Tech Gear for Back to School

Hisense Sero 7 Pro

You could definitely get an iPad Mini for portability if you’re an Apple family. But if you don’t mind going the Android route, and looking for a less expensive option, the Hisense Sero 7 Pro is a fantastic choice with a quad core Tegra 3 processor, 8 gigs of storage, and a 1280×800 touchscreen.

Chromebook, MacBook Air, HP Envy and Samsung ATIV

Chromebooks are great for students. No apps to install and worry about keeping up to date. Everything you do on it is all Chrome browser-based. So if it’s online, it’s on the Chromebook. For Apple households, the MacBook Air is super portable and lightweight. Don’t kids have enough books to carry?! Or, for Windows 8, I love the HP Envy or the Samsung ATIV.

MyCharge and Gum Max Backup Batteries

Make sure your kid can always call home by outfitting them with a portable battery. There are SO many options out there now. Two of my favorites are the MyCharge, which can actually charge up to three different devices at once, and the Gum Max, which can charge two devices.


On that phone, you should load an app called GroupMe (iOS, Android, Windows Phone). It’s a free group messaging app that helps keep the whole family engaged and in touch. Type your message once and be sure it reaches everyone instead of trying to tell multiple people the same thing.

Bodelin ProScope

The ProScope from Bodelin is a small handheld microscope that connects to your iOS device so kids can explore the world in new and interesting ways! It’s a lot of fun but it’s also very educational. See our full review of that at

Roku and Apple TV

For the older kids, who are going off to college, there are a few must haves. Like a Roku or Apple TV for some entertainment from time to time.

Pivot Power Junior

This Pivot Power Junior from Quirky seems like a great solution for plugging in all those electronics in a dorm room.

Bluetooth Headphones

AfterShokz Bluez are bone conduction headphones that allow kids to hear the world around them for safety while still listening to music or a podcast. The Phiaton PS-210 headphones are great for a range of activities and have a lot of control options. For active students, the Jaybird Freedom Sprints are comfortable and stay out of your way. And you’ll remember our friend Trace Dominguez likes the LG Tone Plus for normal everyday activities.

Braven Speakers

A dorm room needs some tunes and I’m partial to the Braven line of speakers. You can even daisy chain them for bigger badder sound!

Expense Tracking Apps

You can help your young adult learn to be responsible with money by encouraging the use of apps that track their expenses. My suggestions for those apps are at – there’s a whole show on them!

Finder Codes

With all this expensive stuff we’re putting in kids’ hands these days, it’s a bit scary to think about what happens if they get a little distracted and just wind up “forgetting” it somewhere. Finder Codes, or other similar options, are high tech lost and found.


  1. Mitch J says

    No outtakes! It doesn’t feel normal without them! :) I miss the outtake bumpers before the Rev-3 logo, too, those are always awesome!

    Where was all this sound technology when I was in college, by the way? I had to lug a clunky stereo system between home and school. If I was going to school now I could fit it all inside my case with my laptop! Arrgh!! :)

  2. says

    hi Cali, been a fan since 2005?
    your Back to School podcast was excellent–as usual!
    just wondering, don’t you usually have captions for the products as you cover them? i usually watch with the sound down or off so as to not awaken my wife who sleeps only 3-4 hours each night…

    thank you as always for great reporting and a measure of Joy!