Not all of us are tech wizzes living in silicon valley. Sometimes all you need is something to browse the web more efficiently than your tiny phone screen. Whether its Netflix in bed, checking your email or scrolling through Facebook, sometimes a computer just makes things a little bit easier.
- Acer R11 Convertible Chromebook: If you don’t need windows and are committed to browsing, this sleek Chromebook brings you everything you need to surf the web seamlessly while staying ultra-portable.
- 2019 HP 15.6-inch Laptop: Looking for somewhere to store your media in addition to web browsing? This laptop offers 1TB of storage space and a large 15.6″ screen that will make it easy to view movies or add a few extra tabs to your window.
- HP 2-in-1 Touch-Screen Chromebook: This 2-in-1 laptop/tablet would be a great choice for someone who primarily surfs the web for now, but might need the laptop for work or school occasionally.
Who Should Get This?
Do you only feel the need for a laptop occasionally? Maybe you see it as a convenience tool that makes checking email a little bit smoother, or streaming movies in bed more comfortable. If you only need a laptop for web browsing, then these will be great recommendations for you.
However, if you’re someone who plans to use a laptop every day for work, school, or other purposes, these suggestions probably won’t be able to support your needs.
Laptop for Surfing the Web: What to Consider in 2020
Screen Size & Resolution
Laptop screens tend to come in three main sizes: 13 inches, 15 inches, and 17 inches. For many people, the final choice comes down purely to personal preference. Larger screens offer more space for your windows and bigger text, but a smaller screen is more portable and might be ideal if you plan to take your laptop to coffee shops or traveling.
Nobody likes to constantly be searching for their power cord and attempting to find an empty outlet. A good laptop should offer an all-day battery life, and if you’re using it only for web browsing, you should get close to the advertised battery length in practice.
The processor and RAM will determine how well your laptop functions. For internet browsing, you don’t need a lot of power – 4GB of RAM is a good amount, and most laptops designed for this purpose won’t offer more. You should also consider how much storage space you need. Some laptops offer as little as 64GB of storage, which is fine for some people but may quickly become too little if you store lots of pictures or music. 128GB or 256GB are probably better choices for most people.
Best Laptop for Surfing the Web: Our Picks for 2020
Small but mighty, the R11 chromebook combines the best of both worlds. You can easily flip the screen 360 degrees, for use as a tablet or laptop. The compact 11.6″ size makes it ultra portable, and the clean white design looks sleek and modern. It runs ChromeOS, which is a little different from Windows- you can’t install traditional programs, as everything is web based. However, this makes it super ideal for the casual browser.
- Convertible 2-in-1 design with a touchscreen.
- 4GB of RAM keep the device running smoothly even if you’re multitasking.
- Includes USB, HDMI, and SD Card ports.
- Design is clean and modern, the white casing gives it a smooth look.
- ChromeOS relies on the Google Play Store and web-based software to extend functionality (you can’t install Microsoft Office, for example).
- Small storage space at only 32GB.
Need more screen space and lots of storage space for your movies, photos, and music? This laptop from HP strikes a good deal. You’ll get 1TB of storage space and a 15.6 inch screen that will make watching movies comfortable and give you plenty of space for all your browser tabs. Plus it includes a CD drive, perfect for all your old disks (or any new ones).
- Lots of storage, 1TB will likely never be filled if you’re primarily web browsing unless you want to store thousands upon thousands of photos/other media.
- 15.6 inch screen is great median screen size.
- Offers 8GB of RAM, which is somewhat uncommon for laptops in this range.
- Optical drive (cd drive), HDMI, USB, and ethernet connectivity.
- Not 1080p resolution, this laptop is 1366 x 768p, which may be more noticeable on the larger screen.
This incredible laptop is flexible in more than one way. The screen flips all the way around if needed, but it also has Optane memory (in addition to 4GB of RAM), which balances the older HDD drive. This laptop is a great fit for someone who may only be web browsing now, but has plans to do more (or perhaps pass the laptop down to a child) in the future.
- Can be converted into a tablet whenever desired.
- HD Screen resolution (1080p).
- Wide variety of ports, including USB-C & HDMI in addition to regular USB.
- Could easily be used non-intensive work such as Microsoft Office, not just web browsing.
- Price could be considered high for someone who primarily wants to surf the Internet.
Useful Tips & Tricks
Once you have your laptop, you’ll want to make sure to take good care of it. You can find some advice on how to clean your laptop in this New York Times piece.
Another important thing to keep in mind is your safety when web browsing. You should always be taking steps to secure your data and privacy such as:
- Making secure passwords (at least 8 characters long, with numbers, letters, and symbols)
- Not linking your social media accounts to each other or to other services
- Learning what a phishing email is and how to identify it
- Avoiding sharing personal information or identifying details
- Reviewing your privacy settings and agreements for important services like online banking or social media accounts.
Even if you only need a laptop occasionally, it can be really convenient to use something with a real keyboard and larger screen than your phone or tablet. An everyday laptop will let you browse the web with ease and offer additional features that might come in handy like playing your old DVDs or converting into a tablet for taking notes.
If you feel like we missed a model that’s worked really well for you, leave us a comment to let us know! Happy surfing!
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.