Now is the best time to buy a laptop—even if you’re not a student. Here’s what you need to know to find the best deals!
Melissa Rorech, Reviewed
Cue the eye-rolling, students. ‘Tis the season for heading off to school for another year of higher learning.
But at the very least, there are some cool back-to-school gadgets to get excited about – including high-tech devices to keep you organized, productive and entertained while in a dorm room.
And the good news is you don’t have to blow your budget to get some great gear.
The following is a look at a half-dozen thrifty, yet nifty, suggestions.
A practical laptop
Students could benefit from a thin and light computer, for both work and play, priced so parents need not take out a second mortgage. The Lenovo IdeaPad S340 ($589) features an 8th Gen Intel Core processor, full backlight keyboard, webcam privacy shutter, and up to 10 hours of battery life for use on the go. When it’s time for after-school entertainment, such as TV shows and video games, this Windows 10 laptop boasts a 15.6-inch Full HD display with slim bezels (and with optional touchscreen) along with clear and loud Dolby Audio sound.
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A speaker with answers
Students can no doubt benefit from a voice-activated personal assistant. Currently on sale for $29.99, simply place Amazon’s 3rd Generation Echo Dot anywhere in the dorm room and say the wake word, “Alexa,” followed by a question (read: homework help!) or give a command such as “Alexa, turn on the lights” (provided you have a compatible smart light). You can ask the Amazon Echo to play music, podcasts, audiobooks or interactive games; get real-time traffic, weather, and sports scores; or make free phone calls to any 10-digit number in the U.S. or Canada (over Wi-Fi) or call another Echo at no charge. The Echo Dot is available in three colors: Charcoal, Sandstone or Heather Gray.
Just fill and chill with this printer
Epson has solved the biggest pain point when it comes to printers: running out of ink (always at the most inopportune time) and then having to pay through the nose for a small cartridge. With the Epson EcoTank ET-2760 all-in-one ($249), you get enough ink out of the box to last up to two years. That equates to 7,500 pages in black and up to 6,000 pages in color. When it’s time to buy more, they’re inexpensive and easy-to-install bottles rather than pricy cartridges. This multifunction printer/scanner/copier also lets you print from smartphones and tablets, including support for Apple AirPrint.
This TV has smarts
Who knew you could snag a great-looking 50-inch 4K Smart TV for so little? At just $279, the Hisense R7 4K UHD TV with HDR Roku TV offers a lot of bang for the buck, thanks to its large and clean screen that features four times the resolution of Full HD –and with High Dynamic Range for better contrast, brightness and color reproduction –plus loud, built-in 20-watt front-firing speakers. This television has a built-in Roku Smart TV platform – therefore, no separate Roku stick or box is needed – to access thousands of channels of on-demand video and other content, including movies and TV shows, live sports and news.
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Staying in charge
Keep all your tech charged up with the mophie 3-in-1 wireless charging pad ($139). Designed mostly for iPhones, AirPods and Apple Watch – but any other Qi-enabled device will work, too – this sleek-looking charging station features 7.5-watt fast wireless charging for all your tech, all at the same time, and all in one location. No cables needed. Just place down your smartphone, watch and earbuds and return a few minutes later. The top of the pad is covered in glass, which adds a stylish finish to the black and white charger.
Heat up your study breaks
Have a small space but a big appetite? The Maxi-Matic EBK-200 Elite Cuisine Station ($35) is a quirky dorm room accessory – especially for starting your school day off right with breakfast – as it’s a 3-in-1 toaster oven, coffee maker, and griddle. That’s right, despite its small footprint of only 10.6 x 10.6 x 17 inches, this multitasking gadget features a four-cup coffee maker, single-slice toaster oven (which can also hold a muffin, bagel, or croissant), and six-inch griddle for fried eggs, sausage or bacon. Hmmm … bacon …
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