Portable speakers: big sound in a small package.
To the delight of parents — and dismay of students everywhere — classes are about to start again. When it comes to the latest gadgets, Paul Hochman, former gear and tech editor at the Today show and president of Humongous Media, says shoppers should focus on “portability and power.” Here are his top picks for items that won’t break the bank:
1Password: Classes are stressful enough without having to worry about accounts being hacked. Taking the hassle out of password management, 1Password generates secure codes while storing and encrypting account logins. All you have to memorize is a single master password to access the application. Though a desktop license costs $50, “it’s basically free” for what you get, Hochman notes.
Creative Airwave HD: Among the plethora of portable speakers, the Creative Airwave HD ($150) stands above the rest. “Not all Bluetooth is created equal,” he says, noting the device uses a Bluetooth standard ideal for audio reproduction, outputting fidelity that rivals much more expensive speakers. With Near field communication, an embedded technology that lets mobile devices establish a connection by touch, users can tap their NFC-enabled phones on the speaker to seamlessly pair and play music — up to 12 hours on a single charge.
Eye-Fi Mobi: Whether it’s a semester abroad or college graduation, smartphone cameras don’t always cut it for the occasion. With a built-in WiFi hotspot, the Eye-Fi Mobi card ($50) lets students shoot photos on their dedicated cameras and share them from their smartphones. Images transfer wirelessly to mobile devices on the Eye-Fi network, making Mobi a great backup tool as well.