It’s time to head back to school for another year. Whether you’re studying for a degree, mastering your Masters or just doing the HSC, these are the best gadgets to help you hit the books.
Studying student image by Shutterstock
The worst thing about study, revision and cramming (you know you do it) is that your notes make absolutely no sense to you a few months after you’ve written them.
Livescribe is a pen that records stuff like lectures and classes, but the best part is that you can skip to any part of said-lecture just by tapping the note you made. By doing so, the pen will automatically play whatever the lecturer was saying at the moment you took the note, making the whole puzzle fall into place.
The best thing about the Sky Wi-Fi pen is that — unlike its younger sibling, the Echo — it automatically uploads the notes and audio you have taken to Evernote and/or Dropbox, so you don’t have to worry if you lose your notebook down the road.
Livescribe Sky Wi-Fi
• Price: From $279
• Where To Buy: Officeworks
One of the worst things about any educational institution isn’t the teachers, the study or the cliquey groups, it’s carrying around all those damn books. A decent tablet can help you solve that. The Nexus 7 is a fantastic little device that won’t break the bank.
The Google Play store has a whole bunch of books that can help you get through the school year, and you may even be able to source your texts as e-books, meaning you won’t have to break your back carrying a bunch of dead trees around campus.
• Price: From $249
• Where To Buy: Google Play
Of course if you’re more of an iOS fan, the Nexus 7 might not be for you. The iPad mini is a great little tablet for throwing in your bag. It’s nowhere near as heavy as those damn textbooks and it has access to the new iBooks platform which caters specifically to university and school textbooks.
Plus, if you want to do a bit of extra-curricular study without stressing your brain out, go download a few iTunes U podcasts. They’re educational lectures from institutions all over the world like Columbia, Harvard, Princeton and a swathe of schools in Australia.
It’s pricier than the Nexus 7, though, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping around.
• Price: From $369
• Where To Buy: Google Play
The only problem with the Sky Wi-Fi is that it’s a tad expensive. If you don’t need a pen that uploads stuff to Evernote and Dropbox, you can opt for the Echo.
The Echo doesn’t do any of that fancy cloud nonsense, but it’s still one of the most useful things you can throw in your bag for the upcoming school year.
• Price: $169
• Where To Buy: Officeworks
If you’re an organisational supergenius — or just desperate to be one in 2013 — the Evernote Moleskine is for you.
Not only is it a super-swanky Moleskine notebook, it’s a great way to get your classes in order.
The notebook comes with special paper that, when snapped via the Evernote mobile app, helps to digitise your scrawl into the cloud. You can also use special stickers to tell the app where to file your notes, so you don’t have to bounce around your book for different classes.
• Price: From $29.95
• Where To Buy: Notemaker
If you study better to music, you need Rdio. You’ll have a bunch of songs ready and waiting to be streamed for your educational pleasure. Plus, Rdio is now offering six months of ad-free streaming, saving you some cash.
Spotify also has free streaming, but you’ll be subjected to ads every now and then which can really take your mind off the task at hand.
• Price: Free for six months
• Where To Buy: Rdio
Not being able to submit your assignments is the worst, especially when time is ticking away towards the deadline. You want a connection that isn’t going to crash on you. Your housemates are all busy downloading porn and let’s face it, everyone on the school network probably is too. What you need is a 4G modem.
Telstra has great 4G coverage and fairly reasonable rates to get you connected between classes, in class and at home.
Telstra 4G Pre-Paid Modem
• Price: $149
• Where To Buy: Telstra
So your hard drive crashed and all of your work is gone? Happens to the best of us, but why weren’t you using an external back-up drive? “I forgot to back-up,” is the ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse of file management, so go get a Seagate Backup Plus so it doesn’t happen again.
The Backup Plus is great because not only does it hang onto your stuff for you, but it does it on a schedule so you don’t have to. Want to back-up at the end of a late-night study session? Just throw it on a 1am schedule and forget about it. That way the next time you spill beer all over your laptop you’ll be covered.
Seagate Backup Plus
• Price: From $149
• Where To Buy: Dick Smith
Taking notes on paper is so 2012. If you want to digitise your notes instantly with no fuss, go get a Galaxy Note II. The Note II is bigger, badder and better at recognising touch inputs from the S-Pen stylus. Plus there are a whole bunch of note-taking applications on top of the bundled software to help your next study session a lot easier.
The Note II also comes with 50GB of free Dropbox storage for two years, which makes moving files around a whole lot easier, and cheaper too.
Also, what could be better than slipping your whole curriculum into your pocket?
Samsung Galaxy Note II
• Price: $619 outright or on contract
• Where To Buy: Optus, Telstra, Vodafone or Kogan
Yes, the name is a mouthful, but this thing is a must-have in your bag. It’s a 6000mAh battery that you can plug into damn-near any device. It has two USB ports so you can keep two devices alive at once and it’s a Godsend when you’re only 500 words away from finishing the perfect paper.
Mophie Juicepack Powerstation Duo
• Price: $109
• Where To Buy: Apple
What’s your favourite gadget for school or university?