It’s back to school time! And nothing says getting ready for the year ahead more than some cool tech – it’s true! The smell of fresh notebooks has been replaced with shiny new tablets. Here are the must-have gadgets and tech to start the new year off right. Do these make your shopping list?
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The just-announced smartphone powered by Google, responds to your voice and you can get directions, check the weather and more without even touching your phone. With Active Display, the information you need is at your fingertips. No need to "wake up" a phone to see the time or your messages. The best part? You can create 2,000 possible combinations -- making you the designer of your own phone.
Available in Late August/Early Sept, Motorola.com
Sony Xperia Z
Dust and water resistant, this phone (available on T-Mobile) features a full 5” HD (read: bright) screen with an awesome HDR video camera. Capture photos in a candle-lit restaurant or out in the sun with no worries. The best part? Your battery is sure to last with a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor which provides awesome speeds, but because the four cores are powered up and down as required, they won’t run your battery out. Sweet!
This amazing little device brings the best of online content (Netflix, YouTube, etc.) to your HD TV, and works with devices you already own. Literally plug and play, the device comes with easy setup instructions that even a child could handle (seriously). The best part? It’s $35. Repeat: It’s $35.
This easy-to-use, portable audible device turns any object into a loud speaker. By reverberating the sound off a surface, you can listen to your favorite tunes anywhere. In essence, your desk or table can become your new favorite thing – perfect for study and play. Playback time when charged is 4 to 10 hours and it’s 1 lb.
Bose In-Ear Headphones
These new QuietComfort 20 headphones are the first in-ear noise cancelling headphones from Bose. Forget clunky headphones you can’t stick in your bag, or in-ear headphones that sound terrible – these headphones are perfect for quality sound and comfort. You can switch from noise canceling to the “Aware” mode, perfect for commuters and walks in busy cities.
Bose SoundLink Mini Speaker
Doesn’t it seem like whenever you need some speakers, you never have them? Try nabbing the Bose SoundLink Mini Speaker, which fits in the palm of your hand and connects wirelessly to a smart device or tablet. Problem solved.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0
The Samsung Galaxy tablet is in a word: awesome. The S pen allows you to write on the screen like pen to paper – perfect for note-takers and scribblers alike. With a Dual View feature, you can split your screen to multitask like a pro. Plus, It turns into an e-reader and universal remote. Yes, you read that right.
ASUS VivoTab Smart
This super fun tablet is loaded with Windows 8, and is perfect for creating content on the go. Take notes in class, watch movies, play games and more – and with 9.5 hours of battery life, it’ll keep up with you and your life.
With the highest resolution screen of any 7-inch tablet, this super-slim and portable tablet gives you a full screen view with surround sound that fits in your back pocket.
Starts at $299, google.com/nexus
Zumba Dance for iPad
While not a gadget, this new app is perfect for your Apple or Android tablets – offering players an energizing total-body workout with Zumba! The motion-tracking technology analyzes your movement and provides positive reinforcement for your moving and groovin’. Sweet.
$5 & up, zumbafitnessgame.com