cheap laptop

Morning all

I started a new job a few months ago, and due to a change in my hours I now have the opportunity to write during my breaks! It’s working out really well but I don’t want to keep carrying my heavy, expensive laptop to work everyday.

I was looking at buying a very cheap note book from Argos or Currys. Something like this … 2-pdt.html but I’m worried they might not be up to the job.

I’ve been digging around the site for the last few days but I can’t find anything about specification. Can I run scrivener on these machines (4gb and 2gb of ram respectively)

Thanks in advance everyone
(alternative recommendations of cheap, light lap tops for writing on also very welcome)

Not a Windows person, but Scrivener can run in a very restricted environment. However, it is important that it has an Intel or equivalent AMD processor; it won’t run on the really light, low cost “something-books” that use different CPUs.



I’m usually a apple person, but it does feel a bit ridiculous carrying a macbook pro through london on public transport every day. But would intel celeron be up to the job of running scrivener?

I haven’t had time to check your links, and I don’t know enough about whether Intel Celeron might be suitable; what you don’t want is a Chromebook or anything with an Atom CPU, I believe. With any luck a Windows user will come along to advise.



The better of your 2 options gives you a total of 32 GB of storage, probably 40GB of which will be used by Windows. I don’t believe you can properly run Windows with less than 8 GB of RAM, but the 4 GB is possible, the 2 is ridiculous. In other words, my recommendation is don’t do either, in fact give up your idea.

My recommendation is to get a nice tablet or possibly a chromebook (what Mark is warning against), and give up the idea of using Scrivener at work. Use Google Docs, or Evernote, or a simple text writing program and write your ideas, and do work. It is your break, not your real work area. Then copy what you do on the job to Scrivener when you get home. I suggest an 8" tablet and if necessary a bluetooth keyboard, or just use your thumbs. This way you have a machine that is meant for the purpose it is being used for, and can be used for reading, books, news and is very light and portable. If you need the bluetooth keyboard, leave it at work.

The worst possible thing you can do is buy a Chromebook. It’s a complete waste of money. Chromebooks are for kids in pre-school. On top of that, you’ll spend enormous chunks of your time trying to transfer your work back to a normal machine.

If you are serious about your writing, go for a windows tablet or laptop. Time is your most precious commodity, don’t spend it on wrestling with the hardware.

The processors should be fine – anything that is Intel/AMD x86/x64 compatible, so you can use real Windows 10, should work.

In my experience, 4GB of RAM is the bare minimum you want, 7GB or more would be better. I have run Scrivener on Windows 10 on a table with 2GB of RAM and just running the OS is painful. Scrivener is not resource intensive itself and should do okay, but the OS functions, browser windows, PDF readers, and other helper applications (like Dropbox for syncing), etc…the typical working environment I found necessary was just too much for 2GB of RAM.

If either of these devices uses Windows 10 S, avoid it – you’d need to upgrade to Windows 10 Professional in order to install and run Scrivener, and unless you have need for the features in Windows 10 Professional, Windows 10 Home should be all you need. Luckily, Windows 10 S was a short-lived experiment.

Avoid ARM devices. Intel Celeron, Pentium, Atom should all be fine.

If you use the Lonovo device above, read the questions about storage space – you’ll pretty much need to have an SD/microSD card in it to use anything. In my experience, 32GB on-board storage is jsut not enough for a device that you’re using for anything other than an always-online media consumption device – Windows will default your profile to the same drive as the OS and getting it to use the SD card is not always 100% reliable.

I would recommend minimum specs of 64GB storage and 4GB of RAM. On the other hand, I don’t recommend what SteveShank is saying either, as it invovles a lot of extra fiddling to import/export the documents properly on a daily basis and you’re stuck with less flexibility and freedom.

I know you’re looking at Windows, but have you considered iOS Scriv?

If you already have one of the larger size iPhones, or would be willing to buy an iPad or a Mini, then all you’d have to do is add a bluetooth keyboard and DropBox and you’d be ready to roll.

We have a winner!

Yes, that is the obvious solution, except that I was assuming that Caroline didn’t want to shell out the money/couldn’t afford an iPad. I know it’s possible to run iOS Scriv even on an iPhone 6, but I suspected she wanted a less restrictive environment.

Caroline, also remember if you’re running Scriv 3 on your Mac, you’ll have the problems of format incompatibility with Windows 1.9.x, so will either have to run v. 3 Beta, or load Mac 2.9 back onto your home machine.

iOS is probably your best answer.


Yes, I’m thinking spending a bit of extra money on an iPad might be the answer. the cheap laptop option seems to be complicated and ineffective. And I realised shortly after i posted i’d have to buy scrivener for windows as well.

After another day of lugging my laptop into work I know I have to do something though

Thanks to everyone for taking the trouble to reply to this.

Although do note that on the Mac you have the File ▸ Export ▸ as Scrivener 2 Project… which creates a version the stable Windows version can work with. When you get back home, you open that up in v3, it upgrades it and you just repeat the export process the next morning. It’s an extra step, but it may be preferable to running the beta if you aren’t actively looking to test and put up with a shifting environment.

Overall though, an old refurb iPad wouldn’t make for a bad option—and roughly in the same price category as a budget laptop. If you find a good deal there, you can shop around for a good keyboard that you actually enjoy writing with, too. That’s something to consider with the budget laptops—you’re not only looking for something that can boot itself up and run a program or two without bogging down, you’re looking for something that doesn’t feel like using a Speak & Spell for writing! A lot of those budget models have keyboards designed for very casual keyboard use.

Actually, that was my next question. how old can I go with the refurbished iPad? I’ve never owned a tablet before.

Thanks again everyone, you’ve all been so helpful


Any refurbished iPad on Apple’s website (scroll to the bottom to find Refurbished and Clearance) should work fine as Apple won’t sell a refurb that doesn’t run the current iOS. I’ve bought my last 3 devices this way and while it’s a bit more expensive than other sources, it DOES come with the same warranty as new Apple hardware. I’d go with more than the minimum storage–the little devils are addictive and it’s ever so tempting to add stuff… but YMMV. At any rate, speed really doesn’t matter for iOS Scrivener–it’s small and very snappy. :slight_smile:

If you’re picking one up elsewhere, you need to get one that runs at least iOS 9. If you get MacTracker from the Mac App store (free) you can see what models will run it.

Personally, I wouldn’t get an iPad so old that it won’t run iOS 11, because I’d lock myself out of a lot of software.That may or may not be important to you,though.

although i prefer OS, for lack of money i have replaced my old mac with windows laptop.

The point is: do you need the laptop as first computer or only as replacement to going around and only for Scrivener and basic task?

If your necessity is the last you can take one of the laptot you mentioned before.

Personally i bought for less than 200€ an ASUS 11,6" e200h in 2017.
For the money is a great deal.
you must not expect power.
It has an Atom, only 2GB ram and only 32GB hd emmc.
for Scrivener and basic task it’s good.
the problem are the the 32gb hard disk 'cause Windows is not a very smart OS so it try always to install upgrades, fulling your space, until it will be filled (so you have to block the auto-upgrade with mazy steps) .
I don’t know if ouside of Italy you find different models

(i check on asus uk, and it seems the model is this the previous one of this )

the PROs of this model are:
good keyboard
0,98 kg!
battery (10 hours)

as i said before it’s a good deal for the price.
if you can put more money than look absolutely for a laptop with al least 64gb di hard disk.

My recommendation is to try both options (iPad/cheap laptop) out before you decide. Both are likely to work functionally but they will feel very different. Display and keyboard are key factors.
Costwise , there are possible extras (cases for both keyboard for the iPad - though you could also use one with the laptop if you so chose). Presumably you have to buy Scrivener in both cases (iOS/Windows)
If I am just writing I might decide just to dictate into my phone. If I am using all aspects of Scrivener, I prefer a laptop. If I am out and about, I might choose the iPad. I would definitely recommend a high end keyboard if you go the iPad route (Apple & Logitech both good).

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 would be a great and cheap laptop that would be awesome for gaming.

That Dell weighs more than double than Asus, cost more than double and have less the half of battery.

But yes, it more more powerful.

The point: if this will be your only pc, then you have to choose Dell o similar.
But if you want a 2nd pc, very portable then you have to not choose an heavy one.