Blog Archives

Back To School 2012: Why You Should Hold Off On Buying That New Computer

teens back to school computer

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. Read the rest of this entry

Microsoft Brings Back Their Back-To-School Deal– But Is It Worth It?

windows xbox college deal

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 yearAnd 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.

windows 8 samsung series 5 hybrid 1The 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.

Reminder: Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Back To School Deal Ends This Saturday

xbox 360 back to school deal

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.

 

Looking For Textbooks For The Upcoming School Year? Then You Should Definitely Check Out Amazon

kindle textbook rentals

Viewing Kindle Textbooks from your computer

Before you run out to buy those textbooks for the upcoming school year you should really first go to Amazon. Amazon’s Kindle bookstore is now renting out textbooks at up to 80% off the price of the paper version of the same textbook. Yeah, this could be some major savings.

So here’s how the new textbook renting service works. You download the Amazon Kindle app for your PC, Mac, phone or tablet (that’s right– you don’t even need a Kindle), find the textbook you need in the Textbooks Store on Amazon’s site (they have “tens of thousands” available),  pick how long you need it for (anywhere from 30 days to a 360 days) and check out. That’s it. And if you find out that you need more time you can always extend the rental (from one more day to however many days you need to even buying the textbook outright if that makes more sense for you).

Once you check out you can read your textbook on any of the above devices so long as it has that Kindle app installed. You can even make notes which are saved online (at kindle.amazon.com) and viewable even after you “returned” the textbook (and if you re-rent the textbook later your notes will return to the places you made them).

So yeah, the textbook you need, for when you need it, at a much cheaper price AND it can fit anywhere from your computer to your pocket? Sounds like a great deal to us.

For more info on this awesome new deal from Amazon see their site here. If you want to see if they have the textbooks you need you can search their entire store here. And stay tuned– we’ve got a lot more to come to help make sure you’re ready for the upcoming school year.

Looking For A New PC For College? How About A Free New Xbox 360 To Go With It? (UPDATE: It Will Also Work For High School Students)

windows xbox college deal

Thought Apple’s usual back to school deal of a free iPod Touch with a new Mac was a good deal if you were looking for a new computer for college? Well this year we think you’re gonna wanna hear what Microsoft’s offering first. Beginning this Sunday, May 22nd, and running through September 3rd Microsoft will be giving away free 4 GB Xbox 360s with all new PC purchases of $699 or higher. 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). What? As we all know school, particularly college, is very stressful and there are many educational benefits to video games.

Sadly this deal looks to be for college students only so anyone looking for a new PC for high school won’t be able to take advantage of this offer (unless of course you have a college bound friend or sibling with the proper ID that’s willing to help you out). We’ve reached out to Microsoft to see if there are any deals for high school students and will update if we hear anything back.

So, what’s it gonna be for your new college computer– Mac and iTouch or PC and Xbox 360?

UPDATE: As Katie pointed out in the comments, this deal will work for high school students as well. If you are buying in a store (like at a Best Buy) all you have to do show your student ID and you should be ok (though to be on the safe side give your local store a call before you go in to make sure they are doing this deal and will accept a high school ID). If you’re buying online (like at Dell.com, HP.com etc.), and you don’t have a .edu email address, you should try chatting with an online sales rep or calling the company’s sales line (the phone numbers are usually listed at the top of the sites) to get the proper account numbers and links for where to buy your new PC and get your free Xbox.

[Thanks Katie!]

Via the Windows Blog

Five Different Versions of Windows 7–Which Is Right for You

windows 7 logo 3

So let’s begin our Windows 7 coverage with trying to simplify the many different versions of the OS. Unlike with Apple’s Snow Leopard, where it’s more of a one-size fits-all approach, with Windows 7 you got a nice selection of editions: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate and Happy-Go-Lucky… Ok, fine, we just made up the happy go lucky part, but as you can see, there are a whole lot of different versions, and so let’s try to simplify that into what you should looking for when getting a Windows 7 upgrade or when looking for a new PC, and what you should be looking for specs wise to make sure whatever version of 7 you get works well.

Read the rest of this entry

Windows 7 Out Now!

windows 7 logo

Today is October 22nd, and you know what that means: Windows 7 is out! This is the day anyone using Vista has been waiting for. Microsoft has officially made Windows 7 available for purchase. In the coming days we’ll be doing a ton of coverage of Microsoft’s awesome new OS (it is truly awesome– I’ve been using it on a couple different PC’s for a few months now, and am really loving  it. It’s just so fast and easy, and not Vista) and how it relates to you.

In the meantime however, go on and check out our first thoughts that we posted a few months back, and if anyone out there already got 7 and wants to share their thoughts on the OS, or if anyone has any questions about 7, feel free to post them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them in the coming days.

You can get Windows 7 now from your local Best Buy, Walmart, or other local computer store now, or order it online from Amazon and Microsoft‘s own sites among many other online retailers.

Need for Speed: Shift– All the Info You Need to Know

need for speed shift pic 1

Over the last couple of weeks you may have seen some sick new ads for the upcoming next version of the hit, Need for Speed franchise– Need for Speed: Shift. The new game looks to continue the series’ awesome reputation for racing games, while adding some sick new things to raise the bar. So what’s new? Read on to find out!

Read the rest of this entry

Microsoft Announces Windows 7 Release Date

windows 7 logo

Can’t wait for Windows 7 to come and finally replace the troubled Vista and old XP and finally do battle with Apple’s Mac OS X?

Today is your lucky day: Microsoft finally announced when you’ll be able to get the awesome OS. Mark your calendars for October  22nd, a little under 5 months away!

Why are we so excited bout this? Check out our review of the Release Candidate (a final test version before release), and we bet you’ll very quickly be excited too!

Windows 7 – First Look

windows 7 logo

As promised in our Netbook vs Notebook post, here is our review of the Windows 7 Release Candidate, the final chapter of the test version for the lasted Windows software. Over the past two weeks, I must say this is what everyone wanted Vista to be: a good, fast, USABLE operating system, which is 1000x better than Vista, and probably up there with XP and Apple’s Mac OS X. Dont believe me? Keep Reading. Read the rest of this entry