February 26, 2021

If you’re a nursing school student in the United States, your school probably advises you to have a Wi-Fi capable laptop for classes.

A lot of educational material is distributed digitally in modern classrooms, everything from notes to projects can be shared conveniently if you have a laptop. But deciding which one to buy can be a hard thing since there are so many options.

Worry not, we have it all sorted out for you. The short answer to which is the best laptop for nursing student is the Dell XPS 15. It has everything a nursing student needs, from an excellent display to a very comfortable keyboard + trackpad.

And the battery life is really long so you can work with this device all day, no need to carry a charger around with you.

Read on to learn more about the XPS 15 and other laptops on our list.

Here is our list of 7 best laptop for nursing students:

Solid specs, a top-tier display, and an excellent keyboard + trackpad combo make the new XPS 15 a nearly perfect laptop. It is a 9.5/10 in every category for its weight and price class, beaten in performance only by dedicated gaming laptops.

For an ultralight it is plenty powerful, thanks to an Intel 10th generation hexacore i7 processor and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650ti graphics card.

You can play games on it using low to medium settings at 1080p, and it’s also an excellent choice for CAD or visualization tasks.

Editing photos or videos? The UHD+ 3840x2400 display has 94% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage and 100% Adobe RGB coverage so you get the best colors possible on a laptop display.

And it is also really bright at 500 nits, supporting the VESA DisplayHDR 400 standard for movies, videos, games, etc.

The XPS 15 also has a pretty large trackpad considering this is just a 15.6” laptop, and the trackpad itself is glass covered with some extremely good sensors.

Your finger movements are tracked with maximum precision, palm rejection is brilliant, and it is highly responsive. Working in professional applications without a mouse is actually possible now.

The keyboard is also very comfortable to type on, keys have low resistance and ample travel with a satisfying tactile feel when you bottom them out.

Battery life is amazing, you can easily get 10+ hours out of it with some web browsing, word processing, and movies.

Pros

  • Excellent 3840x2400 HDR display with 94% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage and 500 nits brightness
  • EPEAT registered- 25 percent of the laptop’s plastic content is derived from ocean plastics while the remaining 75 percent is recycled plastic (also free of cadmium, lead, mercury, etc.)
  • Intel Core i7-10750H processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650ti graphics
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB NVMe storage drive
  • Massive glass trackpad, which is extremely precise and responsive (probably the best trackpad on any Windows laptop right now)
  • Excellent backlit keyboard
  • Long battery life lasts the entire day of work and you also have the ability to fast charge this laptop
  • Quad speaker audio
  • Machined aluminum chassis with a carbon fiber finish and ultra slim bezels give this laptop a very exotic look

Cons

  • Some units had an issue where the trackpad would wobble (this has been fixed in later revisions, you can return your laptop to Dell support if you have this issue)
  • For some reason, the webcam on this premium device seems like it was borrowed from a 400 dollar laptop

You know the ThinkPad brand; it is THE choice for both students as well as businesses across the world. Many colleges and schools have partnered up with Lenovo to distribute their laptops among students.

Lenovo is well know for making no-nonsense machines at affordable prices, with plenty of focus on reliability and security.

 The ThinkPad E15  is more of what we love about Lenovo. Their commitment towards value for money shows in the fact that this laptop has an Intel 10th generation Core i3 and TPM 2.0 chip for a rather low price.

It also has a physical webcam shutter and an extremely durable chassis constructed from aluminum and plastic.

Every component of this laptop from the cooling system to the storage enclosure has been designed with reliability and consistency in mind.

The matte finish anti-glare display is perfect for conferences and presentations in well-lit rooms, you won’t miss a single detail when it matters the most.

The TrackPoint mouse nipple ensures your hands stay on the keyboard, and you don’t have to move to the trackpad as frequently. It is a godsend for people like scientists and nature photographers who often have gloves while working in the field.

Pros

  • Built to last forever, designed to provide amazing value for money
  • Intel 10th generation Core i3-10110U Comet Lake processor with 2 cores and 4 threads
  • 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, user upgradeable
  • 250GB SSD
  • 6-row spill resistant keyboard with numpad and large, comfortable keycaps
  • 720p webcam with physical privacy shutter
  • USB C charging
  • Dolby stereo speakers
  • Type C port with power delivery and DisplayPort functionality, HDMI 1.4b, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A, Ethernet
  • User upgradeable wireless adapter

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi 6
  • No fingerprint reader
  • Non backlit keyboard

You might be thinking “hey, you just reviewed the E15 ThinkPad, right?” Well yes, but this is a superior model with an i7 processor that is more capable.

It is a better choice for students who want to run software like Autodesk or Premiere Pro, since both single and multi-threaded performance is higher compared to the i3 version of the E15.

It also has an IPS display with matte Anti-Glare finish, so it isn’t very reflective. The storage capacity is also double that of the previous E15 at 512GB, for not a whole lot more money. Despite having a faster processor, it isn’t that loud under loud and stays cool.

Pros

  • Intel 10th generation quad core Comet Lake i7 processor with hyperthreading
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Pro preinstalled
  • TrackPoint aiming device (it’s a ThinkPad classic)
  • Solid construction
  • Excellent full-size keyboard
  • IPS FHD Anti-Glare display

Cons

  • Audio is tinny and lacks bass
  • Webcam could have been better

Perhaps one of the best value laptops you can buy right now, the VivoBook 15 S513 is both slim as well as powerful.

It is powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U octacore processor which is on par with Intel’s fastest Ice Lake chips in terms of IPC.

In many applications it beats out even the Intel Core i7-10750H which is a 6 core, 12-thread processor (more threads but fewer cores).

And the Ryzen 4000 series laptop chips are extremely power efficient so you can expect battery runtime in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 hours. The integrated graphics is also pretty neat and can run some older AAA games on low to medium settings.

The VivoBook 15 S513 also boasts an IPS display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, colors are excellent. And viewing angles are great as well, so you and your friends can sit around the laptop to enjoy a movie without any washed out colors.

The VivoBook 15 S513 also has all the ports you need, along with Wi-Fi 6. And a massive 1TB NVMe SSD, so you can keep all your movies and music right within the laptop without the need for an external drive.

Pros

  • Excellent Ryzen 7 4700U processor with superior efficiency compared to Intel chips and higher IPC as well
  • Massive 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Ergonomic full-size backlit keyboard
  • Slim and light design with clean looks and ultra thin bezels
  • FHD IPS display
  • Large trackpad with built-in fingerprint reader
  • USB 3.2 Type C, USB 3.2 Type A, USB 2.0, HDMI
  • 802.11ax Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Subpar webcam
  • Underwhelming audio quality

It’s a Dell Inspiron, you guys probably have heard of this brand before and we’ve even reviewed several Inspiron laptops on our site.

These laptops usually cost under 800 dollars and offer excellent value for money, they are a competitor to HP’s Pavilion lineup. Inspirons are for students, home users, small business owners, and everything in between.

The Inspiron 5505 is a solidly built thin & light machine that weighs under 4lbs and is just 0.7” thick at its thickest point. It is built rugged with an exterior aluminum shell and reinforced plastic everywhere else.

There are ample ports for whatever you plan to do, connect external monitors, storage devices, peripherals, etc. You can also pop in a Micro SD card from your phone or camera.

Dell uses a 15.6” 1080p WVA display with okay-ish color accuracy (72% NTSC). It isn’t as good as some of the IPS displays you’ll find in laptops at this price range but gets the job done for a student.

The processor is a Ryzen 7 4700U, and that’s one of the biggest selling points of this laptop.

Pros

  • Solid build quality with aluminum shell and reinforced plastic panels
  • Excellent Ryzen 7 4700U octacore processor
  • 8GB of DDR4 RAM
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Multifunctional Type C port
  • ExpressCharge gets the battery from 0 to 80% in just 1 hour, so you spend less time tethered to the wall
  • Ergonomic hinge lifts the keyboard deck slightly to get your hands in a more comfortably typing position (while also improving cooling performance)
  • Large trackpad

Cons

  • There are laptops with better displays at this price point
  • 256GB SSD is a bit smaller than what we prefer (512GB)

With a Ryzen 7 4700U processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 15.6” FHD screen this Acer laptop is positioned comfortably in range of the Dell Inspiron 5505. And we believe it is the better laptop as well.

Here’s why- the Acer is similarly priced (slightly cheaper even), but it has twice the storage and a superior display. The Aspire 5 uses an IPS panel while the Dell Inspiron uses a worse panel with colors that feel washed out in comparison.

The Aspire 5 does have its downsides though- its Type C port isn’t multipurpose like the one on the Dell Inspiron which supports power delivery and DisplayPort output.

The Dell Inspiron 5505 is also slightly thinner and lighter, with an ergonomic lift hinge (the Aspire 5 lays flat on the table). These are of course minor nitpicks.

We feel the overall better value for money is offered by Acer here, but you choose the brand you trust and features you want.

Pros

  • IPS FHD display
  • Ryzen 7 4700U processor
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • USB type C Gen 3.2
  • Full-size backlit keyboard
  • Ethernet port, HDMI out, USB Type A
  • Thin and light design

Cons

  • Comes with some bloatware installed
  • Webcam is subpar

This isn’t just a great gaming laptop; it is a great laptop in general. For just under 1000 bucks you’re getting one of the most powerful laptop processors currently available- the Ryzen 7 4800H octacore with 16 threads.

It is a multitasking monster that  rips through AAA games and productivity without even breaking a sweat. It handily trounces Intel’s best, at less than half the power consumption so you get the most out of your battery.

And as if that weren’t enough, ASUS threw in a dedicated graphics card so you can crunch through CAD and gaming with ease. Not just any dedicated GPU, but the GeForce GTX 1660ti which is a solid mid-range performer.

You also get a massive 90Wh battery and 16GB of DDR4.

In terms of pure specs alone, you’d have to spend at least twice as much to get a comparable laptop from Apple (you might still lose out in the graphics department after spending twice as much).

Pros

  • Specs monster- Ryzen 7 4800H octacore with SMT for 16 threads and an NVIDIA GTX 1660ti, all for under 1 grand
  • RGB backlit gaming keyboard
  • Massive 90Whr battery
  • 15.6” 144Hz display
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB NVMe SSD

Cons

  • Flashy styling, might not appeal to everyone
  • Colors appear washed out and the brightness isn’t comparable to an actually good laptop display (like on a Dell XPS)
  • Mediocre trackpad and webcam

You need to focus on the following 3 things- display type and size, battery life, and weight. Displays come in 3 different flavors- TN, VA, and IPS. There is also OLED, but very few manufacturers actually make laptops with OLED panels and when they do, they are quite expensive.

So we shall  leave that out as a niche category. Although, OLED in general tends to have better colors and brightness compared to even good IPS panels.

TN is generally used for applications where response times and price are more important than color accuracy or viewing angles. So you see them in low to midrange gaming laptops with 120Hz or 144Hz screens.

VA panels are quite uncommon in laptops, so you don’t have to worry about those (they are in between TN and IPS in terms of color and speed).

Go for an IPS panel if you can, the colors and viewing angles are much better compared to TN. Manufacturers will advertise the fact that their laptop has an IPS panel, especially if it is a budget machine or midrange under 800 dollars. So you will know quite easily if your laptop has an IPS panel.

Next up is the size of display, ideally you want something that is 14” or 15.6”. Anything smaller and you’ll have a harder time reading eBooks or watching movies.

For battery life, we suggest around 8 to 10 hours as the ideal range for nursing students. Anything above that is great, but don’t get a laptop with a battery life under 6 hours.

Finally, the weight- you may not think 1 to 2lbs makes a massive difference, but this isn’t like lifting weights at the gym.

You’re carrying the laptop all day with you, and weight adds up with all the books, stationary, peripherals, etc. that you also carry with you. A massive laptop isn’t the best choice if you’re a nursing student.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I see these Ghz numbers on the processor specs, what does it mean? Is more Ghz better?

A. Ghz refers to the clock speed of your processor, how many times it processes instructions per second. There is a base clock, and a maximum boost clock. Modern laptop CPUs will dynamically boost themselves above base clock depending on workload, power supply, and temperature. Higher clock speeds are required for more intensive tasks like CAD, gaming, or video editing.

However, clock speeds across processor models don’t mean anything if they are from different generations or brands. An AMD Ryzen 7 4700U at 4GHz is different from an Intel Core i7-10750H at 4GHz. IPC also matters, which is the amount of instructions your processor can execute per clock.

If one processor executes 2 instructions per clock and the other executes just one, the former can match the performance of the latter with half the clock speed (GHz).

Q. How important is screen brightness?

A. Very much if you often work outdoors, or in very well-lit environments. Brighter screens also tend to have better color accuracy. Also, an anti-glare screen is preferable to a glossy screen if you’re going to use your laptop for presentations and conferences.

You don’t want all the room lights reflecting off your screen as you’re trying to explain something to your teachers/ colleagues.

Q. Is a fingerprint reader needed in my laptop for school?

A. Depends on how safe you feel leaving your laptop unattended in a room or cafeteria. Some people aren’t as considerate as others and might not hesitate to lay their hands on someone else’s property.

A fingerprint reader ensures that your laptop data stays safe even if it is stolen, and a TPM chip further enhances the security of your laptop.

Q. Do I need a good webcam for school?

A. These days we are shifting more towards digital classrooms and conference calls via apps like Zoom. So it is definitely beneficial to have a good webcam with a nice dual array mic so you can be seen and heard properly.

But don’t think too much about it, any decent laptop has a passable webcam and mic these days. Some are better than others, but even the worst laptop webcam today is leagues ahead of the best laptop webcam from 6 to 7 years ago.

Q. What kind of keyboard is preferred for a nursing student laptop?

A. One with nice large keycaps that are slightly curved inwards so that your fingers can rest properly without slipping around. Around 1 to 1.4mm of key travel so each keypress feels satisfying and not like thumping down on a sheet of cardboard.

Also, you might want a backlit keyboard if you wish to work at nighttime. Oh, and it shouldn’t be too loud either.

Conclusion

We hope this article was informational and helped you decide which is the best laptop for nursing students.

There is no clear answer that applies to all of our readers, so we choose laptops across a wide range of brands and prices to give you the best possible options. Choose a device which has the features you need; at the budget you can afford.

Our top pick is of course the Dell XPS 15, it’s as close to perfect as a laptop can get. Portability, display quality, power, and keyboard- the XPS 15 wins it all by a large margin.

 And it has the single most amazing trackpad of any Windows laptop we’ve reviewed.

If you want slightly more muscle, particularly for gaming or other resource intensive task, you might want to check out the ASUS TUF TUF606IU-ES74 which has a Ryzen 7 4800H and GTX 1660ti.

About the author

Saurav Rath

Saurav has been writing about technology for the past 4 years, but has been a fan of all things computer related since he was 7 years old. He is a ghostwriter for multiple sites, and covers everything from PC hardware to chainsaws and mobile game development (yep, the guy has a lot of range). Learn more

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