Choosing the right laptop and other back-to-school tech essentials

With summer flying by, it’s already time to start thinking about getting ready to go back to school.

That often starts with choosing the right laptop and other technology to meet your student’s needs. We know that decision can be difficult sometimes, but our experts at Best Buy are here to help.

We chatted with a couple of them to get some tips and product recommendations to help you find everything your student will need this back-to-school season.

Pick a laptop that meets your needs

The first step in picking out a new laptop starts with the student. Matching the area of study to the specs of the laptop will help ensure you find the best laptop the first time around.

“Decide what you are going to use the device for and determine what aspects of a laptop will help you do this,” said Geek Squad Agent Jarael Brooks, who works at our Best Buy store in Arlington, Texas. “Find computers that meet these criteria, and test drive the new computer. You want to find a balance between a device you love and a device that will meet all your needs as a student.”

Something else to keep in mind when looking at laptops is the built-in features that come with it. Things such as a high-definition webcam, cable ports like HDMI, DisplayPort and a touchscreen display can make working on school assignments feel like a seamless experience.

Tips to keep in mind:

  • Prioritize longevity for the best long-term outcome. “Think about the future,” said Julio Sanchez, a Best Buy expert and marketing student who works with Agent Brooks in Arlington. “Think about what you need now but also what you will need a few years from now.”
  • Decide what matters most to you. Some of the things to consider when purchasing a new laptop include screen size, battery life and what kind of display it has. Knowing what you think is the most important to you will make it easier to pick from our lineup of laptops.
  • Keep the operating system in mind. At Best Buy, we carry laptops with Windows, Mac and Chrome operating systems, and each has its own benefits. Choosing which best suites your schooling needs will help you quickly narrow down your options.

Product recommendations:

  • HP ENVY 2-in-1 13.3″ Touch-Screen Laptop – Explore and express your passion with this HP Envy laptop. A flexible 360-degree hinge that adapts and allows for flexibility wherever you are studying. Powered by 8 gigabytes of RAM and an Intel core i7 processor, the HP Envy can handle working on even the most rigorous assignments.
  • MacBook Air – With 8 gigabytes of unified RAM and an M1 Processor, this laptop can help tackle any school project at fast speeds. Plus, a battery life of up to 18 hours will help make sure you can work and travel without having to be near a power outlet.
  • Lenovo Yoga 7i 2-in-1 15.6″ Touch Screen Laptop – Combine versatile portability and enhanced productivity with this Yoga 7i. An 11th-generation intel i5 processor and a lightweight design makes this a great choice for students always on the go. Use the TrueBlock privacy shutter for peace of mind when you are not using your webcam.
  • Acer Chromebook – This slim and lightweight Chromebook weighs in at as little as 3 pounds, making it a great option if you are constantly on the go. Utilize your Chromebook in ways you’ve never thought of before. Its 360-degree convertible modes gives you the flexibility to easily switch from tablet, laptop, tent and every angle in-between at a moment’s notice.

A common theme that we get from customers purchasing a new laptop is not knowing what truly comes with a laptop. Two of the things many students use for school that we like to pair with a new laptop would be Microsoft Office and anti-virus software.

Another thing you should not overlook when you are in our laptop section is accessories. For example, being able to connect your laptop to monitors, TVs and printers can be useful for a college student who’s constantly on the move.

“Always look at storage and adapters,” Agent Brooks said. “It is better to have that cable instead of scrambling at the last minute, plus everyone can use an external hard drive to back up their data.”

Product recommendations:

  • Microsoft 365 – Microsoft 365 Personal comes with premium Office apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and more. You get 1 terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage, which allows you to access, edit and share your files and photos across all your devices — all while knowing your information is always backed up and protected.
  • Antivirus software – Keep your mind at ease while searching the web or downloading files to your laptop with the protection of an antivirus such as Webroot or Trend Micro. These programs are designed to make sure not to bog down your computer so you can keep working while being protected at the same time.
  • Other computer accessories –When you’re upgrading your computer setup, be sure to remember things like printers, adapters and monitors. Adding any of these items to your student’s workstation can make their school year so much easier.

Click here to find all our latest back-to-school deals on BestBuy.com.