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. Our selection is based on expert recommendations from industry professionals we've previously spoken to, as well as highly rated user reviews on Amazon.
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 parents, and earmark ongoing stationery, laptop, and Back to School sales.
Remember to shop with a Prime membership to get your items as soon as today or tomorrow.
1. Best Laptop for University and School: HP Envy x360 2-in-1 Laptop
- Converts into a tablet
- Sufficient 8GB RAM for no-lag multitasking
- Ultrabook specifications - slim and lightweight
- Privacy webcam shutter
- Ports for USB-C, USB-A, media card reader and HDMI
- HP Pen has to be bought separately
The right laptop for college will ultimately depend on the student’s area of study, so no 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 15.6-inch HP Envy x360, which ranked as the best overall in our list of the best student laptops. This model runs on an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor (faster than a 10th Gen i7 chip) 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. It has dedicated hotkeys to turn on privacy screen mode, mute the mic and trigger the camera shutter, so the student can quickly hop on and off online lectures. Browse similar convertible laptops here.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh199.08 for 12 months with select banks.
2. Best Tablet for School: Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
- Samsung Kids offers parental controls, educational apps, games and more
- Large 10.4-inch screen
- Expandable storage to up to 1TB
- Splits screen to allow work on two apps
- Comes with a magnetic S Pen
- Display could be better
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 Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, equipped with a 10.4-inch display. Its 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage are just enough to run educational apps, surf the web and attend online classes via the five-megapixel front camera. Parents can create a separate account for their child in Samsung Kids, complete with screen time controls and customisable home screen. The Android operating software also helps with a user-friendly interface. Make sure to accessorise the Tab S6 Lite with a protective case to extend the life of your device. Several users report attending online and offline classes with this tablet in tow. For more child-friendly tablets, see here.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh83.25 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh57, a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh95, and a one-year extended warranty plus two years of damage protection for Dh121.
3. Best Tablet for Older Students: Apple 10.9-inch iPad (10th Generation)
- Beautiful 10.9-inch display
- Runs on A14 Bionic chip
- 12MP front and rear cameras with 4K video recording
- Up to 10 hours of battery life
- USB-C connector
- Stylus and keyboard are sold separately
The Apple iPad (10th Generation) is a classic choice for schools, especially for college students who rather stick to the Apple ecosystem if they already own an iPhone. Its 10.9-inch liquid retina display is enough of a motivation to take down lecture notes and annotate digital textbooks. Hop between a multi-slide presentation and several open tabs without a hitch, when you rely on the iPad's A14 Bionic chip and all-day battery life. Both front and back cameras boast 12 megapixels that will help students capture high-quality imagery for projects and connect with group members on video calls. Since it's the latest model of the iPad, the device now charges with a USB-C port, meaning students will have fewer cables to carry. Add a Magic Keyboard Folio and an Apple Pencil to convert your tablet into a portable computer. Reviewers say that though it's a bit pricey, the tablet is excellent for studying.
Bonus: Buy it with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh132.50 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh114, a one-year accidental damage protection for Dh190, and a one-year extended warranty plus two years of damage protection for Dh242.
4. Best Wireless Headphones for School: Sony WH-1000XM5 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
- Eight mics carry out active noise cancellation
- Touch controls to play or pause music, skip tracks, change volume and more
- Turn noise cancelling on and off
- Long 30-hour battery life
- Comes with a case and an audio cable
- ANC is not adjustable across levels
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 Sony WH-1000XM5, an expert-recommended pair for noise cancellation. Like most over-the-ear pairs, these have active noise cancellation (ANC), but they also cancel ambient noise based on wearing conditions, using eight mics. The same mics react to your voice when you speak to a fellow student, and automatically put a pause to the noise cancellation, allowing you to hear the outside world again. Don't worry, you can turn this feature off from the Sony Connect app. Then, there’s the all-day comfort reviews attest to, as the pair sits light on the head, weighing 249 grams. You can go the wired route using the included audio cable when its 30-hour battery runs out. A premium hard-shell case keeps the accessory safe. Reviewers confirm the high level of noise cancellation, and note that the pair is great for casual use on flights, in coffee shops or at the library. Check out other over-ear wireless headphones here; browse these special picks for children.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh91.53 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh63 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh104.
5. Best Power Bank for School: Anker PowerCore+ 26,800mAh Portable Charger
- Can charge laptops, tablets and smartphones
- 26,800mAh battery capacity powers three devices simultaneously
- Fast 45W USB-C PD port
- Comes with its own charger
- Doesn’t include a USB-A cable
- Large capacity makes it heavy
No one likes 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's our number-one pick for school, as experts previously tell us that a minimum of 20,000mAh capacity is sufficient to power up all that a student carries. Students will also appreciate that it comes with its own wall charger, so they can ensure a reliable battery backup, without draining their other devices. Its massive capacity can power up an iPhone X 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 a MacBook Pro or Dell XPS 13. This is thanks to the three ports – one 45W USB-C PD (Power Delivery) port for laptops, and two 15W USB-A ports for phones. Happy five-star reviews mention the power bank's fast charging capabilities, having used it with their Lenovo laptops, Steam Deck gaming PC, iPad Pro and more. Browse other power banks here.
Warranty: The manufacturer offers an 18-month warranty.
6. Best Inkjet Printer for Students: Brother Wireless All-In-One Ink Tank Printer
- 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
- Maximum paper size is A4
Instead of queuing up at the library, print out assignments and handouts 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. Reviewers compare it to Epson models and say that this printer fares much better for its price point. They add that it's easy to set up, and offers fuss-free Wi-Fi connectivity with laptops and tablets. 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 Dh62.42 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh46 and a two-year extended warranty for Dh75.
7. Best Scientific Calculator: Casio Fx-991Ex Engineering/Scientific Calculator
- Performs 552 functions
- Helpful for middle and high school students
- Textbook display
- Recharges using solar power
- See graphs on phone via QR code
- 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 with 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 them with your phone for the visual aid. According to the Casio website, this classroom model is permitted in GCSE AS and A Level exams.
8. Best Flash Drive: SanDisk Ultra 512GB Dual Drive Luxe
- Doesn't need cables to transfer from laptop to phone and vice versa
- Dual-sided drive with USB-A and USB-C connectors
- Storage options available to up to 1TB
- Features a keyring hole
- Can heat up with heavier data
Between submissions, printouts and heavy-load presentations, students will need a memory stick for instant file transfers. And, a model that switches between both USB-A (laptop) and USB-C (smartphone) ports will be all the more useful. The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive Luxe is a two-in-one flash drive with a 512GB storage capacity. Its all-metal chassis has a swivel design that features a keyring hole, so students can securely loop it inside their bags or with their keys. The memory stick reads data at a fairly decent speed of 150MB per second, which users confirm with five-star reviews. They've successfully transferred files between different devices without the need for a cable. Check out 1TB USB flash drives and external hard drives.
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.