Best Laptops for Medical Students

Best Laptops for Medical Students

The application process for medical school can be extensive and by the time you’ve received your acceptance letter, you’re probably exhausted from all the revision, interviews, and papers you’ve written to secure your place.

You probably haven’t got the time or energy to dedicate to searching for a great laptop for medical school.

Although you may have some idea of what you’re going to be spending time doing throughout your time at med school, it’s difficult to know what laptop specifications are required to enable you to perform and excel during your medical studies. 

Luckily for you, we’ve done all the research to bring you the best laptops for medical students so you can invest all your remaining time preparing yourself for the start of the new chapter in your life instead of trolling the internet for hours trying to find a new laptop.

OUR TOP PICK

2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Space Gray

An Apple MacBook Air is a popular choice amongst a variation of college students, including medical students so it’s no wonder it’s our top choice for the best laptop in this category.

MacBook Airs are perfect for medical students who will always be out and about on campus or placement as they’re very lightweight and compact and can easily be carried by hand if your bag is crammed full of medical books. 

The 13.3-inch display is big enough to be able to read and research medical papers but without making the overall structure of the laptop too big. The display also has a bright and high resolution so everything you need to see will be clear.

It offers up to 18 hours of battery life so ideal for days where you’ll have back-to-back lectures and then doing all-nighters in the library cramming for any finals. Another feature that’ll benefit revising in a silent library is the fact that the MacBook Air has no fan so it’ll operate silently. 

The MacBook Air comes with a massive 256GB of superfast SSD storage which will allow you to launch and navigate your way through your files and applications in an instant. It also has 8GB of memory so you can get through your tasks as quickly as possible. 

You’ll benefit from MacOS Big Sur which offers powerful and reliable performances and is also compatible with most software that will be necessary for your studies and assignments. 

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable - Can be carried in just one hand
  • 18 hours of battery life - No need to bring a charger with you to your classes
  • Silent Operation - Great for working in the library
  • 256GB of SSD - No need for an external hard drive

Cons

  • No ethernet port - Won’t be able to internet via a wired connection

BEST 2-IN-1

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3' Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i5 - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD (Latest Model) – Matte Black with Black Type Cover, Model: QWV-00007

If you’re looking for a tablet and a laptop in one, then the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 will be right up your street.

You can use the Surface Pro 7 both as a laptop or as a tablet on its own and it’s very popular amongst medical students because you can do handwritten notes with the digital pen.

The design of the Surface Pro 7 is ultra-slim and very portable thanks to its 2.4lb weight so perfect for slipping into your rucksack before a busy day on campus.

Whilst the battery life is not quite up to that of the Macbook Air, it still offers a generous 10.5 hours so you can take it around with you all day without needing to charge it.

For crazy long days, you’ll only need your charging cable for a short while as it can go from empty to over 80% charged in just under an hour.

The kickstand on the screen is extremely useful and can help you use the device from numerous angles, including working with the screen on your lap or whether you’re doing some late-night revision in your dorm room. 

The solid 8GB RAM and 256GB that this Surface Pro 7 offers is more than enough to guide you through some of the most testing years of your medical career.

The high-resolution display will help you read even the most intricate of texts and help you analyze medical diagrams without having to maximize your zoom tool on your screen.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to buy the keyboard and the Surface Pro pen separately from the touch screen but we recommend getting both to enhance the functionality of the device. 

Pros

  • Touchscreen - Great for taking notes in class and for annotating diagrams
  • Ultra Slim - Can easily squeeze into most bags
  • Good battery life - Can be used all day with a single charge

Cons

  • Keyboard and pen not included - Will have to buy separately 

BEST VALUE

ASUS ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim Laptop 14” FHD NanoEdge Bezel Display, Intel Core i7-1165G7, NVIDIA MX450, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, ScreenPad 2.0, Thunderbolt 4, Windows 10 Pro, Pine Grey, UX435EG-XH74

The battery life lasts for up to 14 hours, so even if you’ve got an early start for a lecture and expect to be finishing your evening in the library, your laptop will still have battery to get through the entire day. 

The Windows 10 Pro operating system will allow you to use all the applications and software you’ll need to efficiently carry out your assignments.

The notable feature of the ZenBook is the dual-function touchpad that can allow you to switch apps, type numbers, and even make phone calls. 

The screen size is a lot larger than other models we’ve recommended which increases the overall size and weight of the laptop itself, but it will provide you with a high-resolution display for reading research papers and examining medical diagrams. 

This laptop is a beast when it comes to storage and RAM, offering 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM to help you through everything medical school has to throw at you.

Despite how powerful it is, the efficient fan system that’ll keep your laptop nice and cool and ensuring it operates silently. 

Pros

  • Long battery life - 14 hours of use without needing to recharge
  • Powerful fan system - Keeps your laptop silent when operating
  • Lots of storage - No need for an external hard drive to store notes, books, and papers

Cons

  • Extra features may not be useful - Some med students may find it too advanced for what they need

RUNNER UP

2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Silver

Apple is a reliable brand for laptops, hence why we’ve recommended the Macbook Pro as an alternative choice for medical students. 

The whopping 20 hours of battery life from a single charge will be so useful for those never-ending days when you’ve got a million things to do on your laptop.

The build quality of the Macbook Pro is faultless and will enable you to keep using your new laptop way past your residency and into your medical career.

The 8-core processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD will allow you to do all the multitasking you’ll ever need throughout your college career without hindering the speed.

For all your histology classes, the high-resolution display will help you examine and analyze your imagery more efficiently. 

Pros

  • Durable build - Can last past your college years
  • Fast and powerful system - Holds all your necessary files without slowing it down
  • High-resolution display - Great for viewing and analyzing medical imagery

Cons

  • High power means it gets hot - May need to invest in a cooling pad

BEST BUDGET

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6 inches Full HD IPS Display, AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, Vega 3 Graphics, 4GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 in S Mode, A515-43-R19L, Silver

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly laptop that will carry you through your medical school career, then look no further than the Acer Aspire 5.

The 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD are sufficient for handling all the revision notes, research papers, and eBooks whilst still being able to launch and navigate through your applications swiftly when you’re working.

The backlit keyboard will be so beneficial for studying through the night without you having to disturb your roommate.

The 15.6inch full HD display will produce some sharp imagery for your histology classes and may even come in handy if you get some downtime in the evening and can enjoy a good movie.

The Aspire 5 is not as compact or lightweight as our other recommendations but is still easily portable so ideal for on-the-go students.

One of the major downsides of the Aspire 5 is the battery life and will only last you around 7.5 hours into the day before it’ll need charging again, meaning you may have to bring the cable around with you on campus.

Pros

  • Backlit keyboard - Can study and work through the night
  • Large HD Display - Handy when looking at medical images
  • Sufficient storage and memory - Can endure all the files and use of medical school

Cons

  • Battery life is poor - Won’t last all day without charging
  • Heavier than some models - Can add weight to already heavy bags

Best Laptops for Medical Students Buying Guide

Weight

As a student, you’ll spend a large majority of your time walking around campus between lectures so you’ll want to make sure that your laptop is lightweight so it doesn't add to your already heavy load of medical books in your bag. 

Being a medical student, you’ll always want your laptop within arms reach whether it’s to finish off your assignment during your short break on a placement program or to quickly google some medical information when you’re in a practical situation so having a laptop that won’t be a hassle to carry around everywhere with you is essential. 

We’d recommend a laptop that weighs around 3-3.5lbs as the most suitable option for a medical student. 

Display

When it comes to the size of a laptop screen, you won’t want to go for anything too big as the larger screens tend to increase the overall weight of the laptop.

You’ll want something big enough for you to easily read any medical papers and your revision notes, so a laptop screen size of 12” or 13 will be sufficient for these tasks.

Anything smaller will make it more difficult for you to read and analyze medical figures and data without you sitting right up to the screen.

The resolution of your display is another factor to consider when choosing a laptop. You’ll be spending a large portion of your time reading extensive medical papers and doing assignments, both of which may require you to have as many internet tabs open as possible to understand all the medical jargon.

A resolution of 1080p is recommended for being able to navigate quickly between endless tabs and also to analyze intricate medical pictures for assignments. 

CPU

Most people would recommend getting a laptop with the most recent and modern processor currently out there, which is agreeable if you want all your software and programs to run efficiently, however, some of the latest processors negatively impact your battery life and will leave you having to constantly recharge your laptop throughout the day all the time.

This may differ between various models and brands but the consensus is the more powerful your CPU, the worse your battery life will be.

The Intel Core i7 is generally known for draining the battery very quickly and even the biggest tech-fanatics out there prefer to go for an i5 processor as it’ll still keep everything running smoothly on your laptop without eating all the battery.

So you can now spend more time working on your assignments on the go rather than hunting down a power outlet to charge up your laptop again.

Storage

As a medical student, there will not be a need to have tons of different software installed onto your computer to carry out your course, but you will need a sufficient amount of storage to keep all your notes, assignments, medical research papers, and even downloaded medical books on your laptop.

If you want your new laptop to stay with you through your time at medical school and to take you into your eventual medical career, then getting a laptop with the biggest storage possible will enable you to keep all the medical e-books, revision notes, and medical videos so you can look back on them whenever you need them.

Don’t go for a laptop with storage of less than 128GB as you’ll find yourself struggling for space to store big files when it comes to the latter years, especially if you are going to do a residency. 

RAM

Time is very valuable when you’re at med school, any spare moment you have between placements, practicals, or lectures will be spent working on assignments and you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a quick and efficient laptop to get it done as quickly as possible. 

You’ll come to learn that multi-tasking should be second nature in med school and you’ll probably need as many tabs, word documents, and applications open as possible all at one time just to write an assignment.

Running a handful of applications at once, regardless of how small they are can significantly slow down your laptop, causing delays with typing notes and switching between tabs. 

Go for a laptop that has a minimum of 8GB of RAM to enable you to work across different applications at once without your laptop struggling. Some people get by fine with 4GB RAM but it’s generally better to have a higher spec than necessary rather than regretting it in the future. 

GPU

Unless you’re a dedicated gamer in your spare time then you won’t have to worry about the graphics card on your laptop, whatever is included will be sufficient. 

Operating System

What operating system a laptop has shouldn’t be a major factor to consider in your hunt for your new laptop.

Medical students will not necessarily have to use software or applications that can only run on certain operating systems, so you can choose between Apple or Windows as an operating system.

 Any medical programming that you will need to use over your time at medical school or even in a residency will be available to you on the computers in the college or a medical institution.

Windows and macOS will allow you to carry out relevant functions like writing documents, reading PDFs, analyzing images, and viewing videos through using compatible software on the systems throughout your time at med school. 

Battery

As a medical student, you’ll be constantly on the go and performing different tasks on your laptop throughout the day which requires you to have a long-lasting battery on your laptop.

You’ll want to avoid bringing a laptop charger around with you as you’ll already have all your books and equipment with you to carry all day. 

You’ll want a laptop that can run at least 8 hours on a single charge so you can use it all day without having to find somewhere to charge it. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a laptop useful for medical students?

Yes, a laptop is essential for medical students as they’ll need one to write assignments, preparing notes, saving PowerPoint presentations from lectures, and also keeping all the medical e-books you need to be stored.

Not having a laptop can hinder medical student’s ability to learn and excel during their time at school.

Do medical schools give laptops?

Some medical schools will have laptops that students can hire for a semester or their entire duration at medical school, however, most schools will advise students to have their own laptops or tablets.

Some medical schools give laptops or iPads to their new students, but these are not free of charge and it is included in your tuition fee.

Those who already have the necessary equipment can claim a partial refund of their tuition fee.

Do I need a tablet for medical school?

A tablet can be beneficial for assignments, research, and taking notes at medical school but it is not a necessity.

Many medical students find it easier to read research papers or medical books from a tablet and find it easier to take it everywhere they go. 

Is 8GB RAM enough for medical school?

Yes, 8GB RAM is sufficient for students at medical school. 

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