Let’s Talk about Laptops for Law School Part II
Guest post by Jess Murray, Professional Writer and Researcher
With education becoming increasingly dependent on technology, and law students needing smooth technical performance as well as portability from their laptops when moving from room to room and dorm to dorm, it is important to consider the intricacies of laptop functionality, and the specific needs of law students, when making a new purchase.
First and foremost among most students’ minds is performance. Typically busy and often rushed for time meeting deadlines and running numerous programs at once, swift and smooth operational speeds are vital. With mere minutes remaining before a vital assignment is due, the dreaded slow-down or system crash could prove the deciding factor on why a student failed to make the grade.
Two of the most important factors that determine the speed of a laptop’s performance are the processor and RAM. However, the type of processor and RAM being used is vital; gunning for the highest number of Ghz/Gb won’t always yield the best results. A more well-designed processor with a better internal architecture, but with a lower number of Ghz, will outperform a rickety old processor that has a higher base figure, in the same way that in the film ‘300’, when assailed by endless hordes of poorly trained soldiers, the 300 tank-sized, war-conditioned ‘Spartans’ win.
Consequently, it is best to plump for the latest generation of Intel processors, dubbed i3, i5 and i7, over previous processor iterations such as the Core 2 Duo range. The ‘i’ series of processors boast ‘Intel Hyper-threading’, which enables faster multi-tasking for those of us who like to keep everything open for ease of access. In the ‘i’ series, a higher number denotes a higher level of performance. While i3 should be adequate for most students’ needs, i5 boasts ‘Intel Turbo Boost’ technology. A fairly self-explanatory title, Intel Turbo Boost speeds up the processor’s performance by over-clocking it to a higher level of performance than the Ghz stated on the box-the 2.53Ghz i540M processor, for example, can be run at up to 3.06Ghz. Meanwhile, types of RAM can vary too-DDR2 and DDR3 are the most common types, and DDR3 is vastly superior in terms of speed, so for optimum performance, DDR3 RAM is the ideal choice.
THE SOLUTION IS RESOLUTION
Of course, there are many other factors to consider when purchasing a laptop. Considering the amount of time students generally spend on their laptops, display quality is paramount; when reading long blocks of text, crisp resolution will make the laborious task that bit less agonising, at least on the eyeballs. The latest Macbook Pro arguably boasts the best screen money can buy. With the critically acclaimed ‘retina display’, it boasts a resolution so high that the human eye cannot detect individual pixels on-screen, no matter how close it is to the display. This means that clarity is unmatched, and text appears as sharp as ink on paper.
SIZE NEED NOT MATTER
Screen size is also an issue of contention. While smaller laptops may facilitate greater portability, many students lament the prospect of squinting at a small screen long into the night. One potential solution to this conundrum, which enables both portability and a better viewing experience, is to purchase a compact laptop sporting a HDMI port. This means that the laptop can be plugged into a TV at home (provided it also has a HDMI port, so they may be linked by a HDMI cable) and the laptop’s display can then be viewed on a bigger screen for long work sessions at home.
GET A (BATTERY) LIFE
When law students are enduring a mammoth lecture about professional indemnity insurance, and the latest case law in their city, battery life is key in sustaining their studies in grueling study sessions away from mains power sockets. Indeed, a long battery life will do a lot to prevent the potentially catastrophic premature death of a laptop’s battery mid-lecture, and loss of all unsaved notes. ‘Ultrabooks’ are the new-fangled range of laptops on the market which boast impressive battery life without compromising performance. Remarkably thin, they are a good choice for students wanting a portable powerhouse that won’t run out of juice before the day is out. Additionally, while some laptops take some time loading up after being rudely awoken from sleep mode, ultrabooks are raring to go in an instant, meaning that when time is of the essence, these nippy devices will always be ready for some instantaneous note-taking.
Side note by LR:
Do you want to see your writing on this blog? I’m all for guest bloggers, so if you’re interested in writing a piece about law school, then shoot me an email at legalrabbithole(at)gmail(dot)com. I’ll be waiting!