There are a few weeks before students start heading back to school and college, but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to start purchasing top-tier tech to ease that summertime transition back to the classroom.
That’s right, while it’s still early days, the back-to-school season is upon us. Now might be the best time to draw up a list of everything you’ll need to get kitted out for the year ahead.
In the yesteryears, tech in the classroom was something of an almighty distraction. However, nowadays, it’s an essential part of the learning landscape, and more welcomed than ever. But it’s not all about the latest and greatest laptop to do the number crunching on your behalf, there’s a whole horde of tech on hand to make a success of the coming semester.
7 must-have back-to-school tech gadgets
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Back-to-school isn’t all about snagging a top-of-the-line laptop, it’s about preparing for the day-to-day slog of schooling throughout the coming semester. As such, it’s good to have the entire day in mind when preparing for what’s to come.
From the moment the alarm goes off in the morning to ensuring there’s juice still left in the tank when the day is done — we've rounded up the best bits of tech out there to make the coming school days a simple affair. Here’s our pick of the 7 must-have back-to-school tech gadgets in 2023.
1. Apple MacBook Air M2
Whether you’re invested in the Apple ecosystem already or a fresh face to the macOS experience, the MacBook Air M2 is an undeniably fantastic laptop. It delivers powerful performance, great portability, and most importantly an all-day battery life that few come close to.
Few sub-$1,500 laptops can match Apple’s offering when it comes to quality across the board. The Apple Silicon M2 chip housed within is a worthy successor to the MacBook Air (M1, 2020) counterpart — continuing the trend of Apple delivering absolute performance powerhouses that won’t break the bank.
The M2 chip’s efficiency also results in a genuinely impressive all-day battery life too. Our review saw the M2 MacBook Air take on the Laptop Mag battery test where it lasted for 14 hours and 6 minutes of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness.
For the price, there’s simply no better classroom companion if you’re looking for all-day power and performance. Now could be the best time to invest in Apple’s laptop as back-to-school Apple deals have seen the MacBook Air M2 drop to just $999, matching the price of its M1 predecessor and delivering even more bang for your buck.
See our full Apple MacBook Air M2 review for more.
2. Nordace Siena Smart Backpack
Tech is great, but not all tech can so easily slip into a pocket or remain comfortably in hand throughout your day — nor would you probably want it to. That’s where something like the Nordace Siena Smart Backpack comes into play.
A decent backpack goes a long way when it comes to lugging your inventory of gadgets around, from comfort to protection. The Nordace Siena Smart Backpack has you covered on both fronts. Weighing just 1.9 pounds, the backpack is super light on the shoulders and is supplied with ample padding to remain comfortable even at its full 19L volume.
Nordace’s backpack is made out of a water-resistant frosted polyester fabric, which is designed to remain durable and house everything you need throughout your day-to-day movements. It includes a number of spacious compartments with organizational pockets, a padded laptop sleeve that fits laptops up to 15.6-inches in size, a water bottle pocket, and a fleece-lined pocket for glasses. There’s even a USB charging port you can hook up to a battery bank for quick and easy charging without digging through your belongings.
3. Anker PowerCore III Elite (25,600 mAh)
A long day can be taxing enough on your own energy levels, but that doesn’t have to be the case when it comes to your devices too. The Anker PowerCore III Elite is a battery bank of enormous proportions that offers 60W of Power Delivery to USB-C and 7.5W of charging to USB-A devices.
The Anker PowerCore III Elite houses a sizable 25,600 mAh battery that has enough juice to power most laptops up to a full charge, and some laptops twice over. Anker’s PowerIQ 3.0 tech intelligently recognizes devices and adjusts voltage output for optimized fast charging that works universally across laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
Featuring two USB Type-A ports and a USB Type-C port, the Anker PowerCore III Elite can charge three devices at once with a combined maximum output of 75W of Power Delivery. It’s one of the best portable power banks available that will keep all your devices right by your side throughout even the busiest day, and it takes just 3 hours to charge, fully prepared to take on the next.
4. Fresh Juice Portable Blender
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, apparently. However, when you’re pressed for time in the morning it can always feel like the last thing on your mind. That’s why the Fresh Juice Portable Blender is an ideal solution for busy mornings — not to mention healthy top-ups throughout the day.
This all-in-one portable blender allows you to quickly throw in your favorite selection of fruits, greens, and nuts and blitz on the go. Its carry-friendly bottle design means you can enjoy your smoothie straight from the source, and it fits perfectly in backpacks with water bottle holders too.
Thanks to a powerful motor and 304SUS stainless steel blades, the Fresh Juice Portable Blender can pulverize even the toughest of ingredients like ice and frozen fruits in seconds. It’s also super easy to clean afterward with waterproof, dishwasher-safe parts.
The Fresh Juice Portable Blender is great for the classroom, travel, the gym, and more while touting a battery that can handle 15 blends on a single charge, with a wireless charging base to quickly top things up for more.
5. Samsung T7 Portable SSD (1TB)
The Samsung T7 Portable SSD is a pocket-sized storage vault that can house everything your digital footprint has to offer with its sizable 1TB of storage. The T7’s multi-device compatibility means you can easily back up anything and everything from your laptop, phone, tablet, and digital camera with speedy sequential read and write speeds of up to 1,050MB/s and 1,000MB/s, respectively.
Computer problems are inevitable, and that’s pretty much the only guarantee you can bank your life on when it comes to tech. When it happens, you don’t want to lose out on your digital library of assignments, notes, and projects forevermore.
Luckily, you won’t have to with Samsung's tough and secure portable SSD with the T7 offering shock protection and password encryption to keep all your data safe from prying eyes and hardware faults for years to come.
6. Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300
The hardest part of any day tends to be the start of it. We’re all a fan of half waking up, only to promise ourselves we will spring out of bed and start our day in style on the count of five, only to fall back asleep by the time we reach four — it’s universal. Right? Right….?
The Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 is a different type of alarm clock. Meaning it won’t rouse you from your deepest of slumbers with the sound of some god-awful ditty that sounds like an early 2000s-era ringtone, only for your body to immediately react by slamming the snooze button out of frustration.
Instead, the Lumie simulates a natural sunrise in strength and hue to gently pull you out of that deep slumber before a less jarring alarm sounds to wake you up feeling refreshed and undisturbed.
The Lumie is backed by over 30 years of daylight research, and is a certified medical device that is also proven to help counter the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — meaning no matter the season, you’ll start the day feeling fresher and more alert.
7. Apple AirTags
Now you have all this tech, it makes sense to make sure everything is kept safe. Apple AirTags are a great way to keep track of your valuables and ensure anything lost won't stay that way for long.
These small and lightweight discs use a combination of Bluetooth and Ultra-Wide Band (UWB) signals to allow tracking across a near-limitless distance (as long as there’s at least one Apple device nearby, that is).
Apple AirTags only work on the Apple ecosystem, so if you don’t have an iPhone, iPad, or MacBook then this isn’t the gadget for you. However, if you’re a predominantly Android user, other options like the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag Bluetooth Tracker or the Tile Pro will suit you as a perfect alternative.
Those were our picks on some of the best back-to-school gadgets to kick-start another year of Academia. However, there are still a great many things to keep in mind when looking ahead. For some inspiration, check out our coverage of the best back-to-school sales going on right now for a regularly updated list of the best savings from around the internet.
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Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.