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Five Must-Have Tech Devices for College Students

It's back to school time, and that means shopping for dorm-room essentials. But for modern students, must-haves go beyond extra-long sheets and a mini-fridge. College campuses have gone digital and smart students know that they'll need smart devices to navigate their courses, assignments, and social life. So before you head to campus, check these tech life-savers off your list.

Sep 6, 2023
  • Student Tips
Five Must-Have Tech Devices for College Students

Some of the essentials for life in a college dorm haven't changed much in the past thirty years – extra-long sheets, a portable fan, shower shoes, and an electric kettle for coffee and ramen are still must-haves for the modern dorm. But life on campus has gone digital, and a clunky desktop computer and a printer card aren't going to cut it anymore. And while it might be a foregone conclusion that you'll be heading off to class with a smartphone in hand, there are a few other tech devices that can help streamline and simplify life and study on campus. Here's a list of the best devices for college students.

Happy Couple Using Digital Tablet And Laptop While Lying In Park

1. Laptop
When used properly, laptops can enhance student learning and maximise productivity. Your smartphone can do just about everything, but your college course-load is going to require a bit more processing (and word-processing) power than your phone can offer. Even twenty years ago, students were heading off to university with an iMac or a Sony Vaio in tow, but luckily today's choices are much more portable. Now you can choose between ultra-sleek laptops and lightweight tablets, but take some time to consider your course needs and study habits before investing in either one. Laptops, which have the ability to run multiple high-demand programs simultaneously, are ideal for science and technology students, while the convenience and flexibility of tablets might appeal to those studying art and humanities.

Teenage smiling girl using a laptop and wearing headphones, technology and leisure concept

2. Audio accessories
Living on campus has a lot of perks, but solitude is not one of them. You can amp up your concentration by investing in a set of noise-cancelling headphones. A good pair can also ease dorm-room tensions if you and your bunkmate have different study or sleep habits. Of course, dorm life is also meant to be social, so remember to pack a portable wireless speaker – get a smart one that can stream music or connect to your other devices (even your electric kettle!)

woman using hard drive disk to backup her data while lying down

3. External hard drive
Smart college students save their work...often and in multiple ways. If you're not already using a cloud-based service like Google Docs to keep your work safe and accessible, start now. But it never hurts to have a solid, physical back-up as well. Before you head off to university and start pouring your life's work into your laptop, invest in a heavy-duty, apocalypse-proof external hard-drive and make sure to use it. The market is full of great options – fire-proof, drop-proof, portable, biometric-protected...the list goes on, so find one that suits your needs and then relax when your computer gets doused in that inevitable cup of coffee or your tablet goes missing from your backpack. And don't forget to grab a mini flash drive. Look for a high capacity one that attaches to a keyring so that you can easily carry your assignments with you.

Young man is holding  his smartphone with battery low while standing against the blackboard with drawing buttery low

4. Smartphone portable charger
All these gadgets are great, but we all know that our smartphones are the one piece of tech we can't do without...and the one most likely to run out of juice at a crucial moment. Luckily, smartphone chargers are getting handier and cheaper every day. Make sure your backpack includes a portable phone charger, and your phone will never leave you in a lurch again. And while you're at it, look for smart accessories like charging cables that double as key rings, so that you always have a way to charge your phone or devices while you're on the go.

5. A flexible power strip
Speaking of charging, all these high-tech gadgets are going to need a place to plug in. Unfortunately, most dorm rooms were designed for students whose idea of high-tech was a lava lamp and are sadly analogue when it comes to outlet capabilities. Come prepared with smart power strips and adapters. Look for strips that integrate traditional AC plugs with USB outlets so you can charge all your devices at once. And consider power-saving smart options for things like televisions, gaming devices, and other electronics that don't need to be on at all times.