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Back to School: the other tech essentials

Back to School: the other tech essentials


Before the school year gets into full swing, here are a few things you should make sure you have.

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Back to School: Everything else
Back to School: Everything else

So you've bought the perfect laptop. The perfect cellphone. The perfect tablet. You've filled them all with the best apps on the planet. You're pretty much set to dominate this school year.

But where are you going to put all that stuff? What are you going to listen to music with, because your laptop speakers inevitably suck? Plus, there's a lot more to school than just the classroom, and you need to be equipped for everything. So we've rounded up some of the essentials, the gadgets and accessories you need to get that A up to an A+ — or at least get that A in style.

Audyssey Media Speakers



Dorm room space is at a serious premium, and with no space for a multi-channel array it's all about finding the best sound in a small package. For that, Audyssey's $199.99 Media Speakers strike an excellent balance: they're small and easy to tuck onto a shelf or behind a monitor, and they sound great. They have both digital and analog inputs, so you can connect the speakers to whatever setup you have, or just plug in your iPhone. For $100 more, Audyssey's Wireless Speaker set adds Bluetooth connectivity too.

Incase Campus Pack


Asus tpi


A good bag does three things: it holds all your junk, keeps the important stuff extra safe, and breaks neither your back nor your bank account. The $59.95 Incase Campus Pack is a super-minimal backpack that will fit a 15-inch laptop into a separate sleeve, and has plenty of room and compartments for all the rest of your stuff. There are a number of good-looking color options, too — get a color other than black, or else someone's guaranteed to snatch your bag thinking it's theirs.

Canon PIXMA MG3220




Fortunately, in 2012 you're not going to need to print all that often, but when you need it you need it — when you've got a paper due in ten minutes the last thing you want is to run around looking for a printer and then hunting for $2 to print your paper.

The Canon PIXMA MG3220 has a bunch of important things going for it. It has Wi-Fi, so you don't need to mess with a million cables; it's also a scanner, so you can get your syllabus onto your computer; and at $79.99 (and lower at some places) it's downright affordable. Canon's well-known for making good printers, and this tiny one's a good choice.

Sennheiser HD-280 PRO



A word of advice: if you don't want to spend money on headphones, don't ever try out good headphones. Once you realize how bad your white Apple-supplied earbuds really are, it's all over. Fortunately, once you've seen the light you can get fantastic-sounding headphones for less than you think.

If you're the over-the-ear type, the Sennheiser HD-280 PRO headphones are tough to beat. They're only $99.99, but they sound like something far more expensive — they're also really comfortable, and do a great job of killing the noise around you, which is key in a crowded library or coffee shop. If earbuds are more your style, take a look at the Shure SE215, another set of $99 'phones that sound far better than you'd imagine.

Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight



It looks like Amazon might have a competitor in store for next week, but for right now the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight is the best ereader out there. It's light, thin, and has a battery that lasts for months. It's also hooked into Barnes & Noble's huge network of books and periodicals. The built-in backlight makes the Nook a perfect in-bed reading companion, too, without destroying your eyes the way an iPad's super-bright screen will.

Sony NEX-5N



Sony may have already announced its successor, the NEX-5R, but that doesn't change the fact that the NEX-5N is still a great camera. It takes excellent pictures and 1080p video, and if you're a camera newbie it will improve with you — its APS-C sensor captures great photos in Auto mode, but there's plenty of room to grow with new lenses and lots of manual control. Now that it's a bit old, hunt for deals: we've seen the NEX-5N for $500 or less.

Logitech Performance MX



If there's one thing the whole Verge staff agrees on, it's that the Logitech Performance MX is just about the best mouse on the planet. It's ridiculously comfortable, usable on just about any surface (including glass), has just the right number of buttons and wheels, and only needs a tiny USB dongle to work. It's a little big, but as a stay-at-home mouse it's awfully close to perfect.

Have a favorite gadget or must-have school accessory that we didn't include? Tell us below!