Let’s face it, kids can be pretty tough on technology. So our guide for high school student tech focuses on budget conscious value. Not necessarily the cheapest products, but generally those that won’t break the bank, keeping in mind many of your youngster’s gadgets may not make it through graduation. And you know that if they do go on to college you’ll have to cough up a lot more cash – for everything.
Android tablet – Lenovo Tab 3 Essential – This low-cost tablet gets the job done at a pretty amazing price. Work, play, or just tap away. The beautiful 7 inch high-resolution (1024 x 600) IPS display makes it easy to share what you’re viewing with friends, and with an ultra-thin, high-transparent touch screen, every image appears closer, clearer, and sharper. Dolby® audio enhancement allows louder, more natural, distortion-free sound through headphones or the tablet’s stereo speakers. It comes with front and rear-facing cameras and has a micro SD card slot that can hold 64GB, which should take care of almost all your youngster’s onboard storage needs. Models start at just about $70.
Wireless Keyboard – Logitech K480 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard – This useful keyboard makes it easy to type on almost any device that doesn’t have a keyboard such as an Android tablet or iOS device. Because it’s an almost full-sized keyboard you can type in comfort, switching easily between devices. A keyboard for your computer that also works with your smartphone or tablet. Just turn the Easy-Switch dial to switch typing between three connected Bluetooth wireless devices. The integrated cradle holds your phone or tablet at just the right angle for you to read while you type. List price is $50, but Amazon has it for $26.
Folding Keyboard – iClever Portable Folding Keyboard – This is a portable solution for devices without a built-in physical keyboard. This little Bluetooth keyboard with touchpad folds up small enough to put in a jacket pocket, purse or backpack, and can be used not only for an iPhone or Android phone but Windows or Mac tablets as well. In fact, up to 3 devices can be connected to the keyboard at once, and easily switched with a tap on a function key. Rechargeable & said to last up to 60 hours in use, 90 days in standby. Weighs just 7 ounces, priced under $50.
Chromebook – Asus C202SA-YS02 11.6″ Ruggedized and Water Resistant – The Chromebook form factor is ideal for students who have wi-fi access in their school buildings. Using the Chrome Operating System, they offer the ability to deal with documents as well an ubiquitous Internet access. This model is ruggedized and waterproof, with a spill-proof keyboard, meaning it’s ideal for what high school students might just call, “life”. It lies flat with a 180-degree hinge, and features 10 hours of battery life, running a dual core Intel Celeron processor. Price at Amazon is just about $219
Smart Mouse – Logitech MX Anywhere 2S Wireless Mouse – This wireless mouse is more than a mouse. It’s smart. The MX Anywhere 2S will work on multiple computers and even allow you to cut and paste between them, moving text and images with Logitech Flow. It’s rechargeable, so no more getting stuck with a cursor that makes you into a curser. One charge will last up to 70 days. Price from Logitech is $80. We’ve seen it online for a low as $50.
Gaming Laptop – Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming – When the work is done (or sometimes even if it’s not), your high schooler may want to take a break for some serious gaming fun, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. CNET calls this 15″ laptop, “the budget gaming laptop to beat.” The base model has an Intel core i5 processor, but you can get it with the powerful core i7 for a couple of hundred dollars more. It comes with the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 graphics package. You can also get it with a solid state drive for quick starts. Prices begin at $770, which we think is pretty modest for the performance.
Storage Solutions – In today’s mobile world, your teen is going to want storage solutions that are not limited to one device. Depending on their needs, we have two solutions:
External Hard Drive – Seagate Backup Plus – The price of mass storage memory keeps getting lower even as our memory needs keep getting bigger. The Backup Plus Slim is available in four colors. You can get a 1TB version for $80, and a 2TB model for $100. Both offer fast USB 3.0 data exchange, and both will allow you to automatically backup the contents of your device.
Flash Drive – Sandisk Cruzer Dial 64GB USB Flash Drive – At this point, your student is almost certainly familiar with the stick style of USB flash drive. It’s a convenient way of moving documents, pictures, or music from one device to another. Just drop it in your pocket, purse, or backpack. The Cruzer Dial adds a new feature, a retractable connector that you dial to open and close to protect it. It comes in capacities of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB in a variety of snazzy colors. We’ve seen prices for the 16GB version at about $9.00 and for the 64GB model at $31.57.
Backpack – The Knomo Thames/Cromwell Rolltop Bag – This is a lightweight roll-top British designed bag that’s really made to protect against the elements. All of the seams are welded, with no stitching. There’s an easy to access outside pocket, and everything else stays tucked away inside the rolltop. It will hold a 15.6″ laptop and has several interior pockets for a phone, accessories, etc. There’s plenty of padding between the bag and the shoulder straps making it comfortable to carry for a full day on campus. Price is $99.
SmartPhone – Moto Z² Play – Your teen is certainly going to want, or need, a smartphone. In an era of near $1000 phones, the Moto Z² Play won’t break the bank, and offers the ability to use the whole line of Moto Mod accessories including 360° camera, battery pack, cases and more. You can get an up to 30-hour battery, and get up to 8 hours of power in 15 minutes with TurboPower. The camera has dual autofocus pixels plus laser autofocus for fast focusing for sharp photos in any light. As for memory, you can get 64 GB and 4 GB RAM, or 32 GB and 3 GB RAM. Plus, add up to 2 TB more with a microSD card that provides fast memory and tons of space for music, movies, and photos. It’s powered by a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 626 processor, has an ultra-slim aluminum unibody. There’s no skimping on the display, a 5.5” full HD super AMOLED display with vivid color, razor sharp detail and protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. Full retail price for an unlocked phone is $408.
Power Bank – Velox 6000 mAh Power Bank – You know that sooner or later your youngster’s smartphone is going to run out of juice. Probably sooner, and almost always inconveniently. This substantial power bank will charge two devices at once, and has Qualcomm’s QuickCharge 3.0 for faster charging. It will charge most phones at least three times over and supports USB-C as well as USB micro. Price at Amazon is $20.
Desk Gripping Coffee Mug – Mighty Mug – There’s a good chance that if your youngster (or yourself for that matter) keeps a coffee mug on the desk, sooner or later there’s going to be an accident. Happens to almost all of us. That’s why a father and daughter team came up with Mighty Mug. When something knocks into it, it automatically grips the desk so it won’t tip over. But it’s designed to lift up naturally. Mighty Mug comes in a number of sizes, colors, and finishes, and prices range from about $16 to about $30.