Best Back to School Gear

Four cool gizmos to help keep you awake in class

TECH  |  August 9, 2011By Seth Porges

Four cool gizmos to help keep you awake in class 
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Apple Macbook Air, Starts at $1,000
Enough battery juice to get you through a full day of lectures (up to 7 hours!)? Check. Intel’s rockin’ Core i5 and i7 processors? Vroom. A super-duper-highspeed Thunderbolt port that lets you transfer massive multi-gig movies in seconds? Shazaam! But things start getting crazy when you turn this thing sideways: With a girth of just 0.68 inches, you can think of this thing less as a laptop, and more as a tablet with a built-in keyboard.
 


Toshiba Thrive, Starts at $430
The iPad’s no slouch, but when it comes to shuffling junk on and off the thing, it can be downright frustrating. Because this 10-inch Android tab’s got itself a bunch of full-size ports—we’re talking USB, HDMI, mini USB, and an SD card slot—it’s super-simple to push and pull files from its memory. And unlike other Android tablets, which inexplicably cost more than the iPad, this thing can be yours for fewer greenbacks.
 

Hex Varsity Messenger Bag for iPad, $80
Nothing stunts the instant gratification of an always-with-you iPad like digging through a duffle. Flip open the flap on this blended wool messenger bag and Boom! There’s your iPad, easily accessible yet still safely stowed behind a protective cover.
 

 


Livescribe Echo Smartpen, $150
Magic, yo! This smartest of smartpens has a built-in tape recorder for capturing snoozy lectures. But here’s the sorcery: As you jot down your notes, the thing syncs your scribbles with the audio. To replay any part of the talk-age, just tap the paper, and you’ll hear exactly what the prof said when you write down that equation (or super-anatomically correct drawing).