It might feel like summer has only just started, but it's not long until schools and universities start their autumn terms. Which means one thing: back to school sales!
Whether you're heading back to the classroom or lecture hall, you'll need some new tech to help you through. We've rounded up the best headphones, speakers and tablets that will take your work – and play – to the next level.
Best back to school Apple tablet deals
Apple tablets are some of the best around, but they don't come cheap. Usually, that is...
Student discount on all Apple tablets with UNiDAYS
Sign up through the UNiDAYS service and you can grab a discount on all kinds of Apple products. Not only that, you can get a free pair of AirPods when you buy an iPad or Mac, 20 per cent off AppleCare, and heavily discounted software to boot.
Apple iPad Air 4 64GB wi-fi
£580 £539 at Amazon (save £41)
It's unusual to see a big discount on a brilliant, 2020 iPad Air so this Amazon deal is a bit of a unicorn. Stock is low right now, so don't delay if you want to secure this saving.
Apple iPad Mini
£399 £369 at Amazon (save £30)
Head over to Amazon and you can bag a tidy £30 off the excellent iPad Mini with 7.9-inch Retina display. And of course, this model comes with free Apple TV Plus streaming for a year. Bargain.
Apple iPad Pro (2020) 512GB
£1069 £815 at Amazon (save £254)
Here's one of the best tablet deals we've seen all year, on the 11in 2020 iPad Pro. Apple might have unveiled its successor but the 2020 Pro still boasts Apple's insanely-fast A12Z Bionic processor and a superb Liquid Retina display. And now with a hefty saving.
Best back to school Amazon tablet deals
Amazon's tablets are much more affordable, but still very capable.
Amazon Fire HD 8 £89.99 at Amazon
A seriously cheap price for a feature-packed Fire HD tablet. It's built for entertainment rather than work, but this deal gets you a decent 8in display, 10 hour battery life and Alexa voice control. Our advice? Grab one while you can.
All-new Amazon Fire HD 10 (32GB) £149.99 at Amazon
The 2021 Fire HD 10 is said to offer a 10-inch display that's "10 per cent brighter" than the 2019 model. It's also go more RAM. There's also a pricer 'Plus' version, billed as Amazon's "most powerful tablet ever".
Amazon Fire HD 7 16GB £49 at Amazon
The 2019 version of Amazon's cheapest tablet boasts more power and more storage than the old model. You get a 7in screen and, thanks to Alexa, you can use your voice to play videos, educational or otherwise.
Best back to school Samsung tablet deals
Looking for something in between? Samsung's tablets sit between Apple's pricey models and Amazon's wallet-friendly ones, but still deliver plenty of bang for your buck.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 32GB
£189 £128 at Amazon (save £61)
This deal gets you a big discount on Samsung's budget tablet with 8in display and 32GB of storage. This model isn't the newest, so grab the discount before stock runs dry.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ wi-fi 128GB
£799 £689 at Amazon (save £110)
The S7+ is Samsung's latest challenger to the iPad Pro. It features a gorgeous 11in LED screen, Dolby Atmos sound, and a redesigned S Pen stylus for scribbling away. And with this discount, why wouldn't you?
Best back to school Microsoft tablet deals
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 128GB
£899 £704 at Amazon (save £195)
This is one of the biggest and best tablet deals around. It gets you a big chunk off this multi-tasking marvel, which boasts a 12.3in PixelSense display with facial recognition.
Best back to school wireless headphones deals
Wireless headphones are the future. Whether you're exercising or hitting the books, you won't be tethered to your sound source, giving you much more freedom of movement.
£330 £269 at Amazon (save £61)
Sony’s premium wireless noise-cancelling headphones deliver a sonic masterclass. And nothing really lets that down – battery life, build, comfort and usability are all great for the money.
Shure Aonic 50 ANC wireless
£380 £207 at Amazon (save £173) Given this is new ground for Shure, the Aonic 50 are a solid first attempt at a pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones. They offer outstanding levels of detail, a clear and clean sound and solid bass. That'll do.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
£350 £299 at Amazon (save £51)
Looking for a premium pair of noise-cancelling headphones to make a statement? Look no further than these Bose over-ears. Comfort and aesthetics are spot-on and sonically they do a fine job of entertaining the listener.
AKG N60NC ANC
£200 £109.95 at eBay (save £90.05)
"They are compact, convenient and affordable – in fact, they're one of the best wireless headphones we've heard at the money". That's what we said of these great cans on review – and that was at the asking price of £200. A £90 saving makes them ideal for students.
Sony WH-CH710N ANC
£130 £77 at Amazon (save £53)
We haven't tested these wireless ANC headphones but they promise an upgrade over their predecessors, the WH-CH700N, which we liked for their detailed, musical performance and great battery life.
Bose QC 35 II ANC
£330 £159 at Peter Tyson (save £171)
Prefer Bose? The Sonys above might sound superior, but if you're happy to sacrifice a bit of sonic ability in the name of excellent comfort and a much cheaper price, these Bose have to be serious contenders.
Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless
£349 £279 at Sevenoaks (save £70) These superb-sounding Sennheiser wireless noise-cancelling headphones are excellent all-rounders, and with some serious money off, they're great value too.
- Check out the best noise-cancelling headphones for cutting out distractions
Best back to school true wireless earbuds deals
True wireless earbuds mean even greater freedom – ideal for exercising, or for a minimalist approach to the daily commute.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
£179 £79.99 at Amazon (save £99.01)
Samsung's jelly bean-shaped buds are some of the most unusual-looking we've ever seen. Specs are thorough, with active noise cancelling, 21 hours of life (six from the buds, 15 from the carry case) and Bluetooth 5.0.
£230 £149 at Amazon (save £81)
They've been superseded by the WF-1000XM4, but the XM3 are still an amazing pair, combining effective active noise-cancelling with a real sense of musicality. And at almost £100 cheaper than the XM4, they're a great bargain.
Apple AirPods Pro
£249 £185 at Laptops Direct (save £64)
The AirPods Pro are exceptionally comfortable, deliver strong noise-cancelling and produce a balanced, easy-going sound. As well suited to a long-haul flight as they are to a run around the block, they could be the only pair of headphones you ever need for school, college, uni and beyond.
£129 £59 at Amazon (save £70)
If you're getting active between classes, these true wireless buds are a great buy. An 18-hour battery life is top drawer, and the IPX4 rating means you can take them out and brave the elements. Well, it's called the autumn term for a reason...
Beats Powerbeats Pro
£220 £163 at Amazon (save £57)
We're fans of the Powerbeats Pros for a number of reasons. Build quality is excellent, as is their fit and list of useful features. These true wireless earbuds come into their own for exercise, so this new low price shouldn't be sniffed at.
Apple AirPods 2 (2019)
£159 £119 at Laptops Direct (save £40)
Technically and sonically better than before, the second generation AirPods offer unbeatable usability and decent sound quality. This model has the standard charging case, not the wireless one.
- These are the best true wireless earbuds
Best back to school wired headphones deals
Prefer a wired pair? Old school. But the sound quality is usually better than wireless.
Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd
£69 £65 at Amazon (save £4)
Chirpy-sounding and relatively cheap, the Soul Byrds are a superb pair of affordable in-ear headphones. It's not a huge discount, admittedly. But when you're a student, every penny counts.
Best back to school wireless speaker deals
Don't fill your student digs with wires, use wireless speakers instead.
Sony SRS-XB33 wireless speaker
£150 £119 at Amazon (save £31)
Planning a party at the start of term? This could be the wireless speaker for you, especially with a decent saving. It boasts 24-hour battery life, is rugged enough to survive bumps and knocks, and the sound is suitably big and bold.
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) £39 at Amazon
An easy and excellent way to get your smart home started, the Echo Dot works well on its own or can be integrated into other smart home and AV products. Music streaming is just a voice command and £39 away.
JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth speaker
£120 £99 at RicherSounds (save £21)
Small, pocketable and perfect for your travels, the Flip 4 is a talented little Bluetooth speaker with 12-hour battery life and a £21 saving at Richer Sounds.
JBL Go 2 wireless speaker
£30 £20 at Amazon (save £10)
Speakers don't come much more portable than this little number. It's very affordable – especially now – sounds great, and comes in a range of bright, pearlescent colours. Small, bright and fun – it really is hip to be (almost) square. Take it everywhere with you.
- The best wireless speakers for all budgets
Best back to school desktop speaker deals
Wired models will give you a fuller sound. Right, you'll listen to your lecture notes on them...
Triangle Borea BR03 standmounters
£399 £338 at Amazon (save £61)
You'll struggle to find a pair of speakers that sound so sophisticated for the money. And they're now even more attractive thanks to this extra Amazon discount.
B&W 606 speakers
£549 £450 at Peter Tyson (save £99)
Save £99 on these Award-winning Bowers & Wilkins speakers, which combine great looks with class-leading sound. They're a great size – just right for a uni dorm – and deliver an upbeat and entertaining sound.
KEF Q350 speakers
£530 £495 at Amazon (save £35)
If these Award-winning KEFs weren't already on your shopping list, this decent saving should tempt you.
Q Acoustics 3030i speakers
£329 £274 at Sevenoaks (save £55)
On the hunt for a pair of budget bookshelf speakers? How about this five-star pair from Q Acoustics? Give them a bit of space to let the bass ports breathe and you'll be able to sit back and enjoy their wonderfully dynamic sound.
Q Acoustics 3020i speakers
£249 £199 at Amazon (save £50)
Small and sonically gifted, these excellent bookshelf speakers are a great budget buy and you can now save £50 to spend on, er, textbooks.
Q Acoustics 3010i standmounts:
£199 £159 at Amazon (save £40)
"Exemplary budget bookshelf speakers for smaller living spaces", as we concluded in our five-star review. (And what are school and uni all about but smaller living spaces?) The 3010i are among the most engaging of their kind at this level.