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7 Back-to-school Essentials

By Ian Rowan

Summer’s over, and it’s time to get back into the fall groove. That means so long beach, hello books. Unlike last year, when you brought home a GPA unfit for a chimpanzee, you’re determined to step up your game this semester: You’re going to get to class on time, be organized and efficient, and still have some fun.

To help, here is our list of must-have gadgets and gear to get you off academic probation and back on track.

Meta Watch This is more than just an alarm clock -- though it does have that feature so you won’t sleep through class. Using Bluetooth technology, Meta Watches can synch with smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices so the wearer can access information from mobile apps or Internet services such texts and emails as easily as they would check the time. The Meta Watch ($200, Texas Instruments ) comes in an OLED/Analog version or a digital version.
Puma Bikes Nevis Have to get across campus in minutes to avoid getting an “F” in English? No problem. Designed for urban commuters, Puma’s new line of bikes integrates European design into U.S. riding styles; Puma calls them customizable city bikes. There are five bike styles in total, and each is customizable down to their color, , accessories and number of gears. The PUMA Nevis Man (from $725, PumaBikes.com) comes with or without the front carrier integrated into the handlebars for books and whatnot. (And no, it’s not a basket, Nancy. No tassels.) The Nevis features a traditional cruiser handling style that holds the body in a laid-back yet upright riding position, which is good for the back. Also check out the self-locking, folding Pico and Disko models.

Livescribe Smartpens Don’t miss a word that leaves your professor’s mouth with the Livescribe 2 GB Echo Smartpen ($20, Livescribe.com). It’s a pen that automatically transcribes all of your handwritten notes into text files that can be uploaded to your computer and smartphone. It can also take photos of your notes, record up to 200 hours of audio (that’s a lot of lectures), and lets you share notes with classmates via a Pencast, Facebook, or Evernote Premium. (A one-year subscription comes with your purchase.)

Boogie Board 10.5 LCD Writing Tablet Improv Electronics has a solution for all those to-do Post-Its cluttering up your desk. The Boogie Board ($60, MyBoogieBoard) is an LCD tablet that acts like a blackboard or poster board. It features a large 10.5-inch display, integrated stylus holder, and three- and four-ringed binder holes so you can slide it into your Trapper Keeper (if those even exist anymore).

Samsung UN46 D6400 LED Smart Television Laptops are a must in small college dorm rooms, where space is at a premium. However, their screens are usually so small that you go blind trying to read them. Here’s our solution: Mount the ultrathin Samsung 46-inch D6400 3-D television ($1,600, Samsung.com ) on your wall. Simply synch it to your laptop via an HDMI cable and voila! You have a badass monitor that delivers high-def video and 3-D content. It also allows you to stream Netflix, Blockbuster, or Hulu Plus; update your Twitter or Facebook accounts; and anything else you’d do with a laptop.

PlayStation 3 Move After all that studying, you’ll need to blow off some steam. What better way to do that than to connect to other Killzone players down the hall and kill them -- well, virtually anyway. The PlayStation 3 with the Move motion-controller ($400, Sony ) is perfect for that. It also features a Blu-ray player for movies night, Internet connectivity to download movies from Netflix, etc., and 320 GB of onboard storage.

Logitech Rechargeable Speaker S715i If you’re more of a music fan than a gamer, Logitech’s S715i ($120, Logitech.com) is perfect for entertaining those impromptu “study” groups. It seamlessly interfaces with your iPod or iPod Touch, and has an eight-hour battery life to keep the party -- eh, wind-down period -- going late into the evening.

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