Back to School Guide: Tablets, Laptops, Covers, Games and Accessories
Today marks the halfway point of August and that means we’re halfway through the back-to-school sale window. Now it’s true that a lot of parents look to save money on back-to-school supplies, and teens and college kids look to save money on back to school clothes and electronics. For adults, and those of us out of school, back-to-school shopping deals are usually a great time to find all of the things we’ve wanted during the summer, at a fraction of the price.
So we decided to give you the best of both worlds, we listed the items that teens and parents are looking for in order to save money, but also the items that working adults might want to pick up at a discounted price.
Tablets go on and off promotion all year-long, but during two times of the year you can always find the best price. The first obvious time is the holiday shopping season but back-to-school season is another top-time for electronics. This year is no exception, with some of the biggest manufacturers chopping prices in order to entice students to choose their tablet over the competition’s. Now what you personally consider to be the best tablet is debatable, but these are the choices we recommend to compare with your favorites at their current sale price.
The links open in a new window, so you can browse specifics without having to jump back and forth.
What to consider :
- Top Pick the Google Nexus 7 (via google play)
- One of the highest rated Android tablets of the year, and one of the cheapest on the market, but you’ll have to enjoy a 7″ screen.
- Microsoft Surface Pro is on sale starting at $799 for a limited time. (via microsoft online)
- Microsoft Surface RT is just $329 after having a rocky start compared to the PRO line. (via microsoft online)
- iPad w/ Retina starts at $499 and iPad Mini starts at $329 (via apple online)
- Kindle Fire / Kindle Fire HD starts at $159 (via amazon online)
Laptops and back to school make for the perfect pairing. Both laptop and Ultrabook manufacturers spend millions of dollars in marketing research, and time, adjusting their prices in order to take advantage of the back-to-school shoppers. This is all to your advantage, and BTS is one of the best times to upgrade your hardware.
What to consider:
- Top Pick the Macbook Air
- From Apple’s online store it will cost $999 for the base model, but usually you can pay a little more and get much better hardware at places like Amazon. The downside is not everyone has $1,000 after buying books and renting a dorm. (via apple online)
- Lenovo G Series starts at just $349 (via lenovo online)
- Lenovo Yoga Series is a bit higher right now at $749. (via lenovo online)
- HP Envy stars at $529 (via hp online)
- Sony VAIO FIT starts about $549. (via sony.vaio online)
Tablet and Computer Keyboards:
Having a tablet is great when watching movies, writing quick emails or checking class-schedules or office-notes, but it’s not the fastest way to input data most of the time. That’s why tablet keyboards have become so popular, and if you laptop is your workhorse (like mine) then a having a keyboard that is more easily replaced than your standard keyboard is a nice addition to your work schedule.
What to consider:
- Top Pick Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard $79 ($48 at Amazon)
- Logitech Wireless All-in-One Keyboard TK820 $99 (via logitech online)
- FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad $149 (via logitech online)
- Microsoft Surface Touch Cover (Surface Only) $139 (via microsoft store online)
We know that you should be studying in school but everyone needs a break. In my college days I did a lot of gaming nights with people on my floor , and take it from me, your laptop can only take so much. So if you have a laptop, get a gaming keyboard and save it some strain (it also makes for a much better gaming experience) there is nothing worse than having your laptop-keyboard break halfway through a semester. On the bright-side, they are usually being offered at some great prices.
What to Consider:
- Genius Manticore: Starting at $68 if you go with Amazon.
- Genius makes some great products, and usually you can find them for a fraction of the price of other retailers. The downside is they may not have every cutting-edge feature on the market, but if you’re looking for solid and cost-effective, they are tough to beat.
- SteelSeries Apex RAW Gaming Keyboard: $99 (via steelseries online)
- Razer BlackWidow Ultimate: $139 (via razer)
A lot of college kids and teens may not be “buying” their software as much as they used to, but for those of you that are looking for legitimate copies of this year’s most productive software, you can usually find them on sale.
What to consider:
Top Pick Depends on Your Operating System (Word or Pages)
- Windows Microsoft Office 365: Starts at $99 (Students get Office 365 University for just $79.99 for 4 years)
- Mac iWork with Pages, Keynote, Numbers: $19 each from Mac App Store
- Windows 8 Pro Upgrade: Student Offer ($69)
Cover and Cases for all of These Expensive Gadgets.
Covers and cases can be hard to recommend by just picking one for you, there is a lot personal preferences that go into picking out a case, not mention the multitude of devices and sizes that you may be looking for. What we can do is tell you the best companies that make cases, ones that we have tried in the past, ones that are both affordable, give you a lot of options and are usually on sale.
What to Consider:
Top Pick: Hard Candy (Official Site)
We have picked Hard Candy in the past, and now that they are having an end of summer sale, we think they should be the first stop on your list. I like them because they offer cases in almost any device that you probably own (so you can do all your shopping in one place) but they also offer a lot of choices.
- incase: official site
- Mujjo Designs: official site
- Griffin Technology: official site
- Lifeproof: official site
Now games aren’t a back to school necessity, but you can find some great deals during this time of year. It’s the perfect time after the large March releases, and the upcoming Fall-Holiday 2013 schedule. Whether you are buying a game that you missed, or pre-ordering a game or console that you want, it’ one of the best times to pick up games and hardware.
Best Places for Back to School Discounts (Click link for BTS Promotion Pages):