Back to school season is in full swing ahead, with many universities and schools just a month away from returning to the class. This day and age, it is crucial to start the year on the right foot technically. Read on while we round out some of the best school techniques and accessories for the school year 2019-2020.
Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip
As always, Apple runs its annual Back to School campaign and offers a free pair of Beats headphones with the purchase of a qualified Mac or iPad. My personal recommendation for students is the MacBook Air in 2019. Apple just put the price at $ 1099 and added True Tone. The thin and light profile is great for an always on the go college student.
For a little more power, the entry level of MacBook Pro is an excellent choice – made even better by Apple's recent update. You only get two Thunderbolt 3 ports, but Apple added the Touch Bar and significantly improved machine performance. If you buy it from Apple, you also lock a free pair of Beats headphones. Read our full review here.
If you'd rather save a few bucks than getting a free pair of Beats headphones, the MacBook Air 2018 is still an excellent choice. You miss out on True Tone display technology, but you can pick up in the refurbished condition for $ 949.99. Read our full review here.
The new MacBooks all come with USB-C connectivity, which means you might need some adapters if this is your first USB-C-Mac. Here are some of our recommendations:
If you are in a field that will require heavy mouse use such as video editing and creation, I cannot recommend the Logitech MX Master mouse highly enough. It is incredibly ergonomic and versatile mouse that you can connect with up to three devices.
If you already have a Mac, or want to go the iPad route this year, the 10.5-inch iPad Air is a great choice. You can read our full review for more information, but you'll get smart keyboard and Apple pencil support, the powerful A12 Bionic chip, Touch ID and more.
Meanwhile, the iPad iPad 2018 is also an excellent choice if you are looking for the most available power in the iPad form factor. Of course, most students are expensive and probably overkill, but you can't go wrong with almost faceless design, Face ID and more. Check out our full review.
When it comes to integrating an iPad into the workflow, the upcoming releases of iOS 13 and macOS Catalina will include a new feature called Sidecar, which makes your iPad a different display for the Mac. For students in particular, this has the ability to provide you with a simple two-screen solution on the go.
When it comes to iPad keyboards, the Smart Keyboard is an excellent choice, but it is not necessarily for everyone. It lacks in areas such as backlight, capture type and has dedicated function keys. My other top recommendations are Brydge keyboards, which are available to most modern iPad's. I recently reviewed Brydge Pro for the iPad Pro, and loved the design and MacBook-like feel.
A must-have technique for every student during the back to the school season is a decent headset. My personal choice remains Apple's AirPods (full review), which is incredibly small and portable and packs 24 hours of battery life in case. If you're planning to be a little more active this year, Powerbeats Pro is also an excellent choice. We loved them in our full review. BeatsX is still a popular choice and is a little cheaper at $ 99.
When it comes to noise reduction, I continue to love Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones – they are expensive, but you really get what you pay for with noise cancellation, Alexa- integration and more. Another popular choice is the Cowin E7 headset, which is far less expensive than Bose.
As far as school technology is concerned, HomePod is an expensive option that lacks portability – which is often a requirement of students. My personal top choice for an ultra-portable yet powerful speaker is the Ultimate Ears Megablast, which works with Alexa and supports up to 16 hours of playback on the go.
 It is challenging to use smart home technology while staying in a dormitory, but if you live in an outside campus apartment, there are a few things worth investing in.
You never know what can happen in a college city and a way to make sure you can always have an eye on your house or apartment is with a smart camera. If HomeKit support is a must, Logitech Circle 2 is a great option. However, if you are looking for a less expensive alternative, Wyze Cam is an excellent choice at just $ 26. Read our full review here.
When it comes to other smart home solutions, fun accent lighting options such as Nanoleaf Aurora are a great way to get the college life situation to stand out. Traditional smart bulbs are also an affordable way to give your home some basic "smarts."
Last but not least, an external battery pack is essential for having long days of class and study. There are a few different options here worth recommending. To keep your iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air charged while on the move, Anker PowerCore + is an excellent solution, but it's a bit bulky.
Mophie's new Powerstation Hub is one of my favorite portable chargers because of its versatility. It packs a Qi charging surface, two USB-A ports and USB-C to charge virtually everything while on the move.
When it comes to apps, everyone has different needs and desires – but two of my must-have applications are GoodNotes 5 and Things. The former is an excellent note app with incredible power, especially if you plan to truly integrate iPad Pro with Apple Pencil in the workflow.
Things are a versatile task manager that can be used for everything from organizing your missions to creating grocery lists and more. One thing you also need for group projects is a multi-platform messaging solution. The most popular solution is GroupMe, but other options exist.
These are just some of the technological products that I personally have trusted to make my school years a little less stressful. What technique have you found to help you succeed during the school year? Remember to let us know in the comments!
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