SlashGear’s 2011 Back to School Gear Guide!

Jul 24, 2011
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It's that time again, boys and girls, time to start thinking about what you're gonna grab to jam in your schoolbags aside pencils, pens, and folders. What we've got for you below is a guide to the seven top pieces of gear we think would best suit YOU in your journey through the 2011-2012 school year. The guide you're about to glance upon will not only allow you to smash through your school year with the greatest of ease, it'll allow you to continue on to your professional life (if that's your next move) or hit next year's school year just as hard! It's gear time!

ASUS Eee Pad Transformer

As the most versatile tablet on the market packed with NVIDIA's Tegra 2 dual-core processor to boot, the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is our top pick for a student looking to be both productive and have an awesome time outside of the classroom. With apps like Zinio for digital magazines and Splashtop remote desktop access along with its optional keyboard dock, ASUS, NVIDIA, and Google's mobile operating system, (here at Android 3.1 turning soon to 3.2 Honeycomb,) this tablet is your 10.1-inch top in class.

Check out our [full review here]
Purchase this device at [Target] for $399.99

HTC Flyer

As a tablet alternative we've got HTC's first tablet effort, a hand-held 7-inch screen-toting tablet with a special Scribe Pen that works intuitively with the software installed on the tablet right out of the box. This tablet will allow you to write notes by hand, take photos, record video or just sound, watch videos, access the web, read emails, and just about everything else your modern day smartphone can do, but in a much larger size and with the ability to help you work through the day. No more pencils, no more books. If you do plan on purchasing the HTC Flyer, we do recommend purchasing one of the many protective cases available for it that'll keep your scribe pen safe and sound as the tablet itself doesn't have the ability to hold the pen alone.

Check out our [full review here]
Purchase this device at [Best Buy] for $499.99

iPad 2

What back to school gear guide would be complete without the iPad 2 right? Of course it makes the list with all the options and available applications in the App Store. iOS has a huge selection of apps specifically for educational purposes. With apps like iWork for spreadsheets, documents, note taking and more. You can learn about the solar system or master anatomy all with dedicated applications just for the iPad making it a solid school companion. You can buy it just about everywhere so make sure to get one before school starts.

Here is our iPad 2 Full Review

MacBook Air

While previous models of one of the world's thinnest notebook computers had a ULV processor that meant users could use it for many functions, but not the most hardcore projects like video editing and rendering, the newest models run on Intel’s latest Core i5 and i7 chips, meaning they can run with the "real" notebooks just fine. We've got a review lined up for you of the very newest MacBook Air 13-inch core i5 model, but I can tell you right now as well: this is the most versatile notebook on the market. Lighter than a small textbook and able to do everything you'll need in the classroom (unless, of course, you're a painter or some other hands-on artist who, then, can use the computer for a slew of complimentary functions anyway.) Bring the MacBook Air with you wherever you go, no problem. Furthermore, this newest model MacBook Air is running Apple's newest version of their desktop software: Mac OS X Lion. Even if you don't purchase the MacBook Air because you've already got an Apple computer waiting for you at home, be sure to pick up this newest upgrade for a mere $30. Of course then there's always the iMac Core i5 3.10Ghz as well - get big with it!

Check out our [full review here] [MacBook Air 13-inch core i5, the newest model on the market when this post is posted]
Purchase this device at [any Apple Store] for $1300.00

Check out our [full review here] [Mac OS X Lion]
Purchase this software at [the Mac App Store] for $30

Acer Timeline X AS5830TG-640

For those of you needing a solution that's not inside the Apple world, there's the Acer Aspire TimelineX, one fantastically lengthy name for a 15.6-inch display on a Core i5 notebook that'll run you the inexpensive $200-less-than-MacBook Air $799.99. As Ewdison Then will tell you, this is certainly a solid notebook at a rather affordable price. Also consider the Acer Aspire Ethos 8951G for all your Acer x Windows needs.

Check out our [full review here]
Purchase this device at [amazon.com] for $799.99

LaCie CloudBox

Any student that's lost a gigantic computer-based project will tell you: external storage is a must. Now LaCie's presented a solution that includes both a local (on the device itself) and cloud (on the internet) backup service. That means that if your computer's hard drive crashes, you've only to bring it in to the shop then come back and tap LaCie for all the content you would have otherwise lost. You'll have to make a decision about whether you want to keep your cloud service after the first year for an additional price, but during this first school year, all 100GB of your work will be safe and sound.

Check out our [full review here]
Purchase this device at [LaCie] for $199.99

Neato Robotics XV-15 Vacuum Cleaner

This entry in our awesome guide of essentials certainly isn't the MOST essential of the bunch, nor is it the least expensive for how essential it actually is for a student. However, if you want to have the cleanest dorm room or on-campus housing location of all time, this is your winner. The Neato Robotics XV-15 Vacuum Cleaner knocks out dirt on your floor not only with suction but with lasers too. Greek community housing owners may well want to think about this magician for post-party cleanups.

Check out our [full review here]
Purchase this device at [Robot Shop] on pre-order for €426.00

Going Mobile

On the smartphone front, you've got so many choices your head may well explode. Our first choice for students across the nation is the Motorola ATRIX 4G carried by AT&T. This device not only carries a dual core processor from NVIDIA, it's got an optional laptop dock accessory and desktop mode so you can use it in the classroom. Furthermore, the ATRIX 4G has an HD dock so you can make presentations in class, watch HD movies at home, and connect to all of your other peripherals. This device has just been upgraded to the newest version of Android for handsets, version 2.3 Gingerbread, and has a miraculously low price at $99 direct from AT&T!

Check out our [full review here]
Purchase this device at [AT&T] for just $99!

After that, it's a wide selection of devices from all carriers we prefer across the nation, devices running Android, Apple, and Symbian for your enjoyment and productivity:

Android
HTC myTouch 4G Slide on T-Mobile for a push-out keyboard and awesome photos.
HTC Sensation 4G on T-Mobile for dual-core simplicity.
Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY on Verizon if you want to distract yourself with some awesome GAMES!
Samsung Infuse 4G on AT&T for the biggest brightest smartphone display in the world.
Samsung DROID Charge on Verizon for the fastest download and upload speeds in the USA.
ASUS Eee Pad Transformer for the most versatile Android tablet on the market.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for the thinnest lightest tablet on earth.

Apple's iOS
iPhone 4 on AT&T
iPhone 4 on Verizon
I'd personally recommend the Verizon flavor, but if you're on AT&T and would just love to stay there, bump up to one of the world's most popular smartphones.

Symbian
Nokia E6 on Vodafone UK for a flashy full portrait keyboard experience.
Nokia C7 Astound on T-Mobile for the most solid little one-piece on Symbian.

Accessories and Apps

If you've got either a smartphone or a tablet and want to use it to type VERY FAST but cannot figure out how to do so with your on-screen keyboard, you've got several options. First you could literally go out and purchase the Verbatim Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard which folds up and fits in your backpack with ease and grace. Then there's a couple apps you might want to check out, both of them centering around tablets in their newest iterations: SwiftKey Tablet X for Android Honeycomb and Swype 3.0 for Android Honeycomb - both are viable options for increasing your tapping speed, both are highly professionally made. If you're running an iPad or some other sort of tablet, you're outta luck! Or not quite. Check out the iFrogz iPad 2 Summit Case - not necessarily because it'll make you type faster, but because it'll make everyone envy your excellence in iPad 2 fashion and workability peripherals.

Of course there's also Swiftkey X for Android handsets for those of you working on your smartphone, too.

Purchase the iFrogz case at [iFrogz] for $59.99, the Verbatim keyboard at [Verbatim] for $104.00, and the rest in the Android Market.

Grab em all!


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