Best Laptop For Digital Nomads In 2020

Dario Lemut Updated on September 1, 2020
best-laptop-for-travel

Traveling around the world is a lot of fun, especially if you’re able to work remotely. But you will require the best laptop for travel that will support you, be reliable, and allow you to handle all the work wherever you are.

It can be tricky finding a laptop with decent performance but also with a very versatile design. On the other hand, versatility and design might not be as easy to find combined together on a laptop.

We’ve spent a lot of time researching what makes the best travel laptops and testing them before writing this review.

We’ve even gone a step further to categorize them in different categories depending on the use or design which will make your choice a lot easier.

Recommendations for September 2020 

Best Laptop For Digital Nomads in 2020

LG Gram – Large Yet Light

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LG Gram
When you’re trying to combine versatility with a beautiful & large display, that’s exactly what you can expect from LG Gram. This laptop is lighter than some 13″ laptops, yet it features a large 17″ display and a very thin body. Yet still, it’s packed with a lot of power.

Even though this is one of the largest laptops we recommend for travelling, it’s also one of the lightest as well. In fact, this laptop is lighter than some 13” laptops since it’s specially made for travelers who want to stay light.

The 17” IPS display provides a great resolution, vivid, sharp & sharp image with a 16:10 aspect ratio that makes anything you do look brilliant.

LG Gram is made out of military standard durable aluminum material which offers incredible protection yet still keeps the laptop lightweight.

Even the paper-thin screen wasn’t sacrificed in terms of design quality.

Even though this laptop isn’t the thinnest laptop on the market, it’s packing a lot of powerful components inside.

LG Gram is being equipped with the 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, a large SSD storage space, and a battery that can last all day.

Recommended configuration for LG Gram

CPU: Intel 10th Gen Core i7 1065G7 processor | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16 GB RAM | Screen: 17″ IPS WQXGA (2560 x 1600)| Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD (512GB x2) | Operating System: Windows 10 home | Battery Life: 17 hours | Weight: 2.98 pounds

Apple MacBook Air – Small But Powerful

Apple MacBook Air
If you’re looking to travel light, look no further than the latest MacBook Air. Apple did a great job designing Air with 100% recycled material and yet still managing to provide their specific durability, lightness, and increased performance all in one – making this laptop ideal laptop for digital nomads.

Even though the MacBook Air features 13” display, Retina technology will make it seem like it’s a 17” display thanks to its vivid bright picture.

Whether you’re doing work that involves numbers, read a lot of text, or simply work in more of a visual way – your eyes will never get sore of Retina display.

Interesting thing is that Air’s keyboard has been fully redesigned in the latest version.

Therefore, Apple has introduced the latest generation of butterfly mechanism which provides 4 times better stability and durability. Typing on a MacBook keyboard has always been a pleasure which just got increasingly satisfying.

Whether you’re a writer, accountant, videographer or photographer – MacBook Air is most likely the right choice for your needs during your traveling.

Even though Air is the lightest laptop on the market, it’s pretty mighty for its size!

Recommended configuration for Apple MacBook Air

CPU: Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics,| RAM: 8GB RAM | Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Retina display with IPS technology; 2560 x 1600 pixels| Storage: 512 GB SSD  | Operating System: MAC OS| Battery Life:12 hours | Weight: 2.8 pounds

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Powerful 2-in-1

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Microsoft Surface Pro 7
When you’re looking to travel light yet have everything you need at the distance of a fingertip – Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is the right choice. It’s a 2-in-1 laptop which features 3 different modes of use, features decent performance levels and even has custom accessories which can be paired with the laptop for more efficient use.

Have you ever imagined taking a tablet on travel and yet still being able to do all your work? You can do that now with a Microsoft Surface Pro 6. Taking it anywhere even in your jacket pocket makes things so simple on a go.

And yet, if you pair it with any custom additional accessories – the things get even easier.

Whether you’re at the desk, traveling in a subway, or you’re sitting on a bench in the middle of a sunny day – Microsoft Surface Pro 6 has a way for you.

You can choose to use this laptop in a regular laptop mode, as a tablet, or in a studio mode for the best versatility.

Wherever you go and wherever you take Microsoft Surface Pro 6, you’ll never have to worry about the battery life, thanks to the all-day lasting battery it features.

Its battery can last up to 13.5 hours which will last all day for regular use, and even two or three days for an average laptop user.

Recommended configuration for Microsoft Surface Pro 7

CPU: Intel Core i7-10510U Processor | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics| RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 12.3-Inch 2736×1824 display| Storage: 256 GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: up to 10.5 hours | Weight: 2.45 lbs

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 – Budget  Nomad Laptop

Lenovo IdeaPad 3
Being on a budget isn’t fun, but it definitely can be with Lenovo IdeaPad 3. This laptop features a very decent AMD configuration which is packed inside a durable & attractive design which offers great versatility. Therefore, this laptop provides a lot of value for the budget price it costs.

Lenovo IdeaPad might be the best budget laptop for travel, and even though it features a decent thin design, it still offers plenty of ports.

.This laptop is very flexible in terms of the viewing angle and the display itself, thanks to the super flexible hinge that allows users to lay down the screen flat on the surface.

We find this feature to be very helpful during travel since it can avoid a lot of accidental damage.

If we didn’t know the price of this laptop, we’d say it’s quite on the expensive side since it features a very decent AMD configuration that will be decent for at least the next 5 years.

It features a AMD Ryzen 5 3500U  processor, 8GB of RAM, and  a 256 GB SSD drive, which is a surprise at this price.

Recommended configuration for Lenovo IdeaPad 3

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3500U |Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor | Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics | RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM | Screen: 14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080) | Display: | Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10  | Battery Life: 4 hours and 30 minutes | Weight: 3.3 pounds

Acer TravelMate P6  – Thin And Lightweight

Acer TravelMate P6
Traveling light doesn’t only mean to pay attention to the weight but also to the design of the laptop.Acer TravelMate P6 is one of the thinnest laptops on the market which features incredible FHD  display along with a high-end configuration.

Acer TravelMate P6  features one of the best displays you can get in a travel laptop thanks to the FHD display it offers.

It can reach a resolution of up to 1920 x 1080 pixels. Combined with ultra-thin Glass, which allows for a good viewing experience at all angles.

This is the latest version of Acer TravelMate P6 which features a boosted performance up to 40% than previous versions.

Thanks to the 8th generation of Intel processor and a flawless integration of the system with the components, this laptop is ready to handle even heavy-processing tasks such as video editing & rendering.

Wherever you go, you’ll never have to carry a charger with you. It’s that simple.

The main reason for that is an all-day battery life that can last up to 20 hours per charge. For an average user, this would last for about a couple of days while a regular user might even get two days out of one charge.

Recommended configuration for Acer TravelMate P6 

CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U Processor | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX250| RAM: 16 GB RAM| Screen: 14 0″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) Widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display  | Storage: 512 GB  | Operating System:Windows 10 Pro | Battery Life: 20 hours| Weight: 2.4 lbs

ASUS Vivobook Flip 14 – Portable 2-in-1

ASUS Vivobook Flip 14
What’s better than a long battery life with a flip screen, that’s light and can do most of your task. This is your pick for the best travel 2-in-1 laptop.

Not ready to invest in a super high end device like the Pixelbook or Samsung Pro? This is the sweet spot for a great experience without dropping a ton of cash.

The processor is faster, the storage size is bigger, and this device just all around runs better than less expensive models.

If you’ve experienced hanging or lagging with multiple tabs open on cheaper 2-in-1 tablets, this is the unit to go with for a smoother experience.

You also get a bigger screen in exchange for the increased price. Even though you get an extra inch of viewing area, this model isn’t actually any heavier than the previous two contenders.

Buyers constantly mention three features of theASUS Vivobook Flip 14 — two positive, and one potentially negative.

First off, this model has backlighting on the keyboard, which isn’t typically found on cheap models. Reviewers also frequently cite the sturdy heft of the aluminum chassis, which feels stronger and more durable than the plastic designs of other models.

On the negative side, most reviews bring up that the screen is less bright than other models. You’ll need to manually turn up the brightness to get it up to par, which means lowering the battery life.

Still the battery life is pretty long with 7.5 hours of use before needing to charge again.

Recommended configuration for ASUS Vivobook Flip 14

CPU: Intel Quad-Core Pentium N5000 Processor | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 605 | RAM: 4 GB RAM | Screen: 14 ” HD 1366 x 768 pixels display| Storage: 128 GB | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 7.5 hours | Weight: 3.3 lbs

Apple MacBook Pro  – For Video Editing

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Apple MacBook Pro
The Apple MacBook Pro is a powerful yet lightweight laptop suited for doing resource intensive work while travelling. Being a powerful Mac, this laptop is able to handle complicated video editing tools which is perfect if you’re a travel blogger living the digital nomad lifestyle.

Looking for a lightweight and powerful laptop to edit your videos while you travel? This should be among your top picks for light travel notebooks if you prefer Mac over Windows!

That’s what you get with the Apple MacBook Pro. It’s the latest  16 inch version of the MacBook. With 512GB of space (plus storage through iCloud) you won’t run out of room.

If you’re a student who likes to synch up your various Apple accounts (like iTunes on your phone) to your laptop, this is the perfect pick.

Apple’s MacBook will more than meet your needs for browsing the web from a dorm room or bringing along to class for note taking or emailing your professors.

You also get a retina quality screen for the asking price, along with a backlit keyboard. Between the slim profile and high specs, there aren’t many downsides here.

The one complaint frequently brought up by buyers is that this model only features one USB-C port, so you will need a hub or adapter if you are using multiple peripherals.

If you want to save money while working as a digital nomad, then you can also find this model refurbished for around half the price.

With Apple’s unique Touch ID feature, you’ll never have to rely on passwords again, and even if your laptops get stolen or lost (which is probably the worst case scenario), it’s good to know that your laptop will still be secured.

You’ll be able to do everything from unlocking the laptop, paying for your purchases, unlocking files, and making important changes to your laptop with only your fingerprint.

The latest-generation MacBook Air features a keyboard that has gone through a complete redesign and now features a Butterfly mechanism.

It’s proven to provide more key stability than ever before and is 3 times precise than other keyboards that still use traditional scissor mechanisms.

We’ve enjoyed the precision, responsiveness, and comfort that Apple has featured in the latest Air laptop.

Recommended Configuration For Apple MacBook Pro 

CPU: Intel Core i7| Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics| RAM: 16GB RAM | Screen: 16-Inch Retina with True Tone display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: Mac OS| Battery Life: up to 11 hours | Weight: 8.23 lbs

HP Spectre x360 – Ultraportable 13-inch Laptop

HP Spectre x360
Want the absolute best 13 inch ultraportable laptop out there that can also double as a tablet with a stylus? This should be your pick!

Recommended configuration for HP Spectre x360

CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX150  | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15. 6″ 3840×2160 4K HD Display| Storage: 512GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 17.5 hours | Weight:  2.8 pounds

Lenovo Yoga C940 – Powerful Touchscreen

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Lenovo Yoga C940
The Lenovo Yoga C940 is a powerful 2-in-1 Ultrabook that is perfect for the on-the-go artist. With a next gen processor and included pen, you’ll be able to run all your artistic software with ease.

The Lenovo Yoga C940 has an incredible battery life of over 11 hours which is great for those doing their work away from a charger. Its capability means that its as versatile as you need it to be and can fold into the most comfortable position for you.

With a top of the line processor, you should have no problem doing all the work necessary to wow the world with your amazing art. 16 GB of RAM will keep all your programs and tabs running for as long as you need them to.

It has loads of storage as well so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about running out unless you’re working with huge file sizes. Purchasing an external hard drive is an alternative if you find yourself needing more space but its  512 GB SSD is more than enough to handle your storage.

It comes with an active pen included and has a space to store the pen when you’re done with it. The Yoga’s only drawback for the artist is its lack of a media card reader. However, you can purchase a peripheral card reader that will work just fine.

The Yoga has plenty of ports to accommodate your needs, including: 1 USB 3.0 slot, and 2 Thunderbolt 3 slots.

Other features include: a fingerprint scanner to keep your documents and information safe and secure and a rotating soundbar so you can enjoy the audio experience no matter which position you have the laptop in.

Recommended configuration for Lenovo Yoga C940

CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB | RAM: 16 GB RAM | Screen: 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, touchscreen| Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: 11 hours | Weight: 6 lbs 

Dell XPS 15 – 4K Display

Dell XPS 15
When high battery life is your main concern but you still want an incredibly lightweight travel laptop with good specs, this should be your pick. It also has an amazing 4K display that makes work a whole lot easier.

In terms of sheer operational time and battery power, it doesn’t get much better than the XPS. The hybrid 2-in-1 style and lightweight design give you up 12 hours of usage for most tasks.

With 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, you still get excellent overall specs even with that insane battery life.

Unlike the HP Spectre listed above, this unit doesn’t include its own stylus. If you want to use this as an Ink tablet, be sure to pick up a Dell stylus as well.

Don’t care for the hybrid 2-in-1 design but still want to use your ultrabook all day long? Keep in mind that LG Gram also has an astonishingly high battery life.

When it comes to hybrid laptops, nothing beats Dell’s XPS 15 at the moment. You don’t lose any functionality at all here with a full 15 inch screen , 360 degree hinge, and truly wonderful 4K display.

Between the 9th gen processor and dedicated graphics card, this 2-in-1 can function as a business machine or a gaming rig for after work. The battery life is also extremely high for a unit with so much graphical power.

Buyers often mention the high quality display, and the extremely narrow bevel for the most viewing space possible. You also get a stylus included, and it attaches directly to the laptop magnetically so you won’t ever lose it.

Despite the near-perfection of this particular 2-in-1, there is one issue frequently mentioned by reviewers. The XPS 15 features a revamped keyboard design that some love and others hate.

You get shallow keys for quiet operation, but the page up and page down buttons are located to the left and right of the arrow keys. This means you will accidentally hit the wrong key quite often while you get used to the keyboard layout.

Recommended configuration for Dell XPS 15
CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6″ 1920×1080 InfinityEdge HD IPS Display| Storage: 512GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 | Battery Life: 12 hours | Weight:  5.39 pounds

What Features Should I Look For In A Laptop for Digital Nomads?

As with nearly any laptop, your baseline for specs should be 8GB of RAM and a solid state drive. An 8th gen processor is always better for lower power consumption and faster install speeds.

Battery life is important since you’ll be travelling a lot and having a lightweight laptop that’s easy to carry around is also as important as the battery life. 

From there, it all depends on what you need from your computer. Most ultrabooks ditch the optical drive entirely to save space. 

That makes sense, because drives take up space and ultrabooks needs to be as thin as possible.

Since you can’t use DVDs, that means you want to take into account the specific ports available in an ultrabook.

In general, 3 USB ports and a card reader are the best ways to go for the most data storage and external peripheral options. If you need to connect to an external display, don’t forget to look out for an HDMI port.

Picking The Best Laptop for Digital Nomads In 2020

Form/ Design

The first thing you should look into when you’re looking for a digital nomad  laptop is definitely its design and shape of form. The first thing that associates travel laptops in our minds is a lightweight and thin design. That’s a good starting point which you should be looking for.

Everyone who is traveling quite often requires a laptop that won’t be heavy in a backpack, won’t require a lot of space – and optionally, it’s very compact in size.

These are some of the most important characteristics of a travel laptop for the digital nomad lifestyle. However, you should be also looking for build quality, material, and a lot more in terms of design. Make sure the functionality of the laptop isn’t compromised by improving the overall characteristics.

Lastly, you can judge a laptop’s design by the fashion characteristics and determine whether you will like it or not.

Battery Life

Since you’ll find yourself traveling quite often, it’s mandatory for digital nomad laptops to come with a battery life that offers at least a decent life span. This works well in combination with the design and form of a travel laptop, allowing users to use the laptop anywhere and anytime without being limited.

Most laptops made for travelling that are featured in this post will even have all-day batteries which can last up to 18 hours. Depending on your personal use of a laptop, this would be able to last up to 3 to 4 days for an average user.

However, the most demanding user will still be able to pull an all day in the office without having to worry about charging. This is very important, even a bit more important than the laptop’s performance – since you don’t want to be slowed down by a charging cable at any time.

Performance

No matter what is the purpose of a laptop purchase, everyone should be looking to get a very decent performance to handle everything from the most basic tasks to a bit of heavy-use processing tasks. 

You should also be looking for a laptop that comes with a configuration that will be able to last you for at least the next few years.

Depending on the use of a laptop on the go, you should be looking to get either Intel or AMD processors with plenty of RAM memory and storage space. While a dedicated graphics card isn’t mandatory, it depends on personal use.

If you plan to do a lot of visual processing tasks, we recommend you to go for a laptop with a dedicated graphics card.

Storage

Storage is a really important factor that gets overlooked most of the time. Other than paying attention to the type of storage, you should be looking for the amount of storage that comes included with a laptop.

We recommend going with the SSD since it’s one of the quickest storage systems we have in this year, and most of the time, you can upgrade it. However, if you’re on a tight budget – an old HDD will do well, just make sure it’s one of the fastest HDDs out there – which can do about 7200 RPMs.

Now, the most important part is paying attention to the storage space. You don’t want to run out of space, especially if you’re traveling. You will have to end up deleting files (if you have any old files you can delete), or you’ll be forced to buy an external storage drive that will be a hassle to carry.

Size & Resolution

Lastly, screen size and resolution matters. Most travelers will go for the smallest laptops out there to boost their versatility and portability. However, with modern technology – you can even go for a laptop up to 17″ and still move without noticing it in your backpack.

Screen size is important since everything you’ll be doing is going to happen on the laptop’s screen – so you better make sure it’s a quality one. We find the anti-glare feature to be very important for travelers who like working outdoors or outside the coffee bars.

If you have no plans connecting the laptop to an external display, going for a laptop that can achieve a decent resolution will help improve the use of the laptop itself. Especially if you’re working with numbers of a lot of text.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s More Important – Performance Or Versatility?

The whole point for a travel laptop is to have increased versatility, so that’s something we would prioritize – however, performance is equally important. Therefore, you should look for a combination of both in a laptop.

How Important Is The Connectivity?

Connectivity might not be very important for someone who’s constantly working on a go, but it’s important for people who settle down in the office from time to time. Having the ability to connect desired peripherals or connect your laptop with external devices is always a good thing. Therefore, if you have the chance – we highly recommend it.

What Size Is The Best For A Travel Laptop?

People think that the smaller the laptop is – the better it is for a travel purpose. While that’s partially true, we have, on the other hand, a laptop such as LG Gram which is 17″ big and yet is lighter than some 13″ laptops. Therefore, pay attention to weight, thickness & design, but also don’t hesitate to go for larger laptops either.

Resources

  1. Seven tips for taking a laptop travelling, TravelHapp
  2. Recharging laptops, netbooks, gadgets abroad, PCWorld, Aug 12th, 2009, by James A. Martin
Dario Lemut
Article by:
Dario is a writer at NetbookNews.com. He is at the same time an avid technology addict that loves reviewing gadgets & devices, and then writing useful reviews.

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