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9 Cool (and Useful) Back-to-School Gadgets

Aug. 5, 2015
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Move over backpacks and highlighters; the fun part of back-to-school shopping is stocking up on tech products that will make your job as a student much easier. Before you head to class, we’ve got a collection of gadgets you’ll need to sail through the semester.

9 Cool (and Useful) Back-to-School GadgetsE-reader

Whether you like it or not, school requires lots of reading. Lighten the load of books in your backpack by opting for digital versions of your texts. To keep your pages in one place, you’ll need a digital E-reader that can store all of your books. An added bonus? You’ll have just one item to carry to and from class with you. Just ensure your textbooks are available in digital form before you buy this gadget.

Try this: Amazon sells the Kindle, 6-Inch Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi, including special offers (sponsored screensavers) for $79. Purchasers can try Kindle Unlimited for free for 30 days.

9 Cool (and Useful) Back-to-School GadgetsBluetooth speaker

Some students like to study in silence, whereas others prefer a little background music to make homework time more fun. If you’re in the latter group, get yourself set up with a Bluetooth speaker to stream all of your favorite tunes this semester. Pick a wireless model so you can take your music with you wherever you go.

Try this: Electronics retailer Best Buy has the Jam Plus Portable Bluetooth Speaker in gray on sale for $29.99 (regularly $39.99). This device features a rechargeable battery and can be paired with compatible devices up to 30 feet away.

9 Cool (and Useful) Back-to-School Gadgets2-in-1 laptop

Enjoy the traditional features of a laptop and the convenient design of a tablet with a 2-in-1 laptop. These devices can easily convert between usage setups, so you can always view your content however you’d like.

Try this: At Best Buy, the Lenovo Edge 2-in-1 15.6-Inch Touch-Screen Laptop Intel Core i5 6GB Memory 1TB Hard Drive in black is on sale for $599.99 (regularly $699.99). This laptop’s 300-degree hinge makes it possible to convert it between laptop and stand modes.

9 Cool (and Useful) Back-to-School GadgetsSmartpen

Note taking can get tedious, which is why smartpens are an ideal option for busy students. These digital devices can transfer handwritten notes to your computer and record sound via built-in microphones, but remember to record audio from your class only if your instructor has given you permission.

Try this: At Staples, the Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen costs $119.99. This smartpen can record both what you write and what you say. The product also allows users to send notes and/or audio via social media or your phone/computer.

9 Cool (and Useful) Back-to-School GadgetsSmartphone charger

Between checking social media on your way to school and surfing online during your breaks between classes, your smartphone battery can get drained during the school day. Keep your digital device primed this term by always having a charger with you. Portable versions are as trendy as they are useful.

Try this: Overstock sells the Lipstick Leopard Portable Charger with 2200mAh Battery for $11.25. This lipstick-sized charger features a fun print and can charge your smartphone or tablet.

9 Cool (and Useful) Back-to-School GadgetsMultipurpose calculator

Calculators are a necessity for math class, but there’s a way to make these school staples ultra functional. Do more than just add, subtract, multiply and divide with a multipurpose calculator. Depending on the model you select, these devices can also function as a watch.

Try this: At Wal-Mart, shoppers can purchase the Casio Classic Calculator and Calendar Watch for $14.27. This timepiece combines a classic watch with an eight-digit calculator, stopwatch and auto calendar. It boasts a battery life of five years.

9 Cool (and Useful) Back-to-School GadgetsActivity tracker

Whether it’s improving your mile time in PE class or getting in a good walk on your way home after the final school bell has rung, there are plenty of reasons to track your athletic progress throughout the school day. Outfit yourself with an activity tracker to monitor your steps taken, calories burned, fitness goals and more.

Try this: Activity trackers don’t have to blow your back-to-school budget. At Target, the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker in black is available for $59.99. After tracking all of your activity, this product automatically syncs the data to your Fitbit account.

9 Cool (and Useful) Back-to-School GadgetsPrinter

No matter which grade you’re in, you’ll likely be writing your fair share of papers and creating more than a few projects this school year. Make sure you’re always ready to deliver your book report or term paper to class with the purchase of a printer. For a printer that’s both cool and useful, pick a model that can connect wirelessly to your compatible computer or smartphone.

Try this: Online marketplace Amazon has a huge sale on the Canon Pimxa MX922 Wireless Color Photo Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax. It’s been discounted by 52%, lowering the price from $199.99 to $96.98.

9 Cool (and Useful) Back-to-School GadgetsAlarm clock

Finally, here’s a back-to-school gadget for your bedroom. Equip your home study area with a high-tech alarm clock that can wake you up in the morning or keep track of the time during late night cram sessions.

Try this: Toys R Us has the iHome LED Color Changing Dual Alarm Clock FM Radio Speaker System for $54.99. This all-in-one alarm clock does more than just tell time. It features color-changing technology, a line in jack for iPhone/iPod music playing and a USB charging port.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.

Photos via iStock, Amazon, Best Buy, Staples, Overstock, Wal-Mart, Target and Toys R Us.