Back to School Essentials
Everything you need to get ready for the next semester
The end of summer is upon us and it’s time to start collecting tools for another year of school. Whether you’re a student, teacher or a parent looking to equip their child with everything they’ll need, we’ve compiled a list you won’t want to miss.
To kick things off we’ll take a look at the best classroom laptops and notepads on offer. The things we’ve taken into consideration are most importantly, affordability, because nobody wants to spend more than they need to, portability, because we no longer need to carry around and extra 5kg of tech in our school bags and performance, a slow or erroneous piece of equipment can mess up your lesson plan or prevent you from making those essential notes in time.
Google Pixelbook Pro
A lightweight chromebook for those with a mid to high-end budget, it offers the fantastic battery life that you would expect of a chromebook as well as a 1080p webcam, perfect for capturing you in your full glory during video lessons or meetings. A silent keyboard helps to eliminate that irritating clicking sound that disrupts video calls especially. While its display is naturally not as good as a heavier device, it will more than suit the needs of many teachers and students alike.
Acer Swift 3
If you don’t care about aesthetics as much as you care about getting the job done without setting you back a pretty penny then the Acer Swift 3 is absolutely for you. The performance of the device is fantastic, it's slim and lightweight with a solid battery life. An accurate trackpad and comfortable keyboard will help keep you working from morning ‘til evening. Packing all the ports you could possibly need with USB 2.0, 3.0, Thunderbird 3 and HDMI this really is the very best option for people looking for the best of the cheapest.
Macbook Air (M1, 2020)
If you’re an Applephile or just need access to Apple device then the refreshed Macbook Air is a fantastic choice. The M1 chip offers an enormous boost to performance without affecting the cost so it still holds its spot as the cheapest Apple laptop. You needn't worry about that annoying whirring sound either as the Macbook Air’s fanless design completely eliminates computer noise.
Next up are a selection of tablets for those looking to take quick notes or those constantly on the move. While tablets certainly lack many of the features of a laptop or chromebook, their ultra lightweight design as well as access to software as a service can be perfect for those with fewer requirements.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
If you’re happy that an Android tablet will suit your needs then the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is the best budget option for you. Samsung removed a few of the higher-end specs from the Galaxy Tab S6 in order to provide a cheaper option for students. It comes with an S Pen as a standard which is perfect if you’re looking for a device for note taking.
One of the more expensive tablets available, but it keeps you connected to the Apple Ecosystem with access to the Apple Appstore. It certainly packs a lot of processing power and has a great camera for recording lectures. A choice of 64GB and 254GB storage means you’ll be able to keep all your essential files in the palm of your hand.
Amazon Fire 7
Extremely affordable and quality product which is hard to pass up. While it doesn’t boast more than 1GB RAM you should be able to manage any task you need it for thanks to the quadcore processor. Being an Amazon product you naturally gain access to the Amazon Ecosystem which is a fantastic way to read up on a topic using Kindle eBooks or ask Alexa for help with a problem.
Software and Apps
So you have your device, but you still have a hectic schedule and tons of tasks and projects to complete. Now that the hard tech is out of the way we’ll take a look at the best and brightest Apps and Software to help organise your time or complete your tasks with flying colours.
Microsoft Office Home and Student
It will come as no surprise that MS Office makes it onto the list of back to school essentials. For those of you whose schools/colleges don’t provide you access to an Office suite, we recommend the lighter weight Office Home and Student edition as it will provide access to everything you need via Word, Excel, Powerpoint and more.
While the free version is a welcome addition to your word processing many of the better features come with an investment. The plagiarism detection function is a great tool to help make sure your work is unique and legal. Tone adjustments allow you to modify your text to help clarify your intended tone to your audience. Grammarly can even make sure your formal emails and writing are appropriately written.
Since Covid-19 created an influx of online classes, meetings and general video calls there has been an ongoing battle between various online conference providers. At the forefront of that battle is Zoom, while most every video conference application offers an approximation of the same features, Zoom and its freemium licensing offer the most secure and stable connections.
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