize in different areas of work. However, computers and internet connectivity are the lifelines of every one of them. As in every trade, your tools are directly related to the quality of work you can produce. That is why as a freelancer, you should get the best laptop you can afford.

As a fellow freelancer, I wrote this review for everyone who is stuck wondering which laptop to buy. Having been in the same position a few times, I know two things: Freelancers are impossible to fool because they know every marketing gimmick, and that every minute is precious to them.

This review of the best laptops for freelancers is precise, accurate, and inspired by experience.

4 Best Laptops for Freelancers

1.    Best Laptop for Writers: Asus Vivobook S15 Slim and Portable Laptop, Intel Core i5-8250U Processor (up to 3.4Ghz)

The Asus Vivobook S15 is possibly the best mid-range laptop, and its features make it perfect for writers and researchers. It is affordable, powerful, sleek, and light enough that you can carry it around easily.

Writers and researchers are alike in that they are heavy internet users. You will likely have numerous tabs on multiple browsers open at any given point. The Vivobook S15 allows you to do all that seamlessly with its 8th generation Intel Core i7 for the premium models, or i5 for the basic ones.

For RAM, you have a choice of 8GB, 12GB or 16GB, with an additional port for a possible upgrade up to 32GB. For storage, it features either 256GB or 512GB SSD and a 1 or 2TB hard drive. 

Another nice addition to the 2019 model is its upgraded graphics engine, the NVIDIA GeForce MX250. It allows for low to medium intensity gaming such as Fortnite or Overwatch. Let’s face it, even writers need to cool off sometimes.

Portability and battery life are essential to a writer, especially for a digital nomad (like me). The Asus Vivobook S15 will give you up to 8 hours of battery life depending on usage. It is also very light, weighing only 1.8 kg.

At only 18 mm thick, this ultrabook is sleek and stylish. It is the size of a typical 14” laptop, but it has ultrathin NanoEdge bezels that allow it to maintain a large 15.6” screen with an 86% screen-to-bezel ratio.

As the icing on the cake, it has an impressive full-size keyboard with a number pad. The keys give you full feedback with 1.8mm of travel. It is also fully backlit for those late-night sessions.

The 2019 Asus Vivobook S15 is the first model from the series to feature the 5.65” ScreenPad 6.0 with a touchscreen and integrated fingerprint sensor.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Perfect for moving around with, due to its sleek and lightweight design.
  • It comes with an aluminum unibody, except for the back cover. That makes it very durable and allows it to survive a few hard knocks.
  • Large 15.6” screen with 1080p resolution, easy on the eyes due to reduced blue light.
  • Long battery life, 6-8 hours depending on usage.
  • Full-size backlit keyboard.

Cons

  • The screen is not very bright and is not fit for a lot of outdoor work.
  • In touchscreen mode, the ScreenPad impacts on battery life quite heavily.

Overall, the Asus Vivobook S15 is the perfect laptop for a writer. It is affordable and powerful enough for all needs and will go with you everywhere without letting you down. You might need to save up for it for some time, but it is worth the investment.

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2.    Best Laptop Overall For Freelance Work Dell XPS 9570 (15”)

Dell XPS 9570 (15”)

For those who love Windows, it doesn’t get better than the Dell 15″ 9570. It is a stunning powerhouse of a device that is perfect for every type of freelance work. Whether you’re a casual writer, video editor, programmer, social media and marketing expert, transcriptionist, or any other, you will love it for its top-notch performance.

For starters, a 9th Generation Intel Core i7 is at the heart of this beauty. You get up to 6 cores with a maximum clock speed of 4.1Ghz, which can handle even the most intense operations. It is backed up by the latest 32GB DDR4 RAM for flawless switching between applications.

Besides that, its graphics are driven by a monster Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory. It the best graphics card available for laptops currently (if they want to remain slim and sleek).

For storage, you have either a 512GB or 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD which gives you fast data reading and writing speeds. In real tests, it has proven to be three times faster than conventional Solid State drives. If we’re being frank, this is a marvellous performance for a laptop.

One of the most notable things about the Dell XPS 9570 is the near-perfect OLED 15″ display. It features 4K display with vivid and immersive colors, and it’s 5.7 mm bezels give it an impressive 91% screen to body ratio. You can get it to give you about 70fps at 4K resolution, and 104fps at 1080p. You also have the option of a touchscreen, which is great for precise work.

The screen’s only shortcoming is that the color accuracy might not be good enough for professional image/video editors, and the 60fps refresh rate is a bit slow for some heavy-weight games.

Even more important for a freelancer on the road is the battery life. You would rightly expect the crisp display and powerful engines of the Dell XPS to cripple its battery life, but it still manages more than 7hrs 40mins with average usage. You can comfortably make it through a full workday without the need for a recharge.

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Pros

  • The Dell XPS 9570 is a beast when it comes to performance. It has the most powerful core yet, and plenty of memory to back it up.
  • The screen is near perfect, with bright and rich colors.
  • Sensitive touchscreen (on some options) and keypad. It also has a fingerprint sensor built into the power button.
  • Ridiculously fast RAM and SSD memory.
  • Very sleek, compact and light, with a milled aluminum unibody frame for durability.

Cons

  • High price tag, though this it is almost cheap considering the specs.
  • The display does not give a good enough refresh rate or color accuracy for the most demanding image/color editing work.

For Windows fans, the Dell XPS 9570 15” is the ultimate laptop in 2019. Any freelancer will be thrilled with its power, display, size and battery life, not to mention the sleek design.

3.    Best IOS Laptop, Most Powerful Laptop for Freelancer, Best Laptop for Programmers: MacBook Pro 2019 (16”)

Best laptop for freelancers MacBook Pro 2019 16"
MacBook Pro 2019 16 inches

MacBooks are legendary machines, with their long battery life, reliability and almost indestructible built. The MacBook Pro 2019 is one of the latest models from Apple and is perfect for freelancers who prefer the IOS platform.

This beautiful beast is suitable for programmers, video and image editors, writers, marketers and influencers on social media, among others. Basically, anyone who can afford its hefty price tag. You won’t have to worry about performance, and here’s why.

Apple has been known to be outrageous, but it doesn’t get better than this. The 2019 MacBook Pro comes with the latest 9th Generation, 6-core, 2.5Ghz Intel i7. This is upgradeable to an Intel 8th Generation i9, should you feel that you need the extra power.

A major boost for this sleek wonder from Apple is the upgraded graphics engine. It features the new AMD Radeon Pro 5300M or 5500M, depending on the model.

The Radeon Pro 5300M graphics card and its brother are more than 2.1 times faster than the previous one and is designed for intensive tasks such as 3D and video rendering as well as animation.

Add that to Apple’s 4K and 5K Retina display with TrueColor, and you have the best laptop for animators and video editors. It is large,  has a variable refresh rate, and it shows bright and vivid colors for professional use.

If you’re not already blown away, consider that the base model has a 16GB DDR4 RAM with other options for 32 or even 64GB! Likewise, the SSD memory starts at 512GB and goes up to an astronomical 8TB.

On top of it all, the MacBook Pro 2019 also has an improved 100Whr battery that can give you 11 hours of battery life.

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Pros

  • Most durable laptop for freelancers.
  • It has the longest battery life.
  • The options for performance and memory are fantastic.
  • It has Apple’s 4K TrueColor Retina display. Powered by the new Radeon Pro 5500M card, it is perfect for ultra-intensive media work.
  • Reinvented Magic Keyboard. It is the same much-loved model found on iMacs.

Cons

  • Very, very expensive.

The MacBook Pro 2019 might sound like overkill, because that is what it is. No task will be too much for it. If you have that kind of money lying around, go for it.

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4.    Best Budget Laptop for Freelancers: Acer Aspire E15

Acer Aspire E15

Freelancing is a tricky affair, especially when starting out. You could be in a situation where you don’t have a lot of money, but still need a respectable laptop to work on. This is where the Acer Aspire E15 will save the day.

Acer has continued to dominate the budget laptop market with its affordable and functional products. The Aspire E15 comes with all the features that make a good laptop: fast performance, good battery life, an HD display, ports (including, amazingly, a DVD slot), and the option to upgrade it yourself.

Right off the line, you can get various configurations depending on your budget. The base model with a 2-core processor and 2GB of RAM is good for less than $250, but for a freelancer who is after the fast performance, it may not be much good.

The high-end option has the latest 8th generation Intel core i7 and 16GB RAM. That is enough juice to handle even the most demanding tasks you’re likely to encounter. Even with the mid-range models, it has easy-access ports on the motherboard so that you can upgrade its memory and RAM as needed.

You get an HD display on this machine, albeit a bit dull outdoors. It works fine for typing, browsing, watching videos, and other light tasks. Its sound is also good enough for casual listening in closed rooms.

Another plus is that it comes with a decent battery life, which is about 7 hours of light use when fully charged.

The real sucker with the Acer Aspire E5 is portability. With a 1-inch thickness and 2.4kg of weight, you’re not going to enjoy having to haul it along all day long.

You’ve got to give something up for affordability, and Acer chose wisely in the Aspire E15. While it is a compromise on performance and affordability, it does not neglect the most important factors.

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Pros

  • This laptop is user upgradable. You only need a screwdriver to open the back panel and install additional memory, and you’re set.
  • It has a full range of ports, both old-fashioned and new.
  • It offers a decent battery life.
  • The Aspire E15 has a wide range of performance options to choose from depending on your needs.
  • It is very affordable.

Cons

  • It is thick and heavy, and carrying it around is a chore.
  • The screen is dull and is unsuitable for outdoor work.

If you’re a fledgling freelancer, you probably don’t need to move around much. Therefore, portability is not much of an issue. Performance-wise, you just need to get the higher-end models with better specs.

When it comes to budget laptops, the Acer Aspire 5 comes with full recommendations.

Conclusion

As a freelancer, you cannot afford to take a chance on the laptop you use. That is because, through it, you pay your bills and grow your client base. Whether you’re an experienced professional or a beginner, you need the best and most reliable laptops.

This article will have hopefully solved a few dilemmas for you. With any of these laptops featured here for freelancers, you will be able to supercharge your work to the next level of greatness.

By Peter Mochu

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