Back-to-School tech accessories mean protecting valuable computers from exuberant handling, docks to expand the laptop at home, and indispensable backup – dog ate your homework won’t cut it!
Harvey Norman wants you to know that while you may have bought that Windows laptop, MacBook, iPad or a smartphone you need to protect them from the rigors of school life. Kids don’t seem to place the same value on the need to take care of tech as parents. Here are some of his BTS picks.
These coke in 11, 12, 13 and 15.6” sizes are built from lightweight, highly durable materials with shock-absorbing rubber bumpers, PU, memory foam, Nylex lining and zippers that last – built to withstand a 1.2m drop. Website.
There are 24 carry cases, five briefcases and five slipcover sizes/colours for 13, 14 and 15.6” laptops. These are tough and durable with fashion colors, including Blush, Black/Blue, Gunmetal, Ocean, Rose Gold, Sky, Pewter, Grey/Yellow, Lilac/Grey, Navy/Mint, Navy, Grey/Black and Blue.
Thunderbolt docking stations
If your laptop has Thunderbolt 3 or 4 ports, you can add a Thunderbolt Docking station that supports up to two [email protected] monitors and extra USB-C and USB-A ports. Some have upstream power delivery to power and charge the laptop.
Windows 10/11 supports up to three external monitors, and Mac supports two.
USB-C 3.1/3.2 Gen 1 or 2 mini-docks
If your laptop only has USB-C 3.1/3.2 Gen ½, 5/10Gbps ports, you can add a compact USB-C ‘dongle’. Some of these support up to one [email protected] and one or two USB A-ports. Some have passthrough charging.
USB expansion port Hubs
If all you need is some extra USB-A and/or USB-C ports, several can split the bandwidth. Some need external power packs to provide each port with 5V/.9A/4.5W.
Alogic has a range of USB-C and Thunderbolt cables. Please note that you need a 3W-rated cable for up to 60W charging and a 5W-rated cable for up to 100W charging. Your standard USB-C and USB-A cables are usually for a maximum of 2W for <20W charging.
These days several brands of smartphones do not provide a charger inbox. Alogic has a range from USB-A 5V/2A/10W to 100W GaN (Gallium Nitride) chargers. GaN chargers are smaller, more efficient and very handy to replace larger USB-C ‘brick’ chargers you can leave at home. Some have dual or even four charge ports.
Read our review Cygnett PowerMaxx 70W GAN dual-port wall charger – power for most laptops.
We all know how easy it is to run out of battery, so a power bank makes great sense. But did you know there are power banks for USB-C/Thunderbolt laptops as well?
Cygnett is a leader in power banks and has 5,000 to 27,000mAh banks from $28 to $199. The average smartphone has 4000-5000mAh, and tablets have 5000-8000mAh batteries, so buy a similar-sized power bank for one charge. Laptops need 20,000mAh or more. Some have solar panels and wireless QI charge pads.
Read or review Cygnett ChargeUP Pro 25K 25,000Mah power bank – the power to spare.
Targus also has an excellent reputation for tech accessories and has an economical replacement 90W ‘brick’ AC to DC charger for most laptops that use ‘plugs’ instead of USB-C.
Computers do break down, especially if roughly handled in a school backpack. Samsung makes a range of backup devices to make it easy.
T7 Shield 1TB Portable SSD – Black is blazingly fast (over 1Gbps), ruggedized and comes in 1TB ($168) and 2TB ($318) – a cost of 15 cents per GB.
BAR Plus USB-A comes in 32/64/128/256GB for $19/24.95/39/69 and some special back-to-school special prices.
USB-C Flash drive comes in 64/128/256GB at $24.95/28/58 – excellent value.
With USB-C dominating the PC ports, sometimes you need an adapter. There are adapters for USB-C
- HDMI. Great for use with a TV or works on smartphones with USB-C 3.1 ports as well
- Display Port – for DP monitors
- VGA – for older VGA monitors and projectors
- 3.5 mm. Takes USB-C audio out and converts it to a 3.5mm headphone jack
- Micro and SD cards
Modern iPads have USB-C ports.
CyberShack’s view – Back-to-School tech accessories from Harvey Norman – a huge range
As we wrote in Simple tips for the best back-to-school laptops – BYOD (guide 2023 update), it is not just a laptop, but your kids will need things like:
Setting up the right study environment is essential to help students focus on learning. It is not the kitchen table anymore.
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