Best Laptop for Law School

Buying a good laptop for law school has become more of a necessity than a luxury. It’s almost impossible to survive law school without a laptop. The best laptop for law school can help you take notes, study for exams, complete your research, do class projects, and even enjoy some entertainment and recreation. 

We have specifically prepared this guide to help you find the right laptop for law school. After reading this buying guide, you should be able to know which laptop is the best fit for you in terms of budget, preferences and unique needs. 

Our Top Laptops for Law School 

The following are our top recommendations for law students. While researching these laptops, we factored in some specific features that will help make your life in law school easier and more enjoyable.

We explain these features towards the end of the guide, so if you don’t understand some of them or why they are important to you, make sure to check out that section. 

Brand
Best Overall
ASUS ZenBook UX303UA
Best for the Money
Apple MacBook Air (2019)
Best Cheap Pick
ASUS VivoBook S15
Product
ASUS ZenBook UX303UA 13.3-Inch FHD Touchscreen...
Apple 13" MacBook Air Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM (2017...
Asus Vivobook S15 Slim and Portable Laptop,...
Processor
2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
3.9 GHz Intel Core i5
RAM
8 GB DDR3
8GB
8 GB DDR4
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
ASUS ZenBook UX303UA
Product
ASUS ZenBook UX303UA 13.3-Inch FHD Touchscreen...
Processor
2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
RAM
8 GB DDR3
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Apple MacBook Air (2019)
Product
Apple 13" MacBook Air Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM (2017...
Processor
1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
RAM
8GB
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
ASUS VivoBook S15
Product
Asus Vivobook S15 Slim and Portable Laptop,...
Processor
3.9 GHz Intel Core i5
RAM
8 GB DDR4
Rating
Price

Best Overall Laptop for Law School: ASUS ZenBook UX303UA 

ASUS ZenBook UX303UA 13.3-Inch FHD Touchscreen...

The Asus ZenBook UX303UA packs many incredible features for a small price. In fact, after using this laptop for some time, you will feel that most ultraportables are overpriced. Everything from the design, display, processing power and storage is uniquely satisfying.

The aluminum chassis brings a design that doesn’t wander too far from what we’ve seen with previous ZenBook models. However, it’s still as attention-grabbing as ever. The build quality is sturdy and durable. Weighing just 3.4 pounds, the Asus ZenBook UX303UA is light and easy to carry around school. 

Despite its slim design, you still get a host of ports for external connections. These include 3 USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, a headphone jack, and an HDMI port. You may find the lack of a lock slot which now comes with most notebooks a bit of a compromise if you are security-conscious. 

If you mostly do typing while revising or simply making notes, you will love the keyboard on the ZenBook UX303UA. Although the keys are a tad spongy, they are well-spaced out with a decent travel distance of 1.5 millimeters. This means that typing is effortless, faster and comfortable.

More tactile keys would have made for a more exciting typing experience. This little compromise is, however, not a deal-breaker. The keyboard is comfortable to use and enables you to type faster and finish your school projects on time.

The 13.3-inch display offers more brightness and color accuracy than most of its rivals. It’s a great fit for reading, watching videos, talks or lectures, doing research and even some lightweight gaming. You might, however, find the glossy display too reflective for comfort especially during the day.

The Asus ZenBook UX303UA also offers a comforting audio quality. Thanks to the Bang & Olufsen ICEpower speakers. You should be able to listen to recordings and watch videos with a clear sound, without the need for headphones or peripheral speakers.

This configuration comes with a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD storage. With this combination, you will get fast enough performance while doing schoolwork or other personal tasks. However, anything that is graphic-intensive will likely result in performance and display issues.

Specifications 

  • Display: 13.3 inches 
  • CPU: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 
  • RAM: 8GB DDR3 
  • Storage: 256GB SSD 
  • Weight: 3.2 pounds 
  • Size: 8.8 x 12.7 x 0.8 inches 

Pros

  • Responsive touchscreen
  • The keyboard is backlit and comfortable to use 
  • Impressive display 
  • Good overall performance 

Cons

  • Average battery life 
  • Subpar sound quality 
ASUS ZenBook UX303UA 13.3-Inch FHD Touchscreen...
  • Powerful 6th-generation Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3GHz (Turbo up to 2.8GHz). Skylake
  • Touchscreen/ 8GB RAM/ 256GB SSD Storage. Backlit keyboard.
  • Amazing 13.3” IPS multi-touch display with FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution for visuals in stunning...

Best Laptop for Law School for the Money: Apple MacBook Air (2019) 

Apple 13' MacBook Air Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM (2017...

The MacBook Air has invariably been lauded as Apple’s most affordable laptop. Just like the Asus ZenBook UX303UA, this laptop comes with a sturdy and classy aluminum design.

It also has a sharp Retina display, long battery life, and competitive performance. The 2019 model comes with a True Tone feature to make the display more exciting.

You have three color options to choose from: Silver, Rose Gold and Space Grey. We love the Gold option for its classy and premium look. It keeps changing its looks depending on the lighting. Silver and Grey are also great if you like low-key colors.

There is no doubt that the MacBook Air (2019) is great for law students. This will be a perfect fit for law school if you are willing to part with a few extra bucks.

You will get 8GB RAM which you can upgrade to 16GB for a higher price. This means buying a different laptop and not upgrading per se. You cannot upgrade after buying since the RAM is soldered on.

The 128GB might be not enough for you if you store a lot of files. However, with 8GB of RAM and a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, you will find the general performance plausible. While the processor might be a tad slower for the high price tag, HyperThreading helps make it faster. 

HyperThreading is Intel’s technology that enables a single-core processor to work on two tasks at the same time, just like a dual-core. You will realize that this processor only looks weaker on paper. For short tasks, you can use Turbo Boost to increase the speed to 3.6GHz.

The 13-inch Retina display now comes with True Tone technology for more captivating color accuracy. True Tone helps to make colors clearer depending on current lighting. This makes the screen more comfortable to use while reading your notes or watching a movie after class.

The two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the side can also act as USB-C ports for a more efficient external connection. These ports offer impressively high data speeds which makes this MacBook model a great option if you mostly share files such as class notes, presentations or videos between the laptop and your other devices.

You can also use these ports for charging the laptop or for audio connections. If you can’t use it for audio, the separate 3.5mm jack will come in handy.

The battery life will vary depending on what you are doing. Generally, it is decent enough. If you are, for instance, downloading big files, video streaming, or using the chrome browser instead of Safari, the battery will drain faster than when reading or listening to music.

Specifications 

  • Screen: 13.3-inch
  • CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8210Y (dual-core)
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 617
  • RAM: 8GB 
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Ports: 2x Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-F, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Weight: 2.75 pounds 
  • Size: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable keyboard 
  • Excellent battery life 
  • High-quality True Tone Retina display
  • Highly portable 

Cons

  • Slightly dated CPU
  • Only packs USB-C Ports 
Apple 13" MacBook Air Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM (2017...
  • 1.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Processor
  • Intel HD Graphics 6000
  • Fast SSD Storage

Best Cheap Laptop for Law School: ASUS VivoBook S15

Asus Vivobook S15 Slim and Portable Laptop,...

While the Asus VivoBook S15 comes with a small price, it’s not short of handy features. From a large and bright display to a powerful processor, you will no doubt find this laptop a good fit for law school. The VivoBook S15 subscribes to the ‘less is more’ design mantra. It’s clean and classy with uncomplicated aesthetics.

Although it’s not the most portable option, the large screen, premium design and powerful set of specifications make it a worthy pick for any law student. With the 15.6-inch display, the VivoBook S15 is obviously big. 

This model is 18mm thick and weighs 3.97 pounds which only sounds heavy on paper. It is not every day that you find a 15-inch weighing less than 4 pounds. That is why this model will be a great option for law students that need both a portable laptop and a big screen.

The display will probably be a big part of the reason why you are going to buy this laptop. While it’s limited to a standard HD resolution, considering its small price, we find that to be a welcome compromise.

The screen is attractive with sharp and clear image production. The colors are bright and crisp providing for a fulfilling image and video viewing experience. These coupled with the decent viewing angles make this laptop a good choice for making class presentations, studying and even playing some light games.

The Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM will provide decent performance. There is 256GB SSD storage which will enable your laptop to start faster and work on remote tasks more easily

The aluminum casing gives the Asus VivoBook S15 a sturdy build and premium aesthetics. The laptop is available in three colors; silver, pink and green. 

You will find the keyboard solid, responsive and a good fit for speedy typing. The keys are big enough and there is a numeric keypad with large arrow keys. The large size also provides plenty of room for ports and other peripheral connectors.

The laptop comes with two USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.1 port, a USB-C port, a MicroSD slot, an HDMI port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. All these provide for hassle-free external connections.

Finally, the battery life is modest and should be able to take you through a whole school-day. While the powerful Core i7 processor and large screen will drain it faster, you won’t feel the need to tag your charger along all the time.

Specifications

  • Screen: 15.6-inch
  • CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core I5-8265U (quad-core)
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.1, 1x USB-C, 1 x 3.5mm audio, 1x micro-SD, 1 x HDMI
  • Connectivity: WiFi 6,  Bluetooth 5.0
  • Weight: 3.97 pounds 
  • Size: 14.1 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches 

Pros

  • Sleek design 
  • Impressive performance
  • Excellent display 
  • Cheap
  • Portable 

Cons

  • Average battery life
  • Screepad is a bit weird 
Asus Vivobook S15 Slim and Portable Laptop,...
  • Bold and expressive Starry grey chassis with red accent
  • Intel Core i5-8265u Processor 1.6GHz (up to 3.9GHz)
  • 15.6" Fhd wide view display with NanoEdge bezel

Best Laptop for Law School in Battery Life: Acer Swift 3

Acer Swift 3, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, NVIDIA...

The Acer Swift 3 is one of the few laptops that pack powerful graphics for an affordable price tag. This makes it a great fit for law students who are looking to do some creative work without breaking the bank. The 14-inch comes with a discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card to speed up your creative tools while also allowing for some light gaming.

However, that is not the only reason Swift 3 is a great choice for law school. The 4-cell Li-Ion (3220 mAh) battery makes for a major selling point. It prides of 50 watt-hours of battery capacity and can last for more than 10 hours on light tasks.

This is commendable considering that the laptop has a powerful Core i7 processor and a power-hungry display. So, if you are looking for a laptop that can spare you the problem of having to carry a charger everywhere you go, we recommend the Acer Swift 3.

The all-aluminum chassis is bland at best and might not win any awards for the best design. However, it is hard to miss the strapping build quality and an undeniable guarantee for durability. 

The display bezels are comically bigger than our other recommendations making the display clunky and uninspiring. However, the 14-inch display is a performer, especially for light work. It is graced with Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 (or 157 PPI) resolution and offers satisfying sharpness and color accuracy. It also has an IPS panel and acceptable viewing angles.

The powerful graphics, crisp display, and long battery are subtly compromised by the subpar sound quality. We found the downward-firing speakers on the bottom of the chassis to have a good volume with little distortion. 

While this sound quality is a bit disappointing, it’s still good enough for listening to music and watching videos especially if audio superiority is not your priority.

Although the Acer Swift 3 is fairly thin at 0.59 inches, it manages to pack contenting connectivity options. It has a USB-C 3.1 port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI port. It also comes with a Kensington Lock which the Asus ZenBook left out. The lack of an SD card reader is a major bummer for students who find it handy.

The Swift 3 runs on the 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U processor which provides tons of performance power. This is complemented by 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD storage. If you want more performance, you can upgrade the processor to an Intel Core i7. The Core i5 option allows upgrading the SSD storage to 512GB, unlike in the Core i7 configuration.

Specifications 

  • Screen: 14-inch FHD 
  • CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U (dual-core)
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, 1 x HDMI, headset jack, SD card slot
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac wireless LAN, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weight: 3.53 pounds 
  • Size: 13.31 x 9.21 x 0.71 inches 

Pros

  • Impressive battery life
  • Strong and sturdy build quality
  • Highly responsive fingerprint sensor 
  • Portable 
  • Decent performance 
  • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
  • Good value for money 

Cons

  • No touchscreen
  • Bland aesthetic
  • No SD card reader
Acer Swift 3, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, NVIDIA...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U Processor (Up to 3.4GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM. Adapter - 65 Watt
  • 14" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS display

Best Convertible Laptop for Law School: Acer Spin 5 

Acer Spin 5 SP515-51GN-83YY, 15.6' Full HD Touch,...

Convertibility will mainly sell the Acer Spin 5. This means that you can either use it as a standard laptop or a tablet. This way, it’s more convenient to use it in different situations, unlike other models that you can only use as laptops. 

However, there are other admirable features like the powerful discrete graphics, a speedy keyboard, and a large trackpad. We found the keyboard’s travel distance better than some of our other recommendations and offers an exciting typing experience. 

The large bezels make the Spin 5 heavier than it is supposed to be. It looks comically bigger than other competitors and gives the display a chunky look.

Despite this, the laptop is still light enough and won’t weigh you down when in your backpack. You will find the display a bit dim with subpar contrast. However, if you don’t look hard enough it is unlikely that you will find this bothersome. 

With 8GB of RAM, 1TB SSD storage and a competent Intel Core i7 processor, you can expect your laptop to start fast, browse quickly and run any law programs you have faster. This means that you will be able to finish your school projects and assignments quicker than when using a slower laptop.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics processor should enable you to play some mid-range titles and edit videos without bottlenecking the laptop’s performance. However, if you need to play more graphic-intensive games or do serious creative work, you will need to invest in a more competent processor. 

The battery life is decent enough so you won’t have to carry your charger everywhere you go. This will help save some space in your laptop bag and make it lighter.

Specifications 

  • Screen: 15.6 inches 
  • CPU: 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
  • Connectivity: Gigabit 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • Weight: 4.85 pounds 
  • Size: 10.2 x 15 x 0.7 inches 

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Ergonomic keyboard
  • Large touchpad 
  • Solid build quality
  • Impressive performance 
  • Powerful dedicated graphics 

Cons

  • Dim display 
  • Big bezels makes the screen look chunky 
  • No SSD storage 
Acer Spin 5 SP515-51GN-83YY, 15.6" Full HD Touch,...
  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U Processor (Up to 4.0GHz)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
  • Alexa Built-in. Battery Capacity - 3320 mAh

Features to Consider in a Good Laptop for Law School

When buying a laptop for law school, there are specific features you have to look at to ensure that it is the perfect fit for your unique needs. These include performance, portability, display, storage, and battery life.

Law school student using her laptop while on break from her class

Keep in mind that some law schools have their own software/hardware requirements so make sure to check with your specific school before buying a laptop. Otherwise, if you are buying for personal use other than school, it all comes down to your preferences. 

Weight 

Since you use your laptop in class, you will probably be carrying it all day long. For this reason, it is important that the laptop is lightweight and portable enough so as not to mess with your health and posture.

While thinner laptops tend to be more expensive, try as much as possible to find one that offers the best balance between portability and cost. You do not necessarily need to get the most pencil-thin laptop in the market.

It makes more sense to carry an extra pound than spend an extra $500. Consider your own weight or body size. Alternatively, you can invest in a comfortable and light laptop bag if you don’t want to invest in an ultrabook. 

Display

When it comes to weight and screen size, there is always a conflict of interest. While you want a screen that is big enough, you might also want your laptop to be lightweight and portable. 

Again, it comes down to finding the right balance between the two. Considering that you will be looking at that screen for the next three years, a small one might not cut it for you. 

That is why we didn’t recommend anything below 13 inches. Having said that, we also don’t recommend a laptop close to or bigger than 17 inches. That’s just heavy and expensive. In this case, we advise that you stick to 13-15 inches. 

In terms of resolution, you will probably get a 1080p if you dig deeper into your pockets.

Otherwise, 720p is good enough.

Touchscreens are more expensive and tend to be harsh on the battery so you’d want to consider whether you really need them or not.

If you do, feel free to consider some of our touchscreen recommendations.  

RAM

The RAM helps the processor run faster by temporarily storing files that are currently in use. This way, you can browse faster, work on several tasks at the same time, create class presentations without much hassle, etc. 

We generally don’t recommend anything below 4 gigabytes when it comes to RAM.  For people on a budget, 4GB will be good enough. If you are feeling lucky though, you should consider our 8GB and 16GB recommendations.

Woman sitting on the floor while using her laptop

Although these are pricier, you will get the best performance and won’t have to worry about upgrading for the rest of your school life. 

CPU

The Central Processing Unit is responsible for everything you do on your computer. This is why you need a faster processor in order to be able to accomplish your tasks on time. These include law software, retrieving law journals online or downloading study materials. With a powerful processor, you can open many tabs while doing your research or run programs concurrently. 

While we love anything above a Core i7, you don’t necessarily have to go overboard and blow your budget. While Core i3s are slowly slipping out of the market, Core i5s are still decent enough.

Depending on your budget we recommend that you get either an Intel Core i5 or i7 for competitive performance. 

Hard Drive Space

With a plethora of file storage services available online, local hard drive space is hardly anything to worry about. However, if you need to store and access music, games, electronic books, videos and so on, it is good that you have sufficient storage on your computer. For law school, we recommend at least 128GB and 500GB of SSD and HDD storage respectively. 

If you are looking for faster performance, you should go with SSD storage as opposed to HDD. Otherwise, if you plan on buying an expensive laptop, you should focus on getting one that is lighter with more RAM and not more hard drive storage. 

Battery Life 

Person taking notes from her book while her laptop is in front of her

Law school is very hectic and having to frequently charge your laptop is the last thing you want to worry about. You don’t want your laptop to drain battery power while you are in the middle of revising and the charger is nowhere to be seen. 

To avoid such situations, you either have to carry your charge all day long and add extra weight to your backpack or buy a laptop with decent battery life. 

The second option is more convenient. Lucky for you, most of the laptops we recommend in this guide have good battery lives so you don’t have to look too far. Simply pick one that clicks with your budget and unique needs.

Connectivity 

For a smooth interaction between your computer and external devices such as smartphones, you need enough USB ports. These will help you to effortlessly transfer class notes, eBooks, presentations and videos between your smartphone and laptop.

For internet connections and file sharing, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivities are a must. 

The good news is, you don’t have to worry about WiFi cards or installing Bluetooth drives. Most of the latest laptops come with these features. You will probably get the latest 802.11 AC protocol so while this is an important feature to consider, you don’t need to be overly worried about it. 

Warranty 

While we try hard enough to protect our laptops from damage, they are still vulnerable. That is why it is important that you get a warranty or protection plan when buying a laptop. This will ensure that in case anything goes amiss while in law school, you won’t need to buy a new laptop or pay for repairs.

Keyboard

Woman typing on her laptop

You are probably going to do a lot of typing on your laptop. It is, therefore, important that you go with a comfortable and easy to use keyboard. Make sure the keys are well-spaced out with decent travel for an efficient typing experience. 

Backlit laptop keyboards are also advantageous, especially when typing in dimly lit areas. 

Conclusion 

We hope that this guide helps you buy the best laptop for law school. Make sure to consider all the features we discussed above to find the best pick.

You might have to sacrifice some features due to price or in favor of portability. In this case, you should try to find a level ground between competing for features so that you don’t miss out on important specs. 

Liam Weissman

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing as a guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets on FancyAppliance.com.

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