Tech Out Your Dorm Room
3 Products Every Dorm Room Needs 02:01
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.
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”?
Privacy Pop Bed Tent
3-in-1 Breakfast Center
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.
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.
Snooze Alarm Clock
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.
Belkin Mr. Coffee With WeMo
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.