Heading back to school used to mean weeks of wardrobe preparation. Nowadays most kids would rather spend their hard-earned summer-job money on high technology than high fashion. There's plenty out there to choose from--whether for the brainy, the musical or those who just want to impress their friends with a fancy piece of cutting-edge electronic equipment. Here are some tips on school-year high-tech gear from various locales around the globe:
1. Portable Pen and Paper Logitech Note-taking has never been easier. Just write on the special pad and your pen records and uploads the notes and even rough diagrams to the desktop computer back in the dorm. You can even handwrite your papers and avoid all that time-consuming work typing up your brilliant thoughts. $230, logitech.com
2. 3300 Mobile Phone Nokia Mobile phones are ideal for making calls between classes. Why not get one that you can listen to music on, too? This model has a built-in MP3 player and an FM radio. $360, nokia.com.
3. EZ-EG Guitar Yamaha Of course, you could just make your own music. Now even first-timers can rock out on guitar. Lighted frets show proper hand placement for strumming and fingering. It's almost as easy as air guitar. $399, yamaha.com
4. Area-51m Sentia Laptop Alienware Alienware will ship its Area-51m Sentia laptop anywhere in the world. This top-of-the-line beauty offers every bell and whistle you could want, including DVD recording and built-in wireless networking. All in a single sleek case. $1,799-$2,730, alienware.com
5. Ultra GT full-size keyboard suite Gyration Tired of working at your desk? Using Gyration's "ultra GT full-size keyboard suite" you can recline and beam your thoughts to your computer using this wireless keyboard and mouse. $99.95, gyration.com.
6. J-SA06 Video Phone, Sanyo As usual the kids in the schoolyards of Japan are a few years ahead of the curve with the latest hot gadget. Sanyo's cutting-edge J-phone can send streaming video of student capers. It's a technology that's still relatively new in Europe and almost unheard of in America. So you won't find it on the shelves worldwide yet. But it's all the rage in Japan, and likely soon will be everywhere else. $23, sanyo.com