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.
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 £179.99 @ 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!View Deal
Asus E410MA: was £329 now £259 @ Currys PC World
With £70 off, this is a good option for any student who needs a little extra storage. You get the same processor and RAM as above, but 128GB eMMC instead. Plus, you get free access to Windows 11 when it’s available.View Deal
Lenovo V14: was £399.97 now £359.97 @ 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.View Deal
Dell Inspiron 15 3000: was £398.99 now £289 @ Dell
Another Intel Celeron laptop, this Inspiron may not be great under a heavy processor load, but let’s be honest, having Word open with Spotify and a couple of Chrome tabs isn’t going to affect it. The Dell Inspiron 15 3000’s party trick is the massive 1TB HDD inside and gigabit Ethernet for super-fast data connections.View Deal
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.
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook: was £429 now £379 @ Currys PC World
This is a great system for the family that doesn’t break the bank. This 2-in-1 Chromebook pairs tablet usability with laptop productivity, and gives you a FHD touch screen, a 10th gen Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.View Deal
Apple MacBook Air (M1): was £999 now £889 @ 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.View Deal
Asus Flip 2-in-1 Chromebook: was £699 now £449 @ AO.com
With a bit of a jump in price from Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex 5i comes a thinner, sleeker design, better battery life and USB Type-C. Plus, the display has a vivid 100% sRGB colour gamut for peak accuracy.View Deal
Acer Aspire 5: was £799 now £679 @ Currys PC World
Acer has something special here. This Aspire 5 features a vivid 15.6-inch FHD display, 11th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, dedicated Nvidia MX350 GPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD. That’s a pretty stacked feature set at this price point!View Deal
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!
Lenovo Series 3: was £699 now £585 @ Currys PC World
Yes, you can pick up a gaming laptop at this cheap of a price. I can’t believe it either! Granted, it is an Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU in here, but that’s more than capable of fast frame rates across your favourite titles (and crushing prosumer software tasks). Other specs include a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, plus a 120Hz display up top.View Deal
MacBook Pro (M1/8GB/256GB): was £1,299 now £1,129 @ 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).View Deal
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1: was £1,869 now £1,299.01 @ Dell
A versatile machine with a sleek design for portability. This Dell XPS 13 offers a stunning UHD+ touch display on a 360-degree hinge, Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of onboard RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. Plus, with two USB-C ports and a microSD card slot, this has plenty of compatibility with accessories.View Deal
HP Envy x360: was £999 now £974 @ 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.View Deal