Gear Diary’s 2019 Back to School Guide

September is almost here, and you’re probably seeing endless “Back to School” commercials which can only mean one thing — people are headed back to the classroom. We’ve found quite a few products that you might enjoy, whether you are a parent, a student, or even a teacher.

Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL

Being the most affordable phone with the best camera isn’t hard when you’re the Pixel 3a or 3a XL. Coming complete with the latest version of Android on top of the included unlimited backup to Google Photos feature for the next few years, the 64GB Pixel 3a XL is highly regarded here at GearDiary, for its ability to highlight the best of what Android has to offer without breaking the bank. Sure, you’ll compromise having a plastic instead of a glass back on the back of your device, but the hardware, the incredible camera, and free online storage make it hard to beat at its price.

Logitech’s MX Vertical

An advanced ergonomic mouse that’s leaps and bounds better than the competition, it’s specially designed by science-driven research to be one of the most comfortable mouses that Logitech’s ever put out. It eases tension to your wrist as well as reducing forearm pressure without compromising performance with its elevated stance. You can even connect it to multiple devices for quick switching from your laptop, desktop, and tablet. It’s available for $99.

Speck LootLock

One of Speck’s latest products, the LootLock is essentially a wallet sleeve for your smartphone that allows a student to carry their school ID, library card, cafe card — or any card for that matter — safely and all in one place. If you have a student who’s always leaving their cards in their room, this is one way they won’t forget them, since they are always glued to their phones anyways. The LootLock sticks to the back of a phone via adhesive; it’s also completely reversible, so you can conceal the cards or cash from being seen.

JBL Tune 120 Truly Wireless Earbuds

At only $99, the JBL True are some of the most affordable headphones that JBL has to offer, yet they are no slouch in audio quality. With its pure bass, you would think that you were tethered to your device with the incredible sound you’ll get, thanks to the ergonomically shaped and comfortable Tune 120s. Boasting 16 hours of uncompromised audio enjoyment, the earbuds are a no-hassle way for your student to listen to their music in route to school daily.

Speck Presidio Stay Clear

There’s nothing better for showing off your new smartphone than a dope new clear case for it. Speck’s Presidio Stay Clear is one of few on the market that features not only an innovative coating that resists UV-Yellowing and discoloration from oils and dirt, but it will completely protect your phone from drops of up to 8 feet.

Speck SmartShell

Now that you’ve protected your smartphone, you should consider doing the same for your MacBook with the SmartShell. A laptop is expensive to fix, so it’s important to have proper protection for your investment. The Smartshell by Speck will properly protect your MacBook with its hard shell that also allows you to show off your MacBook with its transparent design.

Belkin Screenforce Invisiglass Ultra Privacy

There’s nothing like having a bit of privacy on your smartphones. If you hate people peeking over your shoulders as you text a friend or when you are casually browsing your social media between classes, the Screenfoce Invisiglass for the iPhone will allow you to keep nosey eyes out of your phone. It does this while protecting your device from drops as it’s chemically engineered glass is built to withstand drops that your average tempered glass couldn’t even think of without compromising the touchscreen experience when typing and swiping.

Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones

Probably one of the more expensive items on this list at $349.99 is the Beats Studio 3, but as you know the Beats name comes with a price, and every student loves themselves a pair. With over 40 hours of battery life, these headphones will easily get your student through a commute across the yard, to the gym, and even through that night of studying while tuning out their roommates. Clearly, the Beats brand is more than just a fad at this point, and their connectivity with Apple products is that much greater since their merger, making the Beats Studio3 one fo the easiest headphones to pair with your iPhone or iPad.

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2

Quite possibly one of the best portable speakers in terms of audio quality, the WONDERBOOM 2 is great for any back to school checkout bin. With up to 13 hours of battery life, your student can pump up the jams as they get some studying done, or they can even use it to entertain their new friends on campus. And even if you give it to them ahead of sending them off to school, it’s waterproof and floats, perfect for a late summer pool party. Did I mention it’s only $99.99?


Logitech Color Collection M325C Wireless Mouse

A good portable mouse is hard to find, but one that fits your mood is even rarer. Luckily, with Logitech’s new Color Collection on their most affordable mouse, your student can choose a design that allows them to express their creativity. It will also easily stow in their bag for easy traveling.

Logitech Keys-To-Go

Not everyone wants to lug around a Magic Keyboard everywhere they are, and with Logitech’s portable Keys-To-Go ($69.99), they won’t have to. This lightweight keyboard features fabricSkin that makes it easy to wipe up spills, dirt, and crumbs that typically accumulate on a students desk keyboard. Now you don’t have to fret about typing on your iPad’s screen either, as the Keys-To-Go is compatible with many tablets, laptops, and even your smartphone.

Skinit Device Skins

If you have a student that likes to express themselves through the gadgets that they have, give them something to love from SkinIt in the form of a custom device skin. These high-quality decals allow your student to express their individual style while protecting their devices from dirt, scuffs, and scratches — or even the potential of mixing up their devices with another student’s. Easily applied with adhesive, they are also easy to remove and swap since they are residue-free. And right now, the company is holding a 30% off Storewide sale by using the Promo Code: 30OFF.

Joby TelePod Mobile

A perfect mini tripod for phones, the $59.95 TelePod Mobile is great for capturing that group photo with its included Bluetooth shutter. It also extends its height if you feel the need to elevate your shot. It works with a variety of Joby mounts as well, so now your student will have the perfect “selfie shots” and even be able to get all of their friends in it.


No one likes to lose things like their keys, or even their laptop, and Tiles are one of those products that no matter what you tell yourself, you don’t appreciate them until you find yourself losing something. In tandem with the Tile app, though, teachers and students alike will be no longer have to ask “Hey, have you seen my keys?” But what’s more, the Tile works in more places than your keyring, as they are great to toss in your wallet, purse, backpack, or even to stick on that remote which will inevitably get wedged in their dorm room couch somewhere.

RocketBook Everlast

We’ve covered the RocketBook Mini recently here at Gear Diary, and if you are looking for a great way of taking notes, you cannot go wrong with the Mini or the original Everlast. Being able to sync directly to Evernote, you can take your class notes with you, and have them scanned directly to your phone; with the Friction pen, you can now write what you need to, and then erase as you see fit. If you are a fan of good old handwritten notes, you can’t ever go wrong with the Everlast by RocketBook.


MW07 True Wireless Earphones

For long-lasting wireless connection for the days that commuting to and from the classroom seem endless, this elevated answer to Apple’s Airpods is just the right size for any backpack — not taking up too much space. With 3-hour battery life and a 10-hour charge turn around, these sleek earbuds are essential.

MH40 Over-Ear Headphones

Those long hours in the library can be tiring and distracting but a good set of headphones can block out everyone around you. With an easily accessible mute button and memory foam ear pads, these headphones will keep you comfortable into all hours of the night while listening back over notes or playing a favorite studying playlist.

Worth noting: Master & Dynamic will be running a Labor Day/Back to School promotion on their site starting this Thursday, August 22,  and lasting through Wednesday, September 4. You can get 25% off select styles by using the code FOCUS25. [Excludes MW07 True Wireless Earbuds, the MW65 Active Noise-Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones, and Gift Cards.]

Techloom Wave by APL

Available in black/white, cement/white, heather grey/black/white, navy/white and white, red wine and simply rose/white, APL’s newest launch, the Techloom Wave, will be the hottest sneaker for the walk to class, a gym class, or brunch!

TP-Link’s AC750 WiFi Range Extender RE200

At $29.99, the Wifi Range Extender is great for those students who don’t want to be cooped up in their living room or dorm room to get things done. With its dual-band speeds of up to 750Mbps, the range extender allows you to extend your WiFi coverage for up to 32 devices  — from TVs to gaming systems to laptops, and to other IoT devices. You might want to pick one up for your home, as well.

NutriBullet Blender Combo

Sure, there will be plenty of long nights that require a pizza while you study, but if you are in a rush at any point, and want something a bit healthier, you can use the NutriBullet Blender Combo ($139.99) to make you own smoothies and nutrient beverages. If you’re headed to class and can’t bother stopping at your nearest Smoothie King, there’s even the NutriBullet Colors ($89) available in over ten colors, perfect for that student with a particular decor for their dorm room. It even comes with a flip-top for on the go, mess-free opening.

WWE 2K20

Not every single gift has to deal with actually getting schoolwork done. If you’re a fan of the WWE, the newest iteration of the professional wrestling video game features every single superstar you could think of from Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins, and even a few legends like Chyna, who hasn’t been in a WWE video game since WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role. With a new Showcase mode, you can play with your favorite superstar or even create your own in the MyCareer mode, which has been updated with even more features than previous years. The standard version costs $59.99, and the Deluxe and Collector’s Editions cost $79.99 and $129.99, respectively.

NBA 2K20

Easily the best video basketball game on the market for the last 20 years, NBA2K20 marks a special year for the top-selling NBA game, featuring Wade on the Legend Edition($99.99) and Anthony Davis on the Standard Edition ($59.99). Hopefully, you’re prepared to play head-to-head with your roomie to see who’s the best on the hardwood.

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About the Author

Greg Alston
Diehard Apple fanboy, and lover of all things tech. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Greg enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, family and friends, live sporting events, good bourbon, Tetris, and pizza. In that order.