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What are the best laptops for travel and digital nomads? Most of the travelers today do not like to travel with a laptop. There are different reasons for it such as, they are apprehensive about it being stolen, or being damaged during transit, or do not want to add weight to their luggage.
Moreover, they prefer using their smartphones or tablets, which are cheaper, lighter, more portable, and quite good enough to meet most of their computing and entertainment needs.
However, a few travelers, especially the digital nomads, prefer a laptop over the smartphones to carry with them since they need larger screens and more features to do their jobs on the system.
Nothing can beat the benefits of carrying a laptop and the other portable devices will soon hit the limits while performing.
A laptop will allow using different professional tools, multitask, and even access the online resources for research much faster and more easily than any other device.
However, with so many different options available, it is difficult to choose the most suitable laptop for travel and digital nomads.
You should know what will work best for you, suit your budget, and the specs to look for in it.
This needs research and some time to do the shopping. If you do not have the time, follow this list of recommendations and the buying guide to narrow down your search and pick the right laptop for travelers and digital nomads in quick time.
- Laptops for Travel and Digital Nomads – Price
- Ways a Laptop Can Help Digital Nomads Earn Money
- Minimum & Recommended System Requirements for Travel and Digital Nomads
- 5 Best Laptops for Travel and Digital Nomads:
- How to Choose Best Laptops for Travel and Digital Nomads?
- How important is workload and usage to choose a laptop for travel and digital nomads?
- Should portability be a useful criterion in a laptop for travel and digital nomads?
- How important is the price factor for a laptop for travel and digital nomads?
- Where should I carry my laptop while flying?
- Is Chromebook a good enough laptop for travel and digital nomads?
Laptops for Travel and Digital Nomads – Price
Ways a Laptop Can Help Digital Nomads Earn Money
Digital nomads have ways more than one to earn money simply by using a laptop.
This is why they do not want to leave their laptop behind at home when they travel and make the most out of this opportunity.
One of the most favorite and common ways to make money by using a laptop is by publishing an ebook.
This useful passive income idea can be pursued by using the Kindle Direct Publishing platform of Amazon.
You can also create a print-on-demand book from a corresponding e-book using the same platform either directly or through the Create Space platform.
Once it is live, you can use the ACX platform to convert the e-book into an audiobook and publish it on Audible.com.
You can also start a blog, which is another great source of passive income. However, you will need to understand the mechanics of online marketing in order to do it correctly.
The best part for creating a blog is that this will continue to generate revenue even if you are not doing any work.
Just follow a specific niche and write about a digital product that is in perfect harmony with whatever your blog is all about.
Depending on your location, you can also offer your services to the gig economy.
It could be anything from delivering packages to driving for a ride-share company.
Just make sure that these are simple and small gigs that you can complete easily.
If you have a specific professional skill set, you can also provide professional services.
You can use a large number of sites depending on your skill set that may include and not limited to a graphic designer, lawyer, programmer, or an accountant. Just know what other people are interested in buying.
You may also create online courses, depending on your skills once again, in a wide variety of areas.
You can teach English or any language, any other subject or cooking.
Just remember, everything will boil down to how nicely the course is structured and what are the actual sales funnels allied with it.
There are specific sites like Udemy that will take care of the sales and marketing aspect of it.
Social media marketing and virtual tutoring are two things that are highly in demand nowadays.
You can easily earn a substantial amount for your living by helping people with their varied social media needs and marketing efforts.
This is a very useful and productive way to earn money if you are traveling in less-expensive countries where finding clients will not be very difficult.
However, for all these you will need a suitable laptop that will support your work needs.
One of these following laptops will surely suffice your needs.
The list does not include a Chromebook, which is cheap, but with a very few options, it will limit your choice.
Minimum & Recommended System Requirements for Travel and Digital Nomads
Apart from a lightweight laptop, the other system requirements for travel and digital nomads are an Intel Pentium Gold or m3 or an Apple M1 processor.
You should also go with a laptop with a good enough integrated or dedicated graphics chip of Intel or AMD and Nvidia, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB eMMC or 128 GB SSD storage, and 12.3 inches display preferably with an anti-glare property and an IPS panel.
Depending on the type of job you want to do on your laptop, you may want a laptop that is equipped with hardware that is much more powerful than the above.
If you follow the recommended system requirements list mentioned below, you will be able to work on basic as well as advanced tasks most comfortably.
Minimum system requirements: 7th generation Intel Core i5 or higher processor| 8 GB of RAM | 128 GB SSD | Integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 5100 | 12.3 inches screen or larger | 1280 x 720 pixels resolution
Recommended system requirements: 8th generation Intel Quad Core i7 or higher processor| 12 GB of RAM or higher | 256 GB SSD or larger | Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 or higher | 14 inches screen or bigger | 1920 x 1080 pixels or higher screen resolution
5 Best Laptops for Travel and Digital Nomads:
1. Asus ZenBook UX425JA – Best Overall
Bottom Line: When the travel and digital nomads use this laptop, they can expect to have the best overall user experience and performance in comparison to other laptops in this list due to the 10th generation Intel i7 CPU and faster SSD and the facial recognition with Windows Hello support ensures safer login.
- Screen: 14 inches
- Storage: 512 GB PCIe SSD
- RAM: 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Processor: Intel Core i7 1065G7
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- GPU: Integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 5100
- The Nano Edge bezel provides more screen space.
- There is an active and responsive Number Pad in the system.
- The backlit keyboard comes with ergo lift design for comfortable typing.
- There is no optical drive included in the laptop design.
- The display of the system is not touchscreen.
- The fan noise can be loud and annoying.
This is an ultra-slim laptop that will be the best companion for travel and digital nomads.
The 14-inch screen, though does not come with touch facility, is good enough and comes with full HD feature.
The Nano Edge bezel provides a better viewing space to see the images more clearly from all possible angles.
It exhibits images at 400 nits and the IPS panel and anti-glare property make the images softer to your eyes enabling you to look at the screen for long hours without worrying about any strains caused to your optic nerves.
The Intel Core i7 processor supports the functioning of the DDR4 SDRAM, the PCIe SSD storage, and the integrated Intel Iris plus graphics card while at the same time processes data at a high speed of up to 3.9 GHz with its available 8 MB cache.
The Number Pad of the system adds to the convenience in using the system for travel and digital nomads with its high responsiveness and tactility.
The backlit keyboard comes with an ergo lift design to provide a better typing position, even in poorly lit settings.
In addition to the integrated IR camera that comes with facial recognition features and supports Windows Hello for a safer and faster login, the system also comes with extensive connectivity options.
2. Lenovo Yoga C930 – Runner Up
Bottom Line: Even with a bit lower generation processor than the above system, this laptop for travel and digital nomads ensures a better performance with its faster eight-way processing ability. The touch support of the screen of this 2-in-1 laptop and other useful features of it makes this a true runner up.
- Screen: 13.9 inches
- Storage: 512 GB PCIe SSD
- RAM: 12 GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Processor: 8th generation Intel Quad Core i7 8550U
- OS: Windows 10
- GPU: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620
- There is an integrated HD webcam with stereo microphone in the system.
- The performance of the system is fast with eight-way processing.
- The display of the laptop is a full HD touchscreen.
- The brightness of the screen is below 70% and should have been better.
- There is no media card reader in the system.
- The keyboard does not come with a separate numeric keyboard.
This 2-in-1 laptop comes with a large enough screen of 13.9 inches and with full HD resolution.
The touchscreen feature makes it all the more useful for travelers and digital nomads to do whatever they like on the screen directly.
The stylish stylus makes things even much easier for travel and digital nomads.
The IPS technology and the LED backlight of the screen makes it energy efficient and it is designed to support the integrated Intel UHD graphics card and Windows ink.
You will have a better multimedia experience with the rotating sound bar that comes with the Dolby Atmos speaker system to provide better quality audio.
The design of this stylish laptop shows premium craftsmanship and is made from high quality aluminum metal. This makes it highly durable and light in weight.
The strong hinges of the system allow folding the screen to 360 degrees to use it in the best possible way.
The 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor comes with 8 MB cache and four cores but consumes much less power due to its Ultra Low Voltage or ULV feature while ensuring an eight-way processing to produce better results in quick time.
The processor operates at 1.8 GHz base clock frequency but when required it can be doubled than that using the Intel Turbo Boost Technology.
The DDR4 memory and the PCIe Solid State Drive adds to its performance level and speed with faster accessibility.
The 12-hour long life of the four-cell lithium polymer battery allows using this system for a long time on a single charge by travel and digital nomads and the two Thunderbolt 3 ports provide support even if you connect several external drives and advanced monitors.
The laptop also comes with an integrated HD webcam with stereo microphones to allow you to have better and clearer conversation when you video call your friends at home while travelling.
The Windows 10 operating system, which you are familiar with, comes with all the features that will add to your convenience when you use this stunning 2-in-1 laptop.
3. Dell XPS 9370 – Long Lasting Battery life
Bottom Line: This specific laptop can be used by the travel and digital nomads for a long time on a single charge due to the long-lasting life of the lithium-ion battery. The 52-watt-hour battery can also be charged quickly from empty with the help of the 45-watt AC adapter to ensure that it never runs out of juice.
- Screen: 13.3 inches
- Storage: 128 GB SSD
- RAM: 8 GB LPDDR3
- Processor: 8th generation Intel Core i5 8250U
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- GPU: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620
- The sound quality of the device is good.
- The narrow bezel all around the screen makes it look larger.
- The SSD can be upgraded but needs some care while removing the bottom cover.
- The system design does not include any built-in optical drive.
- There is no numeric keypad in the system.
- The storage is quite low by today’s standards.
The Infinity Edge design of the full HD screen of this laptop provides a larger screen space and makes looking at it pretty good from all possible angles with its IPS panel.
The technology and features of the screen provide an unparalleled view with more pixels on every part of it with its 4 mm border which provides 80.7% screen to body ratio.
The color spectrum is maximized with 100% sRGB color to make the pictures look perfect and crispier.
The 1500:1 contrast ratio ensures adequate brightness with more clarity with the shadows which provides more details and definition to the images.
The anti-reflective feature of the screen combines with the 400-nit brightness that makes it superior to others and allows you to see the images clearly outdoors.
The 8th generation Intel Core i5 ensures faster processing of data which is also supported by the fast SSD and the LPDDR3 memory that comes with 1866 MHz bandwidth.
The 6.6 MB cache and the ability of the processor to operate at a high speed of 3.4 GHz promotes the functionality of the Intel UHD graphics card integrated in the system as well.
Add to that, the Windows 10 Home operating system ensures a much faster start-up as well as provides you with great new ways to complete your computing tasks with its familiar and useful features along with the expanded Start menu.
The device comes with simple yet more advanced technology. For example, the fingerprint reader integrated into the power button allows you to login faster with just a single touch and with no need to type the password.
There are four powerful microphones built-in this system for travel and digital nomads that can respond to your voice, irrespective of the noise at the background, from up to 14 feet away, thanks to the Waves-enabled speech technology support of Microsoft Cortana.
The machine also comes with comprehensive and leading-edge connectivity options that include Thunderbolt 3 multi-use Type-C ports.
You will be able to connect a number of external devices, charge your laptop, use up to two 4K displays, transfer data at a speed up to 40 Gbps as well, with these ports.
This smallest 13-inch laptop is the best device for travel as the small footprint allows placing it on the airplane tray tables, safely, even if the passenger in front of you reclines the seat.
The single block of aluminum from which the laptop for travel and digital nomads is made provides it with stunning strength thereby making it more durable and reliable than those devices that are made by putting several pieces together.
The best part is that the device will not become hot easily even when you use it for long hours due to the GORE Thermal Insulation to keep the conductivity level down significantly.
It includes heat pipes and dual fans that keeps the temperature low in spite of its thin form factor to ensure a greater performance. Check out Dell XPS 9370 Laptop Review.
4. Microsoft Surface Pro FJX – Value for Money
Bottom Line: This strong and sturdy computing device will be one of the best companions for the travel and digital nomads with its useful features that will ensure a better performance and higher value for money with its fast storage, good cooling system, fast enough processor and graphics, and connectivity.
- Screen: 12.3 inches
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- RAM: 8 GB
- Processor: 7th generation Intel Core i5
- OS: Windows 10 Professional
- GPU: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620
- The storage is pretty fast adding to the speed and performance of the system on the whole.
- The cooling system is good and does not allow the laptop to heat up easily when put under heavy use.
- The fingerprint reader on the touchpad is fast enough and more accurate.
- The size of the screen is pretty small.
- The kickstand seems to be a bit rigid.
- The selection and inclusion of ports could have been better.
With a 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor, this laptop will meet all the needs of a traveler and a digital nomad.
The RAM, storage, integrated graphics card, and the 13.5 hours of battery life will provide enough power for completing all your computing needs all day and night.
This slim and light weight laptop performs fast and can handle different workloads, simple or complex, most efficiently. You can use the Surface Pen for additional comfort.
You can surf the internet all through the day with its wireless networking support with wi-fi connectivity that is compatible with the different IEEE standards such as 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac.
The device also supports Bluetooth 4.1 wireless technology.
The strong and sturdy kickstand hinge allows you to use this laptop in different portable modes.
Open it and add the removable cover to use it in a laptop mode or transform it into studio mode by lowering the stand to a perfect angle so that you can write and draw on it easily and comfortably.
You can also use it in the powerful standalone tablet mode by closing the stand and removing or folding the Surface Pro Signature Type sleeve.
Apart from its uncompromising mobility, the system for travel and digital nomads allows you to study, create, work, and play virtually everywhere, better than ever, to stay more productive.
The Windows operating system will provide a wonderful user experience with everything at your fingertips including the 3D authoring tools.
The Windows Hello feature of the device allows you to enjoy fast and secure login without needing to type in the password every time for it.
You can also use a lot of different accessories to personalize the device even more and make it your own.
This is one of the best laptops for travel and digital nomads that is optimized for travel and digital nomads for content creation and consumption. Check out Microsoft Surface Pro FJX Laptop Review.
5. HP Specter X360 – Versatile Functionality and Good Touchscreen
Bottom Line: With its 2-in-1 design that offers versatile functionality and the good touchscreen of this laptop makes it a good technological ally of the travel and digital nomads. The 360-degree strong hinge allows easy flipping and folding of the responsive touchscreen that ensures natural and easy navigation.
- Screen: 13.3 inches
- Storage: 512 GB SSD
- RAM: 16 GB DDR3 SDRAM
- Processor: 8th generation Intel Core i7 8550U
- OS: Windows 10
- GPU: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620
- The laptop is extremely lightweight and portable weighing just 12.3 ounces.
- The display of the system is good enough and comes with a touch screen feature.
- The full backlit keyboard allows typing in dimly lit areas.
- The fingerprint sensor needs to be more responsive.
- The touchpad is very large and less responsive.
- There is no separate numeric keypad.
This specific model of HP Specter x360 2-in-1 laptop comes with a 13.3-inch touchscreen. This allows easy operation and control of the crisp images displayed on the screen.
You can pan, zoom or shrink the content according to your wish and need. The widescreen and IPS technology of the WLED display saves energy while exhibiting images at 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The Intel Core i7 processor of the system for travel and digital nomads is fast and powerful enough to whatever data is thrown at it.
Equipped with a DDR3 SDRAM, SSD storage and Windows 10 operating system, you probably could not ask for more from a laptop to get a high level of performance.
The integrated Intel HD graphics card is good enough to produce crisper and clearer images at a speed that is fast enough to ensure that there are no screen tears or lags to provide a seamless and immersive viewing experience.
There is also a front camera that comes with full HD feature and a wide viewing angle. The HP TrueVision camera comes with a dual digital microphone to ensure a better video calling experience.
The innovative and strong hinge of the HP Specter x360 13 flips to 360 degrees to ensure that you have a perfect viewing experience every time.
It allows you to use this device in four different modes such as a laptop to get on with your work, in tent mode to play games, fold it to use it in the stand mode to watch movies, or go flat to use it as a standalone tablet, making it a more versatile computing machine.
The power and hardware specs of the unit allows you to multitask smoothly and effortlessly as well.
The system is not only the most responsive but is also one of the most secure laptops to use due to its built-in security features.
The lithium ion battery provides power up to 15 long hours on a single charge so that you can work on the go while traveling and also in your hotel room in a remote village with no power supply. The island-style full backlit keyboard adds to the typing comfort.
This laptop for travel and digital nomads allows connecting a lot of different external devices through its ports that include two Thunderbolt 3 ports that supports transfer of data at a speed up to 40 GB/s, power delivery for charging, DisplayPort 1.2, and HP sleep and charge.
There is also one USB Type A 3.1 Gen 1 port with HP sleep and charge ability, and one headphone and microphone combo jack. Check out HP Spectre x360 Laptop Review.
How to Choose Best Laptops for Travel and Digital Nomads?
Since there are so many types and models of laptops offered by different manufacturers, and since there is no specific model labeled ‘for travel and digital nomads,’ choosing the best one from this humongous list can be really a tough call.
In order to make your investment worthy, you will first have to look at the different specs available and balance it with your needs, preferences and budget.
Remember, price is not included here as that will depend on your affordability and computing needs.
Here are the few specs that you should surely consider while shopping for a laptop for travel and digital nomads.
Since you will be traveling and not get easy access to an electrical outlet to charge your laptop, your first concern should be the type of battery and its life in the laptop for travel and digital nomads.
Though 8 hours of battery life will do, more of it will put you on the safer side while you travel on busses and other means of transport or stay in a hotel where there is no power.
Once again, since you will be traveling a lot, you must choose a laptop that is light in weight and portable.
This is primarily dependent on the size of the laptop, or the size of the screen, to be more precise.
Though it is much easier to work on a bigger screen, laptops for travel and digital nomads should be smaller in size.
This will not make it feel like a burden on your shoulders when you carry it along with you literally everywhere.
Though an Ultrabook will be just fine for travel and digital nomads being super light, thin and small but still be able to deliver an excellent performance, you can also go for any Windows laptop.
However, make sure that it weighs between 3 and 5 pounds, less is better, if you can afford the price of ultra-light laptops.
Also make sure that the device comes with a screen size ranging between 13 and 15 inches, whether it comes with touchscreen feature or not.
When it comes to storage space, you may be a bit confused because most of the lightweight and small laptops do not come with a lot of it.
However, you will need enough storage in your device to save your creations. The ideal storage space that you should go for in a laptop for travel and digital nomads is 256 GB.
If you want more storage space, make sure you choose a laptop that allows using alternative methods of storing such as an external hard drive or even in the cloud storage servers such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
The good thing about cloud storage is that you can access the stored file from anywhere by using any device, when your laptop breaks or gets stolen, a common issue with the careless travelers.
Another confusion is whether to choose an SSD storage or an HDD. The HHD storage will be cheaper but will be more prone to failure due to the spinning disk inside it, generate more heat, and will be much slower in comparison to an SSD storage.
It all depends on your needs, and, of course, your budget.
This aspect entirely depends on the type of jobs you want to do with your laptop.
On the other hand, if you are a web developer or a graphic designer, you will need a powerful and well-performing CPU, such as Intel Core i5 or an Intel Core i7, if you need something stronger.
However, this will cost you a couple of hundred dollars more.
Alternatively, you can also increase the processing power by using a separate graphics card.
This will not use up too much of RAM to slow the system down. This is what most of the video editors, 3D or graphics designers do.
As for any average user, an integrated graphics card will provide you with all that you need from your laptop for travel and digital nomads.
Operating system and device
To make the right choice, you should know about the different types of operating systems and then balance it with your needs.
The Mac operating system will run on Mac systems which are expensive. However, the Mac operating systems are phenomenally reliable and have a user-friendly interface.
This is crucial for travelers as they do not have the money or time to spend on computer repairs.
Windows operating systems, usually pre-installed in Windows notebooks, come with the largest range of options and features making it the best operating system for travel and digital nomads.
These laptops for travel and digital nomads come with features like touch screens, fingerprint sensors, 2-in-1 convertible tablets, and even twin graphics chips.
The Chrome OS, on the other hand, is a Google operating system found in a Chromebook. This operating system is simple, light, and secure to use.
However, your work will be restricted to surfing the internet, checking emails and social network navigation, and you will not be able to work offline.
Apart from an external hard drive, you should also look at some other accessories that you can add to a laptop for travel and digital nomads to enhance its performance and get more out of it.
A foldable and lightweight laptop stand is an appreciable accessory that will allow you to keep your neck in a straight position automatically because the screen will sit higher.
This will prevent you from bending down to your laptop screen all day which will change your posture and cause stiffness and pain in your neck and back.
An external keyboard is also good to use when your laptop sits higher on the laptop stand. It will be easier to type.
Do not worry about the additional weight in your luggage. These keyboards are super thin and light enough to fit easily into your hand luggage.
An extra keyboard will also need an extra mouse to enable you to work more comfortably. Just make sure you go for those wireless ones so that there are no knotted cables in your bag.
A laptop sleeve will also be a useful accessory as it will protect the device from scratches, bugs, liquids, or any other potential dangers that may lurk in your bag.
Also, bring a mobile hotspot along with your laptop for travel and digital nomads.
This will be very helpful in places where the internet connection may not be great, especially in the hotel or a local café, and even in the airport.
This is a cheaper wi-fi alternative to your mobile phone which may also have SIM card issues.
How important is workload and usage to choose a laptop for travel and digital nomads?
It is very important. This is because these criteria will determine the type of laptop you need to buy for yourself. Therefore, digital nomads and people who want to work when they travel need to first focus on their remote career and the specific needs for it. This will help them to know what they will be doing on their computer and choose the specs accordingly. Ideally, it is all about your personal and professional requirements, both.
Should portability be a useful criterion in a laptop for travel and digital nomads?
Yes, the portability of the laptop for travel and digital nomads should be an important criterion to look for when buying. Since you will be on the go most of the time, you will need a piece that is small and light in weight. This will allow you to carry it around for hours on end without spraining your neck and back. You should buy a laptop that you find comfortable to use and not because everyone else is buying or suggesting it.
How important is the price factor for a laptop for travel and digital nomads?
The price of a laptop, just like any other electronic devices, will always play an important role when shopping. Especially, when it comes to a laptop for travel and digital nomads, the piece not only should be affordable but also should be durable to endure the rigors of travel as well as daily use. Do not skimp on this aspect and buy the cheapest laptop. However, that does not mean you should spend $2000 for it. Remember, it is all about usage rather than price.
Where should I carry my laptop while flying?
Laptops are not only delicate pieces that need careful handling and use, but are also a costly and useful asset. Even if it is a rugged laptop, you should not throw it like any other ordinary baggage, especially when you are flying. Ideally, you should carry your laptop as your cabin luggage and not as a check-in luggage. This is because the airport staff typically has the tendency of throwing luggage around.
Is Chromebook a good enough laptop for travel and digital nomads?
Yes, it is, but it all depends on your needs and preferences, once again. If your needs mainly involve web surfing and using different apps available in the Google play store, then it is surely a good piece to meet with all your needs. However, if you want to work while traveling and that involves using some heavy and graphics intensive tasks, you should think otherwise as you will need high-end specs for that.