15 great gadgets for the back-to-school crowd

Devices that can help you at work or play, in the classroom or the dorm

The Altec Lansing VS3251 offers five 9W satellites with 2.5-in. full-range drivers and a 25W subwoofer for $79.

The Altec Lansing VS3251 offers five 9W satellites with 2.5-in. full-range drivers and a 25W subwoofer for $79.

"Excellence," said John W. Gardner, "is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well." That's worth thinking about with back-to-school time right around the corner. Students these days take their computers everywhere and use them for everything, so with that in mind, here are some ideas for making the back-to-school computer experience an excellent one.

We've selected these devices not only for their quality, but for their small size and portability. And because the popularity of Macs continues to surge on campus, we've looked for products that work with both PCs and Macs. Where a device works only with the PC, we've found comparable Mac products.

So here are 15 devices and services for work and play that will surely help students do extraordinarily well.

On the record

Samson Zoom H2 Handy Recorder

A cheap recorder may do for your day-to-day classes, but if you want to really catch that star lecturer or do some high-class blogging, this is where you start. The Samson Zoom H2 Handy Recorder is about the size of a thick smart phone and weighs just 4 oz., but this is serious audio equipment, make no mistake. Four directional microphones let you record in a variety of two- and four-channel configurations, with full control of gain and levels.

The H2 records in either WAV or MP3 format to SD cards, and is powered by two AA batteries for up to four hours of recording. Capacity is high bordering on the ridiculous: The H2 can accommodate up to a 16GB SDHC card, which at holds 280 hours of MP3 stereo recording.

You can upload files to a PC or Mac via a USB connection, or you can use the H2 as an audio interface to your computer: The H2 includes line and external mike inputs and outputs for USB and headphone/line outputs. The device lists for US$334.95, but it's currently available from online retailers in the US$175 range.

Stick-to-it security

YouGetItBack.com

YouGetItBack is a security company with a difference: It assumes that if you give people a chance, they'll do the right thing. It sells brightly colored sticky tags that say "Reward for Return" and include an 800 number and a Web site address. Tags range from US$9.99 to $24.99; different sizes and wording are available. You register your device online, and if it gets lost, all the finder has to do is go to the Web site or call the number, and arrangements will be made for pickup and return.

And what if the person who found it has no intention of giving it back? YouGetItBack offers two products: Mobile Superhero (currently free in beta, eventually about US$20) lets you back up your contact data and remotely lock, unlock and wipe nearly 60 phone models, even if the SIM card is changed. A Global Positioning System feature lets you locate it on a map. Laptop Superhero (which, as of this writing, wasn't yet available) lets you display an "If found, click here to return" screen, trace the IP address of a stolen computer or remotely log it off.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David DeJean

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?