Computer prices drop 15% or more in the summer, just in time for the school bell. Macs rarely go on sale, but these brands offer great deals. Here are three models, at three price points, guaranteed to give your kids an edge.
Best for: College students
Whether it’s for designing 3D models or tackling complex math, college kids need horsepower in their PC. Acer’s 12-inch Switch Alpha shares DNA with Microsoft’s popular Surface tablet, with a few improvements. It comes with a detachable, mechanical keyboard, runs up to eight hours on a charge, and weighs less than three pounds. Best of all: It starts at $599, hundreds less than Microsoft’s latest.
Best for: Middle schoolers
Unless your child’s school requires a Macintosh or a Windows PC, opt for a Chromebook instead. Powered by Google’s Chrome operating system, it boots quickly, offers standard functions (word processing, web browsing, and email), and steers clear of virus infections and hard-drive disasters (since it relies primarily on cloud storage). The 2.6-pound Ideapad 100s runs for up to eight hours on a charge. At $160, it might even cost less than the sneakers your kid is eyeing.
Best for: High schoolers
Dell’s latest low-cost laptop ($250) has a cool trick up its screen: a 360-degree hinge. That gives it the ability to pivot from laptop mode to tablet mode as kids pivot between typing papers and sketching on the touch screen. There’s also an in-between tent mode for watching YouTube videos (educational ones only, of course). The Inspiron weighs about three pounds and lasts eight to 10 hours on a charge, depending on how it’s being used.