Whether you’re thrilled to bits about it or lack any enthusiasm whatsoever, back-to-school season is here and ready to roll. And with the arrival of back-to-school season comes a lot of awesome deals. If I had to guess, the top item on your list is likely going to be a laptop, especially if you’re a high school student or incoming college freshman. So, if you’re in the market for one, there’s no better time than now to take the plunge. Ah, but where to begin?
Fortunately for you, Dell is holding its annual back-to-school sale right now. And, if you happen to buy an eligible laptop, the manufacturer will donate to UNICEF, which helps schools get onto the world wide web. Pretty cool, right? Dell laptops are also known for being well-priced, durable, and luxurious (especially the XPS line). I’ve been a fan of Dell laptops for years and I find that the customer support is top-notch, too. If you have no idea where to begin, don’t worry, from lightweight 2-in-1s to powerful gaming machines, I’ve assembled a diverse list for you.
If you’re on the hunt for the best-rated laptops, be sure to check out PCWorld’s carefully curated roundup of laptops spanning all purposes and prices points.
Best back-to-school deals on everyday laptops
Sometimes all you need is a basic machine for writing papers and doing research on. If that’s what you’re looking for, you should check out the bulleted list below. I’ve included a number of different machines with both AMD and Intel processors.
- Inspiron 15 Laptop, AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU/AMD Radeon graphics/16GB RAM/1TB PCIe NVMe SSD/15.6-inch 1080p display, $499.99 ($200 off at Dell)
- Inspiron 14 Laptop, Intel Core i7-1360P CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/1TB PCIe NVMe SSD/14-inch 1200p display, $799.99 ($150 off at Dell)
- New Inspiron 16 Laptop, AMD Ryzen 5 7530U CPU/AMD Radeon graphics/8GB RAM/512GB PCIe NVMe SSD/16-inch 1200p display, $499.99 ($200 off at Dell)
- XPS 15 Laptop, Intel Core i5-12500H CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/512GB PCIe NVMe SSD/15.6-inch 2160p touch display, $1,099 ($750 off at Dell)
The Inspiron 15 Laptop offers a good amount of processing power for the price. The AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU inside of this machine has a max boost clock of up to 4.3GHz, 16 threads, and eight cores. Having more cores and threads is always preferable in a CPU.
Best back-to-school deals on gaming laptops
If you need a little extra firepower in the graphics department, you should consider picking up a gaming laptop. The options below are souped-up with powerful hardware as well as spacious high refresh-rate screens. This is important, especially when you’re in the middle of an intensive match in which every second matters.
- Alienware m17 R5, AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU/16GB RAM/1TB PCIe NVMe SSD/17.3-inch 1080p display, $1,199.99 ($1,050 off at Dell)
- Alienware x16 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-13700H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU/16GB RAM/1TB PCIe NVMe SSD/16-inch 1600p display, $1,899.99 ($200 off at Dell)
- G15 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i5-13450HX CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU/8GB RAM/256GB PCIe NVMe SSD/15.6-inch 1080p display, $799.99 ($100 off at Dell)
If you’re after the ultimate gaming experience, then the Alienware x16 Gaming Laptop is worth considering. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU is powerful enough to run most modern games on the High or Ultra graphics preset. The display’s 165Hz refresh rate should also help produce smooth visuals.
Best back-to-school deals on 2-in-1 laptops
If portability is at the top of your priority list, 2-in-1 laptops are the way to go. They’re generally more lightweight than traditional clamshell laptops and you can swing the screen around 360 degrees. That means you can use it like a tablet or prop it up like a tent for sharing information.
- XPS 13 2-in-1 Laptop, Intel Core i7-1250U CPU/Intel Iris Xe graphics/16GB RAM/512GB PCIe NVMe SSD/13-inch 1920p touch display, $1,249 ($200 off at Dell)
- Inspiron 16 2-in-1 Laptop, AMD Ryzen 5 7530U CPU/AMD Radeon graphics/8GB RAM/512GB PCIe NVMe SSD/16-inch 1200p touch display, $599.99 ($200 off at Dell)
- Inspiron 14 2-in-1 Laptop, AMD Ryzen 7 7730U CPU/AMD Radeon graphics/16GB RAM/1TB PCIe NVMe SSD/14-inch 1200p touch display, $699.99 ($250 off at Dell)
The XPS 13 2-in-1 Laptop is very lightweight at under two pounds. It’s the perfect traveling companion, especially if you plan on taking it to class with you. It also has a beautiful 1920p touch display with active pen support. According to the manufacturer, the display has a maximum brightness of 500 nits. If that number holds true, then you’re in for a truly vibrant picture.
Best back-to-school deals on content creation laptops
Calling all graphics design students! If you’ve been shopping around for an ultra-powerful machine, you best stick around. The picks below are absolute beasts in the power department. They’ve also got gorgeous 4K displays, which is perfect for getting those tiny details just right.
- XPS 15 Laptop, Intel Core i9-13900H CPU/ Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU/32GB RAM/1TB PCIe NVMe SSD/15.6-inch 2160p touch display, $2,499 ($300 off at Dell)
- XPS 17 Laptop, Intel Core i9-13900H CPU/Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU/32GB RAM/1TB PCIe NVMe SSD/17-inch 2400p touch display, $3,149 ($400 off at Dell)
The XPS 17 Laptop is more on the expensive side, that’s for sure, but it’s about as premium as you can get. You’re getting an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU as well as 1TB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage, which you’ll need for offloading files. Plus, the 17-inch 2400p display is both spacious and sharp.
When does Dell’s back-to-school sale begin?
Dell’s sale is happening right now! There are many laptops that are on sale for up to $400 off. If you can wait, you may want to check back in mid-August. Discounts may drop even lower the closer we get to the beginning of the school year.
When does Dell’s back-to-school sale end?
I don’t have an official end date as of right now, but I suspect the deals will start dropping off sometime in September when the school year begins. Most people are buying their school supplies now, so you might as well strike now while the iron’s hot.