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Back to School: The best tech gadgets for kids in 2021

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© shutterstock

Gone are the days when all you needed to go to school were a few textbooks, notebooks and a backpack. Kids of today need more than paper and pen to survive school/college education. In fact, it has virtually become a necessity that they are exposed to technology and gadgets early. And more so during a global pandemic where online classes have become the norm. In this article, we list some essential ‘back-to-school’ gadgets that you should definitely consider getting for your kid.

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Best smartphones for (older) kids

While we do not expect you to buy your 10-year-old kid an iPhone, if you are parents to a teenager who's ready for senior high school the time is perhaps right to buy them their first smartphone.

While most of them will almost certainly ask you to buy them the latest iPhone 12, the fact is you do not really need to spend a grand on a new phone for your teenager. Listed below are some other options you can consider buying instead.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

samsung galaxy s20 fe lifestyle
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE still makes for a great Android smartphone / © Samsung

It may not have the brand recall of the iPhone 12 series, but there is no denying that the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE does make for a powerful smartphone that will serve your kid for a couple of years - thanks to Samsung’s new software update policy. 

iPhone SE 2020

If your teenager insists on an iPhone, the best way to go about it is to perhaps hand them over the iPhone SE 2020. Launched last year, this model is quite powerful and packs a lot of features for the money you spend on it.

Powered by Apple’s own A13 Bionic SoC, you can easily expect the phone to last for at least two years without having to worry about software updates or other issues.

Google Pixel 4a

NextPit Google Pixel 4a 5G screen
The Google Pixel 4a / © NextPit

Google may be readying the launch of its new Pixel 6 series devices later this year. But, its older models still pack in a lot of features and have also dropped in price making them an attractive choice.

The Google Pixel 4a is one such device and will definitely appeal to teenagers on the lookout for a stable, well-designed smartphone that also comes with great software and excellent camera-centric features.

Best earphones for kids

JBL JR300BT Kids Wireless On-Ear Headphones

JBL Kids Headphones
The JBL JR300BT headphones are obviously made for kids/ © JBL

If you have a kid aged 10 or below, the JBL JR300BT Kids Wireless On-Ear Headphones do make for a good choice. The USP of the product is that it is built from the ground up for kids and even has limited its volume to a maximum of 85dB to ensure safe listening levels at all times. If that wasn’t all the product promises kid friendly features and also comes in a bunch of color options.

JLab - GO Air True Wireless In-Ear Headphones

The JLab - GO Air True Wireless In-Ear Headphones are one of the most inexpensive Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds you can buy today. But hey, it’s not like JLab has skimped upon the sound quality on these.

While they are definitely not replacements for more expensive TWS, the performance is more than acceptable for something that costs less than $50.And I must add that the earphones do look good as well.

Best tablet for kids

Apple 10.9" iPad Air (4th Gen, 256GB, Wi-Fi Only, Space Gray)

apple ipad air colors 2020
The Apple iPad continue to be the best tablets money can buy/ © Apple

If you have a teenage kid, getting them an iPad is perhaps a very good investment. Not only can this tablet double up as a great educational tool, it can also function as a wholesome entertainment device. The 10.0-inch iPad Air which is priced around the $700 mark makes for a great choice right now.

Amazon Echo Dot Kids with Echo Glow

Another option that you can consider getting your kid is the 4th Gen Amazon Echo Dot Kids edition with Echo Glow. This is basically a kid-specific version of the Amazon Echo Do speakers.

These speakers give access to a lot of kid-friendly content including thousands of hours of kid-friendly Audible books, interactive games, and educational skills. It also comes with Easy-to-use parental controls - using which parents can set daily time limits, filter explicit songs, and review activity in the Amazon Parent Dashboard.

Best Notebook/ Chromebooks for kids

Apple 13.3" MacBook Air M1 Chip with Retina Display (Late 2020, Gold)

Earlier this year, Apple announced the launch of its new MacBook lineup with its own custom-designed ARM based M1 chips. The updated machines boast of class leading battery-life and also offer great performance. For teenagers heading back to school or starting their freshman year at college, the M1 powered MacBook Air can certainly make for a great machine that could serve them for the next couple of years.

Samsung - Galaxy Chromebook 2

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Doesn't the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook look attractive?/ © Samsung

Chromebooks are increasing in popularity each passing year and these machines make for great machines for students. The one Chromebook that has caught our attention of late is the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 which offers a balance of great looks and performance. While it is not a cheap gadget to buy, it has definitely improved upon its predecessor and will almost certainly appeal to students primarily because of its capabilities.

Energizer - Ultimate Lithium 20,000mAh Fast Charge Portable Charger

Another essential gadget your college going kid might require is a portable power bank that can let them quickie recharge their smartphones and tablets. Among the best ones that caught our attention is the Energizer Ultimate 20,000 mAh portable charger.

We liked this mainly because of its large capacity and support for fast charging standards like QuickCharge 3.0 and USB PD 3.0. This product can easily charge a a couple of devices at the same time and also takes very less time to get itself charged.

Best smartwatches for kids

Fitbit Sense Advanced Health Smartwatch

The Fitbit Sense has been around for a while now and has largely managed to garner positive reviews. Thanks to its slightly lower price compared to Galaxy and Apple Watches,  it has also found itself a decent fanbase.

In our opinion, the Fitbit Sense makes for a great smartwatch that is packed with almost all the features you would expect of a self-respecting smartwatch - including ECG support, a stress tracker as well as support for 24 hour SpO2 monitoring.

Apple Watch Series 6 | GPS, 44mm

Apple Watch Series 6 Bild Apple
Apple Watch Series 6 / © Apple

In case your kid already owns an iPhone, adding an Apple Watch to their repertoire will be something they might certainly appreciate.

The Apple Watch 6,  which the company announced last year is now going for an attractive price of $379 and offers a refined smartwatch experience like no other. It now has more health centric features including support for pulse oximetry, and even has a VO2 Max (maximum oxygen consumption) score.

For the ones in college

iRobot - Roomba e5 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum - Charcoal

irobot roomba
Robotic vacuum cleaners are now gaining in on popularity / © iRobot

If your kid is about to move out of home for the first time ever, now would be a good time to give them a little help to tidy their room. Robot vacuum cleaners have been increasing in popularity over the past few years and what better time than now to surprise them with this great parting gift right before they move into their new dorm?

Well, that sums up our list for what we think are the best back-to-school you can buy for your kids this year. If you have any other product recommendations that you think deserves to be on this list, let us know of the same in the comments section below!

The best smartphones under $1,000 

  Editor's recommendation The best iPhone The best camera phone Value for money The best foldable The most affordable
  • $799
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  • $999
  • $599
  • $999
  • $499
Picture Samsung Galaxy S24 Product Image Apple iPhone 15 Product Image Google Pixel 8 Pro Product Image Nothing Phone (2) Product Image Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 Product Image Google Pixel 7a Product Image
Review: Samsung Galaxy S24
Review: Apple iPhone 15
Review: Google Pixel 8 Pro
Review: Nothing Phone (2)
Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
Review: Google Pixel 7a
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Rahul Srinivas

Rahul Srinivas
Senior Editor

Among the most experienced tech journalists from India, Rahul has spent the better part of the past decade writing and experiencing technology. In his decade-long career, Rahul has contributed to several Indian and International publications, including Mobilegeeks, Onlygizmos, iPhoneHacks, and The Inquisitr. Before joining NextPit, he held the position of Senior Editor at MySmartPrice - one of India's largest product research platforms.

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  • 49
    storm Aug 10, 2021 Link to comment

    Wouldn't buy anyone a Chromebook, just obsolete from the start. Certainly never apple anything, way overpriced and needlessly locked down. The samsung is way too pricey. Kid can push his own vacuum.

    Either you're very rich or you don't understand computing value. Because strangely,this is where id expect you to push OnePlus or Nokia.

  • 2
    Todd Conners Aug 10, 2021 Link to comment

    Wow, it is so interesting