The Best Back-to-School Tech Your Kids Need This Semester

Photo credit: Staff From Popular Mechanics For many families, the prospect of going back to school is still up in the air. Even if schools do open up again, some of us are still opting to keep our kids at home. But just because it may be the safest option […]

Photo credit: Staff
Photo credit: Staff

From Popular Mechanics

For many families, the prospect of going back to school is still up in the air. Even if schools do open up again, some of us are still opting to keep our kids at home. But just because it may be the safest option does not mean that it is the easiest. Whether your school district is going back in-person, virtually, or a combination of the two, your kid or teenager could probably use their own new tech, like a laptop or tablet, headphones, and more—not only to set them up for success, but also to make life a little easier on all the parents out there.

Check out the quick reviews below of the best tech for kids, or scroll deeper for full reviews of those models plus other high-ranking options.

How We Selected This Tech

We researched 10 expert sources, such as Tech Radar, Digital Trends, and Business Insider, to select the best tech for kids. When choosing, we also took into account the percentage of customers who rated the products at least four out of five stars on retail sites like Amazon, Walmart, and the manufacturers’ webpages. We included budget gadgets that are great for young kids, as well as more premium products for teens in high school or college.

Macbook Air 13-Inch

While Macbooks certainly aren’t cheap, they’re a great option to consider for high school students who need higher quality tech that can even last them through college. The latest Macbook Air has an incredible retina display wrapped up in a thin, lightweight package that makes it easy to carry, whether from one room to the next or around campus. The 10th-generation Intel Core i3 processor is powerful enough to run any program they throw at it. In addition, its other new features like Touch ID, 12-hour battery life, two USB-C ports and its 256GB of storage space mean that they won’t be begging for a tech upgrade any time soon.

Lenovo Chromebook Duet

A lot of families may be on a tight budget now, but for virtual schooling, a laptop or tablet is a necessity. This Lenovo Chromebook is a quality budget laptop, which can also function as a tablet by folding back its keyboard. Chromebooks like this one will only connect to the internet, so it won’t run any programs or other software, but it can handle all the basics your kid needs to learn, perhaps with fewer distractions. Don’t let the low price fool you—this laptop is equipped with plenty of great features. In addition to its dual functionality, also has a high quality display, all-day battery life, 128GB of storage, and dual cameras for decent video quality on all those Zoom calls.

Apple iPad

Tablets are a great alternative to getting your kid a full-sized laptop, and the Apple iPad is hard to beat. I personally used one throughout my college career for reading e-books, note taking, downloading music, and of course, watching Netflix in bed. Even if they already have a laptop, an iPad could be a great supplementary gadget that allows them to watch a lecture or engage in a Zoom meeting on one device, while having access to other online materials like notes or books on the other. Beyond that, the iPad has incredible graphics and has become relatively affordable, tapping out at just over $320.

Kindle Fire 10 Kids Edition

Kids can often be clumsy, careless, and downright dirty—which usually means you want their grubby paws as far as possible from your expensive technology. But since learning from home means more online time, they’re gonna need a device to connect to the internet that can also withstand daily wear and tear. The Kindle Fire 10 kids edition was made just for that. It features a special kid-proof case, and even has a two-year, no-questions-asked warranty. It also includes one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which gives your kids access to over 20,000 apps, games, books, videos, Audible books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more.

Philips Performance PH805 Wireless Headphones

Whether it’s a Zoom call, Netflix, or Tik Tok, it’s hard to have quiet time when everyone is stuck at home. Instead of telling your kid to turn the volume down, invest in a pair of headphones that will give them privacy and give you the silence you so desperately crave. These headphones are sleek, lightweight, wireless, and noise canceling, while providing top sound quality for young teens who are music lovers. They also feature a touch control, virtual assistant, and a built-in mic for all of their learning needs.

JBL JR 300BT Kids On-Ear Wireless Headphones

By now the sound of LeapFrog and Paw Patrol might be just enough to put you over the edge. To protect what’s left of your sanity—and continue to let your kids enjoy their digital learning—decent headphones are worth considering to invest in. These wireless headphones are designed for small heads and delicate ears, and have a battery life up to 12 hours. Since they go over the ear instead of in like earbuds, they’re generally safe for kids to wear for longer periods of time. Plus, they’re designed to stay below 85dB to help protect their hearing. Perhaps best of all, they come with stickers so your kids can give them a personalized design.

Google Home Mini

Kids have questions, and you don’t always have the time, energy, or even the knowledge to answer them all. But investing in a virtual smart home assistant like a Google Home Mini will let kids ask any questions at any hour of the day. The Mini simply plugs into the wall, connects to the Wi-Fi, and is ready to go. You can also use it as a smart speaker to play music, white noise, or your favorite podcast. It will even tell you the weather before you head out for a much-needed afternoon outside.

Logitech M325C Wireless Mouse

We love Logitech mice for work and play, but kids may need something a bit smaller and simpler than the MX Master or MX Anywhere mouse. Fortunately, this Logitech M325C mouse is not only small enough for kids’ hands, but also comes in a plethora of eye-catching designs. You can select from dozens of bright solid colors, fun patterns, and funky illustrations to suit your kid’s style. Plus, it’s wireless for easy connection to their laptop. While your kids may have been coping with a trackpad all this time, a dedicated mouse will ideally make long days on the computer more comfortable, so it’s worth investing in one of these for under $20.

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