Technology improves and evolves at such a rapid pace, it’s often easy to miss the latest developments. Tech expert Dean Evans is on hand to round up some of the best gadgets to help you with your revision – and a bacon alarm clock to get you up (yes, really)
The best laptops for students
While desktop computers used to trump laptop PCs for power and performance, that’s no longer true.
The newest Intel Ultrabook laptops like the Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre XT run Windows 8, offer superb processing power, a roomy HD display, more storage space than you’ll realistically ever need, and a lengthy battery life, so you can get more done on the move.
All of this PC technology is squeezed into slim and lightweight chassis that look as sexy as their design inspiration, Apple’s MacBook Air. Prices range from £700 to £2,000.
The best tablets for students
More portable than a traditional laptop, the advantage of a lightweight tablet device is that you can use it to study anywhere.
Most people’s first choice is an Apple iPad (9.7-inch display) or smaller iPad mini (7.9-inch screen). But Android-powered tablets like the Google Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, come a close second.
Microsoft’s Surface tablets offer a different option. Excel devotees will appreciate the additional keyboard and easy MS Office compatibility.
Your back-up buddy
If you lost or broke your laptop, how much work would you lose? How much time would it take to replace it all?
Investing in a Carbonite subscription might be the best £40 you spend all year. The service automatically and invisibly backs up your most important files to distant Internet servers, keeping safe copies that you can easily restore to a new PC.
Studying in the cloud
Not using Google Drive yet? Or Microsoft’s SkyDrive? You should be. If you currently store your Excel files or Word documents on your laptop, then you can only access them when you’re using that particular device.
Create or upload documents to an Internet-based/cloud computing service and they become accessible to any device with a web connection, wherever you are, whenever you need them. Both services are free, but require a Google or Microsoft account to access.
New ways to take notes
Are you still taking notes with paper and pen, then typing them into a digital document later? Here are two ways that you can work much smarter.
Option 1: try a LiveScribe Wi-Fi Smartpen (£160), which records every note you take and everything you hear, converting it to digital data and uploading that data to an Evernote account.
Option 2: Evernote’s new smart Moleskin notebooks (£17) feature specially formatted paper. Fill the page with written notes or sketches, take a photo of it with the Evernote app, and your notes are instantly converted into a digital file.
Combatting eye strain
The trouble with switching from old-fangled paper notes to new-fangled digital ones is that staring at screens all day can put a real strain on your eyes.
Enter the Breo iSee 360 Eye and Temple Massager (£60), a futuristic looking pair of plastic goggles that use heat compression to boost blood circulation and air pressure to massage tired eyes.
And that bacon alarm clock
We weren’t kidding. The bizarre, pig-shaped Wake’n Bacon alarm clock promises to wake you up with the smell of a freshly cooked rasher. Shame it’s just a concept.
Dean Evans is Editorial Director at That Media Thing Ltd.