It’s time for college students to head back to class, which means it’s time to stock up on all the essentials so you can survive another year away from home. A new set of twin-size bedsheets? Check. A bulk-supply of Ramen noodles? Check. Several pairs of cheap plastic sandals for the shower? Check. You’re almost ready, but don’t forget about all the new tech you’ll need to excel inside and outside of the classroom. Every year brings a football stadium full of new gadgets and devices that can both enhance and streamline the academic experience, and 2015 is no different. Here are four of the best back-to-school tech gadgets.
iPad Mini 3
The iPad Mini 3 seems like it was designed with the student in mind. It takes everything you’d expect to find in a bulky desktop and shrinks it down into one perfect, academically driven device. The high-definition Retina display and 7.9-inch display are perfect for writing reports, watching videos, and responding to message board posts. Whether you’re majoring in pre-med, poetry or plant science, the speed of the 64-bit A7 processor can easily handle any task your student throws at it. And with Facetime and a front-mounted 5MP iSight, you’ll always be able to keep in touch, whether it’s over Wi-Fi or a 4G network.
In the dorm, space is at a premium, so that it’s important to find devices that are compact and sturdy. The Canon Pixma is a small, affordable printer that is perfect for this environment. In addition to its very detailed 2400×1200 dpi printing ability, the Pixma also allows for wireless printing. That means you can instantly print documents directly from your new iPad. The scanner even has an adjustable hinge that makes it great for copying thick text books. It’s also deceptively fast printer for $80, so you shouldn’t have any trouble printing out the last page of that report when their already running late for class.
In addition to being an extremely sleek and stylish backpack, the SOOT Electropack also comes equipped with a hidden talent. It can keep all of your devices charged for up to two weeks with a built-in, surprisingly lightweight aluminum battery cell. SOOT actually held an successful Kickstarter campaign to get the Electropack off the ground, and the results are pretty amazing. At $250 they’re certainly pricey, but SOOT has built both the pack and battery to last well beyond your student’s academic career — no matter how many times you switch majors. The Electropack comes in a variety of sizes and styles, and you can even buy the battery separately. With some luck, you’ll never complain about a dead cellphone battery again.
Livescribe Smartpen 3
The worst part of taking notes is having to transcribe later. What if your pen could do it for you? Enter Livescribe’s newest generation of self-transcribing pen, the Smartpen 3. Using specially designed, dot-sensitive notebooks, the Smartpen 3 can actually learn how you write. Whether you have perfect penmanship or completely illegible handwriting, it doesn’t matter. The pen also has built in Bluetooth and it can communicate in real time with the Livescribe app for instant transcriptions. It will even sync your notes to popular note-taking software like Evernote.