Back to School 2013


Best tech under $50

Yes, you can actually find some good gadgets and accessories for under $50. Here are some of CNET's favorites.

<p>Choosing the best smartphone for your needs is a little like trying to decide your favorite song of all time: sometimes it's a struggle, and other times it just clicks. This roundup offers top picks, no matter what your budget. If this little gang isn't exactly what you're looking for, check out this more extensive guide walking you through <a href="">which smartphone to buy</a> based on your carrier and favorite components.</p>

Top smartphones cool enough for school

Start the school year fresh with a new smartphone that'll make you look good on campus and off. Here are some good places to start for any budget.


Best wireless speakers

As dozens of wireless speakers flood the market, here's a look at some of CNET's top picks to take with you back to school.

For $99.95, the Fitbit Flex tracks steps, sleep, and calories you burn. It syncs via wireless Bluetooth connection to iPhones and Samsung Galaxy smartphones as well.

Back to school: Best wearable tech

Whether it's gear to help track exercise or an advanced smartwatch for budding software developers, these wearable gadgets are sure to fuel students' interest in mobile technology and personal fitness as they head back to school.


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This 32-inch Vizio is smart and good with money, setting an example for your school-bound kid.

New TVs for back to school

Looking for the back-to-school gift to encourage diligent study...or reward it? Buy that student a boob tube.

Still the top tablet, the fourth-generation iPad continues to impress with its fantastic screen and superfast performance. Not to mention its access to the most apps of any tablet (along with the iPad Mini, of course) and a robust coffer of educational courses on iTunes U.</p><p> It's expensive, yes, but overall it still offers the best tablet experience.</p>

Lean into the new school year with these tablets and e-readers

School sucks. We all know this. However, it's also necessary. In that case, we might as well accept that it's something we have to do and lean into it. Here are seven tablets and e-readers that encourage you to lean hard.


Printers and peripherals for back to school

School life, however you look at it, revolves around data, generating it, keeping it, sharing it, and sometimes printing it. Here, you'll find all the gadgets that satisfy those needs.

When it comes to streaming-video, there's nothing better than the Roku 3. It's packed with over 750 "channels," including Netflix, Amazon Instant, Spotify, HBO Go, Pandora, Rdio, and MLB.TV, with lightning-fast navigation making it a joy to use. There's also Hulu Plus, which is indispensable for a budding cinephile, thanks to its healthy selection of Criterion Collection classics. The Roku 3's remote even has a built-in headphone jack that's perfect for listening without disturbing your dorm mate.

Home theater and audio gear to power your dorm

Dorm life isn't conducive to the full home theater experience, but that doesn't mean you should give up hope. These compact home theater devices offer up plenty for your eyes and ears, even when space is at a premium.

My, my, how the tables have turned with Nintendo's 3DS. Calling its launch "rough" is putting it mildly -- the 3DS was nearly dead on arrival. But after a few years, a console refresh, and the prevalence of solid first-party and indie titles, the 3DS is a very capable portable machine. It's perfect for killing time in between classes or in the waiting room.

Back to school: Games and gaming gear

Going back to school is no sweat when you've got the best games and gear to make it through that first semester back.

The great battery life is a very big deal, and when you couple that with a $100 price cut on the base model, down to $1,099, the 13-inch MacBook Air is one of the most universally useful laptops you can buy.

Back to school: PCs and Macs

Start the school year off right with a new laptop, desktop, or tablet.

<p>Though it leaves your iPad's rear end a little vulnerable, the <a href="">Ultrathin Cover</a> from Logitech is comfortable to use, and it's at the top of its class as far as keyboard accessories for the iPad goes. No wonder we gave it an Editors' Choice.</p>

Back to school: The best smartphones and mobile accessories

With so many tech tools to use (and/or procrastinate with) in the classroom, CNET rounds up some of the best accessories that give your gadgets some back-to-school style.

Take your pick: The Fiat 500 is a perfect, parkable city car with plenty of space for people and things. The 500C and 500 Gucci offer a healthy doses of style. The turbocharged 500 Abarth is hot hatchback driving fun. The fully-electric 500e is one of the best zero-emissions rides this side of Tesla. There's a Fiat 500 for pretty much everyone.

Head back to class with the best tech on wheels

Whether on four wheels or two, rolling back to campus this Fall is better with tech.

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