studying
What are some gadgets you can't study without? We've suggested a few in our list below to help you ease back into the school term with confidence. Image Credit: Unsplash/Soundtrap

Arm yourself with the latest tech gadgets, from laptops to noise-cancelling headphones, before the new school year kicks off in September. It’s time to buckle down for a hectic semester ahead, and these essentials will help you wade through piling homework, whether you’re getting to a last-minute paper or spending hours in the library on a term project. For mums and dads, we’ve also included speedy tablets for school, and subject-specific stationery, like scientific calculators, in our tech essentials round-up.

If you’re looking for pencils, backpacks and water bottles, visit our list of the best back-to-school supplies to make sure your child is all geared for D-day. Worried about overspending? Read this handy nine-step guide to school shopping for mums and dads, and earmark ongoing sales. Remember to shop with a Prime membership to get your items as soon as tomorrow.

1. Best Laptop for University and School: HP Envy x360, 2-in-1 Laptop

Pros

  • Tablet and laptop in one
  • Sufficient RAM for no-lag multitasking
  • Attractive polished build
  • Privacy webcam shutter
  • Comes with the HP Pen, according to reviews

Cons

  • Webcam quality may not be the best

The right laptop for college will ultimately depend on the student’s area of study, so no one single device can be a one-size-fits-all machine. However, basic productivity apps, like Google Docs, PowerPoint and the school’s online learning platform, will need a processor fast enough to multitask. We picked the convertible 13-inch HP Envy x360, which ranked as the best overall in our list of the best student laptops. This model, in comparison, is slightly different and more affordable – it runs on AMD Ryzen 5 processor with 8GB RAM and 512GB solid-state drive storage. Convert it into a tablet during lectures with the HP Pen to work out a problem or prop it up in its tent mode for an entertainment break. The all-metal dark grey chassis also checks out on the aesthetics front.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh249.92 for 12 months with select banks. Add a HP wireless mouse for Dh73 and a Microsoft 365 Personal pack for Dh141.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh285, a one-year extended warranty for Dh341, two-year damage protection plus one-year extended warranty for dh363.

2. Best Tablet for Children: Lenovo Tab M8 HD, 2nd Generation

Pros

  • Kids Mode offers parental controls, educational apps, games and more
  • Long battery life
  • Display reduces eye strain
  • Includes optional 4G LTE connectivity

Cons

  • Only 2GB of RAM

Younger students who have to carry tablets to school or log on for remote tests don’t need pricey specifications. At the same time, mums and dads will prefer a gadget that can exercise some degree of parental control to protect their child’s time online. Meeting all these prerequisites is the Lenovo Tab M8, designed with a blue-light filtering display to reduce eye strain. Its 2GB RAM and 32GB space is just enough to run educational apps, surf the web and attend online classes via the two-megapixel front camera. Parents can create a separate account for their child in Kids Mode, complete with screen time controls and more. The Android operating software also helps with a user-friendly interface. For more child-friendly tablets, see here.

Bonus: Add a Microsoft 365 Personal pack for Dh141.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh29, a one-year damage protection for Dh48, and a one-year extended warranty plus two years of damage protection for Dh61.

3. Best Tablet for Older Students: Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Android Tablet

Pros

  • Comes with a magnetic S Pen
  • Mirrors PC layout in Samsung DeX mode
  • Ideal for in-class multitasking
  • Expandable storage to up to 1TB
  • Handles gaming well with 120Hz refresh rate

Cons

  • Battery life may be less than the claimed 15 hours

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 goes head-to-head with some of the best tablets out there, which is why it nearly ranked as the best overall school tablet in our 2022 listicle. If you can forego the two-in-one convenience of a Microsoft Surface Go, we think the 11-inch Galaxy Tab 8 is worth your coin. For one, you’re getting the S Pen stylus in the box, so there are no additional purchases. It’s a magnetic accessory that stays on the back of the tablet and charges itself when not in use. And two, the Samsung DeX mode changes the entire game, converting the layout to a PC-like display, and this is where multitasking comes in. Think taking your stylus to quickly highlight and underline a digital textbook, while following the chapter slides in a different window. It’s all possible when you’re on a tablet with 8GB of RAM.

Bonus: Buy it with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh198.17 for 12 months with select banks.

4. Best Wireless Headphones for School: Surface Headphones 2

Pros

  • 13 levels of active noise cancellation
  • Ergonomic controls
  • Excellent call quality
  • Comes with a case and an audio cable
  • Compatible with Android 9 or 10, iOS 12 or 13 and Windows 10 or 11

Cons

  • Doesn't collapse in the middle

A good pair of headphones can make or break a study session, especially in public spaces. Block out ambient chatter and distracting music at the local café with Microsoft Surface Headphones 2. Like most over-the-ear pairs, these have active noise cancellation (ANC), but the kind that can be controlled with a dial like you would the volume. It moves through 13 levels of ANC (up to 30 decibels), so you can tweak it according to the surroundings to let some sound in, if you wanted. Then there’s the all-day comfort reviews attest to, as the pair sits light on the head, weighing 290 grams. You can go wired using the included audio cable when its 18.5-hour battery runs out. A premium hard-shell case keeps the accessory safe. Check out other wireless headphones here; browse these special picks for children.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh55.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh40 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh66.

5. Best Power Bank for School: Anker PowerCore+ 26,800mAh Portable Charger

Pros

  • Can charge laptops, tablets and smartphones
  • Fast 45W USB-C port
  • Comes with its own charger
  • Powers up to three devices simultaneously

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a USB-A cable

No one likes a running out of battery when you still have a couple of classes to go. Charge your tablet, smartphone and laptop using this 26,800mAh Anker power bank on campus. It comes with its own wall charger so you can ensure a reliable battery back-up in just three and a half hours. Power up your iPhone at least six times and a Galaxy S9 five and a half times from a zero percentage; it even promises to deliver a full charge to your MacBook Pro or Dell XPS 13. There are three ports in total – one 45W USB-C port for laptops and two 15W USB ports for phones. Browse other power banks here.

Bonus: Save an extra Dh30 when you apply a coupon.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers an 18-month warranty.

6. Best Inkjet Printer for Students: Brother Wireless All-In-One Ink Tank Printer

Pros

  • Maintains decent speed for home and school use
  • Wireless printing
  • Scans, copies and prints
  • Automatic two-sided printing
  • Comes with one set of ink bottles

Cons

  • Maximum paper size is A4

Instead of queuing up at the library, print out assignments and hand-outs at home in advance. Here’s a versatile inkjet printer for you to consider – the Brother Wireless All-In-One machine takes care of both scanning and printing. It can produce 17 image-heavy pages per minute, and flips the paper on its own for double-sided printing without any manual tinkering. With one ink refill, expect 15,000 black and white sheets and 5,000 in colour. But the best part is its wireless capability. Download class materials on your phone and instantly send them over to the printer. It’s compatible with Apple AirPrint, as well. We’ve also listed out the best laser and inkjet printers, if you wanted more cost-effective options.

Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh70.75 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh52 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh85.

7. Best Scientific Calculator: Casio Fx-991Ex Engineering/Scientific Calculator

Pros

  • Performs 552 functions
  • Helpful for middle and high school students
  • Textbook display
  • Recharges using solar power
  • See graphs on phone via QR code

Cons

  • Battery cell has a two-year lifetime

An essential tool for those in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines – a scientific calculator is a low-cost investment that lasts for years to come. Carry out complex problems this Casio model, powered by solar rays and battery. It even caters to middle and high school students with basic spreadsheet functionality, prime factorisation and other rudimentary calculations. Copy-paste formulas as seen in textbooks, which reduces room for errors. Compute anything here, from vector to integration calculations, including metric conversions. To see graphs of formulas, generate QR codes on the calculator and scan with your phone for the visual aid. According to the Casio website, this classroom model is permitted in GCSE AS and A Level exams.

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.