Back to School! 10 Best Deals on Computers and Laptops
Whether or not you’re headed back to the classroom this year, fall is a great time to buy a new computer. That’s because plenty of retailers offer back to school deals on laptops and desktops. Deals don’t necessarily make it easier to figure out exactly what you need in a new computer, but they do make the purchase a little bit more palatable by reducing the sticker shock.
You’ve probably figured out by now that a wide variety of retailers and websites offer back to school deals, but not all of those deals are as great as they’d have you believe. But if you know where (and when) to look, you can find some great deals, whether you’re buying a new computer for yourself or for somebody else. Retailers like New Egg, Best Buy, Adorama, Walmart, the Microsoft Store, and B&H Photo (for Macs) have offered good back to school deals in the past, and manufacturers like Dell and Lenovo also offer noteworthy discounts. August and September are ideal times to shop for deals on computers and laptops.
1. HP Chromebook 14 at Amazon
TechRadar’s Joe Osborne counts the HP Chromebook 14 as one of the best laptops for students thanks to the speediness of Chrome OS, the excellent keyboard and trackpad, and the bright, crisp screen. Osborne writes that this is an ideal laptop for high school students, or college students pursuing degrees in liberal arts “because of its low cost and simplicity in its use and maintenance.” A certified refurbished model is available for just $200 on Amazon, which is a great way to go if you aren’t afraid to buy refurbished.
2. Acer Chromebook 15 at the Google Store
Another Chromebook that Osborne recommends for students is the Acer Chromebook 15, “the colossus of Chromebooks,” thanks to its fast processing speeds and long battery life. This machine features a 15.6-inch screen, unusually large for a Chromebook, and can be found for a much cheaper price than you would have had to pay when it was first released. For instance, an entry-level model with 2GB of RAM is available for just $179 on the Google Store.
3. HP Pavilion x2 at HP
If a Windows PC is more your style than a Chromebook, you should consider the HP Pavilion x2, which Osborne characterizes as the “best and most affordable Windows 10 convertible.” With long battery life, “roaring” speakers, and an “absurdly affordable” price tag, this is a great machine for basic computing tasks and media consumption. It’s lightweight and capable, and its budget-friendly price is further on sale at HP’s online store.
4. 13.3-inch MacBook Air at B&H Photo
For Mac fans, Osborne recommends the 13.3-inch MacBook Air, which offers excellent battery life, Broadwell processors, and a traditional keyboard (which will feel more familiar to users who aren’t big fans of the 12-inch MacBook’s low-travel keys). A MacBook Air is the most affordable way in to Apple’s product line, and while there isn’t a Retina screen on this model, the 12-hour battery life should make up for that for most users. This model is on sale at B&H Photo, where you can choose the amount of storage and RAM, plus the processor, that you want.
5. Lenovo Yoga 710 15.6 at Best Buy
Stewart Wolpin reports for Laptop Mag that the Lenovo Yoga 710 15.6 is a great choice of laptop (whether you’re working on school projects or collaborating with colleagues in a meeting). This convertible model offers physical flexibility, up to eight hours of battery life on a single charge, and a bright touchscreen on a 360-degree hinge. Best Buy has the Lenovo Yoga 710, in several sizes and configurations, on sale now, and Wolpin recommends using a College Student Deals promotional code to get an additional discount.
6. Microsoft Surface Pro 4 at Microsoft
Another set of deals that Wolpin recommends considering if you want a Windows laptop are the discounts that Microsoft is offering on the Surface Pro 4. The configuration with an Intel Core i5 processor, 128GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM is $150 off, and is eligible for further discounts if you’re a student, parent, or faculty member when you shop through Microsoft’s Education Store.
7. Surface Book at Microsoft
If the Surface Book is more your style than the Surface Pro, you’re in luck. Wolpin points out that the Surface Book is also on sale at the Microsoft store, where a model with an Intel Core i5, 128GB of storage, and 8GB RAM is currently $150 off. This entry-level model is the best value for most students, who can get further discounts through Microsoft’s Education Store.
8. 13.3-inch MacBook Pro at Apple
A good place to check if you’re open to buying a refurbished computer, and hoping to save some money on a Mac, is Apple’s refurbished section. Osborne recommends the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display as one of the best laptops for students “who may need more power than a Chromebook or a MacBook Air without sacrificing portability.” Apple is offering a model with a 2.7GHz Dual-core Intel i5, 8GB of memory, and 128GB of storage for $1,100. Or, if you’d prefer not to buy a refurbished unit, check out Best Buy’s sale and be sure to take advantage of the retailer’s college student discount if you can.
9. Asus F555LA-AB31 at Amazon
Another computer that Laptop Mag recommends for students is the Asus F555LA-AB31. This laptop gives you a lot of bang for your buck, with a 15.6-inch 1920×1080 display, a 2.1GHz Intel Core i3 chip, 4GB of RAM, and 500GB of storage. This model is currently discounted by $160 on Amazon, which makes it a very budget-friendly purchase whether you’re headed back to school or not.
10. HP 14-an013nr at Amazon
For users in search of a truly affordable laptop, Wolpin recommends the HP 14-an013nr that’s on sale for just $200 at Amazon. This laptop features a 14-inch full HD IPS display, an efficient 1.8GHz quad-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and Windows 10. It’s also a “#Number 1 New Release” on Amazon, which illustrates the fact that for many people, a $200 laptop may be one of the best deals of the back-to-school season.