Female Student With Headphones On Studying

The right technology can make or break your university experience. Discover all the essential university gadgets you need to start your year off right.

Slow laptops and phones? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Take it from me—my laptop always froze during important lectures and I was forced to take handwritten notes faster than ever because my professor wouldn’t stop to breathe for a single second! Yeah, the struggle was real. Well, here’s hoping you don’t go through that because these university gadgets will help you breeze through your university or college school year.

Slow laptops and phones? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Here’s hoping you don’t go through that because these university gadgets will help you breeze through your university or college school year.

The 6 types of uni gadgets:

  1. Best laptops for students (yes, with great battery life).
  2. Best headphones for students (block out the noise).
  3. Smartphones that you’ll need for just about everything.
  4. Digital camera you need for all the right angles.
  5. Wearable technology to get you through the semesters.
  6. The best 4K TVs for your dorm room (movie night, anyone?).
1

Best laptops for students (yes, with great battery life)

Okay, so we’re starting with the basics of university gadgets. Making it through college or university without a good laptop is impossible… period. When selecting a computer as a college student, keep in mind the manner in which you’ll be using the device. Smaller, lightweight laptops are usually an ideal choice because of the portability you’ll require walking across campus and to other places, especially if you have to sprint to class because you slept in. Again.

Okay, so we’re starting with the basics of university gadgets. Making it through college or university without a good laptop is impossible… period.

When selecting a computer as a college student, keep in mind the manner in which you’ll be using the device.

Smaller, lightweight laptops are usually an ideal choice because of the portability you’ll require walking across campus and to other places, especially if you have to sprint to class because you slept in. Again.

Other factors you’ll want to remember:

Processing Speed

Models with 12GB RAM or more and a current processor can keep up with demands so you’re not clicking refresh while everyone’s already moved on.

Graphic design class will be a memory hog, while creative writing may only need to run open-source word processing (but still have enough juice to watch YouTube in the background).

Graphics Cards

Unless you’re a PC gamer or digital design/programming student, you might only need enough graphics capability to run basic productivity and education programs.

If you do need more than that, think about splashing out for a gaming laptop instead as your student tech. You’ll thank us later.

Software Options

Make sure you know about any specialty software your classes require and whether your laptop choice will support them.

This will help you make the tough choices, like whether you should opt for a MacBook or Surface Pro or if you can get by with a tablet instead of a laptop.

Ralph Wiggum on school bus saying I'm in danger

Get started with these laptops and accessories:

 

Bonus pro tip: don’t forget about other related student tech that can help you get your homework done fast so you can kick back and relax, including a printer and maybe even an ergonomic mouse, if you want to get super fancy.

Bonus pro tip: don’t forget about other related student tech that can help you get your homework done fast so you can kick back and relax, including a printer and maybe even an ergonomic mouse, if you want to get super fancy.

2

Best headphones for students (block out the noise)

Bro… y u no headphone? You’re spending your day surrounded by other young people who probably have awful taste in music but love playing it on speaker when they’re surrounded by as many people as possible.

You need something to drown that out and can put you in an audio world of your own, like over-ear headphones that tell the world “I’m not listening!” If that’s not enough, sometimes you need to listen to a lecture or an audiobook, and that’s hard to hear during a frat party.

Good earbuds are also a must-have university gadget on the myriad long bus rides in your future, if only to blank out the light rail philosopher yelling at you from the seat across the aisle. Same goes with your track coach when you need to pick up the pace running laps, but you can’t hear with your sports headphones glued to your ears.

The Most Interesting Man Headphones meme

Must-haves when it comes to picking a set of headphones: comfort, portability and compatibility with all—not some—of your devices. Maybe think about Bluetooth earbuds, which wirelessly and remotely pair with most of your devices so you’re free to move around as you burn off all the double cheeseburgers you scarfed down during study seshes. If you’re going with cables to save power or whatever, remember to check if your devices need a 3.5mm, USB or Lightning connection.

Check out these headphones to rock on in silence:

 

3

Smartphones that you’ll need for just about everything

Funny Nokia Phone Meme

Oh, how far we’ve come. Back in my day (damn, I feel old), the phones were all covered with buttons and sometimes flipped open like a clamshell. It was horrible. And that’s not even talking about the torture that was T9 texting.

Today, you have a choice of smartphones with apps for everything except voting on them. Because all the other students are walking around with what amount to small mobile computers, several of your professors might just hand out assignments or in-class activities that require a smartphone to complete.

Just remember to save the vignettes and tilt shifts for your Instagram adventures and stick to Google Docs for your actual work.

When you’re looking for a new smartphone, put on your thinking app and check out the following:

Costs

Smartphones are sophisticated machines for extracting money from bank accounts. This they do with basically two hits: upfront and continuing costs (aka hardware and service). Pay attention to the upfront costs first, but remember that a cheap phone in the store might have run costs that crush the “more expensive” competition. Invest wisely.

Durability and longevity

Yeah, you’re going to at least crack the screen. If you’re living the college life at all, at some point you’ll end up thrown into a pool. Buy the most waterproof-looking phone case you can, say a quick prayer and invest in the extended warranty. Depending on your degree, four to six years should just about cover it.

Girl covering her eyes holding out phone with cracked screen in front of her

Extra functionality

What type of camera will your phone have? Does it matter to you? What about wireless wireless charging and other hardware options? Do you have the budget for a sapphire screen? That would be pretty cool. Plan your hardware upgrades around what you need, rather than what commercials tell you to want.

Storage and memory

You can burn through a lot of experiences in four years and all those sick pics take up space. Get a phone with enough local storage to hold everything, and then sync with an external drive when you can. At the very least, invest in an expandable memory card.

Stay ahead of the tech curve with these smartphones:

 

4

Digital camera you need for all the right angles

We live in a goofy era. You can actually get rich and famous by taking cellphone videos of yourself for Instagram. People used to have to build railroads to get PewDiePie money, and now you can slip and fall in a grocery store, upload the video as a meme and start a GoFundMe as the Slip-and-Fall Dude.

Crazy, right!? But it highlights the importance of owning a great digital camera. You’ll need something with crystal-clear graphics and a good accelerator if you’re thinking about majoring (or taking electives) in art, design, photography or—if you must—journalism. Even if you’re just goofing off, today’s cameras deliver so much capability with so little effort, anybody can use them as a hobby. Good digital cameras even come with Instagram-specific filters, which lets you indulge the muse with the bazillion selfies you’ll generate during your first year. Then, print off all the photobombs you captured.

Crazy, right!? But it highlights the importance of owning a great digital camera. You’ll need something with crystal-clear graphics and a good accelerator if you’re thinking about majoring (or taking electives) in art, design, photography or—if you must—journalism.

Even if you’re just goofing off, today’s cameras deliver so much capability with so little effort, anybody can use them as a hobby.

Good digital cameras even come with Instagram-specific filters, which lets you indulge the muse with the bazillion selfies you’ll generate during your first year. Then, print off all the photobombs you captured.

Woman in sunglasses taking selfie on beach with old man in recliner photobombing in background

5

Wearable technology to get you through the semesters

Wearable technologies have been the Next Big Thing for 40 years at least. But now it’s actually happening, and you’re in the middle of it. For student-athletes, fitness trackers can help track performance and ensure goals are both realistic and challenging. And for the not so athletic students (this isn’t a diss, I promise), smartwatches can notify you of incoming texts and likes.

Any decent wearable in this category will track pulse, heart rate and other vitals as a base function, plus some connectivity stuff in the background to sync with your phone or laptop. They also usually come with vibrating alarms to get you up in time for class in case you’ve thrown your alarm clock at the wall one too many times.

Record personal bests with these wearables:

 

6

The best 4K TVs for your dorm room (movie night, anyone?)

You can watch videos on everything these days, which has forced TV makers to get creative and design sets bringing you features you’ll love. A good 4K TV or smart TV still has a place in the dorm room making it an essential university gadget, even if only to entertain guests and reduce the wear and tear on the phone you’ve been watching Stranger Things on all day. Pro tip: wear your hoodie backwards so you can put your snacks in the hood and reach them easier.

It can take a bit of research to find the best 4K television for your dorm room. Check out these options to find something that fits with your layout (for smaller dorm rooms, you might be better off with a Samsung 40”, while nothing beats a 75” LG for bigger flops). And don’t forget to browse sound systems and other peripherals to round out your college entertainment system. Your neighbours will totally dig hearing the thumping bass from your movies, I promise. It’ll be Netflix and chill.

You can watch videos on everything these days, which has forced TV makers to get creative and design sets bringing you features you’ll love. A good 4K TV or smart TV still has a place in the dorm room making it an essential university gadget, even if only to entertain guests and reduce the wear and tear on the phone you’ve been watching Stranger Things on all day.

Pro tip: wear your hoodie backwards so you can put your snacks in the hood and reach them easier.

It can take a bit of research to find the best 4K television for your dorm room. Check out these TV options to find something that fits with your layout (for smaller dorm rooms, you might be better off with a Samsung 40”, while nothing beats a 75” LG for bigger flops).

And don’t forget to browse sound systems and other peripherals to round out your college entertainment system. Your neighbours will totally dig hearing the thumping bass from your movies, I promise. It’ll be Netflix and chill.

Laptops, smartphones, TVs and cameras—college and university definitely ain’t like the paper-and-pen days of your parents. In case you think you don’t need all these gadgets and electronics, try going off-the-grid for just one day.

You can’t.

But by doing a bit of research (remember to save some grey cells for your tutorial assignments), you can get the best of all worlds when it comes to work and play.