Back to school season is in full swing as we move through the month of August. With many students already back in the classroom and many preparing, it’s crucial to start off the year with the right technology and accessories to succeed.
Read on as we round-up some of the best technology and accessories for use this school year…
First and foremost, Apple is currently running its annual back to school promotion. This means you can net a free pair of Beats headphones with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad.
As far as laptops go, they’re virtually a necessity in this day and age. While MacBooks are generally near the top of the market in terms of price, they’re often worth it as they have greater longevity compared to many PCs.
Apple’s 12-inch MacBook is one of the most-often recommended computers for students due to its incredible portability. While it’s not the best for CPU-intensive tasks, it can certainly get the job done for homework, papers, and much more. You can pick one up for $1,249 as a student and receive a free pair of Beats headphones.
If you do need something with a bit more power under the hood, the MacBook Pro is an excellent choice. The non-Touch Bar model is great for students, serving as a middle ground between the 12-inch model and the higher-end Touch Bar models. The baseline non-Touch Bar model comes in at the same $1,249 price point as the 12-inch, and you can upgrade to the Touch Bar models – which were just refreshed with new Intel chips, True Tone displays, and more – for $1,699.
Personally, I’ll be rocking a 13-inch 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar this school year. I picked up the base model and a free pair of Beats Solo3 headphones for $1,699 and have no doubt it will be able to conquer everything I have to do and more.
If you do go with an entry-level MacBook this year, one recommendation I have is to pickup an external hard drive of some sort. This will let you store any photos and videos you may have, as well as serve as a backup option for your important papers and notes. External storage has gotten incredibly cheap over recent years and you can pick up a 1TB external USB-C hard drive for just $70.
Further, Apple’s latest Macs make the jump to USB-C connectivity, which means you might need a few new cables and adapters. Below are a few of my recommendations:
- AUKEY USB-C to USB 3.0 Adapter (2-Pack)
- Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter
- Apple USB-C to Lightning cable
- Griffin BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Charger (full review)
- AV Multiport Adapter with USB 3.0 & HDMI
If you already have a MacBook or other laptop for school and are looking to further expand your arsenal of technology, the $309 9.7-inch iPad is an excellent choice. While you can upgrade to an iPad Pro starting at $629, the 9.7-inch model is a killer education device with plenty of speed and Apple Pencil support.
If you plan on using your iPad for note-taking and writing papers, an external keyboard is a must-have. My personal pick is the Brydge Bluetooth Keyboard at $99. It’s a pricier option, but one that best mimics the full laptop experience.
You also can’t go wrong with some mobile power solutions for keeping you juiced up during a long day of class. I’m a fan of Anker’s PowerCore Fusion, which is a hybrid of sorts between a wall charger and portable battery and pretty affordable at $26. Anker’s PowerLine+ cables are also a solid, more durable alternative to Apple’s first-party cables.
Whether it’s time to take the edge off after a long day of class, or buckle down and power through a study session, music, podcasts, and other audio forms will help tremendously.
In terms of headphones, my personal choice is a pair of Apple’s AirPods. I’m a firm believer that they are one of the best products Apple has made in a long time, and their ease of use is undeniable. For an option with a bit more noise cancellation, but also in earbud-form, the Jabra Elite 65e are a great pick, as are the Jaybird X3.
If you’re looking to go over-the-ear, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones just added Alexa control and are one of the best pairs of headphones I’ve ever used. They’re a bit pricey though, and a more affordable and well-rated option are the Cowin E7 headphones at just $67.
As for a speaker pick, the obvious recommendation for Apple fans is the HomePod – but at $349 and its lack of portability, it’s hard to recommend for the always on-the-go student. However, you can still lock-in voice control with Alexa, as well as portability and a waterproof design with the Ultimate Ears MegaBlast at $199.
Other popular speaker picks include:
- JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Speaker
- Anker Soundcore 2
- Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Waterproof Speaker
- UE Roll 2 Waterproof Speaker
If you’re living in an off-campus apartment or house, one of the best decisions you can make is to invest in a security system of some sort. Personally, I’ve become a fan of the Logitech Circle 2, which is HomeKit-enabled and relatively well-designed.
With HomeKit support, you are able to keep an eye on your Circle 2 directly through the Home app on iOS and Mac, which is much easier than having to rely on Logitech’s own application.
One of the keys to success in school is staying organized. While these picks may not be the most exciting ones we’ve highlighted so far, they’re practical and will help you stay on top of everything through the year:
- Lightline 1250 LED Desk Light w/ USB Port
- Tech Armor Complete Cleaning Kit
- Velcro Cable Ties
- Bluelounge CableBox
- SwissGear Travel Laptop Backpack
These are just some of the tech products that I’ve personally relied on to make my school years a bit less stressful. What tech have you found that helps you succeed during the school year? Be sure to let us know down in the comments!
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