College life changes pretty frequently, but unfortunately college dorms don’t. A 10-by-10 space, bunk beds, a rickety heater and AC (if you’re lucky), and nearly non-existent privacy. Those 2 or 4 years can be trying times and not very comfortable.
We’ve compiled a list of the essential tech gadgets that can keep you connected to the modern world while helping you relax and decompress after finals or an all-night study session.
This is the big one. The majority of your college life will be spent studying, writing, researching, and scouring the web for ideas someone else hasn’t already thought of. You’ll absolutely need a computer that is portable with long battery life, and fast enough to keep up with your multitasking. LaptopMag has released an updated list of their suggested laptops for college. Ranging from under $400 to $1000, these laptops will handle everything you throw at them, while showing off your personal style.
The HP Envy 13 does the heavy lifting with an Intel i7 CPU, up to 1TB of storage, and excellent graphics and speakers. The newest Macbook Air boasts a minor update to its predecessor but comes $100 cheaper. Asus’s Chromebook Flip C434 may be pricier than its cousins, but its design is sleek with super thin bezels and 1080p display.
Ditch the stuffy library. When you need a quiet space to cram before a test, create one wherever you’re at or in your favorite space with noise-cancelling headphones. The best models will cost a couple hundred dollars but are worth every penny.
Look for headphones with “active-noise” cancellation. This means incoming ambient noise isn’t just deadened by the material the headphones are made of, but they actually detect ambient sound and generate an “anti-noise” signal to block it out.
Don’t forget to pick a set with Bluetooth connection and a stereo 3.55mm port, so you can be wireless, but not have to stop studying if your battery dies. Nearly all options have built-in phone controls too so you’re not distracted with your phone when your mom checks in.
Portable SSD (Solid-state Drive)
Flash-drives, or thumb-drives, are great to quickly move files from one computer to another, but don’t put your grades in danger by using them as your sole storage option. Most flash-drives are extremely easy to damage and offer almost no security.
Stop by FriendlyPC to pick up an external SSD. These devices offer up to 4TB of storage for all types of files. For the price of a video game, you can make sure your papers and research are safe at all times. External SSDs are durable to weather and drops, and most have encryption features to block unauthorized users from accessing your information.
Hey Google! – Smart Speakers
Smart speakers have taken over homes in the past couple of years and it’s your dorm room’s turn. The Amazon Alexa or Google Home can give you answers to questions in a crunch, keep you updated on your schedule and even tell you the weather. No more traversing four flights of stairs just to see it snowed.
For $50 you can grab an Echo Dot or Google Mini, both of which have nearly all the same features and solid speakers. One of our favorite features is being able to play ambient sounds when we’re working or ready to sleep. Crank up a rainstorm, listen to crickets, or let TV static fill your room (if your roommate doesn’t mind).