Back to School Tech Makes Your Dorm Room Smarter

Aug 7, 2014 bluetooth, external hard drive, internet, 0 Comments
Back to School Tech


Thinking about back to school tech yet? It’s about that time again. You’re buying books, binders, pens, and other items to help your student succeed. Don’t forget the tech. This includes portable storage devices, apps that put lighting control in the palm of a hand, and peripherals that make listening to music more enjoyable.

9 Pieces of Back to School Tech

There’s something for everyone in this list of gadgets that will help every person’s dorm room life a little better.

Go Solid State with the Western Digital Dual Black 2 Portable Drive

Western Digital has been my main drive of choice for both internal and external drives for decades. They have a new drive out now, the Dual Black 2 Portable Drive that combines their proven rotating hard drive technology with the strength and convenience of solid state technology. Solid state (SSD) drives don’t use spinning platters that can be damaged to store data, they use media card technology to store data on memory chips that are much harder to damage.

This WD drive sports both a high capacity rotating platter and SSD drive that are seamlessly integrated. You can store your operating system and low-read programs on the SSD portion of the drive, and put your more drive intensive data, music, and video files on the rotating platter hard drive, saving read/write operations on the SSD media and extending its life.

The Tabu LuMini Light App Puts Lighting Control In a Smartphone

LuMini is an app that interfaces with the Lumen Smart Bulb via a Bluetooth connection. The app allows almost unlimited control over both the Original Lumen Bulb and the new multi-color LuMini bulb. Use the app to bathe the room in bright white light to facilitate studying, or tone it down with the new LuMini bulb and add reds, greens, and blues to enhance the ambiance.

Take Your Projects with You with the Seagate Backup Plus Slim

When I was in college, taking my projects with me meant carrying binders full of research and notes everywhere I went. Today, it means a thumb drive or external hard drive. Seagate makes my favorite external hard drives, and the Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive sports the features that tell the story of why. This drive family is available in 500 GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities and come pre-loaded with the Seagate Mobile Backup Application that also allows backing up mobile devices. The drive connects to your computer through a USB 3.0 interface and comes in blue, black, silver, or red. Retail price on these starts in the $80 range.

Dorm Rooms Require a Smaller Printer

Dorm rooms are small, so big things are out. Up until recently this would have meant that the all-in-one printer would have had to stay home, but not anymore. The Epson Stylus NX430 is the ideal piece of back to school tech for any student. It’s an all-in-one, so whether your student needs to print, scan, fax, or copy something, they’re set. It’s an Epson, so image quality is going to be excellent. The NX430 Small-in-oneâ„¢ printer is perfectly sized for any dorm room. Network connection is via wireless and/or USB cable.

Unobtrusive and Inexpensive Security Camera

Being in a dorm room usually means being introduced to people you don’t know. This can be a risky proposition with today’s expensive electronic devices that everyone seems to have many of. The iControls Networks Blacksumac Piper security camera is web-based, making basic security quick and easy. It can also double as a Z-Wave hub/router. Using the included app, you can program Piper to only record video when you’re away, or you can have it also sound an audible alarm. It can also be used as a webcam to enable video conferencing using the internal microphone.

Pump Up the Sound with This Bluetooth Speaker from Philips

This little speaker shaped like an orange or black hand grenade, called the SoundShooter, is pretty cool. For less than $50, you get pretty good sound from your Bluetooth-enabled device for up to eight hours. Even better, the built-in microphone gives it hands-free speakerphone capabilities, so you can talk on the phone and finish your homework at the same time. The included USB cable doubles for charging and music playback and a carabiner for hanging it off a backpack or belt loop,

Smart Energy Control Just Got Quirky

The Quirky Power Pivot Genius is probably the smartest and neatest piece of back to school tech on this list. You’ve heard of “smart lamps/lights/bulbs.” How about a smart extension cord? The design allows it to be bent to form a variety of shapes to conform to room geometry. The Quirky Power Pivot Genius also has two outlets that can be controlled from a mobile app, ensuring that you always turn everything off when you leave the room. The spacing of the outlets means that even if everything you have to plug in has a wall brick, there will be room.

A Bluetooth Speaker with a More Traditional Look

This Philips BT2500, like the SoundShooter, is from Philips and delivers impressive sound and has a microphone built into it that allows it to be used as a hands free speakerphone device. The BT2500 allows for marathon study sessions with a battery that lasts up to four hours when fully charged. The case for this speaker is square and flat with a hanging clip, allowing it to be placed where optimal sound dispersion can be achieved. At less than fifty bucks, you’ll get more bang for your buck.

This Logitech Keyboard Lets You Type Anywhere

Your mobile device, including laptops, has a keyboard that makes getting any meaningful work done outdoors difficult, but the cordless lifestyle those devices beckon makes not taking them outdoors to enjoy the fresh air difficult. If only there was a solar powered Bluetooth keyboard that works with the majority of Bluetooth-enabled devices. If only that keyboard cost less than $100. Logitech to the rescue! The K750/K760 Series of wireless keyboards offers full-sized keyboards, Bluetooth connectivity with almost any device, and better yet, they’re priced right around fifty bucks.

Keeping up with the best back to school tech can be difficult, but it usually pays off in the end!


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Mike is a certified low voltage installer with over 10 years of professional experience in the field, much of it working for Cable TV companies. He also has over a decade of experience in the computer field as a network engineer and support specialist. Mike's hobbies include installing high-end audio and video systems.

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