Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be limited to pencils, pens, notebooks, and rulers. How boring! Instead, consider getting your kids up to speed on some of the latest tech gadgets that are fun (and useful) for the upcoming semester. Some of these may be more appropriate for high school or college age students, but I’ll leave that choice up to you, Mom and Dad.
Here are my seven favorite back-to-school tech gadgets for the 2010-2011 school year:
Laser Tag Alarm Clock by Island Dogs
Need a better way to get your teenager out of bed? This inventive gadget requires you to point a laser at the target to silence the alarm. That takes patience, concentration, and open eyeballs to accomplish – so it sounds like someone will get up for school after they try to do this for five minutes or so. Problem solved. Get it at Amazon for $19.99.
G-Tech iPod Backpack
Want to listen to music on the bus? Connect your iPod to your backpack for easy travel. This backpack has everything you need. A five-button control panel on the left strap lets you adjust volume, pause, select, or stop music from your iPod. A universal headphone jack is located on the back strap, so you can plug your regular headphones right into the backpack. Get it in three colors (black, light blue, or red) at eBags.com. It’s on sale for a limited time only.
Kodak Slice camera
This gadget is pretty handy. You can take digital camera quality photos and upload them straight to your Facebook page. Do all the tagging and everything on your camera! This sturdy, lightweight camera is the perfect accessory for students, particularly those at college. It travels easily and sustains quite a bit of jostling. The Kodak slice uses a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen, feature and face recognition, built-in optical image stabilization, and Kodak’s Smart Capture feature to analyze your picture scene and make automatic settings adjustments. The Share button enables easy upload to Kodak Gallery, Flickr, YouTube, and your email, not just Facebook. Get it for around $250 from a variety of tech retailers using our Kodak coupon codes!
Dell Inspiron Mini
I have had a Dell Inspiron for three years and I love it… in fact, I’m writing this blog post on it right now. But when I saw the new Mini, I wanted to trade mine in. Now, please. Anyway, this seems to be the perfect laptop for young hands – it’s small and easy to carry, lightweight enough not to overload their backpacks, and it’s fun. Check out the colors! These littlenetbooks are roughly $300 from the Dell website, with financing available at $15 a month. Especially for kids, the Nickelodeon Edition features “Slime” on the cover, lots of creative content, and an optional external DVD drive to watch or burn CDs and DVDs. This is a great first laptop, when your child is ready!
Apple Magic Trackpad
Tired of using a mouse with your desktop? Apple has a solution for you—the Magic Trackpad, a Multi-Touch trackpad that hooks up to your Mac desktop and lets you click, scroll, swipe, and rotate all with your fingertips. Plus it’s wireless, using Bluetooth technology to eliminate the need for an annoying cable. Put the trackpad wherever it feels comfortable, up to 33 feet away, and get to work! It has an automatic shut off function after sustained periods of inactivity and also has an on/off switch to help you preserve battery life. But since it only takes two AA batteries, it won’t cost much to keep this handy device running. So if you’d like to set that mouse free once and for all, visit an Apple store to check out the Magic Trackpad. It’s available for $69 but check out our Apple coupon codes for more deals.
Epson Stylus NX420 Wireless Multifunctional Printer/Fax/Copier/Scanner
Need a home office upgrade to keep up with all those book reports your kids are printing? Or maybe a way to fax permission slips to school? How about a way to print out those school photos? The Epson Stylus NX420 does it all and wirelessly too! That means you can connect all your home computers and laptops to it and print from anywhere. The printer uses separate cartridges for black, blue, magenta, and yellow so replacing them is cheaper and easier – just replace the color that’s running low! You can get this all-in-one inkjet printer from Best Buy for around $79.
Alright, I have to admit that I don’t have a Kindle because I like to read a physical book rather than a screen. It’s just a personal preference. But when I learned how many school textbooks are now available as eBooks for a fraction of the cost, I suddenly understood how appealing the Kindle has become. The prices have come down quite a bit now, and with two payment options to choose from, the Kindle is more affordable. You can pick one option with an always-on, no-monthly-fee 3G connection for $189 or one with just Wi-Fi for $139. In the long run, the amount of money that will save you on textbooks is staggering. Trust me. I wish I’d had this option in college!
The Flip Mino HD video camera
Back in the day, making a video for a school project was a nightmare. The huge camcorder, the giant VHS tape, the chopping editing… Every year technology makes this easier and easier. The new Flip Mino HD cameras are not only sold in crazy patterns and colors, but they’ll make that video project a breeze. The MinoHD gives you one hour of HD video that you can upload with FlipShare software to Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, or your email. You can turn the video in to your teacher online or on a Flashdrive… no big deal. Plus, the Flipshare software lets you edit clips and take still-image snapshots. Check out our Flip Store coupon codes to save even more on the $199.99 MinoHD camera.
For more tech gadgets to send your kids off to school with (or spoil yourself!) check out our Electronics coupon codes for great deals at lots of tech retailers!