Practical tech gadgets for college students on a budget

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So, the time has come. You're a student freshly moved into your dorm room, still in that awkward, friendly phase with your roommate. You're broke (or relatively on a budget) and the dining hall seems so far away when you're already settled on your lumpy dorm mattress. Time for ramen and hopefully, if you're lucky, an HBO binge session using your floor's wifi and ex-boyfriends password. Despite the drawbacks of being "fresh meat," college certainly doesn't have to look or feel like this and these list of affordable and dorm friendly gadgets can help you. Yours truly has experienced the pangs of dorm life (and life in general) and can say, with confidence, that having some tools on deck can make all the difference in your college experience.

Google Chromecast

Chromecast from Google


For those of you lucky to have a TV in your dorm room (yes! you are lucky) Google has developed Chromecast ($35), a streaming device that connects to your TV like a traditional USB port, allowing you to access streaming services like YouTube, HBO, Netflix, and Hulu on their respective apps. It's easy to use, taking only a few minutes to setup and connect to your wireless network, and makes your favorite shows and movies readily accessible on your TV.

Luckies Smartphone Projector

Assembled Luckies Smartphone Projector

Luckies of London

For those of you who don't have a TV, let's hope you have a phone. Take it back to the old days and use this Smartphone Projector ($20) which is easy to assemble and provides a vintage movie theater experience. The projector is iOS and Android compatible and the lens magnifies up to 8 times the smartphone screen. Invite your friends over, get the popcorn ready and start up that new series on Netflix your mom keeps telling you about.

Secura Duxtop Sensor Touch Induction Cooktop

Secura Duxtop Sensor Touch Induction Cooktop


Not all students have a kitchen in their dorm, some don't even have a kitchen space on their floor. If you're someone who is constantly on the move and cannot fathom the idea of cafeteria food, perhaps the Sensor Touch Induction Cooktop ($69) is something you should consider. The unit is portable and light so your Netflix and chill session across campus can now provide viable food options. The temperature ranges from 140°F to 460°F, with a default temperature of 320°F. Get to cookin'!

Ethernet Cable

Ethernet Cable


Okay, so this one isn't as glamorous, but let's face it, it's something you'll probably end up buying while you're in college. An ethernet cable ($7.99) can connect to the wifi provided to you by your college (which is usually sluggishly slow), or it can provide you with your own personal wifi when you connect it to an individual network router.

NETGEAR N600 WiFi Dual Band Router (WNDR3400)

NETGEAR Dual Band Router


This goes along with the ethernet cable and you'll be glad you invested in it. The NETGEAR Dual Band Router ($49.99) is your secret weapon in college. Providing you with premium Internet access, this router is perfect for the college student who is continually streaming and gaming. You can create a personal network with a security password which ensures your wifi isn't being used by all the other broke students next door.

Sony SRS-XB10

Sony SRS-XB10

Image courtesy of CNET

Speakers these days are smaller and pack a louder sound. The Sony SRS-XB10 ($58) wireless speakers fit this description and more. Portable, water-resistant, featuring a 16 hour battery life, these speakers are perfect for the college student who wants quality sound without breaking the bank and taking up too much space.

Logitech Portable Lapdesk N315

Logitech Portable Lapdesk


If you're anything like me, you'll do most of your homework on your bed while simultaneously trying to eat a bowl of cereal. Laptops have a way of overheating when you're working prolonged amounts of time in bed...just saying. The Logitech Portable Lapdesk N315 Cooling Pad ($69.99) is a great way to provide yourself with a desk-like setup in comprisable spaces. The anti-slip top ensures that your laptop will stay in place as you work and also features a washable surface for all you cereal eaters out there.

Toshiba Canvio Connect 2TB Portable Hard Drive

Toshiba Canvio Connect 2TB Portable Hard Drive


Depending on your major, you're going to need space...storage space that is. Toshiba's Portable Hard Drive ($75) is your best affordable bet. The drive has backup and restoration functions for all of your folders and system updates on your computer. The drive works with both PC and MacBooks and features password data encryption to secure all of your work.

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