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New school year’s must-have apps

The TechBargains app uses a team of experts

The TechBargains app uses a team of experts to find the best deals on technology products.

Summer is waning, and no one knows that better than students and their parents, who are already thinking about the new school year. These apps can help with back-to-school shopping or back-in-school studying.


(iOS, Android; free)

These days, when your kids say they need a new notebook, they are not talking about one made out of paper. Laptops, tablets or PCs are necessities for every student. This app from technology publisher Ziff-Davis uses “a team of experienced bargain experts” to find the best deals on technology products. The app surveys a list of popular stores, websites and manufacturers, including Amazon, Dell, Newegg and HP, to find the bargains.


(iOS, Android; free)

Need some math homework help? Snap a picture of a math problem from a textbook, computer screen or even a handwritten formula, and the app will attempt to solve it. That’s one problem solved and another problem raised. Some educators say the app is less of a homework helper than a homework doer. But Photomath does show you the steps it took to solve the problem, which can make it a superb learning tool.


(iOS, Android; $2.99)

For when Wikipedia just won’t do: WolframAlpha is a marvelous tool loaded with detailed information on a range of topics, including history, math, physics, chemistry, geography, statistics and general knowledge. The app will not only answer questions, it will generate related reports with graphics. Like their concerns about Photomath, some educators worry WolframAlpha takes the work out homework.


(iOS, Android; free)

Chegg has been known for years as the go-to place to buy or rent textbooks and eTextbooks. And while the app still does that well, it has branched out to add Chegg Study, a $15-a-month subscription plan that promises to get you an answer to your homework question from a “community of subject experts.” It may take two hours to get your answer, so don’t think you can furtively access your smartphone and use this feature during a test.

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