Top Gear For Students

Posted in American Culture by Alex on 04 Jun 2012

The ever changing tech landscape provides students with a constantly evolving spectrum of choices on how best to accessorize their daily lives. Here are five suggestions that should be at the top of your list and some budget friendly alternatives:

1. Apple iPad

The dominant player in the tablet world. The new iPad offers unparalleled graphics through Apple's Retina Display. Hundreds of thousands of apps are available via iTunes and help turn your iPad into an indispensable daily comapnion for everything from entertainment to business productivity. Having the best does involve a premium, however, as pricing for iPad models definitely leans toward the high end of the tablet spectrum. The iPad is available in a variety of configurations based on internal memory and the capability to connect to the web via WiFi only or through 4G networks on Verizon or AT&T. Best Alternatives: Older model iPads can provide an excellent compromise between cost and function. Android tablet makers also have a very wide range of products available at price points that are significantly below Apple. For a very good iPad alternative in the Android ecosphere, check out excellent offerings from Asus.

2. Smartphone

The trend is clear. People are migrating to smartphones in increasing numbers. Apple holds sway here as well with its popular iPhone, currently with the 4S model. Overall, however, the market is much more differentiated than tablets. RIM's Blackberry models, Samsung's Android phones and Windows based devices all provide a variety of options. Most smartphones are able to interact with app-rich stores and, in general, most popular apps are available on multiple operating systems. International students should make sure that Skype is available for calling.

3. Laptop

While tablets continue to gain in popularity, there is still much to be done using a traditional laptop computer. Today's laptops have generally slimmed down and increased in battery life. Especially in the "ultrabook" segment of the market, you may be stuck with a difficult choice of laptop versus tablet with some of the devices available from Apple, Dell, Samsung, HP and other manufacturers. If ultrathin is your goal, make sure to check out Apple's MacBook Air line of computers. For stylish alternatives, take a look at HP's Envy line. For models that are popular around the world for their power and cost, be sure to peruse Lenovo.

4. Backpack

Defeinitely not as tech oriented as the above entrants, a good transport solution is still an essential component of your everyday life. In choosing a backpack, make sure that it is specifically made to provide protection for whatever electronics will be placed inside. Waterproofing, easy pull zippers and dedicated hydration solutions should also be at the top of your list. For low cost, high function solutions in a wide range of sizes and colors, look no further than JanSport. Mountain and athletic gear maker The North Face also makes quite a few models that are popular on campuses around the world. For more stylish options with a wide variety of modifications available, take a look at Tom Bihn.

5. Clouds!

The one option that is not physically "there". Cloud storage has exploded recently and provides an easy and intuitive way of making your data readily available wherever you go. While traditional flash drives still serve as a good method of transportation of data, cloud services from Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Google provide users with a simple way of backing up critical data and personal files, such as photos or music. Most services offer a limited amount of storage for free and charge for additional capacity.