There’s nothing like the start of a new semester. It’s the perfect time to turn over a new leaf and to set goals. As colleges and universities get deep into the spring semester, students can gear up for success with the help of these gadgets perfect for the budding scholar. Whether you’re counting down to graduation, or you’re still green around the edges, these devices will help you make the most of your collegiate experience.
From dorm room essentials to productivity tech, here are 12 gadgets that will up the ante for academics.
This suggestion may seem fairly obvious, but the amount of amazing apps available at your fingertips, including several tied to the gadgets above, make the smartphone a student must-have. Load up your phone with these apps particularly handy for students:
Mint: Living on a student’s budget can be tough, so don’t be caught off guard with an overdraft fee. Stay on top of your finances (however minimal) with tracking app Mint. Customize your alert settings, and even set goals — maybe that spring break trip isn’t entirely out of reach.
Seamless/Grubhub: Behold! The wonders of delivery! Never again will you be faced with the dilemma of setting down your studies to run out and get food when you’re in the groove. Or, the tragedy of a snack-less dorm room at 2 a.m., dining hall closed, the sounds of your growling stomach an echoing reminder of all the pizza you should be eating. Use the Seamless app to view your on-demand culinary options, because college life is hard.
Dragon Dictation: Have a brilliant thought on that Foucault reading you’ve been pondering? Don’t waste time trying to type it: Use Dragon Dictation to translate your spoken words into text. Send an email, even a tweet or set a reminder.
WhatsApp: If you decide to spend a semester abroad, or if your friends do, stay in touch via the WhatsApp real time messaging service — sans SMS fees. WhatsApp is also useful on the home front: Create customized messaging groups to share texts, audio and images with classmates and study buddies to stay on the same page.
11 Pivot Power surge protector
While it isn’t exactly a gadget, this power strip can protect all of your newfound electronic friends. At the same time, it extends the reach and capacity of your much-coveted outlets, with a total of six plug-ins and 5 feet of extension. What makes this device extra unique is that it bends to accommodate various plugs and adapters; you won’t have to waste a single outlet. If this sounds a bit too large to fit in your student living space — yes, we understand that even your extra long twin bed is lofted — consider the smaller version with four outlets.
10 Portable ice maker
Ice, ice baby. Pick up the slack of that dorm room mini fridge with this compact, portable ice maker. Enjoy frosty beverages on a whim without having to make the trek to the dreaded dining hall. This gadget also has life-of-the-party potential: The lil’ fella can make up to 26 pounds of ice per day. Even jungle juice of the most unnatural hue tastes a little better chilled.
9 External hard drive
Consider an external hard drive an insurance policy of sorts. Back up your work, back up your files, back up your photos, should anything happen to your computer. In a tight dorm space (where, ahem, parties may or may not take place), accidents can and do happen. The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is a lightweight, affordable option with ~2TB of storage that can also be used with mobile devices.
8 Nimbus smart dashboard
A meld of form and function is more important than ever in a small space like a dorm room or campus apartment. The Nimbus dashboard, almost like a next-level alarm clock/virtual assistant, will keep you up-to-date in one sleekly designed package. Customize the four dials to display the stats most important to you: Incoming emails, social media updates, weather, traffic, etc. — even Fitbit stats.
7 Kindle Voyage
Begone, backaches! There’s no need to drag cumbersome books around (we recall you not-so-fondly, 3,392-page Norton Shakespeare anthology) when you can easily access them digitally. This is also cost-effective: Often, you can save a few bucks on digital editions, and you can even rent e-textbooks for the period of time you’ll need them. And, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can take advantage of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library — select from a collection of over 600,000 books, including many classics, that you can borrow free of charge. With the reality of extensive book lists each and every semester (and college bookstore markups), you’ll likely end up recouping the cost of your e-reader in savings.
Dorm room bonus: The Kindle Voyage has a nightlight function, so there’s no need to keep your roommate awake when reading in bed/cramming for an exam.
6 Fitbit Flex
The ups and downs of studenthood make for an anything-but-consistent lifestyle. In a world so tumultuous (your entire life basically changes each semester!), you deserve a little help managing your sleep, eating and fitness habits. The Fitbit Flex is your basic tracking device, complete with a silent alarm option that roommates on different schedules will appreciate. Good riddance, freshman 15.
5 Heated travel mug
You put your Bluetooth coffee maker to use, but now you’re running late for class? There’s no need to burn your tongue or grab a pricey Starbucks on the way; just take your precious caffeine to go in this handy vessel. If your commute involves a car, use the auto adapter to keep your cup of Joe steaming. Once you grab a seat in the lecture hall, plug it into your laptop’s USB port and sip away.
4 Charging backpack
Carting your tech around campus just leveled up. Charge and organize your gear with this backpack-and-battery-in-one. It’s complete with three USB ports, and the six separate storage areas are easily routable.
3 OtterBox phone charging case
The academic life is a hectic one. Students cover a lot of ground running from class to class, to internships, to on-campus gigs, extracurriculars … so on and so forth. Add an element of organization to this chaos by keeping your phone safe and fully juiced up all the while. The OtterBox Resurgence case extends your battery life twice over, and will auto-stop charging to conserve power. As with any OtterBox, it’ll protect your phone from whatever obstacles you’ll encounter along the way.
2 Bluetooth coffee maker
As much as we try to avoid them, all-nighters happen. Arm yourself with plenty of study fuel at any hour with this Bluetooth-enabled coffee maker. Download the WeMo app on your smartphone and commence brewing from wherever you might be — on the way home from the library or from your cozy bed — even schedule repeat brew sessions remotely via the app. Even better? This device brews a full pot in under eight minutes. Your roommates will thank you.
1 Evernote Moleskine smart notebook
The classic Moleskine notebook just got an upgrade. Take notes via pen and paper, and easily translate them to digital with all the organizational and accessibility perks of the Evernote app.
To translate from paper to pixels, simply use Evernote’s page camera on your smartphone and take a photo of your notes. They’ll then be stored in the app with a plethora of organizational options, including customizable, searchable “smart stickers” for simple tagging. Access your notes from any device and share them if you wish — you might just become everyone’s favorite study buddy.