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7 great tech tools for college students

By Karen Sullivan
kmsulliv@charlotteobserver.com
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    - BELKIN
    Keep your work space tidy with the Tablet Stand with Storage, which has a compartment for pencils, headphones or other items.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/07/16/53/g0DNE.Em.138.jpeg|316
    - BED BATH & BEYOND
    The Folding PC Table with Power Work Station is suitable for college dorms or similar work spaces. It has handles for carrying it and a 20-pound weight capacity.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/07/16/53/1muNGU.Em.138.jpeg|315
    -
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/07/16/53/1qOB3x.Em.138.jpeg|316
    - BED BATH & BEYOND
    The Dorm Space Saver can be used in college dorm rooms or a bedroom at home. The height of the steel shelves can be adjusted at 1-inch increments. BED BATH & BEYOND
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/07/16/53/S4rXC.Em.138.jpeg|316
    - BELKIN
    The Secure Wired Keyboard for iPad shown here has a lightning connector.

More Information

  • Tech for campus life

    • While technology adds convenience, it often doesn’t do so well without a supporting cast. Protective cases, charging devices and thumb drives for data storage are just some of the accessories that boost convenience. Remember to pack those items before you leave for campus.

    • Don’t rely on retail sites alone when shopping for technology and accessories. Ratings from consumers who have used the items often offer the insight you will need.

    • Check the Web for coupons from the manufacturers and retailers. You can often save a few dollars on the devices you choose.



Spiral notebooks and pocket folders just don’t cut it anymore as school supplies for college students. Today, it’s all about technology.

Teachers communicate with students by email. Students take notes on laptops and tablets, and research projects often start on the Internet.

Here’s a guide to up-to-date tools and accessories for tech-savvy students.

Laptops

Two-in-one convertible laptops have the flexibility that many students are looking for. Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro has a screen that tilts to a 90-degree angle (or thereabouts) when you plan to use a keyboard. Fold the screen backward – up to a full 360 degrees – to operate in touch-screen mode, especially for using tablet apps or voice commands. This model weighs 5.5 pounds, has a 13.3-inch high-definition screen, a silver finish, an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM (not expandable) and a 256GB hard drive. The processor speed is 1.8GHz (with Turbo Boost up to 3.0GHz). The Windows 8 device has Bluetooth, two USB ports and HDMI output. $1,200 regular price at Best Buy, http://bit.ly/1zrmmuY.

Stowable desk

Not every college student lives in a dorm with a desk. The Folding PC Table with Power Work Station is an option for setting up a work space in tight quarters. Fold for storage when it’s not in use. At study time, plug it in and you’ll have access to two AC outlets and two USB ports. The desk measures 29.5 inches by 18 inches and has a weight capacity of 20 pounds. $50 at www.bedbathandbeyond.com.

Storage

Add storage space above a twin bed for a wireless speaker, books, backpacks or tech accessories with the Dorm Space Saver. It has two shelves that can be raised or lowered in 1-inch increments, no tools needed. There’s also a small shelf for a drink and cellphone or music player. Holds up to 180 pounds and measures 44 inches wide by 20 deep by 68 high. $60 at www.bedbathandbeyond.com.

Power up

Keeping devices charged for class can be as important as taking notes. Velvetwire’s Powerslayer is a smartphone charger with software that saves energy and wear on the battery by turning the power off when the device is charged. Surge protection is also included to keep your devices safe.

Use the lightning port to charge iPhone 5|5s|5c, iPad Air and Minis, as well as fifth-generation iPod Touch. The 30-pin port works with iPhone 4s and earlier models, third-generation iPads and earlier models, as well as iPods sold before 2012. The micro USB port connects with most Android phones, e-Readers and many other devices.

The charging unit is $40; a kit sells for $85 and includes a travel case and USB cable. Available at https://web.velvetwire.com/shop and amazon.com.

Props and organizers

Every tablet user has to figure out how to keep the device at a comfortable angle when you’re using it. The Tablet Stand with Storage is designed to accomplish that and also has a compartment for pencils, headphones or other supplies. Compatible with 7-inch Galaxy Tab and Tab 2, 10-inch Galaxy Tab 2; Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire, Touch and 3/3G; and iPad, iPad2 and gen 3 iPad. $30 at http://bit.ly/1ujnjmq.

Tablet keyboard

Tablets are lightweight and travel well, but their touch-screen technology isn’t designed for bigger jobs such as taking detailed notes or typing research papers. You’ll need a keyboard to be efficient at those jobs. Belkin’s plug-and-play Secure Wired Keyboard provides a secure connection to iPad and Samsung tablets. It needs no batteries or recharging. Priced at $30-$60 at http://bit.ly/1npgQkc.

Classsroom apps

Evernote, myHomework, inClass and School Binder are some of the classroom apps and programs that are doing more of the work of a zippered three-ring binder. Check the store on your mobile device for other options. Look for apps that can sync with the data on your computer, and pay attention to product ratings before you download.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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