Nursing may seem like a very hands-on, physical field of work, but studying it is a different matter altogether. A decent quality laptop no older than three years is, in fact, a common requirement across most nursing schools in America.
While you don’t exactly need a high-end laptop with top-of-the-line processors and graphics cards, especially since you’ll mostly be dealing with Microsoft Office and browsing the internet, your laptop still needs to be sturdy, lightweight, and offer a smooth performance.
As such, finding the best laptop for nursing students is a fairly easy task. And, to help you with that, we prepared this review of the best options this year, and also laid out a handy buying guide at the end to help you pick which laptop suits you best. Let’s go!
Recommended Laptop Specs
Again, while high-end configurations may be overkill for a laptop for nursing school, there are still quite a few things you need to consider in order to make sure that you have a great experience working and studying, not to mention give you the best value for your money.
These include the following:
|Minimum requirements||Recommended requirements|
|CPU||7th Gen Intel Core i5||10th Gen Intel Core i7|
|GPU||Integrated Intel UHD Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 2 GB vRAM|
|RAM||8 GB||16 GB|
|Storage||256 GB SSD||512 GB SSD|
|Display||13 inch full HD IPS||15 inch ultra HD 4K IPS|
|Battery life||Around 8 hours||Around 12 hours|
Our Favorite Laptops for Nursing Students
We took the time to research, test, and review dozens of laptops on the market to come up with this definitive list of the best laptops for nursing students in 2021. All of the options below are guaranteed to work correctly and smoothly for you, and are capable of handling all your assignment and research needs without an issue.
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
For us, the best laptop for nursing school is the Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, which is an unsurprising bestseller thanks to how it packs serious hardware that aren’t only great on their own right, but also rare gems at this price point.
Powering this device is a 10th gen Intel Core i5 CPU, along with 8 gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of ultra-fast SSD storage. This means you don’t have to think twice about multitasking, and are sure to be safe from glitches, lags, and crashes. The laptop even features a great thermal design and silent operation even when dealing with heavier applications.
Perhaps the best thing about the Aspire 5, however, is that it’s ideal for both college students and working individuals. It works wonders for all-day, on-the-go productivity, especially with its 12 hour battery life that won’t leave you hanging in the middle of a project.
- 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display
- 4.2GHz Intel Core i5-10210U CPU
- NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU
- 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD
- Windows 10 Home OS
- 12 hour battery life
New Apple MacBook Pro
Competing for the top spot is the New Apple MacBook Pro, one of the best and most future-proof notebooks in existence in today’s market. It’s actually also one of the best laptops for web design today. For one thing, its combination of synergistic hardware and stable software is particularly commendable in that it guarantees sero compatibility issues and lags.
See, this laptop is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor featuring a quad core architecture and supported by turbo boost technology that allows for top speeds of 3.9GHz. This guarantees compatibility and smooth performance when running various nursing programs and applications.
It also boasts of the Iris Plus Graphics 645 GPU that lets you dip into graphics design and illustration on your downtime. Moreover, True Tone technology on the 13 inch display ensures sharp displays. You’ll also enjoy sharper viewing angles and sunlight visibility, as well as an improved sRGB color gamut thanks to the high resolution of the Retina display.
- 13.3” (2560 x 1600) IPS Retina display
- 1.4GHz Intel Core i5-8275U CPU
- Intel Iris Plus 645 GPU
- 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD
- 10 hour battery life
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
You should also check out the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, which, some would argue, is the best computer for nursing school due to its fast performance that allows for easy workflows, quick note taking, and efficient task undertakings, all of which are essential for clinical work. It’s a particularly great option if you’re looking for the most portable notebook around.
Preparing documents and going through massive files is easy and hassle-free with the Intel Core i7 CPU that guarantees superior, fast, and reliable performance. With this laptop, you won’t experience lags and frozen screens even with hours of continued usage. In fact, it’s also a great choice when it comes to laptops for engineering students.
Not only that, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 also offers decent memory and storage capacity with your choice of 4 to 8 gigabytes of RAM and 128 gigabytes of Solid State Drive storage. Now, the battery life may not be as impressive at a mere 6 hours, but it’s still plenty enough to get you through a demanding day of digital work.
- 12.3” touchscreen display
- Intel Core i5 CPU
- Intel Iris Plus GPU
- 8GB RAM, 126GB SSD
- Windows 10 Home
- 10 hour battery life
Read more: 10 reasons every nursing student needs a Surface
Asus VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop
We also really like the Asus VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop, an affordable model that comes as a pleasant surprise with its overall size, shape, weight, and design. You’ll see that all of these are marks of a much higher-end laptop, but the VivoBook 15 proudly displays these superior qualities at an incredibly low price point.
Now, this laptop’s hardware configurations are on the entry-level to mid-range side, but that’s to be expected at such low prices, and neither is it a bad thing, especially if you’ll mainly use the laptop for nursing school.
The Intel Core i3 processor, for one thing, is an entry-level dual core CPU, so while it’s great for various things like social media use, web browsing, streaming online videos, and playing light games, it’s not really suitable for demanding applications. Still, it’s worth noting that it comes with 4MB of cache memory for multitasking.
- 15.6” Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS display
- 3.9GHz Intel Core i5-8145U CPU
- Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU
- 8GB DDR4 RAM, 128GB SSD
- Windows 10 S mode
- 10 hour battery life
Asus ZenBook 15 Laptop
Another promising option from Asus is the Asus ZenBook 15 Laptop, which boasts of innovative keyboard positioning, dual-screen functionality, and best-in-class overall design- all the things that make for a great laptop for nursing school.
One of the many things we like about this laptop is that its Intel Core i7 processor is power-efficient and highly capable of easily and smoothly running software modules that are resource-intensive, such as Skyscape and WebMD. This chipset also supports turbo boost technology to deliver top speeds of 4.9 GHz.
Not only that, it also boasts of a gaming-level graphics card with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650. It offers 4GB of vRAM, and handles high-end titles at HD resolution. This GPU also allows for anatomical 3D modeling, which is always a fun opportunity.
- 15.6” 4K ultra HD (3840 x 2160) IPD display
- 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U CPU
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q GPU with 4GB vRAM
- 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD
- 9 hour battery life
Lenovo Yoga 730 2-in-1 Laptop
Last but not the least is the Lenovo Yoga 730 2-in-1 Laptop, which proudly offers 4K panels for the best graphics experience. Sure, it’s an overkill for nursing school (not to mention terribly expensive), but who’s to say you don’t like to have fun playing games and watching movies during your breaks?
The 4K display isn’t the only thing that this laptop brings to the table, either. It packs a mid-range Intel Core i7 processor with a 1.8GHz base clock speed and 4.0GHz turbo clock speed. This processor is more than capable of handling nursing applications and programs with ease, even with all those documents, spreadsheets, and piling datasets.
Furthermore, this laptop also comes with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card packing 2 gigabytes of vRAM. While it falls short for serious gaming requirements, it can still handle entry-level titles with ease, and more importantly, it significantly enhances your viewing experience. The touchscreen function of the display also makes it a great laptop for writers.
- 15.6” 4K ultra HD (3840 x 2160) touchscreen display
- 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U CPU
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB vRAM
- 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD
- 9 hour battery life
Nursing School Laptops Buying Guide
Finding a good laptop for nursing school is easy, but finding the best laptop for nursing school is a little more complicated. There are various things you must first take into account, and so to make things easier for you, here is a buying guide explaining all the most important considerations when buying nursing laptops.
First Things First: Your Nursing Program
Now, before you go ahead and look at laptops online, it’s important to first check with your nursing department as to what their recommendations and requirements are, whether you need other devices, or even whether they can point you to a shop offering the best deals.
You can also visit Nurse.org for a handy guide on everything nursing related.
Laptop / Other Device Requirements
Some schools require students to have not only a laptop, but also a separate handheld device like a tablet to be used for clinicals and classrooms. This is primarily because tablets are portable, fast, and easy to use, especially when accessing clinical information and medical records on the go.
In school, you will mostly be using Microsoft Office for reports and presentations, Adobe Reader for homework assignments and lecture notes, and things like QuickTime, Java, Shockwave, and Flash for running instructional videos, quick animations, and podcasts.
That said, you will also likely be using certain applications such as Epocrates as a one-stop-shop reference app, Lexicomp for a full medication information library, and Typhon clinical logs for tracking your patients’ data while performing clinicals.
While it’s essential to understand these programs and their demands on a laptop, rest in the knowledge that they all run on various operating systems with zero compatibility issues.
For professional nursing and clinician software solutions, information, and services, check out wolterskluwer.com.
The thing with nursing school is that it’s a combination of old school and digital techniques when it comes to lectures, presentations, and note taking. For example, you’ll receive PDF slides and you can “write” notes on them using a stylus.
This is why touchscreen laptops and tablets are highly advantageous in nursing school. You can record audio files of the lectures, view and write notes on powerpoint slides, study summaries of boat loads of information rather than reading hundreds of pages of textbook material, and so on.
There are several factors that affect the performance of a laptop. These include the processor, random access memory or RAM, storage, and graphics card.
The processor is the main powerhouse of a laptop, and as such, it should be powerful enough to handle whatever you want to do on the laptop. This will prevent crashes, file corruptions, lags, slow operations, or worse- your laptop dying on you.
If you will be multitasking, like downloading multimedia files from the internet while listening to podcasts and writing reports, you need a processor with lots of cores. For this reason, you should invest in at least a Core i5 processor.
The RAM or Random Access Memory also affects performance since it’s what helps store important data, as well as process and transfer these data as needed. Having enough RAM is a must to prevent bottlenecking and ensure smooth and snappy performance.
The RAM is also important since nursing students have to deal with quite a few heavy-duty applications that take up plenty of RAM. In this case, the RAM has to be able to support enough app operating and data searching. In other words, stay far away from 2GB RAM laptops, and try for at least 6GB of DDR4 RAM.
You also need to factor in the storage type and capacity of the laptop. For one thing, you need to have enough space to store all your apps, programs, and files on the laptop, especially if you will be using these things everyday and don’t want to deal with the hassle of using external hard drives, USBs, SD cards, and the like.
Having enough storage space doesn’t only guarantee file and program storage and proper working of the laptop. It also reduces the load exerted on the processor. Speaking of processor load and proper working, SSDs or solid state drives are the way to go- they are better, faster, snappier, and more reliable than HDDs.
Finally, the last performance factor is the graphics card or GPU. Now, even if you want the best computer for nursing students, it likely won’t have a high-end GPU for the simple reason that it’s not a necessity for nursing school related tasks. Of course, if you want to do other things like gaming and video editing, invest in a good GPU. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter.
In terms of the OS, you’re really just choosing between Windows, Mac, and Chrome- unless you’re a fan of Linux. In a sense, it’s a matter of personal choice as to which OS you would like to use, but the most important thing is to make sure that the OS you choose matches your nursing school’s requirements and is compatible with the programs you will be using.
That said, all three of these operating systems are capable of efficiently handling heavy-duty nursing applications. Each OS has its pros and cons, with Chrome being cloud-based and easily accessible, Windows being the most common and user-friendly, and Mac being considerably more fluid and high-end.
As someone who will be jumping from class to class and doing rounds or clinicals, you need a device, whether it’s a laptop or tablet, that has a decent battery life to ensure unhindered productivity. You certainly don’t want a laptop dying on you in the middle of taking notes or an important presentation.
As much as possible, you should be able to use your laptop for as long as needed, sometimes for an entire day, without having to look for a power outlet. Remember, studying in nursing school is hard, and the nursing routines come with busy hours, so charging shouldn’t be added to your mountain of problems.
Ideally, go for a laptop with at least 8 to 12 hours of battery life. This shouldn’t be too hard as most modern laptops come with decent battery lives, and nursing programs don’t really drain too much juice.
Don’t forget to take a close look at the laptop’s display- its quality, size, and resolution. The display should be good enough to allow you to properly read and look at your files. It should be clear, offer crisp imagery, have the right brightness levels, allow for multitasking, and offer a good balance of viewing comfort and portability.
13 inch laptops are the best laptops for nursing students since they are portable without being too uncomfortable to work with. Anything smaller and you will strain your eyes after an hour of working, and anything larger, you will have a hard time lugging them around from class to class.
In terms of resolution, a 1080p or HD resolution is a great place to start. It’s suitable for multitasking as it allows for displaying multiple windows side by side, which is beneficial when you’re browsing the web or reading material while typing on MS Word.
Of course, you can go for higher resolutions like full HD or even ultra HD (4K) if you want to enjoy a more pleasant viewing experience, but never consider lower HD-ready resolutions no matter how enticing the price is.
We’ve been saying this repeatedly, but it’s a must to emphasize portability when it comes to a laptop for nursing school. It’s essential that the laptop be easy to carry so you can move around with ease and without feeling weighed down.
Of course, the tradeoff with portability is screen size, which influences working or viewing comfort, so it’s up to you how much of each factor you want and which factor you want to prioritize. Again, a great blend of portability and comfort is offered by 13 inch laptops.
One thing that affects a laptop’s portability, aside from the size, is its weight. It won’t matter that the laptop is small if it weighs a ton. It must be lightweight so that it’s easy to carry and doesn’t feel bulky inside your bag that’s already filled with books and files.
To give you an idea, thin and portable laptops weigh 3 pounds at the most. Anything more than that and you’re looking at either old, clunky laptops or high-end gaming laptops.
As you enter nursing school, you will notice a few extra laptop related requirements and accessories. The best computer for nursing school will readily come with at least a couple of these, but you can also buy them separately.
Not only are integrated webcams important for online classes and work (such as telemedicine), they are also advantageous in attending live lecture sessions, live courses, and webinars offered in and outside the school.
Things that make a good webcam include decent, non-pixelated picture quality (which is a problem for many built-in webcams), and clear voice transferring, so others can see and hear you clearly.
You might want to consider buying Mpow 059 HiFi Bluetooth Headphones for a better online work and study experience.
Don’t be surprised, but as technologically advanced today’s world is, some nursing professors still make use of CDs, especially for complementary textbook activities and exam reviews. Now, since most modern laptops don’t come with or have space for a CD ROM, there are two ways you can go about this situation:
You can either buy an external CD or DVD drive and attach it to your laptop, or you can take the time to transfer all of these textbook CDs into an external HD or USB, maybe even upload them on a cloud storage, by using your department’s computer lab.
- You will also need a VGA adapter if your laptop doesn’t have such port. This will be useful for powerpoint presentations and the like if your school still uses those VGA projectors. A great and affordable option is the VicTsing HDMI to VGA Adapter Converter Gold-Plated for PC.
- Even if your laptop has a 24-hour battery life, it never hurts to have a backup on hand to avoid mishaps especially in the middle of important moments like presentations and final exams. Buying an extra battery will definitely prove helpful.
- Your school probably offers free or low-cost unlimited printing, but if you want to enjoy the convenience of having your own printer in your home or dorm room, there are lots of affordable options like the HP Envy 4520 Wireless All-in-One Photo Printer.
Do I need a high-end CPU for nursing school?
Not really. Core i7 and i9 processors are a bit of an overkill for nursing school programs and software, and you can definitely make do with entry-level CPUs. Do make sure, however, that the CPU comes from the later generations, has an exceptional single core performance, allows for multithreading or hyperthreading, can reach high turbo speeds, and be power-efficient.
How much RAM do I need to handle massive medical resources and patient data sets?
8GB of RAM may be enough for most basic tasks in nursing school, and you can even attain excellent processing speeds with one. But, a 16GB RAM is safer and more capable for huge volumes of resources and data, especially when dealing with anatomical illustrations real time, patient management, and online resources.
What do I need to take into account in terms of display?
For the display, touch support and a good quality stylus will help you easily take notes during classes and clinicals, as well as when it comes to patient management, drug guides, and drug interactions. A matte panel also helps with sunlight visibility, and this can be important during outdoor medical camps and the like.
Are Macbooks a good laptop choice for nursing school?
Yes. A Macbook is a great laptop for nursing school since it’s professional, rugged, portable, fluid, versatile, powerful, and relatively easy to use. Macbooks are known for their capability in running heavy software, along with a superior storage capacity. Of course, there are also reasons why you shouldn’t buy a Macbook Air, which you can see in this Youtube video.
Are Chromebooks a good idea for nursing students?
Cloud-centric and online resources are becoming more popular with the evolution of various SaaS platforms. As such, Chromebooks are also becoming great choices for handling the demands of nursing school. With a Chromebook, you can enjoy online file handling apps, cloud storage support, extensive and real-time back-ups, and more.
Is it possible to use tablets instead of laptops for nursing school?
Yes. In fact, some schools may require tablets instead of laptops, or both. It can be beneficial to use a tablet or iPad for nursing school since it’s portable, easy to carry, convenient to write on, and doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance. Of course, there will be some limitations in terms of performance, so you need to weigh that as well.
At the end of the day, the best laptop for nursing students is one that lets you comfortably and efficiently work and study on the go. This means having the right balance between portability, weight, size, and performance features.
The laptop’s display and battery life should be great. Its OS should be compatible with the programs and software you’re required to use in school. It should make note taking and accessing data fast and easy. Lastly, it should come with the right sets of accessories.