Back to School Gadget Guide 2008

Five Gadgets Every Student Needs to Avoid a Computing Disaster

It's only the beginning of August but already time to start shopping for the high tech necessities every student is going to need to succeed at school. Whether you're buying someone's first laptop computer, upgrading the old one, or looking for advice on essential gadgets for today's student, Retrevo has some suggestions for what to buy along with some tips on good deals.

1. A Reliable Computer, seriously

Computers don't last forever. If your student is using the old hand-me-down computer with 512 MB of RAM running Windows 98 it's probably time to upgrade. First, you’ll need to decide between a desktop and laptop, or you could buy one of each. You’ll also have to decide between Windows and the Mac OS. Mac’s can run Windows applications easily but not the other way around. A desktop can deliver a lot more performance than a similarly priced laptop. With a desktop you'll get more storage, a real keyboard, better graphics processor, bigger monitor, and more expansion options but laptops are what every student wants so what are you going to do?

eMachines recently announced some new desktops including the T3656 which comes with 1GB RAM, a 160GB hard drive and sells for around $299.99. The T5274 has 2GB RAM, a 320GB hard drive and retails for $399.99.

eMachines T3656
eMachintes T5274
eMachines T3656 eMachines T527

Hot Back to School Deal from Apple

Apple launched a Back to School promotion campaign that offers a free iPod when you buy a qualifying Mac. You need to purchase both products and then submit a rebate to get up to $299 back on the iPod.

Apple iMac
Apple iPod Nano
Apple iMac Apple iPod Nano

2. A good anti-everything application

It's too easy for anyone, especially students to click on the wrong link and find their computers loaded up with malicious software like virus' or spyware. There are many commercial applications to choose from like McAfee and Symantec. These companies maintain expensive labs to identify and combat malware. Unfortunately, you end up paying an annual fee for these programs which can add up when you're maintaining multiple computers in a household. Fortunately there are some very good applications like ones from Avast who offer "home" versions for free. PCPitstop.com offers some free tests for anything that could adversely affect your computer.

Avast Home Edition
Symantec Norton Antivirus 2008
PCPitstop.com logo
Avast Symantec Norton Antivirus 2008 PCPitstop.com

3. Extra Ink

You can often find third party ink cartridges for sale on ebay and other places. The ink may not be the very highest quality but we’ve found them to be quite adequate for most tasks and we’ve saved a lot of money too. Just in case the ink is out of stock or too expensive you should consider upgrading the old printer to a new model.

A fast, high resolution, inkjet printer can be amazingly inexpensive. Maybe it’s because manufacturers know they’ll make up for giving the printer away when you buy lots of expensive ink cartridges. The HP Photosmart D7460 is a wireless printer that will cost around $100. It’s a fast color inkjet that gets good reviews. The Lexmark Z1420 is another wireless color inkjet printer that gets some mixed reviews but can be purchased for around $80.

A mutifunction printer might make a lot of sense for a student. They can copy and scan documents and many of these devices produce high quality photo prints. The Canon Pixma MX850 that gets high marks from users and costs around $200.

HP Photosmart D7460
Lexmark Z1420
Canon Pixma MX850
Replacement ink cartridges
HP Photosmart D7460 Lexmark Z1420 Canon Pixma MX850 Replacement Ink Cartridges

4. External Backup Disk

Seagate FreeAgent Pro   It would be a terrible shame to spend a lot of money on computer gear only to lose that important term paper(not to mention that photo and MP3 collection) from a hard disk malfunction.. External hard drives that hook up to the computer through a high speed USB connection and very often include back up software can be relatively inexpensive. The Seagate FreeAgent Pro is a 320 GB external drive that sells for around $150.

5. Removable Storage

Blank DVDs   Two forms of storage we highly recommend are flash drives and optical discs. You can get 2 GB flash drives for under $20 which will store 4 years worth of term papers. Blank DVDs not cost around $.30 each and hold over 4 GB of data. You can back up all your docs to a few of these in spread them around for safe keeping.

Retrevo to the Rescue

Whether you're in a jam and need some support like a product manual or want to read the latest reviews of popular products. Retrevo has all the information you need on products like GPS, Digital Cameras, Laptops, and more.

Retrevo homepage


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