Juggling a schedule of classes, clubs, jobs, and internships is hard. Going back to this full schedule after a summer of sunshine and beaches is even harder. Luckily, this season’s latest technology has arrived to help take the load off your shoulders and manage your return to crazy school life! From the basics, like a laptop and speakers, to even cooler, newfangled inventions, Her Campus has a few suggestions for what you should bring to school with you this year. Check out our list of must-have back-to-school tech gadgets!
1. For Hitting the Gym: Fitbit Flex
$99.95 on Fitbit.com
Finding time to get all your work done is difficult enough, not to mention having to squeeze in a few hours at the gym. Nevertheless, staying active is crucial to remain healthy and able to handle that busy schedule in the first place!
Fitbit Flex is a bracelet designed to help manage all aspects of your health. You keep it on your wrist 24 hours a day, and it tracks everything from distance walked to calories burned and consumed. It even monitors your sleep patterns at night, using motion-sensing technology to gauge sleep quality and duration before waking you up silently in the morning with gentle vibrations. The data it gathers is synced wirelessly to an app on your computer or mobile device so you can keep track of your personal goals. To make things even better, the bands come in five different colors!
2. To Document Memories: Polaroid Z340 3×4 Instant Digital Camera with ZINK
$424.98 at Sears
Polaroid pictures are no longer exclusive to artsy or hipster types. They make for great keepsakes to pass around, and who doesn’t want an instant printout of a cute shot? Now you can combine the instant gratification of a Polaroid with the quality of a digital photo. Make sure you bring refill paper to document your college experience!
3. For Light and Easy Note-Taking: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 Tablet
$329.99 at Best Buy
The Samsung Note 10.1 is the next big thing in tablet tech. At 1.3 pounds, it’s super portable. It comes with a stylus, the S Pen, making it the perfect device to take notes with in class. The Note 10.1 also has a handwriting recognition software that converts your scrawling into type. Depending on your cell phone contract, the Note also has 4G capabilities. The Samsung Note is just the replacement for your laptop on days when you don’t want to lug around a four- to five-pound computer.
“I love my tablet! It’s super fast, thin, and light to carry – even when it’s in its case,” says Lauren Hudson, a junior at the University of Exeter. “It also syncs with all my Google devices and accounts since it’s Android-based. Perfect if you’re a student Google user!”
4. For Group Projects: Asus Taichi 21 Ultrabook from Intel
$929.99 on DataVision
Working on a laptop just got more collaborative! The Asus Taichi has two screens—one of which is a touchscreen –that can flip around as you need them to. It can easily turn into a tablet-like device for creative tasks like drawing and writing, but also switch back into keyboard mode for taking notes and surfing the Internet.
The Asus Taichi allows endless possibilities for group projects, as the outer screen can be used to duplicate or extend the interior display. You could share a presentation or edit a document on the interior display while your project partners watch in real time on the exterior display. Weighing in at just under three pounds, it’s more portable than the standard five-pound laptop, even though it’s much more powerful than a tablet, coming equipped with a full Intel Core 1.9GHz processor.
5. For the Less Tech-Savvy: Google Chromebook
$249+ at Staples
Don’t want the hassle of figuring out a new operating system? The Chromebook is the computer for you! If you use Google Chrome as your browser, then you already know just how minimalistic and hassle-free Chrome products are. The latest Chromebook is no exception; it turns on in seconds, is incredibly easy to navigate, doesn’t require regular updates, and runs on the thousands of apps, themes, and extensions from the Chrome Web Store. The Chromebook also syncs seamlessly with any device that runs a Chrome browser using Google’s advanced cloud storage.
6. For Sharing Music: Motz Tiny Wooden Acorn Speaker with Built-in FM Radio
$49.99 on Pyramid Distribution
Not only is this speaker functional, it’s also just downright adorable. Sustainably made from the pits of natural-cut apricots, this speaker packs incredible quality and volume as well as an FM radio function into the palm of your hand. It comes with a cord to connect to your iPod, iPhone, or MP3 player.
7. For Dorm Movie Nights: Aiptek MobileCinema i20 DLP Pico Projector
$118.98 at Best Buy
This projector will make your room the spot for watching movies. Thrifty collegiettes may not be able to afford a flat-screen TV, so why not turn the entire wall into your screen! The Aiptek MobileCinema projector plugs directly into your iPhone or iPad and projects a sharp, clear image onto the wall. You’ll need a separate cord to plug it into your computer.
8. For Studying With Music: Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones
$299.95 on Bose.com
Reinventing its famous “around ear” headphones, Bose has packaged that same noise-cancelling technology into a smaller pair of earbuds. These smaller versions have nevertheless received high ratings, and its noise-cancelling abilities rival any full-sized headphones.
“They are perfect for when you’re studying in your room and your roommate is making sounds, or the hall outside is noisy,” says Clara Beyer, a senior at Brown University.
The headphones also come with an “Aware” mode, which lets you choose to let in varying amounts of noise for situations when it might be dangerous not to be able to hear, such as crossing the street or jogging at night.
These eight gadgets will make transitioning into the school year easier and much more fun! Comment below if there are any other tech gadgets that are must-haves on your back-to-school list!