Andrew Harmon


Urban Suburban Magazine - Tech Buzz

Urban Suburban Magazine - Technology - Tech Buzz  

It is that special time of year when the sun begins to fade and the sun doesn’t shine as bright as it once did, when you wake up and realize that your summer fun is over and that school is just around the corner. Then you begin to panic, breathing heavily because you don’t have any school supplies and your parents fret over the amount of money they are going to be spending on you and your school supplies that you may or may not use during the year.

However, I am here to help ease the burden and stress and show you some gadgets that you can convince your parents or your wallet that you MUST have for the upcoming school year. Sure there will be some surprises and of course you will see some devices that will be MUST haves in other lists but for now let’s get down to the business and make some lists. Also as a tribute to my website I have a ratings scale and it goes from 0 – 10 and I call it the Kyle Scientific Scale-o-Rama and we will be using that scale in all these device reviews. So sit back and enjoy and get your back to school lists ready. Here we go.

Back To School Gadget Ideas
Livescribe Pen: Now this device has been around for a few years now and is only getting better each time they update it. Right now the pen is a complete audio recording device as well as a transcription device. How it works is an infrared pen writes on a special dotted paper that works like a copier. It will copy all your written notes and doodles and sketches even math equations and then digitally reprint them on your computer for you to see and edit

Also it can record lectures and discussions that your teacher will make so you really have no excuse for not missing what the teacher says during class. You can even send your notes via Text Message to share with your friends. Of course with any gadget there is a fun aspect to it as well. You can play the piano and games as well as calculations with it. I wrote a full review about this device on my website at

On the Kyle Scientific Scale-o-Rama I give this handy device a solid 9.2 out of 10. It really is a very useful gadget for all ages and will help you out tremendously. It retails in a few versions ranging from the Echo (2GB) $99.95 and Pulse (4GB) $149.95 (8GB) $199.95. Accessories sold extra for more info check out

Laptops: Now this is a must have for all ages. Whether they like it or not in a digital age laptops will replace school books. Teachers will be posting the course outline on a website; kids will be taking online classes, and Facebook statuses will need updating. Now with laptops coming in all different varieties it is best to find one that suits your child’s needs and not go to overboard getting the most expensive one when a mid-range laptop will do. Sure they may want the very expensive MacBook or the latest Alienware gaming laptop but in reality a good laptop shouldn’t make you worry about breaking the bank.

You want a laptop with a good size hard drive, nothing less than 500 Gigabytes (GB) will do and when they speak about RAM you want to make sure it has at least 4GB or more to handle multiple applications. As far as what type of computer processor you should get, Intel Quad-core i3, i5 or i7 will do and with each chip version the price will go up. You can also go with a MacBook like a lot of parents do because of just how versatile the laptop is and how safe Macs are. However all that hipster attitude comes at a price and in the end whether your kid has a Dell, Asus, or MacBook Pro each laptop will play Solitaire just fine and will be able to handle any task you put in front of it.

For my personal preference I HIGHLY recommend a Dell XPS15. It has an Intel i7 chip inside of it running Windows 7, and has 6G of RAM. It can handle with ease any type of program I installed on it and never had a hiccup or hang-up. For more information go to and as far as the Kyle Scientific Scale-o-Rama goes we will be giving the Dell XPS 15 a rock steady 9.5 out of 10.

Honorable Mention: Alienware M11x, MacBook Air, Toshiba Portege R835-P56X

Tablets: Now I am not going to talk about the iPad because I am not a huge fan of it. Instead I will go with its best competitor and it is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. It is running Android Honeycomb build operating system. On top of that it has the NVIDIA Tegra2 graphic chip that makes every application and game look amazing. I really didn’t want to send my review unit back to Samsung and apparently the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has so many people mistaking the Tab for the iPad that Apple is now suing Samsung over it.

So if that doesn’t answer the question of “What else is there besides and iPad?” the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 answers that question resoundly. On the Kyle
Scientific Scale-o-Rama I gave the Tab an 8.7 out of 10 and that is basically because of the lack of sufficient apps for the Android Tablets at the moment but developers are working hard to change that. Plus you can snag a Verizon branded Galaxy Tab that has some blazing 4G speeds and the pricing is comparable to iPad’s with the 16GB Wifi version starting at $499, and the higher the GB the higher the price.

Honorable Mention: Blackberry Playbook

Amazon Kindle or Nook: Now during the school year kids will be required to read certain books. Instead of packing them into the car and driving down to the library, like you have done in years past, now you can just download the book to an eReader like the Kindle or Nook. The advantages are no late fee plus, the convenience of never having to leave the couch.

I have played with both the Nook and Kindle and I can say both are fantastic devices for school kids and college kids alike. Whether you read for the school curriculum or just like to read these devices come in real handy.

Flash Drives: Now these little guys are very handy and also very inexpensive. They come in all shapes and sizes. You can find them in your impulse aisle at Wal-Mart sporting 4GB of data. Plus you can put them in your pocket and keep them on your belt loop if need be. These things you can purchase in multiples and should have at least 3 or 4 of these little guys around. The best part about this gadget is that it is very inexpensive but can hold an enormous amount of data. Not only that, it also makes it very easy to transfer data from one computer to another than back to your own computer.

Cellphone: Now of course when it comes down to absolute MUST HAVE devices for back to school the cellphone jumps straight to mind. Regardless of personal preference I will list the best phones available on each cellphone carrier’s network. So let us begin shall we?

AT&T: iPhone (of course), Motorola Atrix
Verizon: iPhone, HTC Thunderbolt
T-Mobile: HTC Sensation, myTouch 4G Slide
Sprint: HTC Arrive, HTC Evo3D
Honorable Mentions: Samsung Galaxy S II (unlocked), T-Mobile G2x, Samsung Infuse 4G

Now any back to school list wouldn’t be complete without something to help you while you are hanging out with your friends doing homework and want to listen to some tunes using some very odd speakers. This is where I introduce you to the Rock-It 2.0. Back in my day growing up listening to music was a huge deal. Whether it was you bringing out a HUGE Boom box (remember those?) or you had a walkman with those very sketchy headphones that dig into the side of your head pulling out your hair from time to time. Well those days are now long gone with one very unique device. It is called the Rock-It 2.0. This device fits in your pocket and can be paired up with any device that has a 3.5mm headphone jack insert. Once you plug the Rock-It into your iPod or Laptop you will then see just how awesome this device is. Mainly because you can turn almost ANYTHING into a SPEAKER! You read that right you can turn almost anything into a speaker using vibration resonance, where the sound vibrates off the object and amplifies the sound turning it into a speaker.

I myself turned a milk carton, refrigerator, glass table and anything else I could find and turned it into a speaker. One of my favorite items to turn into a speaker was a Styrofoam cup, as that produced some of the best audio quality. Basically the more hollow the object the better the sound. When I reviewed this for my website I gave it a solid 8.2 out of 10. This isn’t designed to replace your home audio however it is a great little device to have when you are hanging out with your friends and want to listen to some tunes between homework.

I am quite certain that with this handy guide for back to school gadgets that you will go into the upcoming school year with confidence that you can handle anything your teachers throw at you. Remember you can get all your Tech and Gadget news from my website at www.TheTechnoFiles. I have reviews, news and I even post videos of a lot of my reviews.

In the meantime you can check me out on Twitter @KyleLeishear or @TheTechnoFiles. Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions or if you are a company that would like to see your products get the Kyle Scientific Scale-o-Rama treatment drop me an email at



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