Best laptops To Buy When Studying a Biomedical Science

When studying Biomedical Science or any other bioscience course for that matter, a versatile laptop is extremely crucial to ensure you can accomplish all your assignments in a timely and effortless manner.

Unfortunately, the average bioscience graduate will find themselves doing a diverse range of tasks, making it quite difficult to choose an ideal device. Students studying courses like biomedical science often find themselves needing a computer for some of the following:

  • Taking notes – Either typed or handwritten
  • Drawing diagrams to illustrate complex ideas
  • Creating presentations and revision resources
  • Reading vast amounts of research papers
  • Using referencing software
  • Performing complex calculations
  • Doing statistics and data science
  • Writing essays and lab reports

This is a large gamut of tasks, and additionally, I have written an article about all the other tools you may need aside from a laptop to excel at your bioscience degree. For now, our focus is on selecting the best laptop to get for a bioscience course which meets all the above requirements!

Surface Pro 4 (i5 128gb and 4gb ram) – £399

I decided to include this laptop on the list for people who don’t have a large starting budget but still want a powerful device to run their applications day-to-day.

The surface devices are a brilliant buy because of their amazing portability and sleek design. The touchscreen is a magnificent addition which allows you to handwrite your notes and draw illustrations straight on the screen with the surface pen.

Native apps like OneNote allow students to collate notes into one infinitely sized page and sort these pages into notebooks.

This is way more efficient than using a notebook since digitised documents are more accessible and provide you with the option of turning them into word documents when you are ready to make revision cards.

The best way to get a Surface Pro 4 these days is by using eBay and finding yourself a used laptop!

Click here to see what listing are available, you will be surprised at the steals you can bag for yourself!

Lenovo Idea pad Chromebook flex 3i (2 in 1 – Intel® Celeron®, 64 GB) – £399

With 4GB of ram and 64GB of hard drive space, this device is more than capable of running all your productivity apps and more. It won’t, however, be playing any high-end games since it will be running Chrome OS.

Chrome OS is a streamlined operating system designed by Google, and while you may think 64GB is quite small for laptop storage, the majority of files you will be viewing and creating will be purely document-based, meaning you won’t need to worry about storage.

If however you will be downloading videos and storing lots of image on the device, this might use up the hard drive relatively quickly so there is always the alternative of using the cloud-based google drive storage that all Chromebooks are shipped with!

This device is especially ideal for those studying bioscience courses since it has an integrated touchscreen which can transform the laptop into a tablet and back!

The laptop can be folded into a tent shape, allowing students to handwrite or draw anything directly on the screen, or even annotate PowerPoint and PDF documents.

Annotation is a huge deal at university since the majority of lecture slides will be lacking lots of information that you will need to add in as the lecturer speaks so tablet mode is perfect for this.

When propped up in tent mode, you can also unwind to watch your favourite movies and videos online. Streaming services work the best as you won’t have to download anything directly onto the device.

You will find yourself often exhausted between and after lectures so unwinding with a good movie is always the best way to end a hectic university day.

This Chromebook comes stacked with handy apps like Docs, Gmail, slides and browsers to get you up and running even before your lecture begins.

You won’t need to pay for anything extra, everything is already provided so all you need to do is focus on creating your best work and studying hard.

The device is an elegant and secure workhorse, and since it’s running Chrome OS, you won’t even need to worry about viruses from online downloads and getting antiviruses, it’s simply too secure!

Always see if you can bag yourself a good deal on used laptops before running to waste cash on a new device!

MacBook Air (13″ Mid 2017)- £799

The 13-inch mid-2017 MacBook Air is seen by many as the best MacBook students should buy in 2020/2021. It’s light and sleek design, combined with the powerful core i5 intel chip and 8GB of RAM make it a good contender for the ideal student laptop.

Not to mention, it wasn’t released too long ago so many devices will still fall under warranty cover but won’t break the bank like the newer apple devices.

Apple devices are best known for their simple user-friendly ecosystem and the MacBook Air is no different. People like to hate the brand simply because of the price-tag and UI differences when compared to windows devices.

In reality, Mac OS is simply more efficient for productivity. Their ecosystem is designed to abstract away all meaningless options so you can focus on completing the task at hand. The OS is easy to get to grips with and comes with many useful stock apps.

These laptops hold their value very well so if you decide to sell them on later down the line you will hardly lose out on any money.

The best way to acquire these devices is on used websites like eBay which is my personal favourite. Find out which listings are available and act quickly if you find a price around or under £799!

Surface Pro 7 (i5)- £899

You will probably notice a trend with the surface devices. They are my personal favourite and the surface pro 7 is no different. For many students, this device might even be a little overkill for many bioscience students;

The high-end model with a Core i7–1065G7 with 16 GB of Ram and a 256GB SSD is a beast of a machine and is probably best left to the artists and media producers.

Typically, I recommend the i5 devices since they are the most capable for the money. The device has the same benefits that any other surface devices offer, for example, incredible portability, fantastic touchscreen display, ability to write hand-written notes with the touch pen, and of course the added benefit of having an incredibly powerful processor.

Microsoft didn’t change anything about the design but for good reason; If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. This also means that if the price point of the pro 7 is too high, you can always go for the pro 4 and up.

This is the best place to find crazy Surface Pro 7 discounts. If you see anything that is around or below the listed price point, act quickly as these laptops are in high demand!

Surface book 3 intel i5 – £1399

If you thought the surface pro 7 was powerful, you haven’t seen the Surface Book 3. Think of this laptop as a more powerful, bigger version of the pro 7.

For many, screen size isn’t an issue but on occasion, you get students who complain that the 12.3-inch screen on the surface pro 7 is too small.

This is somewhat true for multitasking and split-screen work which students may use for viewing lectures slides alongside a word document or internet browser.

The surface book conveniently solves this issue while still allowing for an elegant 13.3-inch touchscreen, fantastic keyboard, and more screen real estate to handwrite your notes and draw complex diagrams.

The device ships with a 10th-generation Intel chip which is a lovely boost from its predecessor’s 8th gen CPU. The price reflects this strongly, so it is recommended that students go for the baseline i5 model that ships with 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage.

Find the best deals here for used, refurbished and brand-new Surface Books and grab yourself a bargain that will likely last you many years to come!

Lenovo ThinkPad x1 carbon (8th Gen)- £1349

If you are looking for a more conventional laptop as opposed to the new 2 in 1 tablet-style PCs, you’re in luck because Lenovo recently came out with a new refresh on their beloved ThinkPad line-up.

The sturdily built laptop has been a staple in many households for the past few decades and with the same design, you get upgraded internals that simply will not disappoint.

Standard models come in at 16GB RAM and 512GB storage with LTE! It is one of those laptops where you fork out the cash now, but it ends up paying for itself since it is essentially future proof!

This laptop will be able to run all your productivity apps, multitasking workflows, notes creation sessions, and not even break a sweat. Unlike many other computers on this list, this device will also handle high-end games at very playable framerates.

If relaxing and gaming is just as important for you as doing schoolwork, this laptop may be a perfect choice.

Bag yourself a bargain here and see what deals you can get before the school year starts and prices get hiked up!

Surface laptop 2 – £1399

It wouldn’t be a completed list without including the final slice of the Microsoft Surface Trinity. A surface laptop is a good option for students who want a simple laptop, not a tablet convertible device, but with the added benefit of having a touchscreen.

This device meets all the requirements but also packs a punch in the power, design, and portability sectors. The design is so slick and light that you would hardly notice it has an integrated touchscreen, compatible with every Microsoft accessory like the surface pen and surface dial.

There is a wide array of colours it comes in with the trademark Alcantara fabric covering the gorgeously designed keyboard section.

Some compare this device to a MacBook pro as the keyboard and touchpad are all very reminiscent of the apple design.

I can, however, confirm that the surface laptop keyboard is miles better than anything Apple has released in recent years. The key travel is perfect, and the entire experience is magical.

These devices aren’t cheap, and a good alternative is to search for the first generation of surface laptops.

These are high-end devices and you won’t miss out in the power or design sector and there are practically no real cosmetic differences between the 2 generations.

The laptop has been out for a while, so the best way is to see what deal there are on refurbished, used, and brand-new devices. You will be surprised what bargains you can find when you look in the right places.

MacBook Pro late 2017- £899

These are the gold standard for all students around the world and for good reason. Apple’s MacBook Pro is a productivity workhorse. You simply can’t go wrong with this device.

Its power levels are off the charts and ideally should only be used for people who edit videos, process images, or make music in their spare time.

This is an overkill device for most biomedical scientists however if you are planning on going into postdoctoral research at some point, you will be doing a lot of numbers crunching which can be very memory intensive.

This is a device that can be future proof when treated well. I, however, will not recommend you go out and buy the latest version because the brilliant thing about Apple devices is, they are very well built and always ahead of their time.

My favourite model is the MacBook pro late 2017 model with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. You can still find amazing deals online for around £900 if you’re lucky. This model came with an amazing trackpad that revolutionized gestures and overall interfacing with a laptop device.

The screen was a revolutionary upgrade from prior versions, and I truly believe you will be hard-pressed to find a better display on any Windows devices.

Apple products hold their value very well so if you stumble upon a deal around or even less than the price listed above, grab yourself a bargain quick!

Pixel book i5 8GB RAM- £699

We began with an affordable device so we will end with an affordable device. Google Pixel Book is a Chromebook laptop running its Chrome OS software. This isn’t an apple or windows device meaning it will be more similar to an android phone OS rather than Windows or macOS.

This, however, doesn’t mean it is underpowered. Quite the opposite! This means everything is highly streamlined to offer you the best productivity experience you can get.

In many ways, this might be the most appropriate device for students as it allows them to accomplish all the task at hand right from day 1 without the need to install any additional apps.

Chrome OS comes packed with Google’s selection of “docs apps” that you don’t even need to pay for.

You get cloud storage so you can access all your files anywhere you are, not to mention the device transforms into a tablet if you need to make some hand-written notes while you’re out and about.

A powerful, well-built device with a solid screen, this is truly the best student laptop if you are on a budget but still want all the power that the surface pro, MacBook pro, and Lenovo have to offer.

You won’t be breaking the bank too much with this one, but you will still get all the added power that 8GB i5 processor has to offer. The onboard storage combined with cloud storage makes this PC a true workhorse for both students and anyone who wants a solid laptop device.

Search for the best deals and grab yourself a bargain, remember you don’t have to buy brand new devices to get the best out of them!

 

Summary

We have looked through a wide array of PCs that offer very different features but all still do the useful productivity tasks that any biomedical science student might need.

Touchscreen computers are more of a luxury than a necessity; Their only benefit is the added ability to draw diagrams, annotate presentations and PDFs and also make handwritten notes.

These are all things that can be substituted with cleverly typed notes so a touchscreen is never something you should seek out alone. In my experience, you will often find yourself defaulting to the keyboard and trackpad even if your device is touch-ready!

What dictates a perfect student laptop is the ability to run all your productivity apps, have some room for media and relaxation, being sturdy and well built to handle commutes, and also having the endurance to last you all day.

All these devices are listed as having batteries over 8 hours long. The newer Apple devices are known for their solid endurance but so are the Surface Pro lineups.

It’s also important to consider pricing; The last thing you want as a student is to run out of money because you spent it all on the latest MacBook!

If budget is an issue, your best bet is a Chromebook as they are extremely efficient and will run all your productivity apps sufficiently. They may not be able to run specific x86 windows or macOS apps, but they are the best pick for a run-and-gun laptop.

For any specific apps that you may need to run, you can always do so on any desktop at your institution’s library which is advised anyways.

For people without this budgeting issue, you can’t go wrong with any of the surface devices. The surface laptop is the safest bet, but the pro is so portable and sleek that it may pique your interest.

Apple, on the other hand, has a sky-high price point however their issues with the butterfly keyboard makes it seem unsafe to purchase right now.

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