Laptops

6 Best Laptops For Medical School: Reviews For College Students

Being admitted into medical school is no easy feat, so go ahead and congratulate yourself on this major accomplishment. But once you do that, it’s time to buckle down and prepare for lots of work, lots of late nights, and many study sessions. These tasks won’t be easy, but your chances of getting through med school with flying colors are much higher with the right tools.

Aside from textbooks and reliable study buddies, the most essential tool for med school is a high-quality laptop. But with so many options out there, browsing through the best laptops for college medical students can feel even more challenging than passing that Biochem class.

This guide can help any medical student find the perfect device for getting through years of studying.

Image

Product Name

CPU

RAM

Screen Size

Storage

Battery Life

Check Price

Apple MacBook Air (13-inch Retina display,...

Intel Core i5

8GB

13.3”

128 or 256GB

12 hours

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6' Full HD IPS...

Intel Core i3, i5, or i7

8GB

15.6”

256 GB

6 hours

HP 2019 14' Laptop - Intel Core i3 - 8GB...

Intel Core i3

8GB

14”

128GB

6 hours

Asus Vivobook S15 S512 Thin and Light 15.6”...

Intel Core i5 or i7

8GB

15.6”

256GB

6 hours

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3'...

Intel Core i3, i5, or i7

4, 8, or 16GB

12.3”

128, 256, or 512GB

10.5 hours

LG gram Laptop - 15.6' Full HD Touchscreen,...

Intel Core i7

16GB

15.6”

1TB

18.5 hours


Why Every Medical Student Needs A Good Laptop For School

No matter the field of study, investing in a laptop for college is a must, but this is even more true for med students. With so much to keep track of for coursework, assignments, and group projects, the only way to truly stay organized is with the help of technology.

Good laptops for medical school help to not only stay organized with internal storage and the Cloud, but they also give you access to an infinite amount of online resources, applications, and software programs that are catered to med students. Here are a few more perks of choosing the right laptop for medical school:

  • More portability than a desktop, allowing you to study anywhere, anytime
  • Easy note-taking in classes, so you'll never fall behind with hand-written notes
  • Stay ahead with smooth/speedy operation thanks to fast processors and lots of RAM
  • When class is over, unwind with Netflix and other entertainment options

Buying Guide: Laptop Requirements For Medical School

Field of Study

There are tons of unique study specialties in med school, so the first step in choosing your device is to focus on your field of choice. Some fields are more demanding than others, and some courses require particular laptop specs.

Look into this before buying your laptop for medical school, and feel free to reach out to other students in the program and professors to see if they have any recommendations.

Laptop Specs & Features

Determining good laptops for medical students means that you need to consider the specific specifications of each device. These are the most important ones:

  • Operating Systems
    A med student can benefit from using both a Windows or Mac. Either operating system can get the job done, but of course, there are pros and cons to each. Macs tend to be more costly initially, but a lot of students say that they last longer overall. 
  • Processor
    Even if you know nothing about technology, it’s important to try to understand laptop processing. A device’s central processing unit controls the overall processes of the laptop. Multi-core Intel processors are popular for med students, so look for a model with i3 or higher.
  • Memory/RAM
    RAM, short for random access memory, is the type of memory that allows a laptop to read data and programs simultaneously. A higher RAM (like 8, 12, or 16GB) means that you'll be able to run multiple applications at once without slowing down. 
  • Monitor/Display Panel
    Try not to spend too much time focusing on the resolution and graphics of a device unless you’re looking for something that can handle photo editing or graphic design on top of your course load. High display quality of 1920 x 1080 pixels is ideal, but it's not crucial for med students. 
  • Storage Drives
    Most modern laptops are built with solid-state drive (SSD) storage rather than hard drive disk (HDD) storage. SSD storage is a bit more expensive, but it's also more lightweight, more durable, and more reliable. For med school, you'll need plenty of storage to keep up with your courses, so look for 128GB or more (ideally 256 or 512GB).
  • Screen Size & Display Quality
    The screen size you choose depends entirely on personal preference. Some students like a large display while others prefer a more compact, portable design. You can find anything from 11.6" to 15.6", so just decide which size suits you best.
  • Connectivity Quality
    In BestBuy’s laptop buying guide, the tech powerhouse says that “most laptops provide the latest 802.11 wireless networking standards plus Bluetooth capabilities, so you can easily sync your smartphone, speakers and other portable devices.” Look for this networking standard or higher.
  • Battery Reliability
    Med students spend full days on campus and long hours in the hospital during their internships and residencies. Choosing a laptop that can keep up with these long hours without needing to be recharged is an amazing perk. Try to find a device with a battery life of at least 10 hours.

Portability

Portability is not just determined by screen size, but also by the device’s weight. There’s no need to break your back running from class to class. There are plenty of compact laptops weighing between 2 and 4 pounds on the market, so pay close attention to the device’s weight on the product spec sheet.

Design/ Keyboard

Too many students fail to focus on keyboard quality when buying a laptop, but it’s a major consideration. Just think about how many term papers and medical essays you’ll be writing. If your keyboard isn’t comfortable or easy to use, completing assignments won’t be easy. When looking into keyboard quality, consider speed, touch, and backlit lighting.

Extra Features

We’ve already touched on laptop connectivity in terms of WiFi, but try to also pay attention to the available ports. The most important ports for improving overall connectivity options are USB-A and USB-C, HDMI, Thunderbolt, and media card readers.

USB ports allow users to connect things like external hard drives, gaming controllers, smartphones, and other digital accessories.

Not all devices come with a Thunderbolt port, but it’s certainly helpful. BestBuy says that Thunderbolt allows for “ultra-high bandwidth for fast data transfer between devices featuring a Thunderbolt or MiniDisplayPort connection.” HDMI is used for connecting a display media like a TV or projector, and an SD card reader is ideal for transferring photos and videos.

Price & Warranty

College is often seen as the time of Ramen noodles, futon beds, and stretching your money as far as it will go, so it makes sense that a lot of med students are in search of a budget-friendly device. There are plenty of affordable laptops for medical students, but just keep in mind that spending a bit more often means a longer device life and better operation overall.


6 Best Laptops for Medical Students Reviewed

1. Apple MacBook Air

On Sale Today
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch Retina display,...
  • Stunning 13.3-Inch Retina Display
  • Touch ID and the latest Apple-designed...
  • Dual-core 8th-Generation Intel Core i5...
  • Fast SSD Storage and 8GB memory

Our Top Pick

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i5

RAM

8GB

Screen Size

13.3”

Storage

128 or 256GB

Battery Life

12 hours

Warranty

1 year

The MacBook Air by Apple is the best laptop for medical students, especially for those who have their hearts set on an Apple device.

We all know that Apple is one of the biggest names in the tech industry, and because of this, this brand is one you can always count on for customer service and support. A lot of students debate whether the company's Pro or Air laptop is the better choice, but most end up going with the MacBook Air.

There are a few reasons for this. First off, the Air is more affordable, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on high-end graphics and fast processing. Every MacBook Air is built with the signature Apple Retina Display, which basically means you’re getting unbeatable graphics. 

“The pixel density of Retina displays is so high that your eyes can't detect individual pixels at a normal viewing distance," says Apple.

Another loved feature of the MacBook Air is its compact design. The screen is 13.3 inches diagonally, and it weighs 2.75 pounds.

Because of this compactness, the battery performance is hard to beat; you'll have no trouble getting through a full day of lectures and labs with up to 12 hours of battery life. Typing notes and assignments are easy on the latest Apple-designed keyboard and force touch trackpad.

The real draw of the Apple MacBook Air is the impressive processing. It’s built with an 8th generation i5 processor for speedy, smooth operation. You get 8GB RAM and the choice of either 128GB or 256GB internal storage space. You’ve got plenty of connectivity options with the USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports, allowing you to connect other devices easily to the Air.

The main drawback of the Air is the fact that users are limited to opportunities for hardware upgrades. This is because the memory and components of the device's processor operate within a single circuit, so upgrading the laptop isn't much of a possibility.

This doesn't seem to bother most med students, though, especially since the initial design and features already exceed standards of the tech industry.

Good
  • Upgraded keyboard
  • Retina display
  • USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Improved sound quality
  • Elegant, lightweight design
Bad
  • Limited upgradability
  • High cost

2. Acer Aspire 5 Slim

Runner Up

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i3, i5, or i7

RAM

8GB

Screen Size

15.6”

Storage

256 GB

Battery Life

6 hours

Warranty

1 year

The MacBook Air doesn’t fall within everyone’s budget, so it’s not a viable option for all med students. This is where the Acer Aspire 5 laptop comes into play. Not only is this device half the cost of the MacBook Air, but it’s just as powerful and portable.

Apple products come with a better support/protection plan, but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the Aspire 5 is the top pick.

This laptop is built with a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor (with options for i3 or i7), 8GB RAM, and 256GB storage. As you can see, it’s already on the same level as the MacBook Air when it comes to specs.

The display isn’t on quite the same level as the Air, but that’s one of the reasons you pay a significantly higher price with Apple products. The screen resolution of the Aspire 5 is still pretty good with 1920 x 1080 pixels, but it’s nothing to rave about.

For being such an affordable choice, this device comes with a lot of cool features. It’s built with a fingerprint reader for easy login, a backlit keyboard for improved typing, and improved connectivity with wireless WiFi 6.

Students love the fact that this is an all-around device - it doesn’t just get them through classes, but the 15.6” screen and Acer TrueHarmony sound is great for watching movies and listening to music.

The best part of all is the intelligent performance of the Aspire 5. Acer says that this is "the triple threat of performance, connectivity and entertainment – 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor opens more possibilities than ever before."

And now for the flaws. There aren't many, but the chief complaint regarding the Aspire 5 is its lack of high-end graphics. This isn't a huge deal for med students, but just keep in mind that the display quality of this device is merely average.

This means it’s not great for tasks like photo editing or gaming. The battery life is pretty average (about 6 hours), so getting through an entire day of class note taking and assignments without needing to charge up might not be possible.

Good
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Acer True Harmony speakers
  • Powerful performance for value
Bad
  • Average battery life
  • Unimpressive graphics

3. HP 2019

HP 2019 14" Laptop - Intel Core i3 - 8GB...
  • Windows 10 operating system Windows 10 brings...
  • 14" Display bright View glossy screen...
  • 7th Gen Intel Core i3-7100U mobile Processor...
  • 8GB system Memory for advanced multitasking...

Best HP Laptop for Medical School

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i3

RAM

8GB

Screen Size

14”

Storage

128GB

Battery Life

6 hours

Warranty

1 year

A lot of med students choose HP laptops for their affordability, durability, and reliability. The best HP laptop for medical students is the 14” 2019 model that’s built with a 7th generation Intel Core i3 processor.

This device allows users to run multiple programs at once thanks to the 8GB RAM, plus it has an adequate amount of storage space with its 128GB SSD (although some students prefer more).

The HP runs on the Windows 10 OS, so users have complete access to tons of apps and tools available through the Microsoft store. The 14" display is a great in-between size (not too big, not too small), but the resolution could use some improvement. The resolution is just 1366 x 768, which is a significant downgrade from the Acer's 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Although this laptop is more fundamental than most of the other college laptops on this list, you won't be complaining about the price. Just don't expect cool features like a fingerprint reader, a backlit keyboard, or a touchscreen. Some students prefer it this way, though, and they're just looking for a durable laptop that will get the job done.

If you read the reviews of the HP 2019, you'll see exactly what we mean about it "getting the job done." 

This is especially true if you just need med school study aid that allows you to surf the web, write Word documents, create spreadsheets, and stay connected to the ever-changing world of medicine. It's not a powerhouse and isn't ideal for things like gaming or AutoCAD, but it can still serve as your trusty companion during 4 years of medical school. 

Aside from the fact that this laptop is a basic device that’s a bit limited on storage, its reliability and durability are both redeeming features. It’s easy to use, especially if you’re used to the Windows 10 operating system, and it’s hard to beat that price.

Good
  • Low cost, great value
  • Ideal screen size (14”)
  • Durable frame
  • Plenty of ports (USB A/C, HDMI, SD card)
Bad
  • No special features
  • Display quality is lacking

4. Asus Vivobook S15

Asus Vivobook S15 S512 Thin and Light 15.6”...
  • 15.6 inch Full HD 4 Way NanoEdge bezel...
  • Powerful Intel Core i5-8265u Processor (6M...
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD and...
  • Metal chassis and 18mm z-height

Value for Money Option

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i5 or i7

RAM

8GB

Screen Size

15.6”

Storage

256GB

Battery Life

6 hours

Warranty

1 year

The Asus Vivobook S15 falls in the mid-range price category, offering fantastic value for the cost. Although it's not the cheapest laptop available, it's definitely the best value when you compare the cost to offered features.

You can count on fast short-term memory with 8GB RAM, lots of available storage space with 256GB, and fast operation with a powerful i5 (or i7) CPU.

The large 15.6” screen is constructed with a 4-way NanoEdge bezel for easy maneuverability, and it has an 87% screen-to-body ratio. Asus says that the "ErgoLift hinge design also tilts the keyboard up for more comfortable typing.

VivoBook S15 is powered by up to an Intel Core i5 processor to help you get things done with the least amount of fuss.” In other words, the Vivobook is a no muss, no fuss device that any med student can benefit from using.

This laptop runs on the Windows 10 Home OS, so you’ll have access to all the cool modern features from Microsoft (like Windows Hello one-touch sign-in). Students love the optimized typing experience and the fast-charging features, which lets you charge the device up to 60% in less than 50 minutes.

The battery life is somewhat mediocre, but the fast-charging makes up for this.

Asus's goal when creating the Vivobook was to come up with a "less is more" design. Even with a large 15.6" screen, they've accomplished this. It weighs less than 4 pounds and it's slim enough to easily slide in your backpack before heading to class.

You've got all the connectivity you could need with the USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 2.0, HDMI, and WiFi 5/802.11ac connection.

Aside from the mediocre battery life, the only major complaint among users is the poor webcam quality. It captures images and video at 1280 x 720 pixels, so don't expect anything remarkable from your webcam sessions. It's certainly passable, but the images might look a bit grainy and fuzzy from time to time.

Good
  • Fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello
  • 87% screen-to-body ratio
  • NanoEdge bezel display
  • ErgoLift keyboard design
  • Fast-charging battery
Bad
  • Average battery life
  • Poor webcam quality

5. NEW Microsoft Surface Pro 7

On Sale Today
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3"...
  • Next-gen, best-in-class laptop with the...
  • Faster than Surface Pro 6, with a 10th Gen...
  • More ways to connect, with both USB-C and...
  • Standout design that won’t weigh you down...

Best 2 in 1 Laptop for Medical Students

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i3, i5, or i7

RAM

4, 8, or 16GB

Screen Size

12.3”

Storage

128, 256, or 512GB

Battery Life

10.5 hours

Warranty

1 year

If you’re stuck on the fence about whether or not a laptop or tablet is the right choice for med school, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to choose between one of the other.

Tons of students these days are gravitating towards the 2-in-1 laptop design since this type of device comes with the functionality of both a tablet and a laptop. Out of all the 2-in-1 laptops available, the most loved is the Microsoft Surface Pro 7.

This is the newest version of the Surface Pro, so that explains the high price tag. But as long as you’re willing to spend the money, the highly versatile 2-in-1 design of the Surface is completely worth it.

Unlike other 2-in-1 laptops that just come with a convertible hinge, this one comes with a keyboard that can be completely detached and put to the side when not needed.

There are a few capacity options available for the Surface Pro 7, but the most popular is the one with 16GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. You can also choose 4GB or 8GB RAM and 128GB, 512GB, or 1TB storage, but 16GB RAM ensures lots of short-term memory, and 256GB SSD is plenty for the majority of medical students and professionals.

There are also a few CPU configuration options for this device, including an Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor. If you want the best performance possible, you’ll want to pay extra for the 10th generation i7 CPU.

No matter which configuration you choose, the Surface Pro 7 comes with a compact touchscreen design. It’s compatible with the Surface Pen for writing directly on the screen, but you’ll have to purchase this separately.

Did we mention that the Surface Pro 7 weighs only 1.7 pounds, and it has a battery lifespan of 10.5 hours? It's also got fast-charging capabilities for recharging up to 80% in less than an hour.

Some students aren't huge fans of the small 12.3" screen, but the small screen is what contributes to the ultra-lightweight design. Yeah, it's pricey, but you can expect high performance from this respected Microsoft product.

Also Recommended: Best 2-in-1 Laptop Under $600

Good
  • Touchscreen display
  • 10th gen processor
  • Plenty of configuration options
  • Faster than the Pro 6
  • Less than 2 lbs
Bad
  • Expensive
  • Screen is too small for some

6. LG Gram

On Sale Today
LG gram Laptop - 15.6" Full HD Touchscreen,...
  • Ultra light weight laptop weighing just under...
  • Long lasting 72Wh battery for up to 18. 5...
  • 15. 6 inch Full HD IPS touchscreen display...
  • Intel Core i7 (8th Generation - 8565U)

Best Rated

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i7

RAM

16GB

Screen Size

15.6”

Storage

1TB

Battery Life

18.5 hours

Warranty

1 year

The LG Gram has been labeled a good laptop for medical school by students all over the world. The high ratings speak for themselves, and most users only have good things to say about the Gram.

This device is ultra-lightweight and has an unbelievably long-lasting battery life of 18.5 hours. Even though it’s just 2.5 pounds, students love that they can still take advantage of a large 15.6” screen.

Another cool feature of the Gram is the touchscreen functionality. Other than the Surface Pro 7, this is the only laptop we've covered that comes with a full HD touchscreen. It also has cool features like a fingerprint reader for added security, Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, and a backlit keyboard and touchpad.

You'll have all the connectivity you could ever need with the USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, and MicroSD.

In terms of specs, it’s hard to beat the Gram. It’s built with 8th generation i7 processing, 16GB RAM, and an entire terabyte of SSD data. Out of all the LG laptops, medical students rate this one the highest, and it’s mostly thanks to the premium performance of the Intel Core CPU.

It runs on Windows 10 Home, so you’ll be able to sign in quickly with the fingerprint reader and Windows Hello.

There is just one minor flaw to the Gram. First, the screen is extremely reflective, so it can be challenging to see in the wrong light. As long as you're using the laptop in the classroom or at home the majority of the time, this isn't a big deal (you just won't be able to get a lot of work done in the park or on the campus quad).

Good
  • Insanely long battery life
  • Tons of SSD storage
  • Large screen yet lightweight
  • Lots of RAM
  • Thunderbolt 3 connectivity
Bad
  • Overly reflective screen
  • Expensive

Essential Medical Applications & Programs For Students

There’s an app for everyone, and medical students are no exception. Whether you need help with time management, organization, or you’re looking for info on drug interactions, there’s an app for that. The most helpful apps for getting through med school serve as study aids, like Brainscape.

Brainscape is a free app that every med student should be using (and most of them are), especially those who are studying for the MCAT. This app uses online flashcards and features a specialized system to increase learning speed, and there’s even an MCAT study section for those who are applying for med school.

Another reliable tool for med students is an app called Muscle and Bone Anatomy 3D. You'll have to pay a one-time purchase of $4.99 for this one, but it's completely worth it if you need help learning the muscles, bones, and joints of the human body. Here are a few more apps you might considering downloading to your new laptop to help with med school:

  • iSurf BrainView for neuroimaging information based on real-life MRI images
  • Radiology 2.0 for help with interpreting CT scans correctly
  • MedCalc for assistance with medical calculations in tons of medical fields
  • Prognosis for help with diagnosing common medical conditions

Laptop or Tablet for Medical School?

Medical students everywhere are all wondering the same thing when it comes to the device they choose… which is better, an iPad or laptop for medical school?

According to a post from Technology in Medical Education weighing the pros and cons of choosing a tablet or laptop for medical school, both of “these devices have become essential for reviewing lectures and other study material, taking notes, and taking advantage of a broad range of apps, podcasts, and other online resources.”

Each type of device has a unique set of pros and cons. While laptops are more powerful and versatile, a tablet is more portable and compact. If you can’t make up your mind about a laptop or iPad for medical school, a good compromise is to go with a 2-in-1 laptop since it can easily convert from one to the other.


Caring For Your Laptop: How To Ensure Longevity

Even the top laptops for medical students can fail, especially if you don’t take the proper care and maintenance steps. To ensure device longevity, the first step is to have some common sense (which if you’ve been admitted into med school, you probably already have some). Just be smart about how you use, store, and handle your device.

Avoid eating and drinking around your laptop whenever possible; crumbs can become lodged in the keyboard, grease from foods can hinder the display quality, and we all know what a full glass of water can do.

When you’re not using the laptop, avoid putting books or other objects on top of it, try to keep it in a protective case or sleeve, and never leave it in an environment with extreme temperatures.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Do medical schools require their students to have a laptop?

Many med schools do actually have the requirement that students need to own their own personal laptops. 

Take the University of Virginia School of Medicine as an example. The school says that “all students in the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia are required to own a laptop computer with WiFi capability.”

The college even requires students to present their laptops to the School of Medicine IT staff for review before classes start.

What other items should I buy for medical school?

This depends entirely on your field of study, the courses you're taking, and the school's requirements. You should receive a syllabus for every course that comes with a complete list of the necessary items for that specific class.

In addition to the required class resources, it's also a good idea to have some laptop accessories, like a wireless mouse, HDMI cord, and a stylus pen for on-screen note-taking.

How long can I expect my laptop to last? Will it get me through medical school?

The best laptops for medical school students should have no trouble getting you through your 4 years of med school.

All of the products on this list come with a basic protection plan that lasts for one year, but if you’re worried, many brands offer the option to pay for an extended warranty. To keep your laptop running smoothly, be sure to follow the basic laptop care and maintenance tips mentioned above.


Conclusion

Still wondering what is the best laptop for medical school? There’s a reason that so many med students choose the Apple MacBook Air (lots of reasons, actually).

This device is powerful, portable, fast-running, and is built with impressive display features and battery life. It’s quite pricey, though, so if that’s a problem for you, the Asus Vivobook might be a better choice.