Is This the Best Laptop for Working from Home in 2022?

Whether you work from home or work from anywhere as a digital nomad, the laptop is by far the best device to do it like a pro! 

And that begs the question, which is the best laptop for working from home and digital nomads?

I would say, the laptop that you have at the moment. You already have it with you. And if it’s in a working condition, then you should probably make use of it!

Well, that’s before your Apple’s MacBook Air M1 arrives after I’ve convinced you why it’s the right laptop for remote work in 2022!

But before I do that, let’s first table and go over the facts that we can all agree on:

  1. There are so many laptop brands out there. Such that even deciding which model to pick from the same brand can be really overwhelming! 
  2. A laptop that efficiently handles all your demanding productivity workflow is the goal, everything else like color, size, and shape is secondary.
  3. But it would be really nice if that laptop is well-built for durability, compact and lightweight, and with long battery life to last a long-haul flight
Table of Contents Show Table

Top 10 Best Laptops for Working From Home in 2022 At a Glance

  • Table

So, Why Would I Recommend the MacBook Air M1?

Gone are the days the MacBook Air used an Intel processor! In 2020, Apple released the newly designed MacBook Air M1 with an all-new Apple M1 chip. 

With the new processor, the Air now boasts of significant improvements in performance and battery life compared to the older generation models. 

It comes in a slim, ultralightweight, and fanless design to suit freelancers, bloggers, and creative professionals who work on the go. Hey digital nomads!

A Quick Overview of the Key Specs and Benefits of the Apple MacBook Air M1:

  • The MacBook Air M1 is available in two models. They both feature the 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 Retina display with True Tone.
  • The base, low-cost model features the Apple M1 chip with an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU, and 256GB SSD storage. It’s available for just $999 (USD).
  • For an extra $250, the other, pricier model still features the Apple M1 chip with an 8-core CPU but with a slightly powerful 8-core GPU and 512GB SSD storage. 
  • They both come with an 8GB unified memory that is probably enough for all your work-from-home productivity workflows.
  • But if you’re a hardcore programmer or you do intensive video editing, you can upgrade the memory to 16GB. You can also upgrade the storage of both models up to a 2TB SSD.
  • If you do a lot of data entry, typing, coding, or writing and blogging like me, you will enjoy using the impressively great scissor-switch magic keyboard
  • My favorite features of the improved keyboard are the function keys which now include the Do Not Disturb, Dictation, Spotlight search, and Emoji Fn options.
  • You also get a Touch ID fingerprint sensor (protected by the Secure Enclave) that is quite handy when unlocking the Mac, making online purchases, and so much more!
  • If you do a lot of zoom conferences and video calls, you will probably benefit from the 720p FaceTime HD camera that offers great picture quality with noise reduction.
  • Since most of the file transfers are now happening wirelessly, Apple has only included two Thunderbolt 3/USB 4 ports. The good thing is that they both support up to 6K external display if you will opt to use your Mac Air M1 on a work-from-home workstation setup. 
  • For networking and connectivity, you’ll be using the lighting fast WiFi 6 or 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.0 for super-fast streaming, downloads, and seamless productivity.
  • The Apple M1 chip also features a 16-core advanced neural engine that’s up to 9x faster for machine learning tasks. This is a super cool feature if you use apps like Pixelmator and Final Cut Pro for audio, photo, and video editing. 
  • Other features worth mentioning include the 3.5mm headphone jack, a three-way microphone array, and stereo speakers with wide stereo support. 
  • Since the processor, RAM, GPU, I/O, and other security features are all inside one chip, the MacBook Air M1 now offers better performance and is much more power-efficient, boasting up to 15 hours of battery life when browsing the web
  • The MacBook Air M1 is fanless. No Fan! Instead, it uses an aluminum heat spreader to dissipate heat which allows it to run silently. You can also use it on your bed, couch, and other foam surfaces without the fear that a “fan” will collect dust. Well, as long as you don’t fall asleep on it or push it over the edge accidentally!

A Quick TL:DR Summary of Why I Recommend the MacBook Air M1 as the best WFH Laptop!

Unlike most other brands like HP, Dell, and Lenovo that design and manufacture tons and tons of laptops models every year, Apple only has two main laptops:

  1. The MacBook Air
  2. The MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is made for professionals, or so would I claim! It’s a much more powerful, slightly bulkier laptop with so much power that you probably don’t need.

[QUOTE] If all you do is write, code, design, build and create for informing, selling, and marketing online, the MacBook Air M1 has all the power that you need.

But if you do intensive and more demanding projects like editing very long videos and hardcore programming where you sit in your workstation for long hours coding in Python and JavaScript while building complex applications, please get the MacBook Pro.

And, in comparison to other laptop brands (Windows), the MacBook Air M1 is:

  • Quite easy to learn and use.
  • It’s very, very powerful in a small, sleek design.
  • The battery life will last at least 12 hours while doing really, really intensive work.
  • It comes with all the apps you need to work from home pre-installed – just like your iPhone!
  • You get FREE, regular software updates with just a few button clicks.
  • Most internet entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and serious remote workers use the MacBook. Well, it doesn’t hurt to consider that kind of “social-proofing”. 

In conclusion, I say that the MacBook was designed for YOU so you can get a reliable, high-performance, and durable laptop with impressive battery life to do your work with peace of mind

It will fit just about anywhere, including a medium-sized purse. So, you can slip it in your small backpack and go enjoy that coffee while creating the outline of your next article, or create these canva graphics as you sit in the lobby before your flight!

NOTE: The MacBook Air M1 is available in three colors: Space Gray, Silver, and Gold. Personally, I’m looking to get it in summer in Space Gray with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage, so I can upgrade my current Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 2.

[QUOTE] TIP: If you want an affordable but powerful laptop for working from home before you can get the MacBook, I recommend you get an older generation Lenovo X1 Carbon. It should cost anywhere between $350 to $750, but you get almost the same power and performance as the MacBook Air M1 but with a lesser battery life of about 4 to 6 hours and a “service life” of about 2 years. 

But before, I tell you why I think the Lenovo X1 Carbon is worth your attention, let’s first go over the specs needed for the best laptop for working from home. 

How to Choose the Best Laptop for Working from Home in 2022

Ideally, you should look for a balance in performance, power, and longevity among other “for convenience” features when shopping for your ideal laptop for remote work.  

  1. Performance – it should efficiently handle all your productivity workflows, which is the main goal of the laptop anyway.
  2. Power – it should deliver a long-lasting battery life both per charge and in the long term. 
  3. Longevity – your ideal pick should be well-built with the right material and design to seamlessly serve you for at least 3 years, but ideally 5 to 8 years at best!

Buying Tips

  • No one wants to shop for “the best” laptop for working from home every year, even with the overhyped modern-day consumerism and tech-hoarding!
  • So, pick a high-performance, durable laptop with great battery life, and that will serve you for at least 3 years.
  • Such that, in those three to five years, you can focus on working from home and making money online, which is the main objective here!

What Specs Do I Need for a Work-from-Home Laptop?

Ideally, the best laptop for working from home should have at least a Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processor, with an 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage, a 13-inch screen, and 8 hours of battery life in a compact, lightweight, and well-designed body. 

1. Processor: At Least Core i5 or Ryzen 5

The central processing unit (CPU), popularly known as the processor, is the brain and engine of the laptop or any computer; for that matter. 

It simply contains all the circuitry need to process input, store data, and output results by following the instructions of the laptop programs. 

To efficiently handle all your work-from-home workflows, you should get a laptop with at least an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor. 

Most flagship ultrabooks will have at least this processing power. So you need not overthink it when choosing your ideal model if you go along the flagship laptops’ line of thought. And I highly recommend you do!

For example, the MacBook Air that I recommend comes with the Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU that has been proven to offer much more processing power than the Intel Core i5 in almost all CPU benchmarks

That said, if you will pick other (Windows) laptops, I suggest getting one with Intel Core i7 if you can afford it. Usually, these will cost almost the same as the MacBook Pro but the extra processing power is worth it.

But if you’re shopping on a budget and you prefer getting a brand new mid-range laptop instead of an older flagship that I would otherwise recommend, then get at least an Intel Core i3 or Ryzen 3. 

[QUOTE] Well, if you don’t understand much about computers and you can afford it, then just get a flagship ultrabook from one of the reputable “top 10” brands. That’s if you’re not sure you want any of the recommended models from the list.

The Top 10 Laptop Brands & the Flagships I Recommend for WFH in 2022

  1. Apple – MacBook Air for most people & MacBook Pro for Professionals
  2. Lenovo – ThinkPad X1 Carbon & Yoga if you prefer a 2-in-1 design
  3. HP – Envy x360 13 & HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7 for Demanding Workflows
  4. Dell – XPS 13 & Latitude 5330 for Demanding IT Workflows
  5. Acer – Swift 3x is a wonderful HP and Dell alternative
  6. ASUS – ZenBook 13 is an impressively powerful little machine
  7. Microsoft – Surface Pro 8 for business
  8. LG – Gram 17 is ideal for a Work from Home Workstation
  9. MSI – GS65 Stealth Thin is ideal for dual productivity and gaming 
  10. Razer – Blade Stealth 13 is a worthy MSI alternative 

NOTE: Please avoid Intel Pentium and Celeron processors even if you are shopping at extremely low budgets. I would advise you rather get an older generation certified refurbished mid-range laptop. 

TIP: I have offered my best certified refurbished “mid-range and flagship” models for those who are looking for the best laptops for working from home at extremely low budgets of under $350 (USD), some cost even as low as $150.

2. RAM: At Least 8GB

Random Access Memory (RAM), popularly known as memory, is temporary storage that allows for instantaneous access and reading of stored data. 

Simply put, when you launch a program on your laptop it will be stored in the RAM temporarily for easy access, rather than the storage drive. 

[QUOTE] So, more memory means more information that can be handled simultaneously by your laptop. 

And that begs the question, how much RAM do you need for a work-from-home laptop?

8GB has been proven to be the perfect spot for most working from home workflows including demanding tasks like programming and graphic design. 

But to efficiently run several large programs simultaneously, especially for hardcore developers and video editors, you should get 16GB RAM or more!

That said, 4GB is ok if you’re shopping cheap or on a budget. But avoid 2GB unless you want to only browse the internet and send emails. 

3. Storage: At Least 256GB SSD, Avoid HDD

The memory stores data temporarily, but the storage is a permanent memory with “read/write” capabilities.

The data will be stored there unless you delete it or overwrite it with much better data, say in the case where you update a program, and so on!

At the moment, there are two types of computer storage, hard disk drive (HDD) and solid-state drive (SSD). 

HDD storage is a legacy technology that uses a spinning disk to read/write data magnetically, the same way as the old music CDs.

On the other hand, SSD is a newer technology that reads/writes data in flash (non-mechanical). It stores data in integrated circuits like memory cards and flash drives. 

The main advantage of HDD is that they are way cheaper than SSD. The only other advantage is their lifespan, which will be a bit longer than that of SSD.

That said, SSD storage offers super-fast read/write speeds, is shock-resistant, uses less battery power, and comes in small shapes and sizes to suit ultralightweight laptops.

Today, almost all ultrabook laptops will come with the M.2 or NVMe form factor SSDs which are “flat” in shape, akin to the size of stick gum to suit the laptops’ thin design. 

But larger laptops in the mid-range category, especially those with 15 to 17 inches screens will come with the standard SATA form factor 2.5” SSDs. 

That said, for working from home, get at least 256GB SSD storage, but if you can afford it, the more the storage the better, as long as you AVOID HDD at all cost.

4. Screen Size: 12.5 to 14 Inches is the Sweet Spot

The ideal screen size for a remote work laptop has always been a “tug of war” in most online community forums.

You only need to do a quick search of the topic on Reddit, Quora, Facebook groups, and even Twitter to get to see how it’s a never-ending debate, with no real winners and losers. 

For example, there is this recent tweet where Jack Forge is dissing the 13” screen size. 

https://twitter.com/TheJackForge/status/1518348261202964480 [QUOTE]

Some people claim the 13-inch range is the perfect laptop screen size, while others claim that this is too small and want way larger screen sizes on the 15-inch to 17-inch spectrum.

The truth is, the is no one “best” screen size for all people. This is the area where personal preference and taste come to play.

[QUOTE] But 12.5-inch to 14-inch has been proven, with time, to be the perfect laptop screen range for most people, especially if you do remote work and travel a lot. 

Why? Because it offers a good compromise between size and usability. That is, it’s not too small to strain you, and not too large to carry with you around. That’s especially for freelancers and digital nomads who travel a lot!

That might explain why most flagship laptops will come with either a 13.3” or a 14” display. Today, that range is perhaps the standard with most of the popular laptop brands including Apple, Lenovo, Dell, HP, and Asus.

My first laptop was the Samsung N150P mini laptop with an 11.5” screen that I used for almost two years. Although I used to strain a lot when writing for long hours.

But that “little friend” was so lightweight that I could slip it even in an envelope and rush to the library or class!

The next one was the HP 15-D008TU Notebook which had a 15” screen that made it so bulky I mostly used it on the desk and only carried it when I needed to!

It’s the reason I considered the Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 2 when it was time to upgrade. This one has a 14” display and the NMVe SSD storage that makes it compact and ultralightweight. 

Well, when I’m working from my home workstation, I use it with the HP E243i external display and the Logitech MK345 wireless keyboard and mouse.

The setup offers the best way to do my SEO affiliate blogging and writing for long hours without straining.

But when I’m out at my favorite coffee shop (Jib’s Bistro) or traveling to see the ocean (Watamu), or meet my friends at the bar or cafe, or just getting out of the house, I enjoy its compact and portable size. 

Plus the great Lenovo keyboard, for that matter!

That said, screen sizes under 12.5” are probably too small for anyone to do any real productivity work. Over 14” is only ideal if you don’t travel a lot and you do demanding tasks with lots of charts, codes, or graphics.

[QUOTE] If you don’t travel a lot and you’ll be doing intensive work like editing long video footage and software development the 17” LG Gram or the 16” MacBook Pro M1 Max is probably your best choice for Working from home.

Hopefully, in the near future, they will design laptops with 12.5 to 14-inch displays but with built-in screen extensions that fold out, just the way the Xebec Tri-screen 2 does. 

5. Battery Life: At Least 8 Hours

I recommend at least 8 hours of battery life per charge, the more the better. The MacBook Air promises up to 15 hours of wireless web browsing. 

But most real-life benchmarks report that it will last a whopping 12 hours when working from home via WiFi which is super great – a whole day.

Which that, you can just carry the laptop and work from the coffee shop, or bar, or anywhere without needing to sit at a corner where there is a mains outlet socket.

My Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 2 offers a battery life of 6 hours when doing real productivity work or browsing the internet. But I got it as a certified refurbished, hence the mid-range battery life!

The current generation, Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8, delivers up to 15 hours of battery life when working from home ad/or browsing the internet. 

Most flagship laptop models will deliver at least 8 hours of battery life when working from home at moderate brightness. 

Well, unless you are getting a mobile workstation that will probably sit on your desk for most of the time, then subpar battery life is a big no when it comes to selecting the best laptop for working from home. 

Remote work has not only brought work from the office to our homes, but it has also taken the work from somewhere to anywhere and everywhere, hence working from anywhere. 

6. Weight/Size: Compact, Slim, & Lightweight Wins!

Flagship ultrabook laptops are getting thinner and lighter with every release of a newer model. 

It’s now a game of which brand offers the most ultralightweight laptop without compromising the overall performance

[For the longest time, the Lenovo X1 Carbon has taken the top spot of the most ultralightweight laptop that still delivers in terms of performance, the current ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 weighs just 2.40 lb (1.09 kg), making it lighter than the MacBook air M1. ]1.12kg / 2.48lbs

In 2020 and 2021, the Apple MacBook Air M1 took the top spot in this battle unrivaled – it only weighs 2.8 lb (1.29 kg)! 

Thank’s for its perfect balance in terms of size, weight, and performance which solidifies its practicality when put into use as a remote work laptop. 

But some brands like Lenovo released the Lenovo Yoga 9i, which is a super sleek, high-performance, an ultralightweight 2-in-1 ultrabook that only weighs 3.1 lb (1.43 kg). 

Dell has also really shined with the XPS 13 9310 which only weighs 2.64 lb (1.2 kg) for non-touch and 2.8 lb (1.27 kg) for touch. It’s also very thin, almost like the MacBook Air M1. 

From the stats, you can see that the “magic number” for the ideal laptop for working from home and digital nomads is anything under 3 pounds or 1.5 kilograms

And on size, we already addressed this on the screen size, the best range is 12.5 to 14-inch. Such a laptop should be easy to slip into your mid-sized purse or backpack and carry around without straining your back.

[QUOTE] Don’t forget to consider the size and weight of the charger. I guess this is where my favorite Lenovo loses a mark. Its 65W charger/adapter is relatively bulky. But if you travel with a backpack, this is barely noticeable!

TIP: The MacBook Air M1 comes with a super lightweight and compact charger to complement its ultralightweight design. 

That said, if you plan to use your laptop at your WFH workstation for long hours and you don’t intend to travel a lot, then you can get a larger model with a 15” or 16” or 17” screen. Such a laptop will also weigh more!

For example, the 16” MacBook Pro M1 that I recommend to creative professionals who use resource-intensive programs like video editors weighs a whopping 4.8 lb (2.2 kg).

The LG Gram 17” weighs 5.8 lb, which is a pound more than the 16” Mac. The large laptops are quite heavy since they are designed for people who work for long hours seated at their workstations. 

7. Keyboard: Don’t COMPROMISE On This!

Your ideal laptop for working from home should have a good keyboard. You can’t compromise with the keyboard!

With a great keyboard, you’re assured of a great work experience with a smooth typing experience. 

Remember, you will mostly use the keyboard whether you are a writer, code, or blogger.

The best laptop keyboards have two usability feature sets:

  • Well-spaced keys for an easy typing experience. If the spacing is too narrow, your palms will hurt with extended use, especially for writers and coders. 
  • Generous key travel for a smooth typing experience. If the key travel is short, you will spend too much energy which can really hurt after extended use. 

Usually, the top-end flagship laptops will come with great keyboards. That’s with the exception of that time Apple decided to add the “butterfly keyboard” on the MacBooks. 

The “butterfly” keyboard was a replacement for their better “scissor” keyboards. The move was inspired by their need to make thinner keyboards, and so, thinner laptops. 

However, after a long outcry from the MacBook fandom and most people in general, Apple switched back to the better and more practical “scissor” keyboard in 2020. 

Therefore, I highly recommend avoiding most of the MacBooks released between 2015 and 2019 because of the “butterfly” keyboard especially if you type a lot.

That said, the MacBook Air M1 and the MacBook Pro M1 all come with the “scissor” backlit magic keyboard that does a real “magic” when it comes to offering an easy and smooth typing experience. 

Like Apple, all the other top laptop brands don’t fall short when it comes to offering the best keyboards on their flagship laptops. 

For example, Lenovo has really done an impressive job when it comes to its legendary Thinkpad keyboard that you get on their ThinkPad laptops. 

The ThinkPad keyboard is easy and smooth to type on. Thanks for its well-spaced keys with generous key travel. It’s also spill-resistant and has white LED-backlit.

[QUOTE] Don’t forget the backlit! It’s quite handy, especially when typing in poorly lit surroundings. 

So whether you go with the current generation Air, or X1 Carbon, or HP Envy be sure you’re getting a great keyboard with great key spacing and key travel. 

8. TouchPad: Don’t Forget the Trackpad!

Almost all the laptops with great keyboards will also come with a great trackpad/touchpad. 

[QUOTE] Keep in mind that for the best typing experience, you will need both a good keyboard and a good touchpad

Apple offers the “Force Touch” trackpad for precise cursor control on their MacBooks, while the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon comes with a 110mm/4.33” grass trackpad. 

9. Budget: Here Is Where You Compromise!

Usually, unless you have a really big spend for your ideal laptop for working from home, you might need to make a few compromises on price vs specs.

If you have the money, I’ll always recommend you go for the best. That’s where any of the top flagship laptop models come to play.

For example, if you’re a writer, coder, digital marketer, or just looking to make money online from home, and you have enough to spend on the Apple’s MacBook Air M1, then I would highly advise you to go for it without second-guessing ourself! 

[QUOTE] In fact, I’m personally looking to upgrade to the Apple MacBook Air M1 with 8-core GPU, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage in the summer. If the current prices hold, then it will cost about US$ 1,500

But if I still wanted to stick to a Windows laptop, I would go for the 14-inch Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9, with a Core i5 11th Gen CPU, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD. this one will cost about US$1,750. But you get a “pro-grade” laptop. 

NOTE: There is a Gen 10 ThinkPad X1 Carbon but it is a real power-hungry little machine compared to the Gen 8 and 9, hence my reasons to stick to the Gen 9 model. 

Any of these two laptops will handle just about any productivity workflow you through at it! But if your budget is $1,000 either:

  1. Get the base model MacBook Air M1 with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD which is about US$999. Or;
  2. Get the base model Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5 Intel (14″) which is also about US$999. But you get a 2-in-1 laptop with a touchscreen, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. 

TIP: If you prefer a solid alternative to the Lenovo, then go for the Dell XPS 13 OLED or xxxx 

That said, I have offered my best recommendations for you if you are looking for a cheap or affordable, for a mid-range laptop that still does the job but with a few compromises like low battery life.

[QUOTE] NOTE: I’m writing and recommending the laptops in this guide to freelancers, writers, bloggers, digital marketers, and creative professionals who work from home full time or work on the go as digital nomads.

1. The Apple MacBook Air M1 – Overall Best Laptop for Working From Home

MacBook Air M1 Key Specs:

Operating System: macOS

Processor: Apple M1 Chip with 8-Core CPU

RAM: 8GB unified memory (Configurable to 16GB)

Storage: 256GB SSD – 512GB SSD (Configurable to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB)

Display: 13.3-inch Retina Display with True Tone

Weight: 2.8 pounds (1.29 kg)

Battery: Up to 15 Hours of Web Browsing

Keyboard: Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID

Graphics: 7-Core GPU to 8-Core GPU (Integrated)

Camera: 720p FaceTime HD camera

Available Colors: Space Gray, Gold, & Silver

As I mentioned before, the Apple MacBook Air M1 comes in two configurations. The base model is built to deliver all the performance you need to efficiently handle all your work from home productivity workflows. 

It features the Apple M1 chip with an 8‑core CPU and 7‑core GPU. You also get 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage.

There is also a slightly pricier model that features a slightly powerful Apple M1 chip with an 8‑core CPU and 8‑core GPU. With this one, you also get 8GB RAM but with a much larger 512GB SSD storage.

Pros:

  • A slim, ultralightweight design for portability. 
  • Reasonably priced despite its improved feature sets. 
  • You can get it renewed at up to a 15% discount!
  • 16-Core Neural Engine for accelerating AI operations and machine learning tasks.  
  • Memory is upgradable to 16GB and the storage up to 2TB. 
  • Comes with Thunderbolt 4 lightning-fast data transfers. 

Cons:

  • Upgrading the memory to 16GB costs a hefty $180.

The Apple MacBook Air M1 is probably all you need to handle all your work-from-home workflows. It’s ultralightweight and compact for portability. The battery life is generous enough to last you the entire day.

My favorite feature is the fanless design that allows it to run quite! I would recommend it to writers, bloggers, digital marketers, coders, and anyone looking to seamlessly work from home and on the go as a digital nomad. 

Best Laptops for Working From Home for Creative Professionals

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2. 14” Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro – Best Laptop for Working from Home Professionals

14” Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro Key Specs:

Operating System: macOS

Processor: Apple M1 Pro Chip with 10-Core CPU

RAM: 16GB unified memory (Configurable to 32GB)

Storage: 1TB SSD (Configurable to 2TB, 4TB or 8TB)

Display: 14-inch Liquid Retina XDR display

Weight: 3.5 lb (1.6 kg)

Battery: Up to 11 Hours of Web Browsing

Keyboard: Backlit Magic Keyboard with Touch ID

Graphics: 16-Core GPU to 32-Core GPU (Integrated)

Camera: FaceTime HD 1080p Camera

Available Colors: Space Gray & Silver

If I were a hardcore developer, programmer, or super-serious video editor, I would go for the 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip. And that applies to any other working from home professional including 3D artists and music producers!

The MacBook Pro is built for fast performance. It’s such a versatile laptop that will handle just about anything you throw at it. From filmmaking to video editing. From web development to mobile app development. Mention them!

Pros:

  • Unbeatable performance that makes it a versatile machine.
  • At 3.5 pounds and a 14-inch display, the MacBook Pro is still lightweight and compact, although thicker than the air!
  • Comes with Three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, an SDXC card slot, and a MagSafe 3 port.
  • Impressive Liquid Retina XDR display and battery life!
  • Comes with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity and networking. 

Cons:

  • A hefty price tag. 

The MacBook Pro was designed with professionals in mind! And the M1 Pro is their latest version that has been engineered to offer the best performance when running current and next-generation applications.

[QUOTE] If your working from home is about editing long videos, programming, intensive graphic design, 3D modeling, and rendering then please get the MacBook Pro M1 Pro

If you want more performance, get the M1 Max, but that will cost you more. And if a larger display will improve your productivity then get it with the 16-inch display, but that will also cost you more!

3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (14″, Intel) – Best Windows Laptop for Working from Home

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 Key Specs:

Operating System: Up to Windows 11 Pro

Processor: Up to 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-1185G7 Processor with vPro™

RAM: Up to 32GB LPDDR4x 4266MHz

Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe SSD

Display: 14.0″ WUXGA* (1920 x 1200) IPS, Anti-Glare

Weight: Starting at 2.49 lbs (1.13 kg)

Battery: Up to 16.7 Hours

Keyboard: Backlit ThinkPad Keyboard

Graphics: Integrated Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics

Camera: 720p HD with Webcam Privacy Shutter

Available Colors: Black

I’m writing this work-from-home laptop buying guide from my Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 2. I bought it on October 14, 2019, as a certified refurbished model from eBay (UK) for US$375 + US$150 shipping and taxes. 

I’ve used it for close to three years now and I would vouch for it with all my might and all my resources. In fact, I would get the Gen 9 were it not that I have tried the MacBook Air (borrowed) and loved the macOS platform.

So, if you prefer a Windows OS laptop, please go for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9. For starters, its overall build quality is impressively great. I’d say the carbon fiber material gives it a better build quality than the MacBook!

Pros:

  • A top business-class laptop from a trusted brand. 
  • Designed on Intel® Evo™ vPro® platform.
  • Military-grade build quality – simply built to last!
  • Ultrathin and ultralightweight. 
  • Rear ventilation to improve efficiency. 
  • Superb battery life to last a long-haul flight. 
  • You can choose to get it with Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, Linux Ubuntu, or Fedora 33 Workstation edition.

Cons:

  • A Core i7 model costs almost twice as the MacBook Air, but you should expect a performance that rivals the MacBook Pro!

Like the MacBook Pro, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is available in quite a number of configurations, but I would personally go for the model with the Intel 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-1185G7 Processor with vPro™.

The Intel vPro™ technology offers business-class performance and hardware-enhanced security features that benefit IT. And with the Core i7 Gen 11 processor, you should handle just about anything.

From freelance writing to building niche blogs. From coding to software development. From meeting all your IT job needs from home to editing long video files to handling all your internet entrepreneurs’ business needs!

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon packs all the power and performance you need to enhance your productivity while you seamlessly handle your business. Like the MacBook Air M1, it’s ultrathin and ultralight which makes it ultra-portable!

If you want the best Windows laptop that money can buy, get the 14” ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9. Please go through all the great customer reviews from this Lenovo’s own platform where they directly sell the laptop

4. Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320) – Best Alternative to Lenovo X1 Carbon

Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 Key Specs:

Operating System: Up to Windows 11 Pro

Processor: Up to 12th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-1280P (24MB Cache, Up to 4.8 GHz, 14 Cores)

RAM: Up to 32GB, LPDDR5, 5200 MHz, Integrated, Dual Channel

Storage: Up to 2 TB, M.2, Gen 4 PCIe NVMe, SSD

Display: 13.4″, 3.5K 3456×2160, 60Hz, OLED, Touch, Anti-Reflect, 400 nit, InfinityEdge

Weight: Starting at 2.71 lb (1.23 kg)

Battery: Up to 14 Hours of Web Browsing

Keyboard: Platinum Backlit English Keyboard with Fingerprint Reader

Graphics: Integrated Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics

Camera: 720p at 30 fps HD RGB Camera, 400p at 30 fps IR Camera

Available Colors: Graphite and Platinum

The Dell XPS 13 has been the main rival of the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon for close to three decades.

The latest Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320) has seen a fresh redesign. It’s now much sleeker with clean bezels and perfect tones.

Dell claims that all the design decisions for the XPS 13 Plus were made to benefit the end-user – YOU! 

[QUOTE] CAVEAT: Truth be told, I’ve not laid my hands on this laptop, but from the YouTube videos, blogs, and remarks from users on platforms like Reddit and Quora, I would say that this laptop is impressively built both in and out!

But a quick glance of the 9320 tells the exterior looks almost similar in size, weight, and footprint to the previous Dell XPS 13 9310.

That’s until you flip it open! The interior features a new keyboard design that Dell claims will benefit touch-trypists, a capacitive touch bar, and a tactile touchpad that you “can’t see”.

What Can the Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320) Do?

In the simplest terms, the Dell XPS 13 Plus will do anything and everything the Lenovo Xa Carbon or the MacBook Pro M1 Pro can do. 

That includes efficiently handling your writing, blogging, programming, software development, video editing, 3D rendering, and IT projects. 

Like the MacBook Air M1, Pro M1 Pro, and the Thinkpad X1 Carbon, the XPS 13 Plus was built for performance. 

It comes in three configurations with the base model featuring a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1240P processor, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage. It comes with a non-touch FHD+ display for about $1299.

TIP: You can opt to get it with a touchscreen FHD+ display for an extra $100. However, I don’t recommend getting it with the OLED touchscreen display because that drains the battery faster than any other feature!

With this base model, you should be able to handle everything the MacBook Air M1 will handle. And everything the Lenovo X1 Carbon base model can handle. At least these three can match in terms of productivity performance!

Who is the Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320) Best For?

This is the section where I’ll honestly say I’m not sure. Not because I doubt its performance. No. Not really. At least on performance, the Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320) does an exemplary great job!

I say I doubt who to recommend it to because of the “redesigned” Zero-lattice keyboard, the capacitive touch function, and the seamless glass touchpad.

These three are all new features with the Dell XPS 13 and their reception on the market will mainly depend on their usability.

For example, Lenovo tried the capacitivive touch function with their Gen 2 Thinkpad X1 Carbon back in 2014 and it got a very negative reception.

At first, the reciptoion was great, but the touchbar started to lag after a few software updates, and that’s how they dropped it in all their next generation X1 Carbon laptops. 

The same case applies to the MacBook. First, it was the touchbar. Then it was the butterfly keyboard. All which Apple went ahead to drop them.

That said, from the current YouTube reviews, the Dell XPS 13 Plus is getting really great reviews, which the exception of the all-glass touchpad, where a few people like it, but most are voting against it.

My “hope” is that Dell will keep the sleek design and the impressive performance of the XPS 13 Plus, but re-introduce the “proven” keyboard and touchpad, and get rid of the touchbar.

These things were working really well, I don’t see while they should be “fixing” them. We want faster, high-performance laptops in a ultrabook design, but we still want the keyboard that we are used to.

I think they should be borrowing a leaf from Lenovo and MacBook who have made that mistake in th past. And also learn from Microsoft, who have maintained their Surface Keyboard all that long!

Pros:

  • An ultraslim, ultralight, and compact design for portability.
  • A sleek, well-built exterior chassis with aluminum material for durability and great aesthetics. 
  • Comes with Intel® Killer™ Wi-Fi 6 1675 (AX211) 2×2 and Bluetooth 5.2 Wireless Card for lightning-fast connectivity and networking.
  • Larger fans provide up to 55% more airflow for better thermals and quieter operation.
  • Comes with two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports for lightning-fast data transfer and pairing with external displays. 
  • An improved battery technology that allows for a longer battery life and fast charging. 

Cons:

  • The seamless glass touchpad is great for aesthetics but you can’t see it, which might be a drawback to some users.
  • You might experience a learning curve with the zero-lattice keyboard, although Dell claims it’s designed for fast, efficient, and comfortable touch typing. 
  • Function keys are now featured on the capacitive touch function row instead of of physical keys, while the design is more intuitive, we don’t know how it will be affected with future software updates. 
  • The Thunderbolt USB ports are also the charging ports. You will need to separately get a USB Multiport Adapter Hub to get the most out of the ports. 

Should You Choose the Dell XPS 13 Plus Over the Lenovo?

With the exception of the new keyboard, touchpad, and touch bar, the Dell XPS 13 Plus (9320) is one of the most powerful ultrabooks out there. 

I would confidently argue that it’s well-placed to rival the MacBook Pro M1 Pro and the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon. Dell, claims that the XPS 13 Plus is now twice as powerful as the previous XPS 13 (9310). 

The main reason I didn’t recommend it first is that I’ve not laid my hand on the XPS 13 Plus. Yet, I’ve used the X1 Carbon for close to 3 years now. I have also tried the MacBook Air M1 severally (borrowed)

The other reason, I prefer the macOS platform over Windows when it comes to writing, blogging, digital marketing, and remote work.

I would say, macOS is a much more stable platform than Windows. It’s much easier to use. And it comes with most of the apps you need to get started with your work. So, you get the peace of mind to focus on your work! 

Yet, if you prefer the Windows OS platform, getting the XPS 13 Plus, is like getting the productivity performance of the MacBook Pro M1 Pro in the body of the MacBook Air M1. 

I would conclude by advising you to watch more YouTube unboxing and user experience tutorials of the XPS 13 Plus. Find out how people are liking the new keyboard, seamless touchpad, and touch bar, then make up your mind!

5. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio – Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Working from Home

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio Key Specs:

Operating System: Windows 11 Home (64-Bit)

Processor: 3.1 GHz Intel Core i5 4-Core (11th Gen) or 3.3 GHz Intel Core i7 4-Core (11th Gen)

RAM: 16GB or 32GB LPDDR4x RAM

Storage: 256SSD or 512GB SSD (Option to choose 1TB or 2TB SSD storage)

Display: 14.4″ 2400 x 1600 PixelSense Flow Touchscreen

Weight: 4 lb (1.8 kg)

Battery: Up to 19 Hours (Fully Charges in 93 Minutes)

Keyboard: Surface Keyboard with Backlit 

Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti (4GB GDDR6)

Camera: 1080p IR Webcam

Available Colors: Platinum

Most laptop reviews have claimed the Surface Laptop Studio is a Microsoft attempt to beat the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro. 

And from my analysis of the device, I would say Microsoft almost managed to create such a device that performs everything that both the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro can perform.

Probably, its only limitation is that it comes with a Windows operating system and not macOS or iOS that you would get in the Mac Pro and iPad Pro respectively. 

But this isn’t really a drawback, because Microsoft is the brand behind Windows. So, you expect the device to offer seamless performance when put into use.

Furthermore, you can also install a macOS virtual machine on the Surface Pro laptop with the help of this tutorial by makeuseof.com.

What Can the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio Do?

The Surface Laptop Studio is built for performance. With it software developers can build apps and programmers can create and render projects.

The excellent processor and 16GB RAM allow it to handle advanced workflows like editing long videos and rendering animations and 3D design projects.

And if you prefer a bit of PC gaming between your productivity workflows, you should enjoy smooth gameplay of most titles at moderate settings.

Who is the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio Best For?

I would recommend the Surface Laptop Studio to creatives, especially designers. Its touchscreen gives it a huge advantage over the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro.

I would say, Surface Laptop Studio is like having a MacBook Pro and the iPad Pro in one package. All with the great Surface backlit keyboard and Surface Slim Pen 2. 

The combination has allowed it to be the go-to device for sketching or annotating documents or images using Microsoft Ink among other remote work projects. 

Microsoft has included the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card with 4GB of GDDR6 VRAM so you can seamlessly design, animate, and render!

Pros:

  • A lightweight and ultraportable despite its premium feature sets and high performance. 
  • Comes with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.1 for ultrafast connectivity and networking.
  • You get a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 4GB GDDR6 VRAM. 
  • Comes with 2 x Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C for lighting fast data transfer and connecting external monitors. 
  • Features 2 built-in mics, 4 built-in Quad Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Atmos, and a 3.5mm headphone jack that solidifies its impressive audio capabilities.
  • Built-in Facial Recognition and Dedicated TPM Security Chip for security. 
  • Includes built-in storage for the pen that also doubles as the charging “place”, which is so convenient!  

Cons:

  • The 14.4” screen and 4 pounds weight makes it much heavier and slightly bulkier than the MacBook.
  • The 14.4 screen makes it rather large to hold as a tablet. But works perfectly when using it on a surface! 

TIP: The SSD storage is removable (not soldered) for an easy upgrade!

Should You Choose the Surface Laptop Studio Over the MacBook?

A capable 2-in-1 design, impressive touchscreen display, great keyboard, and a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 4GB GDDR6 VRAM are reasons enough to get the Surface Laptop Studio over the MacBook Pro.

So, yes, if you want to enjoy the benefits of both the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro in one package, please go for this device. The only limitation is that you would get to use the iOS apps that come with the iPad. 

In their expert review, ZDNet calls the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio a true convertible, with designer appeal. Words that I would fully echo in this mini-review! 

If you would prefer it for writing and blogging instead of the MacBook Air M1, go for the much more affordable base model configuration. 

The base configuration comes with a 3.1 GHz Intel Core i5 4-Core (11th Gen), 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage, and Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics. The combination is enough for all your writing, blogging, and digital marketing workflows.

6. Google Pixelbook Go – Best Chromebook Laptop for Working from Home

Google Pixelbook Go Key Specs:

Operating System: Chrome OS

Processor: 8th Gen Intel® Core™ m3, i5, or i7 processor

RAM: 8GB or 16GB RAM

Storage: Up to 256GB SSD

Display: 13.3″ LCD Touchscreen Display (either Full HD or 4K Ultra HD)

Weight: Starting at 2.3 lb (1.061 kg)

Battery: Up to 12 Hours of Web Browsing

Keyboard: Backlit ‘Hush’ keyboard

Graphics: Integrated Intel UHD 615 GPU

Camera: 1080p HD at 60fps Video Recording Webcam

Available Colors: Black

Chromebooks have been around since 2011. They are known for their affordable price tags, great battery life, and ease of use.

Some Chromebooks come in a 2-in-1 design. With these, you will get a laptop and a tablet in the same package, which is super cool!

The Google Pixelbook Go is among the best Chromebooks that money can buy out there. I would say that it sits at the top when it comes to a head-to-head comparison of the different Chromebooks in the market today!

So, What Can the Google Pixelbook Go Do?

Of course like with any laptop or tech gadget for that matter, you will want to know what it can do before you commit to buying it. 

And with the MacBook Air M1 being an already great laptop for working from home, is the Google Pixelbook Go worth buying?

I would say YES! The Google Pixelbook Go is worth buying if you mainly work from the Google Chrome web browser. That includes using applications like Google Docs for writing, blogging on WordPress, and Canva to create graphics.

What Can Google Pixelbook Go NOT Do?

Due to the limitations of the ChromeOS, all Chromebooks are not ideal for Video Editing, multitasking, photoshop, intensive programming, and software development. Simply, any enhanced productivity workflow out there! 

Who is the Google Pixelbook Go Best For?

I would only recommend it to writers, bloggers, virtual assistants, and digital marketers who mainly use the Google Chrome web browser. It comes with a really impressive battery and a wonderful “Hush” keyboard.

[QUOTE] I’ve been a freelance writer for almost a decade and a great keyboard and superb battery life sit at the top of the specs that I consider when buying a laptop!

The base configuration comes with an Intel Core m3-8100Y, 8GB RAM, and 64GB storage. It costs about $649 (USD).

I mainly use Google Docs for writing, the Hemingway App, and Grammarly for grammar and spell checking, and publish on WordPress. And I would pick the Chromebook base model because it would do all that!

Pros:

  • Well-built in an ultralightweight and compact design.
  • A really impressive keyboard that will appeal to most writers and bloggers who spend long times on the keyboard.
  • Superb battery life to last you throughout the day or through that long-haul flight.
  • Includes a superior webcam that can record excellent 1080p video at up to 60fps. That’s YouTube-grade video quality!
  • Comes with a touchscreen – even the base configuration model. 

Cons:

  • It comes with the Chrome OS which has limitations.
  • Unlike the MacBook that comes with a Touch ID and Lenovo’s Fingerprint Sensor, the Google Pixelbook Go lacks biometric login. 

If working from home for you means doing mainly writing-related work, including content writing, copywriting, blogging, and social media marketing, then this Google Pixelbook Go is a far much better investment. 

[QUOTE] Google is the company behind the Google Chrome browser and the Chrome OS. It’s like talking about Apple’s MacBook, macOS, and Safari. So, you’re expecting to get a really fine-tuned laptop that’s built for the platforms!

But if you have about $999 for a laptop, you better get the Apple MacBook Air M1. It’s a far better laptop for working from home. With it, you can do a lot more, that wouldn’t be able to do with the Pixelbook Go!

Best Laptops for Working from Home on a Budget

If you’re shopping for the best laptop for working from home on a budget, I highly recommend getting a renewed (certified reconditioned) laptop from either Amazon or B&H Photo, or eBay.

Just so you know, I got this Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon from eBay UK for about $450, then I spent another $150 for shipping and taxes. I have used it seamlessly for the past two and a half years since October 14, 2019.

7. Acer Swift 3 – Best Under $750 High-Performance Laptop for Working from Home

Acer Swift 3 Key Specs:

Operating System: Windows 10 Home (Windows 11 Ready)

Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core

RAM: 8GB LPDDR4

Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD

Display: 14″ FHD IPS Screen

Weight: 2.65 lb (1.20 kg)

Battery: Up to 11.5 Hours of Web Browsing

Keyboard: Backlit Keyboard with Fingerprint Reader

Graphics: Integrated AMD Radeon Graphics

Camera: 720p HD Webcam

Available Colors: Silver 

Acer markets the Swift 3 as a great laptop for college students. But this lightweight, high-performance ultrabook will handle virtually any task that the Apple MacBook Air M1 can handle. 

The Acer Swift 3 comes in two configurations. The base model features an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Hexa-Core Processor with Radeon Graphics, 8GB RAM, and 265GB SSD. It costs about $620 (USD)

Yet, I recommend getting the high-end configuration that comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core with Radeon Graphics, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD. It is priced at about $710 (USD), which is quite affordable.

What Can the Acer Swift 3 do?

The high-end configuration model of the Acer Swift 3 is designed with all the power and performance capability needed to handle any task that the MacBook Air M1 can do.

The fact that it comes with the powerful AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core Mobile Processor (Up to 4.1 GHz) with Radeon Graphics means that it’ll easily handle demanding productivity workflows.

Who is the Acer Swift 3 Best For?

The Swift 3 will suit anyone who wants an ultraportable, high-performance laptop but can’t afford the MacBook Air M1 or the base configurations of the Thinkpad X1 Carbon and the XPS 13 Plus.

Despite the under $750 price tag, this laptop is ultraslim at just 0.63-inches thin, ultralightweight at just 2.65 pounds, and compact given that it comes with a 14-inch almost edge-to-edge screen.

So, whether you are a blogger who travels a lot, a programmer, a digital nomad, an IT professional, or a video editor among other creative professionals, this laptop will do the job. 

TIP: If all you do is write projects, blogging, do virtual assistant jobs, and social media marketing, you can get the slightly cheaper base configuration model. It’s still powerful enough to efficiently handle the workflows involved in these jobs. 

Pro:

  • An ultraslim, ultralight, and compact design that offers portability.
  • A well-built chassis for durability and aesthetics.
  • Comes with Intel wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX200 802.11ax and a USB Type-C port for lightning-fast networking and connectivity. 
  • Despite the mid-range pricing, it still offers a much larger 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, compared to what you get with MacBook Air M1. 
  • Also comes with two USB Type-A and HDMI 2.1 ports for connectivity, plus a 3.5mm mic/headphone port. 
  • Impressive battery life to last you the entire day as you handle your projects from anywhere, whether home or flight or commute, mention them!

Cons:

  • Poor thermal performance makes it run “hot” with noisy fans after using it for a few hours on demanding projects. 

The Acer Swift 3 is proof that you don’t need a $1,000 budget to get a high-performance ultraportable laptop for working from home. It’s sleek, powerful, and with great battery life, all at mid-range pricing of under $750!

8. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop – Best Under $500 Laptop for Working from Home

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop Key Specs:

Operating System: Windows 11 Home

Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U

RAM: 8GB DDR4

Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD 

Display: 15.6″ Full HD IPS Screen

Weight: 3.88 lb (1.76 kg)

Battery: Up to 11 Hours of Web Browsing

Keyboard: Backlit Keyboard with Number Pad

Graphics: Integrated AMD Radeon Graphics

Camera: 720p HD webcam

Available Colors: Silver

The Acer Aspire 5 comes in quite a number of configurations with either Intel or Ryzen processors. So, if you type it on an online shopping site like Amazon, it’s quite easy to get confused about which configuration to choose.

So, let me make the process easier for you. Keep in mind that I presume that your budget is within the $500 (USD) range

In such a case, you should get it with the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U Hexa-Core Mobile Processor that comes with the AMD Radeon integrated graphics

What Can the Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop Do?

Picking the Aspire 5 with the above configuration will get you a very powerful laptop and such an affordable price tag of under $500.

Apart from the powerful processor and graphics, it also comes with an 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. The backlit keyboard offers a great typing experience and the battery will last for up to 11 hours when browsing the web.

With these specs and stats, you already know that this affordable machine is designed for all sorts of work-from-home workflows.

From writing long articles to publishing blogs on WordPress. From creating graphics on Canva to editing long videos for YouTube. And that also includes using it to code programs – it’s simply an affordable beast!

Pros:

  • An affordable but powerful laptop for all sorts of WFH productivity workflows.
  • A large 15.6” ultrasharp FHD display to suit multitasking on multiple windows. 
  • Generous battery life to last the entire day, especially if you are looking to work on the go!
  • Offers extensive connectivity including a USB Type-C, two USB 3.2, USB 2.0, an HDMI port, a mic/headphone port, WiFi 6, and Bluetooth. 

Cons:

  • The 15.6” display makes it a little bulky, especially if you travel a lot with a smaller backpack. 

9. Lenovo 15.6″ IdeaPad 3 – Best Under $350 Laptop for Working from Home

Lenovo 15.6″ IdeaPad 3 Key Specs:

Operating System: Windows 11 Home (64-Bit)

Processor: Intel Core i3-1115G4 (11th Gen)

RAM: 8GB (Can Be Upgraded Up to 12GB)

Storage: 256GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD (Can Be Upgraded By User)

Display: 15.6” IPS-Type LCD (1920 x 1080)

Weight: 3.64 lb (1.65 kg)

Battery: Up to 7.5 Hours of Web Browsing

Keyboard: Lenovo Notebook Keyboard with Backlight + Number Pad

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics (Integrated)

Camera: 720p HD Webcam

Available Colors: Abyss Blue 

If I had about $350 for a work-from-home laptop, I would get the Lenovo 15.6″ IdeaPad 3. 

The large 15.6-inch screen is probably the only compromise you would have to live with by choosing this powerful but affordable laptop!

What Can the Lenovo 15.6″ IdeaPad 3 Do?

The Lenovo 15.6″ IdeaPad 3 features an above-average Intel Core i3-1115G4 (11th Gen) with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage. It also comes with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.1 for lightning-fast connectivity.

The combination of all these features makes the IdeaPad quite a powerful laptop. So, you should expect it to handle most of your work-from-home productivity workflows.

It comes with a great backlit keyboard to benefit working in dimly lit environments. And despite the 15.6” display, it comes in a lightweight design at only 3.64 pounds. So you can easily travel with it in your backpack!

Who is the Lenovo 15.6″ IdeaPad 3 Best For?

I would say, pick the Lenovo 15.6″ IdeaPad 3 if you are looking for the best laptop for working from home with a budget of about $350.

This is a solid machine that you should expect to offer you excellent performance as you start or advance your emote work career. That’s despite whether you’re doing it full-time or part-time as a side hustle.

Remember, the 15.6-inch screen is a blessing in disguise. In that, you don’t need an external monitor to avoid straining when working for long hours. 

[QUOTE] If you are a writer; whether freelancer or author. If you are a blogger; whether on social media or a platform like WordPress. If you do digital marketing, programming, or any other creative work on the internet, this laptop will do the job!

TIP: It comes with the Intel UHD Graphics to benefit from everyday graphics processing. And since it’s an integrated graphics, it’s won’t consume as much power as in the case of a dedicated GPU!

Pros:

  • An affordable laptop with high performance for all your WFH workflows. 
  • The integrated graphics allow it to perform well in both productivity and gaming use. 
  • A great keyboard with two-level backlit for a laptop of its price tag!
  • Impressive built-in speakers, offering plenty of range and volume.
  • Plenty of ports for connectivity including USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, USB 3.1/3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, USB 2.0 Type-A, HDMI 1.4b, 3.5mm mic/headphone, and an SD card slot. 
  • Well-built in a beautiful design for aesthetics. 
  • A fingerprint reader and webcam privacy shutter for enhanced security!

Cons:

  • I wouldn’t recommend it for graphics-intensive tasks like editing long videos, photos, and gaming. 

If you’re shopping on a budget under $500, please go ahead and pick the Lenovo 15.6″ IdeaPad 3. It’s such a lightweight, portable, and powerful laptop, despite the affordable price tag!

10. Samsung Chromebook 4 – Best Cheap Laptop for Working from Home

Samsung Chromebook 4 Key Specs:

Operating System: Chrome OS

Processor: Intel Celeron Processor N4000 (1.10 GHz up to 2.60 GHz 4 MB L2 Cache)

RAM: 4GB LPDDR4 Memory

Storage: 32GB eMMC (Available with a 64GB eMMC for an Extra $50)

Display: 11.6″ HD LED Display (1366 x 768), Anti-Reflective

Weight: 2.6 lb (1.18 kg)

Battery: Up to 10 Hours of Web Browsing

Keyboard: Island-Type Spill-Resistant Keyboard

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600 (Integrated)

Camera: 720p HD Camera

Available Colors: Platinum Titan

You don’t need to blow up a $1,000 check to get a laptop worthy of performing all your work from home productivity workflows. 

[QUOTE] A cheap laptop like Samsung Chromebook 4 which costs about $150 (on Amazon) will still do the job! NOTE: The regular price from Samsung’s main platform is $229.99

Here is a little secret I’ll let you know, my first laptop was a cheap Samsung N150 Plus. I got it for the equivalent of $200 (USD). 

That little beast helped me launch my freelancing career while still a freshman in college. Mark you, it featured an entry-level Intel Atom N455 (1.66GHz) processor, 1GB RAM, and 120GB HDD storage!

It’s the device I used to make my first $100 dollars by working from home. Well, working from my college hostel room!

So, I’m fully aware of it when I tell you you can start your working from home effectively with the entry-level Samsung Chromebook 4. 

What Can the Samsung Chromebook 4 Do?

The Samsung Chromebook 4 features an Intel Celeron N3450 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC storage, and a lightweight Chrome OS.

The processor is slightly more powerful than the Intel Atom N455 (1.66GHz) I had in the Samsung N150 Plus.

Yet, the fact that it comes with a Chrome OS means that it’s mainly designed to do the things that you can do from the Google Chrome browser.

Such things include sending emails, writing with Google Docs, navigating through spreadsheets, blogging, and digital marketing on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

But you can still create graphics on Canvas, make simple sales funnels on Clickfunnels, and so much more.

Who is the Samsung Chromebook 4 Best For?

I would recommend the Samsung Chromebook 4 to writers, bloggers, and digital marketers who want to launch their work-from-home careers.

Perhaps, this laptop will best suit you if you have a  really tight budget for a laptop and you want to start a side hustle by learning and becoming a freelance writer, blogger, or any other digital marketing skill/job. 

Pros:

  • Military-grade build-quality.
  • Small and lightweight for portability. 
  • Multiple layers of built-in virus protection for enhanced security. 
  • Gigabit Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 for ultrafast connectivity. 
  • Google Assistant-enabled.
  • Comes with 1x USB-C, 1x USB 3.0, MicroSD card port, and mic/headphone ports. 
  • You can get it as a certified refurbished from Amazon for as low as $100 (US). 

Cons:

  • Only limited to the Chrome OS. 
  • The 11.6” screen might lead to serious straining if you’re looking to work for long hours. 

Should You Choose the Samsung Chromebook 4 as Your First Laptop?

I mentioned above that I started my writing journey with a cheap Samsung N105 Plus laptop. 

What I didn’t mention was that the same laptop served me for close to three years from the summer of 2012 to mid-2015 when I upgraded to the HP 15-d008tu Notebook PC. 

The Samsung Chromebook 4 is a better version of the N105 Plus. Only that this one runs the Chrome OS. I would recommend it to you if all you do is writing, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, blogging, or an online tutor

In such a case, all you’ll need is the Google Chrome web browser and a communication app like zoom. Actually, these are also all I need in my work. Save for the Adobe Illustrator app that I use to “tweak” graphics for my blog posts.

So instead of blowing all your savings on the expensive MacBook Air M1, why don’t you start your work-from-home journey on the Samsung Chromebook 4!

We would love to hear that story down the line over a mug of coffee! And if you found this guide useful, please share, leave a comment below, or Buy Me Coffee. Thanks so much!

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featured image: Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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