Back to school laptop sales are here because retailers will even make a sales event around the one thing I hated as a kid.
Flashbacks to oversized uniforms, turkey twizzlers and too much Brylcreem are far in the past as education has changed considerably over the last 18 months. Owning a computer is now a necessity as we learn from home, and other accessories, like webcams, keyboards and mice are more important than ever.
This gets to the core of the reason why Laptop Mag exists — to help readers find the right tech for their ever-changing lives. Here, we assist you in finding the best laptop because you don’t want to be sitting in front of a desktop all day, do you? With a laptop, you can learn, create and work in every room of the house and beyond!
So, whether you got all the UCAS points you need to get to university, heading off to college, or you’re a parent looking for a good homework rig for your kids, these are great options for you!
What makes a good back to school laptop deal?
So what makes a good back-to-school laptop? The simple answer is the price-to-performance ratio along with durability, though every use case is different.
Rather than fleecing you with something that sounds good but isn’t actually right for your needs, we’re going to break down all of the potential use cases and reveal the best product for each.
Don’t forget your student discount
If you have a student ID, then you get access to a swath of extra discounts! These deals are good on their own, but you could make them even better with the likes of Unidays or Totum.
- Apple student offer: Education pricing + free AirPods with MacBook or iPad
- Dell student offer: Up to 20% off
- HP student offer: Up to 40% off
- Currys PC World student offer: £25 off laptops over £299
- Huawei student offer: Additional 10% off
Just for school work
For essays, web browser research and binge-watching.
These options are ideal for students with a more traditional workload involving office apps and a web browser. Plus, if you’re taking them with you to uni, the displays are good enough for heading down YouTube wormholes.
Asus Vivobook 14-inch: was £249.99 now £199.99 @ Amazon UK
With this Vivobook, you get a durable, stylish shell that holds a respectable amount of power for the price. Specs include an Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC memory. Alongside this and the colourful HD display, the touchpad doubles up as a numpad and you get a full year of Microsoft Office for free!
Lenovo V14: was £399.97 now £379.97 @ Laptops Direct
Lenovo brings some of its ThinkPad expertise to making this laptop thanks to the inclusion of Windows Hello for greater security and a comfortable keyboard. Moreover, you get a vivid touch screen up top, an AMD Athlon Gold CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD.
Dell Inspiron 15 3000: was £329 now £269 @ Dell
This configuration of the 15-inch Dell Inspiron 3000 features an Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB DDR4 and 128GB SSD. All of this alongside an HD display and a sleek chassis make for a great option for quick day-to-day work.
Microsoft Surface Go 2 Essentials Bundle: was £628.97 now £538.98 @ Microsoft
This bundle includes Surface Go 2, discounted Type Cover in the colour of your choice, 15-months of Microsoft 365 subscription for the price of 12. Also students can save 20% on optional accessories like pen, mice and headphones and up to 50% on a range of cases and sleeves.
For the family too
Laptops that are not only good for education, but optimal for whole family usage too.
One thing we learnt during the pandemic is how many families pick up a single laptop to share between everyone. If this is you, you need a little more power for multiple use cases and durability, too.
Apple MacBook Air (M1): was £999 now £926 @ Amazon UK
As you can read in our MacBook Air with M1 review, the switch to an ARM-based processor presents a groundbreaking transformation with blistering performance and super-long battery life. All of this is crammed into a seriously sleek chassis that runs so cool and doesn’t need a fan.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go: was £758.99 now £688.99 @ Microsoft
A sleek all-rounder for the whole family. This configuration of Microsoft's Surface Laptop Go features an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD. Not only that, but you can get 15 months of Microsoft 365 for the price of 12.
I’m doing something creative
So you picked to do a more creative subject? Congratulations! You’re going to need some horsepower in your laptop.
Software like Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite or Pro Tools requires some beefy specs to run effectively, and let’s be honest, nobody really wants to use the computers in the library. You make your own creative space in your dorm. Plus, you need ports/dongle compatibility, which these sport!
MacBook Pro (M1/8GB/256GB): was £1,299 now £1,178 @ Amazon
Turning to Apple, we fell head over heels for the M1 MacBook Pro for bringing stellar performance and bonkers battery life thanks to Apple’s own ARM-based silicon. If you’re a creative pro in need of a machine that can do it all on-the-go, it’s hard to find much better than this (I use one myself).
New Dell XPS 13: was £1,398 now £1,288 @ Dell
Take a look at our 5-star Dell XPS 13 review and you’ll see just how much we love this portable powerhouse for its top-shelf specs and stylish design. This one is no different, cramming an 11th gen Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB LPDDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD into this masterfully crafted hardware with a bright and lovely FHD+ display on a 360-degree hinge.
HP Envy x360: £999 @ Currys PC World
HP and Dell are close competitors in key categories, including the 13-inch 2-in-1 machines. The Envy x360 sports a colourful touch display up top, AMD Ryzen 7 4700U processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD, alongside a 13-hour battery life and a gorgeous design.