Back to School Guide [2017 Edition]

As autumn approaches, it’s time again for students to equip themselves for the school year ahead – which increasingly means purchasing a wide array of tech gadgets and gizmos.  Here at MobileSyrup, the team has compiled a list of our top picks for everything from phones to mobile toolkits. Check it out below.


Incase Icon Lite Backpack

One of things every student needs is a good everyday carry backpack. Enter the Incase Icon Lite. Not only is this stylish backpack attractive and light, it includes several smart features, including a sleeve that can carry any laptop that has up to a 15-inch footprint. There’s also an internal pocket that’s perfect for binders and books.

$140.99 – $179.99

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Incase


Sony MDR-XB50AP headphones

Forget highlighters and cue cards, one of the most essential study aides any student can get is a good pair of headphones. Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a great pair. Despite their modest price tag, the Sony MDR-XB50APs sound great and work with both iOS and Android smartphones.


Buy from Amazon


Tile Pro Style and Tile Pro Sport

Tile's Bluetooth tracking devices have always been some of the best out there, but the manufacturer's new Pro Style and Sport models are the greatest yet. Both tracking devices are extremely durable and leverage a community of 10 million Tile owners for crowdsourced tracking. Never lose your backpack, purse or that expensive MacBook your parents just spent their vacation fund on, with Tile's new high-end tracking device offerings.

$45.99 – $79.99

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Tile


Google Home

If you're looking for a standalone voice-activated assistant in Canada, Google Home is your only option north of the U.S. border. While having fewer options is rarely a best case scenario, Google Home is a great product. The device is the perfect way to link together disparate smart home devices and answer simple homework related questions via Google Assistant. It's also great for playing music directly through your Spotify account.


Buy from Google

Apple iPhone SE

Are you looking for Apple’s high-quality computing power, but stored within a device you can hold in one hand, that also won’t break the bank? Then the iPhone SE is your perfect back-to-school companion. Use it to snap slides in class or snap photos everywhere else, listen to music, play games, and stay in touch with friends. And, most importantly, with the notable exception of its smaller screen, the iPhone SE is almost the exact same device with its larger sibling, the iPhone 6S, so you don’t have to worry about skimping on battery or processing power.

$0 on a 2-year term –
$600 no-term

Buy from Amazon


Nintendo Switch

Yes, school is important; but you know what else is important? Video games and relaxing between classes. Given the mobile nature of the Nintendo Switch, it's easy to take the console where ever you need to go, whether that's to class, back home to your parent's place for the weekend, or in the cafeteria. Nintendo's latest console truly changes the traditional idea of a portable video game system. The only issue you may run into is actually finding a store that has a Switch in stock.


Buy from Amazon


WD My Passport USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive

At some point, either at school or in future work, you'll likely need more space for your computer. That's where an external hard drive comes in, offering you additional storage space within a small, compact device that's easy to plug in and use. Realistically, you'd be fine going with either WD or Seagate, as they are ostensibly the same, but for the purposes of this write-up, I'm specifically going to refer to the former company's 3TB blue model. The drive's sleek and miniature design makes carrying your data around much easier -- certainly more comfortable than lugging around a laptop. Bringing over your group assignment to a friend's place has never been easier. The external hard drive can also be used on your PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, if you need more space for your games of choice.


Buy from Amazon
Buy from Best Buy
Buy from The Source


ProCase Cable Management Travel Carry Case

The modern student is liable to have more cords and auxiliary tech accessories than pencils and loose leaf. Embrace it. Get yourself a cord organizing case as useful as it is geeky.The Pro Case manages to make your hectic collection of cords, SD cards, USB sticks and miscellany look somewhat badass, like rare collector’s items. Treat your nerdy self.


Buy from Amazon


iFixit Essential Electronics Toolkit

If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that the college years can be unkind to personal technology. From spilling beer on your laptop to stepping on your smartphone, you might as well reconcile yourself to the fact that you’ll break stuff.Why not get a jump on the inevitable and grab this handy DIY smartphone fixing kit from iFixit, which also conveniently provides repair guides? You might even avoid telling your parents you broke your iPhone’s screen for the third time.


Buy from iFixit

Samsung Galaxy S8

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is one of the top players in the smartphone world. With Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chipset, 4GB of RAM and a 18:5:9 aspect ratio, you’re sure to be the envy of all your techie friends. The S8 features a 12-megapixel camera which takes great pictures for Instagramming or Snapchatting during class and carries 64GB of storage with expandable storage, to keep all of your best college memories.

$0 on a 2-year term –
$1,035 no-term

Buy from Amazon


Amazon Prime subscription

An Amazon Prime subscription can either help in a very productive way by getting you packages more quickly, or help you avoid thinking about school for a while. The subscription allows you to get essential textbooks or other school supply needs significantly faster than waiting for standard shipping. You can also purchase video games (like Overwatch), or a variety of other items at a discounted price, and get access to Twitch Prime and Amazon Prime Video, a video subscription similar to Netflix. Price: Six free month trial then $39 per year for students.


Buy from Amazon


Mophie Charge Force Case and Charge Force Powerstation

Whether you’re in class, on-the-go, or just hanging out in a coffee shop, it’s important that your devices are charged and ready-for-use. Luckily, Mophie makes a variety of powerpacks and cases to keep your phones and other devices powered up and ready-to-go. The Mophie Charge Force Case works with iPhone 7/7 Plus devices, as well as Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ devices. The Charge Force Powerstation packs in an extra 35 hours of juice, so you’ll be able to stay connected no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

$49.95 – $59.95

Buy from Amazon


Linksys WRT 3200 ACM MU-MIMO Gigabit router

The ultimate gamer and streamer needs the ultimate MU-MIMO gigabit router. Enter the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM. It’s big, it’s blue and dual-band with Tri-Stream 160 technology, which works to double the 80MHz channel width on the 5GHz band to achieve faster throughput.All that to say: it’ll blast your ISP’s router out of the water, providing you with the super high-quality internet experience you deserve.


Buy from Staples



If you're at school a need a break from studying, look no further than extremely accessible first-person shooter Overwatch. You can play the game competitively or just for fun, but either way it's available on a variety of platforms, including the PS4, Xbox One and PC. Overwatch won numerous game of the year awards in 2016 and is continuously being updated, with Blizzard adding four new characters since the game's launch, as well as five new maps.


Buy from Overwatch


Though the Samsung Galaxy S8 garnered more attention when it launched around the same time as the LG G6, the latter device offers a competitive — and in some ways arguably better — experience. The flagship device has a 18:9 aspect ratio allowing for a slim, elegant design. It also offers high-quality audio and a dual rear camera setup that allows for super wide-angle shots that capture all the action. What’s more, it’s more affordable outright than the S8 — perfect for a student’s budget.

$0 on a 2-year term –
$900 no-term

Buy from Amazon


Kobo Aura e-reader

For the avid readers out there, the 6-inch Kobo Aura is a great way to consume literature. With 4GB of on-board memory, this e-reader can carry up to 3,000 eBooks. With a selection of all kinds of fiction and non-fiction books, magazines and more, you'll have plenty to read to occupy your commutes or downtime in between classes. You don't have to be a student in an English program to get ample use out of this product. You'll also get $5 in credit from Kobo whenever you sign up for an account. More details can be found here. As well, there's a more premium waterproof version that costs $200, for more reading options.


Buy from Chapters


Fitbit Alta HR

Okay, hear us out on this one. While not strictly school related, we think a Fitbit could be of great use to a student. The Fitbit Alta HR can be a low-cost investment to help get you thinking more about fitness and starting a healthier routine by tracking your daily activities and sleeping patterns. Of course, there's also connectivity with your smartphone through a dedicated Fitbit app, which will not only help with Fitness tracking, but also notify you of incoming calls and text messages. Finally, the Fitbit smartly reminds you went to start moving, which can be all-too tempting after long sedentary days of classes and paper writing.


Buy from Amazon


  • Leo

    The options presented have no theme and are random. This is suppose to be back to school, how rich do you think people are. Also there is a big difference in reliability between western digital and seagate.

    • Marshall Davidson

      I think what drives a story like this is the fact that MS contributors often get to play with and take home the latest tech gadgets and that in some way colours their judgment. Take O’Rourke for example. Many of the photos of product here have been taken in his condo and from I saw in one photo he has three or four gaming consoles, two Google Homes (by his own admission) Amazon Echo, Ecobees, VR headsets, wireless vacuums etc. Etc. It’s actually laughable because no one in their right mind would see the need for all this shjt in a condo unit however on the other hand it can easily colour ones view of priorities in life.
      Bottom line is that if a student can afford to buy a good portion of the products on this list, they can afford to finance their education without taxpayer money as well.

  • Homer J. Simpson

    This is a wishlist from a kid with rich mommy and daddy, not a back to school guide.

  • MoYeung

    Bring the Nintendo Switch to school and have some bully kid steal it from you…

    • Ricky Bobby

      I was told here that nobody wants a Nintendo Switch because of inferior specs and games

  • heynow00

    The Amazon prime offer is solid although I think you mean 6 free months and then $39 per year and not per month 😉

  • Marshall Davidson

    This list is a joke. I mean seriously a Nintendo Switch? Google Home? Fitbits and Overwatch? High end smartphones? These are nothing more than toys that have absolutely no bearing on whether someone will be successful at school. Quite the opposite in point of fact.
    Sometimes I think back with fondness what I had to buy in August for school in September and usually that involved binders, lined note paper, pencils/pens topped off with the high cost of textbooks which often ran into the hundreds each semester. I don’t imagine any of that has changed but all this crap you guys suggest as part of back-to-school goes to show how much we seem to be encouraging a ‘dumb graduate’ who is unable to think for themselves, needs constant stimulation from various devices and gadgets and quite simply has forgotten the most basic methods of communication with others beyond social media. Heck, most people today don’t even know how to write on paper anymore to express themselves. It’s a lost art and that’s a damn shame.

    • When I went to school, I had to walk uphill both ways in a snowstorm in shorts and a t-shirt.

    • Marshall Davidson

      Yeah. Precisely my point. It was a simpler time in many respects produced a better graduate. I would be hard pressed to say buying the majority of the stuff on this list would contribute to the same in any tangible way whatsoever.

  • Stephie

    The only thing of interest is that sweet calculator in the fitbit alta picture. Where can I get me one of those?