STUDENT LIFE / SEP. 02, 2015
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9 Gadgets You Need for the School Year

As summer draws to a close, a new school year is upon us. As millions of young adults start heading to college, they’ll certainly need to prepare themselves for the next step in life to ensure the transition from living at home to living alone for the first time goes as smoothly as possible. While I won’t be the one offering advice on what clothing to wear or what music to stock up on, I will say that these awesome gadgets are sure to make your life as a college student a little bit easier.

See Also: Top Smartphones For College Students

1. Anker Astro External Battery Charger

We’ve all been there: for one reason or another, your phone didn’t fully charge overnight, and you’re left having to ration out your use of it throughout the following day. Enter the Anker Astro External Battery Charger. This tiny gadget allows you to charge your smartphone even when you’re nowhere near an electrical outlet. The lightweight pack is about the size of a tube of ChapStick, meaning it won’t take up much space in your school bag or pockets (of course, this also makes it easy to lose if you’re not careful). Just be sure to plug it in the second you get home, so that it’ll be ready to use the next time you need it. The black model comes with a $9.99 price tag, while various color versions of the pack run for $15.99.

2. G-Tech 1TB External Hard Drive

You know your computer’s old when external hard drives have more space than the one that came with your tower. The G-Tech 1TB External Hard Drive is sturdy, reliable, and portable. And, if you use it strictly for college documents, you’ll most likely never run out of space. The external hard drive is a useful alternative to emailing yourself documents over and over again so you can access them on campus computers. Best of all: the Special Edition is on sale at Apple for $79.95. Just make sure you keep track of it wherever you go.

3. Mophie Juice Pack

If you’re using it correctly, your smartphone can increase your productivity many times over throughout college. You can use it for note-taking, emailing, storing documents, and more. However, you probably don’t have that much hard drive space left on your phone, what with all the apps and music you keep on it. The Mophie Juice Pack fixes all that. If you have an iPhone 6 Plus, the Mophie Juice Pack can act as a case, backup battery, and additional storage to the tune of 32, 64, or even 128 GB. You can also add a belt clip, USB wall charger, or a dock to what is already an incredible upgrade. Depending on the hard drive size and additional features you want, be prepared to shell out anywhere between $109.95 and $300 for it.

4. Fitbit Charge

For those who like to keep track of their physical activity, the Fitbit Charge is a must have. What looks like a simple digital wristwatch has the capacity to track how many steps you’ve taken, calories burned, and minutes spent active throughout the day. Wearing it at night monitors your sleep pattern, taking note of the times you may have tossed and turned restlessly. The Fitbit Charge syncs wirelessly to your computer and phone with the use of the Fitbit app, so you can visualize your physical progress on a day-to-day basis. It can also notify you of any incoming calls if you have your phone stashed away on silent. The Fitbit Charge retails for around $129.95.

5. PLAYBULB Color

Now for a little aesthetic break. The PLAYBULB Color is a (believe it or not) Bluetooth-enabled light bulb that also acts as a speaker for your dorm room. Used in conjunction with a smartphone app, you can change the color of the bulb depending on your mood, and play music to match it. You can also set a sleep timer at night or an alarm in the morning. Sorry Android owners, it seems that the app is only available on iOS. PLAYBULB is available for $79.99.

6. PowerCube

Chances are your dorm room is going to be severely lacking in the amount of outlets you’ll need for all your electronics. Lucky for you, the PowerCube turns a single outlet into five separate ones while taking up as little space as possible. The PowerCube Original USB offers four AC outlets in addition to two USB ports. You can choose between a five and 10-foot extension cable, which will definitely be enough considering you’ll be living in a shoebox for at least the next year. The PowerCube comes with a mounting bracket that can be placed almost anywhere, meaning you won’t be tripping over wires strewn about your dormitory floor. If need be, you can purchase additional PowerCubes and combine them without fear of an electrical fire. Prices range between $11.99 and $29.99.

7. iKlip Grip

For hands-free communication at its finest, check out the iKlip Grip tripod. Now you can take pictures and videos, make phone calls, and FaceTime your family without having to balance your iPhone on a stack of textbooks. The tripod also comes with a Bluetooth-enabled remote which allows you to take pictures and videos from up to 30 feet away. It also doubles as a selfie stick if you’re into that sort of thing. The iKlip sells for $59.99 but if it helps you through a Skype interview with a prospective employer without fumbling around with your phone, it’s totally worth it.

8. Neo Smartpen N2

Neo Smartpen N2
The Gazette

If this little gadget catches on, you might never end up getting a papercut on your finger or an ink stain on your shirt ever again. The Neo Smartpen N2 allows you to create digital copies of handwritten notes, meaning you’ll be able to access anything you’ve written during your lectures on your smartphone, laptop, iPad, or library computer. Not only does it create a digital copy of your notes, it also translates your handwriting into plaintext, giving you the ability to search through a semester’s worth of notes with extreme ease. You also can sync your documents with Evernote. Although all of this sounds absolutely incredible (which it is), this new technology is still fairly expensive: the pen costs $149, and the special notebooks needed for it sell for about $20 each.

9. Sony SRS-X11 Bluetooth Speaker

You probably won’t be able to fit your stereo system in your dorm room, but this portable little speaker might just do the trick. Measuring only 2.5 inches per side and weighing less than a pound, the SRS-X11’s 10-watt speaker will be enough to liven up your room with the sound of music. You can connect the SRS-X11 to your iPhone, iPad, or laptop physically or through Bluetooth capabilities, and can also pair it with a second speaker to get the surround sound effect. The battery lasts for 12 hours, so you almost definitely will never have to worry about running out of juice. The SRS-X11 is available on the Sony store for $69.99.

See Also: 5 Fantastic Websites That Offer Free College Textbooks

Hopefully this list was enough to get you started on your new adventure. It’s pretty cool to see the newest innovations coming down the pike, knowing that they will lead to higher productivity in school and in the workplace. Seeing all these awesome gizmos almost makes me miss college life. Almost.

Can you think of any other cool gadgets college students will need this year? Let us know in the comments section below!

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