Arguably the most important aspect of a student's inventory is the laptop, which can be brought from class to class. It's also one of the most expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Here are some choices that we've found for a great semester.
An Apple MacBook is always a solid choice for a laptop. Not only are they one of the most popular series of laptops out there, they're also decent performers with sharp designs and a high 2880x1800 resolution. The third-generation MacBook Pro seen here has a 500GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM and, in a rare event for Apple products, is on sale at Best Buy for $999 with free shipping. Something of note: The laptop doesn't have an ethernet port so if college doesn't have wireless Internet, you might want to check out one of the other options on this list.
Even though Apple consistently produces laptops and tablets that value performance, they're often overpriced compared to other brands with similar specs. For example, the HP Pavilion g6-2211nr notebook on sale at Newegg also has a 500GB hard drive and 4GB of RAM and it only costs $399 with free shipping after instant savings. While we can't attest to this laptop's quality, if you're in the market for a cheap notebook this might be a good bet. Be sure to use the coupon code "HPNIRS13," which expires on September 7.
Dell is a good place to shop for back to school laptops, especially since the retailer is offering customers a free $200 promotional gift card with the purchase of a laptop over $699. One intriguing model is the Inspiron 15R notebook, which is on sale for $799 (down from $1,047) with free shipping. There are other bonus coupons you can apply when viewing the laptop in the cart. This beast has a fast third-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive.
We recently reviewed the Asus Zenbook UX51VZ-XB71 and found that it was a thing of beauty. From a powerful processor to its high-resolution screen, the ultrabook can pretty much do it all—except appeal to consumers on a budget. If you're interested in the brand but don't have the cash for a top-tier laptop, you can check out the Zenbook Prime UX31A-R5102F, which is on sale at Newegg for $899 with free shipping. While it doesn't have the specs of its stronger cousin, it does have an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and weighs just under three pounds—making it good to bring from class to class.
Another option if you're on a budget is the Lenovo IdeaPad Z585 on sale at Newegg for $449 with free shipping. This 15.6-inch notebook has 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive that'll cover most of what you want to do. We haven't yet reviewed it, but Newegg customers have given it mostly positive reviews, with many users saying that they use the notebook as a low-level gaming laptop as well as a multi-purpose device.
Now that you have your laptop, the only thing left to do is to make sure it's safe. There are a number of laptop backpacks on sale this month, including the Toshiba Extreme backpack at BuyDig for $42 and the Timbuk2 TSA-Friendly messenger bag on sale at Amazon for $54. Both purchases come with free shipping. Both have separate products for cords and other parts, and provide ample space for a 15-inch laptop.
Meet the tester
Carli writes for the Deals blog at Reviewed.com, and has become a professional at researching the web for the best deals on electronics. She graduated in 2012 from Northeastern University with a degree in English. She enjoys writing about technology, and is a video game freelance writer on the side with too many games in her backlog.
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