Some tech suggestions for the start of the school year

Some tech suggestions for back to school

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The start of the school year does not come alone, there are also several other starts; culture, cinema, offices, etc. to mark the end of recess. 

There are also the new “post-pandemic” work habits that affect classrooms as much as corporate offices. Although brand new, hybrid learning environments have great potential in higher education, despite some technical and pedagogical challenges to address.

Let's see what manufacturers of computing devices offer us. (Prices rounded)

Laptops

At Samsung, the Galaxy Book 2 360 ($1,200) are hybrid laptop-tablets with full connectivity (Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, HDMI, USB 3.2). Its Studio mode provides intelligent noise reduction during video conferences, as well as automatic framing. Under the hood, this Galaxy is powered by a 12th generation Intel Core processor, powerful enough to play content creators.

At Apple, the MacBook Air performs very well with its new M1 system chips ($1300) or, since July, M2 ($1500). This same M1 chip that is in my MacBook Pro and iPad is surprisingly frugal. Unless you are very demanding on performance, the M1 chip models are more than enough for all tasks. But to give you more latitude, choose 16 GB of RAM instead of 8.

Smart phones

Smart phones occupy an important place in our lives, essential for a crowd things like messaging, games, music, or browsing.

There's no need to ogle the high-end models, mid-range devices offer essentially the same functions, except for a few less fancy materials.

Take the A53 5G, a phone from the Galaxy range which retails for $590 on the Samsung Canada website. Only available in black, it offers a great screen, thin bezels, 120Hz refresh rate and long battery life, up to two days according to the manufacturer.

iPhones and their iOS system are go-to phones for those who prefer a device that is not based on a model or ad system. The price range is interesting, from the iPhone SE to the 13 Pro, there is a shoe that fits. Note that Apple today presents its new iPhone 14 range.

The Pixel 6a phones ($600) offer good value for money and performance. There are several components identical to the more expensive Pixel 6 Pro, such as the Google Tensor chip, a solid autonomy that lasts up to 24 hours, an excellent trio of cameras and a superb screen with thin borders.

Trade-in Program

For those who already own devices – computers, phones – that are technologically outdated, trade-in programs reduce the cost of purchasing new devices. Almost all brands offer such a program.

Earbuds

I liked Apple's Beat Fit Pro, but found Google's latest Pixel Buds Pro earbuds even better. The reduction of constant noise (in planes, in cars) is really impressive and the sounds, especially the bass, surpass what I have heard so far. Their longevity is very good with the battery case and they can be paired with competitors' devices without any problem. Of course, Google reserves full access to functions if you use a Google account and an Android smartphone. At $260, it's probably pricey for some, but if you wear them often, you'll appreciate them. 

An external display

To turn your laptop into a real desktop computer, just connect an external display and a Bluetooth wireless keyboard. A larger work surface is obtained. There is no need to pay top dollar, for example, an LG 24-inch screen costs only $204 before taxes, at Staples. But make sure you have the right connection (USB-C, HDMI, etc.) to connect it to your laptop.