Summer is coming to an end and it’s time to go back to school. But it can be something you look forward to rather than dread, with a host of great tech tools at your disposal to make your study life just a little better. All of these budget-friendly finds are under $100 and I’ve personally tested and checked all of these items to make sure they’re worth your hard-earned money.
When inspiration comes, but your laptop isn’t within reach, pull out the foldable Bluetooth keyboard. It’s compatible with iOS, Android, and PC, and is only slightly wider than a phone like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, so it’s very portable. This keyboard feels natural when you type on it and is only shy of the full QWERTY size, so it’s only natural that you type on it without much effort. It also comes with a separate phone or tablet stand so you can keep your device upright while typing. The rechargeable battery lasts for 48 hours.
This six-in-one portable desk converts from a writing pad to a tablet or laptop stand in three different layouts. But it doesn’t stop there, it also converts into a small freestanding desk or mini desk that you can use while working from bed (or sofa). It holds up to 44 pounds, so it will definitely be strong enough for even the heaviest tech items or a large stack of books. There are magnets built in so each configuration holds it firmly in place, plus a carrying case. Sure, it’s not very cheap at $90, but it’s well worth it given how quickly and easily you can turn almost any surface into a desk.
Now you know that you really have to back up your data, so an external drive is a must for anyone with digital files. The Samsung T7 Touch portable SSD drive has a built-in fingerprint scanner for authentication, so prying eyes can’t see your files. This version has a capacity of 500 GB but there are 1 TB versions for a little more. It is convenient due to its size and flexibility (works on PC, Mac and Android) and supports USB 3.2 for fast data transfer.
Never run out of paper again with the Rocketbook Core Reusable Notebook and Pilot Pen. Write to your heart’s content, then open the companion Rocketbook app on your phone. Capture the page with your device’s camera and then email it to yourself or upload it to Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, Slack, One Note and more to keep your notes safe.
Then when you’re ready to jump from calculus to history class, simply wipe the ink away with some water on the included soft cloth. Wait for the pages to dry and you can reuse the notebook over and over again.
Speaking of paper, sometimes there is no real deal solution. You can still be more environmentally conscious with this staple-free stapler to secure all your important pages together. I had no idea this even existed a few weeks ago and it honestly is a game changer. No more searching for staples, just gather your pages and this machine will make a small hole to thread them together.
There are many smart bulbs on Amazon, but the reason I chose this version from Govee is because it has 16 million colors, button controls on the top and app support. You can choose from a great selection of lighting patterns to make the light look like an old lava lamp, or wake you up with a sunrise effect to ease your day. It also comes with adjustable color temperatures for white light, which is great if you want it to keep you company from day to night.
There’s also a built-in microphone to synchronize lighting effects from playing music nearby, and it provides voice control support for Alexa and Google Assistant.
Your back to school list wouldn’t be complete without headphones, but they’re meant for kids. Buddyphones Cosmos Plus headphones come in a range of colors and designs, but most importantly they limit volume, with three different levels at 75, 85 and 94dB, so you can transition between different age groups from toddlers to teens. They also have active noise cancellation like more expensive headphones aimed at adults. The battery lasts 24 hours if charged and you can use it without any remaining power in the headphones.
The sound quality is surprisingly good for the price and the noise cancellation is really good for the money. Sure, they won’t replace the Sony XM5s or AirPods Max, but they’ll grow with your kids from toddlers to teen years with a solid carrying case, audio cable, and detachable boom mic.
Sometimes you just have to step away from the screen and there is no more important time to do that than at night. The Morphee Meditation Device looks like a steampunk clock, but it’s actually a low-tech way to lull yourself or your child to sleep. Turn the first dial to select a mode such as music, nature sounds, or guided meditation. He chooses the second phone call from one of the eight sessions, and the last call is for a duration of (8-20 minutes).
It comes with a built-in speaker as well as a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones, with a choice of male or female audio to soothe you into a better snooze.
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