You’ve got your tablets, laptops and your smartphones for going back to uni, but what about the gadgets? There are hundreds of them: which ones are right for you and your studies? Here’s stuff you might actually get some use out of.
Still like taking notes? I don’t blame you. Paper is pretty great if used correctly. Arguably the best hybrid note-taking tool for tablet and paper users is the Livescribe smart pen, and the new one is great. Meet the new Livescribe 3 smart pen: the old favourite, back with new tricks designed especially for iOS 7.
You read right: the new Livescribe 3 smart pen is designed for Apple devices. Users of the iPhone 4S and upwards, as well as users of the iPad 3 and upwards will be able to benefit from the new pen, while Android users will have to wait.
The Apple-only compatibility likely stems from a push towards using the Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy standard which, at the inception of the pen, was presumably only available on Apple devices. Google Android now supports Bluetooth Low Energy, and Livescribe is working on porting the device over.
While they wait, Apple users will now be able to use the smart pen as a bespoke iOS accessory, rather than just a clever writing tool.
Livescribe has ditched the screen, in-pen microphone and in-pen speaker on the 3 to improve battery life and weight. If you’ve ever used the cloud-syncing Sky Pen from Livescribe, you know it can be a tad unwieldy when taking notes. The new Livescribe pen will make the microphone, screen and speaker do the work for it when it comes to recording audio, displaying content and status notifications and playing back recordings in order to make a momentous battery saving. The only problem with that is you need to bring your tablet with you in order for this functionality — which had been considered as the cornerstone of the Livescribe experience — to work.
If you still want a pen for taking great notes on iOS, Windows and Android devices, check out the Jot from Evernote.
You’re going to be doing tonnes of walking around campus. Why not track it and turn it into pretty data for yourself to look at?
Fitbit have a huge range of devices that go on your belt — like the ZIP and the ONE — and devices that fit around your wrist like the Flex and the soon-to-be-released Force. The Force is the best of the lot, giving you everything you ever wanted to know about your movement on your wrist, but there are others to choose from if you just want to track steps.
Jawbone only has one product in the Australian market right now, called the UP. It has a few reliability issues, but it’s still the best looking in terms of hardware and software.
Music Service Subscription
Your song taste changes as you go through uni, and you’re going to need to be able to take music with you across your multiple devices and into multiple situations. Why not try a music streaming service for all the tunes your ears can handle for a flat, monthly rate?
For device agnostic readers, try out Spotify or Rdio. For those with an Apple fetish, iTunes Radio is your go, while Android users will get a kick out of Google Play Music All-Access.
How are you going to listen to all those amazing tunes without some decent speakers? What, are you going to be one of those people on trains and buses who just blast their terrible Aussie hip-hop EP into the ether? No! Get some decent speakers.
We recommend portable numbers like the Jawbone Mini Jambox, UE Boom or even the gorgeous Samsung DA-F61 portable wireless Bluetooth speaker for something more desk friendly.
Check out our guide to the best buys here.
Uni days are long, so you need power to get yourself through it.
We’ve already done a massive Power Week guide for you to figure out how you can power up your life. Anything in the Mophie family will get you over the line, but check out this collection of phone battery boosters for more!
Memories are made at uni, and by memories I mean tonnes of photos from your smartphone. Check out ultraportable storage tech like the new Seagate Slim or even the cool new Sandisk Dual USB drive that can plug into both your phone and your tablet.