Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker — $199
This portable speaker is perfect for the new school year. Bose products are known for their great sound quality, and this speaker lives up to expectations, packing a punch while easily fitting in your bag. Bluetooth lets you or friends pick the tunes from your phone without the hassle of wires.
Spotify — $10 per month
While Spotify Premium may not be a gadget technically speaking, the service and app that come with it are a must-have for college students. Spotify’s deep library is not unique to the music streaming service, but the company’s social features blow competitors Beats, Pandora and Rdio out of the water. Users have the option of linking their account to their Facebook page, which allows them to send music to friends, check out playlists made by other users and tune into classmates’ listening tastes to discover new songs. The $10 per month price tag may seem expensive up front but with all of your friends’ and the world’s music at your fingertips, the price is worth it.
Panasonic RPTCM125K Headphones — $15
These in-ear headphones have all of the features a student could need, including high quality sound, an ergonomic fit and a connected microphone with a remote. They are also easy to replace if broken or lost in the whirlwind of student life. If you’re looking for more high-end in-ear or over-ear headphones, avoid flashy brand Beats and get a pair of Audio-Technica, Sennheiser or Klipsch headphones.
Google Chromecast — $35
Google released the Chromecast last summer as a cheap alternative to the Apple TV. The device is incredibly easy to set up and allows users to watch content from their Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO, Hulu and ESPN accounts on their television. Users can also stream anything from their computer or mobile device to their TV in seconds through the Chrome browser.
MacBook Air 13-inch with $100 dollar Apple Store gift card (before Sept. 9) — $999
The MacBook Air is a great computer for students. It fits nicely into any bag or backpack, weighing only three pounds. With a battery that lasts up to 12 hours, students can leave their chargers in their dorm room and know that they’ll have enough battery life for class, the library and anything else they may need their computer for later on. Be sure to show your college ID for a discount and take advantage of Apple’s back-to-school deal, which gives away a $100 dollar Apple gift card with every MacBook purchased.
GoPro Hero3+ — $400
GoPro’s latest iteration brings a high-end HD video camera to the palm of your hand. The “smaller, lighter, mightier” camera is perfect for weekend trips, outdoor adventures on the Potomac, urban exploring and filming college hijinks. The GoPro app makes sharing videos with family and friends easy. The app can also be used as a remote controller for the camera.
Kodak PixPro Smart Lens SL10 — $230
Kodak’s PixPro Smart Lens system is a powerful camera that easily clips on to your Apple or Android smartphone. While other products attempt to enhance your smartphone’s camera, the Kodak PixPro is a standalone that sends high quality photos to users’ phones using Bluetooth technology. The PixPro Smart Lens is available in a 10x and 25x zoom and is a great product for amateur and more serious photographers.
(Exclusive deals at Radio Shack for both lenses.)
Kindle Paperwhite without Special Offers — $139
Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is the most advanced and easiest to use e-reader on the market right now. The touch screen device does a handy job of replicating the feeling of reading a paper book and is conveniently backlit for nighttime reading. In addition, the Kindle allows readers access to Amazon’s vast collection of reasonably priced e-books, which includes free classics that are covered in class but not by copyright laws.
Fitbit Flex — $100
Fitbit is leading the pack in wearable health technology with its subtle, comfortable wristbands. The company sells a variety of band products enhanced with hardware that tracks physical activity, calories burned and even how well you sleep. The band transmits this data to the fitbit app, which helps you set fitness goals and set your alarm to optimize your sleep schedule.