The best back-to-school tech supplies in Australia for 2019

UPDATE: From backpacks to laptops, virus protection to wearables, all your back-to-school tech needs for less listed right here.

The summer holidays are drawing to a close and it's time for the kids to put down their Chrissie presents and hit the books once more.

Given the rising dependance on computers and other technology in our day-to-day life, it's no surprise that the same devices have entered the schoolyards, classrooms and studies of Australian kids. 

But if you're worried that gearing up your children will leave you broke, never fear! Thanks to our handy guide, you won't necessarily have to be spending a mint on kitting out your kids, and the money you do part with will be going to the finest laptops, tablets, smartphones, keyboards, cables and other carefully-selected tech.

Laptops and 2-in-1s

Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 | from $1,999 + free Bose QC35 II on the Microsoft Store

One of the best Windows laptops you can get today comes with a free set of Bose QC35 II wireless noise-cancelling headphones. While the laptops themselves aren't discounted, you do get a darn good pair of cans worth $499 apiece as a bonus, making this a pretty decent bargain.View Deal

Asus Chromebook Flip C302 32GB / 4GB | $690.16 on Amazon Australia

The Chromebook is one of the most affordable ways to get the most out of the 2-in-1 format, and the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 is a great product in the range. While you can get a 32GB SSD, 4GB RAM, Intel Core m3-6Y30 CPU model for $690.16, you can also upgrade to the 64GB SSD, 16GB RAM, Intel Core m7-6Y75 processor version for $1,169.9, both prices of which are discounted.
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Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 i7 / 8GB / 256GB | $999.20 (was $1,599) on eBay

When it comes to the best of both worlds, Dell’s Inspiron 13-inch 2-in-1 combines the intuitive interactivity of a tablet with the power of a laptop, featuring 8GB of RAM, and 8th-gen core i& processor and 256GB of SSD storage. You can knock the price down from $1,599 to just $999.20 using the code POOLTIME at checkout.
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Dell Inspiron 15 5000 laptop i7 / 16GB / 256GB | $1,199 (was $1,999)

If you need a bigger 15-inch display, this $800 discount on a Dell laptop is a great opportunity to go big without spending big. An Intel Core i7-8550U processor alongside 16GB of RAM will help you multi-task like a pro, and while 256GB of storage isn't huge, with the speed of an SSD it'll make for a zippy laptop.
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Asus ZenBook UX430 14-inch i5 / 8GB / 512GB | $1,278.40 (was $1,999) on eBay

This is an excellent deal on a recent ZenBook model from Asus, with an 8th-gen Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, this ultra portable, compact laptop is powerful enough for almost anything school can throw at it. Just be sure to use the code POOLTIME at checkout to reduce the price from $1,999 down to $1,278.40.
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Microsoft Surface Laptop i5 / 4GB / 128GB | $997 at The Good Guys

This premium 13-inch laptop is perhaps one of the best your child can get, or something that will keep you going through uni. While it may not have too much on-board storage, it’s an affordable option to the more expensive models. Plus, you can get an additional 10% off this price via online redemption.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 i5 / 8GB / 128GB | $1,598 at Harvey Norman

This is the 2018 iteration of the excellent Surface Book, with powerhouse performance and Nvidia graphics. And while it admittedly costs a pretty penny, Harvey Norman currently has it for the cheapest price at the moment, discounted to under $1,600 at its half-yearly sale.
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HP Pavilion x360 2-in-1 i5 / 8GB / 256GB | $980 at HP

A 14-inch laptop with a Full HD display and a decent spec sheet usually costs well over the $1K mark, but head to the manufacturer’s website and the HP Pavilion x360 hybrid is a lot more affordable at just a three-figure price tag with 30% off the RRP, but be sure to use the checkout code BACK2SCHOOL30% to avail the discount. Offer ends February 11.
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Asus VivoBook Flip 14 2-in-1 i5 / 8GB / 256GB | $999 at Bing Lee

The spec sheet for this 14-inch convertible is impressive enough to use for the home or for work, and it has more than enough power to ensure your child’s schoolwork gets done. And, with its three-figure price tag, it’s an affordable option that will see your child through high school or uni.
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Microsoft Surface Go (64GB) | $498 at Harvey Norman

This is an ultra-portable 10-inch Windows tablet that can give Apple’s iPad a serious run for its money. And it’s a more affordable option to the Surface Pro range as well. While you’ll be shelling out nearly $600 for the basic model, Harvey Norman currently has it discounted down by over $100.
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Microsoft Surface Go (64GB) + Type Cover | from $669 on the Microsoft Store

While it's possible to find the new tablet from Microsoft for less during big sales, it's not often they come bundled with a type cover, which usually retails for $145 a pop alone. That means the 64GB version of the device bundled with a type cover will set you back $744, but Microsoft can save you $75 if you buy the pair directly from the manufacturer.View Deal

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.5 (Wi-Fi, 32GB) | $378 at Harvey Norman

With an octa-core processor and 3GB of system memory, this 2018 version of Samsung’s popular and affordable Galaxy Tab A has plenty of power to keep tasks ticked off. This Android-toting tablet also features four Dolby Atmos speakers and a whopping 7,300mAH battery for up to 15 hours of battery. And it’s down by $71 at Harvey Norman, available in grey and black.
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Apple iPad 9.7 (6th-gen; 32GB; Wi-Fi) | $429 at Bing Lee

If your child has no need for an Android or Windows tablet, then perhaps Apple’s premium 9.7-inch iPad is the answer. Unfortunately it’s not easy to find iPads for much less than their actual RRP but Bing Lee currently has the cheapest price on the 9.7-inch 6th-generation (2018) iPad, available in Space Grey, Silver and Gold colour options.
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Motorola Moto G6 | $347 at MobileCiti

Like its predecessors, the latest from Motorola is also an excellent budget smartphone. It offers features usually found in high-end handsets, but at a rather affordable price. It retails for only $399 but if you’re comfortable with a grey import, then you can get a dual-SIM for over $50 off.
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Apple iPhone 7 (32GB) | $749 at JB Hi-Fi

Apple has discontinued the very popular iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, but the iPhone 7 is a great replacement. And, being an older model, it’s now cheaper than ever, with JB Hi-Fi currently stocking the Black version of the 32GB iPhone 7 for $749, about $100 less than other major retailers.
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Wearables and accessories

Jabra Elite 65t | $248 on Amazon Australia

These are, perhaps, one of the best true wireless 'buds available right now. They've got excellent sound, a comfortable fit and a decent 5-hour battery life with an additional 20 hours in the case. Although they retail for $299 a pop, it can be yours for $248 if you grab a set from Amazon Australia.View Deal

Jaybird Tarah wireless in-ear sport headphones | $129 at JB Hi-Fi

For those with sportier kids who love their music, or in fact, anyone that wants a pair of durable in-ears that sound incredible, the Jaybird Tarah offer the company’s excellent audio without all the flashier features of the more expensive pairs. You can get it for $40 off the already low price from JB Hi-Fi, bringing down the Black Metallic/Flash and Nimbus Grey/Jade headphones from $169 to $129.
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Bose SoundLink Around Ear II wireless headphones | $298 at VideoPro

Everyone needs a set of wireless headphones, and you can’t go wrong with a Bose. These second-generation SoundLink Around Ear headphones not only feature Bose’s signature sound, but also promise up to 15 hours of battery life. And while they retail for $329 a pop, you can save some dosh on the black set at VideoPro.
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Vtech Kidizoom DX smartwatch | $89 at JB Hi-Fi

Meant for children between the ages of 4 and 12, this smartwatch enables your tots to take pictures (there are two cameras onboard), play games and, more importantly, tell the time. The watch is splashproof, so playing in puddles is allowed, and will also keep tabs on your child’s daily step count. It’s available for an affordable price of just $89 at JB Hi-Fi.
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Fitbit Ace | $89 at JB Hi-Fi

It looks like the Fitbit Alta, but this fitness tracker is for smaller wrists. It boasts a five-day battery life and is great to keep up with your child’s daily activity. And it’s affordable as well, coming in under $100 at JB Hi-Fi.
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High Sierra Daio backpack | $36 at Peter's of Kensington

Update: this is currently out of stock, but keep checking back in case it gets replenished.

This a 32-litre capacity backpack with a large main compartment, pockets for a water bottle, an organiser compartment for keys, pens and smaller items, and the shoulder straps are adjustable. It retails for $69 but you can get it for you kid for $36.

High Sierra Icon Slim 15.6-inch laptop backpack | $29.95 at Bag World

A large front-load compartment and a padded laptop sleeve that fits a 15.6-inch device makes this bag ideal for those who have to carry around not just a laptop but for carrying around a few books as well. It's got a capacity of 23L and is currently massively discounted down to a sweet $29.95 at Bag World. The backpack is available in grey,  black and, for those looking for a splash of colour, wine red.View Deal

High Sierra Composite backpack | $29 at Bag World

Perfect for school or uni, this backpack not only has a padded sleeve for a laptop or tablet, it's also got a large main compartment for books, a pocket with a headphone port, side pockets for a drinks bottle or brolly, and a reflective strip on the front to add to road safety. And it's only $29 right now.View Deal

Samsonite Garde IV 15.6-inch laptop backpack | $104 at Bag World

This backpack is full of surprises, thanks to its expandable storage. Not only will fit a 15.6-inch laptop, it can also be used an overnight back. It has the usual pockets for drink bottles and smaller items, but also has RFID shield zipped pocket and card slot. Plus, it's half price right now.View Deal

Pacsafe Dry 25L anti-theft water-resistant backpack | $189 at Bag World

If you or your child has valuable stuff in the bag, you'd want to know things are as safe as possible – from sneaky fingers and the weather. This 25L backpack has RFID-blocking material and an anti-theft anchor lock. Along with padded shoulder straps, there's also a padded pocket, a hidden zipper compartment and water-resistant lining. It usually retails for $280 a pop, but it can be yours for $189 now.View Deal


McAfee Total Protection | $79.95 for 10 devices

Buying a new Windows device for your child or for your uni needs? You'll want to keep unwanted viruses out of it and for that you need an antivirus. McAfee has been in the business of protecting your data for a long time and is one of the best you can get. The Total Protection package for 10 devices is currently $85 off, down from $165.View Deal

Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 2TB hard drive | $119 on Amazon Australia

This Ultra Slim portable hard drive from Seagate will keep all your (or your child’s) files safe and sound within a 9.6mm thin device that weighs just $136g. Easy to carry around in a backpack, and available in either gold or platinum silver.
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Canon EOS 200D + EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 lens | $675 on Amazon Australia

Is your child interested in photography? Then get them a DSLR that will help them hone their skills. The Canon EOS 200D comes with a user-friendly interface via the rear touch display which includes a guide as well. It’s a great way to start learning, and the kit does produce some excellent results.
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Nikon D3500 + AF-P 18-55 VR + AF-P 70-300 VR lens kit | $747 on Amazon Australia

This 24MP DSLR is also a great starting point for budding young photographers. It replaces the popular D3400 and outdoes its predecessor in many ways. And with two lenses in the kit, there’s plenty of options for excellent photo ops.
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Anker PowerCore 21,000mAh portable charger | $65 on Amazon Australia

Update: this is currently out of stock, but keep checking back in case it gets replenished.

There’s plenty of power in this device to add juice to a smartphone a few times at least. There’s also quick charge available via PowerIQ technology and it’s available for just $65 apiece on Amazon. That’s about half the actual retail value of the device.
View Deal

Back to school shopping tips every parent needs

Back-to-school season can send both parents and students into a tizzy when hunting for the best hardware, peripherals and tools to help them in their studies.

While buying a lot of new items that need to go into a school backpack can make this time of year an expensive one, there are a number of shopping tips you should know to make sure you get the best possible deals on the hardware and gadgets that you – or any student you know – need to make studying at school, college or university, as easy and as fun as possible.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of eight back to school shopping tips that every parent needs to know while searching for back to school sales.

1. Know what you’re looking for

Before you hop frantically between online stores, buying all sorts of gadgets and gizmos for students, you can save yourself a lot of time, money and energy by making a list of the essentials they need to buy.

A student’s needs will vary depending on their age, the academic institution they are attending and the courses they are taking. So it is worth making sure you know what they need before you buy. Talking to teachers or lecturers, and studying any information you or the student have been sent about their course, will help you draw up a list of essentials.

2. Make use of our guides

Not to toot our our own horn (well, OK, maybe a little bit), but we have some excellent back to school guides that can help you find and buy the perfect back to school devices.

If you’re thinking of buying a laptop for yourself, or a student you know, and are not sure where to begin, check out our guide on how to buy the perfect back to school PC for any student.

Then there’s our list of 10 best laptops for college for a rundown of the very best selection.

If you’re looking for a bargain, then check out our best laptop deals page for a constantly-updated list of the very best offers.

We’ve even got a list of the best power banks you can get to make sure your kids’ devices are charged up.

3. Don’t just get flashy devices

We’re all guilty of going for devices with stylish designs that boast tons of features that we’re not realistically going to use, but when buying a laptop – or any other device – for students going back to school, restraint in this area is essential.

As much as we all love to have gorgeously-designed devices we can pull out and wow people with, it can add costs to the overall price of the gadget, and it’s not a priority for students. With laptops being slung in bags, carried around campus and left under piles of clothes, those beautifully-designed bits of hardware won’t look very good for long, so you’d be better off going for something that’s built more robustly.

Having glitzy and glamorous-looking hardware can also make them more appealing for thieves as well.

4. Take advantage of student offers

One of the best things about being a student (apart from all the parties) is that you’re eligible for many money-saving offers, so when back to school season rolls around, make sure you make the most out of these.

For example, Microsoft, Lenovo and Dell offer discounts for students. So if you’re looking for a Windows laptop or a tablet from one of these manufacturers, make sure you out their websites before making a purchase. It could save you some serious cash.

Apple offers discounts for students, so if you’re looking to get a Mac or iPad for school, make sure you check out our guide on how to get a student discount on Apple products – it could save you some serious amounts of cash.

With more student discounts available in the US, Australian students can apply for an International Student Identity Card, giving them access to a number of special deals, even via the Unidays website. Australian students can also check out Student Edge for deals.

5. Don’t be scared of second hand or refurbished kit

You can bag yourself a serious bargain by looking at second hand kit – especially refurbished hardware. This is hardware that has been professionally repaired and often comes with a warranty, so you can buy with confidence that although it is second hand, it is still as good as new.

We’ve partnered with eBay to bring you a guide on why refurbished buying is the perfect way to replace your old laptop.

6. Refresh old hardware

Speaking of old hardware, if you have an ageing laptop that’s not being used much anymore, then it could find a new lease of life as a back to school laptop. If it’s running Windows and feels a bit slow, follow our guide on how to reinstall Windows. This is a great way to give an older machine a new lease of life.

You could also look into upgrading the hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD), which can give the laptop a much needed speed boost.

Finally, you can help prolong the life of an old laptop by replacing Windows with a lightweight Linux distribution. These are operating systems that have been specially designed to run on older hardware, which means you’ll still get a fast and responsive experience no matter the age or power of your machine. Many Windows programs have Linux versions – or there will be (free) alternatives to use. Check out our list of the best lightweight Linux distros to help you choose.

7. Shop on Black Friday or Boxing Day

If you can make a list by November, you can save yourself some serious dosh on back-to-school supplies when the big Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day sales roll around at the end of the year, as shops – both online and traditional stores – cut prices for a huge range of products.

8. Use free software alternatives

Buying software, such as office suites and photo editors can be expensive. While specialist programs needed for certain courses may not have free alternatives, but many common programs do.

So, if you or the student you know needs a word processor, or has to create spreadsheets or presentations, instead of splashing out on Microsoft Office, you could consider installing the excellent free alternative LibreOffice, which has many of the same features. For more choices, check out our best free office software guide.

For students who need to make a lot of presentations, head over to our list of the best free presentation software.

While students are away from home, you’ll want to make sure they – and the devices they use – are fully protected from internet threats, and there are some great free security applications out there.

You’ll also want to make sure that any important coursework is properly backed up – as losing months of hard work and studying can be catastrophic, so make sure you visit our best free file recovery software roundup to help recover any missing files, and our best free backup software list.