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Are you searching for the best laptops for law school?
Whether you’re a new law student or a senior who needs to replace your old laptop, this post will help you in the pursuit of your next laptop.
In a hurry?
Here’s our Editor’s choice:
ASUS ZenBook 13
Can you manage your school with a simple, entry-level laptop? You could, but that is also going to give you a lot of headaches along the way. To have a good computing experience, you need to have at least a laptop with decent specs.
We have researched the performance of popular software like PracticePanther, Clio Manage, and other law-related applications on a lot of laptops. From our research, we’ve come with a fine selection of laptops that are great for law school students.
Let’s take a look at them.
Best Premium Ultrabook For Law School – Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 is our Editor’s choice for the best laptop for Law school students.
Dell has been making some stunning laptops over the years, and this one is easily one of the best ones that will stand the test of time for years to come.
The reason we chose this as the best laptop for aspiring lawyers is that it is a super portable laptop that comes with all the power you need and more. The laptop gives you excellent battery life and can last you the entire day without you having to plug it in. As a law student, you will appreciate the battery life of this laptop.
When it comes to processing power this Dell laptop comes with an Intel core i7 processor. This is one of the best processors you can get in the market right now as it belongs to the 10th generation of Intel chips. With this cheap, you can be pretty sure about the capability of your laptop for the next few years.
The processor can handle your everyday needs like a hot knife through butter. And it is very quick and opens everyday applications like office apps, web browsers, social media applications, and other stuff.
The processor gets good support from the 16GB of RAM in the memory department. This Ram is super overkill for a law student. In most cases, 8GB will be more than enough for most aspiring lawyers. But this Ram does give you the freedom to multitask without any restriction whatsoever. You can run even 10 applications side-by-side without impacting the performance of the laptop.
The keyboard on this laptop is an absolute gem to type on. The keys are well designed, and it gives you a nice soft feel when you’re typing on it. The backlit keyboard does come in handy when you don’t have a lot of natural light to work with. The touchpad on this laptop is also very good giving you a complete Windows gestures experience.
The display on the Dell XPS 13 is one of the best displays you can find on an ultrabook. It comes with full HD resolution and has a very good picture quality. The IPS panel underneath makes sure that you get a good contrast ratio leading to deep blacks and bright whites. This will present you with more colors on screen than you have ever seen before.
Another thing you cannot miss is the size of the bezels around the display. Dil has significantly reduced the size of the bezels around the screen giving a laptop a more modern and polished look. This is not only just looks, but also helps in reducing the total footprint of the laptop. This 13-inch laptop now fits into a footprint of an 11-inch laptop which is a great stride in the design department.
You will not find a dedicated graphics card in this Dell XPS model. This is fine for law students as they don’t require one. The integrated graphics card is more than enough to handle all their graphics needs, and you will also be able to play some mid-range games that are pretty good.
Overall, the Dell XPS 13 is a solid offering from Dell. You get a compact, portable, and powerful laptop that is not very expensive. If you are a loss student looking for the most premium Windows experience, then the Dell XPS 13 is the best laptop for you.
Best Laptop For Law School (Editor’s Choice) – ASUS ZenBook 13
If you are someone who travels a lot, then the right choice for you would be the ASUS ZenBook 13. This is an ultra-slim laptop from a Zedge that comes with a very light package and offers a complete Windows experience.
The laptop weighs around 2.5lbs which makes it one of the lightest Windows laptops of that. You can easily slide this laptop into your backpack and attend lectures or simply travel the way you want.
The display of this ASUS laptop is a 13.3-inch one that comes with full HD resolution. This is a nano edge display that comes with 95% screen to body ratio. ASUS has done well to include the camera in the top bezel itself without making it any weird.
The keyboard on this laptop is a very good one. It comes with excellent key travel that makes typing such a breeze. The keys are backlit which means you will be able to use this laptop even in a completely dark room. The touchpad is a Windows precision touchpad and does well. The touchpad also doubles up as a virtual number pad which should come in handy if you are going to work with numbers a lot.
The process are we have is an Intel core i7 processor. This is an 8th generation Intel processor that comes with a maximum clock speed of 4.5 GHz. This is also an ultra-low voltage processor that does well when it comes to energy consumption and efficiency. This means the processor, despite being an i7 chip, will not have a huge effect on the battery life.
The memory department on this laptop comes with 16GB of RAM. This is a lot of memory for an average law student, and most of it won’t be used in the laptop’s lifetime. When it comes to multitasking, there is absolutely no limit to what you can do which is nice.
When it comes to storage, the laptop comes with a 512GB solid-state drive. This is fast storage which means you will be able to open applications in a flash. The solid-state drive also loads the operating system in a very quick time which is something you cannot get out of a mechanical hard drive.
The battery life of this laptop is another major selling point. With regular use, you can use this laptop for up to 8 to 11 hours which is just fantastic. This laptop is designed to last all day and that makes it an excellent companion when you’re traveling or when you how to do long work marathons without a power outlet nearby.
Overall, the ASUS ZenBook 13 is a super portable laptop that also carries a slim design profile. If you are looking for a sleek laptop that does not compromise on performance then this one is probably your best bet.
Best Budget Laptop For Law School – Acer Aspire 5
Not everyone will be able to afford a premium laptop, and that should not stop you from getting a good computing experience at law school. Having a good laptop at law school will make your learning experience much better.
Our choice for the best budget laptop for Law school students is the Acer Aspire5.
One visible compromise you will be making with this laptop is portability. This is a 15.6-inch laptop and it weighs a lot more than your 13.3-inch laptop. However, when you compare the weight with the other laptops in the same size category you will find that this one is a lot lighter.
The laptop comes with a 15.6 inch full HD display which is a pretty good surprise considering this is a budget laptop. You also get an IPS panel underneath that helps in giving you more colors and a good contrast ratio. The viewing angles on this laptop at pretty impressive and makes this display a good one for presentations and for personal media consumption.
One area where the Acer aspire five gives as a huge surprise is in the battery life department. this budget laptop, with light use, gives as a battery life of around 9.5 hours which is just crazy. Even when running a 15.6-inch full HD display, this laptop is well optimized to give you such a good battery life which is perfect for students.
The processor on this laptop is a 10th generation Intel core i5 processor. This is a quad-core processor and comes with ample clock speed, both at the base and max. It does an impressive job and comes to handling your daily needs. With the 8GB of RAM in the memory department, this laptop gives you a complete Windows experience that does not need any restrictions from your side.
The storage we have on this laptop is a 256GB solid-state drive. This SSD is a pretty good one and comes with excellent reading and writing speeds. You will love how quickly this laptop boots up the operating system, and also how it handles other frequently used applications.
The laptop does not come with a discrete graphics card. What you get on this laptop is an Intel UHD graphics card. This is an integrated graphics card, and it does a pretty good job and it comes to handling entry-level and mid-range games. If you are a casual gamer, this graphics card will serve you well.
The keyboard and trackpad on this laptop are pretty good considering the price. The keyboard can get a bit noisy when you’re typing fast, and this makes this laptop not a good choice when it comes to working in libraries and other public places where people could easily get annoyed. The trackpad is pretty decent and gets the job done.
Overall, the Acer aspire five is an amazing laptop with an affordable price tag. It brings you good hardware and offers you a neat Windows experience at a price that is affordable by most students. If you’re looking for a budget Windows experience, this could be it.
Best Apple Laptop For Law School – MacBook Air
For some reason, if you favor macOS over windows then the best laptop for you is the Apple MacBook Air.
The 2020 model is a much-improved version of the MacBook Air and has become the go-to choice for anyone who wants the least expensive Apple laptop. The good thing with the MacBook Air is that they have completely gotten rid of the cheap laptop tag.
This MacBook Air model comes with a 10th generation Intel core i3 processor. This is an ultra-low voltage processor that carries enough power to tend to your daily needs. The i3 processor is a great choice for students as it is not very taxing on the other hardware, and can give you excellent performance at the same time.
The memory on the laptop is made up of 8GB of RAM. This RAM is more than enough for most law students. You will be able to multitask efficiently and as macOS comes with more optimization, the performance with 8GB could even match up to 12GB of RAM in a Windows machine.
The display of the MacBook Air got a huge upgrade and now comes with retina resolution. This retina resolution is much better than the conventional full HD resolution and gives you excellent images. The text on the display is super sharp giving you the ultimate reading experience. As a loss student, you will be reading a lot of stuff on your laptop and this display is just tailor-made for it.
The MacBook Air just knocks it out of the park when it comes to battery life. With light use, the laptop can easily give you at least 10 to 12 hours of battery life. Most Law school students will not have a heavy computing lifestyle. Their everyday needs will comprise of activities like web browsing, reading, and note-taking. With this routine, they can easily get around 9 to 11 hours of battery life which is crazy.
Talking about taking notes, this MacBook Air comes with one of the best keyboards on a laptop. Apple has revived this keyboard and has named it the magic keyboard. When compared to other laptops, this keyboard does come with very little key travel, but the typing experience on this laptop is bliss.
The keyboard does not affect your typing speed or performance in any way. The backlighting on the keyboard looks beautiful and makes you work late hours even in dark rooms. The touchpad is probably one of the best ones we can get on an ultrabook. The surface is much larger come back to a normal laptop, and you will absolutely fall in love with all the macOS gestures while using this trackpad.
Overall, the MacBook Air is the best Apple laptop for law students. We chose the air over the pro model as it is a lot more affordable and more accessible to a lot of people. If you are looking for a laptop that runs macOS and gives you excellent performance all day long, then the MacBook Air is the one for you.
Best Budget Gaming Laptop For Law School – MSI GF 63
If you are an aspiring lawyer who likes to play games, then this MSI GF 63 is the best laptop for you without having to pay a premium price.
This MSI laptop is a 15.6-inch laptop that comes with full HD resolution and a dedicated graphics card that enables you to play the latest and the greatest games available.
Being a gaming laptop, there is no doubt about how good this machine would be in terms of performance. The Intel Core i7 processor comes with 6 cores. 12 threads, and a maximum clock speed of 4.5 GHz. It is well complemented by the 16GB of memory that is clocked at 2666 MHz.
By this point, you would have come to the conclusion that this laptop is a powerhouse. When it comes to handling your everyday activities, the laptop does not even break a sweat. Even when running heavy applications, the laptop does a pretty good job as the cooling system handles the rise in temperature effectively.
The dedicated graphics card on this laptop is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 that comes with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. This is a pretty good graphics card and it comes with excellent architecture and the ability to run most games without having to meddle with the settings. The graphics card also does a pretty good job when it comes a photo and video editing as well.
The display we have here is a 1080p display and it does a pretty good job and it comes to gaming. You will be able to see accurate colors on screen and there is minimum motion blur which makes gaming a sweet experience.
Overall, the MSI GF 63 laptop is an excellent gaming machine that does not cost you an arm or leg. If you are a law school student who does not want to give up your gaming side of things, then this would be the perfect laptop for you.
What To Look For In The Best Laptop For Law School Students?
What kind of laptop do you need as an aspiring lawyer?
The good news is that you don’t need a lot of specs on your laptop to have a good time in law school. All you need is a decent performance, and you’ll be fine.
But there are different kinds of users out there and they all will want different things. The main purpose of this section is to address that.
Let’s take a look at the things you need to look for in your next laptop for law school.
What operating system can you work best with? Windows or macOS?
Most exam applications like ExamSoft and SoftTest work well with both the operating systems. But Windows does offer more compatibility when it comes to exam software.
Are you planning to work in clinics?
The impact of your operating system here is pretty less. In some cases, you might find that Windows has an edge, but macOS will also score some wins.
It is better to go with an operating system of choice when it comes to internship and clinical work.
Notes and Essays are something you’ll work on a lot in law school.
If you love taking handwritten notes, then you can get yourself a convertible laptop. You can find these laptops only with Windows operating system. Macs and their OS do not support touchscreen on their laptops yet.
If you’re fine with typing your notes on your laptop, then macOS has the edge here. Macs come with some sweet keyboards, and you will have a near-perfect typing experience.
Another application you might have to use a lot is a spreadsheet application. You will find very good spreadsheet applications for both Windows and macOS. So, it is more of a personal preference in this regard.
In addition to Windows and macOS, you can also with a Linux operating system like Ubuntu. You can do pretty much all the stuff with open source software, but you won’t have a lot of luck with exam applications.
A law school student does not need a lot of processing power.
In most cases, a simple Intel core i3 processor would be more than enough to deal with all your everyday needs. Getting an i3 processor also brings in some advantages like better battery life and a laptop that doesn’t get hot too often.
If you are going to be working with a lot of videos and text-based evidence, then you might need a bit more power. In this case, we would recommend going for an Intel Core i5 or an i7 processor. These processors are more powerful and can give you the extra oomph factor when you need to push higher.
One disadvantage with these processors is that your battery life might get affected. You will be fine if you’re going with a flagship laptop that handles it better. For example, our Editor’s choice, the Dell XPS 13 does a pretty good job when it comes to handling battery life even with an i7 processor at its helm.
Also, you will be fine with a dual-core processor. But if you’re going for an i5 or an i7 processor then it is better to take four physical cores with you so that you will be self-sufficient for the next few years when it comes to processing power.
As always, going with an AMD processor that is an equivalent of an Intel chip, can save you a lot of money.
As a law student, you are going to be doing a lot of reading and writing. A good display is something that is absolutely paramount for your everyday use. Since you’re going to be spending a lot of time in front of the display, making sure it is a good one is crucial.
What size display is correct for you?
If you are someone who values portability, then we recommend going with a 13-inch display. Most laptops with a 13-inch display weigh around 3 pounds. this is pretty easy to carry around, and you probably even wouldn’t notice the extra weight.
If you’re someone who prefers a slightly bigger screen and can compromise on portability, then we recommend going for a 15.6-inch laptop. This laptop will give you much more screen real estate, and you can do more at a given time.
Though there are 17.3-inch laptops, we do not recommend going for them as they add a lot of bulk, and are not quite pragmatic. I also don’t recommend going for very small laptops with 11.6-inch displays as they are practically useless.
How about resolution?
As a law student, the minimum resolution you should be shooting for is full HD.
1920 x 1080p resolution is something that will give you enough clarity with clear pictures and sharp texts. 720p screens are no longer considered as HD by YouTube, and we can understand why.
With this resolution, you can see every detail on the screen. And you don’t have to squint to see what’s going on.
If you can afford, you can even go for a higher resolution screen is like a QHD or a 4K display. These displays have multiple times the pixels and do a fantastic job and it comes to color reproduction and picture quality.
Sure that the display you go with has an IPS panel. This is the most advanced panel in a display and has huge advantages over other panels. The contrast ratio of the display is partly because of this IPS panel. It can also provide you with amazing viewing angles that are great for presentations and media consumption.
If your classroom has a lot of lights, then you might have to deal with the problem of glare. To avoid this, we recommend going with anti-reflective displays. These are also called Matte displays, and they do a pretty good job of preventing reflections which can help you focus on what is on the screen and not on the glare.
There will be a point in your school where you absolutely need a much bigger display. Collecting data from multiple sources and crosschecking them simultaneously will make you go crazy when you’re working with a small laptop screen.
To combat this, you will need an external display that you can hook up with your laptop. This is not a necessity for all students, but if you want to have the advantage of a clear research and a well-oiled workflow, getting an external display could be handy.
As a minimum, you need at least 4GB of RAM on your laptop. You should note that the operating system itself will take 2 GB of RAM, and you will have to work with the remaining memory on your laptop.
With just 2 GB of RAM on your memory left, doing your daily tasks is going to be a bit more difficult than you would imagine. You can browse the web, but your browser may start refreshing tabs more frequently and this is not a preferable experience.
This is why we always recommend law school students to go with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM. This gives you 6 GB of RAM to play with leaving 2 GB with the operating system.
This RAM allows you to run several applications side-by-side without any performance hiccups. At loss cool, you won’t be dealing with any heavy application so this memory doesn’t have the problem of handling more than one multithreaded application at once.
Anything more than 8 GB of RAM for a law school student is overkill. Unless you are a gamer or a video editor, you do not need 16 GB or more memory. But if you are one of them, feel free to get 16 GB or 32 GB of RAM so that you can have the best experience.
As a law school student, you may have to deal with a lot of notes and books. Technically, these are not going to take a lot of space when compared with multimedia files.
When it comes to the amount of storage you need, anything around 256 GB will be more than enough. If you’re going to be working with a lot of files, then it might be worth to go for 512 GB storage.
If you want the biggest storage for the least amount, then your ideal choice would be to go for a hard drive desk. They can give you even terabytes of storage for something that is not that expensive.
But there is a catch, with a hard drive desk, you are not going to get very good speeds. If you are coming from a mechanical hard drive, then you probably even don’t know what we are talking about. Mechanical drives are very slow in nature that may or may not affect your workflow.
For a modern-day laptop, speed is everything. With a mechanical drive in it, you’re not going to get anything that resembles speed. This is why it is important to have a solid-state drive on your laptop.
During your stint at law school, you may have to open a lot of PDF files that are huge. With a mechanical drive, you are not going to open them quickly any time soon. But with a solid-state drive, you will be able to open them much faster. Depending upon the SSD, you can even open it in a flash.
We always recommend going with a solid-state drive when it comes to laptops. They bring excellent reading and writing speeds to the table, and can give you a performance boost wherever possible.
The only problem with SSDs is that they are a lot more expensive than mechanical hard drivers. this makes them less accessible for people who are on a budget.
In addition to speed, there are several other advantages to solid-state drives like better battery life, less heat, less noise, better protection of your data, and so on.
If you don’t have the budget to go all-in on a solid-state drive, then you can choose to have a combination of both. Get yourself the cheapest solid-state drive, and complement it with a higher capacity hard drive disk. This way you get the best of both worlds without spending a fortune.
Another important thing you have to note as a law school student is to have a good backup for all your data. You can either do this by getting an external hard drive or by using a cloud solution.
We always recommend going with a cloud solution as it is safer, and is not prone to hardware failure. There are a lot of cloud solution providers that give you enough storage with the free plan. Even if you can’t store every single file of yours, you can at least back up the most important ones.
If you want serious protection, then you should go for a paid plan. Using a cloud solution will save you a lot of headaches, and provide you with security and privacy.
If you don’t want to pay someone every month to back up your data, then you can pay a one-time for a cheap external hard drive. It doesn’t matter if your external hard drive with a mechanical drive as speed is not your aim with having a backup. Get a hard drive desk with a capacity of 1TB which should be more than enough for most la school students.
Keyboard & Touchpad
Having a good keyboard on your laptop is very important.
When it comes to discussing the aspects of a laptop, people often overlook the importance of a good keyboard. if you’re planning to take a lot of notes, then having a good keyboard will literally make or break your experience.
The keyboard on your laptop should be made of good material so that you don’t get that plasticky field. It should not make a note of lies as it can be very distracting to the people around you. This is true, especially in lecture halls.
You’re typing experience will be much better if your keys travel a bit. With good key travel, you can mimic the experience of using a mechanical keyboard and type much faster with better accuracy.
Also, make sure that your keyboard comes with backlighting. Having a backlit keyboard will give you the choice of working in dark rooms. You can tilt your screen a bit to shower some light on your keyboard but having a backlit keyboard is a much better way to do that.
The touchpad is equally important as the keyboard. When we hear people complaining about their faulty touchpads and how they cannot work for days, it is very sad. Always go for a laptop that comes with a proven touchpad. Read reviews about how people like it and then finalize it.
Make sure that the touchpad comes with a smooth surface that doesn’t offer any friction. If you’re looking for a Windows machine, ensure that the touchpad is a Windows precision one and has full support for all the Windows gestures. If you’re looking for a Mac, then there is nothing much to worry about here as Macs come with an excellent trackpad on them.
We cannot stress how important connectivity is for a laptop.
Most modern laptops do not come with an ethernet port. This is because they rely on the Wi-Fi adapter to give them high-speed internet access. But what if your Wi-Fi adapter is not as good as you had hoped.
Always make sure that you have at least 802.11ac Wi-Fi on your laptop. This is much faster when compared to the previous generations and can deliver very good internet speeds. If possible, try to get the latest WiFi 6 standard on your laptop as it is a much-improved iteration.
Having Bluetooth built-in is also good for external connectivity. You can simply connect your external devices to your laptop with Bluetooth and that prevents a lot of clutter on your desk.
Your laptop also needs to have all the essential ports. You need at least one USB type C port that belongs to gen 3.2 or 3.1. You also need a USB 3.1 port that is type A. The availability of an HDMI port will come in handy when you need to connect your laptop to an external display. You also need an audio jack for using a headphone with your laptop.
Battery life is another crucial aspect of your laptop.
As an aspiring lawyer, you will not have the time to charge your laptop in the middle of your day. This is why we recommend going with laptops that have all-day battery life.
When it comes to battery life, our go-to choices would be the Dell XPS 13, Apple MacBook Air, and the ASUS ZenBook. These laptops give all-day battery life without having the need to charge them again in the middle of the day.
There is no doubt that you are law school will have to charge outlets all over them. The problem is that they will always be crowded. You may think that you can charge your laptop when you get back to your classroom, but in none of the charging ports would be free.
Getting a laptop with good battery life is the only way to deal with this problem. Even if you cannot find a laptop with all-day battery life within your budget, go for one that gives you at least six hours of laptop time.
You can also use battery life optimization techniques to elongate your laptops battery life. You can try reducing the brightness of your display, use voltage processors on your laptop, and use a headphone whenever possible without using the speakers on the laptop.
Buying a laptop for law school may not be as intimidating as you think. All you need is a reliable laptop that does well when it comes to your daily routine.
If you’re still struggling to find a laptop that is best for you, do let us know, and we’ll help you figure this out.
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