It’s time to head back to school, so you’ll want to be sure you’ve got the latest gear to start the school year off right. We’ve already rounded up the best Apple gear at 9to5Mac and you can always count on 9to5Google for the latest Android news and gear. Of course, at 9to5Toys we’re focused on bringing you the best deals on the web each day but today we’re focused on our favorite electronics, toys and deals to get the school year started.
Trevor: First up, lets find a home for all your gear. I’ve used the Ogio Renegade Backpack for a few years now and it’s the bag that I keep coming back to every time I need to travel. It’s loaded with storage sleeves and has protected homes for your MacBook, iPad and smartphone. The “crushproof” tech pocket really does live up to the name, which is particularly helpful when you’re jumping on and off the bus. Amazon users agree, rating it 4.6/5 stars with 70% giving a perfect 5/5. Be sure to grab a couple Cord Tacos and CableDrops to keep all those wires organized while you’re at it.
Of course, while you’re out going from class-to-class or working out, you’ll want a solid pair of headphones. Our readers are big fans of the highly-rated pair of Mpow Swift Bluetooth 4.0 wireless earbuds. This best-selling pair frees you from wires, eliminating the need to have a cord running from your pocket to the earbuds. At $26, if you misplace this pair you’re not out too much cash. If you’re interested in stepping up your game, we recommend checking out the Beats Powerbeats 2 in-ears.
Emily: The waterproof HYDRA portable speaker by Photics is an excellent addition to your dorm room or apartment. This speaker weighs in at 1.4 lbs. and measures 8.5 x 4.4 x 3.2 inches—a great size to throw in a backpack or set up in your bathroom or shower. The HYDRA has Bluetooth 4.0 and lasts 8 hours on a charge. It has both micro USB and auxiliary inputs. With a 4.5 out of 5 stars from 2,000+ reviews, the HYDRA sells for $49.95 Prime shipped.
If you’re just looking to rock out in your shower, the water-resistant SoundBot Bluetooth 3.0 Speaker would be a good choice. It has a suction cup that allows you to attach it to your bathroom mirror or shower walls. Use it to listen to music or take calls with the built-in microphone from the shower while your iPhone sits safely in another room. The SoundBot SB510 is available in a range of colors with most variants selling for $10-$11 Prime shipped.
Jared: Lets face it, many of you are going back to school on a tight budget. Not everyone can get the coolest most expensive laptop out there. There are middle of the road options that will still get the job done. The Acer Chromebook, for instance is lightweight, fast and has a long battery life. If you didn’t already know, Chromebooks are automatically kept up to date, so you’ll always have the latest virus protection, along with the latest features like Voice Search. You can typically find the 11-inch Acer as low as $150 and they come highly rated. If your looking for inexpensive and powerful this is the machine to get.
Dan: Power outlets are at a premium in dorm rooms so you’re going need a good power strip. This Belkin SurgePlus Travel Charger (2.1A/10W) turns a single wall outlet into three protected outlets and two USB ports. Its plug rotates a full 360-degrees so it’ll fit around bookshelves and other poorly placed objects. At just 2.2 x 5.2 x 7.2-inches, it’s small enough to keep in tow during a weekend trip or extended library session. Get it now for $18.09 Prime shipped at Amazon. For even more flexibility, upgrade to Belkin’s SurgePlus 6-outlet/dual USB surge protector for $24.49 Prime shipped.
Group projects and presentations are bad enough, don’t make them more painful by wasting time emailing documents back and forth. SanDisk’s Connect Wireless Stick is key for collaborating with classmates. This flash drive wirelessly dishes up documents, videos, and other files to nearly any internet connected device including PC/Mac computers and iOS/Android mobiles devices. That means your entire team always has access to the newest version of any file even if they are across the classroom or on a different level of the library. I’d recommend going with at least the 64GB variant for $59.99 shipped so you have plenty of room for HD videos and photos.
Justin: Ok first let’s get your dorm room or home study space a sweet audio setup. A portable Bluetooth speaker isn’t always going to cut it, and a pair of PreSonus Ceres speakers with Bluetooth is a great option. Available in two sizes starting at under $200 (sometimes as low as $100!), they are active speakers with built-in Bluetooth streaming so they will work with all your mobile devices and Mac right out of the box. For portable audio heads, you’re going to want to checkout a nice DAC for on-the-go listening. FiiO’s best selling E6 Portable Headphone Amplifier for around $28 Prime shipped is a great place to start and will certainly improve the quality of whatever headphones you’ll be using this year.
Next up, we can’t be studying or in class at all times, and sometimes those iOS games just don’t cut it. Great for travel or in-between classes, Nintendo 3DS and soon to be price dropped 2DS have arguably the best library of mobile games on the planet. From Donkey Kong and Mario Kart to Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario 3D Land, you really can’t go wrong.