Five great tech gifts for grads
It's graduation season, the time when middle-schoolers move on
to high school, high-schoolers move on to college, and college
grads move back in with their parents.
You can ease all these transitions by outfitting your once and
future student with fun and functional tech. Here are my picks for
the ultimate gifts for grads:
The "it" smartphone (for this month at least), the One bests
the more-hyped Samsung Galaxy S4 at nearly every turn, packing a
4.7-inch screen, stereo speakers, and advanced camera into a
breathtakingly slim and stylish metal shell. CNET called it a
--your favorite grad will inevitably
refer to it as "the precious."
That clunky old laptop that got your grad through school? Time
for something newer to get him or her through whatever's next. The
Asus VivoBook X202E offers a near-perfect blend of power,
portability, and affordability (Amazon currently sells it for $399
, down from
$599 just a couple months ago.)
The X202E is an 11.6-inch laptop with a decent processor,
plenty of storage (500GB), a touchscreen (perfect for grads weaned
on smartphones and tablets), and a travel-friendly design: 0.8
inches thick and around three pounds. Plus, it looks way cooler
than any laptop should at this price.
A boring and predictable choice, perhaps, but the iPad Mini
remains the top mid-size tablet for one key reason: It's an Apple
product, and therefore instantly familiar and accessible to any
grad who already owns an iPhone or Mac.
Sure, you can get a slightly
largerÃ‚Â Amazon Kindle Fire HD
or Barnes & Noble Nook
Ã‚Â for less money--$269 each for the
16GB model, versus $329 for the entry-level Mini--and there's a
chance Apple will roll out newer, better Minis at next month's WWDC
event. But make no mistake: this is the tablet your grad wants.
Portable hard drives are great for backing up school papers,
sharing large files, and so on, but the MobileLite Wireless is no
average drive. When plugged into a PC, it's an SD card reader. When
unplugged, it's a wireless storage unit accessible by up to three
devices. Just plug in an SD memory card or USB flash drive and
you've got virtually limitless mobile storage for storing and
streaming movies and photos, backing up files, and sharing
The MobileLite also doubles as a portable charger, with an
1,800mAh battery you can use to recharge smartphones and other
mobile devices. Speaking of which...
One thing students never have enough of (besides money):
battery power. My favorite portable power pack ever, the Peak 6000,
can recharge a smartphone, e-reader, tablet, or nearly any other
Granted, lots of portable chargers can do that, but this one
is entirely self-contained: it plugs right into a wall outlet to
charge its own 6,000mAh battery, then powers your other hardware
via built-in ports and connectors (USB, microUSB, and Apple
30-pin). So at most you might need to bring along your existing USB
cable, but many users won't even need that.Veteran technology writer Rick Broida
is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his
money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC
World and Wired.