/>
X
Home & Office

10 bits of tech to get for the back-to-school student

Time is inching its way through the season, and is now slowly approaching the back-to-school month. With only a few weeks to go until you pack up your things, get dropped off by your parents or make your way cross-country to your academic residence, hopefully you'll be taking a whole load of brand new technology with you.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

Time is inching its way through the season, and is now slowly approaching the back-to-school month. With only a few weeks to go until you pack up your things, get dropped off by your parents or make your way cross-country to your academic residence, hopefully you'll be taking a whole load of brand new technology with you.

But what do you need? What could you get? With an unlimited budget, it's easy to go absolutely overkill and with a limited budget, it makes choices really matter.

329721.png

To see 10 bits of tech a student shouldn't buy for college, click here.

There is a gallery of top 10 bits of tech for students buy here.

I've chosen these because I've either bought them for myself or sought them out because of their features and attributes. I am taking into price spent and subsequent costs, usability and functionality, and professional advice from my peers and colleagues.

1. Laptop stand

You will no doubt be slaving away over an overly bright screen for hours throughout the night, trying to put the finishing touches on the essay as you tap violently away at the keyboard at some point. For this you will need some ergonomics to keep you from doing your wrists in. I would highly recommend getting a laptop stand, perhaps even one which cools the laptop as you use it. The device will last longer and so will your joints and limbs.

My choice: Belkin Laptop Cooling Stand - $18.49 (Amazon.com)

2. Digital dictaphone

There will be times when you are either too hungover or too tired to attend lectures. With a digital dictaphone you can ask your friends to pop it on the lecturer's stand at the start of the lecture and pick it up again at the end. Hey presto - you've got an hour long recording and there's little difference in not actually being there.

My choice: Olympus DS-40 - $134.95 (Amazon.com)

3. External backup/storage

I've made it clear my feelings on online storage, and while it's free and it's relatively easy, it's not my first personal choice. I am more likely to swing towards an external drive which sits beside your computer which give you speedy access to backup data. Just think about it - if your computer completely bombs, you'll need a computer to get your snapshot image back from your online storage space. And get one which has encryption on it, just to be safe.

My choice: Drobo 2nd Generation - $399.00 (Drobo Store)

4. Fun + features phone

There are some things I can't advise as much as I would like to on. A phone should be selected by you, the reader and the consumer, for something that fits your lifestyle. If you want a feature packed business-like phone, then go for a BlackBerry. If you want fun-fun-fun, then buy an iPhone. If you want a phone and a phone alone, then get a basic Nokia.

Just remember that it will need to last you a while and you will want to find a compromise between an expensive phone which you will look after, and a phone that is cheap and nasty but will do its job - and if it ends up getting bricked, then you won't have wasted hundreds of dollars on a device you didn't treat well.

My choice: BlackBerry Curve 8999 - $199.99(AT&T)

5. Skype phone

Along the lines of communication, keeping in touch with friends when you are all away from university, or family when you are well away from them, having a dedicated Skype phone will stand you in good stead. It can be any Skype phone really; they are all available from their online store. The voice quality will be good, you will have the privacy from not using your speakers to her them and will just make the experience a lot better.

My choice: Philips 080 USB Phone - $99.99 (Skype Store)

6. E-reader

The Kindle is not a good friend of mine, but it is not to say that all e-readers are the spawn of Satan. With the coverage on the Between the Lines blog, I've found a similar device which seems perfect for students. It's lightweight, simple, and the battery lasts longer than the vegetables in your fridge. It'll read most filetypes including the most common that students see - PDF's - and work on both PC's and Mac's which is good news for the minority market.

My choice: Sony Reader PRS-505 - pricing varies

7. Beefy speakers

Having a set of speakers which could blow your face off is an utter necessity. Without these, you won't be able to blast out your "banging toonz". Forget people trying to sleep, you'll need something which takes up little space but size doesn't relate to power.

My choice: Creative GigaWorks HD50 - $149.99 (Amazon.com)

touchsmart2.png

8. Tablet laptop

As the technology progressed over time, handwriting has become more of a viable way of text input. But the keyboard isn't going away any time soon, so to have both would be more than useful. I've played with this device for hours at a time; with Windows 7 the handwriting feature works fantastically and the multi-touch screen is very responsive but not too sensitive. Keep ahead of the game and go for something outrageous but that won't be going out of fashion any time soon.

My choice: HP TouchSmart tx2 - $879.82 (Amazon.com)

9. Digital photo frame

While it will be tempting to post pictures all over your room, the hospitality charge to remove them (or at least the remaining bits of Blu-tac) will land you in financial ruin at the end of the year. Buy yourself a digital photo frame and keep the memories alive stored in SD memory. Plus, the settings often allow a cycle to go through so you won't be stuck on the same boring photo for days on end, and some have additional features such as wireless capabilities so you can update them over-the-air.

My choice: Sony Vaio CP1 Frame - $249.99 (Sony)

10. Digital camera

And finally, a digital camera is an absolute must. You'll be spending a lot of time out and about, meeting new people and experiencing new things, and you'll want to record them as best as you can - in a high-resolution photo. My recommendation comes from colleague Rachel King, who suggests this camera as the best; considering she's the expert, I'm happy to go along with her opinion.

My choice: Canon Powershot SD500 - under $400 (ZDNet)

What will you be buying or hope to get for your back-to-school ventures? Leave a comment.

Editorial standards

Related

How much RAM does your Windows 11 PC need?
adobestock-339222220

How much RAM does your Windows 11 PC need?

What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here's what you need to know
chat bot

What is ChatGPT and why does it matter? Here's what you need to know

How to nail the 'Do you have any questions for me?' part of the interview
job interview

How to nail the 'Do you have any questions for me?' part of the interview