Looking for a back-to-school deal on a new laptop for the student in your life? We're here to help. Hardware is always changing and deals come and go, but we've got the inside track on some solid sales that will suit the needs of any student, from basic computing to high-end processing more.
Back to School 2019 | Best Laptop Deals
Shopping for a new computer is tricky business. Hardware is always changing, the newest components haven't yet been field-tested, and a slew of seemingly identical models can be sold at wildly varying price points. How can you know what's good?
One of the best ways to find a solid-performing computer is to look at established hardware. If a certain processor or GPU keeps appearing in similar laptops, it's probably safe to assume it's suitable and reliable. Coincidentally, computers running slightly older hardware tend to be the ones with the most frequent sales or discounts. Both of these measures make for the best deals, specifically the ones featured here.
This guide will offer a few models at several price points that should suit the needs of any student. It will also primarily pull from Newegg and Amazon, though deals on most of these systems can be found at other retailers such as Best Buy or even Walmart. Finally, we'll offer our choices in order of ascending price — students with more high-power needs will find more suitable laptops toward the bottom.
Acer R11 11.6-inch convertible Chromebook - $277
So you need a computer and you need it now. It doesn't have to be fancy — it only needs to serve basic functions. Short of buying something like a Raspberry Pi, the cheapest way to get online is to buy a Chromebook, to which there are countless different available models.
Of those vast numbers, the easy choice would be the Acer R11. With an Intel Celeron N3150 processor, 4GB of DDR3L RAM, and 32GB of on-board eMMC storage, this convertible Chromebook blends the best of mobile and laptop computing worlds. It's a bit small for a laptop at 11.6 inches, but becomes quite generously sized when folded back into its tablet shape. Its storage can be expanded with an SD card, and it even has HDMI output for connecting to larger displays.
At around $280 as of the time of writing, the Acer R11 should more than suit the basic needs of students. Those with a bit more of a budget can even spring for the upgraded R13, which features a 13.3-inch 1080p screen and a quad-core MediaTek MT8173C processor.
Lenovo IdeaPad 330 AMD Ryzen 5 2500U - $450
Lenovo's IdeaPad series of laptops has been popular for a while for blending performance with a sleek sort of style. This 330 model is no exception: Offering a quad-core AMD Ryzen 5 2500U CPU running at 2GHz paired to a 256GB SSD and Radeon Vega 8 graphics, this IdeaPad should more than suit the needs of more power-hungry users.
The rest of the kit is as expected at this price point: A 15.6" 1080p TN display, Dolby Audio, 8GB of RAM, 3 USB 3.0 ports, and a built-in card reader. It even has a DVD burner, for anyone still making use of that technology. Finally, its 35Wh battery should provide around 5 or so hours of usable time — just enough to get through classes without getting lost in too many distractions.
Acer Aspire 7 i7-8750H GTX 1050Ti - $800
Let's face it, if you're looking to spend more than about $600 on a computer, you're looking for something that will stay the course. Fortunately, there are plenty of systems available for this price point, many of them offered as gamer-tier laptops.
Case in point: The Acer Aspire 7. Offering an eighth-generation, six-core Intel i7 processor mated to a 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti GPU, this laptop should be able to handle just about any software thrown at it, video game or otherwise. It won't run all the latest releases on high settings, but it should be more than enough grunt for students who like to play casual or less power-demanding games in their downtime.
Asus TUF Gaming Ryzen 7 GTX 1660 Ti - $1,100
Stepping up to the $1,000 tier will get most laptop buyers all the power and versatility they need. In fact, many of them are powered by the relatively new Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 GPU, often paired to late-model Intel and AMD processors.
The 2019 Asus TUF laptop is an interesting offering. Featuring a quad-core AMD Ryzen 7 R7 CPU and a blistering GTX 1660 Ti GPU, this gamer-oriented model sports 16GB of DDR4 memory, a 256GB PCIe SSD mated to a standard 1 terabyte platter, plus a 120Hz IPS display. It also comes with Asus TUF's military-grade construction for extended durability.
- Buy the 2019 Asus TUF gaming laptop on Amazon - $1,098
- Buy the 2019 Asus TUF gaming laptop on Newegg - $1,100
MacBook Pro 2019 13-inch 1.4GHz i5 - $1,300
If you're already looking for a new Mac laptop, none of the aforementioned computers will do. Let's face it, Mac people just like Mac, and they don't care to look at any alternatives. Fortunately, the latest MacBook Pro models should have more than enough power to run the latest photo or video editing software.
Starting at $1,299, the 2019 MacBook Pro comes in quad-core processor options offering Retina displays in both 13- and 15-inch models. Options can be configured through the roof, but the base model includes a quad-core 1.4GHz i5, 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD for storage, plus the Touch Bar with Touch ID. Decked out, it includes a 2.4GHz i5 and a 256GB SSD, plus doubles the available Thunderbolt 3 ports from two to four.
- Buy the MacBook Pro 13" on Apple - $1,299
- Buy the MacBook Pro 13" on Amazon - $1,405
- Buy the MacBook Pro 13" on Newegg - $1,299
Between these options, back-to-school shoppers should have plenty to consider when buying a new laptop. Students can always stick to a low budget for essential schoolwork, but setting aside around $600 or so should be enough to purchase a new system with gamer-worthy hardware. Be sure to keep it tuned right here to Shacknews for more of the best deals in computer hardware and gaming accessories.