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You will be spending a lot of hours in front of the computer while in law school. Although you don’t need much from a laptop for law school, there are some features that are more important than others. We have spent a lot of time looking at the different options available, and below you will find what we think are the best laptops for law school.
You might also be interested in reading our guide on the best laptop for deep learning if you enjoy playing video games in your free time. The laptops we go over there are especially well suited for high intensity tasks.
Best Laptops For Law School
The best laptops for law school are:
- Dell Inspiron: Best laptop for law school
- Dell XPS 13: Portable option for law students
- Asus ZenBook: Versatile option for students on the go
- Dell XPS 15: Premium law school laptop
- Acer Aspire 5: Best budget option for law students
Lets look at the various options
Based on our research, our pick as the best laptop for law school is the Dell Inspiron (#ad).
1. Top Pick – Dell Inspiron
One of the best laptops for law school is the Dell Inspiron. It is a powerful laptop and probably the best laptop for law school on this list. It has a lot of new parts inside it which will make it feel fresh for a long time. One of the great features of this laptop is that it has a 9th generation Intel core i7, an i7-9750H CPU. This will be more than enough to power any programs that you will use in law school. This CPU is also a great option if you like other things such as video editing or playing video games. Even if you don’t, this CPU will not go out of date as fast as an older model. If you are looking for a laptop that will last you a long time then this is a good option.
In addition to a great CPU, this laptop also has dedicated graphics memory. It has a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Unless you play video games or do video editing then this won’t be of much use to you. But it does help a lot of compute heavy tasks.
The laptop comes with 8 GB of DDR4 ram. The fact that it is DDR4 ram is another plus for this laptop. Newer parts tend to last longer than older ones. DDR4 is both faster and uses less power than the DDR3 counterpart. According to the manufacturer, the laptop has been tested with up to 32 GB of RAM, so in the future you can upgrade to more. The laptop has one 8 GB RAM stick inside, but there are two slots. So you could buy another one at a later point and put it in. Programs consume more and more memory these days, and being able to upgrade to more DDR4 RAM is good.
The Inspiron has a 1920 x 1080 full HD anti-glare screen, which should be good for when bringing the laptop in environments where you can’t control the light. The bezels are very small which gives you plenty of screen real estate for a 15-inch laptop. There is a 56 Whr battery in the laptop which should give you okay battery life. You can always carry a charger if you need it.
The laptop has a 256 GB SSD. This might be a bit small for some people, but there is always cloud storage and external hard drives. You can easily pick up a portable hard drive that you can use to back up your files. Cloud storage is also not very expensive these days.
Like a lot of other laptop theses days the Inspiron also comes with a fingerprint reader. This is great for convenience as you can have a strong password for your laptop but you can unlock it with the touch of your finger.
Overall this is one of the better laptops for law school.
See the Dell Inspiron (#ad) on Amazon.
2. Sleek 13 inch option – Dell XPS
The screen is an important part of any laptop, and the Dell XPS has a great one. It is has a 4K screen with edge to edge gorilla glass. The Corning gorilla glass is incredibly durable and you can feel quite safe that you won’t damage this screen. The resolution is 3840 x 2160 which is higher than most laptops in this category. A screen size of only 13 inches can be a bit small for some so that is something to keep in mind.
It is also a quite slender and lightweight laptop, coming in at only weighs 2.68 pounds, which is a big advantage if you plan on bringing the laptop places. For law school you will probably have to do a lot of reading. There will be a lot of old cases that you will have to study, and a laptop that is this light, comfortably small, and great looking, will be a big asset. You can easily have this at a desk or if you want to sit on the couch in the evening. A small size also makes it easy to bring to coffee shops and actually have room for the coffee on the table as well.
It also has a decent amount of ports. There are 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, with Power-share, DC-in, and display port. There is one USB-C 3.1 that also has DC-in and Display.
The laptop has an 8th generation i7-8550U. This CPU is pretty good, and an Intel core i7 is more than what you will need for law school. You can most definitely get away with a cheaper CPU such as an Intel core i5. Mostly your processing needs will be from having a lot of programs open at the same time. This CPU and 16 GB of RAM should be enough to keep you happy for a couple of years probably. If you feel that you want a more powerful laptop then there are a couple of other options on this page. This laptop is probably not the best if you want to play resource intensive games, but if you intend to use it for law school and other personal use, then this is a great option.
The laptop comes with a 1 TB solid state drive. This should be more than enough. It would be smart to keep your files backed up on an external hard drive or in the cloud and perform re-installations of windows every so often. I reinstall windows at least once a year to keep the laptop free from any clutter that builds up. With 1 TB it should take a very long time before you hit that limit. Mostly if you have a lot of big programs, such as games, that is when you would start to hit that limit.
The inside of the laptop has a meshed like fiberglass material which is great from keeping fingerprints away. It also feels good on your hands when they rest on the laptop for longer periods of time. The material looks like mesh but it feels quite smooth. You will get about 10 hours of battery life from this computer.
See the Dell XPS (#ad) on Amazon.
3. Portable Option – ASUS ZenBook
The ASUS ZenBook is a great laptop. It has a 13-inch ultra slim screen, something that looks amazing. The small bezels makes it look very premium and it takes advantage of all its screen real estate. Small bezels is important on a 13 inch laptop as the screen can be a bit small for some. The laptop has a 95% screen-to-body ration. The ASUS ZenBook is another lightweight laptop weighing only 2.6 pounds.
There is an 8th generation i7 CPU inside. An i7 CPU will be more than enough for law school and even though it is an 8th generation, the fact that it is a higher end i7 processor makes up for it. This CPU should be able to handle anything that you want it to do for law school. This laptop comes with Intel HD Graphics 620, which should be good enough for law school students, but not the best of video games.
The laptop comes with 16 GB of DDR3 RAM. It is not the newest RAM but it should be more good enough for law school. The fact that there is 16 GB means that you probably don’t have to add more for a very long time. You probably won’t notice much of a difference in the type of RAM regardless. One of the advantages of getting DDR4 ram is that it uses less power, but this laptop already has up to 14 hours of battery life. 14 hours is really good, and you will be able to go the entire day without charging. The battery life of a laptop is not everything, and it is important to not be blinded by it. That being said, the battery life on the Asus ZenBook is absolutely amazing, and if that is important to you then this is a great option.
If you want a durable laptop then this light model is actually a good option. The ASUS ZenBook meets the MIL-STD-810G military standard for reliability and durability. Passing this test means that it should be more than durable enough to be used in law school. This laptop does not have a regular hard drive and you do not need one if you have an okay size SSD which this laptop does.
There is also a special hinge on this laptop. When you open the screen it will tilt the keyboard slightly, providing a more comfortable typing angle. This is great because you will be writing a lot of papers, and the more ergonomic the keyboard the better.
See the ASUS ZenBook (#ad) on Amazon.
4. 15 Inch, Premium Laptop – Dell XPS
The 15 inch version of the Dell XPS packs more power than its little brother. The 15 inch version is also quite a bit more expensive, but if you are looking for a very premium laptop that looks great then this is a good option. This laptop comes with a 9th generation i7-9750H. The CPU doesn’t get much better than this one. This is the same CPU that you will find in a lot of gaming laptops so you know it packs a lot of power. The newer CPU also means that the laptop will most likely last longer before it starts to feel sluggish. Older parts eventually have a hard time handling the requirements of new software. For law school though this CPU is probably much more than what is needed, but it might last a couple of more years because of it.
The 15 inch has the same amount of RAM as the 13-inch but this laptop comes with the DDR4 kind. DRR4 is both faster and it uses less power. This is another reason why this laptop is quite a bit better than the smaller model, but that is also reflected in the price difference between the two.
With the extra space this laptop also includes a GPU. It hosts a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB of GDDR5. This makes this laptop viable for gaming as well. In law school you probably won’t have much time for play, but the extra computation power that this brings makes it a viable option for those who like to relax with a game or two. If you don’t perform compute heavy tasks then you most likely don’t need a GPU, but it is a nice addition.
The screen on this laptop is also a beauty. It comes in at 3840 x 2160 putting it at Ultra HD. There is also almost no bezels which makes this 15 inch look amazing. The brightness goes up to 500-nits, which is very high. Many other laptops only go to 300. This makes the laptop suitable for outside use as you can counteract the natural light. The battery is a 97Whr which should give okay battery life. With such a bright screen you might need to carry a charger if you want it to last all day and use a lot of programs.
The laptop also has a 1 TB solid state drive, which should be more than enough for anything you want to store. With a 1 TB SSD you probably do not need external storage or a regular hard drive. I don’t think law school students will be needing this much space for law school itself, but you might be able to get up there if you do other things such as playing video games.
Although this laptop is the best on this list it is also not the cheapest. It is up to you if you want this ultra premium model or if you want something a little cheaper. The best laptop for law school doesn’t need the best specs as you won’t be doing tasks that require incredible amounts of computation power. If you do plan on doing a lot of resource demanding tasks, or play video games then you might want one of the models with a GPU. This laptop will definitely last you beyond law school.
See the Dell XPS 15 inch (#ad) on Amazon.
5. Best Budget Option – Acer Aspire 5
The fact is that as a law student you don’t really need a special laptop. Most people just want the best laptop for the price range that they are looking for. Because of that I also wanted to give you an option of a cheap but good laptop. As a student you might also not want to spend a lot of money so this might be a good option for you. Just keep in mind that cheaper laptops tend to not last as long as their more expensive counterparts. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. But, if you are just looking for something simple then this might be right for you. As long as you take care of it you will be able to make it last a long time. This laptop will be a very good option for many law students.
The Acer Aspire comes with a 15.6 inch screen. As with many of the more expensive options this is a full HD option with 1920 x 1080. The screen has thin bezels at the side but on the top it is like any plain laptop. I don’t consider this a pro or a con. This bezels look really good but it is not really an important feature of a laptop.
Although not a lot, the laptop comes with 4 GB of DDR4 RAM. This is actually not that bad considering that you can upgrade this very easily yourself. The low amount of RAM should not be a big deterrent
The CPU is an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U. This is not as good as many other CPUs but it is not bad either. If you want some stats comparing it to other CPUs you can check out CpuBenchmark.net. This CPU is not particularly well suited for gaming, but as a law school student you won’t have much time for that regardless.
One thing that is not great about this laptop is that it only has 128 GB of SSD storage. SSD is great, but only 128 GB is not. You can get thumb-drives that have more storage than this. That being said, you can get away with this by utilizing cloud storage or an external hard drive. It is not expensive to get more storage from other places, but if you want to install programs that take a lot of space then this is a deal breaker. If you are a gamer in particular this will not work.
The laptop claims about 7.5 hours of battery life which is pretty decent. 7.5 hours of usage should get you through a day. That is of course with only light usage, such as browsing or using programs like excel and word.
A plus for this laptop is that it has a backlit keyboard. A backlit keyboard is quite nice in dark settings and not all laptops have it.
You get what you pay for in a laptop. This is a cheaper option, but to be honest it should be good enough to get you through law school. For most you don’t need the latest and greatest. Like with phones, we have reached the point where we can get most tasks done with basic equipment. If you are looking for something more powerful or if you need to do more resource intensive tasks then this is not the option for you.
This laptop does not have an Intel hd graphics card but an AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile. The AMDs tend to be a slightly cheaper option than the Intel counterparts. Overall this is a great budget option for law school.
See the Acer Aspire (#ad) on Amazon.
What to look for in the best laptop for law school
Now that you know the top pick, here are things that you should look for when doing your research.
Law school will require you to spend countless of hours in front of your computer. You will be doing a lot of research and writing many papers. You probably will not be spending your evenings playing video games, or at least you will be hard pressed to find space for it in your day. Because of that, you most likely do not need a laptop with a powerful GPU or the latest and most capable CPU. That being said, if you want to keep the laptop for some period of time, you do want to pay attention to what parts are inside the computer. Many cheaper laptops have older components and tend to age faster than others, given that the parts are already on their way out.
I believe the best laptop for law school will be a mid-level laptop. You don’t need the most expensive computers as they come with parts that you do not need. I also recommend not getting the cheapest models because they tend to not last as long as you might want it to. The only laptop I don’t recommend that you get is a Chromebook because you will be very limited in what you can do. You will probably be able to get away with using a Chromebook, but it is not the best option for a student.
As part of your research into what would be the best laptop for law school you should consider the following things:
The screen is an important part of a laptop. After all, it is what you spend most of your time looking at when you use one. The reality is that you will be looking at this device for many hours each day, so having something that is pleasing to look at is often very important. Luckily, most computers have decent screens these days, but some are better than others. One important difference in screens is if the screen is matte or if it is glossy. A glossy screen will have slightly better image quality, but they also produce a lot of glare if the light hits them the right way. Because of that you might want to consider a matte screen. This is especially relevant if you plan on taking the laptop around and you can’t always control the lighting.
Another thing to take into consideration about the display is the screen size. Most computers range from 13 to 17 inches. 17 inches will probably be too big for most students and bringing it around can be quite inconvenient. Staying in the 13-inch to 15-inch range is probably best unless you specifically are looking for a 17-inch laptop. Using a 13 inch can be a bit uncomfortable at first because it is quite small. Personally I find 15 inches to be best for productivity. You also have the option of getting an external monitor at a later point. 15 inches is probably the best midpoint between productivity and portability.
In terms of resolution, most laptops come with a full HD screen these days. That is 1920 x 1080. Full HD is definitely good enough for a law student. Some options do come with an ultra HD screen. They are great to look at, but you won’t be writing better papers because of it.
Often you can also find out how bright a screen can get. This is measured in a unit called nits. A normal amount is 300 nits, but you can also see them go up to 500 nits. The brighter the screen can get, the better it will be in sunlight. This is because you can counteract the sun and it will produce less glare. Keep this in mind when looking at the laptops, and consider the environments in which you will be using the laptop.
Laptops are getting more and more RAM, and rightfully so. Many programs demand quite a bit of memory these days, and your laptop can feel a little under powered if there is not enough to go around. If you mostly plan to have a few tabs of chrome and a word processor open, then you are more than okay with the standard 8 GB that most laptops come with these days. If you think you will be using any special software that might be a bit demanding, or you do want to spend some evenings relaxing with a game or two, then you might want to consider a model with 16 GB. Most laptops also let you add more RAM. Most law students will not need more than 8 GB.
You should also take note of the type of RAM in the laptop. Some have newer DDR4 ram while some still have an older DDR3 version. DDR4 is faster and uses less power. Considering that you can upgrade the amount of ram, perhaps the most important thing is that you can’t switch between the two types. The chips have different forms and will not fit in the other’s slot on the motherboard. Therefore, it is best of get an option with the DDR4 kind. This will increase the longevity of the laptop.
Even though DDR4 is better, you will be okay with the older DDR3 kind as well. For what you will be doing in law school you will probably not notice any difference if you have DDR3 or if you have DDR4. For law school itself you will not need more than 8 GB, only if you plan on doing more resource demanding tasks in your spare time should you consider getting more.
SSD / Hard Drive
The third aspect that you should be concerned with if you want the best laptop for law school is the storage. You should definitely get a laptop with a solid state drive (SSD). SSDs are faster than a normal hard drive and it can actually be quite noticeable if you don’t have one. SSDs do tend to be a bit more expensive, and therefore you rarely get more than 512GB in low and mid-range laptops. If that is too little for you then there is always cloud storage too. Some laptops also come with a combination of SSD and regular hard drive, allowing you to install your programs on the fast drive, and keep your files on the slower hard drive.
Because there is such a big performance difference between a regular hard drive and an SSD, you will find that even low end laptops have SSDs. The only difference is that the disks tend to be very small. Often they only have 128 GB which is very small and they will quickly run out of room. If you want to go for this lower end option then you do have the option of getting an external hard drive as well. It will just be a little more inconvenient.
Although you don’t need too much hard disk space, the best laptop for studying law will at least be able to hold everything you need for school. With streaming you don’t need too much space as you don’t need to save everything on your computer.
As far as processors go you should probably get an i5 processor, but an Intel core i7 is always better. You don’t need an i7 for law school but the better the CPU the better the laptop will feel. The CPU is the brain of the computer, and the better the brain, the better the computer.
I want to point out that battery life is not everything. For law school it is probably nice to have a laptop that will last all day, but you are able to carry a charger too. It is not that inconvenient. Also, most places have outlets. Don’t be blinded by the very good battery life that some computers have. The battery life can be a very important factor for some but don’t let a good number blind you. Better parts tend to reduce battery life, while weaker parts tend to increase it. Most computers have OK battery life these days.
The most important features for a law student are display, memory, and storage. A good keyboard and a good selection of ports is also important.
Final Comments on the Best Laptop for Law School
Law school will be a big undertaking, and you certainly want the best laptop for studying law to reduce any friction in the technology department. Law schools won’t put many requirements on your computer, and there aren’t lot of unique features that are especially required for law school. I recommend that you get the best laptop for the price range that you are looking for. I like to recommend laptops that I think will last a long time, and one of the things you should take into consideration in regards to that, is what parts are inside the laptop. The newer the parts, the longer they tends to last. But also, the newer the parts the more expensive the computer will be. There is always a balance to strike between price and what you get, but the laptops above all provide good value for the money. For many law students the laptop that they pick will go with them even beyond law school.
In the end, any laptop that you chose will do. You will be doing a lot of research and writing, so you don’t need an expensive and powerful computer. Keep the points that we went over in mind and you should be able to pick something that works well for you. Although not every laptop made the list, there are other good options too. I just feel that these are the options that will give you the most bang for your buck. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions regarding getting a laptop for law school.
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