Best Laptop for Medical School – 2020 Guide

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Medical school will be a very big undertaking and you will certainly spend a lot of time on your computer during your studies. As a student there are certain things that you should be looking for, including durability, keyboard, screen quality, and longevity of the parts. The best laptop for medical school will be one that can serve you well for the duration of your studies. As we all know, that means the laptop has to last for quite a few years. 

List of Best Laptops for Medical School

Based on our research, our pick as the best laptop for medical school is the Dell Inspiron (#ad).

Dell Inspiron – Top Pick

Image of Dell Inspiron
OamaTech Score: 9/10

The Dell Inspiron is a powerful laptop that comes with a 9th generation i-7 CPU, backlit keyboard, 8 GB of RAM and dedicated graphics card. This laptop will handle everything you will need it for in medical school. The only thing is that it is a bit heavier than the other options so if that is important to you then check out one of the other ones. It comes in at 6.01 pounds.

The Inspiron comes with a 9th generation i7 CPU. This will be one of the best CPUs on the market currently. A new CPU will play a big role in making this laptop feel fresh even a few years from now. As medical school is quite long you want something that can go the distance. When you graduate and get your cushy job you can probably afford to upgrade, but for now you want something that will last.

It also comes with a dedicated GPU. This might not be necessary for you, but it is great for computation heavy tasks. If you play video games or do video editing then this will be a great option as well.

the laptop only comes with 8 GB of RAM, but it is the DDR4 kind. Most laptops allow you to add more RAM at a later point too, so many chose to purchase another 8 GB RAM chip and insert it. They do often wait until the warrant has expired though. According to the manufacturer there is one 8 GB RAM chip in the laptop, and it has been tested with up to 32 GB, so you can definitely upgrade this at a later point.

  • CPU: i7-9750H
  • RAM: 8 GB Ram
  • SSD / HDD: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 15 inch, 1920 x 10880.

The Dell Inspiration is a powerful consumer laptop that will fit you great in medical school.

See the Dell Inspiron (#ad) on Amazon.

Dell XPS 13

Image of Dell XPS
OamaTech Score: 8/10

A very good laptop is the Dell XPS 13. It is a sleek 13-inch laptop that packs some very good specs. It has a great 4k screen, finger print reader, and plenty of ports. It weights only 2.68 pounds, making it very easy to take with you. It is only a 13-inch screen, so if you are interested in a larger screen then skip to the next one.

The outside metal on this laptop has a more matte touch to it, which should prevent it from getting a lot of fingerprint marks. The inside is a woven glass fiber material which feels great to the touch. It is fingerprint resistant which is great for keeping the laptop looking clean.

The screen on this laptop is an infinity edge touch display. There is almost no bezel which looks great and gives you more screen real estate.

  • CPU: i7-8550U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • SSD:  1 TB
  • Display: 3840 x 2160

This laptop hits all the points presented by both Harvard and Stanford medical school. It would server you well though your studies and is an excellent option.

The size of the SSD on this laptop is quite a lot. You don’t see too many laptops with 1 terabyte of SSD storage. It is really not necessary with an SSD that is quite so large, but it is a nice addition if you want to save a lot of files. An SSD does not have any moving parts so it will also help keep the laptop cooler and more quite.

The RAM is the DDR3 type, which is not optimal but will be more that sufficient, especially with 16 GB of it. The CPU is an 8th generation i7, something that is quite common for this price range. Probably the best feature of this laptop is the screen. It has almost no bezel, making the 13 inches seem bigger than it is.

See the Dell XPS (#ad) on Amazon.

Lenovo ThinkPad

Image of Lenovo ThinkPad
OamaTech Score: 8/10

Another great option is the Lenovo ThinkPad. The ThinkPad is more business oriented, but also they tend to last a long time because of it. Despite not looking the most modern, it has a durable build. The 14-inch ThinkPad e490 has great specs and fills all the requirements set out by Harvard and Stanford.

The CPU on this model is an 8th generation i5. It is not the most powerful available, but it should serve you well as a student. It does come with 16 GB of DDR4 ram which is great. You will find that most laptops will compromise on the areas that they think are appropriate, and splurge a bit more where they think it will count. The RAM will definitely play a big role in how responsive your laptop will feel, but the difference between DDR3 and DDR4 will probably not make too much of a difference to you.

The SSD on the ThinkPad is a reasonable 512 GB. That should be more than enough for all your programs and lots of files. As there is a trend toward streaming both music and videos, there is really no need to have huge hard drives any more. 512 GB should probably be more than enough for medical school.

  • CPU: i5-8265U
  • RAM: 16GB Ram
  • SSD / HDD: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 14 inch, 1920 x 1080.

The screen is 1920 x 1028 which is probably the most common resolution today. The screen also has Anti glare which is great for situations where you cant control the light. As a student you will probably bring the laptop back and forth so this is a good feature. Please note that some schools recommend an i7 CPU. This laptop has an i5. If you want to compromise on the CPU power then this laptop is a good option. If you are set on an i7 then consider one of the other options here.

The Lenovo has a good reputation and you can’t go wrong if picking this as your laptop for medical school.

See the Lenovo ThinkPad (#ad) on Amazon.

ASUS ZenBook

Image of ASUS ZenBook
OamaTech Score: 8/10

The ASUS ZenBook is a great looking laptop sporting some very impressive specs. It even has up to 14 hours of battery life which is a very long time. It also has a Tpm security chip so that it can encrypt your data.

When you open the laptop there is a hinge that tilts the keyboard a little, giving you a great typing angle. It also gives some space under the laptop which is great for cooling the laptop, especially if you have it on your lap as it wont rest on you as much. For medical school you will be writing a lot and this special kind of keyboard angle will be good for spending a lot of time typing.

The laptop also has a fingerprint reader which is great for security and convenience.

The ASUS ZenBook is another 13-inch laptop with tiny bezels. It really does make the screen bigger than it would otherwise.

The Laptop has 512 GB of SSD which is a good amount for you. You get thumb-drives with over 200 GB of memory now, so you could easily pick up extra storage if that is of any concern to you. External storage will be a lot slower, but that is okay as you will only be using it for storing files. 512 GB is more than enough for most people.

The ZenBook comes with 16 GB of DDR3 RAM. It is not as good as the DDR4 version, but it since it is 16 GB it should be more than good enough. The laptop also comes with an 8th generation i7. It is not the newest generation, but the i7 is quite powerful regardless, and this CPU should be more than good for a medical student. If the best laptop only has the newest parts then it would cost thousands of dollars. It is important to compromise on some areas in order to get a laptop that is within a reasonable price range.

  • CPU: i7-8565U
  • RAM: 16GB Ram
  • SSD / HDD: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 1920 x 1080.

The ASUS ZenBook is very portable and will be easy take with you to lectures, and will certainly last you a long time if you take good care of it. The laptop actually only weights 2.6 pounds which is like a couple bottles of water. It is incredibly slim and you will have no problems bringing it around.

See the ASUS ZenBook (#ad) on Amazon.

ASUS VivoBook

Image of ASUS VivoBook
OamaTech Score: 8/10

The ASUS VivoBook is a great looking laptop. As a medical student you will be writing a lot of papers and the VivoBook comes with the ASUS ergonomic keyboard that is great to type on. If you will be spending a lot of time on the computer then your arms will thank you. The laptop also comes with a fingerprint sensor which is very convenient for logging in. The keyboard is backlit also which is convenient for use in the dark.

The VivoBook comes with an AMD CPU. It is an AMD Quad Code r5-3500U. You can equate that CPU to the i5 version of Intel CPUs. It also has 8 GB of DDR4 ram which is good. This is one of the laptops that come with a combination of SSD and Hard Drive. It has a 128 GB SSD, which is a little low. But to make up for it there is a 1TB regular hard drive. The SSD is big enough to install programs on, but if you play video games then this will be a little to low, as some games can take up about half of that space. The specs are also not the best for playing games. The lack of powerful parts also shows in the price, so if you are looking at a very reasonably priced laptop then this might be your option.

  • CPU: AMD Quad Core R5-3500U
  • RAM: 8 GB Ram
  • SSD / HDD: 128 GB SSD / 1 TB HDD
  • Display: 15 inch, 1920 x 10880.

The screen is a 1920 x 1080, and it has an 88% screen to body ration. That means that there is almost no bezel which is great for both look and feel. There are also quite a few color options for this laptop. Keep in mind that some schools recommend that you get an Intel i7 CPU, and this laptop does not have that. But an i7 will make the laptop more expensive so this is an option if you are looking for something a little cheaper.

See the ASUS VivoBook (#ad) on Amazon.

LG Gram

Image of the LG Gram
OamaTech Score: 8/10

Another good laptop is the LG Gram. It is the biggest one in this list with a screen of 17 inches. For some that might be a bit big but this is a very good alternative if you want a bigger screen. One of the things you want when you have a big screen is that it takes advantage of the extra realestate. The Gram comes with a 2560 x 1600 IPS Display, higher than many comparable laptops. As wit ha lot a laptops these days there are almost no bezels as well. Even though it is a 17 inch laptop it only weighs 2.95 pounds which is incredibly light for its size.

  • CPU: i7 8565u
  • RAM: 16 GB Ram
  • SSD / HDD: 512 GB SSD
  • Display: 15 inch, 2560 x 1600

The laptop also comes with an 8th generation i7 processor. Although it is an 8th generation it should be more than good enough for the next few years, especially since it is an i7. Anything lower than i7 and you might want to think twice about getting the older version.

There is 16 GB of DDR RAM which is more than you would need as a medical student. 8 GB would be enough, but with 16 you don’t need to think about upgrading in the future, at least not for many years. There is no dedicated graphics card on the machine, but that is definitely not something that you need. If you do like to play resource demanding games though you should look at one of the options with a GPU. There is also a 512 GB SSD on board, which should be enough to keep you happy for a long time. There is also external hard drives that you can get if you feel that is too little.

As virtually every phone these days have a fingerprint reader it seems like that is becoming more popular on laptops too. The Gram does not disappointing in this department either. A fingerprint reader is something that will making it much more convenient to unlock your laptop. Good password policy requires long and complicated passwords that should be updated frequently. Because that is so inconvenient people often use bad passwords. With a fingerprint reader you don’t have to worry about weak passwords.

Another great feature about this laptop is that it has 19.5 hours of battery life. You can bring this laptop to school without a charter which for some is a big deal. Personally I didn’t mind bringing a charger to campus just because I was there for so long anyways, but there is no need with this laptop.

See the LG Gram (#ad) on Amazon.

What to look for in the best laptop for medical school

Now that you know the top pick for medical school, here are some things you should take into consideration during your research.

Unless you like to play games or do video editing in your spare time, you don’t really need the most powerful laptop out there. That being said, lower end laptops tend to not last as long as their more expensive counterparts. This is simply because their components often already are out of date. Medical school lasts a long time, and you most likely want the laptop to last you the entire duration. I would recommend that you get a mid-range laptop for medical school. These laptops will also serve you well if you want to use them for other activities such as photo editing, or perhaps a relaxing game or two to distract yourself from your studies. You might also want to check out what Harvard and Stanford medical school requires their medical students to have in terms of specs.  These are well respected schools, and if the laptop meets their guidelines then you should be good for any medical school. The only problem is that there are lots of laptops that meet those requirements, you need to know which are actually good deals. 

When researching the best laptop for medical school you should take the following into consideration.

Display

You will be spending a significant amount of time looking at the screen in the next few years. You want to make sure that the quality is decent for today’s standards, but also that you can use it for high resolution medical imagery. Most common resolution is 1920 x 1280, and that should be your minimum, something higher might be better. Some laptops come with 4k screens, something that might be useful when dealing with high resolution images. It might also be beneficial if you need to watch high definition videos. Examples include videos of surgeries and the like.

Many medical schools also require that you have at least a 13 inch laptop. 13-inches is portable, but some people find it small. Something in the 13-15 inch range is probably the best option. 17 inches is quite large and can be difficult to carry around and almost impossible to fit in a lecture hall. Most people find that a 15-inch serves them quite well. There is a little compromise when it comes to the size of a laptop. A smaller laptop will have greater battery life, mainly because of the smaller screen. Larger laptops though tend to have more powerful parts, a larger screen, and therefore have shorter battery life. Please keep in mind though that you are able to bring a charger, so don’t be blinded by the length of the battery life. Most laptops come with okay battery anyways these days.

There are also glossy and matte screens. A glossy screen has better image quality but they produce more glare in sunlight. A matte screen is better in sunlight. You should consider the environment where you will be using the laptop most often. If the image quality is very important to you because of medical imagery then you might want to go with a glossy option.

Hard Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD)

The best laptop for medical school will have a decent amount of storage. I don’t recommend getting a laptop that does not have an SSD, and luckily it is getting harder to find one without. An SSD will make everything on the computer feel faster, especially if you install your programs on it. Many laptops come with a combination of an SSD and HDD, where you can save less frequently used files on it. Harvad actually recommends not getting anything less than 512 GB of storage. 512 GB is a lot of storage, especially for an SSD. Normally they come in 128 to 256 GB. The reason is that SSDs tend to be more expensive than their hard drive counterparts. 

You also have cloud storage if you ever run out of room, as well as external hard drives, so I would not be too concerned with the actual amount. Just make sure that you have an SSD and that it is bigger than 128 GB, as that will quickly run out of memory. I would only go for 128 GB SSD if the computer also has a regular HDD on it. If the laptop only has an SSD I would recommend something in the 265 to 512 GB range. Just use some sort of external storage if it is too little for you in the long run. I recommend backing up your files and reinstalling windows every so often anyways. So that is a great way to keep your laptop clean and freeing up used space. 

RAM

Harvard recommends 8-16 GB, and Stanford recommends 16GB as a minimum. I think these guidelines make sense. If you want to keep the computer for a long time I would lean more towards 16 GB, but 8 GB should be okay as long as you can add more memory later, which you can in most laptops. 

There are two types of RAM on the market currently. There is the older DDR3 version, which is quite common. You will see that a lot of laptops come with this options. The other is a newer DDR4 version. The DDR4 version is faster and uses less power, but it is of course more expensive. As a medical student you would be fine with either one. The thing to keep in mind is that you at least get 8GB. 16 would be best, as 8 seems to be the new minimum standard these days.

CPU

You most likely do not want anything less than an Intel i5 CPU. The CPU plays a big role in the speed of your computer, and an older CPU will quickly make your computer feel older than it is. If you want the best laptop for your medical studies then getting a decent CPU is important. You might also be required to use certain medical programs which can require quite a bit of computation power.

For the most part there are two generations of the Intel CPU on the market today. There is the 8th generation and the 9th generation. You are okay getting the 8th generation as there is quite a price difference between the two. The 9th generation will of course be better as it is newer and more powerful.

GPU

Speaking of computation power, many laptops come with their own GPU these days. It would most likely not be required as a medical student, but many find it a nice addition if they like to play games once in a while. It is not like you will have a lot of extra time in medical school, but if you do think you will be doing any sort of video editing or something that will require a lot of computation power, then having a laptop with a GPU might not be a bad idea. Many of the computers that have more premium features will come with a GPU, but it is most likely not necessary. 

You can have a look at our resource on best machine learning notebooks to see more powerful options.

Battery

I am not so concerned with battery life on laptops these days, and you should probably not be either. Most laptops have okay battery life these and you can always just carry the charger with you. Most places have outlets that you can use if you need it. You will spend a significant amount of your next few years in the library studying anyways you will need to bring it with you regardless. A laptop where you can remove the battery is a nice touch. Batteries don’t last forever, and eventually you will have to get a new one.

Final words on the best laptop for medical school

There are a lot of laptops out there. There are good ones, bad ones, expensive ones, and cheap ones. If you want the best laptop for medical school then you want something that can be good not only now but also in a couple of years. Medical school lasts a long time and preferably you don’t have to buy a new laptop midway. Some of the options above are a little less powerful to give some options if you are on a tight budget. That being said, if you want a laptop that can last the duration of your studies, you are better off getting a slightly higher end one. Cheaper laptops come with older parts, which will go out of date faster than newer parts obviously.

If you want the best laptop for medical school then you should start by considering what you want from the laptop. Most people just want the best laptop for the given price range. The laptops that you find above are good laptops that are a good deal. Keep the recommendations from Harvard and Stanford in mind as many medical schools are likely to have similar suggestions.

My top recommendation is the Dell Inspiron. Medical school lasts a very long time and you have to do the residency afterwards. You want a laptop that will feel fresh even a few years down the road. The Inspiron has newer parts inside it and is less likely to degrade in that sense. As with anything though, you have to take good care of the laptop and make sure that you keep it up to date. I also like to reinstall windows once or twice a year to clean out any clutter, something that really helps to speed up the laptop.

There are a lot of computers out there, but the list that you find here should have some of the best laptops for medical school on it. In the end, you should pick a computer that you think will last you a long time and is the best value for your money. Take a look at the parts in the laptop and compare them to some of the other options you are considering. Most laptops are pretty good these days, and you are likely to be happy with your choice as long as you put some though into it.

Have a look at our resource about the best laptop for writers to learn more about computers.

Last Updated: by Ole