Printers and peripherals for back to school
Apple 802.11ac AirPort Extreme
Nothing among all networking devices screams fashion louder than Apple's new 802.11ac AirPort Extreme. If you're into style or just want to have something pretty to decorate your dorm room, this router's fast Wi-Fi speed and printer/file-sharing functions are at least helpful extras. Alas, it's not cheap, which is exactly why you should put it on that wish list and subtly let your loved ones know.
Dell B1165nfw printer
The Dell B1165nfw monochrome laser printer gets work done quickly and efficiently with a price tag that makes sense for students on a budget. It doesn't sacrifice features (unless you really need a USB port) and the addition of cloud printing features through Apple AirPrint-compatible devices, a Google Chrome Web browser, and even Dell's own Android app should inspire confidence that this unit is relatively future-proof.
Asus RT-AC66U 802.11ac dual-band wireless router
If you're planing on doing a lot of streaming, data sharing, downloading, and so on while at school, the Asus RT-AC66U will deliver at all level. It's currently the top 802.11ac router you can find on the market.
Your student probably won't be printing photos with this device, but who has the money to pay for ink cartridges anyway? Imaging aside, the Brother HL-3170CDW carries all the necessary features to maintain a productive dorm-room environment, including multiple connection points, mobile access via the cloud, and Earth-friendly efforts like Deep Sleep Mode and auto-duplexing.
Transcend ESD200 portable drive
This drive is not exactly for the budget-minded, but it's tiny and still packs a huge punch in terms of performance. If you often need to bring large data files to your labs and have to copy them fast every time, this is what you want.
HP Photosmart 7520
The HP Photosmart 7520 e-all-in-one is a robust performer, ideal for the over-achiever that will take advantage of its wireless printing features such as ePrint and Google Cloud Print. I certainly recommend it at the $200 price, but if you don't need a fax, you may also want to search for a Photosmart 7510 that will run you a bit less.
WD My Passport Ultra
If you need to have a portable drive that offers both great performance and lots of storage space without digging a hole in your wallet, the WD My Passport Ultra makes a great addition to your notebook. Carrying your entire iTunes library from home to school isn't that big of a challenge anymore.
Epson Stylus NX430
The words "student" and "budget" go hand in hand, and Epson wants to be included in the conversation with its Stylus NX430. It truly earns its "small-in-one" moniker with Wi-Fi connectivity, quick print speeds, and the iPrint app for smartphones that makes mobile printing simple.
D-Link DIR-868L wireless dual-band router
The DIR-868L is the best 802.11ac router from D-Link and would make a great router for several roommates sharing one big house. If you're a networking savvy type, it's a great way to impress your peers. The good news is it's also one of the more affordable choices among the high-end routers on the market.
Synology DiskStation DS412+
Not all students would need a NAS server but if you're taking a computer science course or an extra class on film editing, you'll love this server. It basically offers a crazy amount of storage space, superfast speed, all kinds of server applications, and a lot more. At the end of the day, it's always cool to be able to store lots of movies to stream, even when you're out and about.
Buffalo DriveStation DDR
You have a ton of data to back up and want to do it fast, but your computer doesn't support Thunderbolt yet? Well, then the Buffalo DriveStation DDR is for you. It's a USB 3.0 drive and it's priced like one (cheap, that is), yet it offers faster performance than Thunderbolt drives that are several times its price.