This year school life is going to look a little different than it has. Many schools will continue with “School from home” to try and prevent the further spread of COVID-19. All families with children will need back to school tech at home. So this is the perfect time to look into some new back to school tech.
Some school districts do provide laptops and Wifi equipment, but many schools expect students to have their own devices and accessories like headphones.
I present you here some of the best back to school tech deals.
Back to school tech – Router
A speedy, reliable internet connection is not dependent only on your service provider. A high-quality router ensures that your internet connection is stable and speedy. If your router is more than five years old, it’s probably not able to keep up with today’s needs and you should look into replacing it. New routers support current wireless standards and are optimized for blazing fast speed. A new generation router also supports a mesh wireless network for better coverage in all parts of your home. If you’re lucky, you may not need to buy a new router; just updating the router firmware could add new functionality
Back to school tech – Headphones
A good set of headphones is essential for learning. I personally prefer over-ear headphones for daily usage. Earbuds tend to get tangled up. Also, over-ear headphones are better at reducing background noise. However, it would be best to keep in mind the volume level, especially with smaller kids.
Back to school tech – Printer
While most learning and fact-checking might be done on screen, there is still often a need to print reading material or presentations. So a quick printer is a good gadget to own. Printers are now relatively cheap and come in many varieties. Cartridge printers are cheaper than laser printers, but the replacement cartridges tend to be comparatively expensive. In case you need to scan and upload handwritten documents, consider an all-in-one printer with scanning functionality.
Tablet or Chromebook
Your school may provide you with a tablet, so take a look at what they provide before spending the bucks. You would want something that has a decent camera for zooming for video chat apps like Zoom or MS Teams. To avoid endless fights and if your budget permits of course, get each child his own tablet. For younger kids, get an Amazon Fire Tablet Kids edition. Amazon offers 2-year protection.
Chromebook is an inexpensive laptop with a touchscreen, larger display, and a faster processor. They are ideal if your school is using Google classroom. Chromebook can also run Zoom, Microsoft Office, and other Android apps. It is also possible to use an old laptop and install Chromebook software on it.
Students should buy a laptop with a Windows or macOS operating system. My favorite Windows laptop is the Dell XPS 13 (see my blog). It has a superb screen and a comfortable keyboard. You should be able to get a refurbished model for under $1000. Apple also sells refurbished MacBooks. Apple offers college students a special discounted price.
If you opt for a laptop, ergonomic accessories like a stand raise the device to eye level. Get a wireless keyboard and mouse. For screen sharing, you might consider a larger external monitor for higher resolution. You could use your TV as an external monitor—Google Chromecast for Windows or Mac screen to Apple TV.
Lastly, if you need something to relax after school, check out my review of the Echo Dot. It’s the smartest speaker you can buy for a low price.
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