I am a medical student and I’ve listed the best laptop for medical students under 1000 price range.
Let me give you a piece of advice, that you should consider and be aware of before you go off spending your money on a device that may end up creating more problems for you than ease.
Depending on your specific medical program (specifically for college, and residencies), I have a few suggestions.
Every medical training program is different.
Are you enrolled in an MD or an MBBS program? Or is it a PA program? What kind of classes will you be taking?
What is the structure of those classes? Will your professors share printed notes or share slides online? Is your college website screening your lectures online?
What are the applications that your college uses to share the archives of your lectures, and is your OS compatible with the apps they use for attendance marking or test-taking?
For most of the studying related activities, you will require a PDF viewer (Adobe is most common) and some version of Microsoft Office (to access Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).
These features are however common to most laptops and you won’t even have to pay extra when you need them installed.
Softwares such as Examsoft which are used to conduct most online examinations may run smoothly on one OS, and not on the other.
And you should keep this in mind before you decide which laptop to buy, and what OS to install on your device.
If it comes with a system that you don’t want, you can always change it, but it will require money.
And more importantly, what OS does your college’s IT and medical department use?
If they are using Windows, and you have a Mac OS on your device, will it be okay?
Or do you absolutely need to switch to Windows? Especially during clinical years, it may seem to be a hassle if you cannot run the same programs on your device as your institution.
Some colleges and specific medical programs have deals on laptops, tablets, and computers at the beginning of the school year.
They offer vouchers and discounts, so you can obtain your devices at as much as a fraction of the cost.
Before wasting money at the marketplace yourself, you can research if your university or program offers any such deals, which can save you a couple of hundred dollars.
Most of the time, the laptops offered are the ones that are extremely durable and good enough, based on the popularity of previous students.
Now, let’s talk about a Graphics card, Touchscreen, and other accessories.
I will touch briefly upon some of the aspects of laptops which are not the make or break factors when considering purchasing your device.
But they may be important supplements for your laptop and may make it easier for you to work.
This situation will vary from person to person, according to their program and personal needs.
A graphics card is only a requirement if you are very particular about the quality of the graphics on your device, which doesn’t matter unless you are an artist or gamer.
Most laptops come equipped with a functional and well-suited graphics card that you will not find the need to replace, even when your laptop dies eventually.
If you are planning on using your laptop for gaming and studies, you can opt for one with a quality graphics card as well.
As regards to touchscreens on the laptop, the marketplace had been lately full of them.
Every brand is coming out with laptops that have this feature.
However, unless your laptop is a laptop-tablet hybrid, you will not get much use out of this feature.
So paying extra just to get a touchscreen laptop seems like a waste of money.
What you can do instead is to save up the cost on these extra features, and put that money towards buying a tablet that you can carry around to your classes and with you all the time.
Smartphones have too small of a screen, and they start choking when you open too many tabs on them simultaneously.
So the perfect midpoint between carrying a laptop everywhere or using your smartphone for your studying needs is to supplement your laptop with a tablet.
You can sync all your data so you can access it anytime anywhere.
Some other accessories to consider would be a headset built-in with the microphone. And possibly a webcam.
For laptops such as Dell XPS and even most other laptops, the placement and quality of the microphone built-in inside the laptop are not very good.
And if you are taking a lot of classes online, or video conferencing online, then this can be a very useful tool.
A good pair of headphones that can block out sound will also prove useful for your studying sessions in the midst of loud noise if you cannot study at the library.
A VGA adapter is another investment. You can connect your laptop to a projector.
If your medical school has a tradition of being involved in too many clinical case presentations during every PBL, you won’t need to carry a USB every time you have to deliver a lecture.
You can just directly connect your laptop to the projector. On the same lines of usefulness as this, a printer might be an extremely useful device as well.
If you are someone who needs to print a lot of notes, homework assignments, etc.
It can cut down on the time you spend running to and from the printing shop.
You can do this at home, and save a lot of time and money that you can dedicate to other aspects of your life.
What are the best laptops for medical students?
To most people out there, starting medical school may look easy, but it is tougher than you can imagine.
Nothing can prepare you for the grueling struggle of spending your entire day taking lectures and trying to cram new material into your head.
The terms and concepts alone are enough to give anyone a headache. In addition to that, you have to take time out to review basic concepts by yourself, revise the new material enough times that it gets cemented in your brain, and pore over reference books to deepen your understanding.
And just when you think you have gotten the hang of making it through the lectures, you will be hit by wards and rotations.
Then you will have to juggle self-study, and lectures, and hospital visits, which may seem impossible to do. Patient care simulations, charts, and histories to memorize for each individual patient is enough workload for breaking one’s spirit.
Yet there’s one thing that remains a consistent partner throughout this tough time, and that is your laptop.
And with the right device to rely on, you can really save time and make it easier for yourself to survive in medical school.
In this post, we will explore some of the best, most effective laptops for medical students under $1000, that you can choose from.
Whether it is watching lecture videos, or taking notes virtually or syncing your PDFs across all devices, the right laptop will make your studying much easier.
In today’s age especially, where teachers share most of the studying content online, and you have to use medical journals to research and reference your papers, having a trusted laptop to rely on is the number one priority.
You can buy a cheap laptop and it will still work fine for some time, but most of those devices breakdown every now and then, and it incurs a huge maintenance cost.
Thus, it is better to invest in a cost-effective and reliable device that doesn’t involve much maintenance and will last with you for a long time.
Given the utility of the device, this is one investment that is important to make whether you are just starting medical school, are in medical school, or working as a medical professional in the healthcare system.
Keep reading the article below to explore some of our best options for laptops for medical school students who are available to purchase in the market in 2020.
Top 5 Best Laptops for Medical Students under $1000 in 2020
- MacBook Air i5
- Surface Pro
- ASUS ZenBook
- Dell XPS 13
- Acer Aspire E-15 E5-575
1. MacBook Air i5 (Beauty on a budget for medical students)
- Most beautiful laptop for medical students.
- High speed SSD storage helps Softwares to load in a second.
- Weighs just 3 lbs.
- 13 Hours Long battery. Charge it once, and study all day, watch movies during lunch time and put it on charging when you decide to take a nap, it will get fully charged in less than 2 hours. Easy peasy 😀
- Display size is 13″ which is problematic for students with weak eye-sight.
- $1000 model comes with only 128 GB storage. You can get the 256 GB model by spending $200 extra.
All of the configurations for Air (mentioned above) are ideal in a laptop if you’re going to use it for school or office.
There are possible combinations of core i5 with 4gb RAM, core i5 with 8gb RAM, core i7 with 8gb RAM, etc.
One hitch with the Core i7 is that you will have to sacrifice battery life for power, so it would be a wise decision to use a core i5 processor.
Another thing is how all of the Air laptops possess a solid-state drive (SSD). This is one of the fastest available SSD types in the market.
Which means you will not face any time lags or delays. You can quickly boot up your computer, unlike other laptops which take anywhere from twenty seconds to one minute to start.
You can conduct searches for files, Dave documents, launch applications at the fraction of time as compared to other devices.
This is ideal as collectively it will save a lot more time, and increase efficiency for work while you are using the laptop.
Display & Design
The design for the Air laptops is its most alluring feature. It is thinner than most laptops, in fact, Air is known for the thinnest build in the market.
Don’t be fooled by the idea that if its body is not as heavy, the laptop won’t be strong.
It is, in fact, stronger than the regular build laptops, and can even survive any accidental drops.
And unlike regular laptops, even with extreme wear, you cannot see more than a few scratches on its body.
This also means you can for the laptop in your bag and carry it to places easily, to do your homework in coffee shops or take lectures in class.
The 13-hour battery life coupled with this makes it an ideal device for getting work done, especially ones that involve a lot of research.
Air’s display isn’t, however, anything extraordinary. It isn’t full HD, but it is pretty good for multitasking and high in resolution.
You will not encounter any problem deciphering complex histology images or reading those tedious small font PDFs and research papers.
One of the possible issues I can see with Air is when it comes to its operating software.
The MacOSX might be incompatible with some of the software you are provided at the clinic or school.
However, you can boot into windows and the compatibility issues can be resolved that much faster.
As the Air devices have advanced, they have shed the specifications of laptops that have become less usable over time.
One of these is a CD Reader, as it definitely contributes to the weight of the laptop and makes it heavier.
Though you can find most data on CDs on USBs, still in medical schools especially, there are accompanying CDs for lectures with various textbooks that you might need to open on your computer.
Because Air doesn’t have an inbuilt CD Reader, you can just purchase an external one for a very tiny cost and use it every time you need to use a CD.
The most resistance however when buying an Air device comes from its price tag. It is approximately $1000 for a brand new device.
Most students starting medical school are usually broken with the number of books they have to consistently buy.
So the way around this is that you can buy refurbished Air laptops on Amazon from a trusted seller.
These versions might be a little bit older, a year or two, but they perform equally as good as the newer versions.
And you can get a quality laptop for a much lower price.
2. Surface Pro (Best Laptop with Touchscreen for Medical Students under $1000)
- The slimest laptop with 11 hours battery
- Charges to 80% within an hour
- 10th Gen i5 Processor is the latest and the fastest.
- Display is small (Just 12.3″)
Surface Pro is a convertible tablet-laptop device. Most people think the convertible devices fall short in performance in some way, but that is not the case.
Surface Pro has proven itself capable of running almost any and all applications, depending on the laptop configurations that you choose.
As mentioned before, you can buy this device in an m3 core processor to an i7 core processor, which is a wide range.
And you can select your RAM specifications as well.
The 4GB RAM comes with 128 GB of SSD for storage, and the 8GB RAM comes with 1 TB of SSD for storage! That’s enough to hold your data for years.
Just as we mentioned for MacBook Air, the SSD employed here to allow for a faster and more expansive hard disk drive.
Because of this, any configuration of the Surface Pro that you choose will be fine for you.
However, the general recommendation is to go for a Core i5 with 8GB RAM, because it will not only let you run lots of applications but also does not interfere with multitasking.
The i7 core may speed things up even more, but it comes at the expense of a decreased battery life.
Since we mentioned that it is a hybrid laptop-tablet, it also exhibits the full range of features that are available on a tablet.
Surface Pro pairs with a note-taking app, One Note, and using the stylus available with the device, you can go entirely paperless.
You can take notes, draw flow charts, integrate lecture notes with your own notes, copy and paste diagrams from your PDFs and books and research papers online – it opens up a whole new interactive way of studying.
You can even incorporate media into your notes; videos that better explain the concepts, audio notes, animations relating to the subject content.
Most of all, it really helps with organizing all your data and study material, which would physically not only take a lot of space but is a very tedious process.
Display & Design
Surface Pro has a 12″ screen size and weighs about 2.3lbs. It is heavier than the MacBook Air but when it comes to general laptops in the market, it is still considered to be one of the lightest.
It is portable, and you don’t need extra accessories to use it as a laptop or tablet.
Although you can use a keyboard and two different monitors at home to attach to it and make yourself a proper, efficient workstation at home.
The resolution on the Surface Pro device is 2736 x 1824, which is as high as it gets.
Even though it only has a 12-inch screen, the resolution is higher than MacBook Air and the expensive premium versions of Air.
You can pore over any high graphics with ease, without having to squint for clarity.
You can even employ this laptop for medical imaging, although that might involve some tweaks regarding processor speed and RAM, eventually, it can be configured to handle all IDEs regarding images and graphics processing.
3. ASUS ZenBook
- You get core i7 with 512GB SSD in less than $1000.
- ASUS is not so popular, but this laptop is the best option for medical students who can spend $1000.
- Screen size is small just like all other laptops on our list.
ASUS Zenbook comes with a new and improved 8th generation core i7 processor. In technical terms, the computer has four cores instead of the standard two.
This means you get ultra-fast speeds, faster even than the MacBook Air’s 7th gen core.
Even though this is overkill for a laptop that you plan on using exclusively for studying, it is a handy feature if you plan on using your laptop for your work as well.
If you are a graphic designer on the side, or into filming videos for your YouTube channel, this feature will allow for more clock speed and make sure you never get stuck with any application while multitasking.
For the other specs, like RAM, GPU, and Storage, Zenbook is comparable to Air.
The SATA 3 SSD in Zenbook is only a little slower than Air’s PCIe based SSD, but still faster than any other hard disk drives used by the other laptops in the market.
Zenbook has a battery life of 9 hours, which although not bad, is still lesser as compared to Air or Surface Pro.
The display, on the other hand, beats Air by a margin. At full HD or 1080p, you get the highest resolution possible.
The design for Zenbook is also sleek and lightweight just like Air, which gives it a high portability score and makes it a great fit to carry around campus, from class to class, or around the hospital.
In terms of pricing, Zenbook is way cheaper than Air or Surface Pro and makes for a great cost-effective investment.
You might need to buy an external keyboard if you do not like working with the Zenbook keyboard because it isn’t as flawless and makes a clinky noise while typing. However, the backlit feature is amazing.
This will help you out when you are trying to take notes in a dimly lit lecture hall, where you otherwise would not have been able to see the keys.
4. Dell XPS 13 (Big screen laptop for medical students)
- 13.99″ big screen size
- 4K video resolution
- It is a little over $1000.
Dell’s XPS series is the Windows equivalent to Apple’s MacBook Air series.
In terms of price tag, performance and portability, Dell might actually surpass the MacBooks.
This is also an option for hardcore Windows users, who are hesitant to switch to a Mac OS after using Windows OS for most of their life.
Dell XPS employs a range of processors from i3 and i7, the lower core processor coming with the standard 4GB RAM and 128 SSD for storage, and the higher processor expanding up to 16GB RAM with a 1 TB SSD for storage.
The difference between the storage hard disk drives of Dell versus Air and Surface Pro is that the latter have PCIe NVMe SSDs, which are more efficient than Dell.
But for a medical student, one does not give you a significant edge over the other necessarily.
As far as the core processor is concerned, as we’ve mentioned before, you cannot go wrong with an i5 and 8GB RAM.
That’s the most efficient combination of you’re looking not to drain your battery too fast.
Display and Design
The Dell XPS comes with two distinct display specs. One is the QHD touch screen display which has a 3200 x 1800 resolution, with a battery life of 6 hours.
The other is the matte finish display with a resolution of 1080p, and its battery life is 9 hours.
As a medical student with little time to charge and need for portability and use in different locations, battery life takes precedence over display resolution.
So the popular choice is 1080p display matte finish laptops.
One of the most useful design features of this laptop is its thunderbolt 3 connectivity.
This basically means that you can connect the laptop to two external displays simultaneously.
You can open your PDF files, lecture notes, video animations, Anki flashcards or basically any study material all at once in front of you, so you don’t have to waste time switching tabs.
Now we have to discuss some potential issues regarding this laptop. As with MacBook Air, there is no inbuilt CD ROM driver.
For that, you will have to supplement by yourself by buying an external CD Reader and using it every time you need to access the content on a CD.
Another possible irksome issue is the placement of the webcam on the laptop.
The Dell XPS series boasts of an “infinity edge display”. This is based on the design idea that by having extremely thin bezels and placing the webcam at one of the lower edges, they can fit a bigger screen on the 13″ size display.
While that may mean watching multimedia on the laptop will be more fun and more interactive, the odd webcam placement definitely is a hassle if you happen to video conference a lot. Or do a lot of Skype tutorials.
However, this can be easily remedied by buying an external webcam that you can place at the height you like.
5. Acer Aspire E15 E5-575 (Cheapest Laptop for medical students in 2020)
- Costs less than $500.
- Best screen for watching videos (Cinema Screen)
- Very Loud and Clear Speakers
- i3 Processor which may not be enough for those medical students who use heavy softwares.
Right off the bat, one thing should be kept in mind when approaching and analyzing the specs of this laptop.
That it is, hands down, the best laptop with the most effective feature you can find in the market on a budget.
It does not have a fancy SSD hard disk drive, but the performance is good enough to run all basic tasks and software.
The 10-hour long battery life is right there on top, comparable with MacBook Air.
This is perhaps one of the reasons for its popularity among college students – it provides an economical but quality option for them when choosing a laptop.
Display and Design
One of the price-cutting points in this laptop definitely has to be its build. Instead of a metal body, the ACER laptop is made out of plastic polymers.
Even though it does not look like it, the build is quite sturdy and strong.
Similarly, one would think that the display and resolution would be another compromising feature.
But this laptop offers a full HD resolution which is hard to find in its price range.
A possible issue that may deter you from buying this laptop is definitely where it falls short in portability.
The 5 lbs weight of the 15″ screen device makes it impossible to carry to everywhere throughout the day without cramping your shoulders.
You can find a workaround against this drawback, by buying a cost-effective tablet to pair with your laptop.
That way you can carry the tablet to your lectures and around clinical settings, and just use the laptop in a dorm/home setting.
Many applications will let you sync your notes and files across devices, so accessing your data should not be a problem.
5 Things to keep in mind when choosing the Best Laptop for Medical Students in 2020
A laptop in itself is just a device, and like all other devices, there are a number of factors and characteristics that we have to look at to judge the quality of the device.
In this section, we will briefly look at some of the criteria that we base the quality of laptops on.
This will give you an idea of how we have ranked the listed laptops, and help you make a better and informed choice when choosing the right product for yourself.
We will list them in order of priority and importance, with special emphasis in the medical field.
So you can understand which aspects of the device cannot be compromised when purchasing the laptop most suited to your needs.
The feature you need to prioritize most when laptop hunting is its weight.
Because this directly affects its portability, and thus efficacy and use.
If you cannot carry your laptop around your university and hospital, you will end up using it less and less.
So you need your laptop to be as light as possible, if you are going to carry it from dorm to class, around the university, and through the hospital.
Most of the time, you will also have heavy textbooks and patient history files and reports in your bag, and you don’t want to cramp your shoulders carrying excessive weight.
An ideal weight is approximately 3 pounds.
Time management and ease of access in healthcare settings is the most important factor.
You need to be able to access your notes and information as quickly as you can.
A bulky laptop will prevent you from doing that. You cannot drag a heavy device across wards, and you cannot run back to the doctor’s lounge again and again to use your laptop.
And if despite all this, you are in favor of a bulky laptop, or you’re choosing a cost-effective device that is not portable, the next best option is to get a lightweight tablet.
You can use it on the go and sync all your data on it with the laptop that you can keep in your living space.
When it comes to displaying, we want to focus on two important aspects: the resolution of the display and the screen size.
Anything other than this, even though it is marketed on the packaging, like IPS panels and retina display, is probably just additional features included to hike up the price.
Resolution basically refers to how easy it is for you to distinguish between two close enough points.
The higher the resolution of a device, the easier it is for you to distinguish the characters and read small print font more easily.
For a medical student who is going to use their laptop to access textbook PDFs, and medical papers, and type lecture notes, it is important to consider the resolution of the laptop they are using.
The highest resolutions available are 1080p and 900p which work for screens that are 12″ and above.
The lowest resolution you can accept is 1440 x 900, anything lower than that, and you will have issues distinguishing the pixels clearly.
The better the resolution, the more easily you will be able to see those histology slides and small type font on online textbooks and journal articles.
This will help you immensely when you are taking online exams, and need to see the diagrams and photomicrographs clearly.
It is also useful as you can keep multiple tabs open and read the text on them clearly without having to switch between them again and again.
4. Screen Size
This is not as important as the resolution of the laptop you are using, but be careful not to opt for a laptop that has a really small 8-inch screen, because that will limit your functionality.
On the other hand, a really big screen size, like 15″ will make the laptop really bulky, and affect its portability.
You want a screen just appropriate enough to read your documents comfortably and watch your animations and flash videos without squinting your eyes.
The appropriate size to choose for is somewhere around 12 to 13 inches, which is what most laptops go for anyway.
The only aspect regarding the keyboard that is of utmost importance is its comfort.
The keys should be easy to type on, so you can avoid cramping your fingers when you are typing lectures and notes for long hours on end.
Some additional features that can help you will be to look for keyboards with a backlit feature so you can use them in dimly lit lecture halls for taking notes, and especially if you are habitual of working late into the night.
You can also buy external Bluetooth keyboards with soft keys if your laptop of choice does not have a good keyboard.
If you can’t use the laptop touchpad easy, get an external mouse which is silent so that your friends are not disturbed with its noise.
A solid-state drive (SSD) is ultra-fast and responsive and can store a lot of data.
Being in medical school means having a library of PDF books, notes, study guides, and video lectures.
You don’t have to go above and beyond in terms of size.
Anything equal to or above 128GB is capable of holding most of your data, without you having to go back again and again too delete files and make more space.
Some devices will offer you 64GB storage space, and while you may to it is enough for the time being, you will need to supplement it with external hard disk drives.
This will cause you to keep switching your data between drives every semester.
To prevent that, just go for a large enough size while you are looking for laptops to buy.
Simple office and internet web browsing can work with a 4GB RAM.
However, if you’re a multitasker, and keep 50+ tabs open on Chrome, and have suffered from your computer getting stuck every now and then, then you should look for a laptop with 8GB RAM.
That will work without slowing down your speed no matter how many programs you keep open while you are researching for that research report and listening to a study music playlist on YouTube.
6. CPU & GPU
For this, you will require a little bit of research on your own. All you need to make sure is that the processor in your wish list laptop has been released within the last four or five years.
You don’t need to buy that exact latest release. Your best bet will be going for an i5 or a core i3 processor.
Most of the new laptop releases also come with an i7 processor, but the heavier the processor, the more it drains your power.
And this reduces battery life. So there is no need to pay extra for an i7 processor.
Very important advice for medical students who are in search of the best laptops under $1000
It is no surprise that technology has infiltrated the healthcare industry, and has become one of the main factors in making healthcare more accessible and medical training more interactive.
And as a medical doctor in training and as a professional, you cannot escape the technological effect of computers.
So it only makes sense to learn as much as you can about how these devices (phones, tablets, laptops) can impact your job in a positive manner, and then make an informed choice for the device based on your particular needs.
In the article above, we went through some possible cost-effective devices that you can consider for purchase.
As a medical student myself, I have given you brotherly advice about how much to spend on the best laptops for medical students under $1000 in 2020. So, if you have not read the first few paragraphs, please read them again, it could save you more money. Thank you and study well.
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