Sizzling back-to-school tech deals

Apple Macs to Google Chromebooks to Microsoft Surface tablets are being discounted in hopes of wooing students (or their parents and teachers).

back to school

We’re not getting pounded quite as hard with tech back-to-school deals as we did with Black Friday deals, but many computer and networking vendors and retailers are making their pitches to moms, dads and students. The first weekend in August is typically when deals heat up, and some states are conducting tax holidays that could also boost back-to-school shopping. Here’s a look at some of the deals available now.


Apple doesn’t offer too many price cuts during the year, but it has a soft spot for students. Visit the company’s back-to-school campaign page for details on its deals, including a $100 App Store Gift Card for college students buying Macs and a $50 card for those buying iPads or iPhones. Apple also offers up to $200 off Macs with education pricing. Faculty and staff can get in on these deals, too.


Sprint is offering a buy one, get one free deal on the Android-based Galaxy S4 phone, which costs $200. The deal requires you to get a two-year service plan and have a qualifying data plan, and a $50 mail-in rebate seals the deal, which is good until Aug. 15, 2013.


Staples is throwing in a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 University ($80 value) with the purchase of a touch laptop, such as the Acer Aspire V5-552P-7412 15.6-inch model ($500) or Dell Insprion i14RM-7500sLV 14-inch design ($600).


Microsoft offers 10% off to students who sign up with their .edu address, good for savings on products such as Surface computers, software and accessories.


Verizon is threatening to offer more back-to-school deals soon. For now, it’s hoping students aren’t too worried about having the latest and greatest, with deals being offered on some older phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S3, for just $50 with a two-year service plan.


AT&T is also going old school, offering older model smartphones like the HTC Status for $50 with a two-year service agreement and minimum $15/month data plan. AT&T, like others, is also wooing students to shill for the company on social media networks, such as via this sweepstakes to win a back-to-school package of prizes such as a Galaxy Tab tablet. 

Best Buy

Best Buy is being realistic: They’re including video games in their back-to-school deals, including a bunch of big name titles (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, God of War: Ascension, etc.) for $20 this week of July 29. Best Buy, of course, also has plenty of computers and phones on sale, and is even promoting Black Friday in July sales in some regions.


Amazon has bundled its back-to-school electronics deals here, boasting of 20% off or more on laptops and other computers, 30% off on printers and other accessories. One example deal for those of you gunshy about Windows 8: A Vizio Thin and Light CT15-A1 15.6-inch laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.


OfficeMax, like other retailers, have organized its deals by grade levels, from elementary school to high school to college. For college students, its deals include an Epson WorkForce WF-2540 all-in-one printer for $90, a $40 savings.


HP invites students in grades K-college to join its HP Academy to score big discounts and free shipping on products such as laptops and tablets. Among the current deals: Save $150 when purchasing an $800 PC and a Slate 7 8GB tablet, or save $200 when buying a $1,000 PC and Slate 7 16GB tablet.


Google is making a big back-to-school push for its Chromebooks via retailers like Walmart, which is offering the Samsung Silver 11.6-inch Chromebook PC for $230 (usually costs $250). The idea being that more powerful PCs might be overkill for students these days vs. the more Web-oriented Chromebooks.