Best Laptop for Nursing Students – 2020 Guide

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As a nursing student there is nothing special that you need from a computer. Pretty much any laptop will do, as long as it has enough storage space and will last you the duration of the program that you are attending. That being said there are certain things that will make the laptop better for you.  You will be writing a lot of papers so a comfortable keyboard is important. You will also be looking at the screen a lot so having a decent screen is important as well.

The best laptop for nursing students right now is the Dell Inspiron. If you are on a budget then you should look into the Acer Aspire. If you are looking for something that is portable with great battery life then have a look at the ZenBook.

The Dell Inspiron is quite powerful and you would not need something as a laptop for artificial intelligence.

List of Best Laptops for Nursing Students

Below you will find what I think are great options for a nursing student. There are various price points so that you have something to look at regardless of your budget. In the end, there isn’t anything in particular that is specifically needed for nursing school itself. You should get the best laptop in the price range that you are looking for.

Dell Inspiron – Top Pick

Image of Dell Inspiron, best laptop for nursing students

One laptop that I like is the Dell Inspiron. This laptop packs more power than what you need for nursing school. This is a great option if you want to do any sort of activities that requires more computation resources. The newer parts also mean that the laptop will feel better for longer. Cheaper laptops will not have as good parts and they tend to go out of date faster.

The Inspiron comes with 8 GB 2666MHz of DDR4 RAM. This is the new kind of RAM and 8 GB is more than what you need at the moment. You can also upgrade this in the future to more if you want. According to the manufacturer the laptop has been tested with up to 32 GB of DDR4 RAM so there is definitely room for more. There is one 8 GB RAM chip in the laptop, so you could either get one more 8 GB chip to make it 16, or you could get two 16 GB ones for 32 GB. It is advisable to wait with upgrading until the warranty goes out and you know what you are doing.

Although not needed for nursing school, this laptop also comes with a GPU. That is a graphical processing unit and is used to render graphics and do intensive calculations. This makes the laptop suitable for playing games as well. Also, if you do other processing intensive tasks such as video editing then this is a good option. The GPU is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 which is pretty decent for a laptop in this price range. It is the model with 3 GB of GDDR5 RAM.

The storage space on this laptop is adequate with a 256 GB SSD. 256 GB is not huge by any means, but it should be enough for most of your things. In the age of streaming there really is not often you would have much more than this. The only issue could be if you want to install several games on the laptop. This laptop is a good option for games, but the SSD is a little small to have many of them installed at the same time. That is something to keep in mind as you select a laptop.  

See the Dell Inspiron (#ad) on Amazon.

ASUS ZenBook

Image of ASUS ZenBook

Another great option is the ASUS ZenBook. This laptop comes with a 12 inch ultra-slim screen. It is a full HD screen with 1920 x 1080. There is almost no bezels on this laptop which makes it look really good. The screen actually has a 95% screen-to-body ratio. Having almost no bezels looks a little funny in the beginning but once you get used to it you will have a hard time going back. On the Amazon page you can also select a 14 inch version but that has larger bezels than the 13 inch one. 

The laptop comes with 16 GB of RAM which is quite a lot. The only downside is that it is DDR3, which is slower and uses more energy. You also can’t upgrade from DDR3 to DDR4 in the future. That being said, DDR3 is still more than good enough for nursing students. The best laptop for a nursing student is probably one that is easy to bring back and forth, not one that has amazing processing power. 8 GB seems to be the new minimum for most laptops, so 16 GB really should get you a long way.

The CPU on this laptop is an 8th generation i7-8565U. 8th generation is not the newest but it is good enough for anything in nursing school. The i7 is a powerful version of the Intel CPU and this should be able to handle anything you can throw at it. It can reach up to 4.6GHz. 

There is no GPU in this laptop so it is not the best for playing video games. A 13 inch laptop is also not the best format for playing games as the screen is quite small. If you are looking for a gaming laptop then this is not the best option for you.

There is a 512 GB SSD on board which is great. This is a good size of any laptop as you will have a hard time filling it up. Especially since this is not a gaming laptop, you won’t be installing a lot of large games on it. You should have significant space left even after installing all software that you might want. 

One very nice feature about this laptop is that when you open the screen it will create a little lever behind it, pushing the body up and creating a slanted angel for the keyboard. This is much better for typing as it is a more ergonomic position. In nursing school you will be writing a lot of papers and this will be better for your writs and prevent carpal tunnel. 

As the laptop is so small, there is no numpad on the keyboard. They have an interesting feature though where you can turn the keypad into a numpad. This is quite unique and can be a time saver when you have to enter a lot of data. Using the row of numbers at the top is not too bad, but a numpad will always be faster. 

Other nice things about this laptop is that it has up to 14 hours of battery life, only weighs 2.6 pounds ,and it comes with one year of accidental damage protection. 

See the ASUS ZenBook (#ad) on Amazon.

Acer Aspire 5 – Budget option

Image of Acer Aspire 5

A cheaper option to many of the more midrange options is the Acer Aspire 5. It has a full HD screen which is 1920 x 1080. It actually has quite thin bezels on the side of the screen but at the top there is a more normal one. In my opinion the bezels is not really a pro or a con but it does add to the aesthetics of the laptop. 

Where this laptop compromises a little is with the CPU. As compared with many other (but also more expensive) laptops, this one has an Intel i5-8265U. This is an 8th generation i5 which is good enough for nursing students, but it is not the best for more intensive use. If you do any sort of processing heavy tasks such as video editing or gaming then you might want to invest a little more in the laptop. 

A nice feature of this laptop is that it has a fingerprint reader. Fingerprint readers seem to be making a comeback and many more premium models have them. Fingerprint unlocking offers great utility as you can have a strong password but you don’t have to type it in every time. This is probably coming back because of how popular it is on phones now. 

The SSD on this laptop is 256 GB which is decent. 256 GB will get you a long way, and there is always external storage if you feel like you need more. 

The laptop weighs 3.97 pounds and gets around 9 hours of battery life. The battery life is okay and the weight is not too heavy. It is not the lightest option around but certainly not the heaviest either. 

This laptop is a great option if you are looking for something a little cheaper to carry you through nursing school. 

See the Acer Aspire 5 (#ad) on Amazon.

Dell Inspiron – Budget option

Image of budget Dell Inspiron

There are a few versions of the Dell Inspiron. The top pick for this list is a more powerful option than this one. Despite that, this laptop still is quite good if you are looking for something a little cheaper. This laptop comes with a 7th generation i5-7200U processor. This is not the best CPU out there, but for nursing school you will mostly be consuming media and writing papers. If you are interesting in playing video games then this is not for you. It is more than capable of regular every day tasks though.

There is 8 GB of RAM in the laptop. It is also the DDR4 kind which is the newest one. This is quite good in such a cheap laptop. 8 GB is also more than sufficient for your needs. 8 GB is the new minimum on mid-range laptops, so for nursing school this will be more than what you need.

There is no GPU in this laptop and that is just fine. You do not need one.

There is a 256 GB SSD which should be enough. If you find that it becomes too small then you can always get an external hard drive for your files. Sometimes you can inch close to that limit if you install a lot of programs. With most things being streamed these days you probably wont fill up the laptop with too many large files other than that.

See the budget Dell Inspiron (#ad) on Amazon.

What to look for in the best laptop for nursing students

Most people want the best laptop for the price range that they are looking for, and as a nursing student that is probably your case as well. In this post you will see computers in various price ranges, and they are all good deals for their price. One thing to think about with a laptop is that newer parts tend to last longer. This is simply because older parts go out of date faster. That should be a given, but many of the lower price point laptops have old parts and that is a major reason why they feel so bad after just a  year or two of use. 

The best laptop for nursing students will be one that can last at least 4 years of a BSN. If you are doing an accelerated program then you probably still want one that will last a couple of more years. 

The few things that I think you should keep an eye on in the laptop are the CPU, the RAM, and the memory. Other than that there is not too much that would make a big impact on you. You don’t need a GPU and you don’t need the highest resolution screen either. Most laptops come with a full HD screen, and you don’t need an ultra HD to write papers. Although some options in this list will score well in those categories too, they most likely aren’t too important for you as a nursing student. 

Below are some of the things that you should keep in mind when looking at laptops.

CPU

The CPU is the brain of the computer. You don’t need the latest and greatest here, but you certainly don’t want the worst either. Having a decent CPU is very important in order to have your laptop feel fresh for a period of time. If you have an older CPU you risk the laptop not being able to keep up with even the most basic programs. As time goes on programs consume more and more processing power. Programs get more features and it takes more processing power to keep them going. Most CPUs on the market are definitely good enough for simple tasks such as browsing and writing papers in word. But a few years down the road that might not be the case. Older parts tend to go bad faster, something that should be obvious. 

RAM

There are two kinds of RAM that might be in the laptop that you are considering. There is DDR3 and then there is DDR4. DDR4 is the newer version. DDR4 is both faster than DDR3 and it uses less power. That means that you would get better performance and comparably better battery life in a laptop with DDR4 ram. Also, if you have DDR3 RAM in your laptop you won’t be able to upgrade to DDR4, and you will not be able to downgrade from DDR4 to DDR3 either. So if you are looking for a laptop that you want to keep for a long time, and upgrade the ram in the future, then getting a model with DDR4 is advisable. 

In terms of the amount of RAM you should probably get a minimum of 8 GB. 8 GB seems to be the new minimum om midrange laptops. For nursing school you don’t need amazing computing powers, but a modest amount of RAM will help your laptop run smoothly even if you have a lot of programs running at the same time. 

Memory / Storage

The most important thing about the storage is that it is an SSD. Most laptops will come with an SSD these days luckily. If the laptop only has a regular hard drive it will feel a lot slower than if all the programs and your operating system was installed on an SSD. 

The second thing to keep in mind is the size of the SSD. SSD is more expensive than a regular hard drive so you will rarely get a huge amount of it. What some laptops do is to have one of each in the laptop, where you install programs and keep some files on the faster drive, while you can store everything else on the slower hard drive. If the laptop only has a small SSD then you can emulate this yourself. It is very cheap to get an external hard drive that you can use to keep files on. You can also use cloud storage if you feel like you are running out of space. The only real problem if you have very little storage is when you want to install large programs on your laptop. For nursing school there should not be any programs like that. But if you like to play games or use other programs in your free time then this might be something to think about. 

Final words on the best laptop for nursing students

The fact is that you don’t need the latest and greatest laptop for nursing school. Mostly you will be doing a lot of research and writing a lot of papers. For that you need a laptop that is comfortable to type on and has enough battery to get you through a school day. The options presented here fit those criteria and they have different price points so that you have an option that fits you. Check out the laptops on Amazon and if you have any questions relating to the best laptop for nursing school don’t hesitate to reach out.

Check out our guide on best laptops for engineering students to learn more about laptops.