Our favorite back to school options for 2021

What does “back to school” even mean in the fall of 2020? For each student, parents and schools make choices about how to cope with their challenges disease caused by corona virus, it will be a mixed bag. Although some schools have announced plans to welcome back students, adopt distance learning methods or some a combination of the two, most details are still being made public.

However, whether learning is live or real, students will need as much supplies as they always do – as well as some new supplies for this unique school year. From Best phone for students come the best laptop For everything in between, we’ve put together our top back-to-school options for gadgets, devices, and services that will help students be productive and engaged in the classroom, on calls Zoom and Anywhere else their education took them this year.

Dan Ackerman / CNET

I have been using Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga for a few months and started to love both its versatility and performance. Starting at $ 1,000 for the 2019 fourth-generation model – still fine for most high school or college needs – this convertible’s 14-inch screen is sharp and bright and performs equally well in mode laptops and tablets. Even the entry-level configuration has components heavy enough for any student. Read our ThinkPad X1 Yoga review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Again, there are plenty of good reasons to use Chromebooks. They are almost always cheaper and easier to use than Windows or MacOS laptops. Lenovo’s great C630 – and its newer sibling, the C640 – both have a 15-inch 4K display, massive battery life, and surprisingly powerful components for the price point. Read our Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 review.

Chris Monroe / CNET

For many students, the bedroom, study or kitchen table will be where they continue their studies in the fall. Therefore, a strong Wi-Fi signal extending to every corner of the house will be their lifesaver for the classroom. Google Nest Wifi stands out for its fast performance, nice aesthetics, and acts as a smart speaker with Google Assistant. It’s easy to set up, easy to use and reliable – and we think it’s the best total solution to consolidate a home network. Read our Nest Wifi review.


Whether your student is studying from distance or returning to school in 2020, a mask will be an essential accessory. This spring, Maine-based Hyperlite turned away from making high-tech camping equipment to creating these machine-washable, latex-free masks. They look good and they work well. Synthesize CNET’s masks.

David Carnoy / CNET

There are a lot of really great wireless headphones these days, but the Jabra Elite 75t is arguably the best performing for $ 180. These earphones work equally well for iPhone and Android owners and – although they don’t offer the same active noise cancellation as the AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM3, a tight seal will deliver an almost equally blissful sound experience. Read our Jabra Elite 75t review.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Students coming to school may face a new set of restrictions on common spaces. All that means, there’s never a better time to have your own microwave oven.

Not much of a friend can not cook in the microwave, and – unlike hot plates, camping stoves and other suitable cooking equipment – most hostels allow them. For $ 60, this AmazonBasics Microwave includes Alexa voice support and popcorn reorder (slightly random). Bottom line: This is a competitively priced cooking appliance with some useful features that you won’t find in other microwave ovens in the same price range. Read our AmazonBasics Microwave review.

Instant cooking pot

If the dormitory allows it, an Instant Pot is a no-brainer for college students. It can do almost anything: make morning yogurt, perfect eggs, cook large batches of protein to last at meals throughout the week and even simple desserts. Less 3 liter mini instant pot may be better for students in dormitories, but the larger 6-liter model (Duo Nova 7-in-1) pictured above sometimes sells for $ 50, making it a tough deal to deal with. refuse. See more of the Best Instant Pots 2020.

fake ring

Whether you’re at home or in school, coffee is an essential ingredient to academic success. Ninja is good at all of these professions as well as regular latte cold incubation and even tea, with separate bean and leaf baskets and baskets (loose or bagged). It has a foldable foam arm for latte-style drinks – so not only will it save money running Starbucks, it will make the dormitory the most popular place to study. It also includes size settings, so you can brew a full carafe or a single mug. Read our Ninja Hot and Cold Brewing System review.

Hydraulic tank

Staying hydrated is an important ingredient for nurturing a strong immune system. Hydro Flasks keep liquids cool for up to 24 hours and hot beverages warm for up to 12 hours, and they’re tough enough to survive the rigors of campus life. See more of the best water bottles of 2020.

I’ve been using Burton’s Spruce 26L backpack for the past few years, and I think it’s the best, most versatile bag I’ve ever owned. It’s comfortable to wear, looks cool, and is made of durable materials, including a weather resistant zipper. From quick to fleece-lined laptop bags, this bag is designed to be extremely thoughtful from top to bottom. And it comes with Burton lifetime warranty.

If you’re looking for something a little more premium, I love the waterproof one too Rhake backpack from Mission Workshop. At $ 370, it’s expensive, but the drawer over 22 liters is cavernous, the laptop compartment that opens from the side is handy – and the bag looks very glossy. Read CNET’s list of the best back-to-school backpacks and bags.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Rocketbook’s reusable notebooks and plans make it easy to send notes, calendar entries, and other notes to your email or your favorite cloud service (Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack or Evernote ). On the other hand, using Fusion notebooks is a bit more convenient than taking pictures of any piece of paper and sending it to yourself. But this laptop has a few great usability accents – you can highlight an icon at the bottom of the page to route notes to up to seven different destinations – and enduring angles. very attractive. Comes with the laptop are a lovely Pilot FriXion pen (double an eraser) and a microfiber cloth for efficient cleaning of pages for reuse. Rocketbook also introduced Own version of the popular Panda planner tool early this summer.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The Lenovo Smartwatch is a minimalistic, customizable smartwatch that can suggest alarms based on your calendar. It comes with the full power of Google Assistant voice control, so it’s basically a Google Home Mini with a watch face. My favorite is also the most content one – you can snooze your alarm just by ticking it. Read our Lenovo Smart Watch review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

By 2020, TV will still be at the center of many modern entertainment. This particular model comes with Roku built-in, making it easy to access streaming apps. The 32-inch model costs under $ 120 at Walmart, and Amazon has a dorm-friendly 43-inch model for just $ 230. Read TCL S425 review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

For the lucky student who already has a TV, the Roku Plus turns it into a full-featured streaming device. This model supports 4K and HDR videos, has the best looking interface, and can control the volume and power of the TV. (If your smart TV lacks any critical apps, this will fill up all of those annoying content flaws.) Read our Roku Streaming Stick Plus review.

Sewing repair

Some students will need a wardrobe upgrade this fall – even if it’s just a bunch of new shirts for Zoom calls. Stitch Fix makes it easy to deliver every month of moderated clothing, shoes and accessories to your students’ homes. They can try them out, keep what they like, and return the rest in the US Post prepaid envelope. Stitch Fix gift cards, which can be printed, emailed or mailed, are available in denominations from $ 20 to $ 1,000. See also the best clothing registration boxes for 2020.

Hello Fresh

Reduce your grocery or dining room visits with the table delivery service. HelloFresh provides the perfect portioned ingredients and detailed recipe instructions, helping even novice chefs enjoy an impressive meal. There are many others The company provides dining kits to choose from, and many offer plans for special diets that include vegan and gluten-free options.

Read more: Best meal set registration service

A solid video chat setup

Mike Sorrentino / CNET

In the near future, a good part of communication will take place online. Whether your students are Zooming with classmates or FaceTiming with friends, the upgraded video chat setup will go a long way. Here are some of our favorite tools, all of them – with the exception of the great StreamCam that though is expensive and only available intermittently – typically in stock:

And while good webcam supplies are in short supply, you can perfectly match the golden hour setting with the camera on a smartphone. (Here’s CNET’s details on how to put it all together.)

Guide to Back-to-School Technology Gifts

Seeing it all

Leave a Comment