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This Is Your Back-to-School Tech Gift Guide

Not only will these gadgets see their fair share of use around campus, but they’ll be useful long after graduation as well.

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If you offered it to them, I bet every student going back to school would take a brand new TV or lightweight laptop. The reality is, however, those big-ticket items are expensive. Plus, they probably don’t need them; their current TV or laptop is likely just fine. That said, there are a bunch of other great devices – from new headphones to bookshelf speakers, backup batteries to running wearables – that are back-to-school buys. Not only will they see a fair share of use in the dorm and around the campus, but they’ll hopefully follow them after graduation, too.

Headphones

Grado SR60e

Wired: These are still some of our favorite wired headphones. They’re affordable, comfortable, sound great and they have the signature flair and cool aesthetic that Grado is known for.

Buy Now: $79

Jaybird Vista

Wireless Earbuds: If you’re looking for true wireless earbuds to use both walking to class or working out afterward, these are arguably the best ones available. They’re also considerably cheaper than the also-greaat Powerbeats Pro ($250).

Buy Now: $180

Sony WH-1000XM3

Noise-Canceling: There are a lot of great noise-canceling headphones to choose from these days, but the WH-1000XM3 are still arguably the best. Plus they cost about $100 less than the new Bose Headphones 700s.

Buy Now: $300

Gaming

Super NES Classic

The Affordable Classic: The Super Nintendo is one of the all-time favorite game consoles. This is a minature and modern version of that classic console, only this time it has all the games are built in, plus it works with whatever TV you currently have.

Buy Now: $150

Nintendo Switch

The New Gameboy: The Switch is really a first of a kind console you can use it handheld or plug it into a TV. It’s relatively affordable and comes with a ton of fun multi-player games. Honestly, if you get them a Switch and the new Super Smash Bros game, it could might prevent some (drunken) weekend debauchery.

Buy Now: $300

Oculus Quest

VR, But Actually Cool: This is Oculus’s first standalone VR headset, meaning you don’t need a compatible PC or console to use it. It’s a wire-free experience and, when playing the games, you can actually move around the room. Definietly a fun thing to have at parties.

Buy Now: $400

The Essential Speakers

Roku TV Wireless Speakers

TV Speakers: These speakers will only work with Roku smart TVs – which many students probably have because most are very affordable. The speakerst themselves add a soundstage and quality that, frankly, the TV’s built-in speakers can’t compete with.

Buy Now: $200 $150

Ultimate Ears Megablast

Portable Bluetooth Speaker: This is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker. When connected to Wi-Fi, it works like an Alexa smart speaker. Or when used as a traditional Bluetooth speaker, you can take it anywhere with you.

Buy Now: $145+

Audioengine A2+ Wireless

Desktop Speakers: These make really great desktop or bookshelf speakers. Plus they have built-in Bluetooth so you can stream music straight from your smartphone.

Buy Now: $269

Charging/Power

Anker PowerCore Slim 5000

Battery for Smartphone: This is a solid backup battery for your smartphone, plus it’s slender enough to fit comfortably in a pant pocket.

Buy Now: $30

Nomad Wireless Charging Pad for iPhone and Apple Watch

Wireless Charging Pad: This is a terrific nightstand companion because it can charge a smartphone and an Apple Watch, a distinction that not many other wireless charging pads have.

Buy Now: $140

Mophie Powerstation AC

Battery for Laptop: This is a beast of a portable powerbank. It has a 22,000mAh capacity, a number of ports and it’s easily small enough to still stip into a backpack. Best of all, it’s powerful enough to recharge a laptop at least once over.

Buy Now: $200

TV Streamers

Roku Premiere

Portable Streaming Stick: The is the Roku’s simpliest and cheapest streaming stick that still supports 4K and HDR streaming. It turns any TV, smart or otherwise, into a Roku smart TV.

Buy Now: $35

Amazon Fire TV Cube

Voice Control: This is essentially a two-in-one combo: an Amazon Echo smart speaker and a Fire TV strick, all rolled into one. Not only can it integrate your TV into a multi-room sound system, but it makes controlling your TV with your voice, easy.

Buy Now: $120

Apple TV 4K

High-End Option: This is still the best streaming stick for those who have a 4K TV. There’s also the fun fact that Apple is launching its all-new streaming service this fall, Apple TV+, and you’ll likley need an Apple TV streaming box to watch it on your current TV (unless it’s a 2018 or 2019 model with the Apple TV app).

Buy Now: $179+

What They Didn’t Know They Needed

Mighty Vibe

The New-Age MP3 Player: This little device lets Spotify Premium subscribers download playlists and podcasts for offline listening. It’s like the “iPod Shuffle for Spotify.” If they’re a runner and they have to carry their smartphone with them to listen to music, this little clip-on gadget will change that.

Buy Now: $80+

Lenovo Smart Clock

Digital Alarm Clock: Not only will this smart alarm clock help them not sleep through class, but it seamless integrates with Google Calendar.

Buy Now: $80 $60

Marpac Dohm Classic

White Noise Machine: White noise machines can be godsends. Especially if they share room.

Buy Now: $45

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