The new school year is well underway, and if you’re in need of a new laptop but you missed out on the late summer/early fall back-to-school sales, you’re not out of luck. The fall sale season is upon us, but if you can’t wait for Black Friday, there are still plenty of bargains to be found in the wild right now.
The PC market has settled a bit after the back-to-school rush, too, so if you’re finding that your laptop is a bit long in the tooth and could use an upgrade, now’s a fine time to buy a new one. To set you off on the right foot, we’ve already rounded up a handful of the best student laptop deals available online right now (although these aren’t all limited solely to students, of course). These include everything from super-cheap Windows laptops to MacBook deals and more, with discounts that can save you hundreds.
Today’s best student laptop deals
- — $350
- — $419, was $499
- — $500, was $600
- — $599
- — $730, was $830
- — $850, was $1,000
On the slimmest of budgets but need a Windows laptop? Don’t worry, the Acer Aspire 5 has you covered. It offers an AMD Ryzen 3 dual-core processor along with integrated Radeon Vega graphics and 4GB RAM, so you’re good to go with writing documents or performing other basic tasks such as photo editing. A nice-sized 15-inch Full HD IPS display (that’s 1080p — no 720p corner-cutting here) means you won’t have to worry about missing any crucial details either, unlike many cheap laptops which sport smaller or lower-resolution screens.
Lightweight and unassuming, it’s ideal for the average student who simply needs a work tool rather than anything more specialist. Its 128GB SSD is also good enough to store your work files for those times you’re not near Wi-Fi and can’t access your cloud storage.
— $419, was $499
If you need the extra screen space of a traditional 15-inch display, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is an excellent choice for a budget-friendly student laptop. It has a 15.6-inch Full HD screen which gives you a little more room to work with as you study. Despite that, it still offers up to six hours of battery life which is great for when you’re in the library or classroom all day. An AMD Ryzen 5 3500U quad-core processor and full 8GB RAM provides enough power for juggling more than a few tabs and windows, while a 256GB SSD gives you plenty of high-speed storage for your documents, projects, and work programs.
It’s reasonably lightweight too, weighing just under 5 pounds, and it’s fully compatible with Google Classroom as well.
— $500, was $600
Clearly a little inspired by Apple laptops, the Asus VivoBook 15 laptop combines stylish looks with a no-nonsense workhorse design. It’s also practical thanks to its AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, 8GB RAM, and a nice big 512GB solid-state drive, which combine to deliver speedy performance for the price. Software will open quickly, you’ll be able to juggle multiple tabs, and you can easily store plenty of files, apps, and even some games (thanks to the Ryzen 5’s built-in Vega graphics that allow for some light gaming).
Despite all those features, the Asus VivoBook 15 remains portable due to its streamlined modern design. It weighs in at less than 4 pounds and measures only 0.78 inches thick, so it won’t be bulky to carry around between classes. Up to nine hours of battery life isn’t bad, either.
Let’s face it: Students love to game after class, and just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a good gaming laptop. The 15-inch Asus TUF offers all the best elements of a modern gaming laptop including a sized-up 15.6-inch 1080p display, a reasonable weight so it’s not too bulky to lug around campus, and a discrete GeForce GTX 1650 GPU for when it’s time to get your game on after your studies. And with 256GB of solid-state storage, you’ve got some high-speed space for your productivity software, assignments, music, and — of course — your game library.
For study and play, this laptop has just about everything you need while keeping costs down. With an AMD Ryzen 5 processor and 8GB of RAM, it’ll be good for everything from photo and video editing to word processing. A nice (but not garish) backlit keyboard is nice, too, for those late-night study and gaming sessions.
— $730, was $830
Recently updated to include 10th-generation Intel i5 processors, this Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is a great workhorse of a laptop — and a versatile 2-in-1 to boot. It has a 13.3-inch fold-flat 1080p touchscreen, 8GB RAM, and a nice big 512GB SSD for plenty of file storage. With that snappy and up-to-date processor, it’s ideal for working and should last for years.
The processor is speedy enough that it’ll open apps and run software quickly, and while this might not be as sleek and stylish as a MacBook (see our next pick for that), it’s much more affordable. Dell laptops are also pretty great when it comes to sturdiness and reliability so you won’t have to worry about it taking the odd bump or knock when you’re carrying it from class to class. Want to upgrade to a 4K display?for $830.
— $850, was $1,000
If your heart is set on MacOS, then the new 13-inch Apple MacBook Air is the student laptop for you. It looks gorgeous and has all the conveniences that come with a MacOS-based system. It has recently been updated to include the latest 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor along with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD drive, so it packs a punch when it comes to being suitably speedy for work and multi-tasking. It’s not aimed at gaming or anything like that, but as a productivity-based device, it’s good to go. You won’t have any issues loading up files quickly and running your favorite programs smoothly.
The laptop also has Touch ID support, which is a useful and highly convenient security measure. There’s also that lovely 12-hour battery life, meaning you won’t have to worry about recharging it as often as most other laptops.
How to choose a student laptop
Before you buy a student laptop, you need to know what you’re looking for. Perhaps the most important thing to know is your budget. Ideally, everyone wants the best and the fastest but if your budget is low then it’s smart to temper your expectations to avoid disappointment.
Laptops generally don’t make good devices for playing games, so most student laptops don’t bother with a dedicated graphics card. Instead, you want a system that is reasonably speedy with a reliable processor and sufficient storage space for the operating system. A lot of the time, you’ll be uploading files to the cloud anyway for your teachers to check so you don’t have to worry about a massive hard drive to store everything, although it can be helpful for the added flexibility.
Don’t worry so much about the screen size. Less is generally more, saving you money and sometimes providing you with superior screen quality. A 13-inch screen might sound small but you soon get used to it and all laptops tend to have a way of plugging them into a separate screen if you decide you want a monitor further down the line. A smaller screen means less to carry around too when you’re back in class and need to transport your laptop around campus.
When picking out a productivity orientated laptop, consider what operating system you want. Nowadays, you have the choice of Windows, MacOS, or ChromeOS. The majority of people are used to Windows but that doesn’t mean it’s the fastest or the best, but if you’re keen to not have to relearn anything, it might still be the most tempting idea.
Alternatively, MacOS is a very efficient operating system because it’s designed for the hardware it’s tied into. However, Macs cost considerably more than a Windows or ChromeOS-based laptop, although they do tend to last longer. They’re great as stylish systems to show off with but few students can easily afford the high asking price. In terms of value for money, they’re not great.
For a great student laptop deal, most students will be fine with a Chromebook. A lot of the time, you’ll be writing documents in Google Docs and Chromebooks lend themselves perfectly to this method. You won’t be able to play games on them but as a solely work device, they’re inexpensive and easy to use. Simply log into your Google account and you can easily save files to the cloud. There’s the added convenience of not having to worry if you need to switch to a different system either — your files will always be there via your account details. You won’t have to scrimp on style either with the devices often looking super stylish and lightweight. Expect better battery life with most Chromebooks than a Windows-based system, too.
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