It’s that time of the year again, when fresh young minds venture into the world of higher education, while returning students continue to prepare to take on the real world in a few short years. Packing the right tech goes a long way in making your life easier, and of course, more fun, when you go back to school, and that’s where we step in! Be it for practical purposes, to relax at the end of a long day, or just for bragging rights, today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the top must-have back to school tech essentials, to make the upcoming year that much better. Let’s get started!
Media Streaming Devices
If you’re looking to relax after a long day by watching a movie or catching up on your TV shows, the experience will be even better on a screen larger than your laptop or mobile device. What you’ll need is a great media streaming device, like the Google Chromecast or Roku 3 Media Player, to do the trick.
Chromecast would be the preferred choice for most students, not only because of its very affordable price tag, but also because of its compact and portable nature. On the other hand, the Roku 3 Media Streaming Player does offer a little more, ranging from a great selection of streaming entertainment, the ability to plug in headphones into the Roku remote to keep the noise down, as well as enjoy some games. The Roku 3 might feature the higher price tag, but is also a great choice if budget isn’t a concern.
Charging on the Go
With our smartphone battery life becoming an increasing issue, a portable charging option is a must-have for almost everyone nowadays. Whether you have a long day away from home planned, or if you’ve forgotten to charge your device overnight but need to rush to class, these portable chargers will definitely make a big difference.
First up is the charger for the power user out there. The Limeade Lite Battery Pack packs a whopping 15,000 mAh capacity, and comes with dual USB ports to charge two devices at the same time. The battery pack also comes with a digital display that tells you how much juice is left, but with such a large capacity, you should be able to comfortably charge your smartphone multiple times. The best part? You can pick up the Limeade Lite at a discounted price of $34.99 from Android Authority Deals!
Next is the RAVPower Luster Mini, which is the perfect portable charger to have in an emergency. This charger is compact and ultra-portable, and while it may not offer as much as the Limeade Lite, its 3,000 mAh capacity is more than enough to get you up and running. If you’re not looking to spend a whole lot of money, but still want a convenient portable charging option, the RAVPower Luster Mini is the one for you.
- Buy the Limeade Lite Battery Pack for $34.99 from Android Authority Deals
- Buy the RAVPower Luster Mini for $16.99 from Amazon
Charging at home
A USB charger is a necessity for all techies out there, and multi-port USB charger to connect all your devices at the same time is even better. That is now possible with the Anker family-sized desktop charger, that lets you charge as many a 5 devices at the same time. This USB charger features a unibody design, and is quite compact for portability. It’s 100 – 240 V input range also makes it ideal for international travel.
To go with the charger, why not pick up a high-speed USB charging cable as well. The FRiEQ USB 2.0 Cloth Jacketed cable features a high quality Nylon Fiber cloth jacket surrounding the cord for increased durability, and is a 6 feet gold plated A Male to Micro B cable.
And if you will be charging multiple devices at the same time, you’ll definitely need the Quirky Cordies Desktop Cable Management accessory. This accessory comes with five rubber grips with four slots to hold the ends of several cords, with the ability the stack cables on top of each other as well. There is weighted base for stability and small footprint ensures that you can easily manage all your devices even in a cluttered workspace. This is available is multiple colour options, including white, grey, pink, and blue, to suit your needs.
- Buy the Anker 5-Port Desktop Charger for $25.99 from Amazon
- Buy the FRiEQ USB 2.0 Cable for $7.99 from Amazon
- Buy the Quick Cordies Cable Management accessory for $8.99 from Amazon
Rocking a smartwatch is a great way to boost your geek cred, and with Android Wear now on the scene, you’re definitely not going be struggling with a lack of choice. Currently available are the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live, with the announcement of the Moto 360, a new ASUS Android Wear smartwatch, and the second iteration of the G Watch, just around the corner. You might just want to wait for the Android Wear competition to heat up, but the current options are quite good as well. Don’t forget to check out our in-depth reviews and other videos below to decide which smartwatch is the best fit for you.
For Music Lovers
All you music lovers out there must be on the lookout for some great earphones, headphones, or bluetooth speakers, and we’ve got you covered! While using standard headphones, if you face the problem of the cord getting snagged and ripping the buds out of your ears, or out of the headphone jack of your device, you can now cut the wires loose with the most popular pair of bluetooth earphones available, the Jaybird BlueBuds X. If cords and cables aren’t an issue, and you’re in the market for one of the best headphones money can buy, look no further than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. Of course, both Jaybird BlueBuds X and the ATH-M50x come at a price, so if you’re looking for a good pair of headphones to fit your budget, you should definitely check out Photive BTH3 Bluetooth Headphones.
When it comes to bluetooth speakers, get the party started by blasting your favourite tunes on the Creative Sound Blaster Roar. Apart from being fantastic speakers, it’s also packed with a ton of features that you won’t find on any other similar device. Once again, if you’re not looking to pay top dollar for a bluetooth speaker, you should definitely consider the Icon Bluetooth Speaker, a compact device that packs a punch. The great news is that you can pick up the Icon Bluetooth Speaker at massively discounted price from Android Authority Deals!
- Buy the JayBird BlueBuds X for $169 from Amazon
- Buy the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x for $189 from Amazon
- Buy the Photive BTH3 for $49.95 from Amazon
- Buy the Creative Sound Blaster Roar for $149.99 from Amazon
- Buy the Icon Bluetooth Speaker for $19.99 from Android Authority Deals
It may not be a must have, but having an Android tablet is great for both work and play. One of the best tablets you can pick up is the Nexus 7 (2013), even if it is more than a year old. Apart from its budget-friendly nature, what makes it great is the promise of timely updates to the latest version of the Android OS, something that a very few devices outside the Nexus line can boast about.
If you’re looking for a tablet more for play than work, we have to recommend the recently released NVIDIA Shield Tablet. Boasting the Tegra K1 processing package, the tablet is an absolute gaming powerhouse, available at a surprisingly reasonable price tag for all that it offers.
If budget isn’t too much of a concern, moving further above the price spectrum is where you’ll find the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4. Packing one of the best processing packages currently available and Samsung’s signature AMOLED display, the Galaxy Tab S 8.4 is also a great tablet choice. Don’t forget to check out the comprehensive reviews and other videos of the tablets mentioned in the playlist below.
- Buy the Nexus 7 (2013) for $229 from Amazon
- Buy the NVIDIA Shield Tablet for $299 from Amazon
- Buy the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 for $399 from Amazon
If you’re looking for a laptop on a budget, you should definitely consider picking up a Chromebook, and one of the best is the Acer Chromebook 13. Boasting the Tegra K1 processing package, a 13.3-inch screen, and fantastic battery life, the new Acer Chromebook is available at a very wallet-friendly price tag. That said, if budget isn’t that much of a concern, you can also pick up the Full HD version of the Acer Chromebook 13, which also comes with 4 GB RAM, compared to the 2 GB offered with the base model. Of course, something to consider before picking up a Chromebook is that you will need a consistent internet connection to get the most out of this laptop.
- Pre-order the Acer Chromebook 13 (2 GB RAM) for $279.99 from Amazon
- Pre-order the Acer Chromebook 13 (Full HD, 4 GB RAM) for $379.99 from Amazon
If you’re looking for a quality smartphone at a budget-friendly price point, look no further than the Moto G. It may not be without its flaws, but its price tag of $199 unlocked more than makes up for any shortcomings. Very rarely will you find a good Android smartphone that offers a great software experience for a low cost, but the Moto G offers all of that and more.
While most current high-end smartphones are priced at close to the $600 mark, if you’re in the US and are planning to pick up a phone on contract, you can chooses between the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5, and HTC One (M8), all of which are available for $99.99 on contract from the major US network carriers.
If none of these devices are to your liking, the launch of the Moto X+1 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 are also right around the corner, so you may want to hold off till then. Don’t forget to check out our in-depth reviews of the smartphones mentioned above in the playlist below.
- Buy the Moto G for $199 from Amazon
- Buy the LG G3 for $99.99 on contract from Amazon – AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint
- Buy the Samsung Galaxy S5 for $99.99 on contract from Amazon – AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint
- Buy the HTC One (M8) for $99.99 on contract from Amazon – AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint
So there you have it – a roundup of some of the top back to school tech essentials! Apart from the list above, if you’re looking for great deals on accessories, app bundles, headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and more, don’t forget to sign up at Android Authority Deals!