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chloestone

Laptop Recommendations?

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Incoming Queen's 1L here. I'm in the market for a new laptop come September. I would appreciate recommendations and feedback from current law students regarding laptops they've liked/disliked.

I currently have a 2014 MacBook Air. My impulse is to just get a new MacBook Pro, but my reasons are pretty weak and hardly evidence-based. My friends enjoy theirs, it is sleek, and given that I have an iPhone, I enjoy the continuity between devices. I've researched the current MacBook Pro, and its main limitation seems to be the keyboard. I read on a forum that Apple is expected to update the keyboard on the newest model, so if I decide to get the Pro I will wait until the newer model is released to purchase. The screen is good on the MacBook Pro. I'm not doing any intense video editing or anything, but a perk nonetheless..  

I am considering a few different PC models, but am largely uneducated in this domain. Is it still the case that Word processing on Windows is significantly better than Mac? If so, will better Office programs have a tangible impact on my experience in law school and working as a lawyer?  

For work one summer I used my organization's Lenovo laptop, which had the ThinkPad keyboard. I really enjoyed using the keyboard, though it did look a bit bulky. The Lenovo Yoga is one of my top options thus far, as it possesses the ThinkPad keyboard and a touch screen that flips open 180 degrees, so the device is kind of like a hybrid laptop/tablet. Apparently it has a good screen. In regards to Microsoft products, I don't like the Surface Pro because I find the stand to be flimsy and awkward. I generally don't like the Surface products because the finishing on the inner face of the products has a fabricy feel that I don't appreciate. Superficial? Maybe. Doesn't change the fact that I want to stay away from Surface products. The HP Spectre x360 piqued my interest. It has good reviews and is aesthetically pleasing.

 

If you've read to this point, you can probably infer that I need help, as I am clearly NOT a techy person lmao. 

 

Thanks in advance!

 

CS 

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From what I hear, there is no reason to get the Pro unless you plan on attending Ryerson and actually need it for something like coding. It is definitely the "better" computer between the two, but you likely won't ever need the beefier specifications for anything you do in law school. 

I've used two different Macbook Pros since 2009 and I do like them, but will be making the switch to Windows for law school. Personally, I can't justify the $1300 price tag for an entry level Air ($1700 for a Pro) when I could buy a more powerful Windows laptop AND upgrade my desktop for the same money. I haven't started looking yet, but I hear nothing but good things about Lenovo.

If you stay with Apple, you can just buy MS Office, or use the online version. (I had free access to it during undergrad after my university switched from Gmail to Outlook, maybe Queen's does too?) Alternatively, I had been using Pages prior to that switch and made it by just fine. 

Bottom line: get something you don't mind spending a lot of time typing on, and that falls within your price range.

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I think the first question to ask yourself is why are you looking to buy a new computer right now? If you have a functioning 2014 mac, why not just stick with that? I used my 2012 MacBook pro all through law school and it was great. Technology changes so rapidly so if there is nothing screaming out to you right now, why not wait until something does?

However, if you are looking to buy, I think the 2020 air looks fantastic. I'm a MacBook pro for life kind of girl, but even I am considering switching to it. It already has the upgraded keyboard which is amazing. I also generally find it easier to obtain repairs on macs over PCs, especially in Kingston (there is a mac repair on the main downtown street).

I would say 70% of QL uses macs vs PCs. Not that this really matters, because you should use whatever works for you, but in case you care, that is my observation. This also helps if you forget your charger/any other cable. Really easy to find someone with one in the building.

Edited by CoffeeandLaw

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14 minutes ago, HuggyBear said:

From what I hear, there is no reason to get the Pro unless you plan on attending Ryerson and actually need it for something like coding

You do not need an expensive laptop for coding.

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1 hour ago, chloestone said:

For work one summer I used my organization's Lenovo laptop, which had the ThinkPad keyboard. I really enjoyed using the keyboard, though it did look a bit bulky. The Lenovo Yoga is one of my top options thus far, as it possesses the ThinkPad keyboard and a touch screen that flips open 180 degrees, so the device is kind of like a hybrid laptop/tablet. Apparently it has a good screen.

My work laptop is a Yoga 370, and it is a good computer. Nothing fancy, but everything works very nicely. Good screen, good keyboard, touch screen, tablet mode, decent battery life and very portable. I don't use the stylus, so can't comment on that. The only irritant is a pretty loud fan sometimes.

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Mac's are good laptops in general, but more expensive. If you want something a bit cheaper while having high quality components go with Lenovo. There's no real wrong choice as far as hardware goes since any decent laptop these days has an SSD.

The two biggest things that I would consider between Lenovo and apple are the keyboard and the screen. You are going to spend a lot of time looking at the screen. I went with a Lenovo ThinkPad with a matte screen. It's great for long writing sessions but can be hard to look at in high light situations. 

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43 minutes ago, lawstudent20202020 said:

You do not need an expensive laptop for coding.

I didn't say you did. I was saying that the macbook pro is better than the air if you're going to be doing more resource intensive tasks, like coding. Obviously the macbook pro still has terrible specs compared to windows machines at that price point.

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18 minutes ago, HuggyBear said:

I didn't say you did. I was saying that the macbook pro is better than the air if you're going to be doing more resource intensive tasks, like coding. Obviously the macbook pro still has terrible specs compared to windows machines at that price point.

Ok, you don't need a MacBook pro over an air to code. Coding is not resource intensive. You won't be coding anything remotely complex enough to need any kind of upgraded computer in a law school coding course.

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Pick any laptop you like, then get a book stand and an external monitor; those two items will boost your productivity more than higher specs ever will. 

Edited by Tagger
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5 minutes ago, lawstudent20202020 said:

Ok, you don't need a MacBook pro over an air to code. Coding is not resource intensive. You won't be coding anything remotely complex enough to need any kind of upgraded computer in a law school coding course.

Maybe CAD was a better example, but coding can still be demanding. My point was more that coding at Ryerson is the closest you could possibly come to actually needing the beefier specs. If my phrasing didn't reflect that, then fine.

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I like the ThinkPad T series. What model Thinkpad did you use in the summer? I have a T470s and T460s, and both are quite slim.

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My last work laptop was a T460 and the Yoga 370 is quite a bit more portable.

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I got a T480 for Law School a couple of weeks ago, because it was on sale and because I didn't own a laptop previously. It was $800 USD. I do most of my work on the Desktop. So, I didn't want to splurge on a laptop. I am not a fan of Apple, so I didn't even consider a Mac. I did consider getting a Surface Laptop, but after doing some research I concluded that for Law School, Lenovo's T-Series was the best bang for the buck. It is professional and reliable to add.

When buying  a Thinkpad, it comes in two variants: the regular and the S variant (e.g. T480 vs T480s). The S is just slimmer, and more portable, and weighs less. However, the S costs significantly more for more or less the same performance. So, I decided against the S. One thing about Lenovo is that they let you customize the hardware for the models. So, you have to compare them case by case, i.e., not all T480 laptops are the same.

One thing I like about T480 is that it has a built in and a separate removable battery. So, I can continue working using the internal battery, and replace the external battery to recharge without turning off the machine.      

Like others said, what ever you end up getting, make sure it comes with an SSD and a decent display (FHD 1080P at least). You are going to be staring at the screen to take notes and read. You want that to be pleasant, and the SSD makes it so the OS boots in ~5 seconds.

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I have a Thinkpad E485 and it was one of my worst purchases ever- a total lemon. Avoid that model, and avoid ordering it from Lenovo directly (mine took a long time and got stuck in customs in Alaska, somehow)

Edited by WindsorHopeful

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I don't recommend surface because the screen can't stay upright without the added support. This materially increases how much space your laptop needs to work on. It also makes it more difficult to elevate to fix posture issues. Otherwise it's a good machine, but posture is very critical and this laptop is a pain to work with space wise.

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I’m planning on using my 2015 MacBook Pro throughout law school or until it breaks (which I don’t expect because it’s virtually running like its brand new). It has the old and superior Mac keyboard and the battery, although not as good as it once was, still easily lasts a full day without charging.

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