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This post has been updated to consider the latest 2020 laptops.
You don’t need a powerful engineering laptop for law school. What you need is something reliable that works well for multi-tasking as well as being easy to bring back and forth to places. In this post we will explore what I think are the best laptops for law students, and I have used the following system recommendations to filter the laptops.
You should be looking for the following specs in a laptop for law school.
|CPU||9th gen i5||10th gen i5 or better|
|GPU||Not needed||Not needed|
|RAM||8 GB||16 GB|
|SSD||256 GB||512 GB or more|
I think the two most important components you should be looking for is the CPU and the RAM. They play a critical role in how well a laptop works for multi tasking and general feel. You don’t need a GPU unless you want to play video games. The last very important component is the storage, you should try to get at least a 512 GB SSD because 256 GB can fill up quickly.
Best Laptops For Law School at a Glance
I believe the following are the best laptops for law students.
- Dell Inspiron 15 5593
- Razer Blade 15
- Dell XPS 13
- Acer Aspire 5
- Lenovo ThinkPad E595
- Acer Nitro 5
- MSI GF65 Thin
- Acer Predator Helios 300
- Acer Swift 5
- MSI GL65 Leopard
- Acer Spin 5
- HP Pavilion x360
Best Laptops for Law School
Let us dive into the various options. Although I think the Dell Inspiron 15 is the best laptop for law school, the other options are also well suited for law students.
1. Dell Inspiron 15 5593
The new model of the Dell Inspiron is a great laptop for law students. It offers quite a bit of power for a very reasonable price. The main reason this laptop made it as the number one pick is the price. There are a lot of laptops that are better but they also cost more. If you are willing to spend a little more then check out the Razer Blade 15 below.
If you are interested in gaming then this is not the laptop for you. If you want a laptop that works well for things such as multi-tasking, research, and writing then it is a good laptop.
The GPU is only an Nvidia GeForce MX230 which does not offer you a lot in terms of gaming performance, but it is not like you need that for law school. You also won’t be using any visual programs such as Revit so there is no need for one.
The CPU is a new 10th generation Intel Core i7-1065G7. You don’t need to go all the way to an i7, but the better the CPU the better the laptop will feel. An i7 will also feel better for longer simply because it is more powerful. So when software starts to demand more from the hardware in the future, an i7 will be able to handle it for longer than lets say an i3.
There is also 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. There could be more RAM, but you can always upgrade it to more in the future if you feel like you need more.
See the Dell Inspiron 15 5593 on Amazon.
2. Razer Blade 15
The runner up pick for law school is the Razer Blade 15. It costs a bit more than the Dell Inspiron, but it also offers a lot more. If you are looking for something with a little power then this laptop is a great option. The Razer Blade is one of my favorite laptops.
This laptop meets all the requirements that we are looking for. The only thing that you don’t need is the powerful GPU that it comes with. It has an RTX 2060 which is very good for a laptop. The RTX line is currently the best GPUs for laptops.
The more important features for law students is the 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB SSD, and the great build quality. The Razer Blade has been around for a long time and it is a well known brand among laptop enthusiasts, especially among gamers. The CPU is the 6 core Intel Core i7-1075H.
The thin bezels add to the already premium look of the laptop. The only thing giving it away as a gaming laptop is the logo on the back of the lid.
See the Razer Blade 15 on Amazon.
3. Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS is another premium laptop that offers quite good parts. I don’t think it is a s good as the Razer Blade, but the 4k screen is something unique that it offers for this price.
This laptop also has very small bezels which makes it look really good. The screen is also a smaller 13.4 inch one, and considering that it is a 4k option this is very good. If you want a beautiful screen with crisp quality then this is a great option.
The laptop does not have a dedicated graphics card which should be perfectly fine unless you want to play games. If you want to do resource intensive tasks then this is not the best laptop because of the missing dedicated GPU.
The CPU is a 4 core Intel Core i7-1065G7. This is a pretty good CPU for regular users, and for law school it would be more than good enough.
There is also 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. This laptop meets the specs that we would want for a student laptop.
See the Dell XPS 13 on Amazon.
4. Acer Aspire 5
The Acer Aspire is one of my favorite budget laptops. The line has been around for a long time and they are very good laptops. You get a lot for your money and they are made by a good manufacturer so you can feel safe that is of good quality.
As a budget laptop it is not as powerful as some of the other options on this list, but it is still quite good. You get a 10th generation Intel Core i5-10210U CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. The RAM and the SSD could offer more, but for the price it is quite good.
The bezels are not as thin as on some other laptops which is a shame, but the body still looks quite good. It is thin and looks premium. There is also a fingerprint reader built in which offers a lot of convenience when you have to unlock it all the time.
Overall the Acer Aspire 5 is a great laptop that you should consider.
See the Acer Aspire 5 on Amazon.
5. Lenovo ThinkPad E595
The Lenovo is the business laptop on this list. If you have ever spent some time in an office landscape, then you have likely seen a ThinkPad laptop. They are popular with businesses because they last a long time and are quite good. They are not as premium looking or feeling as some of the other options, but if you are looking for something that will last then it is a good option.
This laptop is also more of a budget option, although there are still cheaper laptops available. The laptop comes with a Ryzen 5 3500UCPU. Ryzen is not as common in laptops as Intel, but they still make good CPUs and for law school this is a good option.
There is also 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD. This could be better, but most will be able to get away with it. You can upgrade the RAM in the future if you want, and you can easily get some cloud storage to mitigate the smaller SSD if you feel like it.
The Lenovo ThinkPad has been around for a long time and would work well for law school.
See the Lenovo ThinkPad E595 on Amazon.
6. Acer Nitro 5
The Acer Nitro 5 is for those who want a budget gaming laptop. It is a budget model so it does not offer the most powerful parts, but it would still be capable of playing games just not at the highest settings. There are a couple of other configurations on the product page if you want more power as well.
The CPU that the laptop has is the Intel Core i5-9300H. It has 4 cores so it works well for multi-tasking and can also work well for various games. There is also an Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU inside, which is why this laptop would work for gaming as well.
There is 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD. The 8 and 256 GB is a common combination on laptops in this price class so you are still getting a good deal.
The only bad thing about this laptop is that it looks as a gaming laptop. For law school this might not be the best thing if you want to bring it out in public, but if you don’t care about the looks then it is not a big deal.
See the Acer Nitro 5 on Amazon.
7. MSI GF65 Thin
MSI is a great manufacturer, and the MSI GF65 Thin is a great laptop.
The laptop comes with the 9th gen Intel Core i7-9750H. This is a great CPU that has been a staple in high end gaming laptops for a long time, and continuing to use this CPU is a great way to keep the cost down a little. For law school this CPU works great.
There is an RTX 2060 GPU in the laptop that you do not need unless you want to play video games. A lot of mid-level and up laptops do have GPUs and it is almost harder to get one without than with.
There is 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The RAM could be higher, but for many this will be sufficient. You can always add another RAM chip later as the laptop can take up to 64 GB.
If you want a gaming laptop for a reasonable price then this is a great laptop.
See the MSI GF65 Thin on Amazon.
8. Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is another gaming laptop. The reason there are so many gaming laptops on this list is because the ones we have picked really gives you a lot for your money. More powerful parts will last you longer. Nothing is worse than a laptop that feels slow and sluggish after only a couple of years.
The Helios 300 is one of the best bang for your buck deals. It comes with a new Intel Core i7-10750H CPU. This CPU is very good and will last you for years. If can run any amount of programs you want or need for law school.
There is also an RTX 2060 which again you don’t need unless you want to play games, or perhaps do some video rendering in your spare time.
There is also 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. This laptop meets all the recommended system requirements.
See the Acer Predator Helios 300 on Amazon.
9. Acer Swift 5
The Swift 5 is an option for those who want an ultra -think laptop that is easy to bring places. It has a 14 inch screen so it is a little smaller than the more standard 15 inch options.
Despite being so thin it still has pretty good parts. The parts are in line with what we are looking for. There is no GPU which which you only need to get if you want to do something more resource intensive.
The laptop has an Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU. An i7 will provide more than enough power for law school activities.
There is 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The RAM is LPDDR4, where LP means low power, so it offers a little bit battery life.
It also has a fingerprint reader built in as well as a touch screen.
See the Acer Swift 5 on Amazon.
10. MSI GL65 Leopard
If you want power packed into a good looking laptop then the MSI GL65 Leopard is an option you should consider. Despite being another gaming laptop at hearth, the laptop looks great and offers premium parts from a premium manufacturer.
The laptop has the Intel Core i7-10750H CPU. This CPU will be common in high end laptops for a long time. Getting a good CPU is one of the most important parts, and it is hard to get a great CPU without also getting other good parts. They go hand in hand in most cases, as you cant mix and match as much with laptops.
There is an RTX 2070 GPU on board, so this is a great option if you want to do things such as video editing on a laptop.
There is also 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD.
See the MSI GL65 Leopard on Amazon.
11. Acer Spin 5
The Acer Spin 5 is an interesting option. It allows you to turn the screen all the way around, where it can function as a tablet. It even has a rechargeable stylus that you can use to take notes or make drawings with if you want.
In addition to the unique “spin” feature, it also has pretty good parts. It comes with an Intel Core i7-1065G7, a standard on laptops in this price range. The i7 will be good enough for law students.
There is no dedicated GPU which does not matter if you don’t want to play video games. It does however have 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. The high amount of RAM coupled with the CPU makes it well suited for multi-tasking, something which is important for students.
The screen is a 13.5 inch with a 2k resolution (2256×1504).
See the Acer Spin 5 on Amazon.
12. HP Pavilion x360
The HP Pavilion is another laptop where you can turn the screen around and use it more as a tablet. It is a 2-in-1 laptop which might be interesting for a lot of students. Taking notes with a stylus can work if you put in a little bit of practice. You can also edit power point slides using the stylus which is pretty nice.
This laptop is not as powerful as the Acer Spin 5 but it is still pretty good. It has a slightly bigger screen than the Spin, but a lower resolution.
The laptop comes with the Intel Core i5-1035G1 which is fine for law school. There is also 8 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. If you are able to, I would recommend the Spin 5 over this one because of the better parts that it offers.
See the HP Pavilion x360 on Amazon.
What to look for in a laptop for law school students
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 words on the best laptop for law school students
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.