The end of summer means freshly minted college students starting the next chapter of their lives and moving into those stunningly cramped dorm rooms. If this description applies to you and you’re facing the task of taking the blank slate room and making it something worthy of your residence, we’re here to help. College tech is all about keeping your devices charged, having enough lighting to read your notes and making sure you have a good alarm to get you to class on time! Check out these 13 must-have gadgets that will help make the time spent cooped up in your new room actually pretty pleasant.
Whether you're using it to watch movies or play video games, the center of many students' dorm room is the TV. Given the size of most dorms, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to buy a massive one, but a 28” is a good size.
Roku's latest streaming stick is our pick for the best value in the streaming media box market. Without taking up too much space, the current Roku stick gives you access to hundreds of different apps, including the big ones like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, VUDU, and Google Play with an easy to use user interface. Since most students do not buy cable, the Roku is the next best option.
3. Power Strips
BedPower 2.0 Power Strip ($29.99) (20% OFF with: Save20 Ends 7/10)
If there is something we can promise you, there will never be enough outlets to go around in a dorm room! This cute little strip can clip onto furniture making it very easy to access. The BedPower 2.o comes with 2 A/C Outlets, 2 USB plugs, 8ft cord, and a 3-prong grounded plug.
4. Extra Long Phone Power Cord
Dorm room outlets are few and far between which means phones kept by a student’s bed cannot be easily charged overnight. Solution? Extra long charging cords. You will very dependent on your cell phone for alarms, emails, phone call, and so much more. The last thing you want to worry about is not being able to charge your phone. Have 3-4 spare phone cables because some will break and some will get lost.
5. Ethernet cable
Dorms may have Wi-Fi, but it's terrible Wi-Fi. That's not by design, but if you stick a couple hundred people with multiple Wi-Fi devices who all want to stream Netflix, YouTube, and Spotify, it's impossible to keep up.
It's not particularly cool-looking to have your computer plugged into the Ethernet jack in your wall, but it's a lot better than watching your computer buffer for 10 minutes when you're trying to watch the latest season of "Orange is the New Black." Lastly, make sure it's long enough 10-15ft should be plenty.
Printers are plentiful on college campuses, but they're also in constant use. Trying to print out a paper before a class with a full computer lab is an exercise in futility. There's no need to get a really fancy printer, just buy one you trust.
7. Bluetooth Speaker
Bluetooth speakers make it easy to bring tunes to a party or the quad. Buy a good Bluetooth speaker and be able to enjoy music with your friends.
8. Flash Drive
Yes, we live in a wireless world, but Wi-Fi in dorm rooms is spotty. If the wi-Fi goes down in your dorm room and you have to E-mail a paper to your professor before midnight, it helps to keep a flash drive around. Buy a good flash drive with a lot of memory. You can never have too much memory.
A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones is a must, because roommates. Audio-Technica’s top-of-the-line ATH-ANC70 offer spectacular sound quality while blocking outside noise by roughly 90 percent. They also have a built-in microphone for taking calls and controls that work with smartphones, TV remotes, and computers.
If you are used to looking neat and prefer clothes that have been ironed, consider a steamer rather than an ironing board and iron. Especially, if you do not know how to iron. Save the time and just get a steamer and learn how to use it before leaving home.
11. String of Lights
Did we already say how dreary dorm rooms are? IF your kid’s college allows it, consider some string lights to create a festive look with minimal expense and effort.
12. Phone Battery Charger
College students are on the go from morning (ok, late morning) to night and it’s easy to drain a phone’s battery. This Jackery Bar Premium External Battery Charger is a lightweight and inexpensive charger to throw in a backpack to make sure your student can always keep a phone charged, which is the single best safety device to include on their college checklist.
13. A Stash of Cash
This may not be considered Tech, but having a stash of cash can always be useful.