Top Tech Gadgets For School
Router: Netgear Nighthawk AC1750 Smart Dual Band WiFi Router (R6700)
Whether you're editing documents over Google Docs or engaging in a competitive multiplayer match, Netgear's Nighthawk AC1750 has got you wirelessly covered. It supports more than 12 devices and both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless signals. Its range is aided by three external antennas, and it's quite fast, with download rates that can hit 450Mbps.
Backpack: Everki Beacon
There are a ton of cheap backpacks out there, but the Everki Beacon is a quality pack that is built to last. For its shell, the Beacon uses a lot of mesh padding, and there's rubber padding at the bottom that offers a little protection in case you drop it. The Beacon comes with a water-resistant tarp that allows you to protect it from the rain. The pack also has a separate laptop compartment that can fit the largest 17-inch gaming notebooks. In general, the backpack has a bunch of compartments that can hold all your school supplies. To top it off, the Beacon looks good, comes with a chest strap, and is comfortable to wear with its soft shoulder straps.
Printer: Brother HL-L2340DW
While there are certainly cheaper printers, Brother's HL-L2340DW laser printer is arguably the best budget solution on the market. Setup is easy, ink cartridges are relatively cheap, and it works over Wi-Fi, which allows you to print from mobile devices via Apple AirPrint or Google Cloud Print.
Speakers: Razer Leviathan
Razer might be better known for its gaming headsets on the audio front, but it also makes a quality soundbar. The company's Razer Leviathan speaker sounds clear and crisp, and it offers a ton of bass with its included subwoofer. The soundbar is also small enough to be tucked under monitors and supports NFC pairing, Bluetooth, optical, and auxiliary inputs. In addition, it supports Dolby Digital Surround with two 2.5-inch drivers coupled with two .74-inch tweeters.
Webcam: Logitech C920
Logitech's C920 webcam is great for both streaming and video calls. It's a 1080p camera that has two mics, which allows it to capture stereo audio. The C920 also offers low-light correction, so you can use it in dim environments.
Mic: Audio Technica ATR2500
While the Blue Yeti is a highly recommended microphone for streamers and video/audio producers, Audio Technica's ATR2500 shouldn't be overlooked. It's a cardioid condenser USB microphone that can be found on sale quite often for $69.99, which makes it worth a look. Near-professional audio doesn't have to cost you $100-plus, and if you're a student, you can always appreciate saving money without sacrificing quality.
Price: $99.00 (frequently on sale for $69.99)
Entertainment: Netflix Subscription
At $7.99 a month, Netflix is a great, affordable way for students to unwind. The streaming service offers over 6,400 movies and 1,600 shows and works on almost every computing device out there. Users can also download select videos to watch offline, and the service can be canceled anytime.
Price: $7.99 per month
Delivery Service: Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime gives you so much: free shipping, extra discounts, Prime Video, Prime Reading, and even Twitch Prime benefits (such as no ads and free games). You can almost find anything you'd need to buy on Amazon (books, school supplies, electronics, you name it), so the free shipping and extra discount on certain items is enough to justify a membership. And if you tend to wait until the last minute for things, many areas get same-day shipping and free two-day delivery.
Price: $10/month or $100/year
Set Top Box: Nvidia Shield
The Nvidia Shield not only supports your standard array of popular streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Video, but it allows you to play a bunch of Android games and stream PC games from locally networked computers. The device supports Google Assistant AI, so users can ask it to keep them up to date with reminders and more. Finally, it supports Google Cast, which allows people to stream videos to the device using their phones.
Portable Bluetooth Speaker: Ultimate Ears Boom 2
The UE Boom 2 is arguably the best portable Bluetooth speaker around. It's loud enough for small parties, rugged enough to survive five-foot drops, and waterproof for up to 30 minutes. This makes it a great speaker to use in the shower or at the beach. It's also got pretty good battery life and can last 15 hours on a single charge.
Pre-built Gaming PC: Cyberpower PC Syber Vapor Elite
CyberPowerPC offers great pre-built rigs at affordable prices. The company's Syber Vapor Elite is one that's powerful enough for design work and video production duties. Oh, and it's also a pretty competent gaming PC with its quad-core CPU and GTX 1060 GPU. The Syber Vapor Elite is small enough to fit into the tiniest dorm rooms and apartments without much issue. The company also allows you to tweak the configuration. We recommend spending $1,155 so you can get an external optical drive and a 240GB SSD coupled with a 1TB HDD.
Keyboard: Corsair K68 Water Resistant Mechanical Keyboard
Those who are particular about their keyboard should look into Corsair's K68 since it comes with smooth Cherry MX Red mechanical switches. It also has a rubberized gasket underneath the keycaps that not only makes keystrokes quieter, but protects the innards from getting damaged if you spill liquid on it.
Mouse: Razer Naga Hex V2
Razer's Naga Hex V2 mouse is designed for MOBA players with its eight programmable side buttons, but they also come in handy for productivity. Video producers, photographers, engineers can program keyboard shortcuts to these buttons to make their applications easier to use. Even writers can use these buttons for simple actions in word processing applications.
Price: $80, can be found for $60
Mobile Gaming: Nintendo New 2DS XL
Nintendo's New 2DS XL is the latest iteration of the 2DS/3DS, and while it's late in its life cycle, there are so many great games to play on it, especially if you have yet to jump in. The New 2DS XL is a bit more compact than the New 3DS XL and sports a sleek design and two large screens. When you have some downtime during commutes, between classes, or after exams, jump into Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Fire Emblem: Awakening, or Xenoblade Chronicles.
Power Bank: Anker PowerCore 10000
With mobile devices being so essential to our daily lives, it's important to keep them up and running. That's why it's important to carry a power bank. One of the best portable chargers is Anker's PowerCore 10000. As the name implies, it offers 10,000mAh of juice. That's more than enough to fully charge an iPhone 6 three times over. Considering it offers so much battery life, it's pretty small. To top it off, the PowerCore 10000 also offers high-speed charging.
Earbuds: Plantronics Backbeat Fit
You can find cheap earbuds everywhere, but finding quality wireless ones can be a challenge. Luckily, there's Plantronics' Backbeat Fit. The Bluetooth earbuds are designed for fitness, which makes them great at keeping the "freshman 15" at bay. They're sweat-proof and water resistant with their IP57 rating, and wrap around the ear for a stable fit. They also last up to eight hours on a single charge, which makes them great for lengthy study sessions.
USB drive: LaCie XtremKey USB 3.0 (32GB)
A USB thumb drive is one of the most essential tools in high school and college. Whether you're moving large video files, bringing your Powerpoint presentation to class, or just taking your essay to the library to print, thumb drives are clutch and a must-have. The LaCie XtremKey, in particular, is built to withstand harsh conditions since it's secured in a hardened waterproof aluminum case. It's also a USB 3.0 thumb drive, so data transfer will be pretty fast. We recommend the 32GB version since that's pretty spacious, but sizes up to 128GB are available.
External Hard Drive: WD 1TB My Passport
While a USB stick works great in a pinch. If you want something larger to archive videos and documents, we recommend getting a beefier external hard drive. WD offers one terabyte solutions that scale up to 4TB with its My Passport HDDs. The portable drive is pretty fast with its USB 3.0 support and allows users to reach read and write speeds of 174MBps and 168MBps, respectively. The 1TB SKU retails for $53, which makes it pretty affordable.
Windows Laptop: Dell XPS 13
There are a plethora of Windows laptops out on the market, but arguably the best travel-friendly one is Dell's XPS 13. It features excellent build quality and can be outfitted with good internal specs that include a quad-core i5 CPU, 8GB of memory, and a 128GB SSD. It also comes with a 1920x1080 IPS touchscreen display coupled with a 64-bit version of Windows 10.
Apple Laptop: Macbook Air
Apple's devices are usually pretty expensive, but the company's MacBook Air is very reasonably priced. For $750, you can get a thin and light 13.3-inch Apple notebook that's equipped with a quad-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Despite the laptop's small size, it's got a battery that can last up to 12 hours.
Gaming Laptop: Gigabyte Aero 15
While Dell's XPS 13 and Apple's MacBook Air are great portable notebooks, they can't match the power that a gaming laptop offers. With its 1080p IPS panel, quad-core 7700HQ CPU, GeForce GTX 1060, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD, it offers balanced specs that make it great for gaming or productivity. It's also very portable for a gaming laptop and offers good battery life.
Chromebook: Asus Chromebook C202SA-YS02
For the student who just needs to do some word processing and browsing, there's the Chromebook category. Asus' offering here might only offer 16GB of storage, but it doesn't need much since its operating system is essentially just Google's Chrome browser. It's also only $199. Still, for that price, you get a spill-resistant keyboard and decent specs that include Intel's Celeron N3060 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM. Because the Chromebook isn't very power hungry, it can also last up to 10 hours.
Tablet: Asus ZenPad 10.1
There's a sea of tablets out there, but for the student, Asus' ZenPad 10.1 is a compelling choice. The one-pound 10.1-inch tablet is affordable and uses a 1280x800-resolution IPS panel that's equipped with a quad-core 64-bit processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. It also supports Micro SD cards up to 64GB.