Gone are the days when a plucky young freshman would turn up at college with little more than a chewed pencil behind his ear and a simple, honest willingness to learn. These days if it can’t be plugged in, it’s passé, and study is aided and abetted by a whole host of cool new toys.
We’ve been scouring gadget-land for our top five college-friendly gizmos – and the best part is they’re all investments that you can make without putting too big a dent in your keg fund…
A laptop is an essential bit of kit for anyone studying this century. The market is crammed with options, so have a click about on a site like laptopadvisor.com before taking the plunge. If you’re looking for a no-frills model then the Acer Aspire (from around $630) could fit the bill.
It boasts enough RAM to handle basic tasks plus media editing and gaming, and its eight hour battery should see you through a day of classes without breaking a sweat.
Anyone with a roommate, housemate or indeed people living within three miles of where they want to study will appreciate the eyeball-peeling frustration that comes with noise pollution. Noise-cancelling headphones may sound like witchcraft, but they work by actively erasing lower-frequency sound waves. This über-cool technology can be yours for anything between $50 and $500. As with any gadget like this you get what you pay for, but the Sennheiser – PXC310 gets great write-ups and can adorn your head in exchange for around $300.
If you’re still walking around campus transporting documents and data on floppy discs, then you deserve all the rude nicknames you get. Flash drives now come in a range of sizes and designs. Fashionista types might appreciate the 4GB Swarovski crystal necklace numbers on SourceSquare.com.
But for a no-fuss, high-quality version, go for a Duracell 16GB model. They feature a neat, rounded case that slides open not off and will cost you just over $20.
You snooze, you lose
Students are notoriously bad at getting up in the morning… or afternoon. Make sure that enticing snooze button doesn’t keep you from classes with a new breed of alarm clock. Tocky is a naughty little timepiece that will jump off your night-stand to help you allude the snooze and will set you back $69.
There’s also The Flying Digital Alarm Clock coming in at just $12. When this alarm goes off, so does the helicopter attachment – along with the only key that can turn it off.
Finally, for extreme cases, there’s the Shocking Alarm Clock, which actually administers a small electric shock to the would-be snoozer for a mere $15.
The Livescribe Smartpen is the type of pen the Terminator would wield if he were a little more academic and a little less aggressive. This ingenious pen allows you to record everything you hear and write, with no more than a tap on the special notepaper. From just $150 it can help to make sure you don’t miss a moment of those all important classes, no matter how many Margaritas you’ve enjoyed the night before…
Melissa Campbell writes on behalf of Postgrad.com, a leading source of information on postgraduate programs in the UK.