Here’s the tech high schools and college students heading back to school need this year!

Back to School 2013: Part 1

I know, summer feels like it just started, but it’s time to send those darn kids back to school—LOL!

I took some time to compile ALL the hottest tech that both High School and College kids will want before going back to school this year. This year, it’s all about keeping all your devices charged no matter what happens, getting a killer laptop and the coolest backpack on the block to carry it in. Oh, and then keeping all that data backed up when that darn kid “somehow” drops their laptop and loses all their work!!

Stay charged anywhere and stay in touch!

The biggest challenge facing students is dead smartphone batteries! They’re using their phones all day long, but when parents want to get in touch, sorry Mom, dead battery.

To make sure that your children are always able to call no matter how many photos they’ve posted to Instagram that day, a portable backup charger is the key to making sure they don’t have an excuse and can charge their phone no matter where they are.

myCharge HUB

The MyCharge power packs are a great way to charge all of your devices on the go. The hub models actually have the charging cords for iPhone and Android devices built-in so you don’t have to worry about forgetting them. You can leave your cables and connectors behind—all you need is the Hub. Plus they’re light and small enough to just throw in a backpack. With the two built-in cables, plus the USB port you can use to connect to anything, you can actually charge up to 3 devices at a time!

The cost varies by the amount of charge time each model offers. There are a few different ones I’d recommend:

myCharge HUB9000, $106 on Amazon = 40 hours
myCharge HUB6000, $95 on Amazon = 27 hours
myCharge HUB3000, $77 on Amazon = 13 hours

Cocoon Backpacks

Central Park Sport Backpack – $63 on Amazon

These things are awesome. They have a padded laptop compartment that can fit up to a 17” laptop, plus they pack the supercool “GRID-IT” system inside. It’s an organizational system to keep all of your gear organized—pens, devices, cords, rulers, etc. Keeps everything safe and secure so stuff isn’t rolling all over your students pack. Even better is the stow away water resistant hood—that’s great if it starts to rain while you’re walking to class!

It also has a media pocket where you can store your media device, but still be able to listen to music. There’s a small hole for the headphones–pretty great to be able to jam out while hiking around campus.

Cocoon Slim Backpack – $79

The Slim is so great because it is compact. It can fit up to a 15” MacBook Pro, and fill it with a lot of other items and when it’s full it’s still only 3.5” deep. It also has the “GRID-IT” system in it to organize and keep all of your gear safe and secure in this little grid. The Slim Backpack is made of water resistant materials (including the zippers) to keep your gear dry while you are hiking or biking around campus. There’s even a compartment to fit an iPad.

Laptops Computers

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Convertible Ultrabook – Price starts at $899.00

Convertible touchscreen laptop or tablet–the best of both worlds! Runs Windows 8. Flexible–folds into 4 separate display modes. Boots up quick and is lightweight. Great for presentations. Allows you to use both the keyboard and touch the screen. It is the best of all worlds! Perfect for a college student.

MacBook Air 13″ – $999.99 on Amazon

Yes, the MacBook Air is little bit more expensive than comparable Windows PCs. And yes, despite that fact, your child is still going to begging for one before they start high school or college this year. So get a good deal and take advantage of the Back-To-School sale on Amazon and snag the base-model 13″ Air for $100 off right now.

MacBook Airs are made of solid aluminum so they’ll stand up to the abuse students dish out, and the 13″ model sports an industry-leading 12+ hours of battery life. This is the laptop for the student who needs to power through an overnighter in the basement of the library cramming for an exam and then still take notes in class the next day, all without needed to find an outlet.

Speakers to Rock Your Dorm

SOL Republic Deck Speaker – $199.99 direct from SOL

This is the latest portable speaker from SOL Republic and Motorola. Great size to be able to throw in your backpack to take with you or to fit into that already cramped dorm room. Has a range of up to 300 feet. Heist mode allows you and your friends to pair as many as 5 devices at a time to it. It can only play one at a time, but if you hit play from another device it will automatically kick over to the next song! Has both an audio input and audio output so you don’t have to use a bluetooth device to use this.

Keep that data backed up!

You can’t give a teenager a computer and expect them to magically back up all their data on their own. They need to be reminded that when their laptop dies the night before a major paper is due (not IF, when, we’re talking about computers that get banged around in backpacks all day), a proper data backup will be their saving grace.

G-DRIVE miniStarting at $129 on Amazon

Cloud storage is good for moving files around between the dorm and the computer lab, or making sure your child has the same files on their smartphone, tablet and laptop at all times. But to TRULY back up an entire computer, they’re going to need to back up every single file: not just their documents, but system data, their programs, etc. For that, they’ll need a suitable external drive that’s fast, too! The G-DRIVE mini may be more expensive than other drives that offer the same amount of storage, but no other drive offers a rugged, aluminum enclosure to protect that drive in your student’s backpack as well as both USB 3.0 ports and Firewire 800 ones to ensure the drive will operate at top speed on all Macs and PCs!

Even more gift ideas!

A great idea if you are looking for a gift for a graduate or just a little something to give for the first day of day of school is to give them an Apple iTunes Back to School card that they can use at the iTunes Store, the iBookstore, and the Mac App Store.