15 great gadgets for the back-to-school crowd

Devices that can help you at work or play, in the classroom or the dorm

  • The Altec Lansing VS3251 offers five 9W satellites with 2.5-in. full-range drivers and a 25W subwoofer for $79.

  • Western Digital's My Passport portable hard drives make it easy to back up your data and keep it readily available.

  • LapWorks Inc.'s Futura is a folding lap desk that doubles as a desktop stand. The slotted design helps keep both your laptop and your lap cooler.

  • Elgato's EyeTV Hybrid USB tuner stick does NTSC, ASTC and QAM; includes a TV viewing app and program-guide service; and uses a software encoder for recording.

  •'s Kindle e-reader downloads books wirelessly, and the e-ink screen technology delivers battery life measured in days.

  • The Bookeen Cybook is an e-reader for the person who needs to display e-books and documents in many different formats.

  • Security tags from make it easy for people who find things you lose to get them back to you.

  • The WinTV-HVR 950Q turns your laptop into a TV tuner and video recorder and adds a tuner for the unencrypted QAM channels delivered over cable.

  • Philips' Travel Phone for Skype makes a USB connection through a cable that stores on the phone and displays your contact list on its LCD screen.

  • The Lexmark X4650 is a compact multifunction device that has good photo-printing features, and best of all, it's wireless.

  • The Ipevo Free.2 is available in Mac white as well as black and has a four-line display and a call-recording feature in its driver software.

  • The Sony Reader doesn't have the Kindle's wireless networking and doesn't work with Macs, but it wraps the same e-ink screen in a smaller and lighter form.

  • When you need to feel the volume, the Altec Lansing FX5051 six-channel USB sound system provides a six-channel surround mode for games.

  • Matias Corp.'s USB 2.0 Keyboard includes a pass-through USB 2.0 port easily accessible on top of the unit.

  • Zoom's Handy Recorder H2 is an audio recorder that includes four directional microphones that record in either WAV or MP3 format.

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