Tech Out Your Dorm Room

Heading off to college? Pick up these smart products to maximize your small dorm room space and keep your stuff safe.

3 Products Every Dorm Room Needs 02:01

Carley shares four hi-tech products to make dorm life a little more comfy.

Going away to college is such a huge milestone for so many kids. Aside from the academic challenges and the first-time-living-on-your-own hiccups, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be living with a stranger, which can be an adventure in itself. Dorm room life can be a little awkward as you get your bearings, but high tech can help make things a bit more comfortable in your small, shared space.

18 Accessories for a Cooler Dorm Room

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Pod Power

Inevitably, whenever your computer needs a charge, your roommate and her boyfriend are hogging the outlets. This nine-foot extension cord has three extra outlets incorporated into it, so you can all keep charging without needing to have “a friendly talk.”

Photo By: Quirky

Smartphone Projector

You don’t need a big screen in order to enlarge what’s on your phone. Slide your device into this cardboard box with a glass lens (what?!), then project whatever’s on-screen onto the surface of your choice. It’ll blow up the image to as much as 8x magnification. Can you say, “movie night”?

Photo By: Amazon

Privacy Pop Bed Tent

Whether you have a roommate who stays up late while you need to sleep (5 a.m. crew practice!) or you just want to disappear into your own space for a while, this bed tent can do the trick. It can also eliminate awkward “Next time, can you knock first?” moments.

Photo By: Brookstone

Flameless Candles

There’s nothing like candlelight to set a mood, but your RA will never let ’em pass. These flameless, battery-operated candles have wax bases and they actually flicker, so they look like the real thing, without the fire hazard.

Photo By: Lights.com

Fujifilm Instax Share

For an instantly awesome bulletin board, print out your cellphone photos with this little machine. It instantly prints images from your smart devices, using miniature film. Think: Polaroid 2.0.

Photo By: Amazon

LCD Tablet

Hang one of these outside your door, and expect your friends’ creative notes and artwork to follow. It’s like those old lift-to-erase boards, but it uses light; jot with any stylus, then press a button to electronically erase and start over.

Photo By: Amazon

3-in-1 Breakfast Center

This itty-bitty appliance has been compared to an EasyBake oven, but it makes real coffee, toast and even eggs on its 6” griddle. So when you can’t get away from your desk for a meal break, you can still whip up actual food in your room. Take that, Cup o’ Noodles.

Photo By: Maxi-Matic

Withings Aura

You’ve got to hit the water by daybreak. Your roommate goes to sleep at 3 a.m. You’ll both appreciate this alarm clock that wakes you with gentle music and a sunrise-like light. It charges your phone too, but automatically turns it off so there’s no dinging and buzzing in the middle of the night. 

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Photo By: Withings

Charging Station

The Belkin Powerhouse Charging Dock Duo ensures that there’s a charging spot for two of your devices, smartphones or tablets. Plus, it charges at the fastest possible speed, getting you back on a screen in no time.

Photo By: Belkin

Canary Security System

With all the people coming in and out, sometimes, your dorm feels like Grand Central Station. Canary is a plug-and-play security hub that can help you keep tabs on your room. With an HD camera and sensors, it monitors movement and noise, and will send you alerts if it picks up anything weird.

Photo By: Canary

Snooze Alarm Clock

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could whack your iPhone to turn off its alarm in the morning, the way you can with an old-school clock? This clever holder turns your phone into a freestanding alarm clock with a slappable snooze button … plus it’s a charging station.

Photo By: Distil Union

Tile

Anyone who thinks you can’t lose something in an itsy-bitsy dorm room has never spent 30 minutes searching for a credit card in a clutch purse (cough, cough). Tile is a set of eight Bluetooth-enabled white squares that attach to essentials like your keys, your wallet and your thesis. It connects with an app that essentially plays Marco Polo with your lost items, letting you know when you’re near them.

Photo By: Tile

Belkin Mr. Coffee With WeMo

After partying — er, cramming — all night, then sleeping through breakfast hours, you can find some solace in this clever coffeepot. Program it via app and it will brew when you tell it to, so you don’t even need to get out of bed before the java is ready.

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Photo By: Belkin

Space Bar

Spare desk space in a dorm? Not so much. That’s where this smart gizmo comes in. It’s got room to stash your keyboard while it supports your monitor on top and charges your devices via six USB ports.

Photo By: Quirky

Bed Risers

How do you crush a semester’s worth of textbooks, your winter wardrobe and a case of non-perishable food under a single bed? Add bed risers. One of the risers has a killer feature: Two extra power outlets and two spare USB ports.

Photo By: Bed, Bath & Beyond

Mini Fridge

When you’re burning the midnight oil, you need fuel — and you can do better than warm Jolt Cola. A mini fridge makes possible such delights as milk with cereal, ice cream (there’s a freezer!) and leftovers from “real” meals.

Photo By: Amazon

Chromecast

No more squinting at your smart device to binge-watch Orange Is the New Black. The Chromecast dongle can send what’s on your device to the big screen; just plug it into the back of your set. And oh yeah, you can send your schoolwork to the TV screen, too. 

Photo By: Google

HDTV/Monitor Combo

This hi-def TV doubles as a monitor, so when you’re done catching up on House of Cards, you can use the same set to perfect your art history PowerPoint presentation.

Photo By: Samsung

When you and another human are living in a small, small space, using every inch efficiently is critical, and filling every nook of storage space is key. Bed risers that lift your bunk up create inches of extra room that can give you what feels like acres of more storage space. Even your monitor can be lifted up on a stand that allows you to store your keyboard underneath (for when your desk becomes the kitchen table … or the vanity … or an extra seat). Both of these cool gadgets provide power too, because we can also use extra spots to power up in a pinch.

Tech Tools for Surviving College

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BenchPrep

GRE, LSAT, GMAT … all these acronyms can strike fear into a student’s heart. BenchPrep is a system built to help you hone your scores (and settle your nerves) via interactive testing, games and strategy tips. It’s like a Princeton Review course, home version.

Photo By: BenchPrep

Clocky Alarm Clock

If you’ve ever pressed “snooze” in your sleep, you may benefit from this deceptively cute alarm clock. Press “snooze” and it jumps off your nightstand and starts whizzing around, beeping all the way until you chase it and shut it off (or your roommate forcibly wakes you).

Photo By: Clocky

StudyBlue Flash Cards

If you’ve ever nursed a cramped hand after cutting up a thousand tiny flash cards, here’s a more humane method. StudyBlue lets you create your flash cards online so you can access them anywhere and quiz yourself — plus browse other students’ cards and share your own.

Recordium

Remember handheld voice recorders? This app turns your phone into a recorder (no more racing to jot notes as Professor Motormouth goes off on a tangent). Better yet, you can edit as you go, cutting out that random story about your professor’s cat.

Photo By: Recordium

Dragon Dictation

You’ve got classes back-to-back, sports practice and work, and somehow, you also have to write a term paper. This dictation app lets you speak your ideas (or even whole paragraphs!) on the run, while it types them up for you.

Concentrate

You have one night to cram — er, prep — for your poli-sci exam, yet Facebook, eBay and YouTube beckon loudly. This free Mac app lets you shut down your favorite distracting sites so you can’t take a five-minute break that turns into a two-hour cat video spree.

Photo By: Concentrate

Skype

When you’re on a student budget, there’s no reason to pay for things that you can get for free, like a landline telephone. Get on video or make regular calls via Skype, and you can turn any of your devices into a phone complete with group chat. Plus even if it storms, you don’t have to cancel study group.

Photo By: Skype

Mophie Juice Pack

You’re using your phone to jot notes, record dictation and use apps — and when it’s time to actually make a call, your battery is inevitably near-dead. This smartphone battery case gives you a secret source for extra charge, so you’ll have power when you most need it.

Photo By: Mophie

Mint

Now that you’re on your own (kinda), you get the privilege of handling your own budget. And you have no idea how to do that. Mint takes care of the details, keeping you apprised of exactly how much you have and how much you owe.

Photo By: Mint

Venmo

Next time your roommate joins you for dinner and forgets her wallet, introduce her to Venmo. You can both send and receive money for free if you link a bank account or drop money into Venmo. (There’s a 3 percent fee for using a credit card.)

Photo By: Venmo

bSafe

A whistle and pepper spray might sound like good ideas, but they can be hard to grab when you need them. The bSafe app turns your phone into a one-touch alarm that alerts loved ones and shares your location. There’s even a “Fake Call” button so you can abort a bad date less awkwardly.

Photo By: bSafe

Caffeine is a must-have for college survival. Who gets the coffee for your dorm’s inhabitants? You can leave that decision to an epic rock-paper-scissors battle, or you can get a coffee maker that you can operate from bed. This one from Belkin has WeMo home automation technology built into it, so you can tap an app and start your morning cup brewing.

Finally, roommates can often get a little too liberal with “borrowing” personal belongings, and your things tend to go missing. If you want to keep tabs on anything you own (your textbook, your bicycle, your laptop, the remote) use Tile to, well, literally put a tab on it. A smart tab, that can track your devices via app and let you know exactly which girl on your floor has stolen your hairdryer ... again.

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You’re going to get tested a lot in college, but your living quarters shouldn’t be a struggle. Get some tech that helps you make the grade.  

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