Recommended Laptops for 2011-2012
July 19, 2011
First off, congratulations on becoming a UO Law Student! The UO School of Law is a friendly, tightly-knit community that offers rigorous academic challenges. Technology is an integral part of our academic community. The school’s Technology office provides extensive support for students, faculty and staff. For students, the office operates a full-service help desk, and provides support for a suite of productivity and research software. We pride ourselves on providing a high level of technical support in a casual, helpful environment.
The UO Law Technology Office is primarily responsible for supporting all of the technology in the School. This includes but is not limited to dial-up, wired, and wireless Internet access, a lifetime email account, 14 network printers, and a full spectrum of computer support, including a laptop loaner program in case your laptop needs repairs.
Classroom technology includes video projectors, full Internet access, cable television access, touch-screen controller systems, and wireless microphones. Students often use classroom technology to enhance their presentations.
Finally, first-year Law students will participate in an intensive orientation session to get up and running with new hardware and software and the UO Law Library offers electronic research training in WestLaw and LexisNexis.
As you may know, every student is required to purchase a laptop computer. As a law student, you will use your computer every day to take notes, correspond with your peers, conduct legal research, and even to take tests. Your computer will be your constant companion, so we strongly recommend that you purchase a laptop computer rather than a desktop model. Also, we strongly urge you to select one of our recommended packages. Our staff has years of experience supporting and repairing our recommended systems. If a student brings in an off-brand computer or a different model, we do our best to help but can’t provide more than basic support.
If you purchase a recommended system and bring it in to our help desk, you can take advantage of our laptop loaner program as well as rely on our staff to act as a liaison with the Dell or Apple to get your computer repaired quickly and efficiently. Also, purchasing the recommended laptop will ensure complete compatibility with your peers and faculty, ensure you purchase a quality computer from name brand companies, and enjoy the benefits of a three-year warranty that covers virtually any problem you may encounter with your laptop.
Choosing a new laptop can be fun but also a potentially confusing and stressful process. Following are some guidelines to help you with this important decision:
1. Timing is everything! It’s very important not to jump the gun and buy your new laptop before our recommended systems are available in July. Why wait? Consider this scenario: Imagine yourself an extremely successful 3L law student. You’ve earned high grades and the faculty secretly marvel at your brilliance. You are just about ready to take the bar and [sizzle!] your computer stops working. No problem, you think, I’ve had the help desk repair my computer in the past but then you realize that your three-year warranty has expired! Whatever is wrong with your computer is going to cost a bunch of money and take a good deal of your precious time! All of your notes reside on your laptop and you can’t retrieve them! The movers are at the door! Yikes! (OK, this scenario is a bit dramatic, but you get the idea.)
Also, buying too early may result in getting a lesser computer than the recommended laptop. We wait until the latest possible date to secure our specifications and pricing from Dell and Apple to ensure you get the best laptop for the least money. The take-home message here is to wait until after our recommendation is released in July to get the best deal and the most service from our help desk.
2. Choose the operating system you are most comfortable using. If you have experience with Windows, then select one of our Dell laptops. If you have experience with the MacOS, then choose one of our Apple laptops. Note that about two-thirds of our students use Macs and one-third use Windows. Also, about three-fourths of our faculty use Macs. Obviously, our school is very Mac-friendly so if you prefer to use a Mac or you’re a Windows user who is interested in switching, you will have plenty of company. However, if you’re a die-hard Windows user, don’t worry. Our IT staff is equally as comfortable with Windows and will provide equal support for Windows users.
3. The working life of your laptop is only three years, which is actually a long time given the rapid pace of new developments in computer technology. So choose a laptop that suits your needs while you are in law school, not the laptop you will need after you graduate.
4. The recommended software package works equally well for both Windows and MacOS. The email, web browsing, and word processing software we use at the UO Law School is completely interchangeable between the Dells and Apples. We work closely with the UO Bookstore to get you the lowest prices available on software, so please check out our prices before you buy.
5. Most summer jobs and internships won’t require you to use your laptop, so don’t let this influence your choice.
For reference, here’s our current recommendations (please see the Oregon Law Class of 2014 Facebook page for login credentials):
Dell Latitude E6320: It’s a surprisingly rugged laptop with really good performance. The specifications are Intel Core i5-2520M 2.5GHz, 500GB hard drive, 4GB SDRAM (2 x 2GB SDRAM), 8X DVD+/-RW, 13.3″ 13.3 HD anti-glare backlit LCD, Intel HD Graphics 3000, Built-in 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, Dell Wireless 1501 WLAN (802.11b/g/n), Expresscard slot, integrated light sensitive 2MP webcam, Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, CompleteCare Accidental Damage 3-year Protection Plan, 1GB USB flash drive, Microsoft Office, Microsoft OneNote and 2m Ethernet cable.
Price: $1,450 (includes $19.99 shipping)
Apple MacBook Pro: Aluminum Unibody Shell, 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 320GB Serial ATA hard disk drive, 4GB (2 x 2GB), Built-in iSight video camera, SuperDrive DVD DL+/-RW CD-RW, SD Card Slot, 13-in LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, Intel HD Graphics 3000, Internal 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n AirPort Extreme Card, Mac OS X (Snow Leopard with free upgrade to Lion), iLife ’09 and AppleCare 3-year Protection Plan
The bundles above require that you purchase Microsoft Office and, for Windows users, Microsoft OneNote from the UO Bookstore. The cost savings are significantly cheaper than ordering directly from Dell or Apple.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns this letter doesn’t address.
Dennis Bishop, IT Director
UO School of Law
1221 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403
dbishop (@) uoregon.edu
(541) 346-3877 – voice