While some may prefer taking physical notes, there’s no denying that the modern lecture theatre is much more likely to be filled with the sound of typing than scribbling, and there are many reasons for this.
Written notes are quite frankly, an archaic choice. Writing fast enough to take notes effectively can often make notes illegible, and what’s more physical notes can get ruined by rain, spilled coffee, or simply accidentally, thrown out (even if your tutor doesn’t buy any of these excuses!)
The solution is to start taking notes on a laptop, as it provides a safe, secure, and convenient way to manage your workload, take notes, and attend remote lectures and other modern e-learning opportunities.
It’s also much easier to backup your valuable notes and data to the cloud or an external hard drive should something happen, making the laptop the premium choice for students everywhere, be it law school or any other educational institution.
However, there are a lot of laptops out there, which makes finding the right one surprisingly difficult.
There are a range of different brands, components, features, and performance statistics that can make finding the right laptop more difficult than finding your lecture theatre on your first day!
In this article we’re going to look at 5 of the best laptops for law school, with a focus on the features students will benefit from along with some other key considerations to help you make an informed decision about your next laptop without having to spend time researching laptops instead of studying.
We’ve also included a buyer’s guide below the laptops we’ve selected, with some key highlights on what to look for in a good study laptop to help you make absolutely sure you’re getting everything you need for your investment.
We’re also including a small FAQ beneath the buyers guide with some answers to common questions about laptops and using them to study, helping you to get started on using it right away!
But now let’s take a look at the laptops themselves and what makes them a great choice for you.
HP is one of the biggest brands in the laptop world, and this offering makes a perfect study laptop, with its powerful Ryzen 5 processor, ample amount of RAM, and additional features to make your study convenient and accessible.
The webcam is decent and works well but isn’t of the highest quality, however, the display is excellent and includes anti-glare technology to make those long hours of study less taxing on your eyes even in dark environments.
The laptop is very light and easy to carry and fits very easily into most bags so you’ll have no problem taking this to the lecture theatre with you.
Lenovo’s IdeaPad 3 is one of the most popular laptops in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The perfect blend of great price and solid components make it a capable performer and accessible.
The Intel i3 is a very capable CPU for word processing and browsing, while 8GB of RAM is more than ample for most tasks and applications.
The webcam does work well however again as with most integrated webcams the quality isn’t the most impressive, so be aware of this.
The laptop also comes with Bluetooth for easy connection to peripherals such as headphones, speakers, and even keyboard or computer mice, as well as your phone. This also makes file transfer easy and efficient.
ASUS is another huge brand in the laptop world and is also known for their quality components such as motherboard and graphics cards.
The VivoBook 15 provides an insanely good value with a very powerful Ryzen 7 CPU which provides class-leading processing performance, while the 8GB of RAM will help your apps run smoothly and consistently.
The keyboard is backlit which is a nice touch and the display is also lovely, with great contrast and very nice thin bezels for a sleek and professional look.
Microsoft’s Surface series are some of the best laptops in the world and are some of the only options with a touch screen.
While this may not be a feature everyone needs, it does provide an additional feature for convenience, and once you’re used to using it you’ll be surprised how much easier this makes your browsing and speeds up your work.
The i5 processor is powerful and reliable, the 8GB of RAM is more than adequate and the webcam works very well.
The only drawback is the lack of keyboard backlighting.
No list of laptops for study can be complete without Apple’s MacBook Air. A favorite for its extremely lightweight and low profile, it benefits from some of the best features available however these of course come at a premium.
The processor is Apple’s proprietary M1 chip, the 8GB of RAM is fast and the storage is ample.
With a backlit keyboard, a good quality webcam, and TouchID this system has everything you need in a very attractive package.
Finding a laptop that perfectly suits your needs can be really difficult. There are a lot of different technical specs to keep track of, and it can be hard for even the most dedicated IT professionals to keep track of.
For the average person, knowing the difference between different components and what you need for your own PC can feel overwhelming and make buying a new PC much more of a chore than it should be.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ve broken down some of the key characteristics a study laptop should provide, ensuring that you’re able to get the best of both your laptop and your education.
If you have questions, don’t forget to check out the FAQ below for some additional information.
The CPU is the heart of your laptop and is what will make your PC fast enough to handle whatever you throw at it, whether it’s extensive word processing, spreadsheet management, or hours of browsing.
Intel is one of the leading brands, and for a laptop geared towards studying, anything with an i3 or i5 processor is suitable, and i7 processors are probably overkill unless you plan to also use your laptop for other projects such as video editing, or gaming.
AMD is also a leading CPU brand and their Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, and Ryzen 7 CPUs all provide class-leading performance capable of easily handling anything you can throw at them.
One thing to make sure is that you aren’t getting an older generation CPU.
For Intel, you don’t want anything older than the 9th generation, while for AMD you want to stay with the releases from the last two Ryzen releases, with the 2nd generation being on the older side and only suitable for the tightest budgets.
8GB of RAM is pretty much essential for smooth performance these days. 4GB would’ve once been considered quite adequate for studying and browsing, however as apps become more advanced and demanding, the demands on RAM have also increased.
8GB is the right amount, with 16GB being overkill only suitable for heavier workloads such as gaming. It’s also important to make sure you’re getting DDR4 RAM, which is the latest format, and not the older and slower DDR3 RAM. Most popular laptops today should have DDR4 but it’s good to check this.
A comfortable keyboard is probably the most important feature that isn’t actually integral to the function of the laptop itself. As a law student, you will be spending a lot of time typing, from notes in lectures to essays and reports as a part of your course of study.
If your keyboard is uncomfortable you will have a miserable time studying, and an uncomfortable keyboard can even be the cause of serious health issues from repetitive strain injury to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Of course, these can be offset by good positioning and posture also, but a well-arranged keyboard with comfortable rests, quality keycaps, and well-calibrated keys will make your life much easier as you’ll type many thousands of words over the course of your education.
Another nice feature to look out for is backlighting, which means the individual keys are lit and will be much easier to use in low-light environments, perfect for late-night cramming!
Any laptop intended for use while studying should have a webcam, as there’s always a chance you will be expected to attend an online lecture.
Most laptops have some sort of webcam and microphone setup included and this has become something of a standard feature, however, look for a quality webcam to make sure you’re actually visible when you want to use it.
The minimum amount of storage you want for a law school laptop is something in the region of 256GB, however, 512GB or more is better, with plenty of space for multiple projects without fear of running out of space.
Most laptops today use SSDs which are far faster than old spin drives or hard drives, however, SSD technology has progressed a lot in recent years and there are some acronyms to be aware of to make sure you’re getting the best performance possible.
An NVMe drive is a much faster type of SSD with extremely fast performance even among SSDs and provides a noticeable boost in performance when it comes to launching apps and booting up.
M.2 drives are newer again and the cutting edge of storage drive technology, with impressive speeds and reliability, as well as an incredibly small form factor that make them easily capable of being used in laptops.
A nice clear display is another important feature if you’re planning on spending hours sitting in front of your laptop.
Something with a 15.6” screen with at least full HD graphics is the minimum you should expect and will provide adequate performance.
Some laptops incorporate additional features such as nano-bezels or anti-glare technology, and these can make using your laptop much easier over long periods of time, particularly if you’re reading a lot which can damage your eyes without adequate breaks from the harsh like of the display.
You may not necessarily need a webcam, but it’s worth having just in case you need to attend an online lecture or have to attend an interview.
A good webcam can open doors to new opportunities and most laptops do come with them included, however not all of them will be of the best quality or provide the best performance, so if this is important to you make sure to pay attention to how many megapixels the camera is.
You need 8GB if you’re intending to use your laptop for typing and browsing. It’s really that simple. If you want to be able to game then 16GB may be better but 8GB often works with most games, although your performance may be worse.
4GB simply isn’t enough and this amount of RAM will affect your performance and efficiency, slowing you down and making your laptop sluggish and frustrating.
This depends. Some laptops may come with this software included however there is no guarantee so don’t expect it to be automatically included.
Thankfully most good colleges and universities will offer assistance with finding word processors, and if you’re in doubt Google Docs can make word processing very simple and powerful without needing to worry about fees or additional software.