Gadgets:: Not officially back-to-school


Without officially calling this is a “Back to School” column, it is that time of year and there’s lots of gadgets for every student.

Chewbacca flash driveFlash drives are pretty mainstream these days but a company called Mimobot is true to their slogan of making the coolest designer USB flash drives.

The drives come in a variety of themes including Star Wars Chewbacca, which is available in a limited edition run of 1,000, with each one individually hand numbered.

Chewbacca is designed  and based on the scene in the Empire Strikes Back where Chewbacca carries a dismantled C3PO.

The Star Wars series has 25 choices including Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

Another cool-looking series is from Comedy Central featuring Workaholics’ “Blake” & South Park’s “Mysterion”.

All the flash drives are USB 3.0 compatible and available in capacities of 8GB up to 128GB. 8GB $19.95, 16GB $26.95, 32GB $39.95, 64GB $59.95, 128GB $109.95

ZAGG Universal KeyboardZAGG is one of a few tech companies that never seems to make a bad product, including the new ZAGGKeys Universal Keyboard ($69.99).

For starters it connects via Bluetooth and is build universally compatible with Apple iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices along with laptop and desktop computers. A stand is included to handsfree support most any tablet.

Along with how well this works, the portability and size (3.75 x 10.25 x 5.5-inches) make this backpack friendly and a perfect companion for any tablet.

In today’s gadget world of smaller is better, Zagg makes a great companion to the iPad mini with keyboard-friendly covers and cases.

The ZAGGkeys Folio ($99.99)  has a quarter of an inch hard shell case to protect the small tablet, but when you open it you get a built-in Bluetooth keyboard, which can swing open to 130-degrees of viewing angles.

A built-in battery is charged via USB and is good for up to three months’ of use between charges.

I guess you can call the ZAGGkeys Cover ($99.99) half of the Folio. It features the Bluetooth keyboard with a pivoting hinge, which holds your iPad in a variety of angles.

The cover can then attach to the tablet when your done and fold up as a protective cover over the screen.

Macally MCDockLWith a lot of schools switching to tablets, many force the students to disable Bluetooth and that eliminates many gadgets.

Macally has a wired full-size keyboard solution with the iKeyLT ($59.99) with a Lighting connection.

It features many of the Apple iOS specific shortcuts and media keys along with a caps lock and the critical shift keys on both the left and right side.

The iKeyLT works with iPads, iPhones and the iPod touch and a viewing stand is attached for supporting the devices in portrait and landscape positions.

Macally’s Charge and Sync dock ($49.99) is one of the coolest I’ve seen and features a flexible Lightning connection enabling it to work with iPads, iPhones and the latest iPods.

The look is hard to describe but after asking my wife how she would describe it, she said: “It’s a contemporary looking, letter C shaped, futuristic looking dock,” and I can’t argue with that.

Macally also seems to have every solution for the Apple Lighting connection to ensure power on the go 10W car ($29.99) connections, standard wall outlet ($29.99) and extra long charge and sync cables.

A portable 2600mAh battery ($49.99) has the Lightning connection built into the top of the battery, making it easier to use the device when the extra power is needed. It’s good for 8 hours of talk time, 180 hours of standby and has a built in battery level indicator.

Logitech TK820If you use a touchpad along with a keyboard, then the new Logitech TK820 wireless (USB receiver) all-in-one keyboard has your name written all of it.

The full size and ultra-slim designed keyboard works perfect as a keyboard but what makes it stand out is the built-in touchpad on the right side.

It’s as responsive as any and in most cases replaces the need for a mouse. Although it does take some getting used to, after a few days you’ll be hooked – just as I was.

It’s built to support up to 13 Windows 8 multi-touch gestures with the download of (free) Logitech SetPoint Software.

Your wireless connection is made by plugging the included Logitech USB Unifying receiver (2.4GHz), which essentially makes it plug and play. $99.99

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