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Back-to-School Tech Guide with Jennifer Jolly

Posted at 12:14 PM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 12:14:29-04

Students everywhere are gearing up for the new school year, and for many, that means it’s time for a gadget refresh. With so many choices, sales, and new devices launching this fall, it’s overwhelming to know where to start. Tech Life expert Jennifer Jolly helps us find some hidden gems, and shares some advice on how to keep our kids safe online.

A Laptop With Guts

VAIO laptops are back, better, and more affordable than ever. The latest VAIO FE notebook comes in three models, with Full HD anti-glare screens, two built-in speakers, a front-facing camera with a privacy shutter, a fingerprint scanner, and a precision touchpad. The 12th Gen Intel Core processors, Windows 11, and THX Spatial Audio deliver maximum performance and more immersive experiences in this slim, lightweight, portable design. It packs 10+ hours of battery life per charge, and great specs at a solid mid-range price, starting at $700.

A Smartphone That Lasts

Fall is all about the latest smartphone launches, and three things make the already-released OnePlus 10 Pro a top contender for the best handset of the year. It starts with the camera package, with three on the back including a sharpshooting telephoto for amazing zooms; and two of them have sky-high megapixel counts. OnePlus’s Billion Color Solution allows for more clarity, color range, and vivid “pop right off the screenshots.” Add even more additional camera tricks from Hasselblad and it really is a content-creators dream device. Its ultra-fast charging is another big plus, getting you a full day’s power in just 15 minutes, and the price just dropped by $100. It’s a huge value and a smart choice for a teen’s phone that needs an upgrade. OnePlus is also offering 50% off earbuds and its smartwatch with the purchase of the 10 Pro, which makes the deal even sweeter.

High-Tech Audio For All Ages

It’s not just older kids getting back into the swing of school; their younger counterparts are, too. Kids of all ages want their own headphones, but it’s important to keep safe volume levels top of mind to protect their precious hearing. I really like the LeapPods Max over-ear headphones. They not only play music, podcasts, and audiobooks, but they come already loaded with hours of pre-recorded activities. The parent-approved audio can take kids on adventures, get the mind and body moving with active challenges, introduce mindfulness activities, and more. They come with the little Adventure Passport guidebook that pairs engaging soundscapes and animal sounds with detailed illustrations, for screen-free fun that sparks imagination for educational, entertaining, and engaging, healthy fun. At just $50, they’re great for kids 4 and up.

Protection For The Whole Family

I know that every parent is worried about online safety, and for good reason. A new global survey just released by computer software company McAfee shows cyberbullies aim racist attacks at children as young as ten, and that one-in-five kids in America face online sexual harassment. The survey of nearly 12,000 families also showed that more cyberbullying these days includes threats of physical harm. An alarming 50% also admitted to acting like a cyberbully and targeting other kids on popular social media and messaging apps. McAfee says this latest survey underscores the need for families to use online protection tools that give parents the ability to monitor, limit screen time, block apps, and filter websites to help add an additional layer of protection. McAfee provides that valuable service for around $50, and you can find out more at

To find more tech deals and learn more about Emmy award-winning consumer tech journalist, Jennifer Jolly, visit


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