Top 10 Back-to-School Gear
Students increasingly desire technology to supplement their pencils, pens, notebooks. Here is some new gear to make both classroom and dorm room more conducive to learning.
If our national health luck holds up, a host of young scholars will physically return to the classroom in a month or so. Even if young scholars continue their education virtually, they’ll need the right gear to smooth their studying. Here are 10 tech-forward back-to-school pieces of gear.
Accell Power Dot Office AC Outlet Hub: Declutter your dorm room desktop with this dedicated compact power center with a center space to hold your Amazon Alexa Dot, Chrome Mini, USB adapters, or random non-tech items. It’s got four grounded surge-protected AC outlets that are well-spaced and that vertically swivel to better accommodate power bricks, three USB-A and a single USB-C charging ports. For flexibility, the Power Dot Office comes with either an eight- or 16-foot cord, and in either white or black to match your dorm room décor. ($54.99/$64.99)
Acer Chromebook Spin 311: This price- and consumer-friendly 11.6-inch 360-degree convertible is more versatile than a tablet but less bulky – and way less pricey – than a laptop. Spin’s best feature: it’ll operate for up to 15 hours, which means students can leave their charger at home. Spin’s tough Corning Gorilla Glass HD touch IPS display is, given the times, appropriately antimicrobial, and at just 2.2 pounds Spin won’t weigh down a backpack. A newly-improved keyboard with concave keys and deeper key travel makes typing papers book reports more comfortable, and a wide field-of-view webcam helps to keep everyone in the dorm room in view for calls home. ($259.99)
BenjiLock by Hampton U-Lock Bicycle Fingerprint Lock: Following its innovative fingerprint locks, BenjiLock, now owned by Hampton, has introduced a new matte black fingerprint bike lock to make sure your wheels stay put while you’re in class. Each IP65 weather-resistant U-Lock is constructed with an 18,000-pound cut strength case-hardened 7.87-inch steel shackle that resists bolt cutters, along with a pick- and drill-resistant lock cylinder. Up to 10 fingerprints can be programmed into the lock, and a single charge of its rechargeable lithium battery provides an estimated six months of bike rack security. ($79.99)
Honeywell Zeta Personal Cooler: Many dorm rooms lack air conditioning, which can make them quite stuffy when the weather gets toasty. This compact AC unit, now available for pre-order, which stands only 12 inches tall and 8.7 inches deep and weighs just 6.6 pounds, both cools and humidifies for 10 hours on an easy-to-refill detachable half-gallon tank of chilled water. It’ll cool up to 10 feet away or 64.5 square feet, and kills 99% of “select” bacteria after 48 hours of use. It’s got three fan speeds running at only 36-47db – nearly library quiet – plus an even quieter sleep mode, as well as a USB charging port. ($199.99)
HP ENVY 6055/6455 All-One-Printers: Differentiating one printer from another can be difficult, but these new Series 600 Wi-Fi models from HP offer a bit more than mere function or performance bells & whistles. For one thing, they’re more ecologically-centric, made with more than 20% recycled plastic by weight, and a subscription to HP’s Instant Ink service means that new half-priced ink cartridges are automatically sent before you run out. Both these printers print, scan and copy, both print two-sided and wirelessly from a mobile device; the 6455 adds a 35-page automatic document feeder and fax capabilities. ($129.99/$149.99)
Iogear Dock Pro 100 USB-C 4K Ultra-Slim Station: Expand the skimpy jack selection on a mostly USB-C laptop with this slim docking station. You get an array of ports to connect up to eight devices: three old-fashioned USB-A (USB 3.0), one of which doubles for power, full-size and micro SD card readers, a 3.5mm headphone jack, one for gigabit Ethernet, and 4K HDMI, DisplayPort and VGA display connections. The dock also passes through 100W to power even the hungriest of laptops, and is wedge-shaped so it can be placed behind and under the laptop to better angle the keyboard. ($129.95)
Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Dual Screen Laptop: Nothing saps a laptop’s power more than its copious screen. So Lenovo has embedded a second power-saving 10.8-inch e-ink touchscreen, like the kind on a Kindle, on the top lid of this laptop’s regular 13.3-inch LCD screen. The e-ink screen is completely interactive: with the included magnetically-attachable pen you can take notes or make sketches on it that can be synced with OneNote and transformed into text and diagrams, as well as read and annotate documents, PDFs, e-books or notifications, or personalize the cover with a photo, all without opening the clamshell. Once you open its lid, the ThinkPad Plus features a smart power-on button with a built-in fingerprint reader, Harman Kardon speakers and Skype-certified mics. Inside, the ThinkPad Plus is equipped with 10th generation Intel Core processors, and a battery good for 10 hours of standard lid-up operation. (starting at $1,249)
Mophie Powerstation USB-C 3XL: Eventually everything in your backpack, especially your smartphone and laptop, will need power. Instead of hunting for an available AC outlet, whip out this 26,000mAh battery that’ll extend the life of a USB-C MacBook Air up to 18 hours. While the 3.7 by 6.6 by .9-inch Powerstation, at a smidge over a pound, is admittedly a bit heavy, it also includes a separate 12-watt USB-A port to simultaneously recharge a second device. ($99.95)
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite: For in-class note-taking, perhaps toting and hauling out a full laptop isn’t needed. That’s where this thin 1.03-pounds Android 10 tablet with a 10.4-inch screen comes in. Its redesigned .26-ounce S Pen features a .7mm pen tip for more precise jotting and drawing, and it magnetically snaps onto the tablet’s side when you’re done. Any notes are instantly transformed into text so no worries about deciphering your hasty scribbles, and can be tagged for later categorization and searching, and exported as a PDF, JPEG, text file or Microsoft Word document. For the fashion-conscious, the Tab S6 is available in Oxford Gray, Angora Blue or Chiffon Rose. (starting at $349.99)
Lexar SL200 Portable SSD: To supplement often skimpy laptop hard drives, this external USB-C SSD is smaller than a slider sans bun – just 3.4 by 2.4 by 0.4 inches – and weighs a feather-like .09 of an ounce. Despite its diminutive dimensions, the USB-C SL200 holds a whopping 512 GB or 1TB of overflow data (a 2GB edition is coming soon), especially memory-hogging photos and videos, and can access and transfer data around 3x to 6x faster – 550MB/s read and 400MB/s write – than a traditional hard drive. The SL200 is also secure, thanks to 256-bit AES encryption. ($89.99 512GB, $159.99 1TB)
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