2015 Back to School Gift Guide


The new school year will be starting soon (and it likely already has for some people), which means that it’s time to get those students in your life the tools they’ll need in order to survive the next nine months. No, we’re not talking about boring stuff like pencils and notebooks, but rather the cool gadgets and gear that help make campus life a little more enjoyable. Here are some great gift ideas that just about any student can use.

SOL REPUBLIC Shadow Wireless Headphones


One of the hottest trends on the headphones market these days is those futuristic looking Bluetooth headsets that people wear around their necks. But while they definitely take a little getting used to compared to more traditional headphones, it’s easy to see what makes them so appealing to some consumers. SOL REPUBLIC recently released its own version of a wireless, around-the-neck headset with the Shadow, and not only is it incredibly lightweight and flexible, but it rests so comfortably on your neck that you sometimes forget it’s even there. In addition to boasting CD-quality audio that’s good enough for the average user, the Shadow features a built-in microphone and three-button remote, as well as a fairly decent battery with up to 8 hours of playback and a week of standby time. It can also control two devices (like your phone and laptop) at the same time, and is both water and sweat resistant, so you can wear it just about everywhere you go without worrying about damage. Although it would have been nice if the headset included retractable earbuds like some of its competitors, it’s not a deal breaker, especially when there’s so much other stuff to love about the Shadow.

Griffin LightRunner Armband


The only thing more important than protecting your smartphone while running is protecting yourself, especially at night, which is why we love this new armband from the mobile device accessories gurus at Griffin. In addition to being compatible with a number of different devices – including the three most recent versions of the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, as well as less popular models like the HTC One and Moto X – the LightRunner is surprisingly lightweight for its size and easy to get on and off your arm. Though the tight fit makes it impossible to use with an accompanying case (unless you have one of Apple’s minimalist cases), it does a decent job of protecting against potential dents, scuffs and screen scratches. The best thing about the LightRunner, however, is in its name, as it also features LED lights embedded in both sides of the armband that can be set to three different light patterns – continuous, repeating and flashing – so that drivers, bikers and anyone else you may encounter on your nighttime run know exactly where you are. If you’re a big runner and heading off to college, this is a must-have item.

Moleskine Wallet and iPad Mini Portfolio

A lot of people know Moleskine as the company behind those simple yet stylish notebooks – and rightfully so, because that’s where its bread has been buttered for the past two decades – but in recent years, Moleskine has expanded its product line to other areas as well, including laptop bags, mobile device cover, and even wallets, passport holders and luggage tags. Basically, anything where leather is involved. We had the chance to sample two of these items – the Black Leather Horizontal Wallet and the Tablet Slim Cover for iPad Mini – and loved them both. Though the wallet is a little wider than traditional styles, it features quality leather, plenty of card slots on the outside and inside, and a bright green splash of color in the cash pocket. Meanwhile, the tablet cover combines the protection you need with the functionality of a typical Moleskine product by including an internal rubber shell for the iPad Mini and a Voltant Reporter Notebook that can be placed on either side of the device so you have somewhere to jot down notes or doodle during class. Of course, if neither of these fit your needs, you can’t go wrong with a Moleskine notebook or weekly planner, which come in a variety of colors and styles.