If you offered it to them, I bet every student going back to school would take a brand new TV or lightweight laptop. The reality is, however, those big-ticket items are expensive. Plus, they probably don’t need them; their current TV or laptop is likely just fine. That said, there are a bunch of other great devices – from new headphones to bookshelf speakers, backup batteries to running wearables – that are back-to-school buys. Not only will they see a fair share of use in the dorm and around the campus, but they’ll hopefully follow them after graduation, too.
Wired: These are still some of our favorite wired headphones. They’re affordable, comfortable, sound great and they have the signature flair and cool aesthetic that Grado is known for.
Wireless Earbuds: If you’re looking for true wireless earbuds to use both walking to class or working out afterward, these are arguably the best ones available. They’re also considerably cheaper than the also-greaat Powerbeats Pro ($250).
Noise-Canceling: There are a lot of great noise-canceling headphones to choose from these days, but the WH-1000XM3 are still arguably the best. Plus they cost about $100 less than the new Bose Headphones 700s.
Super NES Classic
The Affordable Classic: The Super Nintendo is one of the all-time favorite game consoles. This is a minature and modern version of that classic console, only this time it has all the games are built in, plus it works with whatever TV you currently have.
The New Gameboy: The Switch is really a first of a kind console you can use it handheld or plug it into a TV. It’s relatively affordable and comes with a ton of fun multi-player games. Honestly, if you get them a Switch and the new Super Smash Bros game, it could might prevent some (drunken) weekend debauchery.
VR, But Actually Cool: This is Oculus’s first standalone VR headset, meaning you don’t need a compatible PC or console to use it. It’s a wire-free experience and, when playing the games, you can actually move around the room. Definietly a fun thing to have at parties.
The Essential Speakers
Roku TV Wireless Speakers
TV Speakers: These speakers will only work with Roku smart TVs – which many students probably have because most are very affordable. The speakerst themselves add a soundstage and quality that, frankly, the TV’s built-in speakers can’t compete with.
Ultimate Ears Megablast
Portable Bluetooth Speaker: This is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker. When connected to Wi-Fi, it works like an Alexa smart speaker. Or when used as a traditional Bluetooth speaker, you can take it anywhere with you.
Audioengine A2+ Wireless
Desktop Speakers: These make really great desktop or bookshelf speakers. Plus they have built-in Bluetooth so you can stream music straight from your smartphone.
Anker PowerCore Slim 5000
Battery for Smartphone: This is a solid backup battery for your smartphone, plus it’s slender enough to fit comfortably in a pant pocket.
Nomad Wireless Charging Pad for iPhone and Apple Watch
Wireless Charging Pad: This is a terrific nightstand companion because it can charge a smartphone and an Apple Watch, a distinction that not many other wireless charging pads have.
Mophie Powerstation AC
Battery for Laptop: This is a beast of a portable powerbank. It has a 22,000mAh capacity, a number of ports and it’s easily small enough to still stip into a backpack. Best of all, it’s powerful enough to recharge a laptop at least once over.
Portable Streaming Stick: The is the Roku’s simpliest and cheapest streaming stick that still supports 4K and HDR streaming. It turns any TV, smart or otherwise, into a Roku smart TV.
Amazon Fire TV Cube
Voice Control: This is essentially a two-in-one combo: an Amazon Echo smart speaker and a Fire TV strick, all rolled into one. Not only can it integrate your TV into a multi-room sound system, but it makes controlling your TV with your voice, easy.
Apple TV 4K
High-End Option: This is still the best streaming stick for those who have a 4K TV. There’s also the fun fact that Apple is launching its all-new streaming service this fall, Apple TV+, and you’ll likley need an Apple TV streaming box to watch it on your current TV (unless it’s a 2018 or 2019 model with the Apple TV app).
What They Didn’t Know They Needed
The New-Age MP3 Player: This little device lets Spotify Premium subscribers download playlists and podcasts for offline listening. It’s like the “iPod Shuffle for Spotify.” If they’re a runner and they have to carry their smartphone with them to listen to music, this little clip-on gadget will change that.
Lenovo Smart Clock
Digital Alarm Clock: Not only will this smart alarm clock help them not sleep through class, but it seamless integrates with Google Calendar.
Marpac Dohm Classic
White Noise Machine: White noise machines can be godsends. Especially if they share room.
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