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September 15, 2022  |  Electronics

From laptops to portable reading lights, every college student needs these electronics

Today’s college students need all the help they can get to prepare for exams, keep in touch with their professors and work efficiently on campus. While basic appliances like TVs, microwaves and minifridges are on every incoming university student’s list, there is a wide range of other electronics that help make college life more comfortable, fun and productive.

Electronics for studying and work

Laptop computer

A reliable laptop computer is a college staple. From taking notes in class to creating presentations and writing reports, you’ll need a computer that is light enough to carry easily but powerful enough to complete assignments without delay. Unless you are studying media and video production, you can save some money out of your budget by choosing a laptop that forgoes expensive processors or graphics cards.

Portable reading light

Never miss an opportunity to catch up on your assigned reading by packing a portable reading light. While food courts and hallways tend to be well lit, getting a few chapters out of the way while on the bus or even in an Uber is a great way to make use of your downtime.

Electronics for play

Bluetooth speaker

Whether you’re hanging out with friends in your room or shooting hoops outside, a portable Bluetooth speaker keeps music to suit the mood close at hand. Choose a waterproof speaker for an added level of protection against spills or rain. You can even bring it in the shower.

Instant camera

While carrying a camera in addition to your phone may seem redundant, instant cameras allow you to immediately print your photos in a decidedly retro style. Instagram may be convenient, but there is something undeniably fun about printing photos that can be used to decorate doors and walls or be used as personalized gifts.

Electronics for rest

Wake-up light

If the sound of your alarm is the worst part of your day, you aren’t alone. Having your sleep abruptly disrupted can be a discouraging way to start your morning. Wake-up lights gradually fill your room with a glow that mimics the rising sun. This lets you transition more easily into your morning routine as opposed to cutting your sleep off prematurely.

Noise-canceling headphones

Whether you’re on the bus or just trying to enjoy a peaceful moment in spite of a noisy roommate, noise-canceling headphones let you create an audio oasis wherever you are. Even if you aren’t in the mood for music, their isolating silence can provide you with some serenity.

Best electronics for college students

Top laptop

Apple MacBook Air

What you need to know: Apple’s lightest MacBook continues to deliver for those in need of a laptop for work on the go.

What you’ll love: Apple’s new M2 chip gives the latest MacBook Air a power boost. It is available in four colors, weighs less than 3 pounds and has up to 18 hours of battery life. 

What you should consider: Those who need their computer for video or audio processing will want a device with higher specs and more ports.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top portable reading light

Vekkia Rechargeable Book Light

What you need to know: This LED reading light can last for up to 80 hours on a full charge.

What you’ll love: This reading light clips to your book and features six LEDs. You can choose from three brightness settings, and its glow is warm to reduce eye strain. It comes in four colors and is small enough to slip into your pocket.

What you should consider: Some users find this light’s charging cable to be fragile and prone to breaking.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top Bluetooth speaker

JBL Charge 5

What you need to know: JBL’s most popular speaker is a top contender, thanks to its great sound and portability. 

What you’ll love: Available in six colors, this Bluetooth speaker leads the pack due to its excellent bass response and 20 hours of battery life. It is waterproof and can also function as a power bank for your other devices.

What you should consider: This version of JBL’s speaker lacks the line-in port that previous models had.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s

Top instant camera

Kodak Mini Shot 3 Retro

What you need to know: This instant camera is Bluetooth compatible, so it can even print photos from your phone.

What you’ll love: Relive the glory days of instant photography with this throwback from Kodak. It prints photos with brilliant colors and deep contrast in seconds. You can use an app on your phone to edit your photos and make adjustments before printing, or you could just go old school and use the camera by itself.

What you should consider: This camera’s screen is low resolution and a disappointment to those looking for something more premium.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top wake-up light

Jall Sunrise Alarm Clock

What you need to know: You can awaken refreshed in the gentle glow of this feature-packed wake-up light.

What you’ll love: This wake-up light alarm clock features an FM radio and seven colors to choose from. You can also adjust its brightness to your liking and select from seven gentle alarm sounds, such as chirping birds or ocean waves.

What you should consider: Users have noticed that the buttons on this light all feel the same and are hard to push without knocking the device over.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top noise-canceling headphones

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

What you need to know: Sony’s industry-leading noise-canceling technology improves even further in the fifth generation of these wireless headphones.

What you’ll love: Generously padded with up to 30 hours of battery life, these headphones are comfortable enough to wear throughout the day. Their unbeatable noise-canceling features let you focus on your music and your studies without outside distractions pulling you out of the zone.

What you should consider: Competitors offer less expensive alternatives if you don’t need the best noise canceling.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 


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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.