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7 of the Best gadgets for Back to School 2015

by Sean P. Aune | August 18, 2015August 18, 2015 12:00 pm PDT

School is once again upon us, and whether you are going for the first time, or you’re in your last year, there is bound to be some gadget that will help you get through.

If you need a little more security in your life or you just want a constant flow of entertainment while you study, we’ve gathered up seven gadgets that are sure to help you make it through the school year.

Laptop Locks

You’re at the library studying for a final when you just can’t take it anymore and you have to run to the restroom. Do you chance leaving your computer alone for a few few minutes? Do you pack it up and take it with you only to lose your sweet spot at the window table? For a fairly small investment in a laptop lock all of these questions will melt away. Whether it be a combination lock, or a more traditional one using keys, Prices come in a wide range, but for $20 or less you can finally feel at least a slight bit of security if you have to walk away for a moment.

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Portable Hard Drives

It used to be that external hard drives were bulky, required external power supplies and were really meant only for use with desktops. Over the past few years they have shrunk down considerably and now only require the power that comes from a USB port. The technology is also quickly adding USB 3.0 compatibility so you’ll see quick transfer speeds if your new laptop has that feature. With 1TB drives now down in the $50 range, and everyone moving over to digital media for everything from pictures to movies, that extra space will come in handy.

It will also make for a healthier laptop in the long run as you won’t need to access the onboard drive nearly as much, and should also keeps things speedier as the fuller a drive gets, the slower it may go.

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Battery Packs

There never seems to be enough outlets in classrooms, and your phone or tablet look like it’s going to die at any moment. This is when you’re going to be grateful you decided to pick up an external battery pack.

Battery packs come in all shapes and sizes. Want it to have built-in cables? No problem. Want it to have a flashlight as well? Those exist. You can even get ones that can jumpstart cars! There are literally thousands of options out there and you are sure to find one that fits your needs and wants. And when you do find yourself running out of power in that critical moment, you’re going to realize it was worth every penny you spent on it.

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Tablet Keyboard Cases

While the debate rages on if tablets can ever completely replace laptops, there is definitely something to be said for their note taking skills. If you have back-to-back classes to get to, who wants to lug around a laptop with them. And trying to read your own handwriting that you quickly jotted down during the lecture is never easy. If you already have a tablet, picking up a keyboard case is a great idea as you’ll just be able to type out your notes into your favorite program or cloud based solution. Some even include an extra battery pack, killing two birds with one stone.

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Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen

Even in this digital age there is something to be said for taking notes by hand. Thanks to smart pens such as those from Livescribe, you can keep one foot in both the analog and digital world. The Echo Smartpen will record everything it hears for audio playback as well as transferring what you write to programs such as Evernote and OneNote. You can search for words within your notes, replay lectures and a whole lot more.

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Kindle E-Readers

While there aren’t many textbooks out for the Kindle, you’re still going to have a lot of additional reading to do for classes over the years. Buying any of the Kindles will save you a lot of strain on your back from lugging all of them around, not to mention possibly saving some money as well thanks to public libraries loaning books through Amazon’s e-reader.

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Streaming Devices

Streaming media is slowly taking over the world, and it’s crazy to think of any dorm room being without some sort streaming player. There are numerous options out there, so it really will come down to what features you’re looking for. Do you want to focus on packaged streaming media in the form of thousands of channels? Then you want a Roku. Have you delved deep into the Apple ecosystem? Then there is no question an Apple TV is the right choice for you. Would you prefer a more budget friendly option that allows you to stream from your computer? Then you want to check out the Chromecast.

There are a ton of options, but there is sure to be something that fits your needs perfectly. Just make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each.

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Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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