This Year’s Best Back-to-School Gadgets

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School is less than a month away and you are probably itching to go back. You might have visited places in your summer vacation or, maybe, many days were spent at home. Perhaps schooling is your new form of freedom, after all.

We know that it takes more than just a smartphone and a calculator to make it through a semester. Surf the internet and you will see tons of gadgets that urge for you to buy them. Probably you already saw tons of back-to-school advertisements in your town. Many establishments are now giving discounts for gizmos you may use in the upcoming academic year. Scanning through product reviews is great, but it is not efficient if you want to buy many gadgets.

Hence, Gizmo Snack created this list, hoping to guide you in buying gizmos before you go back to school.

Laptops

Notebook computers (or laptops) are not luxury goods anymore, not even when it comes to school supplies. These gadgets are a must, whether you have to finish a term paper overnight or ace examinations later. Sure, tablets may serve as replacements, but they do not have the processing capacity of laptops. The existence of a physical keyboard and a larger monitor makes laptops the go-to gizmo for students. Moreover, college is not all about skimming through dusted books or hurdling your course requirements. You need to take a break sometimes, watch NBA or FIFA games altogether, or play the latest game in town. Ride the wave of rising popularity of smart gadgets and pick a unit for you enjoyment.

ASUS C201

ASUS C201

ASUS C201 has features catering the sweet spot of college students on budget. It weighs less than 2 lbs and has the competent Rockchip 3288 – C processor. The surprisingly long battery life of 13 hours is also something we adore about this laptop. Decent specifications, light weight and the affordable price tag are enough to make this one of our recommendations. ASUS C201 is currently available for only $198.67.

Samsung Chromebook 2

Samsung

If you can shell out more cash, Samsung Chromebook 2 packs more power, yet its strongest suit is portability. University life is notorious for students carrying books heavier than 10 lbs, and this 2.6 lbs-laptop may provide some reprieve. Chromebook 2 is also a powerful gadget, with Exynos 5 octa-core 5800 processor, 4GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and Intel HD Graphics. Its 13-inch screen plays multimedia files in Full-HD, so you can enjoy it as a streaming device for your media. Lastly, you won’t have to worry about file storage, because it comes with 100 GB capacity, courtesy of Google Drive. You can buy a Samsung Chromebook 2 for $399.99.

MacBook

Macbook

At $1,299, Macbook is surely for those who can afford something with a more impressive price tag. The intense competition between manufacturers recently pushed Apple off from the top spot. However, there’s something about the Force Touch Keypad, the Retina Display and the long battery life that prove the company hasn’t lost its luster yet. The regular 12-inch model can perform most of the tasks thrown to it. OSX still focuses on easy user navigation through the Force Touch Keypad. We do not have to discuss further about Apple’s Retina Display. It’s simply visually gorgeous.

Dell XPS 13

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For a Windows-operated gizmo, Dell XPS 13 is also a high-end laptop, but has a more affordable price tag of $942. It has a 13 Full-Infinity HD screen, which provides the sharpest details for any image. Performance also delivers, thanks to its 4G RAM and a 128 GB SSD. Throw demanding applications, such as Photoshop, and it will breeze through them. If you feel like taking an off from the toxic university life, XPS 13 is also a powerhouse multimedia player and a decent gaming device.

For more suggestions, you can check our article featuring the best Chromebooks in 2016.

Tablets

We are not referring to Egyptian tablets here, folks. That lame joke aside, tablets are now your storage device for e-books and modules in your classes. They also give the ease of portability that laptops cannot provide. Moreover, tablets can be loaded with applications which can prove helpful in surviving college. You may opt to choose the cheapest one around, yet you may also suffer from drawbacks in terms of actual performance.

Amazon Fire

Amazon Fire

Amazon Fire is a surefire winner in delivering good performance for an impossibly affordable price. Most tablets costing $50 are only useful in breezing through the social media, but this is a fully realized device. Amazon Fire handles applications smoothly, despite having an average processor and display. Lastly, it does not look cheap, thanks to its elegant design. This may not run taxing applications at all, but Amazon Fire has what it takes to be a functional tablet.

Apple Ipad Pro

Ipad pro

Apple Ipad Pro is dubbed as one of the best tablets on the market. You shouldn’t irk about the price, since it is fairly affordable, at $599. Sporting 9.7 inch, this is one of the most visually impressive tablets right now. At present, Ipad Pro is also Apple’s most powerful tablet and it’s easy to see why: it is snappy, and the stylus gives it a business-like feel. Ipad Pro weighs mere 0.96 pound and provides portability in every sense. Of course, this cannot replace your laptop, but it can serve as your handy companion in campus.

Microsoft Surface 4 – 256GB

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Surprisingly, Microsoft Surface 4 blows competition out of the water with its sharp display and fast response. It also comes with a detachable keyboard which can be a temporary replacement for your laptop. The actual performance is fast, due to its 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U processor. The gizmo also houses Windows 10 OS, so getting used to it is not an issue. This is heavier than your typical tablet, but is still lighter than laptops, weighing 1.73 pounds. Surface 4’s other features include facial recognition system, Dolby Speakers and a decent 8.0 megapixel camera. Lastly, it has a long battery life of 10 hours. The catch? The whopping $1,299 price tag.

Printers

You will really need to buy a printer if you want to easily beat deadlines. Repetitive trips to the campus computer laboratory spells inconvenience in your part. You will not have to worry about the space either, since a lot of models are now smaller than before and fit in small spaces. Some printers can print via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and some can even print data from smartphones.

Canon PIXMA MG3220 All-in-One Printer

canon

Canon PIXMA MG3220 All-in-One Printer is not only a budget friendly printer, but is also one of best for students. It is compatible with a variety of Ink Tanks which save you money in the long run. Wireless Printing is also enabled via Google Cloud Print. Other features unique to this gadget are auto-printing on both sides and its autopower whenever you send a photo to be printed. You will also be surprised to find out that it only costs $50. This is certainly heaven sent for college students.

Brother HL-L5200DW

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Assuming you want a good midrange printer, Brother HL-L5200DW serves your needs for only $229.99. It also allows wireless printing while remaining ridiculously fast. This is a must-buy for undergraduate students having their thesis, because Brother HL-L5200DW is a heavy duty printer. Despite its small size, the printer can handle up to 300 sheets in its storage. Moreover, it has a 50,000 pages monthly cycle. Rendering graphics might not be its forte, but printing texts is nothing short of superior.

HP OfficeJet Pro 8620

HP

HP OfficeJet Pro 8620 is also a multi-purpose printer, capable of doing other functions, like dual printing, fax and compatibility with other operating systems. It also allows wireless printing through Wi-Fi, NFC and Ethernet. Pro 8620 is praised for its low cost printing which saves up to 50% ink. Currently available for $299.99, it delivers the features you need for an all-in one printer.

Headphones

71z0XgZ1UwL._SL1500_Assuming you will reside in a dormitory, you may only purchase one home entertainment system, which is shared with your roommate. Worse, your place may even be too small to accommodate that. You will probably resort to watching movies on your tablet or laptop to satisfy your entertainment needs. Laptop speakers are nice, but they do not save space. There will be days when you will want to drown yourself in music to concentrate with what you are reading. Hence, you will need quality headphones.

We prepared numerous articles detailing the best headphones you can have right now. You may refer to these titles for a more varied selection:

Or you may simply go and choose the headphone we think that is best right now on the market.

If we’re asked, buy noise cancelling headphones if you have the budget. These do not only block external noise, but also minimize the damage earbuds do to your ear.

Cameras

School is also about preserving memories in the form of photographs. Your smartphone is normally enough, but you can’t use it in the pool or in situations where it will be damaged. Moreover, some of your course requirements will need decent photographs your phone may not capture. There’s no better way than to store a sweet date or your documentaries with a good camera! More sophisticated ones boast wireless connectivity, for you to transfer pictures even without a computer near you.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

Olympus

Mirrorless cameras have the good attributes of compact and DSLR cameras. They are more flexible to use than the former, because they have interchangeable lenses and larger sensors. Compared to DSLR cameras, they are not only smaller, but also sturdier. Olympus OM-D E-M10 II owns a powerful 16.1 megapixel lens and viewfinder that produce high quality images and decent video playback. You will also love its versatile customizations and the Micro Third Sensor minus the weight in your bag. Lastly, it is affordable too, at $549.

TomTom Bandit

tomtom

GoPro might be the most common action camera today, but we go with Tomtom Bandit’s mix of great specifications for only $400. Perhaps the bullet shape design and the built-in GPS suit most with your adventures. This action cam automatically selects the highlight of a recorded video or photo taken, much to your convenience. It might not be totally waterproof, but, most of the time, you won’t spend your college days in extreme places. TomTom Bandit is also a powerhouse in terms of quality photos. It shoots time lapse sequences and images up to 16 megapixels.

Sony Cybershot RX100 III

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Sony RX100 III is our top pick for compact cameras for college students. Its small size is perfect to capture unexpected moments anywhere in a given time. With this you’ll get DSLR-like controls and image quality with the size of a compact camera. It is an outstanding gadget, thanks to its 20.1 megapixel shooter and 1-inch sensor. It also boasts a 2.9x zoom and  wireless connectivity. The gizmo belongs among high-end compact cameras, but because of its $397 price it is generally considered midrange.

Applications

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The ‘smart’ part in your smartphone fulfills its job through mobile applications. There are some which are catered to make your school life more convenient. Whether you need to place a food order or plan your schedule ahead of time, we provide applications to give you an advantage in breezing this school year.

Cal

This app destroys the common notion that calendar apps are boring. First, Cal’s colorful backgrounds edge out the stock android version of the calendar. A sleek minimalistic design also prevents the layout from being overcrowded. A student is always burdened with tons of requirements to finish on time. He has to schedule these ahead, and this is where Cal’s functionality comes handy.

It shows your daily agenda once you open the application. You can organize your agenda, note events, appointments and birthdays. It also shows activities you need to accomplish every hour. All in all, the layout is simply a blessing for those who love to make schedules.

Evernote

You probably need Evernote if you are not keen on writing your notes down during classroom discussions. This is different from your typical note app, because it allows you to add text, audio and images in it. Evernote’s indexing is also excellent, thanks to its powerful search engine. You will not have to zoom in photos you captured from handwritten notes anymore. Evernote has Evernote’s Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which recognizes scanned documents or handwritten text. Hence, it can scan computer printed texts easily. Lastly, its clipper system saves web pages you think that are important to be read later. Evernote is free for its basic version and costs $25/year for additional functions.

Eat24

Since you will get hungry but will not always have the energy to go in your campus canteen to eat, you should know there’s an app that can save you the trouble. Eat24 is currently the most popular food delivery service mobile application, and for a good reason. It works with many restaurants, and it does the job of ordering and channeling payment in your delivery. Eat24 also provides a list of available nearby establishments where you can use the app. In this way, you won’t have to leave home just to eat.

We hope we helped you in preparing for the next school year. Surviving college is never easy, but you may have a more tolerable life with these gizmos. Voice your thoughts in the comments!

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