Introducing Engadget’s back-to-school buying guide

All the gear you need to start this unconventional semester off right.

Will Lipman Photography

Happy summer, friends! Yes, you read that headline right -- Engadget is already thinking about the approaching semester. To get ahead of the game, we’re thrilled to debut our 2020 back-to-school buying guide. Like the rest of 2020 so far, the start of the fall semester is shaping up to be unprecedented -- and not for the greatest reasons. Many will not be returning to campus at the end of August or right after Labor Day, but classes will begin and students will be expected to get into the academic mindset nonetheless. That’s challenging under normal circumstances, but it’ll be even more difficult this year.

We want to help college and university students everywhere by making sure they’re fully equipped to start the academic year off right -- and that includes having the information they need to make smart buying decisions. The product recommendations in this year’s guide cover tangible items like laptops and streaming devices as well as digital tools like personal budgeting software and organization apps.

While we picked out most recommendations by thinking about which are best for school work and studying, we also included gadgets that can help you unwind when you need a break from classes. We’ve also made a point to include free and affordable options, and we put together a list of the best discounts available to people with .edu email addresses (think: deals from retailers like Amazon, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, among others). We hope our recommendations and buying advice can lift some of the metaphorical weight off your shoulders as you prepare to go back to school -- especially if an appearance on campus isn’t in the cards just yet.

Engadget’s 2020 Back-to-school buying guide

Back to school buying guide 2020

How to buy a laptop for school

The best laptops for students

The best laptops to use for schoolwork and gaming

The best study-from-home-essentials to keep you on track

The best gadgets for school under $50

The best student discounts we found for 2020

How to keep track of your finances as a student

The best organization apps for students

How to pick the best gaming subscription for you

All the gear you need to game-stream like a pro

The best headphones, speakers and audio gear for students

The best budget TVs and gaming devices for students

The best gear to help you stay fit during the school year

The best educational apps to stay sharp throughout the school year