10 Essential Back-to-School Gadgets
10 Essential Back-to-School Gadgets
by Nathan Eddy
Apple MacBook Air Is Lightweight, Stylish ($899)
The standard 11-inch design costs under $1,000, but the 13-inch model with 256GB of storage is just $1,200 and boasts an extraordinary battery life, fast processing speeds, and a thinness and lightness that are unbeatable. Add to that Apple's famous design panache, and you've got a super-slim, sexy workhorse that you can take pretty much anywhere.
Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-Inch Is a Top Tablet ($429)
This lightweight, large-screen tablet could be the answer to lugging around backpack loads of books, as well as an entertainment center where you can kick back and catch up on "Game of Thrones" when you really should be studying Chaucer. Dual cameras, a quad-core processor, and more than 100,000 apps and games available in the Amazon Appstore make this a tough tablet to beat.
Livescribe 3 Smartpen Stores Your Scribbles ($149.95)
Available for iOS devices, the pen pairs directly to the Livescribe+ app on your smartphone or tablet through Bluetooth Smart for live, real-time syncing of what you write or draw. It also uses a built-in microphone from the mobile device to record audio that is synchronized to everything you put on paper—so long, cramped hands!
Space Bar Organizes Your Life in Style ($89.99)
Invented by a computer lab teacher, the Space Bar, available in white, black or sleek brushed aluminum, is a storage solution offering six additional USB ports. It also holds the monitor off the desktop so you can slide your keyboard below, while creating shelf space to hold other items, like keys, phone or a digital camera.
LaCie Hard Disk Triple 1TB Is Rugged ($149.99)
Storage space is essential, but so is protection from the rough and tumble nature of college life. The Rugged Triple conforms to military standard 810-F and can support drops from up to 2 meters, thanks to its shock-absorbing sleeve, aluminum anti-scratch casing, internal rubber bumpers and a 1000g shock-resistant hard drive. It also offers easy setup and automatic backup on both PC and Mac computers, and features an automatic Eco mode that lowers the power consumption by up to 40 percent when not in use.
Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth Speaker Drops Wireless Beats ($99.99)
Bring the party wherever you want with the Jambox, a wireless portable speaker that connects with mobile phones, computers, tablets, iPods or any other Bluetooth device and comes in a variety of colors. Your experience can be updated with apps, software and new features via Jawbone's MyTalk portal, with the device offering up to 10 hours of power from an internal rechargeable battery.
Epson XP-410 Makes Wireless Printing Easy ($69.99)
Print, copy, scan and more—get all the performance you need from the quiet, user-friendly XP-410. The printer delivers the complete wireless solution, allowing you to print from anywhere in your home with WiFi or to even print from your tablet or smartphone. As a bonus, built-in card slots, a 2.5-inch LCD screen and a convenient touch panel make it easy to print borderless, customized photos in various layouts, PC-free.
Snap on a Fitbit to Track Your Health ($97.93)
A surefire way to avoid the Freshman 15 (usually incurred by a diet of copious amounts of pizza and beer) is an easy way to track your fitness habits, as well as your sleep schedule, such as it is. The Fitbit tracks steps, distance and calories burned, and shows you how you're stacking up against your daily goals. You can also access your stats anytime on your computer, tablet, or from Apple and Android smartphones.
Mophie Juice Pack Plus Keeps You Charged ($109.95)
Built for the iPhone 5, the Mophie delivers a big boost to your phone's battery life, with talk time of up to an additional 10 hours on 3G and Internet use of up to an additional 10 hours on 3G as well as an additional 10 hours on LTE and 12 hours on WiFi. A four-LED light status indicator tells you how much juice you have left in the case for charging, and an impact-resistant protective dual-injected case with a shockproof band keeps the handset protected.
Clocky Runaway Alarm Clock Gets You Up ($59)
Maybe it's not the gadget you want, but believe me, you'll need it from time to time. This alarm clock does not give up that easily; if the snooze function is activated after the first wakeup call, Clocky will not only beep for the next try—it starts rolling around in the room, forcing you to get up and shut it off. Then you're already out of bed—it worked!