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Smart tech for your scholar

Our tech expert introduces new back-to-school devices and software to lighten your student's load and keep her organized, so she'll hit the ground running this fall!

By Christina Tynan-Wood

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HP Envy x2

Your student says she needs a laptop, but you wonder if a tablet will suffice. This two-in-one will. It’s a super-light laptop complete with the plugs most tablets don’t have: two USB ports for connecting tech extras (like cameras) and an HDMI port to plug in a big monitor for games and movies. It has every angle covered — from desk jockey to geek on the-move. And when tablet envy kicks in, just push a button to separate keyboard from screen: presto, you’ve got a tablet!  And like the best tablets, this one has a front and back camera, touch screen, headphone jack, and (Windows) apps. But this tablet operates on Windows 8, so all that traditional software — including Photoshop, Outlook, and games — work, too. Nothing left at home for the sake of portability. In fact, as long as there’s a Wi-Fi connection handy, she’s got the whole wide world in her bag. I can’t think of a better salve for the pain of going back to school.

HP Envy x2, $649.99

Christina Tynan-Wood has written for Better Homes and Gardens, Popular Science, PC World, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, and many others. She currently writes the "Family Tech" column in Family Circle and blogs at GeekGirlfriends.com.

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