It’s the little things that can save you in college. When you arrive at campus, you’re fresh and ready to start. However, a few weeks later, you realize that you have a long list of small items you forgot to bring and must purchase them ASAP. Engadget knows from personal experience that there are many small gadgets that will make your college life much easier. MyPaperWriter has compiled the best under $50 items to help you stay ahead of the curve.
Anker PowerExtend Cube USB-C power adapter
The basic 2-receptacle wall outlet is no longer enough. We all have small armies of devices that we rely upon every day. Anker’s PowerExtend power strip will be a necessity for students because it provides more power options that what is available in their dorm room. You have three outlets and two USB ports on the cube. There is also a 30W USBC socket and three AC outlets. The cube can charge up your tablet, smartphone, or other device. You don’t have to be close to the wall to use the cable, which is another advantage. It is lightweight at 9.2 ounces and can be carried around with you wherever you need it.
Amazon: PowerExtend strips – 40
Incase Bionic Accessories Organizer
To stay sane in school, it is important to keep your digital and physical necessities organized. Incase’s Bionic Accessory Organizer, which is the perfect size for this purpose, is the perfect size. For those who prefer handwriting, it has pen loops and a lot of pockets. These can be used to store your mobile hard drive, extra phone charger, or even a compact wireless mouse. And unlike the cheap pencil cases that you can find at dollar stores, it is made of ocean-recycled materials that are equivalent to seven bottles.
Incase: Bionic accessory organizer – $50
Lention 4-in-1 USB/C Hub
While your new laptop might be lightning fast and lightweight, it may not have as many ports as what you need. These are the compromises companies make when designing powerful thin-and light machines. It leaves us living the dongle life. If you have the right adapter, it doesn’t need to be so hard. Students will love the 4-in-1 USBC hub by Lention. It is compact at 3×1.4 inches. It also has one USB-C and three USB A ports. You can connect accessories like keyboards or mice to it, as well as access files from a thumb drive if you are working on group projects. While the USB C port is only for charging, that doesn’t mean it’s a problem. It can be used with your laptop’s power adapter or USB-C cables to power your computer while simultaneously using the adapter.
Amazon: Lention 4-in-1 Hub – Only $20
Anker PowerLine II USB C-to-Lightning cable (10-foot)
It’s not easy to find out your iPhone’s 2 percent charge while you’re working on an assignment online. Although your original charging cable may have been a good choice, having a second longer cable allows you to recharge in difficult situations, even if the nearest outlet is far away. The 10-foot USB C to Lightning cable by Anker has been a favourite of ours for years. This cable is MFi certified, meaning it will work with all Apple devices. It also has a longer length that allows for more flexibility than the standard three-foot one. You can also charge it fast if you have an adapter that is powerful enough. Anker offers a 10-foot USB C-C cable that will work well with iPhones.
Amazon: Powerline II USB C-to-Lion cable – $23
We are all familiar with panicking when we realize that our keys, wallets, phones, or other valuables have gone missing. AirTags, while there are many options for finding those items, are by far the best. AirTags can be placed in close proximity of your iPhone. Once you have decided how to attach them to your belongings, you don’t have to spend a lot to get fancy key rings. You can also use your phone to trigger the AirTag to emit an audible chime if you ever lose your items. Apple’s Precision Finding feature, which can be used to locate your belongings if you are within Bluetooth range of the device, can help you get them back. To get the same experience with an iPhone without AirTags, you can opt for one Tile’s Bluetooth trackers.
Amazon AirTag: $29
SanDisk Dual Drive Go
Even though you may already be saving your assignments to the cloud, it’s still worth having local copies. SanDisk Dual Drive Go is a small thumb drive that can be used to save files, photos, and other documents on almost any device. It is compatible with tablets, smartphones, laptops, and smartphones. The companion app can also automatically backup your files, so that you always have the latest version. You can buy a 256GB model at a very affordable $30 to $40. We love the dual USB connectivity and the small size of the device.
Amazon: SanDisk Dual DriveGo – $30
Amazon Echo Dot (4th-gen)
Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker has been a huge success. The Echo Dot is small and lightweight, so students will love it. They can also ask Alexa to play Spotify, Apple Music, or other music whenever they feel like having an instant dorm-room dance party. The Echo Dot plugs directly into a wall socket so they don’t need to remember to charge it like with a portable speaker. The Echo Dot can be used to help students with homework problems. Were we suggesting that they ask Alexa for help with their homework? But not exactly. The voice assistant’s answers may be a good starting place for further research.
Amazon Echo Dot: $50
Anozer tablet stand
You need to be able to see your screen clearly, whether you’re watching a movie, studying or attending a virtual class. Anozer’s smartphone and tablet stand is strong and unassuming. It adjusts in height and angles, it has rubber feet and metal weights that keep it in place. The device can also be folded flat to make it portable. The silicone-covered pad with rubber hooks prevent your phone or tablet slipping and sliding. It is essential for anyone who uses their mobile device to study.
Amazon.com: Buy an Anozer Stand – $15
Manta Sleep Mask
In college, it can be difficult to get sleep. Some nights you might have to work late to complete an exam. Other nights you’ll be able to let go of your worries and allow others to roam around your dorm. Manta’s sleeping mask can be lifesaver when you need to close your eyes and get some sleep. Its adjustable eye cups, which block out almost 100 percent of the light, are what we love. The headband can be adjusted to suit your preferences. Manta offers a range of eye cups to help you with your skin, including one that can be used for migraine relief. A good pair of earplugs can also be a great addition to the “do-not disturb” bundle. They block out noises and disturbances during sleep.
Amazon Manta sleeping mask – $30
RAVPower 2500mAh charger
A portable method to charge your phone is vital these days. Better still is a battery pack capable of charging all your devices including your laptop. RAVPower’s 20,000mAh mobile charger can do exactly this. It’s 60W output means it can juice up MacBook Pros from 0-60 percent in one hour. You can charge your tablet, smartphone and other devices with the charger, even if your laptop is not in use. RAVPower’s charger was just published. It cost $54 but we still believe it’s well worth the money.
Buy 20,000mAh 60W portable charger at RAVPower – $54
USB desk fan
Dorm rooms can get unbearably hot during school years. It’s not uncommon to sweat while studying. The USB desk fan works in all environments and is the perfect gadget to circulate air. It takes up very little space and has a nearly 4-foot cable. You can plug it into an AC outlet, a USB adapter or even a battery pack. The fan has three speeds, and you can angle the head to direct air toward your face or any other place you desire.
Amazon has a desk fan for $12
Brita filter bottle
There are many environmental benefits to carrying a reusable water container. Hydration is vital for everyone, not just students. Brita’s water bottles are a great option. They’re BPA-free and come in 26- and 36 ounce capacities. The lid is leak-proof and the straw uses a filter to make the water just like what you’d get from a Brita larger size. No, you don’t have to buy expensive replacement filters. It is recommended that you change your bottle’s filter once every two months. A pack of three filters will cost you about $12.