Once again it’s that time when the kiddos are heading back to school. While school supply lists are no doubt extensive, it’s interesting to compare today’s requirements to just a few years ago. Students today, whether primary, secondary or college level, are expected to be decked out with more electronic gadgets that ever before. Heavy books? You may find some, but more and more are moving to digital copies on tablets and e-readers. No doubt, their backs will thank them. Taking notes? The need for paper and pen continues to dwindle. Notes are now taken on laptops, via virtual keyboards or with smart pens.
And while it may seem the kids are loading up on the cool toys, never fear. Many of these gadgets and gizmos are equally fun and intriguing for the adults. In this slideshow, we’ve pulled together 25 of the latest gadgets and gizmos – that while great for the back-to-school crowd – may be just what you’ve been looking for yourself.
Click through for 25 hot back-to-school gadgets that you may just want to grab for yourself.
Livescribe 3 Smartpen
The infrared camera in the tip of the Livescribe 3 smartpen captures your handwriting, storing it on the built-in memory. When it’s paired with your tablet or smartphone, all your notes are synced to the Livescribe+ mobile app. Livescribe 3 smartpen uses Bluetooth Smart technology to pair with compatible mobile devices to support over 14 hours of continuous use between charges. Pairing is also made much easier – just turn on the Livescribe 3 and accept the pairing request on your mobile device with a single tap. After that, your smartpen will pair automatically each time you launch the app.
The Livecribe 3 smartpen currently works with devices running iOS7 or newer; iPhone 4S or newer, iPad third generation or newer; iPad mini, iPod touch fifth generation or newer.
The Android Livescribe app is now available.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a tablet that also functions like a laptop with an integrated kickstand and an optional click-in keyboard. The Surface Pro 3 has a 12″ screen that provides a 2160×1440 resolution, a fourth-generation Intel Core processor (available in i3, i5 or i7), and provides up to nine hours of battery life while Web browsing. The tablet runs the Windows 8.1 operating system and is capable of running the full Microsoft Office Suite. Multitasking is also a breeze, as the tablet allows you to snap up to three apps or desktop programs side by side.
Microsoft has also recently released a new docking station for the Surface Pro 3. When you pair the tablet with the docking station, it really puts Surface Pro 3 in a league of its own because it also allows this powerful tablet to replace your desktop PC.
Costs: Starts at $799
The Space Bar is a sleek desk accessory that minimizes clutter while providing additional USB ports for your computer. It’s got six ports: Four USB 3.0 ports for high-speed syncing and two high-power USB charging ports to juice up your gadgets in a flash. Choose from black or white—or better yet, upgrade to blingy brushed aluminum for a more Apple-esque look.
Pivot Power Pop
The Pivot Power Pop provides six pivoting outlets that accommodate plugs and adapters of all shapes and sizes. That means you can always fill every outlet; yes, even those big ol’ bricks. It’s now available in five colors: blue, pink, green, white and black.
Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive
The Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive is the simple, one-click way to protect and share your entire digital life. Perfect to take on the go, the sleek metal case design allows for the thinnest portable hard drive available with up to 2TB of capacity. It goes anywhere — without getting in your way.
SHURE SE215 Earphones
The SE215 delivers detailed sound with enhanced bass. A detachable cable with formable wire enables easy replacement and a secure, comfortable fit onstage or on-the-go. Sound Isolating sleeves in multiple sizes provide up to 37 dB of isolation and a customized fit.
Put the future at your fingertips with this virtual laser keyboard. This revolutionary laser technology projects a virtual keyboard on any flat surface, including your desk, and the advanced optics track your fingers like magic. It connects via Bluetooth® wireless technology, allowing you to easily connect it with your Apple or Android smartphone, laptop or tablet. It’s powered by a rechargeable li-ion battery (USB cord included).
Digital Password Storage Vault
The Digital Password Storage Vault allows you to store and protect up to 3000 passwords, including case-sensitive user names, passwords, Web addresses, security questions and answers. A master password prevents unauthorized access. It has a pop-open, full QWERTY keyboard, and internal flash memory that prevents data loss when changing batteries. The font size is adjustable for easy viewing.
SnapLite Desk Lamp iPhone5 Scanner
The SnapLite Desk Lamp iPhone5 Scanner by Fujitsu subsidiary PFU works like an ordinary light for your desk or workstation, but quickly transforms into a smart scanning device as soon as you slide your phone onto the top. The stand is designed for your iPhone5, working with your phone to become a proper scanner for a range of objects and documents up to A4 size. It comes with a host of functions and timer options, making it an ideal accessory to have around at the home (scan recipes, kids’ pictures!) or at work (quickly scan those notes from the meeting).
The BRV-1 gives action sports and outdoor enthusiasts 12 hours of music they can bring into the backcountry, rock faces, skate parks, virgin powder downhills, rafting rapids, or even the beach. With its IPX7 certified waterproof, shock absorbent, ultra-lightweight and compact design, the palm-sized speaker is set to rock in any environment. The speaker syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth to stream music from compatible devices.
Toshiba Encore 2 Tablet
Thinner, faster, lighter and more capable than ever, the Toshiba Encore 2 Windows tablet has a brilliant 10.1-inch display and ultrafast Wi-Fi that goes from work to play in an instant. Get going right out of the box with a complimentary one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, capture video and take amazing photos with a built-in 5MP camera, synchronize across all your Windows devices and much more. This tablet is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom processor with InstantGo technology.
Do you love watching TV – movies, live sports and shows, but find you’re not always in your living room? That doesn’t mean you can’t stay up-to-date with everything. Whether you’re at home or on-the-go, Slingbox M1 lets you watch all your live and recorded shows, on your phone, tablet or laptop – anywhere. This is great for college kids across the country. They can still get access to all the channels mom and dad have at home without it costing a penny more. There are no additional monthly fees.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
Samsung Electronics America and NOOK Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. recently announced the introduction of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK, a 7-inch tablet. This new co-branded tablet offers the best of both worlds: the first-ever full-featured Android tablet optimized for reading. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK is now available in more than 660 Barnes & Noble bookstores and online at www.bn.com and www.nook.com for $179 after a $20 instant rebate, and includes more than $200 in free content from the NOOK Store® including bestselling books, popular TV shows, top magazines and more.
Noke: Bluetooth Padlock
End the frustration of losing keys and forgetting combinations forever. Noke is the world’s first bluetooth padlock you can share. Keys have been used to open locks for centuries. But keys have the same problems today as they did back then. They are easy to lose, they can be stolen, they are a pain to share, and if you share them, you must get them back. Sharing combinations has its own set of issues.
By using Noke and your smartphone, you’ll always have easy access to all the important things in your life. In addition, you’ll be able to share access to your possessions easily, safely, and securely.
Noke is currently in the funding phase on Kickstarter, but has well surpassed their funding goal. Expected delivery is February 2015.
Cost: Special Kickstarter price starts at $59
Fraemes iPhone Cases
Looking to personalize your iPhone like never before? Check out the new cases being offered by Fraemes. They’ve partnered with 3D printer MakerBot to create 3D printed iPhone cases. You can choose from a wide variety of designs and bumpers, each of which is easily switched for infinite possibilities. If you happen to have a MakeBot printer, you can even print your own designs.
Cost: The bumpers cost about $12 each, and the inserts run around $25 each.
OVAL – Smart sensor
The OVAL smart sensor is another crowd-funding project, this time on Indiegogo. OVAL is a smart, easy-to-use and versatile sensor that’s designed to protect the people and things you care about most. Stick it, string it, or drop it in or on any object to detect any changes in motion, acceleration, light, moisture, temperature or proximity. If the sensor is disturbed, you’ll receive an alert on your phone or email. Anywhere in the world. Instantly. The project has currently raised a little of half of their funding goal.
Cost: Early bird starter kit starting at $99
bKey Smartphone Battery
Another crowd-funding project, bKey has raised nearly twice their goal in pledges. This cable-free emergency smartphone battery has a built-in USB tip and a micro-USB or iPhone tip to charge your phone on the go. Smartphone battery cases are bulky and can block the earphone jack. Small stand alone batteries are often too big for your pocket and require a cable to make them work. bKey easily fits in your pocket and everything is built right in to charge it and use it. You never have to remember to bring a cable or annoying adapter tips with you again. Expected delivery is December 2014.
Cost: Starts at $20
Pong Smartphone Cases
Pong cases contain a micro-thin, gold antenna that redirects wireless energy away from you. This redirection reduces your exposure to mobile device radiation by up to five times below the FCC Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limit without compromising your device’s ability to communicate. The cases are available for a variety of brands, including Apple and Samsung.
Samsung Level Box mini
The Samsung Level Box mini sports a large (55mm) stereo speaker and a passive radiator, optimized to deliver premium-quality sound that is powerful, crisp and balanced. Level Box mini is compatible with the Samsung Level App. The Level Box mini utilizes the aptX codec so that users can enjoy uninterrupted, robust streaming. Level Box mini delivers a seamless connected experience. To pair the device, users can simply place a Near-Field Communications (NFC) enabled smartphone near the Level Box mini to quickly make a connection.
Morphie Juice Pack
Get plenty of on-the-go power anytime with the light-weight, low-profile Mophie Juice Pack made for Galaxy S5. This rechargeable battery case adds up to 100 percent additional battery while its smooth finish offers unmatched comfort for daily use.
IOGEAR MediaShair Hub
With the new IOGEAR MediaShair Hub you can now take your movies, music, photos and documents on the go and share them with all your wireless devices. Just plug in your SD card, USB flash drive, or even your portable USB hard drive into the media hub and the built-in Wi-Fi connection shares the content with up to seven Android, iOS, or laptop devices within range. The MediaShair Hub has a built-in battery for up to nine hours of use between charges, and if your playback devices runs low on juice just plug in your charging cable to the USB port and the MediaShair Hub becomes a portable power station. The hub’s Ethernet port even converts a wired Internet connection to Wi-Fi.
Need to keep track of something? Check out these Stick-N-Find stickers. The stickers are only 0.16 inches (4.1mm) thick and can be stuck to just about any item. A downloadable app acts as a radar, displaying all your devices within range. The app is available for iOS devices with Bluetooth 4.0 (iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, new iPad, New Touch, mini iPad). It also works on Android devices supporting Bluetooth Low Energy, running Android 4.1 and newer.
Cost: Starts at $29.99
Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels
Clocky is the alarm clock that runs away and hides to get you out of bed. It gives you one chance to get up. But if you snooze, Clocky will jump off your nightstand and wheel around your room looking for a place to hide, beeping all the time and determined to get you up on time. You’ll have to get out of bed to silence its alarm.
nüüd iPhone 5 case
nüüd protects iPhone 5/5s from drops and dunks, provides complete access to every feature and function, even Touch ID, and lets you use your iPhone 5/5s device in ways and places you never dreamed. The case is water proof, dirt proof, snow proof and shock proof.
Samsung Multi-Charging Wall Charger
With the Samsung Multi-Charging Wall Charger, you can charge up to three micro-USB devices at once. For example, a Bluetooth headset, a wearable (e.g. Samsung Gear 2), and your smartphone can be charged all at once. The multi-charging cable optimizes the total charge across all three devices, dividing the 2A charge evenly. In other words, if you’re only charging two devices, power flows faster to each than if you were charging three simultaneously.