Best Laptops for Court Reporters – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide 2021

Every profession calls for the need for adequate tools and court reporting is no exception. If you’re a court reporter, you may have to perform several crucial tasks such as creating word-for-word transcriptions for trials, administrative hearings, depositions, and other legal proceedings. 

Although the traditional shorthand techniques and stenotype machines work flawlessly, you can make your processes faster and accurate by having the right equipment at your disposal. There are numerous laptop brands designed specifically for court reporters. 

Based on several hours of research and interviewing industry experts, we’ve concluded that the “Acer Swift 3” is the best laptop for court reporters with exceptional support for CAT software. It features everything to streamline your professional duties as a court reporter. 

In case you need a good laptop to help you with a specific purpose in your reporting career, make sure you go through the list of best laptops for court reporters below. We’ve also compiled a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you make an informed purchase decision. 

Best Laptops for Court Reporters 

Acer Swift 3 Thin and Light Laptop – The Best Overall 

Often termed as a budget-friendly machine, the Acer Swift 3 easily outperforms every other laptop in such a competitive price range. We’re amazed how the brand gradually upgraded the battery life and performance in this release without compromising on its affordability. 

It’s essentially an Ultrabook with a great value for money, especially when you’re low on budget. The machine features a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, Integrated Intel Graphics, 512 GB M.2 PCIe SSD, and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, which is pretty much sufficient for court reporting and daily use. 

Talking about the design aesthetics, we certainly love the minimalist look and feel of Acer Swift 3. It loosely resembles Apple MacBook Air because of the thin and lightweight aluminum chassis, which is a staple aspect acquainted in earlier iterations too. 

The machine weighs 2.7 pounds and measures 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6, which makes the device highly portable without compromising on durability. We also love how responsive the island-style keyboard is with chiclet keys. 

Swift 3’s keys are spaced ergonomically well and there’s also a soft white LED backlight that offers better visibility while writing verbatim records. The trackpad is also spacious and responds actively to gestures as well. 

Pros
  • Minimalist design aspects

  • Lightweight and highly portable

  • Keyboard backlight and a responsive trackpad

Cons
  • No SD Card reader
 

Bottom Line 

All in all, the Acer Swift 3 is a very capable machine with compact dimensions and a lightweight design. It certainly fits the bill to be the best laptop for court reporters with almost everything you need at a great price point, except an SD card slot. 

Asus ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop – Best for Steno Reporting 

Asus is a pioneering name in the line of Ultrabooks that constantly improvises on its mainline series in several subtle ways. Anyone looking for an affordable machine with an admirable battery, sleek design, subtle durability, and decent features is destined to walk away highly satisfied. 

We love how the ZenBook 13 UX325 features a modest range of specifications even at such a competitive price. The quad-core Intel i5 processor along with the UHD integrated graphics yields a whopping 3.6 GHz of processing power. 

Moreover, it features 236GB of SSD storage space and 8GB of RAM, which makes everyday activities like media consumption and web browsing work without any hitches on the 14-inch clear FHD screen. We used it for quite a long time and were surprised by its quiet operation. 

Even under immense pressure, we noticed that the machine doesn’t overheat, which makes it a perfect utility for steno reporting for aggressively long court sessions and legal hearings. Along with great portability, the laptop also boasts an Ergo Lift design to tilt the keyboard. 

This takes the stress out of editing transcripts but if you have bigger hands, you may find the keyboard somewhat awkward in terms of spacing. The laptop is perfect for word processing but you can’t expect much when it comes to heavy performance activities like playing AAA pc games. 

Pros
  • Unparalleled external speakers

  • 3D IR camera unlock function

  • Ultra-slim and ergonomic design

Cons
  • Slightly underpowered 

Bottom Line 

Weighing just under three pounds, the Asus ZenBook 13 excels in terms of portability and word processing capabilities. This is one of the best laptops for court reporting, especially for tasks like steno reporting and writing transcriptions. 

Dell XPS 15 Full HD Laptop – Best for Voice Reporting 

When it comes to perfectionism, nothing can beat the competency of Dell. Taking conventional laptops through a completely new level, the Dell XPS 15 is already placed among the best laptops available right now in the market. 

There’s a highly responsive keyboard and a trackpad coupled with an impeccable display and quality-oriented speakers that make it one of the most feature-rich laptops available in the market. We’re in love with the stunning design elements, which make the Dell XPS 15 a sign of excellence. 

If you’re not an Apple fanboy, transitioning to Dell XPS 15 is an easy option for most people. Talking about the year-on-year improvements, we must admit we’ve never seen a glow-up similar to Dell XPS 15 because it literally gets better with every upgrade. 

Powered with an Intel Core i7-19875H processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 TI graphics, the machine is certainly capable enough to enjoy a seamless user experience without any lag. However, due to the light chassis design, you may find some performance issues in abnormally prolonged use. 

We also love the battery life of Dell XPS 15 which offers a usage time of nine hours. Based on our tests, the laptop can easily last all day long without requiring you to connect it to a power source. However, if you’re watching media, the battery may drain faster as the laptop packs a 4K touch display. 

Pros
  • Exceptionally fast performance

  • Amazing speaker audio

  • Comfortable keyboard

Cons
  • Not suitable for rough and tough usage

Bottom Line 

Overall, there’s nothing that holds back the Dell XPS 15 from being one of the best laptops for court reporters. With its amazing speaker quality and par level performance, you not only enjoy better voice reporting but also get through a variety of court reporting tasks in a breeze. 

Also Read: 9 Best Laptops for Computer Science Majors in 2021

HP Spectre x360 Touch Screen Laptop – Best for Captioning 

Known as a consumer-grade laptop, the HP Spectre x360’s first impression is very amazing. It has a sturdy body that feels very premium in hands and the bold sharp edges combined with shiny accents make it stand out among other convertible laptops. 

Although it’s not flawless, the laptop features premium panel options, stylish chassis, powerful processor, excellent battery, and even stylus support which ensures that you’re getting great value for your hard-earned money. 

Weighing at only 2.95 pounds, the Hp Spectre x360 is surely designed for portability. It makes court reporting tasks like captioning extremely convenient with its stylus-compatible display, which boasts an aspect ratio of 3:2. 

It also makes multitasking much easier without adding more size to the chassis. The base model is powered with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 256 GB of storage, and 8 GB of memory. These kinds of specifications are hard to get at such a budget-friendly price. 

We were easily able to manage heavy workloads with multiple chrome tabs, streams, and downloads without any issues. Moreover, we also found the battery life to be excellent with over ten hours of continuous usage time. 

Pros
  • Great battery life

  • Durable build quality

  • Portable design

Cons
  • Slightly stiff touchpad 

Bottom Line 

In a nutshell, we have almost no complaints about the laptop. Although there are a couple of minor issues, you won’t find them annoying unless you’re obsessed with perfection in every aspect. Therefore, make sure you consider having a look at it.

Microsoft Surface Book 3 – Best for Scoping

The Surface Book 3 is the third generation of Microsoft’s top-notch range of laptop iteration which features a brand-new processor, some additional ports, and a bit of makeover. Now you can choose an Alcantara fabric deck optionally in place of the aluminum. 

It provides a premium look and feels with its unparalleled craftsmanship. We found the aluminum lid to be very smooth with a perfect fit on the deck. The screen is also very crisp and bright, which helps greatly in tasks like scoping during a legal proceeding. 

Moreover, from keyboard to trackpad, every control scheme provided in the laptop is very smooth and responsive. We had a very fine typing experience with solid and well-placed keys having a silk-like texture on them and providing a quiet operation.

This 13.5-inch laptop is powered by Intel’s 10th generation core i7 processor. It offers a perfect blend of portability and power with virtually no slowdown at all. Moreover, while the battery life is good, we believe that it is something which could be improved. 

The machine operates on the home edition of Windows 10 right out of the box, but the storage is encrypted, which is something all modern computers should provide. The most recent addition to Surface Book 3 is the USB-C port. 

Pros
  • Premium and durable look

  • Responsive control schemes

  • Perfect balance between power and portability

Cons
  • Battery life can be improved 

Bottom Line 

In conclusion, the impeccable craftsmanship and high portability of this laptop are certainly something that sets it apart from the crowd. If you’re looking for a budget laptop with no compromise on performance, this machine fits the bill for you. 

Lenovo ThinkPad E15 – Best Under Budget 

If you’re specifically looking for a budget-friendly laptop for court reporting without compromising on the performance aspects, the Lenovo ThinkPad E15 definitely fits the bill for you. The design and construction of this gadget look similar to the earlier version but feel a bit refreshed. 

For instance, the location of speakers has been changed, the bottom plate is altered in shape, and perhaps, the most impressive change – the newer model has some serious weight reduction. We also observed some flex in the chassis of this laptop. 

Also Read: 8 Best Laptops for Communications Major Students in 2021

The lid is made completely out of aluminum and feels premium in the hands. However, we believe that the bezels around the display are slightly thick, but the privacy camera shutter and IR face recognition system surely compensate for it.

Talking about the keyboard, the ThinkPad E15 features one of the best professional-level keyboards in the market. With long key travel, responsive feedback, backlight, spill-resistance, and even a dedicated Numpad, you’ll find it a breeze to tackle word processing tasks. 

The touchpad also features a mylar surface with a matte finish and two buttons attached on top of it. There are even gesture controls in-built which feel pretty cool and convenient. On the left side of the machine, you can see a thunderbolt 4 connector and a display port. 

Moreover, there’s also a USB Type-A port, audio jack, and HDMI port. On the opposite side, you can find the archaic USB type-A and a security hole, which pretty much fulfills all your external connection needs. 

Pros
  • Backlit and spill-resistant keyboard

  • Wide viewing angles with a good contrast ratio

  • Optional fingerprint reader

Cons
  • Doesn’t contain an SD card reader

Bottom Line 

The most common problem with most business notebooks is that they’re unable to perform at levels of workhorse laptops, regardless of how expensive they are. However, we’re pleasantly surprised by the exceptional power Lenovo ThinkPad E15 derives from its Core i5-1135G7 processor. 

Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Laptop for Court Reporters? 

Program Compatibility 

If you’re looking for a laptop specifically for court reporting, you will need some specific software like CAT to accompany your work duties. Additionally, there are several other essential programs like a PDF reader and office suite to make your work easier.

Therefore, make sure you consider choosing a laptop that offers you some sort of subscription to these applications along with your purchase. You may also consider getting antivirus software to protect your data. 

Memory Capacity 

The memory capacity determines the efficiency of your laptop. While a higher memory capacity translates to better performance, it also adds up to the overall cost of your machine very quickly. Therefore, make sure you determine your memory requirements before making a purchase. 

It’s not a wise decision to choose higher memory capacity when you just need to do simple tasks like word processing and writing transcriptions. So, make sure you keep this in mind while choosing your new laptop for court reporting. 

Storage Space 

Being a court reporter, you may have to generate and save a lot of work-related data. Moreover, if the data contains large-sized voice reports as well, you should definitely consider getting ample storage space with your machine. 

Additionally, while choosing a preferred storage option for your laptop, make sure you choose only SSD-based variants to enjoy faster processing and quick transfer of data. Depending on your requirements, you can choose from multiple storage capacities. 

Processing Power 

The processor of your laptop determines its speed and performance too. As a court reporter, you may need a laptop with higher processing power to make sure your work is done without any issues. A good processor also ensures that your laptop doesn’t lag while managing complex tasks. 

As a general rule of thumb, make sure you don’t go for anything lower than Intel i5 as you can have serious performance issues with earlier iterations. If you have higher performance requirements, you can also choose i7 or Ryzen processors. 

External Ports 

While working as a court reporter, you may also need to connect peripherals or other external devices for varying purposes. With sufficient external ports, you can ensure that all your connectivity needs are fulfilled easily. 

At a minimum, make sure that your preferred laptop provides at least two USB ports and a standard USB-C port. Moreover, if you want to attach external storage volumes, you should also verify whether your chosen laptop includes an HDMI port or not. 

The Takeaway 

Being a court reporter, you’re held responsible for several important tasks that facilitate greater accuracy in legal reports. With a good laptop, you can perform all your court reporting tasks without any issues and enjoy greater convenience.

The list of best laptops for court reporters shared above contains some of the top picks for all types of consumers. Whether you’re looking for a laptop to help you make easy voice reports or facilitate faster transcriptions, you’ll surely find something as per your requirements. 

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