Productivity Windows

Deals & Tips for Going Back to School with a Windows Device

Gavin Phillips 02-09-2015

Summer days are drawing in and Fall is just around the corner. And that only means one thing: school is coming, so it is time to get prepared. It’s a great time to invest in new hardware When Is the Best Time to Buy a Computer? 5 Things to Keep in Mind Looking to buy the best new computer for the best lowest price? When is the best time to buy a new laptop or computer? Read More  and luckily MakeUseOf is here to lend a guiding hand in our favorite subject areas of technology, devices, apps, and deals.


Windows 10: Back to School

If you are heading into a new school or starting a new course, you want to be equipped New to Windows? These Tips Will Help You Survive Many kids these days go through school using iPads, Macs, and Android tablets. Sooner or later, though, most people encounter Windows. Learn about the OS and tips on mastering it! Read More . It isn’t as easy as buying a pad and pen as our classrooms increase their digital device usage, with some schools providing students with leased tablets, while others experiment with teacher/student interaction in the digital sphere.

Microsoft realizes the back to school period can be trying, and have whipped up some pretty reasonable discounts on the Surface Pro 3 and its lightweight sibling, the Surface 3. Students or teachers purchasing via the Microsoft Store can score discounts of up to $150, plus another $100 on select devices using promotional code SAVE100 at the checkout.

Windows 10 Save100

The Surface Pro 3 The Laptop And Tablet Killer: Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Announced Available for pre-order on May 21 and hitting store shelves on June 20 is Microsoft's brand new Surface Pro 3. The device features a 12-inch 2160x1440 display, significantly larger than the previous Surface Pro 2's. Read More is a highly rated hybrid device, coming with a 12″ touchscreen, Windows 10 Pro, and an Intel i3, i5, or i7 processor to speed your studies. Discounts are available on the following models:

  • 64GB Intel Core i3 1.5GHz 4GB RAM
  • 128GB Intel Core i5 1.9GHz 4GB RAM
  • 256GB Intel Core i5 1.9GHz 8GB RAM
  • 256GB Intel Core i7 1.7GHz 8GB RAM
  • 512GB Intel Core i7 1.7GHz 8GB RAM

Also up for grabs is a Surface Pro 3 Bundle, starting from $1068. For parting with your pennies, you’ll receive your selected Surface Pro 3 device, your choice of Type Cover and Surface sleeve, a 2-year warranty, and 1-year of Office 365.


Surface Pro 3 Bundle

As mentioned, Microsoft is also discounting the versatile Surface 3, and with many of these deals you’ll have a 1-year subscription to Office 365 Personal thrown in. The Surface 3 has a lower entry price, and features an Intel Atom processor, but still provides a sleek 10.8″ hybrid workstation for your studies. The Surface 3 deals come in these flavors:

  • 64GB 2GB RAM WiFi
  • 64GB 2GB RAM WiFi and 4G LTE
  • 128GB 4GB RAM WiFi
  • 128GB 4GB RAM WiFi and 4G LTE

Similar to its bigger sibling, the Surface 3 has its own bundle deal featuring the device of your choice, choice of Surface Pen, Type Cover, and Surface sleeve, as well as Microsoft Complete Accident Protection.

Surface vs Surface Pro


Finally, we have the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 11. It is tiny, with an 11″ screen, a 32GB SSD, and an Intel Celeron N3050, but don’t let that fool you. It runs Windows 10 extremely well, and given the laptop comes with Office 365 Personal and a 1TB OneDrive, it’ll be an excellent note-taking accomplice OneNote Is Now Truly Free With More Features Than Before Evernote no longer rules the roost of note taking apps. Microsoft recently announced OneNote would be more free than ever before. Let us show you what this means in terms of features and functionality. Read More for your lectures.

Windows 8 Devices

Windows 10 was released over a month ago. Retails are beginning to see the first waves of Windows 10 specific devices Best Windows 10 Ready Hardware & What It Means Some of Windows 10's new features require special hardware. We show you what to look out for and which devices best support Cortana, Windows Hello, and Continuum. Do you really need it? Up to you! Read More entering stock. The new operating system, combined with some new hardware features means prices on Windows 8 devices are falling When Is the Best Time to Buy a Computer? 5 Things to Keep in Mind Looking to buy the best new computer for the best lowest price? When is the best time to buy a new laptop or computer? Read More all the time; perfect for you and I.

Windows 8 Ecosystem

As well as this, if you purchase any Windows 8 or 8.1 device between now and next July, you’ll be eligible for the free Windows 10 upgrade. It is excellent, really, as you’ll have the best of both worlds: a run with Windows 8 or 8.1 working at the peak of its abilities, plus just under a year for Microsoft to iron out the Windows 10 kinks, delivering you a pristine operating system when you do decide to upgrade 10 Compelling Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10 Windows 10 is coming on July 29. Is it worth upgrading for free? If you are looking forward to Cortana, state of the art gaming, or better support for hybrid devices - yes, definitely! And... Read More .


Depending on your requirements, this 32GB Asus Transformer Book 10.1 is currently on sale at $189.99, filling both your laptop and tablet needs. Or, if it’s just a tablet you’re after, this refurbished Dell Venue 11 Pro with a 1.6GHz Intel i5 and 128GB is currently retailing at $349.99. If it isn’t one of those, Amazon is currently running their own massive Back to School deal season, so have a look.

Transformer Book

Once you have your Windows 8 device, you can upgrade to Windows 10. One of the best new features of Windows 10 is Continuum Continuum: Switch Between Windows 10 Desktop & Tablet Mode Windows 10 recognizes your hardware and instantly chooses the best display mode. When you connect your Windows 10 Mobile to a larger screen, you'll get a PC-like experience. That's the smoothness of Continuum. Read More , a feature designed with tablet and hybrid device users in mind. The operating system senses the connection or disconnection of peripheral devices and adjusts the user interface based upon the device setup, meaning you have to spend less time considering a desktop, laptop, or tablet.

Back to School Apps and Software

You’ll need to take notes and write essays on your return. With that in mind, you can pick up 4-year subscription to Office 365 University for only $79.99, allowing installation on two devices, as well as a 1TB OneDrive account. Considering a single year license for Office 365 Home is $99.99, this really is a steal.


Office 365 University

If Office 365 isn’t your cup of tea, you could always search for a cheap Office 2013 license or use one of the free Office alternatives Which Office Suite Is Best for You? You'll be pressed to find an occupation that doesn't require word or number processing of some sort. And you may wonder, is Microsoft Office really the best solution? Here are your options. Read More . Microsoft Office 2016 A Microsoft Office 2016 Preview: Smart & Subtle Changes Office 2016 for Mac was just released and the Windows version will follow in the fall. We show you the new look and features of the world's most popular productivity suite. Will you upgrade? Read More is drawing ever nearer, and much like the reduction in price for Windows 8 devices, Office 2013 licenses are beginning to see some downward market pressure. However, Office 2013 doesn’t get updated to Office 2016, so it could be worth waiting for the new, or sitting tight and waiting for further price reductions on the older software.

Now we’ve some handy apps to keep you organized How To Keep Your Digital Life Organized In The New Year Clutter is the death of organization. How much time does it take away from you every day? What if you could become more efficient while expending less effort? Read More in the early days of your new year.


Eduplanner comes with a comprehensive calendar overview to keep track of your classes, assignments, deadlines, and social events. A major comparative bonus is the simple note-taking tool, though other features, such as the event notifications need slightly more work.


My Study Life

This is a cloud based cross-platform planner Microsoft Is Nurturing Cross-Platform Productivity Tools Microsoft's collection of productivity apps is ever growing. We have compiled an overview of the apps that keep you working smoothly. We also explore how new additions will enhance the current suite. Read More , working to keep your schedule updated across your devices, optimized to keep your life moving even when your offline. With daily, weekly, and monthly rotations it should keep your work up to date.


Office Online

If you don’t fancy forking out for an older version of Office, or even the latest, why not try free-to-use Office Online Yes, Get Microsoft Word for Free: Here's How Don't want to pay for the full Microsoft Word experience? Here are some ways on how you can use Microsoft Word for free. Read More ? It comes with Word, Excel, Sway, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Outlook, with each web app featuring almost the full spectrum of features, plus access to a massive swathe of templates.

Office Online


OneNote is a free to use How to Use OneNote for School: 10 Tips for Students and Teachers Microsoft OneNote can transform the classroom. Find out why the note-taking app is designed for both students and teachers. Read More note taking application developed by Microsoft. Featuring on all major platforms including iOS, ChromeOS, and Fire OS, OneNote is well designed premium-tier application you can download and use for free, bringing productivity 5 Ways to Get Productive With Microsoft OneNote Do you feel the need for an offline organization tool that also exists on the web? Surprisingly, Microsoft has come up with the perfect solution - OneNote. Read More  to both student and teacher.



I’ve been using Wunderlist to keep track of each place I write for, my kids’ timetables, as well as my personal life. And the other million lists we make daily can easily fit into the easy list making app you can share with and collaborate on with the most important people in your life.

Zamora Time

My timekeeping was utterly terrible until I began using the Pomodoro technique, and I know there are other MUO authors who use this to power through their day. Zamora Time is a useful implementation of this time management technique as an app, coming with measurement metrics for time worked, tasks completed, and much more.


Back to School Roundup

You might be nervous. You might be thrilled. You might be super excited, or wholly despondent about your return to learning. However you’re feeling, don’t let your first few days phase you. Whether you’re going into your first year or you’re a hardened third year, you start with your best foot forward by arriving fully prepared and get ready to learn!

Looking forward to heading back to school? Or are you dreading it? Let us know below!

Related topics: Buying Tips, Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Surface, Note-Taking Apps, Organization Software.

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