Back-to-school season is now in full swing. You know what that means, right? Stressed-out parents everywhere are looking for the best laptop deals for their soon-to-be college students. Fret not, parental units! The back-to-school season (August through September) is one of the best times to buy a laptop.
For some models, there may be better deals around Black Friday. And, if you're a Mac user, Apple doesn't exactly follow a set schedule for sales. Generally speaking, though, the best deals are when new hardware comes out and back-to-school season.
You'll also want to consider what kind of laptop you need for school. Are you looking for a powerhouse or something that can handle basic tasks? Not sure where to start? From pricing tools to our top picks, we'll guide you through the process.
Use a pricing tool to find the best deals
When it comes to scouting out laptop deals, there aren't any hard and fast rules. We can, however, get a little bit of insight with a pricing tool. If you regularly shop on Amazon, Camel Camel Camel is our favorite price history tracker.
As you can see in the chart below, prices for the Google Chromebook typically start to plummet at the end of July. Although we can't be totally sure, we suspect the price will drop again this month, especially if it keeps following the current trajectory.
Here are our top picks
Not sure where to start? Don't worry—we've got you covered, regardless of whether you're looking for a mid-range gaming laptop or a Chromebook. Not only are most of the laptops on this list affordable, they have excellent battery life, too.
For those on a tight budget
If you're not beholden to Mac or Windows, we recommend opting for the Acer Chromebook 11. Since Chromebooks only run on ChromeOS, they're largely virus-free. Plus, we find the indigo-blue exterior to be drop-dead gorgeous.
In addition to the low price ($269), it's really lightweight, which makes easy to carry with you everywhere on campus. Just don't expect a workhorse; it's fine for everyday tasks like checking e-mail and browsing the web, but that's about it.
For those who crave luxury
The Pixelbook is our favorite Chromebook. Of all the cool features packed into the Pixelbook, our favorite thing about it is its convertible design, which lets you use the Pixelbook like a tablet or prop it up like a painter's easel.
In addition to its zippy processor, other highlights include a responsive touchscreen, a fantastic keyboard, and amazing battery life. Our opinion? This is one of the swankiest Chromebooks money can buy.
For those who need all-day battery life
The ZenBook UX330UA is a mid-range laptop that comes equipped with a ton of great features given the price. For a little under $700, you're getting a snappy processor, a full HD screen, and all-day battery life. Plus, the silver shell doesn't look half bad, either!
There's still a couple of trade-offs, however: The enormous bezel size may deter some buyers and the touchpad can be a bit jumpy. That said, it's still a damn good value, even when you factor in these drawbacks.
For the everyday person
This $600 laptop has it all: The port selection is robust, it's upgradeable (meaning you can swap out the RAM or storage), and its full HD display is lovely to look at. That said, the Aspire E 15 weighs well over five pounds, so you may not want to lug this thing from class to class.
For the gamer
If you're not looking to shell out thousands of dollars for a souped-up gaming rig, the Nitro 5 is a great alternative. The starting price on the base configuration is reasonable, making it a great pick for budget-conscious buyers. Despite its relatively low cost, the Nitro 5 is still packing enough power under the hood to play most triple-A games on high or ultra settings. We also find the design to be refreshingly subdued.
Our only beef is with the Nitro 5's display, which appears somewhat washed out compared to pricier, high-end gaming rigs. If you can live with that, though, it's a great gaming machine with a ton of value.