For the next part of our Back to School 2010 Buyer’s Guide, we’re going to take a look at ten more great Mac-specific items for the college-bound student. If you missed part one, be sure and check it out.
$239 – $799, Apple Store & Best Buy
Since every Mac supports the use of at least two displays (either including the built-in display or as externals), increase your workspace and productivity by adding an extra one onto your Mac. My pick is the beautiful 24” LED LCD display by Apple, but if you’re budget conscious, you can pick up a 23” LG display for under $300 at Best Buy. This display even features an HDMI input, which means it could double as your TV! Just make sure you have the right adapters. Apple’s display connects via DisplayPort but most others will connect via DVI.
$99 ($69 with purchase of a new Mac), Apple Store
Apple has steadily rolled out improvements to their cloud service and for some, it offers a lot of value. As a student, you’ll likely find the most value in the online iDisk storage and web-based access to email, calendars and contacts. Plus if you have an iPhone, you’ll get push service to that as well. If you just bought a Mac recently but didn’t get MobileMe, swing by a retail store with your receipt and you might be able to save $30.
$149.95, Apple Store
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’ll be interacting with Word, Excel and PowerPoint a lot in college. The good news is, Microsoft offers an Office package with a price tag specifically designed for students. Sometimes, you can even pick it up cheaper at your on-campus bookstore. If you’re not in a rush though, wait a few months. Office 2011 is just around the corner.
$79 ($71 with educational discount), Apple Store
If you really want to impress the prof, grab a copy of iWork. With the built-in templates (and a growing collection of third party templates available), you can deliver reports and presentations that look professionally designed. Plus if you have an iPad, with the mobile version of iWork you can sync your work and create, edit, publish and present on the go.
$129.95, Apple Store
While ink cartridges are still a wasted investment, fortunately these days printers are fairly cheap. Now is a great time to pick up a new multi-function printer that can scan, copy and print. You’ll save time and money by not having to use copiers and printers at your campus library! The HP Photosmart e-All-in-One is a great printer for everyday use and printing photos. You can even print to it directly with an SD card or wirelessly from your Mac!
MobileMe gives you cloud storage, but sometimes you just need to move content around quickly or have a good backup of all your data. For the small jobs, you can pick up a 32GB SanDisk for under $65 or invest in a Western Digital MyBook 2TB external drive for under $200. The MyBook is great for Time Machine backups and it connects via FireWire 800 for fast transfer rates.
$69, Apple Store
Even if you love using a trackpad, an external mouse can be more comfortable for when you’re using your Mac for extended periods of time. Apple’s Magic Mouse supports multi-touch and connects via Bluetooth. Since Macs have supported Bluetooth for quite a while now, you can use this external mouse and not have to sacrifice a USB port for some unsightly adapter.
$149.95 – $169.95, Apple Store
If you take a lot of notes and your professor doesn’t like the idea of a Mac joining you in the classroom, the Pulse Smart Pen is a handy tool. As you write, it records audio of your lectures. Simply tap the portion of your notes to hear playback of the lecture that was given when you were originally writing them. If you’ve used EverNote before, the Pulse uses similar technology by making your handwritten notes searchable when you sync them back to your Mac.
$24.95 and up, Kensington.com
Unfortunately, while Macs are very nice, they are also very attractive to those who wish they could have their own. A simple Kensington Lock can help keep your Mac secure, either in your dorm or in the library when you get up to grab some more books. I recommend the combination lock as some of their traditional keyed locks use the same key.
If you don’t have an external display or a dedicated TV, you can still watch TV on your Mac. The EyeTV Hybrid contains a built-in tuner and you can use it to watch, capture and record live TV on your Mac. With the included software, you can even export the files and share them with others or take them on the go with your iPod or iPhone.
I know as a college student, budgets can be tight and so some of these items are great things to add to a holiday wish list, or to share with friends and family who still may be trying to find that perfect graduation gift for you. If that’s the case for you, use the links below to share this article with your family. Also, be on the watch for our guide for iPod/iPhone users and iPad users coming soon. If you have any specific suggestions for products to be included in those, use the comments below and share your ideas with us!