The 5 Best Back-to-School Laptops

A good laptop is an essential piece of equipment for many students, and with autumn right around the corner, a lot of folks will undoubtedly be in the market for a new one. There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a new laptop, including price, features, and specifications, so we at Wise Bread thought we'd simplify your search by narrowing down the selection. These are our choices for the best back-to-school laptops.

Best 5 Back-to-School Laptops

Vizio CT14-A4 Ultrabook

A Consumer Reports Best Buy, this Vizio ultrabook combines top-notch performance with a great price tag. Tests run by Consumer Reports cite it as being one of the fastest in terms of productivity and Web-based activities, as well as viewing and editing photos and videos. The ultrabook is also extremely light, weighing only 3.5 pounds, and it has a battery that can last 6 hours. The 128 GB solid-state drive provides less storage space than regular hard drives, but is faster and uses up less energy. Currently $665.99 on Amazon.

Dell Inspiron 15R

A powerhouse laptop running some of the latest specifications, the best part of the Dell Inspiron 15R laptop is the fact that Dell is currently offering it on sale. The market value price of this laptop currently runs at $1,047.99, but Dell's promotion drops its price down to a much more attractive $899.99. With a 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive, this laptop can handle just about anything you want to throw at it.

Apple MacBook Pro with 13.3-inch Display

While Apple products are always known to be high quality in their class, their price tags are often much higher than other brands that offer similar specifications. Thus, it's always a big deal to see an Apple product that's on sale, such as this MacBook Pro. This 13.3 inch, third generation model comes with an extremely high resolution screen, a 500 GB hard drive and 4 GB of RAM, not to mention the seamless hardware and software design you've come to expect from Apple. One thing to be aware of — this model doesn't have an Ethernet port, which means wireless internet is the only option available. Currently $1,049.99 on Amazon.

Dell Inspiron i17R-1316SLV

Another good combination of price and performance from Dell, this Inspiron model doesn't quite have the performance capabilities of the 15R, but it's about $150 cheaper and still capable of handling even hardware-intensive video games. With 6 GB of RAM and a 1 TB hard drive, this machine can handle everything an average computer user needs and then some. The only downsides are its average battery life and weight, clocking in at about 5 hours and 7 pounds respectively. Currently $648.98 on Amazon.

Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-R5102F

Ultrabooks are quickly becoming the gold standard for laptops for their fast performance and thin form, and this Asus Zenbook Prime is no different. With an Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB solid state drive, this machine is built for speed. And weighing in at just under 3 pounds, it's perfect for a student that needs to carry it around campus. Being $100 off on Newegg makes this package even sweeter. Currently $899.99 on Newegg.

These are our choices for the top 5 back-to-school laptops for you to consider. Be sure to check out the Wise Bread Shopping Calendar to learn when and how to buy just about anything!

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Guest's picture
Kristine R.

Where do you see the Dell Inspirion for 799 with those specs? Am I missing a coupon? I see it on their site for 899.

Alex Lam's picture

Thanks for letting us know. The article's been updated.

Guest's picture

get up to speed on Apple - macbook's come with thunderbolt and you have to get an adapter to use ethernet. But it can be done. So wifi is *NOT* the only option.

Guest's picture

No Linux love? Windows 8 is a steaming pile of you know what...

I'd go with the last one (Asus Zenbook). I've purchased a lot of Asus products before and have had good luck with them.