A laptop is to a virtual assistant what an instrument is to a musician. It is not just a necessary tool of the trade by which you earn your living. It’s also the device with which to create your symphonies of virtual work… and let’s be honest, you will probably be spending more time with it than with your significant others.
Your laptop is how you build your virtual assisting empire and how you can save your family from financial insecurity or loosen the constraints of being a stay-at-home-mom. It allows you to be mobile, to travel the world while you work.
It gives you the freedom to live the life you want.
With this in mind and taking into account the ever-evolving roles of virtual assistants, buying a laptop that allows you to achieve a multitude of tasks in an expeditious manner is the most important thing after your skills as a virtual assistant.
- To start and to settle this once and for all, a TABLET is not going to cut it. It can be an extra tool that you have within your arsenal but as a stand-alone, it won’t suffice, unfortunately.
Let’s dive right in.
Know Your Laptop Specifications as a Virtual Assistant
If you have done any work as a virtual assistant, you will know that at any given moment, you will have multiple tabs open on your Internet browser.
This could be because you are working on multiple projects or that you need certain tabs open for reference. In a day, you will be holding meetings, uploading and downloading, while working on tasks in various platforms.
You need a laptop with a great memory and one that runs quickly.
This Comes Down to RAM, HDD or SSD and CPU
Before you panic about what all this means, here is what each of them means and what they do for you and your laptop.
- RAM: Random Access Memory.
This is the short-term memory of your computer, it never runs out but could start to operate slowly over time.
Basically, it is how much you can do while your laptop is running.
The absolute minimum that you can buy is 4GB and that probably isn’t enough for the amount that you would need as a virtual assistant. So if you can try to get at least 8GB.
- HDD: The hard drive that stores long-term memory
- SDD: Solid State Drive. This is slowly replacing HDD and is seen in the most up to date computers. The data is stored on a microchip instead of a desk platter. Laptops with SSD are usually more expensive but run quicker. Having a laptop that runs quickly is essential.
Spending a bit more money could actually save you money in the long run, as you will be able to get work out faster.
The minimum space required is 32 GB but preferably, try to get one with 128GB for either an HDD or SDD.
- CPU: Central Processing Unit, is your computer’s processor i.e. how fast your computer runs.
The main contenders are AMD and Intel. Although AMD has a weaker reputation, it is starting to up its game and could possibly be a good processor for those on a tight budget. If you would like to know more, take a read here.
What Laptop Should I Get?
Now that you know all the technical language, let’s look at 3 completely different laptops ranging from low to high with regards to budget and specifications.
Acer Aspire 5 Slim $
- 4GB of RAM
- 128 GB Hard Disk Size
- 15.6” Screen Display
- AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Processor
- Windows 10 S
- $364.99 USD
This is a fantastic “work computer”, substantial in a good way, as most laptops in this price range feel like they need to be babied or they will break.
The computer weighs 3.97 lbs with an average battery life of 7.5 hours.
The size might not be suitable for those that wish to travel, especially our digital nomads. It has a 15.6” screen which can be a pain to lug around. The screen display is not great either, colors are washed out and you can see that this is where costs were cut.
Get the Acer Aspire 5 here.
Asus Vivobook 15 $$
- 8GB of RAM
- 256GB Disk Size
- 15.6” Screen Display
- AMD R5-3500U Processor
- Windows 10
- $479.99 USD
This is a great laptop for travel weighing in at 3.5 lbs.
It has a backlit keyboard and an ergo lift hinge that automatically raises the keyboard for a more comfortable typing experience. It has a great memory and with the SDD, will allow you to work with numerous tabs open. Both SDD and RAM are upgradeable too!
With most laptops running Windows 10, they are concerns with regards to security, being the operating system that is most prone to viruses. Windows 10 has tried to accommodate this problem with Microsoft Windows Defender but it is never 100% secure. So invest in good anti-virus software.
Check out the Asus Vivobook 15 here.
MacBook Pro 13” $$$
- 8GB of RAM
- 256GB SSD
- 13” Screen Display
- Intel Core i5
- Mac OS
- $929.99 USD
Many people say that once you have used Mac, you will never turn back! This could be due to its operating system Mac OS, which is fast and easy to use. Along with a battery life of up to 12 hours!
If longevity and build quality is something that you are searching for, then a MacBook is a great laptop.
The reason why this system works so efficiently is that it is designed specifically for a limited number of models, therefore allowing it to run smoothly and consistently.
It has been said that since the MacBook comes pre-loaded with software for video, photography, and music-making, it may be the best laptop for creative industries.
As a virtual assistant, video-editing, podcast editing, and photo editing are skills that are in high demand and sought after by numerous clients.
Depending on any upgrades you decide to add to your purchase (like RAM or SSD storage), the price could go up to $1,249.
Another small obstacle is that they don’t come installed with Microsoft suite. This can be easily remedied by purchasing a monthly subscription for Office 365 for $6.99/month.
You might also find yourself buying add ons as newer MacBooks do not come with internal DVD drives and with full-size USB ports.
Check out the MacBook 13” here.
Other Important Laptop Features to Consider for Virtual Assistants
- Screen Size
You might think the smaller the better, especially if you are considering becoming a digital nomad but there are some drawbacks to these laptops.
Physically it can be bad for your eyesight, and back posture. Squinting and hunching down to see what you are doing could have long term health effects and, you won’t be the first freelancer to head to a physiotherapist for back pain.
An 11” screen is probably the smallest screen a virtual assistant should consider.
You need to do a “test drive” and see whether it feels comfortable to use.
Some laptops, due to their size have keyboards that are compact with odd placement of some keys and cramped spacing of others.
Look at how the keyboard is set up and if it extends as far as your screen does. Another thing to consider is whether you want your keyboard to be backlit or not. Working late at night? Then this might be a feature for you.
Here are some examples of external keyboards that could work for you:
- Artek 2,4G Wireless Keyboards $
- Logitech K800 Wireless Illuminated Keyboard $$`
- Apple Magic Keyboard $$$
- Battery Life
The recommended minimum battery life is 8 hours. If you are traveling a lot and don’t want to lug around your battery in your carry-on luggage, consider upgrading and you won’t regret it. However, if you are working from home for most of the day, then this won’t be a problem for you.
The versatility of an external mouse will hold you in good stead as a virtual assistant. Although the internal mouse of a laptop is great for traveling, having an extensional form will allow you to perform more jobs as a virtual assistant with greater finesse.
Seriously consider investing in one!
Here are some great examples:
5 Tips to Help You Work Ergonomically With Your Laptop as a Virtual Assistant
#1: Elevate your laptop to eye level with a laptop stand or a stack of books.
#2: Bring your laptop close enough to see without tilting your head forward.
#3: Use an ergonomic external keyboard and mouse, if not possible use a stand to help angle your laptop keyboard.
#4: Support your elbows in a neutral position with either an armrest or cushions.
#5: Make sure your feet are flat on the floor or use a footrest if necessary.
Still Not Sure What Laptop to Get as a Virtual Assistant?
This could be because you are not sure of your path yet, and that’s okay!
A lot of virtual assistants take some time to discover their specific calling.
Esther Inman, CEO of Virtual Assistant Internship has a program, 90 Day VA, that will allow you to delve into every niche that is available to a virtual assistant.
90 Day VA comprehensively outlines every aspect that could possibly be needed by clients. At the end of the program, you will have a super sleek and professional portfolio. Plus the confidence to apply for jobs that your heart desires most.
Are you wondering if being an online project manager would suit you better than a graphic designer? You might need completely different specs in a laptop.
In 90 days or less, you could discover what makes your heart sing and the path you would like to follow. How amazing is that?
If you are unsure, check out the syllabus and enrollment details with FREE Masterclass today to see whether this is for you.
Hope to see you soon!
Lauryn is a virtual assistant that specializes in creating and repurposing content that increases growth and engagement for all your social media needs. She enjoys learning about new platforms, techniques, and staying on current trends. She is a mom, wife, and now lives in the South of France with her family. Lauryn enjoys time spent with family and friends, and her dream is to live somewhere with an ocean view. To learn more about her services, click here.
7 thoughts on “Top 3 Laptop Options for Virtual Assistants (For Any Budget!)”
This was so amazing .. Thank you for all this information.
Thanks. Is it better to use either apple tablet or android tablet instead of laptop for VA work? Laptops pose more technical problems than tablets. That is what am considering. Thank you
Hey! You definitely need a laptop to work as a VA. 🙂 A tablet won’t be able to run some of the software.
Thanks so much for this information!
Wow this was a very insightful article. I needed this information to make a better purchase decision. Thank you so much!
Is a macbook air suitable for this job
This helped me pick a great laptop for my assistant. Thank you!