Looks like the way the school season ended is very much how it's going to begin in a lot of ways. Thanks to the global pandemic, schools across the country are struggling with the very notion of whether to do things live or online. Even if some of your classes end up being in person, it's almost a guarantee that remote work is going to be part of the new normal for a while. If that's the case for you, then you're going to need a laptop. It's no longer an option, especially if most of your classrooms are going to be conducted using video conferencing and most of your homework is going to be saved into the cloud. We've got a roundup of great places to save and great laptops to buy just for you.
Whether you're a parent looking for a laptop for your high school student or a college student paying your own way, one thing that's probably true is you aren't looking to spend a fortune on a new laptop. You need something functional, portable, and affordable. You'll need powerful enough graphics to run programs like Zoom (and maybe a little TikTok on the side?). Depending on the work you do, you'll also want something accessible enough for word processors, saving to the cloud, and running basic software that varies from Adobe Photoshop to iTunes.
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Best Laptop Student Discounts
Before we even get into specifics, you should know there are plenty of places online that offer student discounts. Anyone who can prove they go to school like with a .edu email address or sometimes through other methods like a form that checks college databases can get a huge chunk taken off any computer. Here are some of the best places to do just that.
Best Buy Student Deals
This program applies to a wide variety of stuff, including headphones and cameras and smartphones. But you can also save $100 on Apple MacBooks, up to $300 on Surface Books, and $50 on tablets.
You can save 2% on any computer. Plus, keep an eye out for special events around the beginning of each semester where Dell offers as much as $100 more off prices. You can also save on monitors and other accessories, and many of these deals are focused solely on students.
Apple Back-to-School Program
Apple has exclusive pricing for students and educators. Apple's program targets the back-to-school time period and isn't year round like some others. You can save a chunk on MacBook laptops, get 20% off AppleCare+, and sometimes get free stuff when you're in the back-to-school window.
Microsoft Education Store
Automatically save 10% on anything as a student or the parent of a student. That includes Surface tablets, accessories, and more.
HP Back to School
HP has a wide range of products, and you can save at least a little bit on all of it if you're a student. Get a new laptop, sure, but HP might also be how you outfit your dorm with a new printer or get yourself a headset for private listening.
Amazon Prime Student
While not a direct way to save on a laptop, the benefits of Prime Student may pay off a lot more in the long run. You get a six-month trial that includes a lot of Prime benefits, including free two-day shipping, unlimited Prime Video streaming, unlimited photo storage on Prime Photos, and more. You'll even get Student-exclusive deals. After the six months are up, you get 50% off Amazon Prime.
Best Back-to-School Laptop Deals
The laptops under this category will mostly be machines already on sale regardless of what student discounts might also be applied. In other words, you might be able to save even more using available student discounts. They also need to be well-rounded machines capable of doing what you need them to do while you're traveling to school or getting online for remote classwork. You can pay for extras like Office 365, but in some cases you'd be surprised how much you can get away with using programs that save directly to the cloud like Google Docs. That's up to you, of course, but it might also be up to your budget.
Acer Chromebook Spin 311 convertible laptop | $233 off
The internals include an Intel Celeron N4020 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB flashstorage, and more. The Chromebook has Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0. It includes an 11.6-inch touchscreen. The built-in cloud support gives you some extra storage options including an additional 100GB on Google Drive to use.
Asus 2-in-1 14-inch touchscreen Chromebook | $100 off
Get an Intel Core m3 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB flash storage, and more. The screen has a 1080p resolution, and it's a touchscreen so you can flip the display and use it like a tablet if you want. You'll get a lot of cloud support plus an SD card reader for expanding your storage and doing more.
Asus Chromebook Flip C434 2-in-1 laptop | $40 off
This laptop has a 14-inch touchscreen display with 1080p resolution. It can flip 360-degrees so you can use the Chromebook as a laptop or a tablet. It's powered by an Intel Core M3 processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB flash storage. You'll also get a year of 100GB Google Cloud Storage to use.
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 laptop | $180 off
This powerful little machine has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, a 512GB solid state drive, and more. You'll get Windows 10 and Wi-Fi 6 for fast, stable internet. Other specs include a 15.6-inch 1080p screen, USB 3.1 ports for fast data transfer speeds, Bluetooth, and even a fingerprint reader for added security.
Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip | $20 off
Not exactly a laptop, but it's small enough that it'd make a solid computer where space might be an issue, like a dorm room. This Mac Mini uses the M1 chip, which combines CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance. You get 8GB RAM, unified memory to help you do everything and multi-task it all. You'll also get a super fast SSD with 512GB of storage.
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Laptop | Starting at $1,225
The powerful 2-in-1 laptop comes with Windows 10 Home, an 11th-generation Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. It has a 13.4-inch InfinityEdge display that is enabled for touch and folds around into a tablet form-factor. It's $123 off while supplies last
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 | $280 off
One of Microsoft's best laptop designs with the features to prove it. It's powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB solid state drive. It has a 12.3-inch touchscreen, USB-C and USB-A ports for connectivity, and a battery life that lasts up to 10.5 hours. It weighs less than previous generations but does more and lasts longer.
HP Omen 15 RTX 2070 gaming laptop | $200 off
The specifications include a 10th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM that's upgradeable to 64GB, and a 512GB M.2 NVMe solid state drive for storage. It also has a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card, which is a great card and should allow you to take full advantage of the 1080p screen with 144Hz refresh rate for gaming. It also has Thunderbolt 3 ports and Wi-Fi 5.
MacBook Pro (16-inch, Late 2019) | $2,199 at Amazon
In late 2019, Apple bumped the top-end MacBook Pro display size up to 16 inches and redeveloped the keyboard for a more reliable experience. Since it's been out a few months, it has seen a few discounts, but this $200 price drop at Amazon in space gray or silver is one of its best yet.
What to Look For
If you haven't quite found what you're looking for in the list above, just know that things change all the time. Laptop deals come and go like the wind. Student discounts can change as well because those programs often have a lot of exclusive time-sensitive ways to save. Not only will we continue to update this page, but you should continue to keep an eye on all the big retailers, especially those with back-to-school programs. The Apple program, for example, is not a year round thing. The deals are rare and limited.
In addition to checking out main retailers like Best Buy, you might also want to keep an eye on eBay storefronts. You probably won't be able to use the main site's student discount program through eBay, but this is a way for retailers to offer special discounts the main storefront can't. Most retailers have an eBay page, too, including
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