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Back to school: Best tech under $500 (pictures)

Here's a look at some top back-to-school tech picks that cost less than $500.

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David Carnoy
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1 of 8 Audioengine

Audioengine 2 powered speakers

We like the more powerful -- and expensive -- Audioengine 5+ speakers, but have always had a soft spot for the smaller and more affordable Audioengine 2 speakers, which come in white and black and retail for $199.
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2 of 8 Apple

Third-generation iPad

The new iPad starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi 16GB model. Ideally, you'd probably want to go with the 32GB model, but hey, if you only want to spend $500, let the kid bring the iPad back to an Apple Store and upgrade it to whatever capacity he or she wants (as long as he or she pays for it).
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3 of 8 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony PS Vita

The Vita offers a true next-gen gaming experience in the palms of your hands. It's somewhat pricey, but grads won't care too much about that if you're paying for it. Just don't forget to pick up a memory card when you buy it.
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4 of 8 Logitech

Logitech Wirless Boombox for iPad

Logitech's Wireless Boombox for iPad is a portable -- and affordable -- Bluetooth speaker that also happens to sound good. Though its name implies that it's designed for the iPad, it also works with any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet.
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5 of 8 Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Mobile HiFi Stereo Headphones

B&W's P5 headphones may not offer active noise canceling, but they sound sweet, are very comfortable, and have a standout design.
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6 of 8 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony PlayStation 3 Slim

Sure, Sony may announce a new PlayStation next year, but the versatile PS3 Slim, with its built-in Blu-ray player, remains a relative bargain at $250. What kid wouldn't want one in his or her dorm room?
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7 of 8 Sarah Tew/CNET

Xbox 360

Some gamers prefer the PS3, others prefer the Xbox 360.
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8 of 8 Josh Miller

Google Nexus 7

Currently, our top rated 7-inch tablet. Splurge and get the 16GB version.

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