Some of the best gadgets for back-to-school and beyond these days come with some surprising hidden talents. Here are a few of my top picks for new round of superhero tech tools that can totally the save the day (or at least a little time, money, or sanity).
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro comes with built-in pico projector.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro ($449) is a solid slate for all things coed connected. Powered by Intel’s Atom processor, it’s a sleek, versatile mid-price digital hub for web browsing, streaming video, online research, digital textbooks, and all the music your son or daughter could ever need. Powered by Intel’s Atom processor, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is astonishingly light, won’t break the seams on a backpack, and the battery lasts a whopping 15 hours before needing a recharge. What’s really cool though, is that it’s the first tablet to come with a built-in pico projector. With one touch of a button, it transforms into a projector, casting a giant 4.5 foot image, picture, presentation, or video on any wall or ceiling. Pretty darn cool.
iHome Kineta K2 Bluetooth Alarm Clock has a removable battery charger.
Being late for class is a total motivation killer, not to mention it probably won’t make an instructor very happy either. The iHome iKN105 Bluetooth stereo alarm clock ($99) is the perfect bedside companion for a college or high school student who has been up all night …erm…studying. It syncs with smartphones via Bluetooth, so it can blast some tunes with no cords required, and it has a whole bunch of built-in alarm tones so there’s no chance of accidental, grade-killing snooze button slamming. But that’s not what makes this a superhero tech tool. This alarm clock has a convenient removable gadget charger. Pop it out in the morning, tuck it in a backpack, purse, or pocket, and it can give mobile devices a quick boost of energy in a pinch. Now your kids have no more excuses not to call you back right away.
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick lets you backup and share files wirelessly.
Flash drives are already super convenient, but SanDisk found a way to make them even more of a painless accessory by eliminating the need to actually plug them in for file storage. The SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick (starts at $29) has its’ own Wi-Fi built in so students can access it wirelessly from across the room, like when it’s inside a backpack or desk drawer. It lets you double, triple or quadruple the storage of your smartphone, tablet or laptop — even if it doesn’t have a USB port — and lets up to 8 people stream/share at once. This little gadget might not actually save your life, but it sure feels like it can when your laptop crashes and you just happened to have everything backed-up on this little lipstick-sized drive.
Amazon Fire TV Stick works with web authentication.
Another tiny gadget loaded with magic is the Amazon Fire TV Stick ($39). It’s the only streaming media device that can connect to a College or University WiFi that requires web authentication — which is just about all of them these days. The Fire TV Stick lets students can watch all their favorite movies, TV shows, games, and more without any hassle of paying cable fees.
The HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset has surround sound.
Not to go all geek here, but holy headphones batman! The HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset ($99) has 7.1 virtual surround sound—so it’s like having seven positional speakers around your head—like you’re in a movie theater. They are amazing for gaming, listening to music, or for dealing with paper-thin dorm room walls. They are super lightweight and comfortable to wear for hours.
The Rocketbook One ($19) is like no other notebook you’ve ever seen. It’s cloud-connected and works hand-in-hand with the Rocketbook app on your kids’ smartphone to digitize everything written within it, keeping notes safe and shareable across multiple platforms. A seven category system archives everything organized, and the app lets you recall notes in an instant. Oh, and if you really want to take your students’ note taking to the next level, pick up on of the classic Rocketbook notebooks ($39) that are endlessly reusable thanks to heat-sensitive ink that disappears after a short jump in the microwave. It’s like magic.
HP Instant Ink can save you 50%-70% on ink costs.
It’s 11PM, a paper is due on the teacher’s desk by 9AM, and the only thing standing between your student and an A+ is a printer with an ink cartridge as dry as the Sahara desert. Running to the 24-hour department store is going to leave you with an absurd bill, but you have no other choice — or do you? HP make several printers, like the HP Envy 4520 and the Officejet 4630, that know when they’re running low and can order your ink refills all by themselves. HP’s Instant Ink subscription costs as little as $2.99 per month, which covers the cost of the ink plus shipping and handling. That can save you as much as 50%-70% of the cost of a normal year’s worth of ink, plus you’ll never run dry again.
What are some of the hidden talents you’ve discovered in your favorite gadgets? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.