I need a laptop for law school and would appreciate your recommendations


Jun 17, 2014
Hi everyone,

I will be going to law school next fall and I need a new laptop to get me through it. I have been using my Inspiron M1530 that got me through college, but it is on its last hinges and rightfully so; it served me well for six years. In an ideal world I would be purchasing a laptop next summer, immediately before school begins, but I can't wait until then. I have been doing some research to try to educate myself, but I obviously lack the ability to feel comfortable discussing specs and making comparisons. The machine will be used primarily for school, but I would like to get general use out of it, e.g., playing games, movies, those sorts of things. Schoolwork will be reading cases, writing, extensive research, presentations, and the sort. I will treasure any information and recommendations you may have to offer. Thanks!

1. What is your budget?
I would not like to spend more than $1,500. A $1,000 would be awesome, but I am obviously want to invest in a machine that is "great", as opposed to "gets the job done". The latter option doesn't fill me with confidence.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
I think a 17" would be too large, so something smaller than that, yet larger than 11".

3. What screen resolution do you want?
800 x 600! Kidding, but that was my childhood. I'm not sure what resolution sizes are common now, but it needs to be something I can get a lot of detail out of.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
I absolutely need portability. However, I'm thinking of getting a Chromebook to take to class with me on some days, just to minimize risk to my main machine. But this laptop needs to be portable.

5. How much battery life do you need?
More is obviously better than less, but I would be happy with at least five or six hours of continuous power. I understand that SSDs offer more power, but lack interchangeable batteries. I have questions about that, but I'll leave that to the end.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Yes, I usually play games off of Steam. To be honest, I am scared to install most modern games for fear of somehow jeopardizing the laptop. I don't necessarily want to run Battlefield 4 on high, but if I could run Half Life 2 on medium/high (and games of caliber) that would be great. GTA IV on medium? I do most of my gaming on my PS3 anyways, but options would be nice.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
I'm not sure. I don't necessarily want to be limited by restrictions, but I'm not planning on doing graphic design for my career.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
I would like at least 200 GB. I plan on having an external HD, but local memory is important.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I've only been on Amazon, Costco, and NewEgg. A warranty beyond one year would be great, so Costco is tempting.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
It must last for at least five years.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
I'm not sure how to answer this question.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
My Inspiron was great, so I am fond of Dell. I've also worked for them, so there's that brand loyalty. However, my brother has had two Dells and both have failed within <2 years. That's unacceptable to me.

I feel weird buying a Lenovo given the enormous competitive tax benefits they get from the Party. I understand that all companies have defective models, bu I also grew up in the age where electronics made by Chinese companies were absolute garbage. Is this still the case with Lenovo?

13. What country do you live in?
I live in the U.S.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Does having a SSD automatically mean you can't have a CD drive? I like the allure of ultrabooks, but I need a CD drive. Would an external CD/DVD Samsung drive suffice? My Inspiron had 6 gigs of RAM, and I am seeing Ultrabooks with 4 gigs - what's the reasoning behind that? How much RAM should I have? I would like at least an i5 processor and Haswell architecture, if I used those terms right, or something of equal power.



Jun 17, 2014

Given that it has no optical drive, would an external CD/DVD drive by Samsung allow me to use discs?
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