I'm aware that there are threads about this elsewhere, but I wanted to know spc to USC, what computers are most used? Or most lauded among your classmates? What would you recommend? Anything one should keep in mind in terms of law school software compatibility, etc?
Following up on the computer question, I may be able to get a 4-5 year old but totally well-functioning MBP from a friend (instead of buying a new one.) Is there any reason this would be an issue/I should opt for something else?
USC uses Softest for final exams, which just this last year became compatible with macs without using basecamp / other PC emulation software, so anything is fair game (the only other software people need for LS is MS Office or something similar for note-taking.)
I knew people in our class who used all sorts of laptops - Dell, HP, Lenovo, Apple, various netbooks, etc. In general, the best traits of a LS laptop are (1) reliability, (2) good battery life and (3) a good keyboard for taking notes. Portability is also nice, given that you will be carrying around tons of books, but you will be spending a lot of time staring at the screen, so I think going too small can be inconvenient.
That said, I would say that around 50% of our class have macs. I am not sure if that is more because of "image" than substance, though, as its the "cool" thing to get when you are in college. They are nice, but they are by no means flawless -- I know people with macs who had problems just like everyone else over the course of the year.
I have a mac myself, and for the most part, I have been really happy with it. I really enjoy the battery life and how reliable it has been, but as a weird design quirk, the front edge of MBPs can be painful if you type with your wrists resting on the computer (as I do.)
The only type of computer I would recommend against is any netbook. For some reason, the students who owned netbooks had a lot of problems with reliability and handling the exam software. That said, you don't need a high-powered machine for Law School either. Just do your research, and go with the computer that make sense for your budget / use.
Would having a somewhat older computer matter for exam software compatibility etc? Thanks!
I don't think any MBP will have compatibility issues, regardless of age. However, with any older laptops, you tend to run into greater problems with reliability, battery life, etc. I would tend to say if you are on a budget, try to find a decently-priced (read: not Apple) new laptop rather than go with a used one.