After more than a year of trying to adapt to different remote learning methods, it’s finally time for students to return back to their campuses. However, some students might still continue to learn remotely. Irrespective of where students are learning from, back to school shopping has become more technology-focused than ever.

back to school

With this piece, Neowin presents you with its official back to school shopping guide that will help students pick some really useful laptop devices for their upcoming semester. Whether you are learning remotely or not, there is definitely something in here for you.

Surface Laptop 4

Surface Laptop 4 press images showing various colors

The Surface Laptop 4 from Microsoft is an excellent choice for students who want a great combination of performance and power. The base variant features AMD Ryzen 5 4680U processor, but you can upgrade to the 11th gen Intel Core i5 or the Core i7 one. RAM options include 8GB, 16GB , or 32GB while SSD storage options include 256GB, 512GB or 1TB. All variants come with Xe integrated graphics which is okay for light tasks but not really great for graphic-intensive ones like video editing and AAA games.

The slim and sleek design ensures that students won’t have a hard time carrying it around the campus. The computer also gives you an all-day battery life that will help you get your work done whether you are taking notes, sipping coffee in the canteen, or finishing up things for the next day in your dorm. The laptop starts at a price of $999 for the base variant (Ryzen 5, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage), and the maxed-out version will cost you $1,699 with Core i7, 32GB RAM, and 1TB storage.

  • Check it out on the Microsoft Store
  • Check it out on Amazon
  • Check it out on Best Buy

Dell XPS 15

The XPS 15 features a stunning display in addition to the performance it offers. The base model starts at $1,299 and includes a Core i5-10300H, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Intel UHD graphics, and an FHD+ display. This one is okay for casual browsing but if you need some computing power, you might need the i7 variant. When maxed out, you can get a Core i7-10975H, 64GB RAM, and a 2TB SSD. The XPS 15 comes with two more display options – a 3.5K (3456×2160) OLED display and a UHD+ (3840×2400) display.

The keyboard and touchpad on this computer are great for students who will be spending hours with this machine. The laptop has also got narrowed bezels that really amps up the design. For a limited time, you can get 12% off up to $200 off on Dell's website; the discount is applicable on select laptops, monitors, electronics, and more. Before making a purchase, feel free to check out our full review of the Dell XPS 15.

  • Check it out on Dell.com
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Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen3

Lenovo ThinkPad P1 Gen3

The ThinkPad P1 is aimed at people who have to get some serious work done on their machines. There are some really powerful combinations of specs you can get on this computer. The device starts at around $1,600 for Intel Core i7-10750H, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD and an FHD (1920×1080) IPS display. Although the official price of the base variant on Lenovo's website is $2,939, the website automatically applies a discount of $1,381.33 which brings it down to $1,557.67.

On the processor front, you can get a Core i7-10750H, an i7-10850H/10875H with vPro, an i9-10885H with vPro all the way up to Xeon W-10855M with vPro. RAM can be expanded up to 64GB while you can get up to 2TB SSD storage. There are also a couple of display options available – a UHD (3840×2160) LCD IPS or OLED display. Both the displays support Dolby Vision HDR and look brilliant.

  • Check it out on Lenovo.com
  • Check it out on Amazon

HP Spectre x360

The 13.3-inch Spectre x360 features a stylish aluminum chassis with a new 16:9 borderless display that makes it one of the most compact laptops on our list. The device sports the latest Intel Evo and Tiger Lake processors. Starting at $1,009.99, the base variant will give you a Core i5, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD.

However, the laptop really shines when upgraded to a better Core i7, 16/32GB RAM, and up to 2TB of storage. There's also a good 4K UHD OLED display option available, although the IPS one is also great, with vivid colors, good contrast, and wide viewing angles. The keyboard offers a pleasant snappy typing experience while the touchpad glides and taps smoothly. Check out our full review of the HP Spectre x360 to know every detail about the laptop.

HP is currently offering 5% off on selected products as part of its back to school sale as well.

  • Check it out on hp.com
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Razer Blade 15

Razer Blade 15

If you are looking for some fun, then the Razer Blade 15 is for you. The laptop features an all-aluminum build that is super impressive to feel and use. Hiding inside the aluminum build are the RTX Super graphics and the best Intel Comet Lake-H processors. The base configuration will cost you $1,599 for an Intel Core i7, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, and a 256GB SSD.

You can upgrade the configurations to their max with up to an RTX 2080 Super, a 1TB SSD, and a 4K OLED touch display which will cost you a whopping $3,299. The machine features an excellent keyboard and trackpad. Although built for gaming, the Blade 15 is still an excellent laptop for college-oriented tasks and leaves room for some fun on the side as well.

  • Check it out on Razer.com
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  • Check it out on Best Buy

HP Chromebook 11-inch Laptop

HP Chromebook 11

For students looking for a laptop on a budget, HP's Chromebook might just be the solution. The laptop features an octa-core MediaTek processor with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage and retails at just $169.99.

The laptop breezes through tasks like browsing, watching media, and editing documents. Since the laptop runs on an ARM processor and Chrome OS, you can even install Android apps on it. The machine is great for students who are looking for an entry-level device as part of their remote learning routine.

  • Check it out on hp.com
  • Check it out on Amazon (Save 31% off MSRP)
  • Check it out on Best Buy (Save $10)

Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet

Amazon Fire HD 8

Image Credits – The Guardian

The Fire HD 8 is the latest one of Amazon's low-cost tablet series. The tablet is great for basic streaming, light games, Zoom calls, and casual browsing. It features an 8-inch display with an "all-day battery life" which, Amazon says, should last for about 12 hours of reading, browsing the web, watching videos, and listening to music. It also has support for microSD cards using which you can expand the storage to up to 1TB.

The base model comes with 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage and is currently available at $59.99. You can also add $15 more so you won't see any ads on the lock screen. The 64GB version retails at $89.99 with lock screen ads and $104.99 without them.

  • Check it out on Amazon

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite

The Paperwhite is one of the best-selling Kindle products Amazon has ever created. The latest model of the Kindle Paperwhite features a great 300 PPI glare-free display that reads like real paper. It's also now waterproof. Once charged fully, the battery should last for weeks. This is a great e-reader for students to read books on the go, without having to carry the additional weight of physical books.

The base variant comes with 8GB of storage and retails for $79.99 with ads on the lock screen and $99.99 without them. There's also a 32GB option that retails for $99.99 with ads and $119.99 without ads on the lock screen. You can either get the device with just Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + Cellular Connectivity at no extra cost.

  • Check it out on Amazon

Google Wi-Fi

Google Wi-Fi Router

Image Credits – NetSpot

In addition to all these devices, it is equally important for students to invest in a good router since most of us use Wi-Fi for connectivity. The Google Wi-Fi router is easily one of the most convenient router mesh systems that you can get. The device features a small size, great design, and is very easy to set up. An individual unit will cost you $99.99 while you can get a pack of three for $149.99.

With Google Wi-Fi, you can not only boost a sluggish network but also create a mesh network in your entire house or dorm. This will ensure that you get great connectivity irrespective of which corner you are in.

  • Check it out on the Google Store
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  • Check it out on Best Buy

Shameless Plug

Boxes of the Microsoft Modern accessories including USB headset wireless headset webcam and speaker

For those that are still having to attend remote classes, Microsoft's Modern work accessories may fit the bill, you can check out our full review of these items here.

Do you have any product recommendations that would be great for the upcoming school season? Let us know in the comments below.

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