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Back to school: 13 gadgets every student needs

The best part of going back to school is getting new gadgets.
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1 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Fitness and Smarts

Fitness trackers and smartwatches are handy to keep tabs on how your activity and monitor notifications on your wrist. Fitbit's $199 Versa takes both of those features and combines them into an affordable and capable package.

Read our full review here.

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2 of 13 Sonos

Loud music and Alexa

What kind of student doesn't want to blast music and talk with Amazon's Alexa at the same time? The Sonos One does both of those things, and recently was updated to work with Apple's AirPlay 2 feature.

Priced at $199, it costs less than Apple's HomePod and provides more functionality.

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3 of 13 Google

Google right at home

For the student who prefers Google to Amazon, a $129 Google Home should suffice. It's not the loudest or best sounding speaker for music playback, but it is affordable and integrates with a long list of home automation devices along with all of Google's services.

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4 of 13 KeySmart

Never lose your keys again

Lose your keys a lot? The $59 Keysmart Proreplaces your keychain, and comes with Tile's technology built into it. Essentially, using the Tile app and your phone's Bluetooth, you can track down misplaced keys -- including having the holder play music until you find it.

Oh, and it has a bottle opener built into it. Need I say more?

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5 of 13 Microsoft

Microsoft's latest hardware

Microsoft's Surface Go is a new device, but it follows the same successful principles as previous Surface devices. Running Windows 10 in S Mode by default, users can expect a streamlined experience on Microsoft's latest hardware. However, with a few clicks, you can convert the Go to a full-fledged Windows 10 device.

The Surface Go starts at $399 without a keyboard.

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6 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

It's for education, after all

Apple's iPad is affordable and the most capable tablet on the market. At $329 the iPad comes with 64GB of storage, for another $100 you double the storage to 128GB.

The iPad is a convenient device to have on hand for note taking (should you opt for the $99 Apple Pencil), watching movies, and the occasional gaming.

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7 of 13 CNET

Alexa, open Netflix

An affordable streaming solution for binging on the latest Netflix hit is Amazon's $40 Fire TV Stick. The Fire TV Stick works with Amazon's own library of shows, but also includes Hulu, HBO Now, Netflix, and Sling.

It even comes with an Alexa Voice Remote for controlling the TV with your voice.

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8 of 13 Google

Just Cast it

Or for those who would prefer something slightly less expensive, Google's Chromecast is just that. Instead of streaming using an app on the device itself, you "Cast" content from apps on your smartphone to your TV. It's really easy to setup and use. And it will only set you back $35.

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9 of 13 BACTrack

Be smart

Where there are college students, there's sure to be a party. Help your student stay safe and make smart decisions with a breathalyzer that syncs to his or her phone.

For $99, the Mobile Pro model includes a feature that estimates when a users BAC will reach 0.00%.

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10 of 13 RAVPower

Portable, wireless power

As much as we all rely on our phones for constant communication, carrying around a portable battery pack is a good idea. But what makes that idea even better is adding a wireless charging pad to the battery pack. That's exactly what RAVPower has done with the $50 10400mAh Wireless Portable Charger.

The addition of wireless charging eliminates the need to worry about carrying the pack and necessary cables. Instead, you can place your compatible phone on the battery pack and it will begin charging. No cable required.

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11 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Still the best

Apple's completely wireless earbuds are still the best option for Apple users. The W1 chip Apple uses to increase range, battery life, and functionality truly is magical.

At $160, they aren't cheap, but they are well worth the investment.

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12 of 13 Ecovac

Clean your room!

Dorm rooms or apartments can get messy, and not all students have time to keep the floor tidy. Enter the Ecovacs Deebot 901.

This robot vacuum responds to voice commands, maps your living quarters, and lets you draw exactly where it can, or can't, clean.

This is one of those devices that you set up, create a schedule, and let it go to work. Perfect for a student, really.

The Deebot 901 is $399 on Amazon.

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13 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Quality phone cases

Mujjo makes some of the best cases money can buy. The leather cases are high-quality and look just as good as Apple's own leather cases for the iPhone line. Only, instead of only having a single option, Mujjo offers a wallet case that has a pocket on the back of your device to hold three cards (debit, credit, and ID).

Mujjo cases start around $43 and go up from there, depending on the model.

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