With the constant advances in technology, it can be hard to keep up with the latest gadgets on the market, especially with a college budget. However, many of these gadgets do make life a lot easier in the long run for the college student on the go. Gone are the days where all we needed for school were just a couple pens, pencils, and notebooks. Now it’s not uncommon to hear the professor say, “Make sure to bring your laptops to the next class.” To help with the selections, here are some essential gadgets (and resources to find them) that help take some of the stress out of college life and keep you productive.
1. Noise-cancelling headphones – Put these on your head, turn them on and escape the world around you. Noise cancelling headphones are great for studying, as you can use them to tune out outside noise. And when you aren’t in the middle of a paper or study session, you can also use them when you are working out to lock into your routine.
2. Computers (Laptop/Ultrabooks/Hybrid Laptops) -There are many options to pick from for personal computers in college. The almighty laptop is necessity in college as you need it for pretty much anything you do. From homework to papers to leisure time, a laptop is a powerful tool. With large screen sizes, multiple storage options, and performance power, laptops offer the most performance but also come at the highest cost.
There are also many options for laptops that don’t necessarily have to be expensive ones. Ultrabooks are a newer kind of laptop that are designed to be slimmer, lighter and less bulky without reducing battery life. However because of this feature they often don’t have ethernet ports or CD drives. Ultimately, ultrabooks offer the performance power of a traditional laptop without the bulk.
Finally, there’s also the option of hybrid laptops/tablets. These are laptops that offer users the option to input data with a keyboard/mouse or with touch directly on screen as they convert into tablets, useful for writing notes directly onto your screen during class. And when you’re work is done, remove the tablet screen and unwind with some apps and games.
3. Kindle/iPad – To go with a full mobile experience, we turn to the tablet. Tablets like the Kindle and iPad are extremely useful for downloading e-textbooks for class. Often, e-books are cheaper than traditional books, and you also don’t have to worry about shipping time or costs. Not only are tablets portable but also lightweight (much lighter than laptops), which is an advantage over a regular laptop. At less than two pounds, carrying multiple text books to class on your tablet is much easier. In addition to using these tablets for textbooks, you can also download apps, which offer an array of options for productivity.
4. USB Flash Drive – Have you ever been in the middle of writing a paper, and your computer crashed? It might not happen often, but it definitely does happen. This is why you need to make sure you use external storage to save your work outside of your computer’s hard drive, so you can protect yourself against mishaps. A USB flash drive is a great option, as they are small enough to keep on a key chain but still have a good amount of storage space. Some options provide more than 500 GB of storage! Using a USB flash drive keeps your work protected, and always on hand.
5. Battery Case for Smartphone – Sure you can bring your wall charger with you everywhere, but you will have to make sure you find an outlet! A battery case for your iPhone or Android will not only protect your phone but also charge it when turned on. Many of them will extend your battery power by 80%, meaning if you only have 20% left it will bring your charge back to 100%! And they don’t take up any extra room inside your bag.
Atiba was an intern with SUNY's Office of New Media, who became a University at Albany graduate in English with a minor in Communications.