A laptop is one of the best things you can buy for nursing school — you’ll use it for everything from note-taking to homework assignments and online exams. If you’re using nursing e-book textbooks, you might even read chapters on your computer. Students spend so much time in front of the screen, in fact, that many nursing programs require each student to have their own laptop.
Are there technical requirements for laptops in nursing school?
Yes! Before you choose a laptop for nursing school, make sure to check the requirements for your university. These basic requirements ensure that you can use educational software and test-proctoring programs such as ATI.
Most nursing programs require students’ laptops to have:
- An updated operating system (any new Mac or Windows laptop is usually fine)
- A processor that’s equivalent to an Intel i5 Core (a pretty common feature)
- 8GB RAM
- 250GB hard drive
What are the best laptops for nursing school?
The right laptop for you depends on your bank account and your favorite operating system. Are you on a budget? That’s fine — you do not need a fancy laptop for nursing school. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise! As long as it meets the minimum requirements you’re good to go.
It’s also a good idea to ask other students whether or not teachers allow laptops in class; if not, check out our list of the best tablets for nursing school.
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1. MacBook Air: Best Laptop for Nursing Students who Have iPhones
When you want an Apple laptop on a nursing-student budget, the MacBook Air is the best option on the market. It’s incredibly fast and powerful, so you can switch between study guides, online assignments, and nursing e-books without any lag time. Plus, you can take notes on your iPhone or iPad, and they’ll sync to your laptop automatically.
The MacBook Air is gorgeous, thanks to a Retina screen, and it’s super lightweight — a huge deal when you’re lugging heavy nursing textbooks between classes. Most importantly, this computer has everything you need for nursing school. The latest release comes with Apple’s newest versions of OS and Safari; they meet all common technical specs for test proctoring and online class environments.
Looking for an even more powerful Apple laptop? The MacBook Pro is one of the most beautiful and impressive models you can buy.
Pros for Nursing Students
- Lightweight and sturdy
- Updated technology meets nursing program standards
- Gorgeous Retina display
- Integrated webcam for online nursing classes
- Syncs with other Apple devices
2. Microsoft Surface 3: Best Laptop for Nursing Students Who Prefer the Windows Operating System
Do you prefer Windows laptops? Get ready for nursing school with the Microsoft Surface 3. It’s thin, lightweight, and remarkably powerful — especially at this price point! (Amazon often has great deals on the Surface 3.) The 13-inch model is compact and easy to carry, and the 15-inch version offers a bit more screen space for students who like to use a split-screen layout for writing papers or taking nursing practice exams.
We love that the Surface 3 has a touchscreen; it’s helpful for flipping through e-textbooks or using your laptop like a tablet. The processor is fast, and you can choose from many different RAM and hard-drive sizes. Go with the smaller 256GB drive if you’re a light-duty user, or opt for the 1TB model if you want to save a ton of movies and music for study breaks. If we had to pick the best computer for nursing students, this would be it!
Pros for Nursing School
- Durable metal case
- Facial recognition unlock technology keeps your data safe in school
- Beautiful high-res display
- Multiple color, RAM, and storage options
3. Microsoft Surface Go: Best Affordable Laptop for Nursing School
The Microsoft Surface Go is perfect for nursing students on a budget. In fact, we think it’s one of the best cheap laptops you can buy, period. The processor isn’t quite as fast as the Surface 3, but it’s perfectly respectable; you can flip between Anatomy assignments and NCLEX study guides without a problem.
The Surface Go comes with a speedy Intel i5 processor, and you can choose between 128GB and 256GB drives. For nursing school, we’d recommend going with the bigger storage option; that way, you can store all of your study guides, software, and programs for nursing class. We’re partial to the Ice Blue color, but you can also get classic Platinum or warm Sandstone. This is one of the lightest, thinnest Windows laptops, so it’s easy to haul between classes and clinicals.
Pros for Nursing Students
- Affordable price
- Multiple storage options
- Ultra-thin, ultra-light case
- Touchscreen display
4. Lenovo ThinkPad: Laptop that Will Last the Longest After Nursing School Graduation
Are you looking for a laptop that will take you through nursing school and last well into your career as a nurse? The Lenovo ThinkPad is the perfect candidate. It’s designed with professionals in mind, so it comes with powerful processors, biometrics, and cutting-edge security to protect your personal information.
We love the ThinkPad Yoga, which is a laptop and tablet in one. The keyboard flips around to the back, so you can take notes on the touchscreen with a stylus or type papers. If you prefer sheer speed and power for gaming, nursing school, and video editing, we like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon. For a mid-range option, look to the business-oriented ThinkPad E15.
Pros for Nurses and Students
- High-speed processor
- Ample storage
- Durability to last through school and into your career as a nurse
- Fast enough to handle gaming and video editing
5. Acer Swift 5: Best Thin, Lightweight Laptop for Students
When you’re going between nursing classes, study groups, and clinicals, a thin laptop makes your life easier. Enter the Acer Swift 5. Slim and sleek, this computer slips into your backpack or book bag — and since it weighs in at just 2.2 pounds, you might not even notice that it’s there.
The Swift 5 might feel delicate, but it packs a big technological punch. The i7 processor is impressive, particularly given the reasonable price. Windows 10 and a beefy 16GB of RAM come standard, so you can flip through lecture notes like a pro. For an even faster, more powerful version, check out the Swift 7; if you want to save money, the Swift 3 is a great alternative.
Pros for Nursing Students
- Thin and lightweight for easy carrying
- Sturdy metal case
- Easy-type keyboard
- Fast processor
- Windows 10 for nursing school software
How to Choose the Best Laptop for Your Nursing Education
When you’re on a student’s budget, buying a laptop is a big purchase. That’s why it makes sense to pick the right model for you. As you shop, think about these factors:
Technical nursing school requirements: Check your nursing program’s website to find out about their laptop requirements. Usually, you’ll need to meet minimum standards for the processor, operating system, and RAM.
Price: This is the most important thing for many students. At a minimum, expect to spend at least $500. Below that, it can be challenging to find laptops that are suitable for your nursing classes.
Screen resolution: After a marathon day of nursing classes, group projects, and studying for exams, you can easily spend 10-12 hours in front of the screen. Choose a laptop with a high-resolution display and adjustable brightness; it can help reduce eye strain and squinting.
A great laptop is one of the most important tools for success in nursing school. After all, you’ll use it every day of the week! Whether you need a budget model or an investment laptop that lasts beyond graduation, the best laptops for nursing school will keep you going for years to come.