Sadly, the days of Trapper Keepers and gel pens are gone. If you want to start the school year off right, using the latest tech gear is becoming more and more essential. As much as we love to use these tech toys for more frivolous endeavors like social media and games, these products can also be incredibly useful as learning aids, helping students get their projects done faster and in more innovative ways. Put your best foot forward this semester by investing in some of these cutting-edge tech tools.

1. BlackBerry Key2 ($650): Old-school Blackberry fans will be happy to know their favorite phone is back 鈥 and better than ever. This new model features a Speed Key that makes it possible to activate shortcuts to apps and initiate actions from anywhere without returning to the home screen or swiping endlessly. It also boasts a two-day battery life, a dual camera, and enhanced security features.

2. Apple 9.7-Inch iPad ($329+): The latest iPad is Apple鈥檚 best tablet yet. This powerful new model is comparable to many laptop computers in terms of performance and accessibility, allowing for the use of several apps at once. (Perfect for students who love to multitask!)

3. Bose QuietComfort聽35聽Wireless Headphones II ($349): These comfy, over-ear, wireless headphones are first-class when it comes to zoning out after class or tuning out excess noise to finish a big paper.

4. Apple AirPods ($159): These trendy wireless earbuds are a must-have for stylish students facing a long commute to class. Apple says you can get five hours of listening time on a single charge, which is plenty of time to make a dent in the audio version of that dense reading assignment.

5. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ($120): For students who prefer to carry their books on one slim reader, the Paperwhite e-ink reader is a no-brainer. There are tons of titles available through Amazon 鈥 compatible ebooks can even be borrowed from many libraries 鈥 and the Paperwhite鈥檚 guided frontlight (as opposed to a tablet-style backlight) won鈥檛 tire the eyes during cram sessions.

6. MacBook Pro 13-Inch ($1,299+): A fast processor, a retina display, and tons of memory make this speedy little laptop an easy choice for students who need something reliable for working on the go. Not only is the Pro excellent for basic computing needs like taking notes or writing papers: It can also run complicated professional-grade software, which makes it a great match for students working with image or video editing apps or memory-intensive programming tools.

7. Casetify Leather Crossbody Case ($100): With a backpack in one hand and a gym bag in the other, the last thing a busy student needs is to be rummaging around for their phone. Casetify鈥檚 new crossbody and wristlet cases keep phones and other essentials handy while also offering a new way to accessorize.

8. Microsoft Surface Book 2 ($1,199+): This handy tool can function as a laptop or a tablet based on the user鈥檚 needs at any moment. Students who work with graphics or design will especially love this well-built machine, which was designed to work with software like Adobe Creative Suite.

9. Apple Beats聽BeatsX ($150): If you love the sleekness and convenience of wireless earbuds but aren鈥檛 into the idea of AirPods, BeatsX is the ideal alternative for you. These little babies have eight hours of battery life, are magnetic to stay around your neck when out of your ears, and wrap around the back of your neck for security.

10. Samsung Galaxy A8 ($380): Anyone who gets their hands on this phone will wonder how they ever survived without it. The huge display and low light camera give gorgeous pictures at any time of day and let the user catch up on their reading without squinting if they鈥檝e invested in an ebook instead of lugging around the hardcopy.

11. Sphero Mini ($50): This tiny ball may seem like a toy, but it鈥檚 actually all about teaching programming basics. Just pair the ball with the Sphero Edu app to drag and drop blocks of code to customize its behavior 鈥 or even write custom JavaScript instructions.

12. Canon Pixma TS9521C Wireless ($250): Quickly and easily print sharp text and colorful photos with this all-in-one wireless inkjet printer made for crafting, which fits comfortably on a dorm desk or in a teen鈥檚 bedroom. You can print photos, images, and documents, greeting cards, labels, and more.

13. WD Elements聽Portable Hard Drive ($50+): While students back in the day had to carry tons of heavy books and overstuffed binders, students in 2018 have to carry piles of digital data. The best way to keep track of everything is a lightweight hard drive with plenty of storage. This model starts at 500 GB, or you can opt for one as large as 4 TB.

What are your recommendations for back-to-school tech supplies? Share them with us on Twitter @BritandCo!

(Featured photo via Getty)

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.