As we look towards the upcoming return to school, there are a number of tech gadgets and items that we are putting on the back to school buy list.
Instead of a top 5 or 10 items, we’ve chosen several items and grouped them into categories.
Every college student needs a phone, it is possibly the most important item on the list of gadgets. There are so many to choose from but we have chosen two which we feel give an overall excellent experience and should fulfill every student’s need.
The LG G2X comes with the latest version of Android operating system and is T-Mobile’s first dual core mobile processor, which means it can handle a ton of multitasking and high usage. At 4G speeds, the LG G2X is quite possibly the best T-Mobile has to offer.
Motorola Droid X2
The X2 is a large phone. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the original X, this phone series is all about screen size. You can watch movies, play games and browse the web on an incredible 4.3 inch multi-touch display. With an 8MP camera and 8GB of built-in memory, the X2 is high powered for students who are serious phone users. While we would normally recommend the X2 for professionals who are constantly staying connected to their business. Students who intend for this device to be an all-in-one gadget will benefit from it as well.
If you need to replace that old dust collecting XP based desktop with something more portable and modern, then you’ll want to check out these mobile options. For schoolwork needs, a laptop is an essential as students need to get online and complete schoolwork wherever they are. There seem to be more and more users gravitating towards Apple when heading off to college, but we chose several options which fit each niche.
The MacBook Air comes shipped with OSX Lion and weighs under 2.5 lbs. The Air does not come with a built-in optical drive which is partially why it’s so lightweight however, the Air can “borrow” the optical drive of a PC or Mac so that software can be installed or an external optical drive is available if necessary. Carrying around such a lightweight laptop is a real plus when walking around campus so the lack of an optical drive isn’t a bad exchange.
For the vast majority of students, the PC still rules. We’ve selected a couple choices which should fit into your educational needs as well as satisfy some gaming recreation. As a bonus, Microsoft is offering a free Xbox 360 to students who purchase a new Windows 7 powered PC. The Toshiba listed is one of the laptops which qualifies for the free Xbox as do many of the Dell laptops.
Dell Inspiron R series
A good choice no matter how you customize it, the new R has 2nd generation Intel processors and switchable lids for personalization. Aesthetics aside, you can get an i5 processor with 8gb RAM for under $700. That’s a decent deal and should survive the next few years of school.
Toshiba Qosmio X775
Starting at $1199, 4 models with i7 Intel processor and all video powered by 1.5GB GDDR5 NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560M. Toshiba has been quietly making excellent laptops for the past few years and with each new model comes more quality products. Any of the Toshiba Qosmio models will do but we singled out the X775 for its i7 processor, 17” screen and 3D gaming.
The iPad 2 is the best selling tablet on the market but if you want something outside the realm of Apple, a nice choice is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. It sports a 10.1 inch widescreen display, Adobe flash, dual core processor, 3mp camera, front facing video for chat and a ton of other features at a cost less than the iPad 2.
Is there a need to have an eReader if you have an iPad, Samsung or other tablet device? Yes. Think of the tablet as your portable, on the go browser and a way to stay socially connected without having to lug around a laptop or sit in front of a desktop monitor.
An eReader is perfect for organizing reading materials and separating school text from leisure media. Our only recommendation is the Kindle from Amazon. Students can now rent school books on the Kindle so carrying around large textbooks or buying expensive books is a thing of the past. We previously wrote the article “Students Can Now Rent Textbooks On Kindle” which gives more details on renting school books.
Additionally, the Kindle is extremely easy on the eyes which makes lengthy reading enjoyable rather then eye-straining. On tablets and phones the glare factor can make reading difficult or even impossible in high intense light or outdoors. Combine that with a cost of under $120 for the wi-fi version, the value is right.
Every dorm room needs a TV. The Samsung line of flat panel televisions are among the best. We’ve highlighted two which are good value as well as modern.
Samsung LED 6050 Series:
- Smart TV enhanced with Samsung web apps.
- LED picture quality which makes for an incredible on screen display.
- Full 1080p HD
- Priced at $1049.99 for the 40” at BJs, this makes for a great value.
Samsung UN46B8000 46-Inch LED HDTV:
- Internet TV for online content.
- LED. Again stunning display and uses less energy than traditional LCD televisions.
- Full 1080p HD
- 46” reasonably priced on Amazon.com.
One of the best gadgets we’ve come across in terms of entertainment is the Roku media streaming device. This little box pulls content from the web via your internet connection. At a cost of under $100 for any of their three models, this gadget is a great way to catch some Netflix and Amazon movies, Hulu and many more web available programs.
For more details on the Roku, you can read our in depth review of the Roku XDS which details content, picture quality and some popular questions about the product.
Need more suggestions? Already have one of these products? Let us know in the comments!