With the new semester closely approaching, you may want to equip your student with a laptop -- or you may be one yourself and need an upgrade.
Hardcover books, photocopies, and handwritten assignments have slowly been replaced with e-books, assignments being posted online, mobile apps for collaborative work, and the expectation that work will be handed in by way of an electronic format.
In some cases, students may also need heavy-duty devices capable of running design and programming software.
Whether or not a back to school laptop needs to be capable of supporting everyday use or resource-hungry programs, devices do not have to cost the earth, and there is a wide array of laptops available online for school purposes to suit every budget.
Best back to school laptops online
Apple MacBook Pro for $1299+
- See it now: MacBook Pro at Apple
MacBook Pros are a common sight on college campuses across the West. They are expensive -- especially, arguably, given the specifications on offer -- but they are solid workhorses and will last throughout a college career.
The latest version of the MacBook Pro is available in 13- and 15-inch Retina display models and comes equipped with a Touch Bar and fingerprint sensor, up to a 2.8GHz Intel i7 processor with 128MB of eDRAM, up to 16GB RAM, up to 512GB SSD storage, and USB 3.1 ports. The laptop runs on MacOS.
HP 11.6-inch Chromebook for $149.99
- See it now: HP Chromebook at Target
Chromebooks have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their portability and suitability for completing basic tasks on the road and so could be a strong option for students this year.
The HP Chromebook is a budget-friendly, 11.6-inch model complete with all the basics a student might need for their studies. Specification-wise, you can expect an Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 4GB RAM, 16GB storage, two USB ports, built-in speakers, and the Chrome operating system. There is also a MicroSD card slot for content transfers and additional storage, and the device runs on Chrome OS.
Samsung Notebook 5 for $524.99 (sale)
- See it now: Samsung Notebook 5 at Amazon
If you are in the market for a device with higher specifications, which should last for college and beyond, the Samsung Notebook 5, currently on sale over at Amazon, could be the device for you.
The Samsung Notebook 5 comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD anti-glare display, an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB SATA storage, and AMD RadeonTM Vega 8 graphics. This laptop runs on the Windows 10 Home operating system.
HP X360 Chromebook for $299.99
- See it now: HP X360 Chromebook at Target
The HP X360 is another Chromebook of interest with a difference -- the laptop is convertible, and therefore can also be used as a tablet for study or general tasks.
Sporting an 11.6-inch display, the laptop runs on Chrome OS and is powered by a dual-core Intel Celeron processor. The laptop also comes with 16GB storage, 4GB RAM, Intel HD graphics, four USB ports, and a MicroSD slot.
Dell Inspiron 15 for $599.99
- See it now: Dell Inspiron 15 at Dell
A more traditional laptop suitable for students is the Dell Inspiron 15. Over at Dell, you can pick up a model complete with a 15.6-inch Full HD display, touchscreen capabilities, Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage, and Windows 10 Home.
Google Pixelbook for $1,499 (sale)
- See it now: Google Pixelbook at Amazon
A pricier option but also a worthwhile investment is the Google Pixelbook, which not only comes with strong specifications but also Google Assistant built-in.
With this laptop, you can expect a 12.3-inch touchscreen display, 7th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage, Intel graphics, and the Chrome operating system in play.
The Google Pixelbook is also flexible and can be used as a traditional laptop, tablet, or tent setup, and has stylus support.
Asus ZenBook for $899
- See it now: Asus Zenbook at Costco
Another back-to-school option -- but only available to Costco members -- is the Asus ZenBook. This high-specification laptop is not only suitable for everyday tasks, but also power-hungry applications and gaming.
The Windows-based Asus ZenBook is equipped with a 14-inch Full HD display, a fingerprint reader, an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 2GB NVIDIA GeForce graphics, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage, and a variety of USB and HDMI slots.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 for $799+
- See it now: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 at Microsoft
Microsoft Surface devices, including both tablets and laptops, are investment electronics designed to last -- and when it comes to studying, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 will likely go far beyond college years.
You can pick up one of these laptops from the Microsoft Store with Windows 10 Home installed, a 13.5-inch PixelSense touchscreen display, up to an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB RAM, and up to 1TB SSD storage.
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge for $649
- See it now: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge at Amazon
The Lenovo ThinkPad Edge is also worth considering in the back to school shopping run. This laptop comes with strong specifications including a 14-inch Full HD display, dual-core Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage, a fingerprint reader, and the Windows 10 Home operating system.
If you happen to have an Amazon Business account, there is a range of deals on both budget-friendly and premium laptops around for the taking.
Samsung Chromebook Pro Convertible for $499 (sale)
- See it now: Samsung Chromebook Pro on Amazon Business
The 12.3-inch Samsung Chromebook Pro is a convertible device that can act as either a traditional laptop or a tablet.
Sporting a touchscreen display, 360-degree rotating screen, a 2.2GHz Intel Core M3 processor, Intel HD graphics, 4GB RAM, and 32GB storage, the lightweight device runs on Google Chrome and can be suitable for both learning and business use cases.
Acer Aspire 5 for $309 (sale)
- See it now: Acer Aspire on Amazon Business
The Acer Aspire 5, a 15.6-inch laptop, has been designed to be slim and portable despite the larger screen size.
This laptop would be an excellent investment to last throughout college years, as it comes equipped with a Full HD display, AMD Ryzen 3 dual-core processor, AMD Radeon Vega graphics, 4GB RAM, and 128GB SSD storage.
The Aspire 5 runs on Windows 10 S -- which can be changed to Windows 10 Home -- and is suitable for everyday tasks.
Lenovo 130S-11IGM 11.6-inch HD laptop for $163
- See it now: Lenovo 130S-11IGM on Amazon Business
A budget-friendly option for those going to -- or returning -- to school is the Lenovo 130S-11IGM laptop, a simple model with basic specifications. This particular device comes with an 11.6-inch HD screen, an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, and runs on Windows 10 S.
Acer Predator Helios 300 gaming laptop for $999 (sale)
A premium, heavy-duty laptop available on Amazon Business is the Acer Predator Helios 300. This is a device that could work not only for gaming students but also for those that need a PC capable of running power-hungry design and graphics tasks.
The laptop comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD display, Intel i7 processor, Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics and 6GB dedicated VRAM, 16GB standard RAM, 256GB SSD storage, and Acer TrueHarmony and Dolby Audio Premium speakers.
Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 convertible laptop for $529 (sale)
Another convertible option is the Lenovo Flex, a 14-inch model with a Full HD screen, AMD Ryzen 5 processor, Radeon Vega 8 graphics, 8GB RAM, 256 SSD storage, and Windows 10. The Flex can be used as either a traditional laptop or tablet and is also equipped with a fingerprint reader for additional security.
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