Google Productivity Pad: iPad for college Part 4: Accessories and Peripherals

Saturday, September 28, 2013

iPad for college Part 4: Accessories and Peripherals

As you take your iPad to college you may find out that what you get out of the box and from the App Store is not enough. You may find that you need some hardware solutions to compliment your iPads usefulness. Here are a few types of accessories that you may find useful.

Cases and covers: these are probably the most common iPad accessories. There are thousands to choose from. They range from standard Apple smart covers to teddybears with tummy screens. The important thing is to get one that matches your needs and style.

Keyboards: If you are using your iPad as your main computing device at college you will probably want to have an external keyboard for it. Particularly for writing all those research papers. Just like cases, there are tons of iPad keyboards to choose from. In fact, some keyboards are cases and some cases are keyboards. Almost all the keyboards now connect to the iPad via Bluetooth. If you need help connecting one check out my tutorial here.

Styli: If you want to take handwritten notes, draw, or do photo editing, you may find it useful to have a stylus instead of just your finger. There are many different styli on the market ranging anywhere from 10¢ to almost $100.
Most styli have a rubbery tip to mimic the conductive nature of a human finger on a capacitive screen. The only big difference in choosing one of these styli is the size, weight, color of the barrel. Other than that they essentially write the same. My recommendation, if you are going to get on of these, is to buy one in the <$1.00 range to see if you it like it before investing in something more expensive.
But my real recommendation on a stylus is to go one of the versions of the Jot from Adonit. They are currently the only precision styli that I know of. Because they use an innovative capacitive disk instead of a rubber tip they actually mimic the way you would write with a ball point pen. I will be doing a full review of them soon.

Hotspot -- if you have a wifi only iPad you may want to consider getting a hotspot to provide yourself with Internet when you are away from wifi. This probably isn't necessary, but can be useful if you need to travel a lot or have an unreliable home or school connection.
There are a lot of different options here as well. My recommendation is the Karma hotspot if it has coverage in your area, you can read a full review here. Another good option is if you are already paying for data on a smartphone you may just be able to turn that phone on as a hotspot depending on your carrier plan.  Also most of the major carriers and prepaid companies offer the option of getting a hotspot with month to month data.

Wi-drive -- one of the issues that can arise from going all iPad is a lack of memory. If you are smart about cloud storage that can help with the problem, but if you are consistently running out of space on your device you may want to consider getting an external wi-drive to help out. The wi-drive connects with your iPad of wifi and allows you to store your files remotely. This is especially useful for things like videos that tend to eat up a lot of the iPad's limited memory.

Camera kit -- if you are using a camera other than the one built into the iPad or an iPhone you will need a camera kit to transfer your photos from your memory card to the photo app. I have never used one myself so I can't make any recommendations based on personal experience. The other option is to get an eye-fi card for your camera and transfer them via wifi.

Apple TV -- if you have an HDTV at your dorm or apparmtent you may want to consider getting an Apple TV. Besides allowing you living room access to all of your iTunes content, the Apple TV will let you mirror whatever is on your iPad onto your television screen. This has the effect of creating a big screen monitor for your iPad. This is awesome for playing video games, ahem, I mean working on homework.

Well guys, I know there is a lot there, remember you don't necessarily need all or any of these. Decking out your iPad can end up getting very expensive. Remember to evaluate each choice based on your needs and budget.

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Thanks for reading, and remember, live better.

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