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tech gift guide for grads

Every year as May approaches and I read about the graduates choosing colleges and looking for jobs, I think about what it would be like when my own kids graduate. No more thinking for me. This year, my oldest son is graduating from high school.

Nate McGraw

My son, Nate. This is his Cappie Awards photo. He was nominated as Featured Actor. He graduates in 2 weeks.

We went on a lot of college tours this year and my son and I have talked about some of the gadgets he may need next year. This is my sponsored round-up of tech products for graduates.

Tech Gift Guide for Graduates

All of these products are found at the Microsoft Store online or you can find a retail store near you. Before I get to the gift guide, the Microsoft Stores have free Summer Camps. I signed my kids up for a photo and video camp. I will be attending with them and I can’t wait to see what we learn.

Take note of the offers listed below in red.

Surface 2 or Surface Pro 3

I included both the Surface 2 & the new Pro 3 because it depends on how your graduate wants to use it. The Surface Pro 3 is a laptop with a 12′ display and you can install software on the desktop. You can buy a stylus to write your notes on the Surface Pro 3.

Surface Pro 3

The Surface 2 is a tablet with a 10.6″ display. You can install apps that are available in the Windows App Store and it comes with Microsoft Office for RT. I received a Surface 2 from Microsoft and I use it a lot. I have a Type Cover 2 and I take it with me quite often because it’s light and goes easily from work to play.

Surface 2

You may want the Type Cover 2 or Surface Pro Type Cover to go along with the Surface if you want an external keyboard. They also protect the screen of the Surface and both are backlit to help see the keyboard.

Surface 2 keyboard

Surface 2 Keyboard color options

Surface Pro 3 Type Keyboad Cover

Surface Pro 3 Type Keyboad Cover

If you buy the Surface Pro 3, get the Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition to go along with it. I have a similar mouse for my laptop and I like that it is very portable, but feels like a regular size mouse in my hand.

Arch Touch Mouse Surface Edition

Office 365 University

There will be a lot of late night paper writing in a college students future. With the Office 365 University edition, you get a 4-year subscription to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneDrive cloud storage and Skype PC-to-phone calling for up to 2 devices. I have my kids signed up with OneDrive already so they are never without their documents whether at school or home.

Office 365 University EditionsWith this subscription, a student can get access to their Office 365 and documents from anywhere as long as they have access to the Internet (including their smart phone or tablet.)

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Touchscreen

If your graduate prefers a laptop, I like the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga Touchscreen because it is very light at 3.5 lbs and gives you up to 8 hours of battery life. If you need a break from homework and studying, the display is Full HD (1920 x 1080) so movies are beautiful on the Yoga.

Graduation PC Offer: Get $100 toward the purchase of a PC $599 or more (through 6/30/14)

Accessories Offer: Buy a new PC and get 30% off Microsoft hardware accessories (through 6/15/14)

Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga TouchscreenNokia Lumia 1020

The Nokia Lumia 1020 has the best camera of any smart phone I’ve tried. The camera is a 41-megapixel camera.

Nokia Lumia 1020I have tested it out while at a Microsoft Summit and the pictures were stunning. You could zoom in very close and the photos were still clear. There will be a lot of memories in the future of any graduate. With this gadget, they will always have a fantastic camera with them.Nokia Lumia 1020

I would include the Nokia Camera Grip and Extra Battery if you buy the Lumia 1020. You definitely want to protect your investment and extra battery life is never a bad thing.Nokia Lumia 1020


Xbox One + Kinect Bundle

Graduates have a lot of stress with the changes that happen in their lives in a short time. They need some down time and the Xbox One with the Kinect is my favorite game system. There are a lot of fitness games for the Kinect so maybe your graduate can ward off the Freshman 15 too.

Xbox One with Kinect Gaming System

Jabra SPORT Bluetooth Stereo Headset

A good bluetooth stereo headset gets rid of all the wires when you are listening to music while running (or whatever your sport is.) It’s also nice if you like to listen to music while studying in the library because you don’t have to mess with all those wires all over the place.

Jabra SPORT Bluetooth headset


The MINI JAMBOX is small enough that you can carry it in your backpack (or pocket) and then the party will be where you are with the music. It comes in many different colors, so you can find one that suits you.

Jawbone MINI JAMBOXFitbit Flex Wireless Activity & Sleep Wristband

We all hear about the Freshman 15 that new college student often put on because they are not sleeping much, eating junk and not getting enough exercise. Having the Fitbit Flex will show you how active you are and how much sleep you are getting. I’ve found that when I’m tracking exercise and sleep, I get more of both. This wristband is so lightweight, you hardly notice it is there

Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity

Belkin Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger

This is a small gadget, but an important one. I received this mini surge protector at a conference I went to a few years ago and I take it with me when I travel or am working away from my home. My kids have taken with them when they went on overnight trips for school. You can never have too many plugs or USB chargers.


Belkin Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger

Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo

The Mophie Juice Pack is perfect for those times when you are not near an outlet and you need to charge up your smart phone so you can record the lecture for your next class.

Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo USB Charger

$50 Skype Credit

Skype credit is always a good thing for college students or for anyone just entering the job market. You can use it to call mobile or landline phones or get online at WiFi hotspots. Always good to have the option available.

Skype credit gift card

Any gadgets you would add to the tech gift guide for grads?

Did you know that the Microsoft Stores has an Education Offer? All teachers & students save 10% always at the Microsoft Store.


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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for the Microsoft Store. I chose the products myself to add to the gift guide. All opinions are my own.