Recommending products over the years

I'm gonna have a Windows option, a Mac and a budget option.


So this is kind of funny. All the years that I was in college, I never actually made my own like best college tech or back to school tech article. I graduated from college seven years ago, and it makes me feel old saying that out loud

But back then, I was just watching everybody else's back to school tech articles and then trying to get my own stuff together. But fun fact, the school I went to, the college I went to, actually, as part of tuition, gave every undergrad student the same HP laptop, which was kind of a nice perk. It was a thick workstation. Everyone had the exact same one.

So I'm gonna give you three options. So now something I didn't tell you earlier. At the school that I went to, all the engineering and business major students all had the same HP laptop, but then all of the music tech and visual arts majors all got the same MacBook Pro. So it was just different software, depending on what you had to do. I don't even know if this is still true or happening there, but the point is, if you're not going there and getting a laptop for free as part of your tuition, you might want to get a new computer to match your new work. So in the Windows world, I'm going Dell XPS. Now college is already expensive.

So it's a big extra expense to add a high-end computer on top. But the way I think about it, this is a computer I'm hoping to use for at least the next four to six years straight. So it's an investment in the future, for sure. So the XPS 13 is one of my favorite laptops. It's world class, easy to recommend here, but I'm gonna go with the 15. This XPS 15, if you can splurge, is getting you an even bigger potentially 4K OLED display, higher end RTX GPU, great keyboard, great, bigger speakers, and this thing, you can expect to handle some pretty demanding workloads, not just games in between classes, but potentially also getting some pretty serious coding, rendering, whatever you cut your teeth on at school, getting all that done, so this is the good one.

Now in the Mac world, the M2 MacBook Air feels like the solid no-brainer. I considered the M1 MacBook Air because I did keep it around, and it is cheaper.

But again, I think new chip, plus getting the new screen, new design, the ports, MagSafe, and all that is well worth it. Plus getting the new model has you future proofed and getting pretty excellent performance across the board. The Mac versus Windows choice in college is, mostly, basically, comes down to software.

Not just games, but a lot of

Times literally just whatever you're majoring in, there's gonna be certain softwares that just work with certain types of computers.

So that's important, but I think, yeah. No matter which one you get, you're getting a good one. But I do have a third option. It's more of a budget option.

And I'm also pretty jealous if you are studying something that can make this work. But consider a Chromebook. So the Galaxy Chromebook 2 is my favorite Chromebook right now. Of course, it's just Chrome OS. So you're doing everything in web apps, note taking, emailing, collaborating, et cetera. But if that's you, then this is a lightweight, well built Chromebook that should have your back. Now no matter which machine you choose, I have one mouse recommendation, and that is the Logitech MX Master 3S. So this thing was quietly released a few weeks ago, which is fitting because really the biggest update over the MX Master 3 is it's quieter.

(mouse clicking). It also has a higher max DPI. Honestly, this is the most versatile, complete, easy to recommend mouse for me. And it has been for years. I've used an MX Master for a long time at this point. I even think you can game wirelessly with this thing. So, yeah, easy. Easy add there if you're looking for a mouse.

Now if you happen to be taking the right classes, and you're in the right note-taking situation that a stylist and a tablet actually works for you, first of all, I'm jealous, but then second of all, the iPad Air and second gen Apple pencil are excellent. Now there are a bunch of combos that will work for this too. Samsung's Galaxy tabs and their stylists are really good. And there are lots of great note apps on Android as well, but I'm going with the iPad Air here and the second gen Apple pencil that snaps right onto the side as the safe bet. Every time I review the iPad, I always give the pencil a shot just for kicks. Obviously, artists get a lot more use out of it, but I also found that taking math-related notes specifically when there's all kinds of formulas and structure to them, trying to keep up on a computer with a keyboard just doesn't cut it for me. So I always have to write this stuff down, but having a virtual notebook, that is pretty sick. The new Air has the M1 chip.

There could be an M2 version soon by the time you see this. I don't really know, but I also don't think it matters too much. 'Cause iOS 16 is still iOS 16. All right, a new smartphone for back to school? Yeah, sure. Why not? Galaxy S22, or really any one in that series.

But I think specifically, the base Galaxy

S22, now that we're sort of in the middle of its cycle, is starting to see those discounts.

I reviewed it back in January, and

It still holds up as one of the best all around phones.

That's the thing about the phones that come out in January.

We tend to forget about them later in the year, but S22 still has some of the best cameras, the best displays, excellent battery, and really good software. Plus the deck features are super dope, if that happens to work for your setup. Maybe you have a a monitor already, and you just plug that straight in. That could be cool too. So can't really go wrong with that as a new phone. Also, my daily driver lately has been an S21 Ultra, which is sort of interesting fact. I don't know if maybe that's worth a separate article. Maybe leave a thumbs up if you wanna see a breakdown of that.

But, yeah, S22. Now I've got some desk accessories here that I also really like that I found. You're going off to college for the first time. You've got your dorm desk set up. You wanna get some stuff going to customize it. That's what this is about. That's also desk accessories, that's a tongue twister. Try saying desk access, desk accessories, desk accessories.

But this is the college dorm where I made articles for a whole year and shared with a roommate. I think I did okay. Nice setup. But these are easily best if you have a device like an S22, for example, that wireless charges. So this OttLite desk lamp has a wireless charger at its base. It's a fast wireless charger, and it also happens to be a really nice little LED lamp. Three brightness settings, no flicker. You could go that route or just go straight up multi-device wireless charger for the dorm bedside.

This one from Belkin is a go-to. Pro tip, if you have an Apple watch, and it's the series seven or later, make sure you look for a wireless charger that specifically supports the watch's new 15% faster wireless charging speed. It does make a pretty big difference. And then last but not least, headphones. So if you're going off to college, and this is from experience. If you're this is the first time you're gonna be studying or doing homework in a noisy environment, noise-canceling headphones can be a complete game changer. So that's why I'm putting Sony's WH-1000XM4 on this list. I consider putting the Mark 5s on here, but I think as a deal, the Mark 4s sound just about as good, but they fold so they fit easier in a backpack.

They have almost all the same features, and they're less expensive.

So the Mark 4s are still awesome.

I highly recommend them. Maybe the only downside being that they're not waterproof, but this is your new study hack. But the only reason I bring up water resistance, for my student athletes out there, is you can't really work out and sweat a lot in these and trust that they're going to last a long time. So you probably already have a go-to set of workout headphones, but you know, going off to school, might as well upgrade. So the Beats Studio Buds have been great for me. The shape, the fit, the features, and the sound, pretty much everything about them.

They are also IPX4 water resistant, of course. And there's just been so many waves of me going back and forth between recommending and not recommending Beats products over the years, but these are definitely on the really good side. The shape is so important. They stay in my ears for everything short of like sprinting or jumping and landing hard on the ground. But it's rare for my ears for something to fit this well. So, yeah, go get you an upgraded pair of workout earbuds. You won't regret it. And that is it.

There, you have it. My first back to school set of recommendations ever. Let me know how I did. But I couldn't wait to make this article. So I was pretty pumped about it. But that's 10 things to send you back to school. And, hey, shout out to everyone who graduated this summer. Best of luck over your next few years, and may they be filled with tech.