Whether you come to college flush or on a shoestring budget, being a college student in the 21st century means coming well-equipped from your very first day on campus. And before you get nervous, shopping for new tech gadgets doesn’t have to be expensive; you can shop everywhere from pawn shops to thrift stores to get what you need. Check out these must-have tech gadgets for fitting out your dorm room for both study and relaxation.
Ditch the desktop and grab yourself a new laptop. Over time, your laptop will pay for itself – you’ll use it for everything from writing great research papers and applying for scholarships to taking notes in your classes. Most college professors allow students to take notes on digital devices, and the money you save alone on notebooks will be well worth the investment. If you’re on a tight budget, look for refurbished laptops on Amazon, NewEgg, or Ebay, or shop your college bookstore for hot deals on new machines.
Make sure to pick up a surge protector if you have multiple devices to be plugged in, and if your dorm doesn’t include the internet, see if you can bundle a router together with your computer to save money once you’ve connected your internet service.
Having a printer is a nicely to some, but if you’re the kind of person who stays up until 5am rounding out that term paper and the computer lab is closed, you may well need it. It’ll also save you the stress of waiting in line during finals week at the computer lab, and the potential distress of the lab’s printer finally giving up the ghost from pure overuse – or running out of ink.
Additionally, if you do anything like tabletop gaming in your dorm, it can be handy for printing character sheets and campaign reference documents.
Having a flash drive handy is a must, from trading notes with your classmates during study sessions to transporting your paper and homework to the computer lab to print, if you didn’t pick up a printer for your dorm room. Most college bookstores carry inexpensive flash drives, though if you shop early enough, you can pick up flash drives for cheap when you’re shopping for your other tech gadgets, like your laptop.
This seems like a no-brainer, but ditch the flip phone and get an up to date smartphone. Some telecoms have fantastic deals for college students, especially those just starting their freshman year, and some of those deals come with a free phone. If you’re not on your parents’ plan or you can’t upgrade, shop around for a plan you can afford on a student budget.
Having a smartphone isn’t just important for school or keeping in touch with your family via Facetime or Whatsapp; it’s also great for keeping yourself safe when you go out at night using services like Kitestring, or bSafe, which uses your phone’s GPS tracker.
An HDTV is a solid entertainment investment for your dorm room. You can find an HDTV almost anywhere, and if you’re on a tight budget, you can pick one up for cheap from a pawn shop or thrift store. Once again, back-to-school sales are great options for purchasing new devices, so keep tabs on those sales if you prefer to buy new and have the budget for it.
A Gaming Console
Gaming consoles aren’t just for games anymore – you can also use them for apps like Netflix and Hulu, turning your dorm room into the perfect lounge for hanging out solo after a long week, or with friends and dates. Try a PS4 or Xbox One if you’re a Netflix junkie, and take advantage of some onboard arcade games that you can purchase for digital use rather than the shopping for traditional gaming discs.
If you’re a music lover, these are awesome to have around – and you can take them anywhere to set up an impromptu DJing station if you’re going to a party or gathering at another dorm or house. While they’re not an absolute essential, they’re pretty nice to have – and they don’t have to be expensive, either.
College is a massively life-changing experience, and while it can be an immensely stressful experience, having the right equipment can make things roll a bit more smoothly – as well as providing some much-needed unwinding time when you’ve finished that twenty-page research paper or your midterm reports. Whether you buy used or new, snatching up a few or all of these tech gadgets will make you feel a bit more at home.