Smarter Living

August 7, 2014

7 great tech tools for college students

Here’s a guide to tools and accessories for tech-savvy college students and their live-and-work spaces.

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.


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,

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


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

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 and

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

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

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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