Four illustrated students holding school supplies

Back to school — 10 cool tech gadgets for 2024

SkillsCategory
7 min read
Ashley Grant

If you’re anything like me, the most exciting part of going back to school is getting all the school supplies. I’m a sucker for gizmos and gadgets that make life easier, and there’s something so satisfying about opening up electronics. That’s why I was so stoked to research the cool tech gadgets for 2024. Read on to learn about some awesome instruments available for back-to-school learning and fun!

Disclaimer: This is strictly a roundup of products based on the top-rated/top-reviewed items in each category. As with all things, do your homework and your own research before making any purchase decisions. This post is not in any way considered an endorsement of any product.

Back-to-school tech gadgets for 2024

  1. Smart backpacks
  2. Smart notebooks
  3. Smartwatches
  4. Tablets and e-readers
  5. Smartpens
  6. Portable power banks
  7. Wireless printers
  8. Noise-canceling headphones
  9. Cloud storage
  10. Volume-reducing earplugs

I’m guessing you’re ready to gear up, but if you’re on the fence about doling out a little extra dough for back-to-school tech gadgets, check out a few reasons the investment might be worth it.

10 cool tech gadgets for 2024 to consider this school year

I’ve done my best to break these down into two categories: higher-tier (splurges) and lower-tier (deals) prices. That said, not all gadgets have much competition so in some cases there weren’t many lower-end options.

1. Smart backpack

A smart backpack is designed to hold gadgets like a laptop and e-reader/tablet. They typically feature padding so your devices don’t get scratched or busted, and also come with:

  • Charging ports
  • Anti-theft features like RFID blockers, hidden zippers, lockable compartments, etc.
  • Bluetooth and GPS
  • Wearable tech that syncs with smartwatches and fitness trackers, and more

Oh, and you can put a book or two in there if you’re old-school like that. Some smart backpacks even include built-in power banks (or a designated power bank compartment) that you can use to charge your devices on the go. Of course, that means you have to actually charge your power bank before you head out, but it’s still a nifty addition.

Splurges: 

Deals: 

2. Smart notebook 

cropped view of woman holding pen in hand, writing notes in planners, sitting behind wooden table with flowers and stationery
LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS - stock.adobe

Smart notebooks are essentially reusable notebooks that combine technology with the traditional notebook paper of yesteryear. You take notes in them and then convert your handwriting into digital text or an image of your handwriting that you can load to the cloud or save to the device of your choice. Talk about a cool tech gadget that saves time and the planet! 

Splurges:

Deals: 

3. Smartwatches

Smartwatches can track your fitness and your sleep, sync with your phone to read text messages and send emails, and — if you feel the need — tell you the time. The only smarts required to pick a smartwatch is deciding whether you’re Team Apple or Team Android.

Team Apple

Splurge: Apple Watch Series 8 $329-$399

Deal: Apple Watch SE (2nd Gen) $219-$249

Team Android

Splurge: SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch5 $279.99

Deal: Ticwatch E3 Smart Watch Wear OS by Google $199.99

4. Tablets and e-readers

Personally, I’ve always preferred tablets that you can download e-reader apps to because they usually allow for more than just reading. But, you will have to decide for yourself what works best on your back-to-school tech gadgets list.

Splurges: 

Deals: 

5. Smartpens

Smartpen (n): a high-tech writing tool that records spoken words and synchronizes them with notes written on special paper. 

The fanciest of smartpens can transcribe your notes into text files in real time, allowing for easy manipulation and sharing. Paired with companion apps on devices, smartpens synchronize wirelessly or via a physical connection, offering export options like PDFs, Google Docs and Evernote files. 

Can I just pause here for a moment to ask why this stuff didn’t exist while I was in grade school and college? Sigh … I digress.

Anyway, you can also use smartpens offline and to automatically organize notes. They offer handwriting recognition and drawing capabilities. With cloud integration, smartpens ensure secure backup and accessibility of your notes from anywhere, making them valuable tools for students, professionals and creatives seeking a seamless blend of analog writing and digital convenience.

Splurges:

Deals: 

6. Portable power bank

Don’t forget a charging base to go with all your cool tech gadgets, too! There are several out there to choose from, and you’ll need to determine the wattage you need, how fast you want them to charge your devices, and how many output cables and ports you need.

Splurges:

Deals: 

7. Wireless printer

Home printer icon. Flat illustration of home printer vector icon for web design
anatolir - stock.adobe.com

Once you create all your notes and files, you gotta have somewhere to print them right?

Splurges:

Deals: 

8. Noise-canceling headphones

I’m obsessed with noise-canceling headphones because any little distraction will knock my focus right out. I personally use and love my HyperX Cloud II - Gaming Headset $64.60-$99.99, but here are some other headphones in this back-to-school tech gadgets category that might come in especially handy in a noisy dorm room:

Splurges:

Deals: 

9. Cloud storage

The two best cloud storage options are Microsoft 365’s OneDrive and Google Drive. I know there are other options online, but of all those I’ve seen and read about, I would trust these two over most alternatives (just my personal opinion).

Like the Team Apple vs. Team Android debate, this decision comes down to whether you’re Team Microsoft or Team Google. Both options have pros and cons, but typically, when people are already using Microsoft’s suite of products, it just makes more sense to use Microsoft 365’s OneDrive.

Pricing for Microsoft begins at $7.99 per user per month, and although Google products technically start for free, if you’re using a lot of storage, you’re better off upgrading to a workspace plan. Those begin at $6 per month per user, but only come with 30 GB of storage for their lowest priced plan whereas Microsoft’s lowest plan starts you out with 1 TB of storage for just $2 more per month.

10. Volume-reducing earplugs

When I’m not in a musical mood, but still want to focus, I personally use earplugs for reading, relaxation and even sleep. For back to school, these tech gadgets could come in really handy during study halls. Most earplugs I found fall into the “deal category,” so rather than separate them, here are several options to choose from:

There are also loads of disposable options online if you don’t like the idea of committing to a long-term re-wearable pair.

Here’s to a productive 2023-24 school year!

I hope this post inspired you to check out what’s available for your needs and budget. Personally, I’d like to think that anything to get you excited about back to school is worth its weight in gold. Happy shopping!