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Are you looking to upgrade your laptop this semester? Find discounted electronics this back-to-school season. Image Credit: Unsplash/Austin Distel

A new semester brings new courses, and with it, new challenges. University students, whether freshers or seniors, are always on the hunt for efficient ways to meet deadlines and collate study materials. Are you looking to shift to digital note-taking in class? Perhaps, you find having an e-library for all your textbooks more cost- and space-saving.

Aisha Abdul Rehman, an undergraduate student of psychology in her senior year at the De Montfort University, Dubai, is considering a tablet for her final year of university.

She told Gulf News: "I'm looking into an iPad and an Apple Pencil to use for my final year, since it's easier than writing hand-written notes during class, and carrying around notebooks."

Tech gadgets are certainly an investment for students, but consider their benefits in taking that extra weight off your shoulders. Anything that can help you create a conducive environment for studying, could be considered an essential in your books.

Assess your field of study, lifestyle and budget, before shopping for the right gadget for you. Image Credit: Pexels/

"Some of my friends prefer using a wired mouse [with their laptops], and others use headphones to listen to online classes," added Abdul Rehman.

When it comes to student laptops, your choice will almost always be linked to your area of study. For instance, architects, editors and programmers in the making will want a graphic-intensive machine that doesn't stutter at the launch of heavier software.

You might even select a laptop based on the ecosystem you're currently loyal to. Abdul Rehman always heads to classes with her Apple MacBook Air and AirPods. "I find Apple gadgets user-friendly to use, and it's also easier for me to access some of my study materials on my phone as well, since I use an iPhone," she said.

Based on the advice from tech experts we've previously spoken to, we've listed the best gadgets for university students below. Get a Prime membership to pocket delivery fees on these.

1. Best Laptop: HP Spectre x360


  • Runs on Intel i7 chipset
  • Converts into a tablet
  • Privacy hotkeys for camera and mic
  • 1TB storage and 16GB RAM
  • 17-hour battery life


  • Camera quality could be better

Walking from class to class and about the campus means any bulky laptop is out of the question for students. Most opt for a high-performing tablet, while others invest in a convertible or two-in-one laptop for extensive use at home and in class. Apple fans are familiar with the handful of MacBook models, but Windows users will have a lot more to consider. HP's 360x laptops have a great reputation among students, for their touchscreen, portability (weighing 1.34kg) and long 17-hour battery life. This Spectre model runs on the 11th Generation Intel Core i7 chipset, has a whopping 1TB storage space and 16GB RAM to take on multiple open tabs and software. Its 13.5-inch anti-reflection screen is the perfect size for backpacks, too. You can plug in up to two external displays, with the Thunderbolt 4 ports, and still have the DisplayPort left over. University students in the reviews leave five stars, saying that the stylus makes note-taking much easier. Your laptop should come with the HP Pen in the box, but if not, you can always pick it up from Amazon.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh365.75 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh426, a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh427, and a two-year damage protection plus one-year extended warranty for Dh545.

2. Best Tablet: Apple 2022 10.9-inch iPad Air 


  • Liquid retina display with True Tone
  • Apple M1 chipset
  • Great screen size for portability
  • 10-hour battery life
  • 12MP front and rear cameras


  • USB-C port doesn't have Thunderbolt 4 support

Even though there are cost-effective tablets in the market, university students are often spotted with an Apple iPad in class, cafes and at the library. With its liquid retina display and sensitive touch, it's not hard to see why. The 10.9-inch iPad Air comes in bright colours and a minimal rear 12MP camera. It's powered by the Apple M1 chip, which handles several apps at the same time without sacrificing battery. More good news: this model has a USB-C connector, meaning one trusty cable could take care of most of your tech. Browsing the internet and watching videos will still get you up to 10 hours of battery life. Remember to accessorise your iPad Air with the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil to make the most of your tablet in class. Several five-star reviewers say it's perfect for work and school, and some add that they no longer use their laptop. Students note how it's helped them study more efficiently, and that it has the right screen size, too.

3. Best Power Bank: Anker PowerCore+, 26,800mAh


  • USB-C PD port and two USB-A ports
  • Comes with its own wall charger
  • High battery capacity
  • Reviews say customer service is excellent


  • Heavy power bank

According to our tech experts, a student's battery needs are sufficiently met by a 20,000 mAh power capacity. The laptop or tablet, phone and earbuds in your backpack will never run out of charge, with the Anker PowerCore+ 26,800 mAh power bank. It's our number-one portable charger for school, with the 45-watt USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port, and two 15-watt USB-A ports. It can bring your MacBook Pro or Dell XPS 13 to a full charge, or charge your phone several times over! Most powerful bricks will take a long time to recharge, but the PowerCore+ comes with its own wall adapter. This means your power bank will be ready for the day after a night of charging. Buyers love that it comes with its own cable, wall charger and travel pouch. They use it with Samsung phones, Lenovo laptops and iPad Pro just fine, but they do note that the brick is heavy for its massive capacity.

4. Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700


  • Adjust noise cancellation via buttons
  • 20-hour battery life and fast charging
  • Touch controls for volume and calls
  • Compatible with Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri
  • Uses USB-C to charge


  • Battery may be less than stated

Headphones can make or break your focus, especially if you're in a time crunch, chasing a deadline. It doesn't matter where you've sat down to work, a noise-cancelling pair will take care of the commotion around you. The Bose 700 is our audio expert's pick for thoroughly tuning out the world, with over 11 levels of active noise cancellation (ANC). Enjoy audiobooks, music, calls and podcasts without distraction, as you give commands to your phone's voice assistant, hands-free. Touch controls on the earcups offer the same convenience, letting you access Spotify, volume, calls and music. A single charge lasts you up to 20 hours of battery life, seeing you through long hours at the library. Reviewers attest to the comfort, most using the pair during commute, adding that the ANC is authentic.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh91.58 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh63 and two years for Dh104.

5. Best Smartwatch: Apple Watch SE (GPS, 44mm)


  • Crash detection, fall detection and emergency SOS
  • Deep health insights, such as sleep tracking, heart rate, fitness app
  • Seamless connectivity with iOS devices
  • Up to 50 metres of water resistance
  • Make calls, receive texts and more over Wi-Fi


  • Display is susceptible to scratches, per reviews

Say, you're waiting on an important call, but your phone is in the bag, zipped away for focus. A smart assistant on the wrist can keep you informed, without disturbing your revision. The most pocket-friendly of Apple smartwatches, the Apple Watch SE, possesses nearly all of the bells and whistles of higher-end models, so it's perfect for students. It still has crash and fall detection, as well as emergency SOS. Track your sleep pattern during exam week, or tap into the Workout app to keep up with your physical health on the gorgeous OLED retina display. You can swim with this one on, too, thanks to its 50-metre water resistance. There's no cellular connectivity, but it works just fine for calls and texts when linked to an iPhone or Wi-Fi. Do note that Apple Watch needs an iPhone to set up. Fret not - Android users can find more options here.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh81.83 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh57 and two years for Dh81.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.