Our editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, TechRepublic may earn a commission.

Essential back-to-school gear and supplies

Back-to-school shopping is definitely different this year, and students are looking for something to make them stand out in a year that's been anything but ordinary.

It's a new type of school year for students around the country, with a variety of hybrid and NTI learning environments taking the place of full time, in-person classrooms. Despite the change in how students are learning this year, they'll still appreciate some cool back-to-school gear.

Whether your favorite student is in K-8, high school or college, there's something useful for them in this carefully curated list.

Apex Pro TKL Keyboard

apex-pro-tkl.jpg

Image: Apex

This top-of-the-line keyboard keeps selling out because it's so popular. It has adjustable mechanical switches for customizable per-key sensitivity and an OLED smart display for information straight from games and apps. It will make both the student and gamer happy with it's supreme functionality. $179.99

Razer Pro Click Wireless Mouse

razer-pro-mouse.jpg

Image: Razer

This high-precision ergonomic wireless mouse was co-designed with Razer and Humanscale and features Razer 5G Advanced Optical Sensor. It has an extended battery life of up to 400 hours. It works for school and gaming. $99.99

Ergotron Mobile Desk

ergotron-mobile-desk.jpg

Image: Ergotron

If a student is working from home, this mobile desk will travel to wherever they need in the house. It's height-adjustable whether they want to sit or stand, and it has a cup holder, tablet slot and a pen tray. $392

MSi GF65 Thin Laptop

msi-gf65-laptop.jpg

Image: MSi

The latest series of gaming laptops from MSi are also ideal for students. The GF65 has a 15.6" display, it's lightweight at 4.1 lbs. and has 7-plus hours of battery life on a single charge. It uses a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX1660Ti graphics card. It has 6G of VRAM and 8GB of system memory and 512GB of storage. 

Polaroid Now Analog Instant Camera

polaroid.jpg

Image: Polaroid

A little nostalgia with the Polaroid Now will give students a chance to capture a few images this school year, with appropriate social distancing, of course. It comes in red, blue, green, yellow, orange, black or white and uses iconic Polaroid instant film. $99.99

Logitech Design Collection Wireless Mouse

logitech-mouse.jpg

Image: Office Depot

This wireless mouse brightens up a student's workspace and has a lightweight portable design with built-in USB storage, so it's easy for stuffing in a backpack. It has optical technology and 1000 dpi movement resolution for pinpoint accuracy and comes in a variety of designs. $17.99

Speck Business Backpack

speck-backpack.jpg

Image: Speck

Since some students have to head back to their school campus at least part-time, Speck's business backpack gives them plenty of room for the commute back and forth. It has a laptop compartment, cord storage, packing cubes and a built-in USB port. $100

Mobile Edge All-in-One USB-C Adapter Hub

all-in-one-usb-c-adapter-hub-turn-a-single-usb-c-port-into-a-powerhouse-workstation.jpg

Image: Mobile Edge

The All-in-One USB-C Adapter Hub turns a single USB-C Port into a workstation with instant expansion that securely connects everything to your laptop or tablet through a USB-C cable. It provides 4K HDMI Video Output, SD/Micro SD Card Reader, and two high speed USB ports for 5GB data transfer.

Apex Arctis 7 Headset

arctis-7-headset.jpg

Image: Apex

If you want a great headset without spending premium prices, this wireless gaming version from Apex will work for school and for after-school gaming. It has a bidirectional microphone and a DTS headphone:X v2.0 surround sound and a 24-hour battery. $149.99

ASUS Chromebook Flip C436

chromebook-flip-c436.jpg

Image: ASUS

The ASUS C436 Chromebook is certified by Intel's Project Athena specification for thin and light laptops and it's equipped with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB RAM/512GB M.2 SSD, and lasts up to 12 hours on a single charge. It also has a versatile 360° ErgoLift hinge that allows you to easily convert it to a tent/tablet mode and it has a touchscreen that's compatible with any USI stylus. $999.99

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

samsung-galaxy-buds-live.jpg

Image: Samsung

The newest wireless earbuds of the moment are from Samsung, introduced at Samsung Unpacked in August. Galaxy Buds Live have an ergonomic design, come in Mystic Bronze, Mystic White or Mystic Black, and are priced at $169.99.