Technology has become an integral part of education in the 21st century. Students today rely on tech gadgets for everything from taking notes in class to collaborating on group projects online. With so many options out there, it can be tricky to figure out which devices are must-haves for school.
This comprehensive guide covers the most essential tech gadgets that every student needs in 2023. We’ve researched the latest laptops, tablets, accessories and more to create this definitive list. Plus we include a detailed comparison table and FAQ at the end to help you choose what’s right for your needs and budget.
Before we dive into the product recommendations, let’s briefly go over why students need tech tools for success:
Organization – Gadgets like laptops help students take organized digital notes, create shareable spreadsheets, access cloud-based apps for collaborative work and more. This leads to better task management.
Accessibility – Online textbooks, digital reading apps, voice dictation software and other tools make learning more accessible for students with disabilities. They can customize their experience.
Engagement – Interactive online learning games, 3D anatomy models, VR field trips and innovative apps keep students more stimulated and excited to learn compared to dusty old textbooks.
Mobility – With lightweight laptops, tablets and the cloud, students can access their notes, textbooks, apps anywhere there’s an internet connection. No need to lug around papers anymore!
Clearly, educational technology empowers students to take charge of their own learning for better academic performance. Now let’s get into our picks for 2023’s must have gizmos and gadgets:
The absolute essential tech purchase every student should prioritize is getting a reliable, portable laptop. We recommend the Dell XPS 13 Plus as the best laptop for students in 2023.
This slim, lightweight machine packs a serious punch thanks to cutting edge 12th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors. These enable blazing speeds and top notch multitasking capabilities for tackling demanding schoolwork.
Some key advantages that put the XPS 13 Plus a cut above the rest:
- InfinityEdge display with slim bezels provides an immersive viewing experience
- Long 18 hour claimed battery life so you won’t run out of juice during classes or exams
- Four total USB-C/Thunderbolt ports for versatile accessory and external monitor connectivity
- Large trackpad with haptic feedback feels satisfying whether you’re click intensive projects or just web browsing
Students who want a fast and reliable laptop that keeps up with their grind, look no further than the XPS 13 Plus. It brings premium features without the ridiculous price tags of Apple’s Macbooks.
Up next we have a fantastic 2-in-1 option, the Lenovo Yoga 9i. This versatile 14” touchscreen laptop doubles as a digital notetaking tablet. With its 360 degree convertible hinge, students can annotate class lecture slides, fill out digital math worksheets, take handwritten notes and much more.
Some advantages that give the Yoga 9i a leg up on competing 2-in-1 devices:
- Integrated stylus garage in the laptop body means you’ll never misplace or forget the pen! Just slide it out magnetically when needed
- Up to 2TB SSD storage configuration option provides ample space for lecture recordings, online textbooks, graphic designs and more
- Intel Evo verification ensures consistent responsiveness and all day battery life to prevent disruption during study sessions
If you want more flexibility than a traditional laptop, consider investing in the Yoga 9i. It brings touch controls, pen support and tablet mode functionality for versatile digital note taking.
Of course not everyone can afford premium laptops that cost over $1000. That’s why we think the Acer Aspire 5 is the top budget choice for cash strapped students who still need a capable machine.
Despite the affordable pricing, the Aspire 5 still manages to include some great features:
- Cutting edge 12th generation Intel Core i5 processor delivers much better performance compared to outdated budget laptops still running old chips
- Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics allow for light gaming and GPU accelerated creative projects
- Plenty of ports including HDMI, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, USB-C and ethernet jack for versatility
- Large 15.6” FHD screen provides ample digital workspace for getting work done
If you want the best bang for your buck, it’s impossible to beat the value offered by Acer’s Aspire 5 lineup. Lightweight, decently powerful and very travel friendly.
While laptops may be the quintessential college computer purchase, tablets also have a place in every student’s gadget arsenal. Specifically the 5th Generation iPad Air brings the perfect balance of portability and functionality.
Apple sets the gold standard when it comes quality tablets. The latest gen iPad Air packs plenty of game changing features like:
- Blazing fast M1 chip enables full fledged desktop class workflows for tasks like video editing, graphic design and programming
- All day 10 hour battery life means you can keep studying or working without being tethered to an outlet
- Supports Apple Pencil 2 and Magic Keyboard for versatile notebook style functionality
- Center Stage camera auto focuses and pans during video calls to prevent being cut off from view
With laptop class power in a slim one pound tablet package, the iPad Air is perfect for augmenting a student’s digital toolkit when you need serious portable productivity.
Students who prefer good old pen and paper but still want the searchability benefits of digital notes should consider getting the Livescribe Symphony smart pen. It seamlessly integrates traditional writing with digital functionality.
The Symphony works together with Livescribe dot paper notebooks to sync written notes to accompanying apps. That way you get physical pages combined with smart features like:
- Handwriting search allows you to look up keywords from your longhand writing quickly
- Digital backups ensure you’ll never lose lecture notes due to spills, tears or losing your notebook
- Audio recordings sync written notes to the exact moment in a lecture they were taken
- Share smart notebook pages to Google Drive for easy online annotation and collaboration
For students torn between analog and digital workflows, the Symphony offers the best of both worlds conveniently in a pen shaped package!
An external display allows students to seriously boost their productivity by expanding the digital workspace of their laptop. The LG Ultrafine 27UP850 checks all the boxes as an excellent extra monitor choice for school.
This 27” 4K IPS panel monitor offers a slew of advantageous capabilities:
- USB-C one cable connection for video, data transfer and 90W power delivery to Macbooks
- Height, tilt and pivot adjustable stand with VESA mount compatibility enhances ergonomics
- Virtually borderless display design allows for distraction free multi monitor setups
- Factory calibrated sRGB 99% color gamut ensures color accuracy for photography, video and graphic design work
For students juggling multiple apps and windows across essays, assignments, creative projects and more, the additional real estate of the LG Ultrafine pays major dividends.
Attending classes remotely via Zoom calls means every student should invest in an external webcam upgrade. Logitech’s StreamCam brings professional style video quality for important video meetings and lectures.
Some highlights that make the StreamCam a worthwhile purchase include:
- Full HD 1080p video resolution at 60 FPS ensures you have a crisp, detailed image even in low light conditions
- Smart auto-focus and auto-exposure adjustments keep you clearly in frame as you move naturally
- Flexible mounting options like tripod compatibility allow for the perfect camera angle
- Useful software like background replacement puts the focus on you by blurring messy rooms
With superb HD video quality packed into a compact webcam, the StreamCam is the perfect videoconferencing upgrade for students to look their best in remote school.
While laptop trackpads may be sufficient most of the time, prolonged use can result in strained wrists. An ergonomic wireless mouse helps reduce fatigue over long study sessions. Logitech’s MX Master 3 is the gold standard when it comes to premium mice.
Some standout features that justify splurging for the MX Master 3:
- Super fast 4000 DPI optical sensor with advanced tracking delivers pixel precise control for tasks like photo and video editing
- Ergonomic shape comfortably supports the contours of your palm to prevent soreness or repetitive stress injuries
- 70 day battery life on a single charge means you’ll almost never have to worry about running low on power
- Custom app specific shortcuts boost efficiency by programming buttons for your most used school apps and tools
With exceptional comfort, responsiveness and customization, the MX Master 3 helps students power through projects efficiently and pain free.
Let’s face it – there’s nothing worse than running out juice in the middle of an important lecture or trying to cram last minute for exams. Avoid headaches with a backup battery pack like Anker’s 737 Power Bank to stay powered up in school.
As the brand renowned for reliable charging accessories, Anker packs plenty of useful amenities into this portable charger:
- Large 30,000 mAh total capacity has enough power to charge phones over 6 times and most laptops at least once
- 140W max output allows for super fast charging to minimize downtime
- LED matrix display shows exact percentage levels to avoid surprises about low battery
- USB-C Power Delivery, USB-A ports, wireless charging pad provide flexible options to power up all devices
With monstrous fast charging capacity to share with all your gadgets, the Anker 737 is an invaluable companion for tech dependent students worried about running on empty.
Finally, a solid pair of noise cancelling headphones allows students to remain focused in noisy environments like dorms, cafes or libraries. Our top choice in 2023 goes to the Sony WH-1000XM5 for exceptional distraction blocking capabilities.
As the latest iteration of Sony’s industry leading noise cancelling headphones, the WH-1000XM5 provides superb sound isolation:
- Dual noise sensor detects ambient noise to cancel it out with opposing frequencies in real time
- Automatic wind reduction ensures outdoor gusts don’t interfere with your music or calls
- Speak-to-chat automatically pauses audio when you begin talking so you can have conversations hands free
- 30 hour battery life allows you to keep learning or working without missing a beat
When you need to block out roommates, chatter around campus or any other audible annoyances, the Sony WH-1000XM5 lets you zone in on your schoolwork sans distractions.
|Dell XPS 13 Plus
|Cutting edge specs in slim package, large screen with tiny bezels, excellent battery life
|Lenovo Yoga 9i
|2-in-1 convertible design with included stylus, ample storage configurations, consistent responsiveness
|Acer Aspire 5
|Very affordable price for decent performance, large 15.6” screen, variety of useful connection ports
|Apple iPad Air
|Desktop class M1 chip, 10+ hour battery, Apple Pencil support, Center Stage camera tracking
|Analog smartpen syncs written notes to digital, search handwriting, attach penciled audio
|LG Ultrafine 27UP850
|4K clarity IPS panel with USB-C one cable connection, fully adjustable stand, 99% sRGB accurate colors
|1080p 60 FPS video, auto focus and exposure adjustments, flexible mounting, background replacement software
|Logitech MX Master 3
|Advanced tracking sensor, sculpted ergonomic shape, long battery life, custom shortcuts
|Anker 737 Power Bank
|Huge 30,000 mAh capacity, 140W output for blazing charging speeds, info rich display showing percentages, USB-C, USB-A and wireless charging
|Exceptional real time noise cancelling, automatic wind reduction, speak-to-chat, 30 hour battery
Without question, investing in a reliable laptop should be the absolute top priority for students, as it’s the central hub for note taking, assignments, communication and more. While budget machines can get the job done, it’s worth spending extra (if possible) for a quality laptop with good build quality and specs that will keep up with demanding school needs for years rather than months before slowing down.
Yes, tablets make excellent supplemental devices to augment laptop functionality. Their touchscreens and pencil support make tablets ideal for annotating PDFs, drawing diagrams, filling out digitized paperwork and other tasks that may be less convenient on a regular keyboard/trackpad laptop. Tablets are also more comfy for reading ebooks too. Just note most can’t fully replace laptop workloads.
Must-have accessories that significantly boost daily productivity include items like wireless mice for ergonomics and external monitors for extra screen space. Optional extras depend more on individual needs, like noise cancelling headphones for sound-sensitive students or specialized tablets/pens if you take very visual notes. Prioritize necessities over niche gadgets with limited use cases.
If cash is limited as a student, consider buying refurbished/used devices which offer similar functionality as new models for fraction of prices. For essential big purchases like laptops, save up until you can afford something that will actually last through school without getting slow or breaking. Also look for student discounts from retailers and brands. Getting quality gadgets the first time, even if pricier upfront, saves money long term.
Steer clear of overhyped gadgets making bold claims that seem too good to be true. Examples include smartphones styled mini projectors (low brightness/image quality), handwriting to text smart pens (inaccurate conversions) or glare reducing screen protectors (bulky with distortion). Vet all potential tech against trustworthy expert reviews before buying suspect gimmicky devices. Focus purchases only on genuinely useful innovations.
Optimizing your educational tech setup with the right gadgets makes all the difference for excelling in the digitally driven world of school these days. The 10 devices covered in our guide encompass laptops, tablets, accessories and more aimed at serving core needs for taking notes, completing assignments, staying organized, boosting productivity and just making learning easier overall.
Focus first on essential big ticket items like a reliable laptop and external monitor. Then consider supplemental tablets, pens and specialty accessories tailored to your specific school needs. And don’t forget supporting gadgets like power banks, headphones and webcams which keep you powered up, focused and clearly communicating.
Outfitting yourself with a arsenal of the most essential tech provides an array of tools assisting greater success in academics and beyond.