Back to School Tech 2014

I’ve collected some of the cooler and more interesting tech gadgets that could ease you back into the drudgery of school.

chromecastChromecast – One of the smallest and easiest to use streaming media devices out there. For $35 you get a tiny stick computer that plugs straight into the HDMI port on your TV or Monitor, connect to your WiFi network and then control the device from your cell phone, tablet or computer. You can stream Google’s own movie and music to it, Netflix, HBO’s Go service, Hulu, YouTube and dozens more.

goproGoPro HERO camera – Tough, great video and audio, tons of accessories. You’d better be having fun in college and recording those great memories is something that the GoPro excels at. The HERO3 model adds WiFi connectivity and there is an amazing amount of accessories available for the camera, including waterproof housings, helmet mounts, bike mounts, etc. They are available locally at retailers like Best Buy and Walmart and from online vendors like Amazon. Search YouTube for “GoPro” for examples of great footage that a GoPro can capture.

google cardboardGoogle Cardboard – Cheap virtual reality (VR) with Android phone. One of the coolest things to come out of the Google I/O 2014 conference was Google’s ultra low-budget VR goggles made from a folder piece of cardboard and a few small lenses. Download the Cardboard app from the Play store to your Android phone, slip the the into the front of the device and enjoy VR on the cheap. Buy a kit online or go the DIY route with instructions from Google.

OontZ Angle Ultra bluetooth speakers – Take your party with you with these great sounding portable speakers. A typical charge will last up to 10 hours of playback and the sound is outstanding. Online prices are generally under $45 which makes these portable speakers a great value.

sony sw2Sony Smart Watch SW2 – Leave your Android smart phone in your jacket pocket or backpack but still stay on top of your Facebook feed, text messages, control Spotify, get navigation updates, plus literally hundreds of other apps, all on your bluetooth connected SmartWatch. And it tells time. There are dozens of different SmartWatche’s available and with a street price around $150, the Sony is in the middle of the price range. You can customize the display, from old-school analog clocks to multi-screen digital displays, change out the strap for different looks,

Google Chromebook – Small and lightweight netbooks running the Chrome OS, these tiny netbooks with screens ranging from 10-12″, are some of the smallest and lightest machines available. With the smaller screens and solid state drives instead of moving disk drives, getting 8-10 hours of use before the batteries run flat makes these great for mobile studies. By using cloud storage and online apps, these machines are designed to be online.

Kindle Fire – eBooks, movies, apps, social, email, etc. Amazon has created a line of solid tablets that runs on the Android OS (with some restrictions) and . Prices range from $129 to $199 depending on the screen size, storage size and connectivity options. Amazon also has a special deal for students that give you access to the unlimited instant streaming of movies, tv shows and music for $49 a year. Students can rent textbooks for only the time they need them and carry around a small tablet instead of lugging around a heavy backpack full of books. Save your money and your back.

If you’ve got any other suggestions for tech that would be useful for going back to school, leave me a comment!

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