Best Gadgets for Back To School
Back to school season is upon us and whether your child is going to middle school, high school or college, there are some great must-have gadgets to get them through the school year. Here are some of the best for 2019.
Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant ($79.99)
Smart speakers are everywhere these days, including almost every college dormroom. The Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant includes all the useful features of the Google Home Mini, but with a small embedded screen that serves as an alarm clock and information display for data like the weather and upcoming calendar events. It’s small footprint is perfect for dorm rooms and because Google Assistant allows you to connect your music streaming services (e.g. Spotify), you can play music while trying to unwind, focus on studies or to fall asleep. Don’t let the small size fool you, the audio on this thing packs quite a punch!
Perfect for: High School & College Students | Buy at BestBuy
BetterAir Biotica800 Air Purifier ($399)
One item that parents often forget to purchase for the college student in their life is an air purifier. Let’s face it, dorm rooms and college apartments are not the cleanest places on Earth, nor are college students renowned for their dusting abilities. What’s unique about the BetterAir Biotica800 is its use of probiotics to consume the bacteria that causes bad odors. The BetterAir is simple to use, small in size and does an amazing job of removing odors, eliminating allergens (mold spores, dust mites, fecal matter, pet dander, pollen and more) and protecting surfaces.
Perfect for: College Students | Buy on Amazon
Altec Lansing ComfortQ Active Noise Canceling Bluetooth Headphones ($99)
Anyone that’s ever used quality active noise canceling (ANC) headphones knows what a pleasure they are. Having the background noise filtered out makes music, podcasts, and audiobooks so much easier to hear and helps bring out the subtleties in audio that can often go unheard. Using ANC headphones without any audio can also make it easier to focus on work or studying. For me, the thought of forgetting my ANC headphones on a long flight is enough to keep me up at night. High-quality noise canceling headphones can be very expensive; two of the industry leaders, Bose and Sony, often retail for $300 or more. Most sub-$200 ANC headphones I’ve tested have been pretty underwhelming, which makes the $99 Altec Lansing ComfortQ headphones such a pleasant surprise. Not only are they comfortable, well-made and come with all the accessories that their much-more-expensive counterparts include (travel case, airplane adapter), their noise canceling and sound quality is very impressive. While they don’t surpass Bose or Sony in either category, they’re a steal at $99. With 26 hours of battery life and a fashionable aesthetic, these headphones are a must-have for anyone looking to enter the world of noise canceling headphones.
Perfect for: High School & College Students | Buy on AltecLansing.com
Contigo AUTOSEAL Chill Stainless Steel Water Bottle ($21.95)
As more and more schools are moving away from wasteful plastic water bottles, parents are required to send their kids in with reusable water bottles. The problem with most reusable bottles is that they leak like crazy. After repeated openings and washings, the seals that lock in the liquid wear down and your child’s backpack and homework is drenched. (Trust me, this happens too frequently with my kids.) Contigo’s AUTOSEAL line of products solves this problem with an innovative lid that locks in liquids no matter how much one shakes or tilts the bottle. They also feature “Thermalock” double-walled vacuum insualtion that keeps drinks cold for up to 28 hours. My family and I tested the Chill Stainless Steel Water Bottle for a week and my son was amazed to find that the ice cubes in his bottle were still there after 13 hours! Another bonus—these bottles can hold up to 24 ounces of liquid, keeping your child hydrated all day. Retailing at $21.95, with some colors as low as $15 on Amazon, the Contigo AUTOSEAL bottles are a better value than similar super-insulated products from brands like Yeti.
Perfect for: All Ages | Buy on Amazon
JBL Everest 310GA Wireless Headphones with Google Assistant ($199)
It’s a shame that so many people are walking around wearing Beats headphones when they can (and should) be rocking JBL’s Everest 310GAs. Not only do these similarly-priced headphones destroy Beats in sound quality, they offer two killer features rarely found in headphones: built-in Google Assistant and Bluetooth audio sharing. Simply cup your hand over the left ear and speak your command to trigger Google Assistant. This works on both iOS and Android and will give you far better results than Siri does on iPhone. My personal favorite feature is Bluetooth sharing , which JBL calls ShareMe 2.0; this allows you to share the audio coming into your headphones with any other headphones nearby, regardless of brand. This is perfect for gaming, watching movies or listening to music with a friend.
Perfect for: High School & College Students | Buy on B&H (on sale for $99)
JBL JR POP Bluetooth Speaker ($29)
Not only does JBL make must-have audio products for the high school and college students in your life, their JR POP speaker is the perfect wireless speaker for your younger child. It features 5 hours of playback time, an IPX7 waterproof rating, which basically means it can survive up to 30 minutes in 3 feet of water or less, and an array of fun multicolor lights that kids will love. Combine all that with surprisingly crisp and loud sound and you have one of the best sub-$50 speakers around.
Perfect for: Elementary & Middle School Students | Buy on Amazon
Zagg Invisible Shield Screen Protectors with VisionGuard (Varies)
Glass screen protectors are hugely popular, and for most students they are a necessity in protecting their expensive devices from scratches and cracks. What separates the Zagg Invisible Shield with VisionGuard line of glass screen protectors from others on the market is the inclusion of Eyesafe technology. With the average American spending 11 hours a day viewing screens, Eyesafe selectively filters UV light and high-energy visible (HEV) blue light that is emitted from digital light sources, helping to prevent eye fatigue and macular degeneration. Blue light has also been shown to cause insomnia, and with people using their devices in bed, this can really affect sleep habits (and grades!) The Zagg Invisible Shield with VisionGuard line covers the most popular iOS and Android devices and provides fantastic protection without any impact on the colors of the display. Eyesafe technology is also integrated into new Dell computers just in time for back-to-school, so if you’re in the market for a new PC for your student, give them a look.
Perfect for: All Ages | Buy on Zagg.com
iTouch Wearables PlayZoom Kid’s Smartwatch ($39.99)
If you own an Apple Watch and have young kids, chances are you’ve been asked “Why can’t I have an Apple Watch too?” With iTouch Wearables PlayZoom Kid’s Smartwatch, now your little one can have their very own smartwatch that can help them learn to tell time, practice basic math skills, take photos & videos, play games and set alarms & timers. The PlayZoom comes in a variety of colors, is splash resistant, and requires no internet or mobile phone to setup or use.
Perfect for: Elementary School Students | Buy on iTouchWearables.com
What are some of your favorite gadgets for back-to-school this year? Hit me up in the comments.