Whether it’s to take home good grades or bring home the bacon, there’s no shortage of amazing tech tools to get the job done.
For students, some of these gadgets can help with studying or when hanging out on campus or in a dorm room.
They’re also ideal for working in a home office.
Whatever you’re getting back to, these items make the grade.
For students at home: A laptop is arguably the most important decision, and there are several to choose from, based on budget and needs.
For younger students and those on a tight budget, Chromebooks are ideal, such as the ASUS CX1 Chromebook ($229), a 14-inch computer that runs on the lean ChromeOS (operating system) and has an Intel Celeron processor and 8GB of system memory (RAM). If the 64GB of storage isn’t enough, there’s a Micro SD slot along the side to add more.
From $739, Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 is a portable and (relatively) affordable Windows 11-powered PC, with a 12.4-inch PixelSense touchscreen display, full-size keyboard and large trackpad, HD webcam, 256GB of storage, and powerful 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor. Available in one of four finishes, this compact laptop can easily fit on small desks or be tossed into a backpack to bring to class for note-taking.
For those who prefer a Mac, MacBook Air with M2 (from $1,499) has been redesigned, both on the outside with a thinner design and on the inside — with even more performance thanks to the M2 chip). Those who want to save a little cash could go with a MacBook Air powered by last year’s M1 chip (starting at $1,299).
The new MacBook Air boasts a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina Display, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, four-speaker sound system, and up to 18 hours of battery life. Apple says students will receive a gift card up to $210, 20 per cent off AppleCare+ (to protect their purchase), and one month free of Apple Music and Apple TV+ followed by a discounted monthly student rate.
For a bit of fun, students will feel the charm of the FujiFilm Instax Mini Link 2 Smartphone Printer ($129), a small and portable printer for creating tangible memories to line the edge of a home desk or a bedroom mirror. After installing the Mini Link app on your smartphone, go to one of your photos and press “Print” to make the printer produce a high-quality, two-by-three-inch photo. You can also add filters, frames, emojis and text.
For the dorm room: The right tech tools can help bring the comforts of home to students living away at university and college.
For example, while you might take a laptop or tablet with keyboard to the lecture hall, a big monitor back in your room will give you more real estate to work with (for multitasking) and for fun and games once the schoolwork is done.
The Xiaomi (pronounced “shy-oh-me”) Mi 34-inch Ultrawide Curved Gaming Monitor ($849), for example, looks sharp with its WQHD resolution (3440 by 1440 pixels), brightness up to 300 nits and a high 3000: 1 contrast ratio (for darker blacks). It’s also built for fast-paced games and movies with its 144Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync technology == both of which ensure action is smooth and not jagged.
With height and angle adjustable for optimum viewing comfort, this computer monitor is so wide (21:9 aspect ratio) that it’s like having two monitors side by side.
When hard work works up an appetite, consider the kitschy (and aqua-coloured) Nostalgia BST3AQ Breakfast Station ($149). It’s an ideal dorm room accessory as a 3-in-1 toaster oven, coffee maker, and griddle.
That’s right, despite its small footprint, this multitasking gadget features a four-cup coffeemaker (glass carafe included), toaster oven that can hold up to four slices of bread, a seven-inch pizza or a few muffins, bagels or croissants, and wide non-stick griddle. The oven tray, wire rack, crumb tray and griddle are removable, for clean-up.
As you may see around many campuses, it’s also trendy (and practical) to bring an iPad to class for taking notes and audio recordings, paired with a Bluetooth keyboard or digital pen/stylus, perhaps.
The new iPad Air (from $749) is super thin and light, and powered by Apple’s own M1 chip. Instead of a proprietary Lightning connector, Apple opted for a USB-C port, which makes it compatible with many more accessories and allows for up to twice the transfer speed when connected to a Mac or PC.
Home office tech, too: Some thoughts for those in a home office or hybrid office-home arrangement:
A powerhouse of a PC, the LG Gram 2022 Edition (from $1,739) features a large 17-inch nonglare widescreen (16:10) display, a built-in Alexa assistant, and Intel Core i7 processor for incredible performance.
It’s an Intel Evo-certified laptop, which means it ticks all the boxes: instant start-up times, fast processing and graphics speed (and Wi-Fi speeds, too), and multiple ports along the side. The extraordinary battery lasts up to 25.5 hours between charges. And despite its large screen, keyboard and trackpad, the LG gram is extremely thin and light, making it easy to bring around the home, to and from the office, or on a business trip.
If things are noisy at home or in the dorm while you’re trying to work, noise-cancelling earbuds are a good option. While you can spend several hundreds on a pair, consider the Sony WF-C500 In-Ear Truly Wireless Headphones ($89), available in multiple colors, and with great sound and battery life — especially for the price.
But for a pair with active noise cancellation (ANC) — which introduce inverse sound waves that negate incoming sounds — consider spending $100 more for the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 In-Ear Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Headphones (also available in many colors).
And, finally, it’s important to keep your gadgets from conking out before you do. From $39, Anker has wireless chargers to lay your Qi- (pronounced “chi”) compatible smartphones, tablets and compatible earbuds onto. They look like small discs — suitable for a desk, table or kitchen counter — on which to place your devices for charging.
There’s also the Anker PowerWave 4-In-1 Wireless Charging Dock ($129), which lets you juice up Apple Watches, iPads and iPhones, along with its external USB Type-C port (delivering up to 43 watts of power).