Laptop for medical school?

Stole this from another forum:

General Questions

1) What is your budget?

$0 to $1400

2) What size notebook would you prefer?

a. Netbook; 10” screen or less
b. Ultraportable; 11" - 12” screen
c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.

England.

4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?

a. Like:
b. Dislike: Dell (because they use cheap parts and have poor build quality)

5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

Yes.

6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

Office suite, school stuff, web surfing, light gaming, light photo/video editing. But mostly school stuff.

7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?

Both

8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?

Very light games. Nothing like Call of Duty or whatever.

9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

4 hours+

10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?

Online is okay.

11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc.

Windows

Screen Specifics

12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. Click here for Screen resolution information.


Whichever

13) Do you want a Glossy/reflective screen or a Matte/non-glossy screen?

Whichever

Build Quality and Design

14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?

Not really.

15) When are you buying this laptop?

Now

16) How long do you want this laptop to last?

4 years+

Notebook Components

17) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive?

Doesn't matter. 200GB+ is good.

18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?

Any drive will do

Other:

I really like the idea of hybrid notebooks where you can swivel them and turn them into tablets. This makes it easier for you to take notes directly on the laptop itself. I like the sound of that. Save paper and be more organized and have it all be on your computer.


Thanks
8 answers Last reply
More about laptop medical school
  1. bonoz said:
    Stole this from another forum:

    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?

    $0 to $1400

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    a. Netbook; 10” screen or less
    b. Ultraportable; 11" - 12” screen
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.

    England.

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?

    a. Like:
    b. Dislike: Dell (because they use cheap parts and have poor build quality)

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    Yes.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    Office suite, school stuff, web surfing, light gaming, light photo/video editing. But mostly school stuff.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?

    Both

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?

    Very light games. Nothing like Call of Duty or whatever.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

    4 hours+

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?

    Online is okay.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc.

    Windows

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. Click here for Screen resolution information.


    Whichever

    13) Do you want a Glossy/reflective screen or a Matte/non-glossy screen?

    Whichever

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?

    Not really.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?

    Now

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?

    4 years+

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive?

    Doesn't matter. 200GB+ is good.

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?

    Any drive will do

    Other:

    I really like the idea of hybrid notebooks where you can swivel them and turn them into tablets. This makes it easier for you to take notes directly on the laptop itself. I like the sound of that. Save paper and be more organized and have it all be on your computer.


    Thanks


    I was in your shoes several years ago. I got pretty much the exact machine you were looking for, a 12" ultraportable convertible (swivel-screen) tablet computer. It was NOT a good choice for med school at all, for several reasons:

    1. The tablet feature was just about useless. There were just about no occasions when I needed to use the pen to make notes. All but one or two lectures given in my med school were done using PowerPoint slideshows. Most professors would post a copy of the slideshow file to the class website before the lecture. This let us type notes in the slideshow file itself using the notes window in PowerPoint, OpenOffice.org Impress, or whatever the Apple slideshow program is called. People can type much, much faster than they can write, even if they are a poor typist. Most of the information is in the slideshow itself, people would write maybe a few extra words or a sentence down occasionally. Professors who did not post the files would print out the slideshow and hand that out to the students. There were plenty of margins available and you could write in them if you needed to. You never took notes just on a blank piece of paper or even in a blank word processor document as there was no way to write down everything that may be important on a test. You could not keep up, even if you could type 200 words per minute. So the tablet function was pretty much useless.

    2. You will be staring at that screen for hours per day. A small 12" screen is not fun to stare at for hours on end, plus the 12" screens are low resolution and you have to scroll around a lot to see most slides at anything larger than about 60% zoom.

    3. You may very well be taking long tests on your computer. We took several 8 and 9-hour long tests using our computers every two months. Staring at a 12" screen and trying to keep more than one window open on a 12" screen (we had some open-book tests) is painful.

    4. The swiveling hinge on convertible tablets is their Achilles heel. They are far less robust than a standard notebook's pair of normal open-and-close hinges. The hinge on my convertible tablet broke after only 15 months of use. Getting replacement parts for a low-volume laptop like any convertible tablet is a nightmare. There actually were no more hinges left in stock anywhere for my tablet and thus I had to scrap it, after only 15 months of use. :fou:

    5. The ultra-low-voltage CPUs put into tablet computers are weak. Med school slideshows are often full of images and are frequently 50-200 slides long. A slow ULV CPU takes for-frigging-ever to open or save a good-sized slideshow. That is even more true for netbook CPUs since they are even slower. Waiting 3-5 minutes for a large slideshow to open is ridiculous.

    So after my convertible tablet broke, I got a 14.1" Dell Latitude. Dell's consumer stuff may be not the greatest, but their corporate stuff is good. The same is true for HP- the consumer stuff stinks but the HP/Compaq business models are very good. Consumer stuff is designed to sell to a particular price point (i.e. be cheaper than their competitor's). They are not designed to last a long time or be easy to service as that's actually a negative, since the vendor would rather the person go buy a new machine. Corporate machines are typically leased by big customers under support contracts for fixed periods of time, so the vendor has a vested interest in making them function perfectly throughout the 3-5 year lease period. If something breaks, the support contract generally has the vendor come out and fix it on the vendor's dime, so they are designed to be reliable and easy to service. My brother has a consumer-grade Dell notebook and it is a much different beast from my Latitude.
  2. MU_Engineer said:
    5. The ultra-low-voltage CPUs put into tablet computers are weak.
    So after my convertible tablet broke, I got a 14.1" Dell Latitude.
    No ULV in the X200t. It's a full on Sandy Bridge i5-2520M 2.5Ghz (turbo to 2.9Ghz) CPU.
    Lenovo say's they've engineered the swivel to a lot more robust.

    And I'll agree with everything else you say. The 'tablet' premium price difference is better spent getting a fast SSD IMO, although that is a luxury and not a requirement.

    But I do prefer using OneNote for document and presentation annotations. Sharing access to notes between project or study groups is a really powerful feature.

    I'd much prefer a Latitude 13" E6320, Latitude 14" E6420 or Lenovo ThinkPad 14" T420s myself.
  3. I definitely would buy a notebook not a tablet. A stinkpad or similar would be fine.
  4. First thing I would do is talk to people (students and faculty) at the medical school you are going to to see what they recommend for this, especially when it comes to using it in the classroom and lab.

    Do you really need something for taking notes, or maybe you just need something for writing papers and doing research?
  5. DXRick said:
    First thing I would do is talk to people (students and faculty) at the medical school you are going to to see what they recommend for this, especially when it comes to using it in the classroom and lab.

    Do you really need something for taking notes, or maybe you just need something for writing papers and doing research?


    I would ask the students; I would definitely not ask the school or faculty. The students are the ones who attend the classes, do the work, and use the laptops. The school administration will typically either punt and essentially say something like any laptop made in the past 3-4 years will work OR they will recommend one of the laptops they sell in their bookstore, which is a midrange to high-end Apple, HP, Lenovo ThinkPad, or Dell. Faculty will recommend what they like, as evidenced by this semi-famous photo taken in one of the journalism school auditoriums of my undergraduate institution.



    The j-school faculty are definitely within the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field, so they say it's essentially mandatory that students get Apples. They've recommended all sorts of other of Apple's toys over the years in addition, ranging from iPods to iPads. The reality is that many of the programs they use run on Windows as well, as they are mostly using Adobe stuff to do their work. Somebody who is moderately skilled can do the work on any OS out there and using other vendors' programs as well. However, I have yet to run across very many journalism students who "thought different" enough to use anything but Apples, as evidenced by that picture.
  6. Thanks to everyone for their input. I think I may have been put off from buying a tablet. I just liked the thought of being able to annotate whatever slides/notes/etc. I basically wanted to replace the need of pen/paper by buying a tablet laptop. But I guess that's now how it works?
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