4 Dorm Room Tech Essentials Every Student Needs

The new school year is rapidly approaching and kids are gearing up to head off (or back) to college in the coming weeks. Between uncomfortable twin beds, minimal privacy and stressful all-nighters, most dorm rooms leave much to be desired. While you might not be able to install California closets for your college kids, now is the perfect time to set them up with the top tech gadgets that will enhance their experience, both on and off campus.

While college is a time for fun, it’s also a time for studying and learning. So when you load up your car with your kid’s possessions next month, make sure they’ve got everything they need to succeed. From cameras to keyboards, we’ve rounded up our favorite tech essentials that won’t break the bank, but will help your kid’s ease into the new school year and crush their Fall semester.

Get a security camera

According to a 2014 study, college students are four times more likely than the average person to submit a claim to their contents insurance provider. It’s for that reason why students typically pay more for home/renter’s insurance. But one good way to protect yourself is with a decent security camera system.

A great contender is the Wyze Cam v2. This diminutive camera records in 1080p high-definition to a MicroSD card, and can upload footage to the cloud. It supports night vision. And, thanks to a new software update, can also identify people when they step in frame. The best part? They’re super cheap. The entry-level Wyze cam costs just $20 (not including shipping and handling). Can you really afford not to get one?

Invest in a decent digital voice recorder

Everyone can remember that one professor who blazed through lessons at a breakneck pace, leaving students furiously scribbling their notes as they tried to keep up. If your college kid has a digital voice recorder (or “dictaphone”), they can revisit it later. They can even upload it to otter.ai, allowing them to get an easy, computer-generated transcript of the lesson.

So, what digital voice recorder should you buy? One worthy candidate is the Sony ICD-PX370, which typically retails on Amazon for $60. This comes with 4GB of storage, which is enough for nearly 60 hours of lectures. If that’s not enough, you can expand it with a MicroSD card. It also includes a built-in USB port, which lets the user transfer recordings from the device to a computer.

A decent backpack

If your kid is heading off to college with a pricey new laptop, you’ll probably want to make sure it’s protected as they walk between lectures. With that in mind, invest in a sturdy and reliable backpack that will protect belongings from anything.

Enter the Timbuk2 The Division Pack. This backpack typically retails for $100, which is admittedly not cheap, but you can take comfort that you won’t have to fork out cash to replace a broken laptop halfway through the school year. Where this backpack loses a few points for price, it more than makes up for it in sheer durability and comfort. Plus, it can fit a 15-inch laptop.

A top-notch keyboard

For homework, games and IM-ing friends, any old keyboard will do. But for the programmer or developer to be, consider something tailored more to their needs, like the Happy Hacking Keyboard - a keyboard engineered with programmers, developers and coders specifically in mind.

What makes this keyboard perfect for XYZ? Its compact in size and super lightweight, making it easy trek back and forth between classes in a backpack and has a classic layout for convenience among UNIX users. The keys boast a silent, ergonomic design intended for longer typing sessions without fatigue and feature keycaps top label - which never fades.

You can grab one from their website, as well as other reputable third-party vendor, like Amazon.com.

What are some other tech essentials that you swear by for your college kid? What could you have not lived without in your dorm room?