Welcome to Engadget's Back to School guide! We know that this time of year can be pretty annoying and stressful for everyone, so we're here to help out with the heartbreaking process of gadget buying for the school-aged crowd. Today, we've got a slew of accessories -- and you can head to the Back to School hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the month. Be sure to keep checking back -- at the end of the month we'll be giving away a ton of the gear featured in our guides -- and hit up the hub page right here!
Fall's slowly, but surely creeping back in, and we bet you've already started to gather up the necessary gear for your return to the residence hall. Sure, you've got the basics covered, with a computer, smartphone, MP3 player and even a tablet at the ready. But wouldn't it be nice to start the school year off in style with some handy accoutrements to trick out those digital crutches? Let's face it, you're going to need a lapdesk buffer zone between you and your laptop's scorching heat for those countless hours spent churning out term papers. Or, an external hard drive, so you can store those full seasons of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and bring the late night funny to your stressed-out friends. However you manage to make it through the year and snag that 4.0 GPA, we've got a selection of accessorized aids to match your collegiate budget. Oh, and don't forget, we're giving away $3,000 worth of essential back to school gear to 15 readers, and you can be among the chosen few simply by dropping a comment below! Click on past the break to start browsing.
On the cheap
Forget calculator watches, this is a calculator mouse. Canon's taken advantage of the otherwise wasted space below our palms and outfitted this hybrid mouse with a monochrome LCD, that numeric keypad and Bluetooth. The mouse also does double duty as an external number pad -- useful for the laptop-tethered, and students enrolled in Accounting 101.
Key specs: LCD display, numeric keypad, Bluetooth, PC / Mac compatible.
Price: $59 from Canon
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Wires? Who needs wires when you've got 5,000mAh worth of rechargeable Lithium-ion juice to revive those techno doodads. Scosche's sleek, black portable charger packs two USB ports and can even handle the energy demands of your Android and iOS tablets.
Price: $80 on Amazon
Avoid the lap burn and give your carpal tunneled wrist some space with this Logitech lapdesk. The battery-powered unit features a slide-out tray with a multi-touch pad, extra mouse keys, and volume controls. You'll be tempted to use this as a coaster, but we'd advise you to keep the liquids away.
Price: $56 on Amazon
iPads are fragile things. And if you're like us, you'll want to swathe those portable slabs of multimedia power in this rugged Rocketfish case. Sure, you're trading off in style points, but what you lose in flair, the case more than makes up for in functionality. Packing a full-size Bluetooth keyboard inside its USB-powered hard shell, the iCapsule turns your delicate slate into the hardened road warrior it was meant to be.
Key specs: full-size keyboard, Bluetooth, USB, iPad 2 compatible
Price: $99 on Best Buy
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This shock absorbent mesh of ABS plastic and nylon fabric is small enough to fit neatly into your backpack, yet still has plenty of room to cache up to three of your delicate gadgets. Toss in a USB charging hub and your power-starved gizmos won't ever go hungry while you're in transit.
Price: $79 from Aviiq
Need some extra storage for that non-expandable iDevice? Try this slim, WiFi-enabled companion from Kingston that streams up to 32GB of your multimedia library to up to three iOS devices. It may not be the cheapest solution, but it sure beats upgrading when you really don't have to.
Price: $116 on Amazon
Money's no object
Whether you're an aspiring amateur filmmaker, design student or just a lover of all things media, Western Digital's got a twin external hard drive to keep track of those high-quality 1s and 0s. The drive's shiny metal exterior houses a duo of 3TB disks, perfect for that array of CAD designs, HD content and lossless audio. The WD unit also sports interfaces for eSATA, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 connections, and plays nicely with both PCs and Macs -- though a pesky reformat is required for the former. If your workflow includes storing tons of high-res files, go ahead and grab this $390 beast.
Key specs: 2 x 3TB, eSATA, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, RAID 1/0, PC and Mac compatible
Price: $390 on Amazon
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Not everyone needs bulky storage capacity. Which is why Iomega served up this "stylish" 2TB block that'll pimp, not crimp your Mac's style. If you've got any devices laying around, go ahead and charge them via this brick's two port USB hub. At $209, its Apple-friendly looks won't come cheap, but such is the price of beauty.
Price: $209 on Amazon
You've got the esoteric music, but now you need speakers to get that post-Poetry Workshop dance party started. AuraSound's "audiophile-class" media player acts as an iPod / iPhone dock, FM receiver, and internet radio, all while housing a 7-inch video screen. If you're in the market for hi-fi pretense, this is the dock with presence.
Price: $277 on Amazon
Engadget's Back to School Giveaway
No Purchase Required to Enter or Win
Eligibility: Engadget's Back to School Giveaway (the "Giveaway") is open only to individuals who are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States (including the District of Columbia) and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 years of age or older. Employees of Weblogs Inc. LLC, AOL Inc., their advertising or promotion agencies, those involved in the production, development, implementation or handling of Giveaways, any agents acting for, or on behalf of the above entities, their respective parent companies, officers, directors, subsidiaries, affiliates, licensees, service providers, prize suppliers any other person or entity associated with the Giveaways (collectively "Giveaway Entities") and/or the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members (whether related or not) of each such employee, are not eligible. All U.S., federal, state and local and Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void in Quebec, Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law.
Sponsor: The Giveaway is sponsored by Weblogs Inc. LLC, 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 ("Sponsor").
Agreement to Official Rules: Participation in the Giveaway constitutes entrant's full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, which are final and binding. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
Giveaway Period: The Giveaway begins at 12PM ET on August 2, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011 (the "Giveaway Period"). The Giveaway Period shall be divided into fifteen (15) separate Entry Periods:
Entry Period 1 begins at 12PM ET on August 2, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 2 begins at 12PM ET on August 2, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 3 begins at 12PM ET on August 3, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 4 begins at 12PM ET on August 5, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 5 begins at 12PM ET on August 8, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 6 begins at 12PM ET on August 10, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 7 begins at 12PM ET on August 12, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 8 begins at 12PM ET on August 15, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 9 begins at 12PM ET on August 17, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 10 begins at 12PM ET on August 19, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 11 begins at 12PM ET on August 22, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 12 begins at 12PM ET on August 24, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 13 begins at 12PM ET on August 26, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 14 begins at 12PM ET on August 29, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry Period 15 begins at 12PM ET on August 31, 2011 and ends at 12PM ET on September 9, 2011.
Entry: During the Giveaway Period, go to http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/02/engadgets-back-to-school-2011-sweepstakes-were-giving-away-3/ and follow the instructions to submit your entry. The use of any agencies or automated software to submit entries will void all entries submitted by that person.
Drawing: At the conclusion of the Giveaway Period, Sponsor will select the name of one (1) Grand Prize Winner from each of the fifteen (15) Entry Periods in a random drawing of all eligible entries received during each Entry Period. The odds of being selected as a potential winner depend on the number of eligible entries received during the applicable Entry Period. Potential Winners will be contacted via email and asked to provide their full name, age and mailing address within a specified time period. If a potential winner does not respond within the timeframe stated in the notification email, the Sponsor may select an alternate potential winner in his/her place at random from all entries received during the Entry Period. Non-winning entries from one Entry Period do not carry over into subsequent Entry Periods.
Requirements of the Potential Winners: Except where prohibited, the potential winners will be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release (the "Affidavit/Release") and IRS W-9 form within seven (7) days of being notified. If a potential winner fails to sign and return the Affidavit/Release and W-9 form within the required time period, an alternate entrant may be selected in his/her place in a random drawing of all entries received. Acceptance of a prize constitutes consent to use winner's name and likeness for editorial, advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation, except where prohibited by law. In the event the potential winner of any prize is a Canadian resident, he/she will also be required to correctly answer a time-limited mathematical question to be administered by email, mail or phone to receive the prize. Limit one (1) prize per household.
Prizes: Fifteen (15) Grand Prize Winners will each receive a Back to School Prize Pack containing the following items: HP Pavilion dm1z laptop, Sony NEX-C3 digital camera, Samsung 7" Galaxy Tab, Motorola Photon 4G (Sprint) smartphone, Altec Lansing Octiv 650 speaker doc, Bowers & Wilkins C5 headphones, Nook E-reader, Timbuk2 Command Messenger bag, Elgato HDHomeRun TV tuner, Kingston Wi-Drive, 1-year Premium Spotify subscription, Scosche: goBAT II, iMainGo: X, G-Form 11" Extreme Sleeve, Canon X Mark I Mouse Lite, 1-year Premium Skype subscription, Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock, Red Swingline Stapler, Toddy Smart Cloth and Pogo Sketch. Approximate Retail Value of each Prize Pack is $3,141. Subscriptions are subject to issuer's terms and conditions. Activation fees and monthly service fees not included with any smartphone/digital devices. No cash or other substitution may be made, except by the Sponsor, who reserves the right to substitute a prize or portion of a prize with another prize of equal or greater value if the prize is not available for any reason as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion. Winners are responsible for any taxes and fees associated with receipt or use of a prize.
General Conditions: In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Giveaway is impaired in any way for any reason, including, but not limited to fraud, virus, or other technical problem, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Giveaway to address the impairment and then resume the Giveaway in a manner that best conforms to the spirit of these Official Rules; or (b) award the prizes at random from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment. The Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Giveaway or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner. Any attempt by any person to undermine the legitimate operation of the Giveaway may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, the Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. The Sponsor's failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. In case of a dispute as to the owner of an entry, entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the screen name from which the entry is made. The authorized account holder is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.
Release and Limitations of Liability: By participating in the Giveaway, entrants agree to release, defend indemnify and hold harmless the Giveaway Entities from and against any claim or cause of action, including without limitation, any third party claim, arising out of participation in the Giveaway or receipt, use or misuse of any prize, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention in the Giveaway; (b) technical errors related to computers, servers, providers, or telephone or network lines; (c) printing errors; (d) lost, late, postage-due, misdirected, or undeliverable mail; (e) errors in the administration of the Giveaway or the processing of entries; or (f) injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant's participation in the Giveaway or receipt, use or misuse of any prize. Entrant further agrees that in any cause of action, the Giveaway Entities' liability will be limited to the cost of entering and participating in the Giveaway, and in no event shall the Giveaway Entities be liable for attorney's fees. Entrant waives the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages.
TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, THE PRIZES AND ALL ELEMENTS THEREOF ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF ANY KIND. SPONSOR DISCLAIMS ALL EXPRESS AND IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, TITLE AND/OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. Some jurisdictions do not allow the disclaimer of implied warranties. In such jurisdictions, some of the foregoing disclaimers may not apply to you insofar as they relate to implied warranties.
Disputes: Except where prohibited, entrant agrees that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Giveaway or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, entrant's rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsor in connection with the Giveaway, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the Commonwealth of Virginia or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Giveaway Results: To request the names of the winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Engadget Back to School Giveaway Winners, Zach Honig, 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003. Requests must be received by September 30, 2011.