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14 Back-to-School Tech Essentials for 2022


It’s hard for today’s kids to fully comprehend that their parents grew up in ye olden days before cellphones and personal computers were as much a priority on the back-to-school shopping lists as a box of new No. 2 pencils. Today, gearing up for fall is all about stocking up on tech buys. So whether you’re getting gadgets for learning, for playing or for both, there’s something awesome for your student in the list below. 

Even better, back-to-school season brings a flurry of tech deals as retailers try to catch parents’ attention. Once back-to-school season draws to a close, the next rush of tech sales will happen around Black Friday. So now is a great time to shop tablets, laptops and more. 

Below, check out our 13 hand-picked best tech buys for kids of all ages. If you’re replacing anything, see about recycling your old, non-working or out-of-date electronics, which can save you money in addition to being an eco-friendly choice. 

Finally, swing by to see all of this year’s best back-to-school deals

The Best Smart TV for Back to School: TCL 32″ Class 720P HD LED Roku Smart TV

TCL 32 Class 720P HD LED Roku Smart TV 3 Series
Image: Walmart

Specs: This TCL 32″ Smart TV packs in all of the premium-level features you’d expect from a TCL Roku device — in a package small enough to easily fit in a dorm room or home office. The intuitive interface and voice-search smart remote make it easy for your student to access all their favorite content like broadcast TV, streaming channels, gaming and more. It also comes with 3 HDMI inputs so you can connect laptops, gaming consoles and other video devices.

Why it’s worth buying your student: While a TV may not typically fall on your back-to-school shopping checklist, a smart TV makes at-home learning, collaborating on projects and, of course, after-school relaxing a breeze. Plus, at under $100 this is a deal you don’t want to miss!

Savings Alert: Walmart is launching new and expanded rollbacks on thousands of items sitewide. Hurry, these deals won’t last long! 

Price: $99 (Orig. $149) at Walmart 


The Best Tablet for Back to School: iPad Air 

Image: Apple

Specs: This beautiful iPad Air is a powerful tool that offers up to 10 hours of battery life, a 10.9-inch (diagonal) LED backlit display, a quality camera for taking photos and videos, and such gorgeous graphics, all in a light, one-pound package that can be unlocked via touch ID. 

Why it’s worth buying your student: High school and college students will no doubt prefer taking notes, studying, designing, reading, researching and keeping track of their busy lives on an iPad, which is such a versatile learning and leisure tool you’ll want one for yourself. P.S. The Apple Pencil costs extra, but worth it for note-taking during classes. 

While Apple doesn’t tend to offer much in the way of discounts, they do have educational deals for students attending or accepted into colleges and universities and parents of higher education students buying on behalf of their kids. 

Price: $549 and up at Apple (with an Apple Education Discount)  


The Best Chromebook for Back to School: Lenovo Chromebook Duet

Image: Best Buy

Specs: Fans of this reasonably priced, small, two-in-one computer/tablet Chromebook rave about the device’s more than decent battery life, processing speed, fast startup, and bright and clear screen. Good for home or to stick into their backpacks to bring with them to school.

Why it’s worth buying your student: PCMag picks the Lenovo Duet as the best detachable two-in-one Chromebook for kids. It’s affordable and a great and inexpensive home option for students who will be using cloud-based classroom tools or accessing the web to play games or watch videos or as a family laptop anyone can use. 

Price: $299 at Best Buy 


The Best Budget Cell Phone for Back to School: Samsung Galaxy A32 5G 

Image: Samsung.com

Specs: An excellent Android 5G phone with 6.5″ edge-to-edge display, 64 GB storage, front and rear cameras, long battery life, the Samsung Galaxy A32 is made with a plastic body and Gorilla Glass display to prevent easy breakage, which makes it all the most excellent for kids who let everything slip through their fingers. 

Why it’s worth buying your student: This well-reviewed, well-made, cheap cell phone has everything a typical tween or teen needs from a phone, looks cool and it won’t sting your wallet. When I interviewed a tech pro for an article about kids and phones, he suggested that parents skip top-of-the-line cell phones for their children, pointing out, “If you wouldn’t hand your kid $1,000 to put in their pocket to take on the school bus, why would you buy them a phone that costs that much?” Instead, they suggested buying a budget phone and the insurance! 

Price: $204.99 at Samsung 


The Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds: Beats Studio Buds 

Image: Amazon

Specs: Whether they use an Apple or Android phone, these wireless Beats earphones are compatible and easy to set up. They offer eight hours of listening time, and with the charging case, a full 24 hours. They’re sweat- and water-resistant, and listeners can choose between noise canceling and a transparency mode. Since every body is different, Beats sends three different eartips sizes so your student can find their perfect, most comfortable fit.  

Why it’s worth buying your student: Whether taking an online class, listening to music while working out, or tuning out a chatty roommate or sibling when you’re trying to study, good earphones are essential. These offer excellent sound quality and are easy to take from one location to another. And right now with your purchase, you get a six-month, free subscription to Apple Music.  

If your student prefers Beats over-the-ear headphones, here are the top Beats headphones suggested by RetailMeNot

Price: $149.95 at Amazon 


The Best Alarm Clock for Back to School: Jall Wake-up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock 

Image: Amazon

Specs: A different type of way to wake up — the Jall Sunrise Clock gradually brightens their bedroom from 10 percent to 100 percent brightness over a customizable period of 10, 20 or 30 minutes, or they can choose to wake up to a radio or soothing sounds like ocean waves or streams. Doubles as a bedside lamp and nightlight. 

Why it’s worth buying your student: Starting your day with an alarm blaring in your ear isn’t very relaxing, so this gentler approach offers a more pleasant morning for all concerned, since rousing gently is a far preferred way to start the day. Sunrise alarm clocks can get pricey, but this affordable one is a great budget option. 

What this won’t help is pushing them to get more sleep (one study says only 8 percent of high school-aged kids are getting the sleep they need), so they’ll still need reminders that they’ve got to get to bed earlier to get the rest their bodies require. 

Price: $39.98 at Amazon 


The Best Mobile Gaming Controller: Backbone One 

Image: Backbone

Specs: For fun time, you can attach this to a phone and turn it instantly into a gaming controller — no charging required. 

Why it’s worth buying your student: If they’re heading off to college and leaving the family gaming console behind, this slim controller is an excellent way to play all sorts of games without having an entire system at their fingertips. Even if they don’t own a Xbox or Playstation, they can still use their Backbone One to play all sorts of fun games, or use it as a controller for their iPad, Mac or PC. Right now, a purchase of one comes with a free month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. 

Price: $99.99 for Android or iPhone at Backbone 


The Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker: JBL – GO3 Portable Waterproof Wireless Speaker – Black

Image: Best Buy

Specs: This portable, compact speaker from JBL is waterproof and dustproof, and offers good sound and five hours of playtime at a wallet-friendly price. 

Why it’s worth buying your student: Headphones are useful when they’re solo, but if they want to listen to music with a friend or stream from their phone, tablet or other device, a good quality speaker is a nice addition. Your purchase right now also comes with four months of SiriusXM and a free six-month subscription to Apple Music. 

Price: $29.99 at Best Buy


A Portable Charger Just in Case: Anker Portable Charger 

Image: Amazon

Specs: Though it’s not the most exciting purchase, your living-away-from-home or about-to-travel student will be glad to have backup for their phones or tablets, thanks to this slim portable charger that weighs about half pound and can charge a phone up to three times and a typical tablet once.  

Why it’s worth buying your student: This slim charger is useful for traveling or commuting, and it’s a fan favorite on Amazon, with more than 55,000 ratings and an overall 4.6- out of 5-star rating. 

Price: $21.99 at Amazon


A Durable Tablet for Younger Kids: Fire HD 10 Kids tablet

Image: Amazon

Specs: For kids ages 3 to 7, Amazon’s durable tablet is built for little hands, with a screen made with strengthened aluminosilicate glass. It’s nice to get a tablet that’s just for them, and that prevents them from accessing content that’s not age appropriate. 

Why it’s worth buying your student: There are tons of perks that come with Amazon’s affordable tablet, but the single best one is the peace of mind it offers, with a two-year guarantee; if it breaks, Amazon will replace it for free. It also comes bundled with one free year of Amazon Kids+, giving kids access to kid-friendly games, videos, apps and audiobooks. The parental controls are easy to set up, and the table itself has a sturdy feel and a grippy, kid-friendly case, so it won’t slip out of little hands. 

Price: $199.99 at Amazon


The Best Smartwatch for Teens: Apple Watch Series 7 

Image: Apple

Specs: Absurdly smart, like genius smart, the Apple Watch Series 7 is the handiest companion around whether your student is using it for tracking their fitness, their schedule, their health, their sleep, or to stay in touch or stay on time. It’s dust-, water- and crack-resistant, has a big, bright, never-off display, comes in a range of colors and is all-around just so enjoyable to use. 

Why it’s worth buying your student: A great option for any iPhone user, right now a purchase of an Apple Watch comes with three free months of Apple Fitness +, with new workouts each week, guided mediation and more. 

If, however, you’re looking for under $100 Apple Watch options, RetailMeList lists plenty of good alternatives to check out. 

Price: $399 and up at Apple 


The Best Fitness Tracker for Kids: Fitbit Ace 3 

Image: Target

Specs: A kid-friendly fitness tracker that offers fun daily challenges for the whole family to move together as well as activity and sleep-tracking benefits for the wearer. Set this up by pairing it with an adult’s iPhone or Android phone. 

Why it’s worth buying your student: Designed for kids ages 6 to 13 who aren’t ready for more advanced tech yet, this is an enjoyable way to get the whole family excited about getting moving!  

Price: $69.95 at Target 


The Best Way to Get Their Caffeine Boost: Mr. Coffee Iced Hot Single Serve Coffeemaker With Reusable Tumbler and Nylon Filter

Image: Target

Specs: Okay, high tech it isn’t, but a coffee maker is still an essential electronic purchase if they’re moving out on their own. This single-serve Mr. Coffee maker brews 15 ounces of hot or 22 ounces of iced coffee in about four minutes. It comes with a reusable tumbler and a reusable filter (no pods required) and scoop, so they can use any type of coffee they like.  

Why it’s worth buying your student: With this, they can make their own coffee before they leave their dorm room or apartment and skip the long lines and expense of the local coffee shop. 

Price: $44.99 at Target 


The Best Ring Light: 6-Inch Selfie Ring Light With Tripod Stand

Image: SHEIN

Specs: A small but mighty light to use to brighten up a dim dorm room during class or to make their photos and videos really pop. The tripod stand is adjustable, both in height and angle of the light, and the right light itself has adjustable brightness to set the right mood as well as three color modes: white, natural and warm. 

Why it’s worth buying your student: For under $10, they get glamor lighting to meet all their social media needs. 

Price: $8 at SHEIN 

The post 14 Back-to-School Tech Essentials for 2022 appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.



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