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Best Laptop for Medical School [2020 Review]

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Transitioning to medical school is a big challenge for most students. There’s a lot demanding coursework, a tight schedule and a lot of study materials to go through. While there is not any magic to make medical school a breeze, buying a good laptop will make everything much easier.

The best laptop for medical school will make sure that all your study materials are safe and easy to reach when needed. The right model can help you do your research quickly and access medical journals online, study for exams without carrying a boatload of revision books, and prepare your class presentations efficiently.

Our Top Laptops for Medical School

The following are our top recommendations for medical school. While researching these laptops we factored in such features as portability, display size and quality, design, price, battery life, durability, performance, and storage. This will ensure that you don’t miss out on your best pick. 

Brand
Best Overall
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Best for the Money
Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY
Best Cheap Pick
HP Elite X2 1012 G1
Product
Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5"(Intel Core i5, 8GB...
Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY 13.3 FHD 2-In-1 (7th...
HP Elite X2 1012 G1 Detachable 2-in-1 Business...
Processor
3.5 GHz Intel Core i5
3.5 GHz Intel Core i7
1.8 GHz Intel Core i5
RAM
8 GB LPDDR3
8 GB
8 GB LPDDR3
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Product
Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5"(Intel Core i5, 8GB...
Processor
3.5 GHz Intel Core i5
RAM
8 GB LPDDR3
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY
Product
Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY 13.3 FHD 2-In-1 (7th...
Processor
3.5 GHz Intel Core i7
RAM
8 GB
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
HP Elite X2 1012 G1
Product
HP Elite X2 1012 G1 Detachable 2-in-1 Business...
Processor
1.8 GHz Intel Core i5
RAM
8 GB LPDDR3
Rating
Price

Best Overall Laptop for Medical School: Microsoft Surface Book 2 

Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5'(Intel Core i5, 8GB...

Microsoft keeps pushing boundaries when it comes to its  2-in-1 laptops. The manufacturer’s latest iteration, the Surface Book 2, is great for drawing, annotating, taking notes, watching videos and playing light games. It packs a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, 256GB SSD storage and a competitive integrated Intel HD 620 graphics card, all of which should be more than enough to handle anything you throw at it..

Microsoft barely changed the design from the original Surface Book. However, you’ll still appreciate the premium magnesium chassis and a push-button latching mechanism designed to detach the display from the body. The Surface Book 2 weighs a mere 3.38 pounds, making it a piece of cake to carry around campus.

You can completely detach the display from the keyboard, or reverse it and use the base as a kickstand to draw, annotate, or for multimedia purposes, which is great for study groups. However, when using this model as a tablet, the battery life and operational capability of the Surface Book 2 reduces slightly. 

Next, you’ll also find a decent number of peripheral connection options. There are two USB-A 3.0 ports and an SD card reader on the left side. On the right is the USB-C 3.1 and Surface Dock port which you can use to add more external connections such as HDMI. That way, you won’t carry any other gadget or adapter with you. 

The Microsoft Surface Book 2’s keyboard hasn’t changed much from the initial design from other models. The keys have good travel and offer speedy typing. The touchpad is generously-sized with a responsive glass finish. It also supports multitouch gestures. WHile this might not sound as much, it makes a big difference after a few minutes typing.

Although this model doesn’t have 4K resolution, the Surface Book 2 offers unmatched display quality. Images look great with natural colors and the brightness gets to decent levels while producing satisfying contrast. This is a good option for studying images and watching presentations or medical tutorials. 

The two speakers on either side of the display are loud and clear. While they are not as good as those in more expensive laptops, they will be great for listening to music or watching videos. The long-lasting battery is better than most competitors in the market and can last a whole day without the need of carrying a charger.

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 performs, looks and feels great. Its innovative future-proof design and great build quality guarantee it will serve you well for many years either as a notebook or a high-powered tablet. 

Specifications

  • CPU: Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB LPDDR3
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Display: 13.5 inches
  • GPU: Intel HD graphics 620 (2 GB)
  • Weight: 3.38 pounds
  • Size: 12.3 × 9.1 × 0.9 inches
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Pro
  • Ports: 1 USB-C, 2 USB-A, SD card reader, Surface dock

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Incredible battery life
  • A lightweight design 
  • Great keyboard and touchpad
  • Awesome display
  • Decent gaming performance

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with a Surface Pen
  • Small trackpad
  • Very expensive 
Sale
Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5"(Intel Core i5, 8GB...
  • Microsoft Surface Book 2 Features a 7th generation Intel Dual Core i5 Processor, 256 GB of storage,...
  • Includes an Intel HD Graphics 620 integrated GPU; Full size SDXC card reader
  • The fastest Surface Book yet, with 2x more power. Aspect ratio: 3:2, contrast ratio: 1600:1

Best Laptop for Medical School for the Money: Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY 

Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY 13.3 FHD 2-In-1 (7th...

The Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY is a powerful 2-in-1 hybrid convertible. It boasts premium features, making it a great pick for medical students during and even after school. Since you move around school a lot,  you will appreciate how portable this laptop is, coming in at only 3.4 pounds and 0.8 inches thickness.

The chassis comes in a shiny dusky gray hue with a  reflective screen surrounded by fairly thin bezels. It also has a backlit keyboard that offers speedy typing even in low light conditions which is great for those long study sessions. We didn’t like that the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports have the same color scheme making it difficult to distinguish between the two.

The Inspiron i5378 packs a 13.3-inch 1080p full HD touchscreen display that supports multi-gestures. This is a perfect fit for medical students since they can easily annotate notes on it or highlight text on the go. This is way better than using the traditional mouse/touchpad and keyboard.

With 256GB SSD storage, there will be little need to carry bulky medical books. You can easily download and store them as PDFs or digital textbooks. While 256GB might don’t seem like a lot, remember SSD storage makes your computer faster than traditional hard drives will, therefore, you’ll spend less time starting your computer each time. 

The convertible hybrid design means that you can flip the screen and use it in tablet mode or standard laptop mode with the keyboard section functioning as a kickstand. Connectivity is as good as you’d expect from a high-end laptop, coming with HDMI port, one USB-C port, one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, a headphone jack, and an SD card reader. The Dell Inspiron i5378 also supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless connectivity.

With 8GB RAM, Intel Core i7 processor and Intel HD Graphics 620 you can expect top performance from the Inspiron i5378. The powerful Core i7 processor, clocking in at 3.5 GHz makes this laptop a good fit for light gaming, video editing, PowerPoint presentation, multi-tab browsing among other performance reliant-tasks. However, as is the case with most convertible laptops, the integrated graphics card isn’t the best for graphics-intensive games or image editing.

When running heavy-duty tasks, you can expect to receive an average of 6 to 7 hours of battery life. This is good enough but still doesn’t measure up to the competition. However, if running less power-intensive programs, such as making a video presentation, reading, browsing or watching a movie, you can expect the battery to last the whole day.

Specifications

  • CPU: 7th generation Intel Core i7 
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4 
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD; upgradable
  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD (1920 × 1080) IPS Truelife
  • GPU: Intel HD graphics 620
  • Screen size: 13.3 inch
  • Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Size: 8.8 × 12.8 × 0.8 inches
  • Operating system: Windows 10
  • Ports: HDMI, USB-C, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, headphone jack, SD card reader

Pros

  • Powerful and compact
  • LED touch display with wide viewing angles
  • RAM upgradeable to 16 GB
  • 2 in 1 design
  • Exquisite finish
  • Backlit keyboard

Cons

  • Has confusing color scheme on ports
  • No stylus pen included
Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY 13.3 FHD 2-In-1 (7th...
  • 7th generation Intel Core i7-7500u, up to 3.5 GHz Processor
  • 8GB DDR4 2400Mhz included; 16GB maximum
  • 256GB SSD storage; No Optical Drive included

Best Cheap Laptop for Medical School: HP Elite X2 1012 G1 

HP Elite X2 1012 G1 Detachable 2-in-1 Business...

There is a reason why convertibles are so popular among medical students; they are flexible and easy to use on the go. Our cheapest recommendation, the HP Elite x2 1012 G1 is a good example of a laptop that easily blends into the hectic medical school life for a lenient price tag. 

The 2-in-1 design which was popularized by Microsoft through the Surface Pro series has become a productivity powerhouse, especially for busy medical students.

The HP Elite x2 1012 G1 houses its hardware in an attractive silver metal chassis. It is only 8.05mm thick making it thinner than most of our other recommendations.  At only 1.8 pounds, it is also way lighter and extremely easy to carry and use around the school. You can effortlessly flip it into a tablet while taking notes in class or quickly highlight parts of a text while revising.

It has a u-shaped metal stand attached to the back of the lid for when you are using it as a laptop. Being as thin as it is, the Elite X2 had to sacrifice most of its peripheral ports so you won’t be seeing a lot of connectivity options.

However, there’s a USB 3.0 port and a Thunderbolt 3 which doubles as a USB 3.1 port. You can use additional adapters on the Thunderbolt 3 port to connect other extras such as the HDMI or VGA for presentation. You can connect a printer, mouse or hard drive using the USB 3.0 port.

If you are security conscious, you will appreciate the fingerprint reader which offers biometric security. It also has a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which is a discrete microcontroller used to protect computer hardware using integrated cryptographic keys, so your data, essays, and thesis will be safe.

While there is a stylus option, this particular version doesn’t come with it. So if you need it that bad, you can buy the HP Active Pen Separately. The keyboard is magnetically attached to the laptop and while typing, you can either place it flat on a surface or prop up at an angle. This keyboard comes with two-level backlit that you can activate on the function key. While the keys are a bit rough to the touch, they are well-spaced out with a decent travel.

Specifications 

  • Display: 12 inches 
  • CPU: Intel Core m5-6Y54 
  • GPU: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 515
  • RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Weight: 1.85 pounds
  • Size: 11.8 x 8.4 x 0.3 inches 
  • Network: 802.11AC Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0 Combo

Pros

  • Durable design 
  • Good display 
  • Affordable 
  • Convertible and easy to use on the go
  • Good battery life

Cons 

  • Doesn’t come with the stylus pen 
  • Limited number of ports 
HP Elite X2 1012 G1 Detachable 2-in-1 Business...
  • 12" FHD UWVA eDP ultra-slim LED-backlit Touchscreen (1920 x1280) Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • Intel Core m5-6Y54 1.10 GHz Processor (Turbo 2.70 GHz, 4MB SmartCache, 2 Core 4 Threads)
  • 256 GB SSD | 8 GB DDR3 RAM | 802.11ac WiFi + Bluetooth

Best Designed Laptop for Medical School: Huawei MateBook 13

Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edn. Laptop - 13' 2K...

If you haven’t seen new laptop models for a while, it’d be easy to mistake the Huawei MateBook 13 with a MacBook. Huawei stepped up its aesthetics with the MateBook 13 by giving it a strikingly minimalist design. It comes with an endearing color fondly known by the manufacturer as Mystic Silver. 

This laptop packs the 8th generation Core i5 processor and Intel’s HD graphics 620, offering up to 1GB of dedicated video memory. This will enable you to seamlessly run graphics-intensive applications and play some games without any performance lags.

It also ships with 8 GB of RAM and 256GB SSD storage, both of which you can easily upgrade if you want more speed and space for your files. However, because of MateBook 13’s incredible performance, the battery life might be slightly affected and you may have to charge in the middle of the day.

The MateBook 13 is incredibly nimble, measuring 11.3 × 8.3 × 0.6 inches and only weighing 2.9 pounds. You’ll hardly notice this laptop on your bag as you walk around campus.

The bezels are virtually non-existent compared to most laptops out there, providing you more real estate to work on the 13-inch 2K resolution touchscreen monitor. You can vividly distinguish details, thanks to the screen’s 2560 × 1440 pixel resolution. Additionally, the touch screen accurately tracks your scrolls, taps, and swipes.

Huawei MateBook 13’s keyboard is comfortable to type on. The keys are smooth, well-spaced with a decent 1-millimeter travel. It’s surprising that such a huge and snappy keyboard was seamlessly incorporated into a fabulously thin laptop.

Moreover, the dynamic speakers are loud with superior audio quality, thanks to the Dolby Atmos presets for music, movies, large room settings and so on. You can comfortably listen to music or video tutorials without the need for external speakers. 

Because of the almost bezel-less display, Huawei decided to incorporate MateBook’s 13 webcams centrally on the function row keys. For this reason, the hidden camera is poor for a laptop of MateBook’s caliber, offering a resolution of 0.9 megapixels only. Consequently, the webcam delivers grainy pictures and color distortion to images as seen in low-end laptops.

Huawei ships the MateBook 13 with Windows 10, and plausible software like the earlier mentioned Dolby app and PC manager tool. The latter is helpful for downloading drivers and running system diagnostics. Although this laptop does get warm, its innovative and effective funs brings down the heat to manageable levels. All in all, the MateBook 13 is incredibly powerful with a design to envy.

Specifications

  • CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD; upgradable
  • Display: 13-inch 2 K (2160 × 1440) touchscreen
  • GPU: Intel HD graphics 620
  • Screen size: 13.3 inch
  • Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Size: 11.3 × 8.3 × 0.6 inches
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Ports: Mate dock 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA USB 2.0, headphone jack, SD card reader

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Compact design
  • Thin bezels at only 4.4 mm
  • 2 K touchscreen display
  • Excellent keyboard and trackpad
  • 1-year manufacturer warranty
  • 1 year Office 365

Cons

  • Lackluster webcam
  • Poor battery life
Huawei Matebook 13 Signature Edn. Laptop - 13" 2K...
  • Thin, light & portable: weighs only 2.86 pounds (or less with integrated graphics) and measures...
  • Fullview touch Display: feels larger than 13” - thin Bezel at only 4.4mm, 88% screen-to-body...
  • Powerful performance: 8th Gen Intel Core i5 8265U Processor boosts performance up to 40% over its...

Best Portable Laptop for Medical School: Lenovo IdeaPad 710S 

Lenovo IdeaPad 710S 13.3' Ultrabook: Core...

Lenovo has undoubtedly made plausible progress with the IdeaPad 710S. While the Chinese manufacturer isn’t famous for ultraportable laptops, it’s hard to ignore this notebook. It features a vivid 13.3-inch display and offers incredible performance with its Core i7 processor, at an unbeatable price.

The sleek design is accentuated by silver hues and a magnesium-aluminum case. Its full HD display is exceptionally bright and offers excellent viewing angles. Lenovo’s IdeaPad 710S’s thin bezels on either side of the screen give it a highly desirable look. However, the bottom bezel is conspicuously chunky while the top is thick enough to accommodate the notebook’s webcam.

Weighing only 2.6 pounds, you can effortlessly carry it around the school. The Ideapad 710S is 0.6 inches thick, which is incredible when compared to competitors in the same price range. It has an SD card reader, two USB ports on either side and a mini-HDMI port. The backlit keyboard provides a comfortable typing experience even in low light conditions. 

However, the keyboard’s layout is a bit complicated and might take time to get used to. For example, the right shift key has the size of a customary key and is placed left of the UP navigation key. Additionally, the keys are not as clicky as we would have liked. This little compromise is offset by the highly responsive touchpad which supports multi-gestures like two-finger scrolling.

Despite being so thin, the Lenovo IdeaPad 710S boasts powerful speakers. This notebook has Dolby Audio enhancement utility, which you can preset to Dynamic, Movie, Game or Default mode depending on what you are currently doing. Although robust speakers have customarily been a mainstay for Lenovo, it’s still baffling how they managed to fit these audio powerhouses in such a slim laptop.

Armed with a Core i7 processor, and shipped with 8 GB of RAM, you can expect snappy performance from the Lenovo IdeaPad 710S. The 256GB SSD storage ensures fast boot times when you quickly want to look up something on your laptop. While this storage is a bit limited for this price point, it’s more than enough for medical school.

Although the integrated HD 520 graphics are not that great, they should be enough for any medical student. It can adequately handle light games when you lower the video resolution and implement various hacks to reduce reliance on powerful graphics. The removable battery is decent enough and can last the whole day. This means that you won’t necessarily need to carry your charger with you when you go to class.

Lenovo traditionally offers multiple software and system utilities, and the IdeaPad 710S is not an exception. Some programs included enable you to run system diagnostics, recovery for backup, file sharing, and accessibility settings. These features are handy if you’d like to use the laptop right out of the box.

Specification

  • CPU: Core i7 clocked at 2.2 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD; upgradable
  • Display: 13.3 inches FHD
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 520
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • Size: 12.09 × 0.6 × 8.42 inches
  • Ports: HDMI, 1 USB 3.0 port (with always-on charge mode), 1 x USB 2.0 port, audio jack, card reader

Pros

  • Dolby Audio enhancement utility
  • Incredibly thin, small, lightweight and attractive design
  • Good battery life
  • Bright vivid display
  • Backlit keyboard

Cons

  • Unorthodox keyboard layout
  • Below average camera quality
Lenovo IdeaPad 710S 13.3" Ultrabook: Core...
  • Intel Core i7-6560U Processor (3.2GHz Turbo, 2.2GHz Base)
  • 13.3" Full HD (1920x1080) IPS Infinity Edge Display
  • 256GB Solid State Drive

Features to Consider in a Good Laptop for Medical School

Medical school is special and you, therefore, need a special kind of laptop. If your school has medical software that you need, use this information to make sure the laptop you buy is compatible with it. Otherwise, here are some other features you should consider when buying the best laptop for medical school.

A stethoscope beside a laptop

Weight

You probably already have a lot of books to carry around campus. You don’t want to add a bulky laptop to that weight. For this reason, you should lookout for a laptop that is lightweight and portable.

In fact, you can sacrifice less crucial features like DVD-ROM or a big screen for a lighter laptop. This way, you can use your laptop on the go for example when you quickly want to look up something on the internet. Since Med School is all about time management, a lighter laptop will ensure that you do everything promptly whenever you are.

A lightweight laptop will enable you to finish your assignments, projects, and presentations anywhere in the school or even in the nearest coffee shop. On the other hand, bulky laptops are a pain to carry around. The best they can do is sit at home or in your dorm while you are in school.

Display

Finding the right balance between display and portability is one of the best things you can do when buying a laptop for medical school. While you want a lightweight laptop that’s easy to carry around campus or during your rotations and residency, you also don’t want a small one. This presents a problem since most big laptops are usually heavy.

However, this is not always the case. If you shop around long enough, you will find a laptop that is both lightweight and has a big screen. Lucky for you, you don’t have to do that. Most of our recommendations already meet this need.

You don’t have to worry about such things as QHD Resolution, IPS Panels or Retina Displays when merely looking for a laptop to take you through medical school. Only the screen size and resolution matter.

A medical student using a laptop

Since you will mostly be using the laptop to study, reviewing online medical journals and writing reports, a good resolution comes in handy. In this case, we recommend a 1080p resolution. If you are on a budget, you can step down to 1,440 x 900 pixels. Anything less than that will make for a horrible screen.  

CPU

The CPU sits at the core of every operation you do on your laptop. It is known as the Central Processing Unit because every command you initiate has to be processed here. That is why you need a fast processor that can help you to seamlessly run medical programs, browse medical journals online, quickly write your reports and run lab tests without much hassle.

We recommend an Intel Core i7 if you have a good budget. This processor is faster and will enable your laptop to do everything quickly. If you are on a budget, a Core i5 is also great for most medical school tasks. We don’t usually recommend a Core i3 unless you are on a really tight budget.

RAM

The Random Access Memory helps the processors work faster by temporarily storing files of programs that are currently in use. More RAM will enable you to multitask on your laptop without affecting the performance. For instance, you can have some PDF documents open while browsing several tabs and watching some dissection videos at the same time.

A low RAM of say 2GB will slow down the laptop and may force you to restart in order to resume normal performance. That is why more RAM is always better. We recommend 8GB for medical school. If you have a better budget, you can always upgrade to enjoy an even faster performance.

Storage

One of the main reasons you are buying a laptop for medical school is so you can easily store your class notes, revision materials, digital textbooks, medical videos and so on. You, therefore, need enough storage on your laptop.

Storage comes in the form of HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or SSD (Solid State Storage). While HDD mostly brings more storage, it has movable parts which make it slower and noisier. SSDs, on the other hand, have no movable parts and are usually faster than HDDs. This means that your laptop will start in a shorter timer and access files more quickly.

A person writing notes beside a laptop

If you don’t have a lot of files to store, we recommend 128GB of SSD or 500GB HDD storage. Otherwise, in case you are storing many big files and medical software you will need at least 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD.

Extras

Below are a few extra accessories you will need in your laptop to make life in medical school easier.

  • Headphones with built-in microphone and WebCam: Useful during video conferencing or when taking online classes.
  • VGA Adapter: For connecting to a projector during a presentation

Conclusion  

Buying the best laptop for medical school has never been easier. We hope that this guide helps you buy a laptop that agrees with both your budget and specific needs. Remember to always check with your school or department in case there are specific requirements needed in students’ laptops.