Essential college tech gadgets you’ll love and use

Essential college tech gadgets you'll love and use

Surviving College with Essential Tech Devices

Nowadays, it is nearly impossible to go about life without some form of technology. Believe me, I tried. When I first started college, I vividly remember attempting to take all my notes on pen and paper. I figured it was the cheapest alternative for note-taking and all I needed to be successful. And while you may also enjoy the old-school method of taking notes on pen and paper, specific tech gadgets are undeniably essential to succeed in college. These gadgets not only enhance your learning experience but also provide convenience and entertainment throughout your college journey.

To keep up with your classes, you need a laptop to complete your assignments. When walking around campus, you need a pair of headphones to keep you entertained. For late-night study sessions, you need a portable charger to keep your phone fueled up throughout the night. And for impromptu friend gatherings, you need a speaker to set the mood. These are just a few of the many tech devices that are essential to survive college.

Laptop: The Ultimate Necessity

Laptops are a must-have for college students – most, if not all, assignments will require a laptop. Based on personal experience and hands-on testing by ENBLE experts, we have compiled a list of the best laptops for college students:

MacBook Air M2-15 inch: Best laptop overall

If you are looking for the best everyday laptop, the MacBook Air M2-15 inch is the one for you. Powered by an M2 chip, this sleek and modern laptop offers an 18-hour battery life, configurable RAM and storage, and lightweight design. It’s perfect for “students, hybrid workers, and coffee shop dwellers” due to its portability and ease of use.

Lenovo Flex 3i Chromebook: Best budget laptop

For students on a budget, the Lenovo Flex 3i Chromebook is the ideal choice. Starting at $350, this lightweight and flexible laptop offers a touch screen, 1920 x 1080 resolution display, and a 10-hour battery life. It’s a great option for students who need a reliable laptop without breaking the bank.

MacBook Pro M2 Max-16 inch: Best laptop for creative students

If you’re a creative student, the MacBook Pro M2 Max-16 inch is the perfect laptop for you. Equipped with the M2 chip, this laptop offers a sturdy build, 22-hour battery life, excellent speakers, and great performance for creative applications like Adobe.

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 11: Best laptop for business students

Business students require high-performing laptops that are thin and easy to carry around campus. The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen 11 offers a powerful Intel Core i5-1335U Processor, eight connectivity ports, and over 12 hours of battery life. It’s the ideal choice for business students who work with programming software and business applications.

Microsoft Surface Go 3: Best 2-in-1 laptop

If you want the versatility of both a laptop and a tablet, the Microsoft Surface Go 3 is the perfect choice. With its tablet-first design, you can use it as a hybrid notebook and switch to computer mode for an improved web-browsing experience. It’s an affordable option starting at $400, but keep in mind that the keyboard and stylus are sold separately.

Headphones: A Sound Investment

Headphones are essential for college students, whether it’s for focusing on studies or enjoying some music on the go. Here are some top recommendations:

Sony WH-1000XM5: Best noise-canceling headphones

The Sony WH-1000XM5 are arguably the best noise-canceling headphones on the market. With their active noise cancellation (ANC) technology, you can block out surrounding sounds and focus on your work or audio experience. They offer over 30 hours of battery life with ANC and have excellent microphone quality for phone calls and video conferencing.

Apple AirPods Max: Best headphones for Apple users

For Apple users, the Apple AirPods Max is a top choice. With their impressive sound quality, long-lasting battery, and switchable transparency mode and Spatial Audio, these headphones provide an immersive audio experience. They are the epitome of luxury within the Apple ecosystem.

Bose QuietComfort 45: Best headphones for battery life

If you’re looking for all-day listening, the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones are perfect for you. With up to 24 hours of battery life, Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, and USB-C fast charging, these lightweight and comfortable headphones will keep you immersed in your favorite music for extended periods.

Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling Earbuds II: Best noise-canceling earbuds

For a quick, easy, and on-the-go audio experience, the Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling Earbuds II are your best bet. Offering active noise cancellation and aware mode, these earbuds allow you to switch between tuning out the noise around you and listening to your environment. They are sweat and water-resistant, making them perfect for workouts or rainy walks.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation): Best earbuds for Apple users

Those looking for ANC technology without the over-the-ear experience will find the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) to be an excellent choice. With clear responsive sound quality and an improved battery life, these wireless earbuds will become an essential part of your college life.

Smart Notebooks: The Modern Pen and Paper

Carrying around multiple notebooks all day can be exhausting, especially when walking everywhere. Smart notebooks offer the perfect pen-to-paper alternative. Here are some top recommendations:

Rocketbook Pro: Best smart notebook overall

The Rocketbook Pro is an eco-friendly notebook that allows you to digitize, save, and search your notes. It comes with a leather hardcover, a Pilot FriXion pen, and a Microfiber Cloth. Whether you use it for multiple classes, organizing your assignments, or journaling about your college experience, this smart notebook saves paper and provides convenience.

Kindle Scribe: Best smart notebook splurge

The Kindle Scribe doubles as a smart notebook and a tablet, offering a unique writing and sketching experience. With its 10.2-inch 300-ppi display and the ability to create notebooks, journals, and lists, this device combines the benefits of a regular Kindle with a pen-to-paper feel.

Moleskin Pen + Smart Writing Set: Best stylish smart notebook

The Moleskin Pen + Smart Writing Set captures each pen stroke, uploading your notes digitally as you write. It consists of a digital pen, a notebook filled with specially marked paper, and the Moleskin app. You can even enrich your notes with audio recordings using the digital pen.

Rocketbook Fusion Notebook + Planner: Best budget smart notebook

The Rocketbook Fusion Notebook + Planner is an affordable option for dipping your toes into the smart notebook world. This 8.5 x 11-inch notebook comes with reusable calendars, lists, and notebook pages powered by the Rocketbook App. It includes a Pilot Pen and a microfiber cleaning cloth, offering versatility without breaking the bank.

Tablets: The Versatile Devices

Tablets offer versatility, whether for streaming shows in between classes or taking notes during class. Here are some top tablet picks for college students:

Apple iPad (10th generation): Best tablet overall

The iPad (10th generation) is an affordable option for students, with a modernized design, USB-C Charging Port, and superior front-facing camera. It’s versatile and compatible with other Apple products, allowing you to increase productivity by adding an Apple pencil and keyboard.

Amazon Fire Max 11: Best budget tablet

For budget-conscious students, the Amazon Fire Max 11 is a great choice. It offers solid battery life, an 11-inch display, and plenty of storage options. You can even purchase a bundle that includes a keyboard, case, and stylus for added convenience.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra: Best Android tablet

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is a top-performing Android tablet with a stunning display, an S Pen stylus, and high memory and storage capacity. It’s perfect for creative students who require a powerful tablet for their projects.

Apple iPad Mini (6th Generation): Best small tablet

If you’re looking for a compact and portable tablet, the Apple iPad Mini (6th Generation) is ideal. Despite its small size, it offers affordability, great battery life, and fast processors. It’s a perfect addition to your college tech setup.

Speakers: Sharing the Sound

A speaker may not be the first thing on your mind when packing for college, but it can come in handy in unexpected situations. Here are some top recommendations:

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3: Best Bluetooth speaker

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 provides 360-degree audio and a 14-hour battery life. With its dustproof, waterproof, and drop-proof design, you can take it anywhere you go without worrying about damage. Its versatility and portability make it a great choice for students.

Tribit StormBox Micro 2: Best budget speaker

The Tribit StormBox Micro 2 offers great sound quality on a budget. With its size-defying sound, pocket-size design, and 12 hours of playtime, this Bluetooth speaker is perfect for students who want quality audio without breaking the bank. It even doubles as a portable charger.

JBL Clip 4: Best portable speaker

The JBL Clip 4 is a clip-and-go speaker that allows you to experience rich audio from a compact device. With up to 10 hours of battery life, waterproof and dustproof design, and a handy loop for easy transportation, this speaker is perfect for students on the move.

Additional Essential Tech Devices

To further enhance your college experience, here are some additional tech essentials you might find useful:

  • Apple AirTag: Keep track of your belongings with this handy tracking device.
  • UGREEN Magnetic Battery: Stay powered up on the go with this portable magnetic battery.
  • Kindle Paperwhite: Enjoy your favorite books and documents on this high-resolution e-reader.
  • Apple Watch Series 8: Keep track of your schedule, fitness, and notifications with this smartwatch.
  • Fujifilm Instax Mini 11: Capture and share memories instantly with this fun instant camera.
  • Baseus PowerCombo 6 in 1 Charging Station 65W: Charge multiple devices simultaneously with this convenient charging station.
  • Surfshark VPN: Protect your online privacy and bypass restrictions with this reliable VPN service.

Do I Really Need All of These Devices?

College success is determined by the personal time and effort you put into your education, not necessarily the tech devices you own. However, having quality devices can significantly enhance your college life. There are budget-friendly options available for laptops, tablets, and other tech essentials, allowing you to make smart choices that fit your financial situation.

Laptop or Desktop Computer: Which Should I Choose?

While most students opt for laptops due to their versatility and portability, your choice depends on personal preference and usage. If you prefer taking notes on tablets, smart notebooks, or regular notebooks during class, a desktop computer in your dorm can serve your needs. Consider your note-taking habits, class requirements, and portability preferences when making this decision.

How Often Do I Need to Bring a Laptop to Class?

The frequency of bringing a laptop to class varies depending on your professors and preferred note-taking method. Some professors may not allow laptops in their classes, while others may give assignments that require their use. It’s advisable to go prepared during the first week of classes with both a laptop and a notebook. Communicate with your professors to understand their preferences and expectations.

What Apps Can I Use to Support My College Studies?

Various apps can support your college studies, depending on your needs. Popular apps like Google Calendar, Maps, Venmo, and Gmail can help you stay organized and make your life easier. Explore app stores and ask fellow students for recommendations based on your specific requirements and subjects. Remember, finding the right apps tailored to your needs can greatly enhance your productivity and efficiency.

By investing in essential tech devices, you can have an enriched college experience that allows you to excel in your studies, stay organized, and enjoy your downtime. Choose the devices that suit your specific needs and budget, and make the most of these technological advancements. Embrace the power of technology, and thrive in college with the best tools at your fingertips.