CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Best laptops and tablets to take back to school

It's back-to-school time, which means you have an excuse to buy a new laptop or tablet. Or, y'know, you might also actually need one. Either way, here are your best options.

Daniel Van Boom
1 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar 13-inch

Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro is going to be a go-to for many, especially university students. The range starts at AU$1,899, though you'll have to drop extra ducats to get the luxury of the Touch Bar (AU$2,699).

Razer Blade 2017
2 of 19 Josh Miller/CNET

Razer Blade

Razer's latest Blade laptop gives enough graphical power to play new games, but remains thin and light. Ideal for students who are gamers on the side. 

3 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell XPS 13

Dell's XPS is about as good as Windows laptops get. Plus, the 15-inch model comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card, which will help with video editing, and will allow for light gaming. 

4 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

If you're specifically after a laptop that doubles as a tablet, the two-in-one version of the XPS 13 is one to look at. 

5 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple MacBook Air

Starting at AU$1,499, the MacBook Air, one of the most beloved laptops of all time, is still a reasonable option thanks to its portability. 

Microsoft Surface Book 2
6 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft Surface Book

Starting at AU$1,999, the Surface Book is Microsoft's red-hot go at laptop hardware, and what a go it is. Definitely a strong MacBook alternative, if you're not into the MacOS thing. 

7 of 19 Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

iPad Pro 10.5-inch

Apple's iPads are as good as ever. The Pro may primarily be a tablet, but it's built with productivity in mind, and becomes a nifty laptop when slotted into a keyboard. The 10.5-inch model starts at AU$979, with the Smart Keyboard costing an additional AU$235.

Razer Blade Stealth (13-inch, 2017)
8 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Razer Blade Stealth

Razer isn't just about gaming: Its 13-inch Blade Stealth laptop gives you a touchscreen and an i7 processor in a slick design, starting from AU$2,200.

9 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

HP Spectre x360

HP's Spectre x360 is one of the most beautiful two-in-one laptops ever -- but do yourself a favour and get the version with a full-HD display, it boasts better battery life than the 4K variant.

10 of 19 Ian Knighton/CNET

HP Omen 15

Thin and light isn't for everyone. If you're after more of a bruiser, one that'll let you play new games, HP's Omen range is a good start. You can get one from AU$1,798 at JB Hi-Fi, but if you've got the cash, you can shell out AU$2,599 for one equipped with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card.

11 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft's enduring Surface Pro laptop/tablet hybrid is as viable as ever. It starts at AU$1,199, but it's worth spending extra, like, say, AU$1,499, to get one powered by a Core i5 processor rather than the Core m3 chip in the base model.

12 of 19

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Tablets aren't just for Apple fans. Samsung's Galaxy Tab S3 is an elegant tablet that comes with a stylus -- which is nice, since many competitors require you to fork out extra for that. It starts at AU$949. 

Apple Macbook 12-inch 2017
13 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple MacBook 2017

Apple's MacBook stands somewhere between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, and is as thin and light as premium laptops get. You'll pay for that, though: The range starts at AU$1,899.

14 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo Miix 510

Lenovo's Miix 510 has put a target on the Microsoft's Surface Book. It's a great machine, and it's a touch cheaper too: the Core i7 processor model sells for AU$1,399.

15 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Wacom MobileStudio Pro

This is for the artists among us. The Wacom MobileStudio Pro isn't cheap, starting at AU$3,199, but if you're studying something in an arts field, its 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and Pro Pen 2 are very useful.

16 of 19 Josh Miller

Samsung Galaxy Book

Apple and Windows aren't the only ones offering good tablets. Samsung's 10.6-inch Galaxy Book is a tablet that works great as a laptop. It starts at  AU$1,099, and AU$1,299 for a cellular version.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming late 2017
17 of 19 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dell Inspiron 15 7000

Dell's Inspiron 15 7000 series is an economic way to game. You can get a machine powered by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti from AU$1,499.

18 of 19

Dell Inspiron 2-in-1

Dell's Inspiron two-in-one is one of the best midrange laptops out there. It starts at AU$1,798, for which you'll get a new, eighth-gen Intel i5 CPU. 

19 of 19 Josh Miller

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon

Need a laptop that can last all day? Lenovo's excellent Thinkpad X1 is a productivity laptop that lasts and lasts and lasts. 

More Galleries

Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

16 Photos
CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

9 Photos
2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: concept cars

2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: concept cars

14 Photos
Best sound bars under $300

Best sound bars under $300

18 Photos
2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke reports for diesel duty
2018 Ford F-150 diesel

2018 Ford F-150 Power Stroke reports for diesel duty

22 Photos
Music-friendly cell phone accessories

Music-friendly cell phone accessories

11 Photos
Cosplay at Comic-Con 2016: From Stormtroopers to Sansa Stark

Cosplay at Comic-Con 2016: From Stormtroopers to Sansa Stark

34 Photos