Which back-to-school tech is best for high schoolers?
Gearing up for back-to-school with your high schooler? Besides the usual suspects on school supply lists, like pens and binders, you may need to invest in a few new tech items.
If you’re wondering where to begin, consider which tech your high school will need the most. Laptops and devices are among the most popular investments, followed by keyboards, mice and printers. Since high schools lead busy lives, it’s wise to invest in portable tech that makes life on the go more convenient.
What to know about back-to-school tech for high schoolers
How to know what tech to buy high schoolers
Many high schools provide students with supply lists that include required and recommended items. While the lists may consist of some tech products, such as graphing calculators or USB drives, they may not mention essentials like devices, printers or computer peripherals.
Some schools don’t provide students with a supply list, making selecting the right tech for back-to-school needs challenging. To create your list, start with these categories to guide you:
- Tech products used daily, like all-in-one computers
- Tech products used on an occasional basis, like power banks
- Tech products that aid in everyday organization, like charging stations
For practical and budget-related reasons, most-used items should top the list. Tech products falling into the other two categories are worthwhile investments that you can use more often during the school year than anticipated.
Shopping for juniors and seniors
If you’re shopping for juniors and seniors, consider whether you can use the tech products you buy for college or trade school. For that reason, some people invest in better-quality devices with premium features to last through several years of use.
Conversely, it’s not always cost-effective to splurge on new tech when juniors and seniors may prefer upgrades as they enter college or trade schools. Instead, many opt for budget-friendly devices that will last through graduation.
Traveling with tech
From practice to extracurricular activities to after-school jobs, high schoolers spend much of their lives on the go. That’s why many back-to-school lists include laptop backpacks or messenger bags, such as this Swissgear Computer Backpack that holds devices up to 17 inches.
Bags like these are typically outfitted with padded sleeves to secure devices. Some have water-resistant materials that protect devices from exposure to humidity, rain or moisture. Additionally, many of these bags have many compartments for high levels of organization for your tech products and school supplies.
It’s common for back-to-school tech products to come with basic warranties, including those that cover manufacturer defects. There are also extended warranties for purchase, which provide comprehensive coverage for lost devices, water damage and sometimes theft.
Consumers split on the overall value of extended warranties for tech items. Individuals that travel often or are hard on devices, for example, may find they’re a worthwhile investment. Others feel the extended warranties are more trouble than they’re worth, as they may involve complicated claims processes.
Must-have back-to-school tech
Chromebooks, which run on Google’s Chrome OS, are popular school devices given their cloud storage capabilities and affordability. The HP Chromebook Intel Celeron N4000, for example, has a sleek, responsive design and boasts a battery life of up to 13 hours. It has a built-in webcam and stereo speakers for high-quality Zoom calls.
Tablets are an ideal supplemental device for high school students, as they’re for both studying and casual use. Amazon Fire HD 8, which has dual cameras, runs on a 30% faster quad-core processor and delivers a seamless streaming experience.
Even if they’re working on laptops with touchpads, many high school students prefer using mice. Logitech Pebble M350 Wireless Mouse is ideal for in-class use given its silent clicks and whisper-quiet scrolling. It has high-precision optical tracking that is fast and reliable.
A smart printer makes for quick and easy printing, especially during busy mornings. HP Tango Smart Wireless Printer lets students print, scan and copy from anywhere through the HP Smart app. It’s Alexa and Google Home-enabled for voice-activated printing, plus it has a space-savvy design.
Noise-canceling earbuds allow high schoolers to immerse themselves in remote learning. Apple AirPods Pro includes active noise cancellation for immersive sound and transparency mode so users can connect with the world around them. The earbuds offer quick access to Siri and pair quickly with compatible Apple devices.
USB sticks are a space-savvy way for high schools to carry essential files. SanDisk 128GB Cruzer USB 2.0 Flash Drive holds up to 7,200 photos, 320 minutes of video and up to 8,000 songs, plus plenty of term papers, projects and presentations.
Notebooks can be ruined or lost, but high-tech notebooks let high school students save and access their notes from anywhere. Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook has 32-lined pages that are wipe-to-clean. The Rocketbook app scans the pages to popular cloud services, like Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack and One Note.
Device trackers make it easy to know exactly where your valuables are. Tile Mate Bluetooth Tracker Set tracks items up to 200 feet away, including devices, keys and bags. It integrates with smart home hubs and uses the anonymous Tile Network to help find items more quickly.
Label makers can help high school students stay organized. DYMO Label Maker creates custom labels in five font sizes, seven print styles and a few text effects. The device is portable and can be left in a locker or carried in school bags.
Wireless charge pad
Wireless charge pads are convenient devices that eliminate the hassle of wrangling power cords. Anker PowerWave Pad is Qi-certified and is compatible with most newer smartphones and wireless earbuds.
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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