The 5 Best Laptops for Medical School, 2023 Edition

Doctor entering patient notes on a laptop in surgery

The 5 Best Laptops for Medical School, 2023 Edition

Key Points

  • Overall, it’s worth considering the Dell XPS 13 for its high performance, slender design, and affordable cost.
  • Generally, medical students can compromise on high performance so long as processing capability can keep up with their workflow.
  • Because virtual reality is finding use in education settings, those working with these tools will need more CPU than others.
  • The price range for the best laptops for medical school range from $600-$1,000.

The best laptops for medical school feature enough performance to keep up with the urgency of the work while also being highly portable. These computers typically come with i7 processors, 8GB of RAM, and at least 258GB of storage.

However, the medical field includes a wide range of practices, and not every student needs the same performance from their laptop. While some may opt for more flexibility, others may look for the power to run even the most demanding virtual reality programs.

With so many factors to consider, you might struggle with where to start. We’ve reviewed dozens of the top computer models to offer our best recommendation for any situation. Here are our picks for the best laptops for medical school.

#1 Best Overall: Dell XPS 13

Best Overall
Dell XPS 13 (9310) – Platinum Silver with Black Palmrest
  • Screen: 13.4 inches (1920 x 1200 pixel resolution)
  • CPU: Intel's 11th gen i7
  • Storage: 512GB SSD, RAM: 16GB LPDDR4X
  • Includes Intel's Iris Xe integrated graphics
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12/07/2023 03:27 pm GMT

The Dell XPS 13 features incredible performance and exceptional portability at an acceptable price. This makes the Dell XPS 13 one of the best laptops for medical students across the board.

In any medical field of study, practitioners need a computer that can keep up with their urgency. The Dell XPS 13 comes with one of the latest Intel i7 processors, allowing it to perform at the speed of light. Backed by 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, you’ll have no problem working with various software to support your studies.

Generally, you’d choose between performance and portability when choosing a laptop, but with the XPS 13, you get both. This computer comes with a 13.4-inch HD display, which is small enough to pack away but large enough to dual-screen programs. And weighing just 2.8 pounds, it’s one of the lightest models on our list.

Now, you might expect to pay a fortune for a computer that meets all your needs, but the XPS 13 is surprisingly affordable. For all of these features, you can pick one up on Amazon for just under $1,000. You won’t find a much better deal than this. Check out the Dell XPS 13 on Amazon.

Ample RAM More affordable options available
Very portable
Versatile display
Affordable for students

Best for Performance: Apple MacBook Air

Apple 2022 MacBook Air M2
  • M2 chip
  • 16GB RAM
  • 256GB Storage
  • Space Gray color
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12/07/2023 03:32 pm GMT

However, if performance is what you’re after, the Apple MacBook Air boasts one of the most powerful processors ever created.

The Modern medical industry relies more than ever on digital tools, including smart analytics and 3D visualization. To run massive amounts of data or high-demand programs, you’ll find no better processor than the Apple M2 8-core CPU. This powerful laptop also comes with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, enough to handle your programs.

While we love the MacBook Air, it’s not the easiest to work with. If you’re not already familiar with Apple’s ecosystem, it could take some getting used to. In addition, some users still report compatibility issues with some common medical software. And with a price tag of nearly $1,300, these setbacks might not be worth the investment. Check out the 2022 MacBook Air on Amazon.

Powerful M2 processorLearning curve for non-apple users
Plenty of storageSome software compatibility issues

Best for Budget: Microsoft Surface Go 2

Budget Pick
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2
  • Screen: 12.4 inches in size, touch enabled
  • CPU: Intel's 11th generation i5
  • Storage: 128GB SSD, RAM: 8GB
  • Features a fingerprint reader
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12/07/2023 03:32 pm GMT

For its affordability without sacrificing power or portability, Microsoft Surface Go 2 makes an ideal budget option for medical students. 

Now, we understand the financial burden that medical students find themselves under, and there might not be a budget for a high-end laptop. For those looking for an affordable option that can handle the workload, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 has you covered. This computer offers plenty of processing and storage for less than $600, roughly half the price of the MacBook Air.

Of course, don’t expect it to handle the same capacity. The Surface Go 2 relies on an Intel i5 core processor. It has only 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This means you’ll have to mind the number of programs you run at a time. However, some medical fields can get away with less performance, making this an excellent choice. Check out the Microsoft Surface Go 2 on Amazon.

Most affordable modelNot as much storage
Decent processing powerNot great at multitasking

Best for Portability: Acer Chromebook Spin 513

Light and Portable
Acer Chromebook Spin 513 Convertible Laptop
  • 13.5" 2,256 x 1,504 Gorilla Glass Touch
  • MediaTek Kompanio 1380 Octa-Core cpu
  • 8GB LPDDR4x
  • 128GB eMMC
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Backlit KB
  • Chrome OS
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12/07/2023 03:32 pm GMT

For its slender frame and adaptability, the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 is the perfect laptop for medical students working on the go.

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice capability to own a portable laptop, and the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 testifies to that. This Chrome OS computer packs a powerful Octa-core ARM Cortex multiprocessor into a half-inch body. It’s supported with 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD and includes 100GB of Google cloud storage.

We particularly love the Spin 513 for its ability to flip the screen on itself. It also features a durable, Gorilla glass touch display, making it perfect for working on the go.

The Chromebook Spin 513 is surprisingly modern, coming with two of the latest USB 3.2 ports. However, as Chrome OS is still developing when compared to Windows or Apple, you may find yourself lacking in compatibility. And for $600, is high portability worth the tradeoff? Check out the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 on Amazon.

Highly portableChrome OS limitations
Powerful processorExpensive for a chromebook
Versatile display
Modern connectivity

Best for Virtual Reality: MSI Katana GF66

VR Ready
MSI Katana GF66 Gaming Laptop
  • Screen: 15.6 inches in size, 144Hz refresh rate, FHD resolution
  • CPU: Intel's 11th generation i7
  • Storage: 512GB SSD, RAM: 16GB
  • OS: Windows 11
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12/07/2023 03:41 pm GMT

Those working with experimental VR tools can consider the MSI Katana GF66 as one of the best laptops for medical school.

In this age of technology, some fields are adopting virtual reality to give students hands-on experience without physically touching a patient. If you expect to use tools like this, don’t fret; you don’t have to spend a fortune on a powerful gaming computer to run these programs. The Katana GF66 provides enough processing to handle VR without breaking your bank account.

This gaming laptop comes with an Intel i7 Core processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. It’s capable of handling even the most demanding programs, so you know it can support medical VR tools. However, it also has a powerful graphics card capable of running at 144Hz. This is ideal for supporting programs with virtually no lag.

Now this laptop doesn’t travel as well as others on this list. It has a much larger 15.6-inch display and weighs nearly double the weight of the Dell XPS. But at a price of $1,059, the lack of portability is worth the reliability. Check out the MSI Katana GF66 on Amazon.

Incredible performanceNot very portable
Powerful graphics card
Affordable for VR applications

How to Pick the Best Laptops for Medical School: Step-by-Step

When choosing the best laptop for medical school, there are three main considerations.

  • Performance
  • Portability
  • Price

Let’s review each one of these aspects in more detail.


Most medical students aren’t running modeling software, so high performance isn’t as necessary as it is in other fields of study. However, your computer must work at your pace, so it’s worth having a good middle ground. 

When considering the best laptops for medical school, an Intel i5 processor or equivalent is the bare minimum. However, an i7 processor is preferable. And while you should purchase a model based on your software needs, you’ll probably find that 8GB of RAM and 258GB of storage should cover everything just fine.

If you’re running virtual reality, you’ll also want to consider the refresh rate. 144Hz ensures a smooth experience while working with VR medical tools. These computers should also be able to handle the more demanding programs, so you’ll want 16GB of RAM and at least 512GB of storage.


You’ll find yourself bringing your computer with you across campus and to different labs, so it’s important to consider its portability. A laptop with a 13.6-inch display is small enough to fit in a case without being too small to split-screen. However, if you run large programs, you may have to compromise on portability.


Because medical students don’t rely on large programs, it’s easy to save money on equipment. Some laptops can run as low as $600 or less without sacrificing the required performance.

The price of a laptop is primarily tied to processing power, storage capability, and additional features. You’ll find yourself paying more for Apple’s 8-core CPU or Acer’s touchscreen. So consider carefully the tools you need and their recommended specs.

What to Know Before Buying a Laptop for Medical School

The medical landscape is changing drastically with technological advancements. So while you might try to save money on an affordable laptop, it’s more cost-efficient to purchase modern equipment that is designed for the latest programs. 

Expanding on this, the adaptation of virtual reality into medical study means you’ll need VR equipment. While some headsets run for only a few hundred dollars, others can reach into the thousands. To learn more about VR equipment and what you might need, check out this article.

Using a Laptop for Medical School: What It’s Like

When testing the best laptops for medical school, users first compared performance. By far, the Dell XPS 13 was the easiest to use. With the largest RAM and storage capacity paired with an advanced i7 processor, it outperformed all of its competition minus the MacBook Air. However, some users struggled with the Apple ecosystem, making it a niche pick.

One laptop that surprised many was the Acer Chromebook. While it didn’t run large programs like the XPS 13, it performed beyond expectation, considering its small size. And, its ability to act like a tablet as well made it ideal in more circumstances.

After performance, users next tested portability. The Acer took the trophy in this category, storing easily and showcasing its functionality in a wide variety of situations. Every other laptop was handled with little difficulty, minus the MSI Katana GF66. At over two inches larger and twice as heavy as the next computer, it was difficult to fit into a backpack and was less comfortable to carry across campus. However, once settled, users had no problem using it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best laptop for medical school?

The best laptop for medical school is the Dell XPS 13. This computer features an advanced Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. Students can find this laptop for an affordable price on Amazon.

What should medical students look for in a laptop?

Medical students should search for a computer with at least an i5 core processor or equivalent. Their laptop should also have at least 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage.

Do medical students use VR?

Medical students use virtual reality to develop surgical skills and study anatomy in 3D. This allows them to learn their trade without physically touching a patient. Common VR tools for studying in the medical field include Surgical Theatre, Osso VR, and SimX.

Is Apple or Windows better for medical school?

Most medical practitioners prefer Windows OS for its compatibility with most required software and its lower price point.

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