As we head into back to school season, many students, teachers, and parents are looking to update to the latest technology in order to have the smoothest school year possible. New laptops are purchased, phones are upgraded, accessories are bought, and much more. This year, we’ve decided to give you a breakdown of some of the best technology you can buy for the upcoming school year.
Ecobee HomeKit Thermostat
In this day and age, laptops are almost essential to the success of a student, especially in college. The idea of dropping over $1000 on a new laptop seems daunting, but thankfully Apple has a handful of incentives in place for students. If you head over to Apple’s Education Store, you’ll see discounts on all of Apple’s laptops and desktops. The 12-inch MacBook starts at $1249, the MacBook Air starts at $849, and the MacBook Pro starts at $999. Apple’s iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini are also discounted, but those aren’t necessarily the best choice for students that will be constantly on the move.
Personally, my recommendation for students – and what I will be using this school year– is the 12-inch MacBook. The combination of the slim and portable design and beautiful Retina display makes it the best in my opinion for students. Of course, you’ll want to invest in at least a few adapters, but that’s the price you pay for such a portable design.
In addition to the existing education discount Apple is providing, the company is also offering a free pair of Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones with the purchase of a MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, or Mac Pro. This offer will only run for a limited time, however, so don’t wait too long.
No matter which MacBook you end up choosing, there are a variety of accessories that will pair nicely. First off, you’ll want to invest in some USB-C accessories if you choose the 12-inch MacBook. Below are some of my favorites:
- Griffin BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Charger (full review)
- Multiport USB 2.0/3.0 Adapter
- AV Multiport Adapter with USB 3.0 & HDMI
- Anker PowerCore+ 20100
If you chose any of the other Mac choices, there are some other accessories that I would recommend, as well. (These can also be used with the 12-inch MacBook, just make sure you have the correct adapter if necessary).
Despite our ever-growing reliance on the cloud, I still like to carry a flash drive with me at all times, while the TwelveSouth HiRise is the perfect option to free up some much-needed desk space. Additionally, I love to use Bluetooth keyboards when I use a stand with my MacBook. Check out all of my recommendations below:
- SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive
- TwelveSouth HiRise Stand
- Apple Magic Trackpad 2
- Logitech Performance MX Master Wireless Mouse
- Western Digital 1TB My Passport Portable Hard Drive
Now that you’ve got your computer situation all squared away, there are variety of things that make life easier when it comes to your iPhone and iPad. First and foremost, I highly suggest that anyone living in a dorm or with any roommates pick up a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. After reading Seth’s review earlier this summer, I went out and bought myself a Bose’s new QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones, and I’ve never looked back. They’re pricey at $349, but the ability to have peace and quiet while doing school work is invaluable. If you’re looking for something slightly cheaper, Bose’s QuietComfort 25 headphones are available for $299, but I’d strongly suggest to drop the extra $50 and get the 35s. A variety of other affordable options are available, with reviews, on Amazon.
You’ll also definitely want to pick up a pair of earbuds for walks from class to class, downtime, and maybe even during that really boring lecture. Personally, I’m a fan of the urBeats In-Ear offering, which come in at $69.99. Though if Apple is indeed removing the 3.5mm headphone jack with the iPhone 7, a wiser investment might be a solid pair of Bluetooth earbuds. The Jaybird X2 Sport are a great affordable option, especially if you plan on hitting the gym a lot to combat the deadly freshmen 15.
Another thing you’ll definitely want to have is a solid Bluetooth speaker. A variety of options exist, but it really just depends on your use cases. Below are some great options at every price point:
- Small & affordable: UE Mini Boom $37.99 – $46.95 refurbished
- Midsize: JBL Charge 2+ – $99.89
- Powerful: Bose SoundLink III – $299
- Runner up: UE MegaBoom – $261.99
- For all elements: UE Roll 2 – $99.9
One of my favorite ways to unwind is with Netflix, and at this point the best entertainment box on the market is the fourth-gen Apple TV. With support for apps and games, the Apple TV will be a hit in college dorms for everyone. You can pick one up for $149, although we frequently see deals for far less, so keep your eyes on 9to5Toys, as well.
One of the best decisions I made during last school year was investing in an iPad Pro + Apple Pencil. The Apple Pencil Personally, I’m partial to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It starts at $579 with the student discount, while the 12.9-inch model starts at $779. For a limited time, you’ll also get a pair of Powerbeats 2 Wireless Headphones for free.
If you invest in an iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil is essentially a must have. It makes things like taking notes, annotating papers, peer-reviewing essays, and so much more a lot easierEarlier this year, I rounded up the best apps for taking notes on the iPad Pro with your Apple Pencil, and GoodNotes 4 remains my top choice at the moment. The Apple Pencil runs $99.
Finally, there are a handful of less exciting things that are very useful for students, especially those living in a dorm. You’ll want to keep all your electronics clean, so investing in a cleaning cloth and spray is a must. A desk lamp is also vital for late-night studying. Cable management is also vital, otherwise you’ll end up with a mess of wires and a fire hazard. View my picks for all of these problems below:
- Lightline 1250 LED Desk Light w/ USB Port
- Tech Armor Complete Cleaning Kit
- Velcro Cable Ties
- Bluelounge CableBox
- Anker PowerCore 5000
Do you have any recommendations for students when it comes to tech products and accessories? Sound off down in the comments!