Tech

There is so much technology out there that it becomes hard to keep track of. We have compiled a list of some of the must-haves for university and college.
   We have looked at the new, and the newer models of older gadgets, to help you have the top gear for the next year. ALEXANDER NEAL reports back…

The Watch

The future for wrist-wear, a Pebble, is one of the hottest things on the market. It is a watch with the capacity to host apps and change its background display.
   It even tells the time!
   Labelled as the first 21st century watch, the revolutionary design allows you to choose from, and customise, a dozen watch faces to suit your own needs.
   It also has the capacity to connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth, meaning you can access many of your phone’s abilities via your wrist.
   The Pebble can tell you when you receive text messages, and allows you to accept or reject incoming calls from your wrist.
   Available apps include GPS and apps that work as bike computers. This means runners and cyclists alike can use a watch to see how long they have been exercising, how far they have travelled, and how fast they are moving.
   More apps are being developed constantly, including “Freecaddie” – which tells you how far you are from the green at 25,000 golf courses.
   With seven days’ worth of rechargeable power, notifications from Twitter, Facebook, texts and emails, and a vibrating function to notify you of updates, the watch really does boast everything.

Order on the Pebble website for $150.

The Phone

But which phone is the best to use with the watch? While the Pebble is compatible with all smartphones bar Blackberries, Windows 7s and Palm phones, it works with the rest.
   And while it is expensive, the best phone on the market right now is the HTC One.
   Firstly, it is impossibly comfortable to hold. Thinner than its predecessor, the HTC One has a 4.7-inch full HD screen, and fits perfectly into a pocket or the palm of a hand.
   The phone boasts an S4 Pro processor, as well as 2GB of RAM for anyone who understands that stuff. In a nutshell, it means it is near impossible to slow the phone down – browsing the internet, opening and closing apps, it will still work as quickly as ever.
   One unique feature of the phone is BlinkFeed. This produces a screen full of different sized feeds, meaning that it is different from the plain blocks of normal Android phones.
   With Facebook, Twitter, and news feeds accessible on this screen, it is a central database of the latest goings-on. BlinkFeed makes everything easier to follow.
   There is another option. The HTC One Mini was released in August, and while it does not have the same memory, and has a slightly lower resolution screen, the slimmer, lighter and smaller model comes with an equally shrunken price tag. Perfect for students.

The Tablet

With the tablet market one of the fastest growing, and with tablets often used as replacements for laptops, getting the right one is important.
   And we aren’t talking the difference between Tesco and ASDA brand Paracetamol – these tablets are far more important.
   The Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 has it all for us. It has a great display, is comfortable to hold, and comes at exquisite value.
   Perhaps one of the most important features is that it is integrated with Amazon from the off. It is an entertainment device primarily, and has access to t he extensive range of books available on Amazon’s eBook devices.
   But the Kindle Fire tablet offers more than that, with a large selection of apps available. Unique features of the Kindle Fire are limited, as Amazon has made itself flexible to almost all tablets.
   But the Fire HD’s price tag means this is a vastly cheaper option, especially compared to the Apple Ipad Mini at £269 and the Samsung Galaxy Note at £350. Costing just £229 for the 16GB one, or £259 for double the size, it is by far the best value of tablets of this size.
   The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 has been kept simple, cost-effective, and does a job for the everyday user.

The Laptop

Amid a range of developing technology and the rise of tablets, the price of laptops is dropping. And they are always a useful tool, with the amount of programmes available for them.
   There are laptops for all needs, from solely internet access to full on hard-core gaming devices.
   As far as value for money is concerned – and let’s face it that is almost everybody’s concern these days – you can’t look beyond the HP Pavilion series.
   This collection of laptops range in functionality and price depending on your needs, so an independent look would be worthwhile.
   But with strong features throughout the range, including HD screens, a whole heap of memory and decent quality processors, this is the way forward if you’re looking for a laptop.
   On top of all that, the price is low. As low as it gets for a top-grade laptop.
   The pick of the bunch in the HP Pavilion g6-2241sa. Worth around £320, it is equipped with Windows 8 and everything you would need for university, including 6GB of memory and 750GB of hard drive space.
   And with a long-life battery, lasting six hours, you will rarely be required to plug in.