Computers / Hands-on Review

Back to School: Tech for Every Major


They say that a man is only as good as his tools. Well, here at B&H, we believe that a student is only as good as their tech. With that motto in mind, we’ve put together a list of back-to-school gear aimed at addressing the needs of various majors and disciplines. No pens and paper here, this is all advanced gadgetry. Grab your syllabus and let’s go.

Law Degree

For students working toward a law degree, a reliable laptop is absolutely vital. Few disciplines require as much studying, research, and scholarly exposition as a J.D. On top of that, you need to be mobile, and you need resources as mobile as you are. To handle all those demands, we suggest the Lenovo Yoga Book. This multi-tasking marvel helps you do it all, from taking handwritten notes with the included Real Pen to web browsing case results to writing briefs and outlining trial advocacy prep. The Yoga Book features a bright, 10.1” 1920 x 1200 display and a 360° hinge that allows you to use it either as a notebook or tablet, making it perfect for students that have to split time between the courtroom, classroom, and commons.

Lenovo 10.1" Yoga Book Multi-Touch 2-in-1 Notebook

Fine Arts Degree

As the proud owner of a Masters in Fine Arts, allow me to give you a small piece of advice: don’t do it! Go to law school, go to med school, learn a trade! There’s no requirement that says you need an MFA to end up working the counter at the MoMA gift shop. But, if you are dead set on suffering (financially) for your art, might we recommend the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16. This digital drawing tablet allows you to bring all your creative ideas to life, thanks to its 4K resolution, true-to-life- etched-glass display, and a Pro Pen 2 stylus that features four times the pressure sensitivity and accuracy of its forebears. The end result is lifelike, no-lag performance with virtually no parallax. And while no MFA program can guarantee artistic success, with the Cintiq Pro 16, there’s no limit to the art you can create.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 Creative Pen & Touch Display

Finance Degree

A degree in finance can be a lucrative one. Work hard enough and the world will be your oyster, the future shall shine bright, even your parachute will be golden. But, if you really want to be the next Gordon Gekko or Goldman Sachs CEO, you need to be more than just sharp and studious—you’ll also need to be well connected. We don’t mean “my great uncle used to play squash with JP Morgan in Hartford” connected. We’re talking about having the most reliable, connected, and powerful smartphone on the market: the Samsung Galaxy S8. As of this writing, the Galaxy S8 is probably the greatest phone ever built (and that’s coming from an iPhone user). Want proof? Look at the S8’s screen: an awe-inspiring 5.8" AMOLED display with Quad HD 2960 x 1440 resolution. Or its industry-leading camera setup: a front-facing, 8MP, wide-angle lens and powerful 12MP rear shooter with an f/1.7 aperture capable of delivering spectacular footage in almost any light condition. It’s waterproof; it’s dustproof. It won’t protect you from a federal subpoena, but the 3000mAh battery provides more than enough juice to get you through a busy day of hearings. Powering the S8 is the new Snapdragon 835 chipset, which lets you trade, talk, wheel and deal—all at lightning speeds. And, because it’s a cutting-edge device, the Galaxy S8 runs the latest Android operating system right out of the box. No word on when the ethics patch will be available though.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Smartphone

Medical Degree

Several former friends of mine have gone on to medical school. I say former because once enrolled I never really saw them again. Apparently, becoming a doctor doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for socializing. However, when one of those former friends did reemerge, I was able to glean a few details about the typical med student’s life, and what tech would prove most useful. The answer? A fully-capable tablet. Our recommendation is the 9.7” iPad (2017) from Apple. Look, the next four years of your life are going to be non-stop studying, test-taking, researching, and doing rotations. You need something that can handle the demands of your rigorous course load, travels easy, and keeps you connected at all times. The new iPad checks all those boxes and then some. Featuring an Apple A9 chip, the latest 9.7” iPad is both incredibly fast and energy efficient, giving you up to 10 hours of use on a full charge. Its Retina Display delivers unrivaled clarity and image quality, and its slight frame and slightly-more-than-a-pound weight makes it easy to tote around. It’s got plenty of other student-friendly features, too, including an 8MP rear camera and a front-facing FaceTime HD, Touch ID security, and seamless integration with other Apple devices. On top of that, Siri comes built-in, so even if you don’t have time for friends, you’ll still have someone to talk to.

Apple 9.7" iPad

Liberal Arts Degree

Ah, a Liberal Arts degree: the catch-all of college curriculum, the discursive discipline for dallying degree deciders. We kid, we kid. I, for one, am very proud of my liberal arts degree—it’s where I learned all about alliteration. And while there are far too many disciplines under the Liberal Arts umbrella to name, there is one piece of equipment that serves them all: a handy messenger bag. Sure, it’s not tech per se, but considering the varying demands of all the various Liberal Arts majors, a reliable messenger bag is a must-have piece of equipment. To that point, we strongly recommend the Everyday Messenger from Peak Design. As its name suggests, the Everyday Messenger serves all your needs, regardless of major. It can be worn in various styles, has enough space and pockets for all your books and supplies, and is weather-resistant to boot, so your stuff doesn’t get soaked between rainy-day classes. Don’t believe how good it is? Check out a review by our own resident college boy, who dedicated a missive to his undying affection for the Everyday Messenger. Trust me when I say, that as his cubicle neighbor of many years, if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for anyone.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

Is there tech that everyone in your major is using that didn't make the list? Add your suggestions to the comments below!