As our children begin heading back to school, it’s important that they have the tools they need to succeed. In today’s digital age, that involves more than just pencils and spiral notebooks. Technology is becoming a growing part of the way our kids learn, whether they’re heading back to the classroom or attending classes remotely. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to find great tech at an affordable price.
The Swappa marketplace is filled with gently used tech to fit just about any budget, whether that’s a cheap Chromebook or a high-end MacBook. And if you’re looking to find our favorite iPhones for every budget, we’ve got you covered. But with so many devices to choose from — ranging from tablets to laptops and convertibles — the hardest part is often knowing where to start. To help you navigate the waters, we’re bringing you a list of some of the most popular devices sold on Swappa, along with a few of our best picks in each price category.
Best tech for K-6 students ($100 – $200)
iPad Air 2
The iPad Air 2 was released in October 2014. Although nearly 7 years old, it still makes a great budget option for younger kids going back to school. Hardware specs include a 9.7-inch Retina display, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, Apple’s A8X chip (64-bit), wireless connectivity, and up to 10 hours of battery life.
In addition to a nearly limitless number of productivity apps, the iPad Air 2 is lightweight, making it easy to throw into a bag — and cheap enough that it’s easily replaceable if it gets lost or damaged. While you can still find refurbished models at retailers like Walmart, $349.95 for an iPad Air 2 (16GB) is pretty steep considering you can find a gently used iPad Air 2 starting at $159 on Swappa.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
If you’re looking for another affordable tablet option — but want one that runs on Android — the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is another solid pick. Launched in 2017, it’s two years newer than the iPad Air 2. This allows the Tab S3 to offer a few features absent on the iPad Air 2. For instance, the Tab S3 can use Samsung’s S Pen (digital stylus), allowing users to sketch or jot down notes.
Other hardware specs include a high-resolution 9.7-inch AMOLED display, a relatively fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage with microSD expansion slot, AKG quad-speaker setup, 6,000mAh battery, USB-C charging, 3.5mm headphone jack, and 13MP rear and 5MP selfie cameras.
The tablet was extremely well-reviewed when it first launched at $599. Today, prices are much cheaper, with a used Samsung Galaxy Note Tab S3 starting at $155 on Swappa.
Best tech for high school students ($200 – $400)
iPad 5th Gen
The 5th generation iPad was officially released in March 2017 at $329, as a follow-up to the previous year’s iPad 4th generation. Featuring a 9.7-inch screen, the iPad 5th Gen was well-received, with reviews praising the performance of Apple’s A9 processor and long battery life (roughly 10 hours).
Other specs include a bright display, 2GB of RAM, and your choice of 32GB or 128GB storage configurations. It’s also incredibly thin, measuring in at only 7.5mm thick, which is the same as the original iPad Air. The iPad 5th Gen is a very solid baseline model for those that don’t need Apple Pencil or attachable keyboard support. You get all the basics, in an affordable package.
With iPad 5th Gen prices starting at $202 on Swappa, it’s easy to find a great iPad that won’t break the bank.
Google Pixel Slate
The Google Pixel Slate is easily one of the best Chromebooks available today. That’s because this “Made by Google” Chrome tablet is a great mix of features and power.
The Pixel Slate is an upgrade over the previous generation Google Pixelbook. It serves as a laptop and a tablet — featuring a digital stylus that can be used for jotting down notes, drawing on the multi-touch display, or interacting with native Android apps. This makes the Pixel Slate the spiritual successor to the Pixel C, Google’s Android OS tablet that launched back in 2015.
The Pixel Slate’s hardware configurations range from Intel Celeron to Core M3, Core i5, or Core i7 processors and your choice of 4, 8, or 16GB of RAM. Fully specced out, you’re looking at quite the beast (with a price tag to match). When it first launched, the Pixel Slate was priced at $599 (Celeron 4GB RAM) and went all the way up to $1,599 for the Core i7/16GB RAM config.
In 2019, Google announced the entire Pixel Slate line would be retired, making this unique tablet the last of its kind. The good news is you can still find models on Swappa, with Google Pixel Slate prices starting at $295.
iPad 8th Gen
Apple made a splash when they introduced the 8th Gen iPad last year. The iPad (2020) is the latest iPad available. And with a starting price of $329, it was the king of the budget tablet market.
The iPad 8th Gen offers a handful of upgrade-worthy features, like a 10.2-inch Retina display, much faster A12 chip, Apple Pencil support, and Smart Keyboard folio compatibility. There’s also 3GB of RAM for improved multitasking, making the iPad 8th gen the perfect budget option.
Prices for the iPad (2020) start at $350 on Swappa and go up depending on the storage size and specific carrier model. If you’re looking for a good performing iPad with lots of features, you can’t go wrong with the iPad (2020).
Best tech for college students ($400+)
It’s hard not to get excited over Google’s Pixel hardware. In a world where Chromebooks are typically cheap, lower-end laptops covered in plastic; Google’s Chromebook hardware is a refreshing breath of fresh air.
With a premium, all-metal build and top-notch specs, the Google Pixelbook is a high-end Chromebook that has more than a few tricks up its sleeve. The Google Pixelbook is the thinnest laptop Google has ever made, measuring in at 10.3mm thick.
You’ll also find a 12.3-inch 2400×1600 touch screen display with Pixelbook Pen support, a 360-degree hinge for use in tablet mode, 10-hour battery life, and fast charging!
Although currently retailing for $999, Google Pixelbook prices on Swappa start at $365. Google’s Pixel hardware never lasts long, so if you’re thinking about picking this one up, you’d better act fast.
Google Pixelbook Go
The Google Pixelbook Go is the search giant’s all-new “affordable” Pixelbook entry — and one that carries a more familiar design. This isn’t a tablet hybrid or convertible; it’s a great 13-inch laptop that gets the job done.
The Pixelbook Go has a painted magnesium body that’s just as premium as previous Google Chromebook models, only with smoother edges. And it absolutely nails the basics, offering insane 15-hour battery life, a stellar quick charge feature, excellent backlit keyboard, and rubber bottom that won’t slip around on your lap. This laptop is meant to be used on-the-go, and it does it extremely well (hence the “Go” in the title).
The Pixelbook Go comes in a variety of storage/processor configurations, ranging from the base Intel Core M3 (8GB/64GB) model, all the way to the Core i7 (16GB/256GB) high-end model with a 4K display (yes, really). It simply depends on how much power you need from a Chromebook.
On Swappa, Google Pixelbook Go prices start at $395 and with prices dropping all the time, it won’t be hard to find one that fits into your school budget.
iPad Pro 12.9 2nd Gen
The iPad Pro 12.9 was officially introduced in 2017, alongside an all-new 10.5 model to replace the 9.7-inch version. The iPad Pro 12.9 2nd Gen was more or less a refreshed version of the 2015 iPad Pro 12.9-inch, but that doesn’t mean the new features were anything to sneeze at.
iPad 12.9 2nd Gen upgrades include an improved 120Hz ProMotion display with support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision content, 6-core A10X Fusion chip, and either 64GB or 512GB storage configurations. Arguably the best part about the iPad Pro line is accessory compatibility, with support for Apple Pencil and Apple’s own Smart Keyboard, a folio-type case for enhanced productivity.
For students, the iPad Pro 12.9 2nd Gen could be exactly what you need, whether that’s Apple’s full suite of productivity apps, or Apple’s expansive game lineup when you have a little downtime in between classes. With iPad Pro 12.9 2nd Gen prices starting at $399 on Swappa, you don’t have to spend much to get some of the best hardware Apple has to offer.
No matter what type of device you’re looking to buy, Swappa is the safest and easiest way to buy and sell used tech online. Our No Junk, No Jerks Policy keeps out scams and broken devices; and our listing verification and real 24/7/365 support make sure that every transaction goes through smoothly. So what are you waiting for? Click on the link below to find the best gently used back-to-school tech today, and be sure to check out our Top 10 iPhones roundup if you also want to get a great deal on a newish iPhone!
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