Back to school tech & gadget picks for 2023


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TechGadgets Staff

Back to school signals a lot of things; for many of us it feels like the start of a whole new year. For others, it’s the first harbinger of winter. For me, I always like to use it as a time to reassess my tools to see what’s working for me, and what needs an upgrade; just like when I used to find reasons to get a new Trapper Keeper binder and a slate of sharp new pencil crayons.

Back to school these days means fewer pens and looseleaf sheets, and more tablets, laptops and accessories.

While a great laptop is a must for most students these days, there are some other strong picks you’ll want to click ‘Add to cart’ on too.

It’s that wonderful (albeit a little stressful) time of the year again – back to school! Before you start groaning, remember that a new school year isn’t just about pop quizzes or Monday morning alarms; it also means a golden chance to revamp your tech arsenal. So, let’s get real geeky and check out some top-notch gadgets that’ll switch your study game way up.

See Better, Learn Better with a 4K Monitor

ViewSonic 32-inch 4K monitor, Model VX3276-4K-MHD

ViewSonic 4K monitor.

Students and laptops have always been a perfect match, but when you’re trying to get some serious work done, a laptop screen just isn’t enough. That’s why a monitor might be the best dorm room investment you’ll make all year.

viewsonic 4kMonitors 32 inch expand your visual workspace. You can spread out your tabs, view multiple applications all at once, and bid farewell to the constant clicking and tab-switching.

Ever heard of “tech neck”? It’s that annoying stiffness you get from bowing down to your laptop screen for extended periods. A monitor lets you elevate your screen to eye level, promoting better posture.

Having a monitor at the ready also allows you to use your laptop screen as a secondary display. You can type on one screen while reading references on another.

Best 4K Gaming Monitors

For example, this ViewSonic 32-inch 4K monitor has made writing easier with its high-resolution screen. Video editing has been a breeze, too, as the horizontal space makes scrubbing much easier.

But if you’re the type to hoard homework, then you might need a more specialized monitor. LG has just the solution with its Ultrawide monitor. It isn’t your run-of-the-mill monitor; it’s a behemoth with a 21:9 aspect ratio packed in a 34-inch screen, just enough room to run a space mission on or read three documents simultaneously.

Shop ViewSonic or LG Ultrawide monitors on Amazon


Never Buy Another Notebook Again

Kobo Elipsa 2e review

Kobo Elipsa 2E.

Are you tired of having to buy new notebooks every year? Then you should look into digital notebooks.

Best Digital Notebooks

Kindle Scribe and Kobo Elipsa are the two main players in this segment, and they use the same digital E-ink technology in marking up textbooks and making notes with a stylus. But it’s important to remember that these devices are meant primarily for reading, so don’t expect to get the same sensation as writing on paper.

Speaking of writing on paper, check out Rocketbook notebook. It’s technically a digital notebook in the same category as Kindle Scribe and Kobo Elise. However, it’s a whole different story than its competitors. It uses reusable paper instead of a screen that you can digitize using a mobile app. What’s truly amazing about the Rocketbook is that once you’re done with your notes, you can wipe the page with rocketbook pens with the included microfiber cloth and immediately reuse it.

Shop Kindle Scribe, Kobo Elipsa, and Rocketbook on Amazon


Why Tablets are the Ultimate All-in-One Device

If you don’t need a keyboard but still want a slightly bigger screen to read and watch lectures on, then a tablet is your best bet.

Tablets are lightweight and compact, making them a practical choice for younger students or those constantly on the move. Despite their size, they offer substantial storage capability and computing power comparable to laptops – perfect for managing large quantities of digital learning materials.

Tablets are also quite versatile. You can use it as a media player, a note-taking device, a portable gaming console, or even a video conferencing device. If you have room in the budget for just one device for all your school needs, a tablet can fit the bill.

Samsung Fold 5, flip 5, tab s9 and Watch 6 review

Samsung Tab S9

Best Tablets

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is noteworthy for students and media enthusiasts. Filled to the brim with features, it sports superior performance with the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, adeptly handling anything from online classes to gaming sessions.

Perhaps one of its most alluring features is the vibrant 11″ AMOLED display that brings colors to life, making it perfect for presentations, movie marathons, and e-book sessions.

It also boasts a commendable battery life, a water-resistant design, and an improved S-Pen stylus for a decent writing or drawing experience.

Apple iPad mini 5, review, whats new, compare, worth it

iPad Mini & iPad Pro

Of course, you can also go with an iPad and its many different versions if you’re locked into the Apple ecosystem. I really love my Apple Macbook Pro, but sometimes you just need a smaller device, particularly when walking, commuting or using transit. I love my Apple iPad Pro (and the Apple iPad Mini, reviewed here) because I can get almost all the functionality of my Macbook, without the bulk and weight. Plus, I use it for things like reading magazines on the plane or train, writing articles in a coffee shop, and of course watching videos on Apple TV and Crave.

For students, it’s perfect for writing term papers and essays using Pages, or doing online research. Plus for those in the artsy pursuits, you can add the Apple Pencil for drawing, sketching and other creative uses.

Shop Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 on Amazon

Shop Apple Macbook Pro, iPad Pro, iPad Mini, or Apple Pencil on Amazon

Steer Clear from Carpal Tunnel with a Better Mouse

kensington ergonomic vertical mouse, reviewFor such a small and inexpensive upgrade, you wouldn’t think that an ergonomic mouse can greatly impact your overall comfort. After all, it’s only a mouse. But an ergonomic mouse is designed to fit your hand better and reduce the strain on your wrist. It’ll also give you more control over the cursor while reducing hand fatigue over time.

Best vertical mouse

A vertical mouse, such as the Kensington Vertical Mouse, is considered more ergonomic than a horizontal one mainly because it promotes a more natural hand position, reducing muscle strain and preventing various wrist and forearm issues. While using a vertical mouse, the forearm is in an anatomical rest position, requiring less muscle use.

This “handshake” position allows you to control the mouse with your forearm, minimizing wrist movement, which can benefit those suffering from wrist strain and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Shop Kensington Vertical Mouse on Amazon

Put the World on Mute with ANC Headphones

Sennheiser Momentum 4 reviewStudying in a noisy space? Headphones can help keep distractions at bay and make homework time significantly more fun.

Best headphones for Back to School

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 is one of the best headphones on the market, and there are plenty of reasons why. For starters, they boast a jaw-dropping 60-hour battery life that outlasts your longest study sessions or even a week’s worth of classes.

You also don’t have to deal with annoying background noises, courtesy of their Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) feature. And, if you need to stay alert to your surroundings, the Transparency Mode is also quite useful.

Their sound quality is a real game-changer; it brings lectures, audiobooks, and your favorite study tunes to life in full vibrant audio detail.

AirPods Pro making an odd rattling, clicking or popping noise? You may have a big problem. Here's how to fix it + what to do if you can't:If you want a less bulky option, you can choose to go with earbuds. Apple’s bestselling Airpods Pro should do the trick as it also has noise-canceling tech, perfect for long study sessions. The Airpods Pro are also compact and lightweight, which makes them a great option for those who are always on the go. You can also check out Beats by Dre Solo3 wireless, reviewed here
since they can let you focus on reading or study, by playing background sound like white noise, soothing ambient-genre study music, or just by letting them listen to their phones without bothering YOU.

Shop Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphones on Amazon 

Shop AirPods Pro on Amazon

Shop Beats by Dre Solo3 Wireless headphones on Amazon


Power Banks that Keep You Going

Between classes, after-school activities, and study sessions, your gadgets can quickly be sucked dry of battery power. Enter the humble power bank: a real lifesaver.

Best portable power

You can choose between a portable power bank from Anker or Belkin or a high-capacity battery station from Bluetti. The AC60 is a particularly recommendable option that is compact, lightweight and has endless applications.

It can support everything from small appliances to your essential electronic devices. In addition to standard AC plugs, devices can also be plugged in via USB-C ports, USB-A ports, or even DC car outlet connections.

It even features a 15W wireless charging pad. The power stations themselves boast simple recharging solutions with dual-purpose DC/solar inputs along with an AC input that connects directly to a wall outlet.

So, whether you’re on the field for a research paper or just need to get your laptop going again, you’ll have the power you need with the Bluetti AC60.

Shop portable power banks from Anker or Belkin  on Amazon

Shop Bluetti battery power station on Amazon


Never Lose Your Valuables Again with Trackers

Apple Airtags, worth it, reviewEver scrambled to locate misplaced keys or dreaded losing that trusty backpack in a sea of identical bags? It’s a common problem, especially in a crowded campus.

This is where trackers can swoop right in to save the day. Trackers are more than just fancy tech gadgets – they’re a bona fide lifesaver for students juggling numerous responsibilities.

With a tracker, locating your must-have essentials becomes smooth sailing. They’re not just for the small stuff, either. Got some pricy gear like laptops or a shiny new tablet? Secure them with a tracker, and breathe easy, knowing your ownership is protected from theft or unfortunate losses.

Using a tracker is a piece of cake! They’re user-friendly, integrate with your favorite software platforms, and are geared towards making life simpler when it decides to turn sideways.


The two best trackers in the business are Apple’s AirTag and Tile. The AirTag is undoubtedly the best because it uses proprietary technology that uses iPhone signals to locate the device.

tile tracker review how toTile comes in at a close second best because it uses GPS and Bluetooth, which can sometimes be unreliable. You can also keep tabs on that frequently misplaced stuff with a Tile Tracker.

These Bluetooth trackers can be attached to almost anything, and they come in different shapes and thicknesses. Slip it into a book, wallet, or loop it onto the neck of a water bottle, or put it in the pocket of a bag or backpack. When it goes missing, use the Tile app to find it, and it will make a loud beeping sound so you can hunt it down.

You need juice! Get a Wireless Belkin charging pad

Keeping all our devices charged up is key. Many devices now are compatible with wireless or Qi charging, like the Belkin Qi Charging pad. It’s so easy to just lay your phone or headphones or other Qi devices on the pad and let them charge while they’re still visible and within reach. No wires to fuss with. I keep a couple of these around the house so everyone can get charged up wherever they are. Also great for the office.


Charging/Battery Case for your smartphone

I use my phone for so much; it’s a calculator, a notebook, a library and my social portal, so no wonder my battery dies. To keep your phone going longer, a charging battery case is a great idea.

The Apple Smart Battery Case is compatible with Qi-certified chargers. You can charge your iPhone and battery case simultaneously for increased talk time of up to 33 hours, Internet use of up to 21 hours, and even longer audio and video playback. With the Smart Battery Case on, the intelligent battery status is displayed on the iPhone Lock screen and in Notification Centre, so you know exactly how much charge you have left.

Protect & identify: AirPods cases by Felony Case & Laut

Cases offer protection too and we all need that. If you got your kids some headphones, you can get them a case or wrap that can keep them scratch free, or protect them from small drops. Bonus, these cases from Laut also let you tell whose is whose in the house. A time saver in the mornings! Felony Case is another brand we love here on the blog. With bold colour cases for phones or AirPods, Felony Case is always on trend.

Get a comfortable and good looking, well-organized backpack

Mobile vip backpack commute best targus

If you’re carrying all your tech, you need a carry-all that’s comfortable, functional, and organized.

Targus’ Mobile ViP backpack is a minimalist and chic backpack that has plenty of space for your stuff. A SafePort Sling inside a section of the pack keeps your laptop (up to 15.6″) from hitting the floor even if you set the bag down hard. The pack also has an airport-approved checkpoint-friendly design which allows you to open the bag flat for a clear X-ray scan. In many U.S. airports this means you can leave the laptop in the bag, which is safer and more secure.

The Mobile ViP backpack also has plenty of pockets and roomy compartments for your phone, headphones, tablet and more with smooth easy-grasp zippers to store all your stuff while keeping it organized. A trolley strap lets you loop the bag easily over your suitcase handle for the ultimate in portability; that means quick getaways off the train or plane and no fumbling with your
The backpack you need for work – Targus accessories

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