A+ Tech for Back-to-School
By Chantal Bechervaise
As a kid I always loved back-to-school shopping. I looked forward to new clothes, binders, pens and getting a new backpack. Things have changed a lot since I was a kid and there is much more to back-to-school shopping then regular school supplies. Students now need laptops, tablets and other tech items. Here is a round-up of some tech gear that definitely makes the grade.
Microsoft Surface 3
The Surface 3 combines the best of both worlds between owning a laptop and a tablet. It is lightweight and easy to carry around in a backpack. It has a built-in kickstand which makes it great for taking notes in class. Plus, there is an optional magnetic TypeCover keyboard or stylus pen for note taking or you can use your fingers to swipe and type like you would a regular tablet. Unlike most other tablets, the Surface 3 has a microSD port and a full-size USB 3.0 port. It also includes a 1-year Office 365 personal subscription, which provides access to the full range of Office Suite products: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and 1-terabyte of cloud storage via OneDrive. Starts at $639
If you have little ones that are not quite ready for a laptop, the LeapFrog Epic provides children with their very own learning tablet. Epic is an acronym for “Explore, Play, Imagine, Create.” What makes this a great tablet for kids is that the content is age appropriate, does not contain any third-party ads nor in-app purchases. (So no surprise bills at the end of the month.) It is designed for kids aged 3 to 9 and the focus is on learning and creativity. The Epic also includes a safe LeapSearch Browser that only displays kid friendly websites and videos. It is powered by Android and has 7-inch screen. The Epic has more than 1,000 age-appropriate apps from the LeapFrog Store available for download and there are parental controls which let you set time limits and manage content as well. Due to be released in September at a cost $159.99
You’re trying to plug into a USB port only to find you don’t have it the right way and have to flip it over. The worst is when this happens to you and you are under a desk trying to fit it into a computer. Not anymore! The Flyp Duo plugs into your USB port the first time, no flipping or trying again. The patented design allows a USB connector to be plugged in any way you want. It is equipped with both Lightning and micro USB connectors so it is the ultimate cable for Apple and Android users alike. Perfect for charging, synching and transferring data such as music and video. Cost $24.99
You’ve heard of smartphones and smartwatches, now here comes the smartpen. Many studies show that students remember more when they take notes and write things down by hand. The Livescribe 3 pen lets you write things down by hand but also has the advantage of being a great little tech gadget. It records everything you write or sketch on special dotted paper (100-sheet hardbound journal included), and all your notes are then wirelessly sync’d to the Livescribe app installed on a smartphone or tablet (iPhone, iPad or Android device). The app also has the ability to record audio and sync it to your handwritten notes. Perfect for lectures and even office meetings.
Brita Ultramax Water Dispenser
Most people do not drink enough water – myself included. Buying bottled water can get expensive and is also not the greenest solution. The Brita Ultramax Water Dispenser is great for dorm rooms or home use. The Ultramax is a king size water dispenser with an electronic gauge which will tell you when it is time to replace the filter. It holds enough water to fill approximately 18 8oz size glasses. Cost $42.
Chantal is located in Ottawa, Ontario. She is passionate about everything related to the World of Work: Leadership, HR, Social Media and Technology. You can read more from Chantal at her TakeItPersonelly blog or follow her on Twitter @CBechervaise.