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This article was published on September 21, 2016

5 back to school tech essentials every student needs

5 back to school tech essentials every student needs
Ben Woods
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Ben Woods

Europe Editor

Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.

‘Back to school’.

Words that can fill a child with dread, but one also gives anyone older than about 15 to splash out (or more likely, bug their parents) for some new tech. It can helps ya learn good, don’t ya know.

So, we’ve put together a list of five essential items that you should definitely check out before you head off back to school/college/university/insert your excuse for new tech here.

External hard drive: Toshiba Canvio Premium 1TB

Toshiba’s Canvio range isn’t the cheapest out there, and 1TB definitely isn’t the most storage you can buy, but it sure does look sleek with its diamond-cut all-metal finish.

With all the selfies, videos and other junk (OK, treasured memories) filling up your phone and laptop, you’re going to need somewhere for the overflow.

If 1TB isn’t enough, there are also 2TB and 3TB options at $120 and $140 respectively.

All of them will work with PC and Macs, and include a carry pouch for when you need to take your junk (treasured memories) to your friend’s dorm room. And best of all, it includes a USB-C cable too, for connecting to newer smartphones and other devices.


Readdle’s Ultimate Productivity Bundle

There’s no way to make this one sound fun, but no one promised you this list would be fun. What Readdle’s ‘Ultimate Productivity Pack’ will give you is every app you really should have on your iPhone to get your through your day in class.

The bundle includes PDF Expert, Scanner Pro 7, Printer Pro and Calendars 5, which means you’ll be able to edit and sign PDFs, scan receipts and more usefully, print like a pro. Who hasn’t always wanted to print like a pro?

They’re all fully iOS 10 compatible and buying in a bundle means you get 50 percent off the regular individual download prices.

But yeah, not fun.


Upgrade your PC: HP 15-ayr018nr 15.6-inch Windows 10 laptop

If you’re using the return to college or university as an excuse to splash out on a mid-range laptop, you could do a lot worse than this HP model, despite it’s distinctly forgettable name.

What you do get for your $595 is a 1080p 15.6-inch display, 2.5GHz Intel Core i7 processor and only 8GB of RAM to keep things ticking along nicely.

The only thing you might want to check out is the 256GB SSD (keeps weight down!), but combine it with the $75 1TB portable hard drive above and you’ll be all set.


Alternatively, if you want an ultra-premium Windows experience on convertible hardware, the $2,330 Surface book is well worth checking out.

If you want a smaller, lighter, altogether more Chromebook-flavored machine, this Acer R11 Convertible might be more up your street, and costs just $270.

Got math? Digits 

If your studies involve math in any way, (or perhaps you’re moving away from home and want a super-easy way to work out what things will cost each month) then check out Digits for iOS.

Yes, your phone already has a free basic calculator, but it won’t give you tape-style run-downs of your calculations, showing you the results at each point along the way. Digits will though.

At $3.99, it’s not going to break the bank, and there’s a major new upgrade in the works that buyers will get access to.

A neat user interface, thoughtful UX and downright useful functionality make Digits a winner.


Overcome obstacles

OK, you want to work, you’re trying to work, but you just can’t work. Everything except work seems pretty enticing though.

This is where you need Procrastinator’s help to sort through your tasks one step at a time.

In a nutshell, it breaks down each of your tasks, stresses and to-dos into different sections and uses a combination of different known time-management and productivity techniques to help you get each item crossed off.

It’s particularly useful for someone, like a busy college student, as the reminders and calendaring will prompt you to get your task done on time.

All this doesn’t come free, but at $1.99 it’s probably a sound investment.


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