If you're heading to college this fall, you're probably wondering which tech products you should invest in. You can't go wrong with something that's useful, but you should be able to have some fun while you're in school, too. Here are five technology items that can help you balance the academic and social aspects of your college experience.
The laptop has always been a popular choice for students who want to take notes in class or study outside of their dorm room. Tablets, however, are smaller and lighter, which makes them easier to carry. You can run programs like OneNote or Dragon Dictation to take notes during lectures. Do you want to type up a paper? You can easily connect a keyboard to your tablet.
It also comes in handy when you want to pull up a yoga video to follow at home, catch up on your favorite TV shows, or call your family on Skype.
Gone are the days of watching movies on a laptop screen. If you have a pocket projector, you can connect it to a phone, tablet, or laptop and project TV shows and movies onto a blank wall. This means you can invite even more people to your dorm room for movie nights. It's also a great way to impress a date.
Because the device is portable, you could also bring it to a friend's place. Most pocket projectors can also run files from an SD card, and certain brands even have internal storage space so that you've always got something to watch.
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When you're living with a roommate, headphones can make a big difference in how well you get along with each other. Put them on, and listen to white noise to block the sound of your roommate's snoring at night. Do they hate your music? Play it with your headphones on so you don't drive them crazy. Your neighbors will also appreciate it, especially if you normally play your music loud.
Headphones also are useful outside of your room. You can use them when you need study music at the library, and they're a must-have item when you're working out at the gym.
You probably already have an Android phone or an iPhone. However, if you don't have one yet or if you're ready to upgrade your current phone, make sure to take a look at the newest smartphones. They're even smaller and lighter than tablets, and your phone can function as a study tool when you download study apps like Google Drive, Flashcards+, and Evernote.
Make sure your phone has the features you want. For example, the screen resolution won't matter unless you're planning to watch a lot of movies on your phone, but you'll want a larger amount of storage space if you're planning to download a lot of apps or music. Keep in mind that network speed makes a big difference in how well your phone functions. Phones from T-Mobile are worth considering — according to a recent report from OpenSignal, this carrier is now the fastest network.
Portable Phone Charger
Speaking of cell phones, you don't want to end up with a dead battery while you're out and about. A portable phone charger, also known as a power bank, can save the day when you don't have access to a wall outlet.
Depending on which device you go with, it can charge your phone once or even five times before it needs to be recharged. Generally speaking, the smaller and lighter portable phone chargers fit easily in your purse or gym bag, but they provide the least amount of charge. The heavier chargers are less convenient to carry around, but that may not matter if you're able to keep it in a locker at work or in your car.
When you start college in the fall, your schedule will quickly fill up with new and exciting activities. By having at least a couple of these must-have technology items, you'll be able to stay in touch with friends and family, keep track of your class notes, stay entertained, and more.