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Best back-to-school tech for under $50 in 2018

Here is a look at some of this year's must-have gadgets and devices for students heading back to school or leaving to start their college careers.

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Topic: Hardware
Anker PowerPort Speed PD 5
1 of 19 Anker

Anker PowerPort Speed PD 5

The ideal USB charging center for those with a handful of devices that need topping up regularly. The four standard USB ports are capable of a combined output of 30W, while the single USB-C port is good for fast-charging modern devices such as iPhones, MacBooks, and Android devices.

- More information | Price: $49.95


RAVPower Ace 12000mAh powerbank
2 of 19 RAVPower

RAVPower Ace 12000mAh powerbank

    A small, highly portable powerbank (this is 20 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than others of a similar capacity) that can simultaneously power two devices.

    The 10,000mAh capacity is good for recharging high-end smartphones such as the iPhone or Galaxy S8 multiple times, and even holds enough capacity to give a larger device like the iPad a good top-up.

    - More information | Price: $29.99

    Soundcore Motion Q
    3 of 19 Soundcore

    Soundcore Motion Q

    If you're looking for a waterproof speaker that's offers great all-round surround sound, the Soundcore Motion Q is the perfect speaker for you!

    This speaker is capable of filling a room -- or the outdoors -- with bright, bassy, vibrant sound, yet it's only 4.3-inches tall.

    The built-in speaker offers 10 hours of battery life, and the unit recharges in under 3.5 hours.

    - More information | Price: $45.99

    Anker SoundBuds Surge
    4 of 19 Anker

    Anker SoundBuds Surge

      The Anker SoundBuds Surge offers me everything I like from a pair of Bluetooth earbuds. They're lightweight, last for several hours on a single charge, are totally waterproof (so sweat or an accidental fall into a puddle doesn't kill them), and the sound is fantastic, too.

      Anker have also thought on the ergonomics: These are very comfortable to wear, and there's also a conveniently placed magnet to keep the earbuds together when not in use.

      - More information | Price: $23.99

      RAVPower Ace 10000mAh powerbank
      5 of 19 RAVPower

      RAVPower Ace 10,000mAh powerbank

      A complete 2-in-1 mobile power solution.

      Just unplug the wall charger from your outlet at home and take it with you. The power bank is airplane-friendly, so you can take it with you on your adventures. It can also be recharged anywhere in the world, thanks to the built-in charger being compatible with AC 100-240V 50/60Hz.

      Alternatively, you can charge the power bank from a regular charger using the microUSB port. This takes longer, but offers you flexibility when travelling.

      - More information | Price: $35.99

      Anker Powerline+ II Lightning cables
      6 of 19 Anker

      Anker Powerline+ II Lightning cables

      Without a doubt the best Lightning cable. It's available in a variety of lengths. These cables can withstand twists and tugs, and are pretty much tangle-resistant thanks to the premium braided nylon fiber outer.

      These cables are also guaranteed to be compatible with all your Lightning-equipped iOS devices thanks to Apple's MFi certification.

      I've had several of these cables in use for the past few months, and they have stood up well to daily use and abuse.

      - More information | Price: $15.99 for the 3ft version

      Amazon Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa
      7 of 19 Amazon

      Amazon Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa

      The next-generation Fire tablet is a steal at the price.

      The 7-inch IPS display offers higher contrast and sharper text, with the 1.3 GHz quad-core processor offering enough power for media playback and mobile gaming.

      Despite the display and the performance, the Amazon Fire 7 offers up to 8 hours of battery life.

      The Amazon Fire 7 comes in 8GB or 16 GB of internal storage, and there's a microSD slot for expansion up to 256GB.

      Not only is the price simply amazing -- a tablet for under $50 -- but it is perfect for situations where it's going to get a hard life. The Amazon Fire 7 is far more durable than an iPad, and yet offers many of the features from a tablet costing many times more.

      - More information | Price: $49.99

      Seagate 1TB USB 3.0 portable 2.5-inch external hard drive
      8 of 19 Seagate

      Seagate 1TB USB 3.0 portable 2.5-inch external hard drive

      The Seagate Expansion Portable hard drive offers an easy-to-use solution when you need to instantly add additional storage to a computer, or give you a quick and simple way to back up your data.

      The Seagate Expansion Portable hard drive is USB powered, so there's no need for an additional power source, and offer fast data transfer, thanks to USB 3.0 connectivity

      - More information | Price: $45

      Kensington Combination Cable Lock for laptops and other devices
      9 of 19 Kensington

      Kensington Combination Cable Lock for laptops and other devices

      While this won't deter a determined criminal, this does offer a quick and simple way to prevent the casual thief from making off with your laptop when you are in a public place. Just pop the cable around a fixed object, then hook the other end to a Kensington Security Slot, and you are done!

      It'a also a visual reminder to others that you take care of your gear!

      Note that not all devices feature a Kensington Security Slot, so check in advance.

      - More information | Price: $29.99

      010.jpg
      10 of 19 Google

      Google Chromecast

      Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port. Simply use your device and the TV to stream TV shows, movies, games, and more.

      Chromecast works with iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, macOS and Windows laptops, and Chromebook, and it's probably the cheapest and easiest way to beam content from your portable device to a TV.

      - More information | Price: $35

      011.jpg
      11 of 19 Unicorn

      Unicorn Beetle Pro Full-Body Protection for smartphones and tablets

      I've had my iPhone 8 Plus in one of these cases from day one and after a multitude of bangs and knocks, it's still like new.

      The Unicorn Beetle Pro offers 360-degree of protection, shock-absorbing edges, and features a non-obtrusive screen cover that protects from scratches and chips.

      There are also handy port covers to prevent dirt, dust, sand, and pocket lint from getting into your device's ports.

      - More information | Price: Around $28

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      12 of 19 Canon

      Canon PIXMA MX492 Wireless All-In-One printer with mobile and tablet printing

      The space-saving small printer fits about anywhere in your home, office, or dorm. AirPrint means that you can print wirelessly from iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch without needing to install any additional drivers.

      The built-in scanner also allows you to scan photos or documents and even get them sent to your mobile device using the free Canon Print app.

      For the price, this is probably one of the best all-in-one printers on the market.

      - More information | Price: $44

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      13 of 19 Amazon

      Amazon Echo Dot

      The Echo Dot is a hands-free, voice-controlled hub for so much. Use the small built-in speaker, and connect to your speakers or headphones over Bluetooth or through a 3.5 mm audio cable to deliver stereo sound to the speakers you choose.

      The Echo Dot connects to the Alexa Voice Service to allow you to play music, make and receive calls, send and receive messages, and get access to information such as news, sports scores, weather, and so much more -- all using your voice!

      - More information | Price: $49.99

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      14 of 19 Aukey

      Aukey Ora clip-on camera lens, 0.45 x 140° wide-angle + 10x macro

      Get your smartphone's camera to do much more with this twin-pack of clip-on lenses.

      The Ora 2-in-1 Lens Kit includes two lenses -- a 140-degree wide-angle lens and a 10x macro lens -- allowing you to use your smartphone's camera to capture both wide landscapes and detailed close-ups.

      The lenses are crafted from aluminum alloy for high durability, and use coated multi-element glass to minimize ghosting, reflections, lens flare, and other light artifacts.

      Coming from a dSLR, I used to be skeptical about these kinds of lenses, but the more I use them the more I value them, and I uses carry them around with me when out and about, because it means I can leave my bulky camera at home.

      - More information | Price: $19.99

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      15 of 19 Logitech

      Logitech Bluetooth multi-device keyboard K480

      Here's a keyboard that works on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. Just connect tot he keyboard using Bluetooth and away you go! You can even connect to up to three devices, and switch between them using the Easy-Switch dial.

      The built-in cradle holds your phone or tablet at the perfect angle for reading and typing, and can accommodate most smartphones and tablets.

      - More information | Price: $49.99

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      16 of 19 Kensington

      Kensington SmartFit Easy Riser laptop cooling stand

      If there's one downside to using a notebook for extended periods it's the neck ache you get from looking down at it.

      The Kensington SmartFit Easy Riser not only allows you to raise your and tilt (50-degree tilt angle) your laptop to the perfect height for reading and typing, but it also helps to keep it cooler by increasing air circulation around the device.

      The stand easily fits notebooks ranging from 12- to 17-inch in size, and features padded inserts provide a secure, stable fit.

      - More information | Price: $29.99

      Anker PowerPort 10
      17 of 19 Anker

      Anker PowerPort 10

      For the student who has a lot of devices to charge up!

      Ten USB ports offer 60 watts of power, enabling simultaneous multi-device charging. The Anker PowerPort 10 also features PowerIQ and VoltageBoost combine to offer the fastest possible charge speed.

      Don't let the 10 ports put you off though, since the Anker PowerPort 10 is one of the most compact multi-port USB chargers on the market.

      Built-in surge protection and temperature control work to keep you and your devices safe.

      - More information | Price: $39.99

      Maclock
      18 of 19 Maclock

      Maclock

      Modern MacBooks, such as the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, don't come with a Kensington Security Slot, but that doesn't mean you can't add one.

      The Maclock clips to the front of the MacBook Pro to add a Kensington Security Slot that you can use along with a Kensington locking cable to secure your laptop to a handy radiator or table when you are working away from home or the office.

      - More information | Price: Around $45

      Vulcan Classic Backpack with USB charging port
      19 of 19 Vulcan

      Vulcan Classic Backpack with USB charging port

      A backpack with a built-in USB charge port. Just hook a powerbank to one end, and the device you want to charge on the other, and away you go!

      The backpack is large enough to accommodate a 15.6-inch laptop, and features a water-resistant outer to keep the elements out.

      The Vulcan Classic Backpack is offered in black, gray, blue and red.

      - More information | Price: $49.99

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