Back to School
A few weeks ago we mentioned how there were some pretty big things about to happen in terms of new computers. Well today at Apple’s annual WWDC conference Apple gave the MacBook Air a pretty major update, one that was well worth waiting for.
In that earlier post we mentioned the importance of Intel’s new Core processors (also known as “Haswell”) when it came to buying a new computer because of the major promises it offered for performance and battery life improvements. How big is this update? Enough for Apple to say that their new MacBook Airs will get all-day battery life. That’s right, not 5 hours or 7 hours, but 9 hours on the 11 inch Air and 12 hours on the 13 inch Air. Basically, these new MacBook Airs should easily get you through the day without having to find an outlet. In addition to all that Apple gave the Air a few “future-proof” upgrades including support for the newest version of WiFi (called “ac.” It’s faster and has better range than older WiFi networks and will be great as more people upgrade their routers to support this new standard over the next few years).
The good news doesn’t end there, Apple also doubled the storage on the base MacBook Airs with 128GB of storage now the standard on both the 11 and 13 inch models (it used to be a very weak 64GB on the cheapest 11 inch Air). For $200 more you could double that storage to 256GB. And while the Air didn’t get upgraded to a “Retina display,” it still has all the things we loved about it like that awesome, thin design and FaceTime HD camera. It also keeps the same prices as before, and starts at $999 for the base 11 inch version (or $949 with a student discount).
The MacBook Air was already one of the best laptops available before this update. With more storage, faster speeds and insane battery life it pretty much seals it. If you’re looking for a new computer anytime soon you should definitely look at this.
The new MacBook Air is available now on Apple’s online store.
More info: Apple
With the end of the spring semester, graduations and the school year in general coming to a close over the next couple of weeks you may think that now would be a good time to buy a new computer. Graduation gifts and early back-to-school deals make that idea seem even better. Well put simply, it’s just the opposite and buying a new computer now is something you should really try not to do regardless if the next computer you plan to get is a Mac or Windows. Here’s why.
Thought all those changes coming to computers were big? Well, they’re nothing compared to what’s about to happen with phones. All the big players– Android, Windows Phone and of course, the iPhone– are due for major upgrades within the next month (we’re talking iPhone 5 big). And while there are some great deals available for today’s phones, we really think you should wait a little bit longer before signing that new 2 year contract. As we’ve said, these are huge changes.
So, what can we expect? Read on.
With school right around the corner and back to school shopping in full swing, it’s very tempting to go out and buy that new computer, phone or tablet. Stores such as Staples, Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy are all strongly advertising their back to school and Labor Day deals (in addition to the usual deals from Microsoft and Apple).
But while the deals may be great, we think you really might want to hold off on dropping a lot of money on those new gadgets. You see, the technology industry is right now in state of major updates. Pretty much every group of device– from Windows and Mac computers, to iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone, to the iPad and Kindle tablets– are due for major upgrades over the coming months. And when we say major upgrades we mean major upgrades. More >
Still looking for a new MacBook Air or Pro for school this year? Well then you may wanna check out Best Buy. As part of their back-to-school promotion, Best Buy is giving any current or incoming college student with a .edu email address $100 off any new MacBook. Now while that sounds a lot like what Apple is doing, it’s even better. Best Buy is doing this on top of the price you would pay for the MacBook had you bought directly from Apple with a student discount.
In other words, look at it like this. The latest, cheapest version of the 11 inch MacBook Air (with 64 GB of storage) normally costs $999, or $949 with the student discount when you buy directly from Apple. Best Buy starts the pricing for this Air at $949, and when you then add their student discount you’re down to $849. The more powerful, base model of the 13 inch MacBook Air (with 128 GB of storage) is normally priced at $1,199, or $1,149 with the student discount from Apple. Best Buy starts the pricing for this same Air at $1,139, so with this $100 student discount this Air is now only $1,039… you get the point. It’s a great deal.
To get the deal all you have to do is go to Best Buy’s Student Deals site, enter that .edu email and print the coupon. That’s it.
Now as great as this is there are a few downsides. The first is you’ll need that .edu email address, so if you’re in high school that might be hard to get (though you could ask a friend or sibling to let you use theirs). You also can’t customize the MacBooks like you could if you ordered directly from Apple’s site, and Apple also gives you an $100 iTunes Gift Card as part of their back to school deal, something Best Buy doesn’t seem to match.
Oh, and you can only use the coupon once and you have to use it in a Best Buy store and have your student ID with you. Sorry no online ordering.
But hey, $849 for the latest MacBook Air is definitely one of the best back to school deals we’ve seen this year.
More info: Best Buy Student Deals
Well it’s that time of year again. Yup, the school year is almost over, summer vacation is just weeks away and you know what that means: time for back-to-school deals to begin. Last year at this time Microsoft was just taking the wraps off of their back-to-school Windows PC deal and it was so good that this year their bringing it back. Yes, Microsoft will be giving away free 4 GB Xbox 360s with all new PC purchases of $699 or higher as well as a $15 upgrade to the all new Windows 8 when it comes out later this year. And like last year this deal applies to both high school and college students and all you gotta do to get this offer is show your Student ID if your buying in a store or a enter your .edu email address if you’re buying online (this is the email address your college gives you once you enroll).
Unlike last year however, this deal is available in more stores than just the Microsoft Store and Best Buy. In fact Best Buy, Dell.com, Fry’s Electronics, HPDirect.com, Microsoft Stores, and NewEgg.com are all partaking in this years deal.
The Samsung Series 5 Windows 8 Hybrid– one of the many new tablet/laptops you can expect later this year (pic via The Verge)
Now here’s the real question– is this deal worth it? Usually we’d say its a pretty much no brainer of a deal– I mean, you’re getting a brand new computer AND a free Xbox– but with Windows 8 coming later this year things are a bit more complicated. Windows 8 is a major upgrade over Windows 7, with one of its biggest updates being it’s completely optimized for tablets. Now that’s not to say that it doesn’t work well on “traditional” mouse and keyboard computers that don’t have touchscreens, just that later this year we can expect all new computers that look to combine the best of a tablet and a laptop (like the upcoming Samsung in the pic above. Think of it as having all the best of a tablet– apps, awesome battery life and really thin designs– combined with all the power of a normal Windows PC). So for $700-$800 you can get a full Windows computer AND a very good tablet in one.
The downside to this of course is that Windows 8 PCs and tablets aren’t expected to come out until September or October (or around the time school actually starts), so if you’re looking for a new PC we really would recommend to try to wait until then (and if you’re planning on buying a Mac we’d also recommend waiting a week as Apple is rumored to be updating its entire Mac line next Monday at their annual WWDC conference). If you need a new computer right now and can’t wait, then by all means this is stll a solid deal, if not for the Xbox then for the fact that you’ll get Windows 8 for just $15.
Again though, if you can, try to hold out a couple more months– trust us, it’ll be worth it.
Looking for a new Windows PC for school and want to take advantage of Microsoft’s buy a Windows PC and get a free Xbox 360 back to school deal? Then we recommend you hurry as the deal ends this Saturday, September 3rd.
For those who’ve never heard of this deal, it basically works like this. If you’re a student and you buy a new Windows PC at $699 or more Microsoft will throw in a free 4 GB Xbox 360 to go with it. The deal is open to both high school and college students and all you have to do to get it is show your Student ID if your buying in a store or a enter your .edu email address if you’re buying online at sites like the Microsoft Store, Dell.com or HP.com (this is the email address your college gives you once you enroll). If you’re a high school student and don’t have that .edu email address, try chatting with an online sales rep or calling the company’s sales line (their phone numbers are usually listed at the top of their sites). And remember, the deal also isn’t necessarily done by all stores (Staples and Best Buy, for example, don’t offer it), so you’re probably better off buying online or calling your preferred store before you go to make sure you get the deal.
So yeah, if you want that new PC and free Xbox you better hurry before the deal ends.
Waiting for AT&T to release their 4G, glasses-free 3D beast also known as the LG Thrill 4G? Well, your wait is finally almost over. Beginning this Sunday, September 4th, the Thrill 4G can be yours for a solid $100 with a new 2 year contract and data plan.
For those who don’t know, the Thrill 4G is one of AT&T most powerful 4G Android phones to date, with some pretty powerful specs like a dual-core 1 GHZ processor (so everything you do on it from 3D gaming to basic texting is fast and smooth), dual 5 megapixel back cameras with a second front camera for video chat (so you can not only watch 3D but shoot 3D videos too), Android 2.2 (though hopefully it will soon be upgraded to the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread. AT&T and LG also have given the Thrill 4G special 3D apps like a 3D version of YouTube and the LG 3D Space app store so you can make full use of that 3D screen), support for AT&T’s 4G HSPA+ network, and of course that amazing 4.3 inch qHD glasses-free 3D screen (and since it’s a qHD screen everything from those 3D videos and games to your texts and Facebook will look great).
We were pretty impressed when we saw the Thrill 4G, and at just $100 it looks to be a solid deal for AT&T users looking for a powerful phone for back to school but don’t want to pay over $100 (and some places like Target are even offering it for just $80 on contract).
You can see more of the Thrill 4G at AT&T’s preview page here.
That was quick. Today is the day Sprint’s new BlackBerry Bold 9930 and Torch 9850 are finally released, and if you were looking pick up that new Bold 9930 today just got a lot better for you. Sprint has wised-up and dropped the new Bold’s price from the previously announced $250 on new 2 year contract and data plan down to a much better $200 on contract (the Torch 9850′s price is still $150). Specs on the new Bold are still the same, but it’s still nice to see Sprint drop the price the day the phone goes on sale. Let’s hope Verizon and T-Mobile (particularly T-Mobile) drop their prices soon too.
You can order the new Bold 9930 from Sprint here.
Sure it’s no free Xbox 360, but if you were looking for a PS3 for your dorm room now is probably the best time to get one. Sony this week has announced that they have dropped the PS3′s price $50, with the 160 GB version now starting at $249 and the 320 GB version coming in at $299. Sure it’s not a huge price drop, but we’ll gladly take it and it’s a pretty solid deal particularly if you don’t plan on buying a new laptop for school (or aren’t buying one at the minimum $690 to get the Xbox 360 deal).
And it’s even better when you think of everything else a PS3 can do beyond gaming, like watch Blu-ray movies, stream videos from Netflix/Hulu Plus/YouTube, go online from your TV, or even watch games with the MLB.TV or new NFL Sunday Ticket apps (which is also coming to the PS3 this season and you don’t need to have DirecTV to use it. The NFL Sunday Ticket app does need you to pay a pretty expensive $339.95 for the season– or $5 more than what DirecTV subscribers pay– but you do get access to 14 out-of-market games per weekend and the Red Zone Channel, all in HD).
If you’re going off to college and want TV but don’t want to pay the crazy cable/satellite fees (or are just looking to save serious money by ditching cable/satellite entirely), the PS3 and its new price look to be perfect for you.