Suitable laptops for science PhDs


Hi all, I know this topic has been brought up several times throughout the forum but I couldn't find a particularly recent one!
I'm looking to buy a new laptop and am also beginning a science PhD, any recommendations for something light-weight but suitable for the amount of work it'll need to do? I don't think I'll need any huge programmes running on my laptop (can use the department computers for really specialist things) but will need to work with quite a lot of data, stats software, images and obviously research and writing!
Thanks in advance :)


Like you said, the department PCs can do the heavy lifting. Don't spend a lot of money on something not that important. Most PhD students end up living in their writeup spaces anyway.


I own Lenovo Ideapad, the cheap one model with AMD processor, first I thought it will not enough to run any image manipulation, data analysis programs but this is enough for the all the programs I will need during my Ph.D., as kikothedog said don't spend much money if you want a decent one. grab any computer with quad-core CPU, 8 gigs of ram and it will do fine.


Lenovo Thinkpad family is decent and durable. Get something with core i5 and at least 8GB of RAM. I have an expensive convertible model Thinkpad X1 Yoga (core i7, 16GB RAM) which is very convenient for travel, reading books and watching movies etc in free time

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Can you get a laptop on your bench fees or from the department. Quite a few unis let you do it and it would save you some money.

Thinkpads are nice but I don't think they are worth the premium. A Dell with 8Gbs of ram and an SSD would do the job.


I actually got my laptop from my bench fees through the university. I had to spend leftover budget before end of financial year and my supervisor agreed to get me one as mine was quite old. thus,I went for an expensive thinkpad model.


I have a Dell XPS 13. Nice and lightweight, pretty speedy as well. I'm not sure about stats software, but I'm able to juggle different programs (NVivo, Word, Excel, browser with too many tabs) and listen to music at the same time pretty easily.


My supervisor offered to buy me and the RA a laptop for remote working away from the lab (department ££).. I asked a friend and she suggested anything with at least i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 10hrs battery life, SSD card. I think we are getting HP Pavilion x360 which I've suggested, it's also a 2 in 1 which is a nice addition. We'll mainly use it for document writing but also running programmes like STATA, MATLAB Microsoft office and some specialist software related to equipment we use in our research.