Back to School Guide [2018 Edition]

As autumn approaches, it’s time again for students to equip themselves for the upcoming school year – which increasingly means purchasing a wide array of tech gadgets and gizmos. Here at MobileSyrup, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for everything from video games to gadgets.

Instax camera and printer

There’s something calming about the simplicity of Fuji’s back-to-basics Instax cameras and printers.

There’s few buttons on the series of cameras -- all you do is point, shoot and then a physical photo prints directly from the device, returning the often complicated hobby of photography back to a very accessible place that’s perfect for instantly capturing special moments with friends.

The Instax Square SQ6 prints out square-sized instant Polaroid-style images and is priced at $269 CAD on Amazon. The SP3 printer costs $210.

$152, $211

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon

Surface Full-sized keyboard

Microsoft’s high-end keyboard is named after the company’s Surface line of products, and it’s about as good as it gets.

That said, if you’re the type of person who doesn’t enjoy chiclet keyboards, this isn't the peripheral for you. For the rest of us, this is keyboard heaven. Each key is responsive, spaced well and the key-press feedback is reminiscent of the MacBook Air’s legendary keyboard.

The Keyboard is a little pricey at $129 CAD, but the experience is worth that price tag. Students can even grab the keyboard for the slightly reduced price of $116 CAD.


Buy from Microsoft

UE Boom 2

Logitech-owned Ultimate Ears has been producing great speakers for years now. As a result, it's not surprising that the company's UE Boom 2 offering is also outstanding. The Bluetooth speaker's cylindrical build pumps out great sound.

Its small footprint means that its bass isn’t ground shaking, but it makes up for that with clean sound and a handful of killer features. The UE Boom 2 lasts for around 15 hours on a single charge, and its waterproof up to a depth of 30 metres. Users can also wirelessly chain together multiple UE speakers to crank up the volume.

The speaker retails for around $199 CAD, but it's also often on sale for $150 or less.


Buy from UE

Bluewave Get

No one ever said that smartphone audio needed to be exceptional, but no one said it had to be terrible either.

Thankfully, Bluewave’s Get Bluetooth audio amplifier is the perfect solution for anyone who loves listening to music or watching videos on-the-go, but who also wants deep, rich sound quality from their headphones.

The Bluewave Get connects to smartphones, laptops, tablets and pretty much any other Bluetooth-enabled device to deliver the kind of sound quality typically only reserved for professional headsets. The best part is that all you need to listen to your content is a pair of headphones with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Bluewave Get is priced at $159 CAD.


Buy from Bluewave

OnePlus 6

The OnePlus 6 is jam packed with storage and RAM that makes it blazing fast. Along with being a powerhouse, the phone is a great value proposition, starting at just $699. Even at that price, the OnePlus 6 goes toe-to-toe with some of the biggest names, like the Galaxy S9 or the iPhone 8.

Further, OnePlus has a sweet Student Program running right now. After verifying that you’re a student, you’re eligible for five percent off one device and 10 percent off of gear and accessories. 

Additionally, OnePlus is running a Summer promo that lets you get the OnePlus 6 with free Bullets V2 headphones and a fast charger. The OnePlus 6 makes for a great option for students who want a top of the line phone without breaking the bank. The smartphone is priced at $699. 

$699 no-term

Buy from OnePlus

Surface Go

Students in 2018 have a wealth of choices when it comes to the perfect portable computer to accompany them on their university or college journey, but consider Microsoft’s latest 2-in-1, the 10-inch Surface Go. The Surface Go’s versatility -- with the ability to function both as a laptop and a tablet -- is its greatest strength.

While it’s only 85 percent the size of a full-sized keyboard, the Surface Go’s Type Cover (sold separately: $129 to $169) offers a smooth and comfortable typing experience, making it perfect for drafting long essays.

Students in the sciences, meanwhile, will appreciate Surface Go’s stylus support when they’re in the middle of a lab report. And when it finally comes time to procrastinate, the Go’s 10-inch screen offers a sharp and vibrant media viewing experience. Best of all, Surface Go is light and portable, a huge bonus when trekking across campus in the dead of winter.


Buy from Microsoft

Google Home Mini

While far from the highest quality smart speaker out there, the Google Home Mini is nonetheless a solid audio solution for cash-strapped students who don’t want to break the bank.

Like its larger Google Home counterpart, the Mini features integration with most popular music streaming services, including Google Play Music and Spotify, as well as intuitive Google Assistant voice command functionality.

The Home Mini’s small size also makes it convenient to carry around with you, whether you’re bringing it to a friend’s dorm or back home when you’re leaving campus.

The speaker is also currently on sale until September 6 at participating retailers. The Home Mini can now be snagged for $49 CAD on Google’s website or $45 at Best Buy, down from the regular price of $79 CAD.

From $49.99

Buy from Google

iPhone 8 / Galaxy S9

If buying a device outright doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s plenty of great deals on other phones. Quite a few of last year’s (and this year’s) hottest devices are available on two-year contracts with multiple Canadian carriers for low prices right now  

For the Apple fans out there, the iPhone 8 is available for $0 on most two-year contracts. Further, the 8 Plus is priced at $0 as well. If you’ve had your eye on the iPhone X for a while, some carriers have it for $99.99 on their highest tier plan.

For the Android fans, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are also on sale for $0 on select plans. The Pixel 2 XL is also $0 on select plans, but it’s been rather hard to find lately. If you’re looking for a premium device to take you through your school year, there are plenty of great options available now. 

$0 on a 2-year term –
$1,139 no-term

Buy from various Canadian carriers

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch isn't exactly the most powerful console out there, but it's the perfect video game system for students.

The Switch's hybrid nature allows students to start playing Super Mario Odyssey at home and then bring the experience to class with them - not that MobileSyrup would ever recommended playing video games while at school, of course.

While the Switch doesn’t feature a library as expansive as the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One's, the system's comparably small collection of games is stellar and includes critically acclaimed titles like Mario Tennis Aces, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and upcoming games such as Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Super Smash Bros Ultimate. The Nintendo Switch is priced at $379 CAD.


Buy from Best Buy

Apple AirPods

While Apple's AirPods were the butt of many jokes when they were first revealed, the Bluetooth-enabled earbuds have become synonymous with wireless headphones over the last few years

While other manufactures have jumped onboard with their own wireless earbud offerings, Apple's proprietary W1 chip makes the connection process as simple as just popping the AirPods out of their case.

Sure, their sound quality might not be up to par with comparably priced over-the-ear headphones from other high-end manufacturers, but Apple's AirPods make up for this shortcoming through pure convenience.


Buy from Apple