Gift Guide 2011: The hottest high-tech gifts for students

by Amelia Gray | November 22, 2011

From note-taking applications to textbook rental programs, the top gift offerings of the year will have students taking technology back to school. Take a look at 2011's top high-tech holiday trends for the students in your life. You might even find the perfect high-tech gift to put on your own wish list.

iPod Touch
Kindle Fire
SanDisk Ultra® Backup USB Flash Drive
Thinkpad Edge E425
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Student Gift Idea: Apple iPod TouchStudent Gift Idea: Apple iPod TouchStudent Gift Idea: Kindle FireStudent Gift Idea: Kindle FireStudent Gift Idea: EvernoteStudent Gift Idea: EvernoteStudent Gift Idea: ClockyStudent Gift Idea: ClockyStudent Gift Idea: SanDisk Flash DriveStudent Gift Idea: SanDisk Flash DriveStudent Gift Idea: ThinkPadStudent Gift Idea: ThinkPad

For information, communication and media on the go, it's hard to beat the iPod Touch. Students can download podcasts and videos from iTunes U, Apple's free access educational content database. Homesick freshmen use FaceTime to phone home, while note-taking applications like OneNote make it simple to record lectures and ideas on the go. Plus, enjoy all the games, apps and tunes that Apple is known for, all wrapped up in a sleek design that will start conversations on the quad. Starting at $199.

Potentially the first true competitor to the mighty iPad, the Kindle Fire offers color Web browsing, magazines, apps, games and a lending library for $300 less. The specific appeal to students, however, is in the Kindle's textbook rental program. With Kindle Textbook Rental, you can browse textbooks online, and if one is available for rental, choose your rental time--between 30 and 360 days--read it on your computer and all your mobile devices, and save up to 80 percent off the textbook's list price while you're at it. You can even make notes, annotations and highlights without a bookstore owner scolding you at the end of the semester. $199

From smart phone to tablet to notebook, no student device is complete with this powerful note-taking tool. Subscribe your student to the premium version, and your super student will enjoy searchable printed or handwritten text, larger note file sizes, and supersized uploads. With download capability, they'll even be able to take entire notebooks offline for easy use even when away from the Web. For the scholar with a closet bulging with spiral notebooks and reams of handwritten pages, Evernote could be a lifesaver. $45/year

Like Superman and his Kryptonite, you super student has only one weakness. They can pass difficult exams in a single leap and soar over the toughest study sessions, but the evil alarm clock gets them every time. For those who can press snooze from their sleep, Clocky offers the perfect solution: after you hit snooze once, the little guy scoots away on wheels, bouncing and careening across the room to a hiding spot just out of your reach. "Clocky is, quite simply, the most obvious way I could think to get out of bed," says Clocky inventor and company founder Gauri Nanda. "In this 'hide-and-seek' game, you wake up in the process!" $49.99

No final project is complete without a good backup option. Keep your student safe from computer-lab crashes and late-night power surges with a flash drive that doubles as a simple backup device. The drive backs up material quickly and easily at the touch of a button without additional software. A handy flash drive might not be the most impressive gift under the tree this year, but this practical little stocking stuffer could save your student's academic life. Starting at $44.99

If you're sending your student off to college with his or her first laptop, you'll need something that's reasonably priced, powerful, and rugged enough to withstand spills from that last cup of all-nighter coffee. Lenovo's latest offering fits the bill. With a cool fingerprint reader, 8.3 hours of battery life and up to 750GB HDD storage, this powerful machine beautifully combines form and function. For casual gamers, the AMD Radeon™ graphics with DirectX® 11 support appeals, and Windows 7 offers an efficient operating system in the background. A spill-resistant keyboard even wards off errant liquids. Starting at $1,134

About the Author

Amelia Gray is a freelance writer in Los Angeles.