Forgot your laptop or notebook? No sweat. The LG G Stylo's built-in stylus and large, 5.7-inch screen give you room to write. It sells on T-Mobile, Sprint and Boost Mobile for between $200 and $300 all-in.
Here's why I like AT&T's Samsung Galaxy S6 Active: for $200 on-contract, it costs the same as the regular Galaxy S6 (also a great all-around choice), but with a sturdier build and waterproofing. That'll save you some cash and protect your phone from drop and spills.
Another low-key, approachable device, the Microsoft Lumia 640 sells with AT&T, T-Mobile, Cricket and MetroPCS. Sturdy, colorful hardware and the straightforward Windows Phone OS make this perfect for first-timers and casual phone users.
For the student who is all-business, the One M9 is a polished mobile machine. Serious specs and a gorgeous build make you the envy of everyone on the quad, especially when blasting music through those powerful stereo speakers.
If you've got a little time before you buy, the Galaxy Note 4 is a top-of-the-line stylus-phablet that'll soon become much cheaper. Fall is the time of year that Samsung typically announces its new Note. Time it right for steep savings on this 2014 model.
Any way you size it, the iPhone 6 is a solid, pretty device that's pretty much a no-brainer for students glued to their Macs, especially with the Continuity/Handoff features Apple introduced with the Yosemite OS and iOS 8.