August 2nd, 2018 | Updated on November 7th, 2020
A new school year is upon us. It’s just about time to go back to school. But who says campus life can’t include work and play.
The best back-to-school gear available this season will be high tech. From laptops and antivirus software to routers and backpacks, here’s all the tech gear your student will need for the new school semester.
Whether you’re shopping for your close one or are looking to update your own tech lineup, our back-to-school guide will show you something worth your time and money. Equip yourself as an enterprising student with the tech, you will need to survive academia.
Here are the 20 must-have tech products to help students study hard (and have a little fun) all semester long. Prepare your gear…
1. Logitech MX Anywhere 2S Wireless Mouse
The Logitech MX Anywhere 2S is the best compact wireless mouse in the business. Compatible with both PC and Mac (it can seamlessly switch between two computers running both platforms), the gadget can work on any surface, so it’s great for use on the go.
It can connect to a computer over Bluetooth, as well as via a tiny USB hub. Its battery can last over two months between charges.
I bought this because I was sick of using two separate mice to work on my personal laptop and my work laptop while sitting at my desk. This conveniently solves the problem.
With the push of a button, I can switch between both computers. The mouse is quiet, smooth, responsive and I’ve experienced no connectivity or lag issues like some other reviewers have complained about. Read Full Review…
2. Nintendo Switch Gaming Console
The Nintendo Switch can seamlessly transition from a mobile gaming device to a home entertainment center by docking it into a station.
It has innovative Joy-Con controllers, which make sharing the gaming experience with others a breeze. A constantly growing selection of fun games and a plethora of available accessories make the Switch a must-have for gamers of all ages.
Review: R.C. Davidson
In a world where console manufacturers are trying to get their systems to run games at 4K resolution, Nintendo once again pitches a curve-ball, and it seems to have worked for them.
Instead of trying to be more powerful than the others, they instead went for making a gaming tablet that can really play console quality games on the go. Read Full Review…
3. Roku Streaming Stick+ Media Player
Compact and affordable, the Roku Streaming Stick+ is one of the best streaming devices available today. It turns any compatible TV or monitor into a 4K entertainment center by plugging into its HDMI port, and it supports all major streaming services.
The gadget’s remote is also quite handy. This makes a great alternative to cable, and you and your roommates can consider splitting the cost.
I purchased the Streaming Stick+ after having repeated difficulties and problems with the Amazon Fire TV Stick. The difference in quality between these two products is astounding.
While the Fire TV Stick required constant reboots and had consistently poor network performance, the Roku has been flawless and completely without problems. The addition of 4K support is a huge bonus. Read Full Review…
4. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite E-reader
The lightweight Amazon Kindle Paperwhite will fit all your textbooks and last for weeks without recharging.
You can also sign up for Amazon Prime Student for $50 per year and take advantage of all the cool services and content that the retail giant has to offer.
Review: Desert Rat
As a background, I am a retired Information Systems professional and I am writing this review from the perspective of being a long-time Kindle user.
I have all the current e-readers and Fire devices from Amazon including the basic Kindle, 2013, 2014 and new 2015 Paperwhite, the Fire HD6, Fire HD7, Fire HDX7 and Fire HDX8.9. This review is for the 2015 “All-New Kindle Paperwhite.” Read Full Review…
5. Acer Spin 5 Touchscreen Laptop
The Acer Spin 5 is a well-priced, stylish, and versatile touchscreen laptop that’s equally great for school work and entertainment. With Amazon Alexa on board, the device can perform thousands of tasks with voice commands — from checking the weather, through playing music, all the way to turning off the lights.
The notebook has a sharp 13.3-inch Full HD display with a 360-degree hinge. You can order it with Intel’s latest generation Core i5 or Core i7 CPU.
Just received this today. The packaging is a bit spartan per ACER’s usual standards (bang for buck focus), but adequate and everything was in good order. You get the 2-in-1 laptop, A/C power supply and cord, and a few sparse sheets of very brief instructions and info.
After a quick glance (nothing much useful except registration and warranty info), I plugged in the laptop and flipped it open, turned it on and immediately was greeted by Cortana. Read Full Review…
6. Libratone Track+ Wireless Earbuds
The Libratone Track+ are our favorite noise-canceling wireless earbuds available today. They have head-turning looks, superb build quality, adjustable noise canceling, and excellent audio quality.
Thanks to their soft rubber neckband, the Track+ earbuds are also perfect for everyday use. With up to 8 hours of battery life, they’ll also easily last through a full day. You can order them in black or white.
Review: Jonathan Richardson
I’ve been recommending products to friends/family for years. I pride myself on testing a product before I can recommend it and after just a week of using these, I will confidently be recommending them to anyone looking for in-ear, Bluetooth, noise canceling headphones.
Compared to other products on the market, these are absolutely worth the current list price of $200 and they look almost as good as they feel! Read Full Review…
7. SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive
The SanDisk iXpand flash drive not only has a full USB port, but it also has a Lightning connector. The latter allows users to connect the gadget to an iPhone and iPad and easily transfer files between multiple devices. The tiny gadget is available with up to 256 GB of storage capacity.
Review: David Aguilar
Easy to use and effective way to free up space on the iPhone. The purpose this was purchased for was to download just over 3000 photos from my wife’s phone and not have to purchase more space in the cloud.
Very easy to use, just plug it in and it has you download the mobile app then it asks to set up auto backup feature. Very quick download speed which was a surprise. Read Full Review…
8. Jabra Elite 65t True Wireless Earbuds
The Jabra Elite 65t are the best truly wireless earbuds out there, offering superb fit, top-notch sound, a waterproof body, and up to five hours of battery life.
The bundled battery case has enough power for 10 extra hours of wireless tunes. Jabra backs the headset with an excellent 2-year warranty.
Review: David Berino
Simply amazing. I own the Bragi Dash Pros and these take the cake and they’re cheaper too. The sound is above-average with decent bass and acceptable mids/highs. One of my biggest surprises was how loud these things can go.
At three quarters from full volume, these things are plenty loud. Similar to Bragi’s Audio Transparency (allowing you to hear surroundings when not playing music), Jabra does well with the HearThrough functionality. Read Full Review…
9. AmazonBasics Felt Laptop Sleeve
This stylish-looking felt laptop sleeve will fit your laptop or tablet, as well as other essential accessories such as a wireless mouse, a portable battery, and a charging cable. The accessory is available for 11-inch, 13-inch, or 15-inch notebooks in light gray or charcoal.
Review: Siete Cielos
Good, basic computer sleeve. I purchased this for a Dell XPS 13 (9350) and it fits perfectly. I usually do not keep anything in the pockets on the sleeve, but it can hold a small item like a monitor adapter, kindle, or phone if need be.
The pockets are not large enough to comfortably fit the Dell charger. Velcro does get caught on this case (e.g., on a strap from your backpack if you have that), but overall I am very happy with the case. Read Full Review…
10. Timbuk2 Stark Messenger Bag
The water-resistant bag is made from rugged Cordura nylon fabric, and it can fit up to a 15-inch laptop, and still have enough additional pockets for notebooks and other essential gadgets.
Review: A. James
A good looking small bag for light daily use. A few weeks after receiving it the bottom zipper broke. A few weeks after that the strap became entangled and can’t be adjusted. After messing with it for a few days I gave up and now I have a too long strap with a knot in it.
I’d use this if I only had to carry a laptop and a few light items. This is not the kind of bag that you want to use as a business traveler or if you have more than a few goods. I wouldn’t trust it on a bike either. Read Full Review…
11. Soundcore Flare Wireless Speaker By Anker
The Soundcore Flare by Anker is the best wireless speaker in its price range and a great gift for anyone who likes to jam on the go. The fabric-covered gadget has an attractive design, intuitive controls, excellent audio quality, customizable LED lights, and great battery life.
The speaker has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means that it can survive full submersion under water. It can deliver up to 12 hours of audio playback between charges.
Review: Ella G
I’ve had a few portable sound systems in my life – dock, Bluetooth, even old-school line-in and RCA.
I’ve always been the girl who makes sure we have good music playing on trips and at get-togethers. So the ability to have good sound wherever I travel is important. Read Full Review…
12. Prynt Pocket Instant Photo Printer for iPhone
The Prynt Pocket will turn any iPhone into an instant camera, capable of 2-by-3-inch prints on zero ink paper. Compatible with any iPhone 6/6 Plus and up, the gadget also comes with handy camera controls, as well as a dedicated app for editing the images before printing them out.
Review: Cathy Bautista
When I first tried using the Prynt Pocket, I was a little confused on how to adjust it to my phone size and how to load in the photo paper, but then the little manual that comes inside the box helped me out.
I opened up my Prynt app and there were more instructions that were more clear on how to use the Prynt Pocket. Now, it’s so simple for me to use and I love printing out lots of photos with my Pocket! Read Full Review…
13. TCL 5-Series 4K TV
Whether it’s a dorm room or a small apartment full of roommates, a larger screen is always welcome. Developed in collaboration with Roku, the TCL 5-series is handily one of the best 4K TV bargains out there.
The TV not only lets you enjoy 4K content on the cheap, but it also gives you access to one of the best smart platforms with access to all major streaming services right out of the box.
Review: A. Brown
Initial review 7-4-18: Just got it today, so this is an initial impression. Replaced a 6-year-old 50″ LG Plasma. Great picture on the plasma but it faces a sliding glass door and finally got sick of the really bad reflection during the daytime.
The reflections on this are much less. Delivered in good condition. Easy setup. First thing I did was to get wirelessly connected and run some YouTube screen test videos. Read Full Review…
14. WD My Passport External Storage Drive
When it comes to value for money, the USB-powered My Passport portable hard drive by Western Digital is hard to beat. Highly portable and well-designed, it’s not the fastest solution around, but it’ll do the trick for most casual users.
USB 3.0 connectivity, available 256-bit encryption, and bundled utilities software are also part of the gadget’s list of key features, making it a great option for keeping your schoolwork backed-up offline.
Review: Stephanie Sullivan
This model is the latest generation of the many My Passport drives I’ve owned or purchased for clients. They have proven reliable and good performers. They have incrementally improved with each new generation.
This model features a new case design which most notably replaced the rounded corners with sharp 90 degree ones. Otherwise, it should have little effect on use. Read Full Review…
15. Google Pixelbook Chrome OS Laptop
The Google Pixelbook is the poster child for the tech giant’s Chrome OS platform, and it’s a great notebook to take to school. It has great design and craftsmanship, incredible performance, and a dedicated button for Google’s AI-powered virtual assistant.
The latest Chrome OS iteration is also better than ever, offering access to a vast selection of Android apps from the Google Play store. In addition, an optional stylus pen will allow you to make the most out of the 360-degree touchscreen.
Review: Jesse Stevenson
I recently chose to switch from Windows to Chrome OS. I purchased the Samsung Chromebook Pro back in May 2017. I liked it quite a bit, however, I was not impressed with the keyboard.
I decided to upgrade to the Pixelbook, even though it took some convincing on my part because the $1,000 price tag seemed extremely high. I have to be honest, I have not regretted the purchase for even one second. This is, by far, the greatest laptop I have ever owned. Read Full Review…
16. Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones
The QC35 Series II wireless noise-canceling headphones by Bose are the best of their kind. They can deliver tunes with great quality or simply tune out all outside noise, allowing users to focus on that term paper they need to get done.
Superb ergonomics and great battery life (up to 20 hours) make the headset a must-have for everyone with the budget to pick one up. (Though they’re not cheap, they’ll be your go-to for those late nights at the library.)
OK, my personal comparison of the Sony WH-1000Xm2 and the Bose is complete. After reading all the reviews, the Sony seemed to win out, but with Amazon’s generous return policy, I purchased both and did several hour comparisons yesterday.
Both are great, but here’s what pushed me over the edge for Bose. I am not an audiophile so the terms I use in this section to describe what I experienced may be technically incorrect terms, so bear with me. The Bose sound is amazing. Read Full Review…
17. mophie powerstation A C battery pack
Stylish and versatile, the mophie powerstation AC universal battery pack can charge your laptop via a built-in standard power outlet. You can charge two more gadgets via USB-C and a standard USB port.
With a battery capacity of 22,000 mAh, the gadget can add hours of battery life to your notebook. The accessory has a fabric cover with excellent tactility, and it’s been designed to not only look great but also to protect your metal-clad gadgets from scratches.
Review: Michael K. E. Bogden
Bought a portable charger for my laptop from another brand and immediately returned it when it arrived at our home in the mail and was warm out of the package.
Seeing all the random fires and explosions on the news I decided to pay a bit extra for a quality brand and it’s well worth it. Great product. Size is small which will make it easy to put in my carry on. Very happy. Read Full Review…