Best back-to-school laptop deals: Get a workhorse from $149

If you’re heading back to school soon, you’re likely to be looking for different laptop deals then most people. Your focus is on convenience, portability so you can take it between classes easily, and often — the price of the laptop. That’s why we’ve picked out a bunch of back-to-school laptop deals that cater for every budget imaginable. We have some super cheap Chromebooks listed below if you just need the bare minimum and we also have some high-end MacBooks for when you need ultimate power. Whatever your intentions, take a look at what’s out there and see which one is best for your needs.

HP 14-inch Chromebook — $149, was $299

The HP 14-inch Chromebook at a side angle displaying ChromeOS.

While the HP 14-inch Chromebook isn’t one of the best Chromebooks, it is incredibly inexpensive. It has the basic essentials for typing up your reports via cloud-based apps. That includes an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of memory and 64GB of eMMC storage. Its 14-inch HD screen has anti-glare properties while you also have up to 14 hours of battery life at your disposal. There’s a HP True Vision 720p HD camera with integrated dual array microphones for all your video call needs too.

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e Gen 5 — $229, was $939

The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e at a side angle displaying a browser window.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e Gen 5 is a little ambitious by offering Windows 11 Home with its fairly simple spec. If you don’t mind using Windows a little slowly though, it has some key advantages. For instance, it has 128GB of SSD storage rather than eMMC storage which helps a bit with speed compared to the Intel Celeron and 4GB of memory’s contributions. While the 11.6-inch HD screen is pretty small, it’s a touchscreen so you can be more hands-on with how you work, as helped by the included garaged pen. It’s built to last physically too with it having passed 12 military-grade requirements and being able to handle a drop of up to three feet.

HP 14-inch 2-in-1 Chromebook — $249, was $419

A young man using the HP 14-Inch 2-in-1 Chromebook.

A fairly versatile machine for the price, the HP 14-inch 2-in-1 Chromebook has an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of eMMC storage. It’s basic stuff but it handles ChromeOS well. Better is its 14-inch HD touchscreen that’s also paired up with audio by B&O, so if you’re looking for a machine to work on as well as stream your shows to, this one is a better bet in the budget price range than most. It also has HP Fast Charge support so you can go from 0% to 50% in about 45 minutes.

HP 15-inch laptop — $280, was $460

HP 15-inch laptop placed on a white background displaying Windows 11.

With an AMD Athlon Silver processor, 8GB of memory, and 128GB of SSD storage, this HP 15-inch laptop keeps things simple. It’s sufficient for running Windows 11 Home if you temper your expectations though. A 15.6-inch HD screen offers 250 nits of brightness and it has micro-edge bezels which add to the relatively sleek nature of the laptop. An 85% screen-to-body ratio is certainly good to see at this price, while there’s still room for the essentials like its 720p HD webcam and even a numeric keypad on the keyboard.

HP 17-inch laptop — $300, was $500

The HP 17t-cn300 17.3-inch laptop against a white background.

This HP 17-inch laptop offers a little more than the above example. For instance, there’s a slightly better AMD Athlon Gold processor paired up with 8GB of memory and 128GB of SSD storage. The highlight is in the name though — the 17.3-inch HD+ screen with 1600 x 900 resolution. It gives you a little more room even if it also means it’s slightly less portable. If you need something super lightweight, this probably isn’t it, but it’ll suit your dorm room. As before, there’s a 720p HD webcam along with a keyboard that fits in a numeric keypad.

HP Pavilion x360 2-in-1 laptop — $480, was $700

The HP Pavilion x360 2-in-1 laptop in tent mode.

Keen to compete with the best 2-in-1 laptops although not quite as powerful, the HP Pavilion x360 offers an Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of SSD storage. The standout feature is its 14-inch full HD screen with edge-to-edge glass and a hinge for moving it into tent or presentation mode, as well as for using it as a tablet. It also has a HP True Vision 5MP camera with temporal noise reduction for taking video calls, along with audio by B&O.

Lenovo ThinkPad P14s Gen 2 — $629, was $1,819

The front of the Lenovo ThinkPad P14s displaying image editing software.

Ideal for students that want to look professional as they work, the Lenovo ThinkPad P14s Gen 2 offers an 11th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage. It also has a 14-inch full HD screen with 300 nits of brightness, LED backlight, and 45% NTSC. Up to 9.7 hours of battery life is useful for a busy day of classes, while you’ll appreciate how slim the laptop is too. It’s also passed numerous military-grade requirements along with more than 200 quality checks.

HP Victus gaming laptop — $700, was $900

The HP Victus 15 gaming laptop against a white backdrop.

If you can’t afford one of the best gaming laptops, you can still enjoy some gaming with the HP Victus. It has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 512GB of SSD storage. For the graphics card, there’s an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 which should be good for many games. With certain titles, you’ll need to tweak the detail level a bit but it’s a good starting point, especially if you play older games. Its 15.6-inch full HD screen has a 144Hz refresh rate which is great for cutting back on motion blur. There’s also audio from B&O and HP Fast Charge support.

Apple MacBook Air M1 — $899, was $999

Apple M1 MacBook Air open on a desk with plants in the background.

The Apple MacBook Air M1 may not be the latest MacBook Air anymore but it remains very powerful as well as good value for money for macOS fans. You get all the benefits of the speedy M1 chip alongside 8GB of memory and 256GB of SSD storage. There’s also its gorgeous 13.3-inch Retina screen that provides vibrant colors and sharp text, along with a backlit keyboard. All-day battery life of up to 18 hours ensures it’ll cope with the busiest of days.

Apple MacBook Pro M2 — $1,099, was $1,299

A person sitting in a vehicle using a MacBook Pro on their lap.

One of the best MacBooks right now, the Apple MacBook Pro M2 is certainly powerful thanks to the latest M2 chip tearing through whatever you have planned. Its 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU is teamed up with 8GB of memory and 256GB of SSD storage. It also has a gorgeous 13.3-inch Retina display with 500 nits of brightness and P3 wide color support. Despite all that power, you can still achieve up to 20 hours of battery life so it’s certainly long-lasting.

Dell XPS 13 — $1,199, was $1,349

The Dell XPS 13, open on a table in front of a window.

The Dell XPS 13 is one of the best laptops you can buy right now, and we’re big fans of this particular spec. You get a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor along with a huge 32GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage. Often, laptops at this price offer up 16GB of memory so twice as much is great to see. There’s also a fantastic 13.4-inch full HD+ screen with 1920 x 1200 resolution, anti-glare properties, and 500 nits of brightness. A backlit keyboard with a fingerprint reader adds to the classiness of the experience.

Asus ROG Zephyrus gaming laptop — $1,300, was $1,900

The Asus ROG Zephyrus placed at a side angle.

As one of the best laptop brands, Asus knows how to make good gaming laptops. Thanks to its 14-inch WQXGA display, it’s more portable than most while still exuding good performance. The display has 500 nits of brightness and a resolution of 2560 x 1600 as well as a 120Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. Under the hood is an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor along with 16GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage so it’s the ideal foundation for gaming. For that very role, you also have an AMD Radeon RX 6800S graphics card to ensure you can play all your favorite games. It’s ideal for both work and play.

Dell XPS 15 — $1,599, was $1,999

A Dell XPS 15 laptop on an office desk next to a monitor.

For a more powerful Dell experience, consider the Dell XPS 15. With this system, you get the latest 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, along with 16GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage. An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 ensures some gaming although we wouldn’t buy this laptop with gaming as your sole aim as there are better gaming alternatives around. There’s also a 15.6-inch full HD+ screen with 1920 x 1200 resolution and 500 nits of brightness. A backlit keyboard offers a fingerprint reader for added security.

Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro 14.2-inch — $1,799, was $1,999

An Apple MacBook Pro 14 sits open on a table.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

For plenty of power, consider the Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro. It’s the smaller variety with a 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display so it’s highly portable while still being incredibly speedy. Its M2 Pro chip has a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU while you also gain 16GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage. The display has Extreme Dynamic Range and over 1,000 nits of brightness so it looks stunning, while you also gain a six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio. A Magic Keyboard with Touch ID support is great to use while there’s up to 18 hours of battery life.

Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro 16.2-inch — $2,250, was $2,499

A person typing on a MacBook Pro while sat on a wooden bench.
Bram Naus / Unsplash

Need a larger display? The Apple MacBook Pro M2 Pro 16.2-inch is a great MacBook for that. It has a huge 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with Extreme Dynamic Range, over 1,000 nits of brightness, and pro reference modes too. It also has a M2 Pro chip with 12-core CPU and 19-core GPU while you also benefit from 16GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage. There’s the aforementioned six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio, while video calls can be taken via the 1080p FaceTime HD camera. Up to 22 hours of battery life is remarkable stuff too.

Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max 14.2-inch — $2,899, was $3,099

A MacBook Pro M2 sits on a wooden table with a nice bokeh background.

The Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max is incredibly fast with a similarly incredible display. It has the 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display of before but it’s powered by the M2 Max chip with 12-core CPU and 30-core GPU and it’s going to amaze you. It’s improved even further by its 32GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage. Few students may be able to afford this but if you need a high-end system for your studies, such as for video editing or rendering, this is a great option.

Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max 16.2-inch — $3,250, was $3,499

The MacBook Pro on a wooden table.

For the ultimate Mac experience right now, buy the Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max 16.2-inch. It oozes power and style. Its 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display is great — of course — and makes everything look sharp and vibrant. It also has the M2 Max chip with 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU so it’s perfect for demanding work like video editing. 32GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage further helps here. Up to 22 hours of battery life is stunning too ensuring this is a reliable laptop to take to class and beyond. It’s expensive but a worthwhile investment if you can afford it.

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