Illustration showing doodles in a notebook to represent various tech gear.

If you're looking for a laptop or Chromebook for your kids, there's still time to take advantage of back-to-school sales.

We're still seeing discounts on noise-canceling headphones, wireless routers, and other technology that comes in handy for remote learning, too.

We've sifted through all the offers in search of the best deals on the back-to-school products that stood up to our rigorous lab tests. Here's what we found.

Laptops, Computers, and Tablets

Acer 17-Inch Nitro 5 Laptop

    If your kid is into gaming, consider the Acer Nitro. It’s one of the best laptops of 2020, with impressive specs for a device at this price, including a dedicated Nvidia graphics card, an Intel Core i5 processor, and plenty of memory and storage. It’s a little heavy, but that’s no surprise given the 17.3-inch screen. For anyone accustomed to cranking out assignments (yes, with some gaming breaks in between), this is a solid option. And it’s made more attractive by Best Buy’s almost $90 discount. 


    CR’s test results: Acer Nitro 5 AN517-51-56YW laptop

    Apple 13-Inch MacBook Air Laptop

      This laptop hardly needs an introduction, having blazed the trail for thin and light notebooks since Steve Jobs first introduced it in 2008 by slipping it inside a manila envelope. And now, if you’re a student with a valid ID, Apple will trim $100 from the retail price and throw in a $160 pair of AirPods true wireless headphones free. We tested the base model with an Intel Core i3 processor, 8 gigabytes of memory, and 256GB of solid-state storage


      CR’s test results: Apple MacBook Air (2020)

      Apple 16-Inch MacBook Pro Laptop

        The new MacBook Pro isn’t cheap, but it combines raw power with a sleek package and an improved keyboard for students who need more oomph than the MacBook Air offers. The model we tested had 12 gigabytes of memory; this one has 16GB. The result is strong performance in a device fully capable of handling the most demanding tasks. 


        CR’s test results: Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch laptop

        HP 13-Inch Envy Laptop

          This is a well-equipped laptop for the price, with a bright 4K touch-screen display, an Intel Core i7 processor, 8 gigabytes of memory, and a whopping 512GB of solid-state storage. The step up from an i5 to an i7 processor helps with heavy-duty tasks like hi-res video editing—though you might find a 13-inch screen somewhat small for that job.


          CR's test results: HP Envy 13-AQ1013DX Computer

          Lenovo 14-Inch Yoga Laptop

            This laptop has good core specs for a midrange computer—an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabytes of memory, and a 256GB solid-state drive. It will purr along easily while performing most tasks, and it’s convenient to use on the go. It weighs an easy-to-tote 3 pounds and provides plenty of battery life, and the 2-in-1 convertible design lets you prop it up in tent mode or use it like a tablet.


            CR’s test results: Lenovo Yoga C740-14 laptop

            LG 14-Inch Gram Laptop

              The LG Gram practically defines thin and light design. The 14-inch version weighs a feathery 2.2 pounds—you almost want to hold it down if the wind kicks up. Better yet, it logged 19.5 hours’ worth of battery life in our web-browsing tests. (For video watching, the figure is closer to 9 hours.)


              CR’s test results: LG Gram 14 (2020) laptop

              Samsung 13-Inch Galaxy Chromebook

                Because they rely heavily on web apps such as Gmail and Google Docs, Chromebooks usually have modest specs, but this 2-in-1 convertible is well-equipped for more difficult chores. It has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 gigabytes of memory, and 256GB of solid-state storage. The model is good at full price and even better at this sale price. 

                CR’s test results: Samsung Galaxy Chromebook

                Headphones and Speakers

                Apple AirPods Pro True Wireless Headphones

                  The AirPods Pro reduces unwanted distractions with active noise cancellation and has interchangeable ear insert tips. The sound quality should satisfy even critical listeners of music and movie soundtracks.


                  CR’s test results: Apple AirPods Pro earphones

                  Microsoft Surface Noise-Canceling Headphones

                    These headphones usually sell for about $100 less than comparable options from Sony and Bose, but they’re an additional $57 off at Best Buy right now. According to our testers, this model is great for listening to music and watching movies, which means you can transition from work to relaxation with ease.


                    CR’s test results: Microsoft Surface headphones

                    Monoprice BT-300ANC Noise-Canceling Headphones

                      If you’re looking for noise-canceling headphones on a budget, this is a terrific option. These headphones don’t have the latest features—like a monitor mode or adjustable noise cancellation—but they deliver where it counts: above-average sound quality and fantastic sound-blocking abilities. They feature integrated controls for calls, volume, and playback, and the ear cups fold in and swivel flat for easy storage and transport. According to Monoprice, the battery will run for 8 hours between charges with both Bluetooth and noise cancellation turned on.


                      CR’s test results: Monoprice BT-300ANC wireless noise-canceling headphones

                      Wireless Routers

                      Netgear Nighthawk Wireless Router

                        This model is well-suited to midsized homes in need of reliable wireless internet for the school year. In addition to solid performance, the router delivers the protection of automatic firmware updates and is easy to set up via a smartphone app. 


                        CR’s test results: Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (R7000) wireless router

                        TVs and Home Theater

                        Insignia 32-Inch Fire TV Smart TV

                          This TV is the perfect size for a dorm room, and it won’t break the bank. The 32-inch model from Insignia—Best Buy’s house brand—provides satisfying picture quality. It uses the Amazon Fire TV smart TV platform to provide access to lots of streaming services.


                          CR’s test results: Insignia NS-32DF310NA19 32-inch smart TV

                          LG 60-Inch 4K Smart TV

                            Yes, a 60-inch TV may seem extravagant for a college apartment, but look at that price. LG’s entry-level 4K set from 2019 does well in terms of overall picture quality, though it can’t deliver a compelling HDR, or high dynamic range, experience. (When done well, HDR can produce enhanced contrast and a more realistic picture.) The viewing angle is somewhat limited, too, meaning you need to sit right in front of the set to get the best picture. But those seem like quibbles for a $450 big-screen TV. 


                            CR’s test results: LG 60UM6900PUA 60-inch 4K smart TV

                            Polk Audio Command Sound Bar

                              A sound bar is a quick and easy way to enhance your TV-watching experience, and this model is good for music and movie soundtrack playback. It has built-in Bluetooth, supports Amazon’s Alexa, and is now available at $100 off the original price. It’s currently out of stock at B&H Photo, but you can order it at the sale price if you’re willing to wait a little longer for shipping.


                              CR’s test results: Polk Audio Command Bar sound bar


                              For more home theater bargains, take a look at our article on the week’s best electronics deals.