These days students need more than text books and a new PE kit when they head back to school, college or university for a new year of education. Brand-new computers, peripherals and gadgets are a must-have too.

We've selected 9 essential products - along with some great web apps and smartphone apps for iPhone and Android - that will help get you through another year. Whether you're a student yourself or a relative looking to give a going-away gift, you'll find something here to ease the transition back to life on campus. Of course, these devices don't have to be used by students only - gadget lovers might find something useful for the office or road as well.

We focused on gadgets with an educational purpose, though we also included a few digital aids for college life in general. Our other criteria are that a device can't cost more than £150, portability's a good thing and appearance counts.

Presentation remote

Sooner or later in your school career, you're likely to find yourself in front of a room giving a presentation. To help it go smoothly, equip yourself with a presentation remote that lets you control your slides without leashing you to your computer. The three we like all have laser pointers, because what's the use of being able to walk around if you have to keep going over to the screen to point at something?

We like the look and feel of the Logitech Wireless Presenter R400. At £29.99, it has the basic forward and back buttons you need to step through your slides; the fact that the buttons are big and deep-set should make them easy to find in a darkened room.

A little more spend buys you not just forward and back buttons but the ability to control your cursor remotely and run any multimedia elements your presentation might include. The Kensington SlimBlade Presenter Media Mouse (£49.99.99), for example, is just a regular laser mouse with a scroll ball when resting on a table. Turn it over, though, and on the underside there are play/pause, skip track, and volume control buttons for multimedia. Slide the switch to presenter mode, and those same buttons now start and stop your presentation, advance through the slides and activate the laser pointer.

You can use the SlimBlade to control your computer's cursor during a presentation, but you have to put it on a surface like any other mouse. The Targus Multimedia Presentation Remote (£29.99), on the other hand, lets you play 'air mouse', moving your cursor from where you stand. In addition to the standard presentation control buttons, it also has a volume control. One nice touch: The USB receiver dongle nestles in the unit's battery compartment, making it harder to lose.

Note: If you make presentations using Keynote on a Mac, you can use your iPhone or iPod Touch to control presentations with Apple's Keynote Remote app (59p). Keynote Remote does not work with Microsoft's PowerPoint presentation software.

NEXT PAGE: Multidevice charger

  1. Essential student gadgets
  2. Multidevice charger
  3. Docking station
  4. Laptop cooler
  5. On-the-go hot spot
  6. Five web apps for students
  7. Seven great smartphone apps