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Back-to-school laptop deal: Ace remote learning with $250 off this Acer Aspire 5 (Update: Expired)

You can also knock an extra 10% off with a cash-back option. Plus, save 50% on the Shark programmable air pump.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

The Acer Aspire 5 has a roomy display and full-size backlit keyboard, including a numeric keypad -- features students might welcome.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Lots and lots of classrooms will be virtual this fall, meaning it might be time to rethink the "ideal" laptop for students. I usually recommend a 13.3-inch screen, which makes for a lighter, more portable machine, but portability isn't necessarily the driving requirement anymore. Maybe it makes more sense to have a bigger screen, a wider keyboard and other comfort amenities?

Here's a deal worth considering: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Staples has the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54G-54QQ 15.6-inch laptop for $549.99, which is $250 off the regular price. But, hang on, it can get even better.

Today only, cash-back service Rakuten is offering 10% back on Staples purchases. That would bring your net price down to $495 (post-rebate, of course), making an already pretty excellent deal even better. Note: Make sure you visit Rakuten first (and                sign up for an account if you don't already have one), then click through to Staples, then add the Acer to your cart. It must be done in that order.

The Acer Aspire 5 features an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive, a backlit keyboard and a full-HD screen (meaning 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution). It's not a touchscreen, which I don't consider essential in a laptop, but I can see why kids might balk at that. Also, this isn't a convertible, so it can't pivot to work in stand or tablet mode. (Because no touchscreen.)

For straight-up laptop duty, however, it should be solid. That's plenty of horsepower for remote-learning requirements, and it's augmented by a dual-microphone system that promises better audio clarity for webcam meetings. There's also a GeForce MX250 graphics subsystem, which is fairly entry-level but still better than most dedicated graphics chips. Translation: This laptop can handle Minecraft just fine, but it may struggle a bit with Fortnite.

CNET's Joshua Goldman reviewed a slightly different configuration of the Acer Aspire 5 and found it to be excellent overall, the only real dings being the lack of an SD card slot (barely needed nowadays) and build quality that's in line with the price tag.

Assuming your student doesn't insist on a convertible design, this is a well-appointed system at a compelling price -- especially with the cash-back option.

Your thoughts?

Read more: Best laptops for high school students in 2020 that are in stock 

Acer's Aspire 5 delivers premium appeal at a low price

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Inflate all the things and save 50% on the Shark high-pressure portable air pump


Save 50% on this super-luxe air pump.


There are air pumps and there are air pumps, know what I mean? Here's one that can inflate your rafts, tubes, stand-up paddleboards and the like, all with unparalleled automation and efficiency.

For a limited time, and while supplies last, Cheapskate readers can get the OutdoorMaster Shark programmable air pump for $84.99 with promo code SHARK50OFF. That's an exclusive deal and by far the lowest price to date.

Unlike most pumps, the Shark is a pleasure to use. For starters, you can set the desired PSI and then walk away. It uses a two-stage inflation system: the first for speed, the second for pressure. (In other words, it starts fast, then slows to get the perfect PSI.)

Also of note: Few pumps can inflate something like a paddleboard without the need to cool down before going on to the next one. The Shark's cooling system allows it to inflate up to three paddleboards in a row, according to OutdoorMaster.

If you're living the water life (lakes, rivers, the beach) and want a premium pump at a significant discount, grab this while you can.

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