10 back-to-school tech essentials
Microsoft Surface 3 and Windows 10
Windows 10 launched in the summer, and what better device to try it out on than the Surface 3, a tablet, that has an available clip-on keyboard and digital pen. When the keyboard is paired with tablet with a simple magnetic click, you have a really handy and portable laptop. Our six-year-old tester enjoyed drawing on the tablet with the virtual pen. The Windows 10 experience came with a learning curve but was ultimately more intuitive and touch-friendly than previous versions. Surface 3, Microsoft Store, from $639; pen ($49.99) and type cover ($129.99) sold separately.
iPhone 6 Plus
Beautiful (especially in gold) and slender but with a big screen, the iPhone 6 Plus was at first questioned for its seemingly too-big footprint. But it's actually the perfect size for university students to blend the necessity of a phone, the organizational help of a smartphone and the entertainment value of a tablet device. And unlike many other too-small-to-type-on devices, a larger screened phone can also serve as a word processing device in a pinch: part of this copy was written on an iPhone 6 Plus using the Google Docs app. iPhone 6 Plus, Apple, from $969.
ASUS ZenBook laptop
One of the newest entries into the laptop market by ASUS is the ZenBook, which employs high-end finishes and a large crystal-clear screen. The keyboard is easy to use and, for a laptop, quite comfortable. On top of which, for students inputting a lot of numbers, there’s a dedicated number pad on the right. It’s a substantial, aluminum-clad laptop with a wide touch screen, so maybe not the device for toting to class each day, but ideal for moving around the house with the performance of a desktop but the portability of a laptop. Like hopping from your study space to your bed to the dinner table, as high school students often do. ASUS ZenBook UX501, ASUS, $1,849.