For better or worse, summer is almost over and kids are heading back to school. It’s a time of stress and hope, and for a lot of people it means traveling halfway across the country to live in a completely different state with new friends and new surroundings.
As you settle into your new dorm room, we have some recommendations on how you can really make it feel like home. And, for those people who bunk with a roommate who’s particularly loud, we have you covered.
Even if you’re not moving into a dorm, these products will liven up any room. Below are ten essentials you need for back to school.
iPad and Pencil
Apple designed the new 9.7-inch iPad specifically for schools, with all-day battery and powerful guts. Even better, Apple added Pencil support, making the iPad an excellent way to take notes, read, and create. It’s also pretty affordable, too, which is always a plus.
Apple TV 4K
The Apple TV has one of the cleanest user interfaces and excellent integration with other Apple products. It’s by no means the most advanced set-top box on the market, but it’s among the easiest to use—and there’s always something magical about AirPlaying content from your iPhone.
If you’re going to go 4K, TCL is the way to go. Not only does this unit offer excellent picture quality, but it’s one of the cheapest 4K units you’ll find. And at 55 inches, it’s the perfect size without feeling like it’s taking up too much space.
Sonos offers a legendary lineup of home audio products and the Sonos One is among its best. With a clean design and powerful sound, the One is the perfect starter speaker. Not to mention it features AirPlay 2 support and is compatible with Amazon Alexa (with Google Assistant to come).
When you’re at the library and need a break, the Nintendo Switch is the perfect distraction. The Switch is an excellent addition to any collection thanks to its portability and growing library of titles. Just don’t get caught playing it during your psych lecture.
When your roommate won’t stop talking on the phone, flip on your Bose QC35 and enjoy the sounds of silence. Honestly, silence is very underrated, especially when you’re trying to get work done or sleep. The QC35 will whisk you away to dreamland while blocking distracting outside noise.
Spotify monthly subscription
Out of the many subscription services on the market, Spotify is the one I absolutely refuse to give up. It features curated playlists, an enormous library of content and, as a bonus, nice integration with Waze. I simply can’t live without my Discover Weekly.
Lenovo Smart Display
Probably one of the coolest gadgets to come out this year, the Lenovo Smart Display takes the intelligence of Google Assistant and adds a display. If you have yet to get a Google Home, I’d skip straight to the Smart Display because of its impressive functionality and nice design.
Netflix monthly subscription
Another key streaming service that will help keep you sane during the long school year. In addition to a strong library of third-party content, Netflix has an excellent selection of originals that continue to get better. Maybe you could even strike a deal with your roommate and split a subscription.
Fujifilm Instax SQ6 Film Camera
A good dorm room isn’t complete without an overabundance of pictures. There’s something so tangible and nostalgic about instant photos, and Fujifilm’s Instax Q6 is the perfect way to capture memories without having your face constantly buried in a smartphone.
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