Summer is just about over (already?!) and students are gearing up for the new school year. We’ve put together a list of some awesome products from Microsoft - powered by Windows - that will help you get work done faster and let you play harder, in style, because bragging rights matter too!
Imagine a powerful computer that can handle most, if not all of your computing workload. Spreadsheets, Word documents, presentations, Photoshop, AutoCAD, SPSS, the lot! A device that despite its power is also thin, light, and lets you interact with it in pretty much any way you please, be it with a traditional mouse and keyboard, by touch, or by pen. It’s not too good to be true, it’s called the Surface Pro 3.
This hybrid PC has been an instant hit, especially when it comes to education. The long battery life will keep you going throughout the day so you can forget about finding a power outlet to plug in. During your downtime, just rip the magnetically attached Type Cover off and you’ve got yourself a tablet to sit back and watch some Netflix on.
Microsoft is selling the Surface Pro 3 starting at $719, and a 10% discount is available when purchased via the Microsoft Education Store. If that’s over your budget, consider the Surface 3 which starts at only $499. Both devices now ship with Windows 10 out of the box. Check out our full reviews of the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 to learn more.
…Even when on the go
Even though the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 are incredibly portable devices, chances are, you won’t be carrying them around everywhere you go. But your phone will always be in your pocket. If you’re in the market for a new smartphone and you’re on a budget, consider the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL.
The 640 XL features a large 5.7” display, perfect for videos and games, a quad-core processor, a 13MP rear camera with Zeiss optics, a 5MP front camera, 8GB of storage with MicroSD card support, 4G LTE capabilities and more. It runs Windows Phone 8 and will be one of the first devices to get Windows 10.
With Windows 10 and its Universal Platform Apps, apps that run on your phone will also run on your Windows 10 PC, and they’ll share information so you can seamlessly transition from working or playing on your phone to doing the same on your PC, and vice versa. This will come in handy when you need to make quick changes to your PowerPoint slides before the big presentation -- just leave your PC in its bag, and do the editing on your phone!
Downtime is important. If you work hard, you should play hard. Maintain the balance lest you’ll go mad. And there’s no better way to do that than with your very own Xbox One. Microsoft built this thing to be an all-in-one entertainment console, so not only can you game on it, but you can also watch TV, catch up on movies and TV shows, listen to music, and more.
Upcoming exclusive titles like Halo 5 and Forza Motorsport 6 will keep you entertained, and popular multiplayer games like FIFA 16 and Madden 16 will help you make (and break) friendships for a long time coming.
You can grab an Xbox One today for $349 from the Microsoft Store or your nearest major retailer. Microsoft recently announced limited edition Halo and Forza themed Xbox Ones too. You can pre-order those for $499 and $399 respectively.
If gaming isn’t your thing, that doesn’t mean you should let the stress get to you. Focus your mind and body with the help of Microsoft’s very own fitness tracker. The Microsoft Band will motivate you to stay or get fit with guided workouts, and will keep track of your heart-rate, your sleep patterns, and with the built in GPS, your activities like running, biking, or hiking.
Fitness aside, the Microsoft Band can also notify you of incoming calls, texts, emails, calendar appointments and more, all, right on your wrist. Cortana, Microsoft’s digital personal assistant which I’m sure you’ve heard of, is built right in, so you can use your voice to get things done too.
One on the best features of the Microsoft Band is that it’s cross platform compatible, meaning that it will work whether you have an iPhone, an Android device, or a Windows Phone like the Lumia 640 XL. The Microsoft Band is available now from $179.
Windows 10 Everywhere
Windows 10 is the hot topic everyone is talking about right now, and for good reason. The new operating system from Microsoft combines the best of both Windows 7 and Windows 8. It packs some awesome new features to boosting productivity, and better gaming. Microsoft designed it to run on everything from PCs, tablets, phones, consoles, all the way down to future blenders and washing machines. One operating system to rule them all.
All of the Microsoft products mentioned above are capable of running Windows 10. The Surface devices already ship with the new OS, and it will soon be coming to the Windows phones, the Xbox One, and potentially the Microsoft Band too. Why is Windows 10 everywhere a good thing? Because it means that these devices will be able to talk to each other, and understand each other better, to give you a unified, seamless computing experience across a large range of devices. Read our full review of Windows 10 to see just what all the hype is about. Oh and it's free for a year!
If you have questions about any of the items mentioned above, leave them in the comments section below, or in our open forum, where our frequent readers never fail to lend a helping hand. Hit the ground running when back to school, and we hope you have a successful new school year.