Back to School Shopping: The Best Tech Gear

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back to school tech gear
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Tech gear can make the upcoming school year easier regardless of where you (or your kid) will be learning from.

There are so many unknowns about the upcoming school year, but the right tech gear can make things easier regardless of where you (or your kid) will be learning from.

Some back-to-school tech essentials are fairly obvious -- you'll likely need a functioning laptop or iPad, a portable charger and a good pair of headphones so as not to disturb others with whatever noises flow from your speakers. There are few less obvious tech gadgets, too, like an alarm clock that's not your smartphone or a wireless mouse to get you through hours of work at your desk.

Whether you find yourself learning from a freshman dorm room or your childhood bedroom, it's easier than ever for any student to stay connected thanks to all the advancements in technology over the years. (That said, don't forget the traditional school supplies like pens, pencils and a notebook -- they'll always come in handy.)

Below, our list of the tech gear you'll need for your first day of school.

High on your priority list should be a laptop, and you probably know that this tech essential rarely comes cheap. The well-reviewed Dell XPS 13 9380 Laptop is small, sturdy and lightweight, and it gets bonus points for its 4K touch screen.

A pocket-size power bank will keep your battery charged during those days of school or work that are packed with Zoom classes and meetings. This slim portable charger has wide compatibility and works with most USB-powered devices.

With this compact Alexa-powered smart device, college students can update to-do lists and calendar events, set alarms, access study resources and schedule appointments with teachers and counselors -- all without having to open a computer. (Learn more about using Alexa in education and remote learning here.)

The intuitive iPad comes with the Pages app built in, making it ideal for college students who need to create and share assignments.

This wireless mouse has an eye-catching design, but more importantly it's comfortable enough for any teacher or student to use all day long.

Another non-negotiable for remote learning: a pair of quality wireless headphones (or the popular Apple Airpods) to help you stay focused all day long. In the evening, use these to incorporate some classical music into your homework.

This standout printer makes it a breeze to get hard copies of reading assignments, essay drafts and other forms of homework. It's a top pick from CNET -- see our sister site's other printer recs here.

If you find yourself staring, and squinting, at your computer screen, it might be time for an upgrade. This 31.5" curved widescreen monitor provides an immersive field of view and offers a "low blue" mode that limits potentially harmful blue light rays.