We here at MobileSyrup have put together a list of reasonably priced tech products the team thinks will help students get through the upcoming school year. From grade school to post-secondary, there should be something on this list for everyone.
We’ve got speakers and headphones to help you party and study, along with a Chromebook, a MacBook and a Windows laptop to make sure no matter what you’re looking for, we’ve got a recommendation for you
There’s even our two favourite mid-range phones that we feel offer some of the best value you can get from a smartphone.
Check out the full list below.
Wemo Wi-Fi Smart Plugs
Wemo’s smart Wi-Fi plug remains one of the best and most reliable smart plugs around.
Imagine how great it would be to turn your dorm room lamp off and on with a simple Alexa or Google Assistant voice command, or even with the app on your phone.
This is exactly what Wemo’s smart plugs offers since they're compatible with both voice-activated assistants.
What makes Wemo's plugs so useful are that they work with all three major smart home ecosystems: Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple's HomeKit and the company's own app.
All you need to do is connect the plug to your Wi-Fi, give it a name and you'll be the digital master of your dorm in no time.
The Wemo Mini Smart Plug is available for $39.95 on Amazon. The company also sells the more expensive Insight Switch Smart Plug that gives you information regarding power consumption for $69.99.
$39.99 – $69.99
Buy on Amazon
Acer Swift 3 2019
If there's anything a student needs for back to school, it's a reliable laptop that doesn't break the bank.
While there are many good options out there, Acer's Swift 3 is an excellent one. The laptop is slim, stylish and light, without compromising in significant ways.
The Swift 3 2019 features a nice spec upgrade and a variety of options for the best PC experience. There are options with both AMD and Intel configurations. Further, you can pick anywhere from 4 to 12GB of RAM.
For most students, the $849.99 Intel i5-8265U model with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD is powerful enough to handle almost everything you throw at it, from Netflix binges to that all-nighter you pull to finish that research paper.
You can check out all the configurations, specs and colours for the Swift 3 on Acer's website.
$698 – $1,249
Buy on Amazon.ca
Sonos x Ikea SYMFONISK speaker
One of Ikea’s latest products is the Symfonisk collection. It offers a table lamp and shelf Wi-Fi speakers in one complete package.
The Sonos-manufactured device is a clever way to save space and blend technology into your living space, letting you surprise friends and other guests with a lamp or a shelf that can also play audio.
Because of its Wi-Fi functionality, you’ll be able to play music, podcasts and radio from major streaming platforms, even without a phone or tablet on hand.
The Symfonisk can be purchased at Ikea for $249.99 CAD.
Buy from Ikea
While over-the-ear headphones might offer more sound, battery life and other features, not everyone prefers that style.
For those who want smaller headphones, Bose’s SoundSport wireless in-ear headphones might be a better option.
The headphones are a bit more expensive, but you also get a lot for that price tag, including Tile integration so you can track them when they're lost, and a water resistant design.
Bose’s SoundSport earbuds are discounted to $149.99 right now. The original price is $179.99.
Buy from Bose
Apple MacBook Air
If you’re a macOS user and looking for a laptop for general studies, the latest Macbook Air is the perfect computer for you.
Its high-resolution screen now features ‘True Tone’ to match the ambient light surrounding the laptop. While you wouldn’t think this would make a significant difference in the laptop’s viewing experience, it really does. If you have the gold option the screen often matches the colour of the laptop which looks awesome.
Beyond this, the MacBook Air’s compact size makes it easy to lug between classes, and its battery should last you all day.
It also features Apple’s revamped keyboard, which feels slightly nicer to type on when compared to the older Butterfly mechanism.
Further, if you buy one from Apple before the school year starts, the tech giant is throwing in a free pair of beats headphones if you buy from the Apple Store for University.
$1,319 – $1,699
Buy from Apple
Google Pixel 3a or Samsung Galaxy A70
At $549 and $649 respectively, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the student in your life a better, more affordable smartphone than the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
What makes the new Pixels so compelling is that they feature more or less the same great main camera as their more expensive siblings. What’s more, with Google planning to support both devices with three years of platform and security updates, the Pixel 3a makes for a smart investment.
If you're not looking for a Google Phone, Samsung's recently released Galaxy A70 is priced at $580 outright and almost just as good.
It features a massive 6.7-inch display and it's speedy processor can handle everything you could ever want to throw at it.
While it's camera isn't as powerful as the Pixel's it's stil worth looking at as one of the best mid-tiers out there.
$549 – $649
Probably one of the most important accessories that any student might need is a pair of good quality headphones — especially headphones that are budget-friendly and feature good audio quality.
We considered including wired headphones, but in an era where everything is wireless, the MobileSyrup team decided headphones that have cut the cord make more sense.
The Panasonic RP-HTX80B wireless headphones are over the ear headphones and come in a variety of colours. They’re a bit retro-looking so take that into consideration. They may not be Bose noise-cancelling over-the-ear headphones, but they’re sleek, comfortable and sound great.
On Amazon.ca the grey variant is priced at $59.28, while the black version costs $81.06. There are two other colours that cost considerably more.
$59.28 – $114
Buy on Amazon
ASUS Chromebook Flip C434
This Chromebook from Asus isn’t the cheapest option out there, but it’s still reasonably priced and powerful enough to be worth it.
First and foremost, the Chromebook features a stellar keyboard. If you think you’re going to be doing a lot of typing, this machine is perfect for that. Its 14-inch HD screen also flips all the way around, making it great for watching Netflix or Crave after a late night of studying. Since it flips around and has a touch screen it becomes a defacto tablet.
Overall Asus’ Chromebook is a step above most other Chromebooks in terms of build quality and we'd even rank it above some Windows 10 laptops.
You can buy the Intel m3 version from $699 at Newegg Canada. The more expensive models have stronger processors and more storage.
$699 – $1,079
Buy from Newegg.ca
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