The phrase “back to school” is scary in its own right, but pair it with a paltry assortment of defunct gadgets and low-tech productivity tools, and it’s downright terrifying. Fortunately, it’s 2014 and there are a bevy of apps and gadgets available that can aid you on your way to a successful school year—whether you define that as passing all your classes, or
breaking the record for selfies taken during class, is completely up to you. So sit back, fire up Amazon.com, and let’s spend some of that extra financial aid you were saving for ramen and coffee.
For getting work done
Acer c720 Chromebook, $269: If you really need a physical keyboard to go along with your touchscreen, this is the laptop for you. It offers an 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 display, a super fast Intel processor, really good trackpad and a 32GB solid-state hard drive, all packed into a svelte 2.98 pound body. If you’re on a budget and don’t mind plastic ladened devices, you really can’t go wrong with the Acer C720P.
Apple iPad Air, $499: I can’t say enough good things about this tablet—no really, I have a character limit on this article. But in all seriousness, the iPad Air is not only the best tablet Apple has ever put out, but also the best tablet available today. With a plethora of sensors, more available apps than any one human could possibly need, and 16GB of storage, the iPad Air is a must have if you don’t require a physical keyboard. Did I mention it’s as thin as a pencil and weighs only one pound? Crazy-cakes.
Google Drive/Dropbox (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac), Free-$1.99/$Free-$9.99: Stuff piles up fast, in real life and on your devices. What that means is you are usually stuck with the unenviable task either of deleting something forever or storing it on some hard drive somewhere to be forgotten. Google Drive alleviates this pain in a big way: it stores almost any filetype you want in the cloud, up to 15GB, and does it for free. That means any document, spreadsheet, photo, video or GIF of Taylor Swift making a funny face can be stored and synced across all of your devices. If you’ve really gone crazy with your content and need more space, Google will give you and extra 100GB for only $1.99 a month. If sending everything you care about to Google isn’t your thing, there’s also the excellent alternative of Dropbox, which pretty much does everything mentioned above. However, Dropbox only gives you 2GB of free storage and starts their paid plans at $9.99 a month for 1TB.
Evernote (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac), Free: Forget the way you used to take notes—using notebooks or recorders—this is the digital age. And nothing more personifies the digital age than Evernote, which not only lets you take traditional text-based notes, but also digitaly-rich multimedia ones. With this one app, you can take a photo of the whiteboard, record the lecture audio while typing away, clip relevant web articles, and even scan your old-school handwritten notes and translate them into readable text. All this advanced cross-platform capability in the palm of your hands, and it’s free. A must for any college student.