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The best gadgets for students

From instant beans on toast, to smart notebooks, gadgets can be a real lifesaver for students at university. Here's some of this year's must-haves...

best gadgets for students

If you're looking for some gadgets to help make your student life a little bit easier, then these should be at the top of your list.

Of course, not every student budget will stretch this far, and these are by no means entirely necessary - but if you have managed to save up a bit of cash, these bits of technology would be a sound investment.

We've got practical tech, like wireless printers and portable speakers, and gadgets that will impress your mates - fancy a backpack with a built in charging cable?

Before you invest in any of these, you need to make sure you've got a reliable laptop to get you through uni. Here's what you should be looking for.

12 best gadgets for university students

  1. Evernote Smart Notebook

    smart notepad

    Most students fall into one of two camps when it comes to making notes at university - those who prefer to write them by hand, and those who'd rather type them up.

    Well thanks to this super smart notebook from Evernote, you can do both simultaneously. You write up your notes, diagrams or drawings in their Smart Notebook, and then scan the pages using the Evernote app.

    Your pages are then optimised and digitised, meaning you can search for specific words just like you would with typed text (handwriting permitting!).

    The notebook comes with smart stickers that you can use to organise and categorise pages or notebooks when they're uploaded, and you'll also a get a three-month Evernote Premium subscription.

    Evernote Smart Notebook, £25.99

  2. Charging backpack

    charging rucksack

    If you need to charge your phone or other electronic devices on the move, then this rucksack is the one.

    It comes with a built-in USB port and charging cable - connect one end to your phone, and the other end to a powerbank or laptop stored inside, and you've got a direct connection to more phone juice.

    Ok, so you could easily do this without a special rucksack, but this looks a lot better than having cables dangling out your bag all the time.

    Koolertron charging backpack, £20

  3. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

    kindle for students

    Even if you're a die-hard fan of physical books, the pain of lugging university textbooks around every day might convert you.

    Before you invest in a Kindle, make sure you are actually able to get the crucial books you need for your course in eBook format - most of the 'big name' textbooks will definitely be on there, but some obscure ones might not be.

    The Paperwhite is Amazon's best-selling Kindle - it's got a super high-resolution display, no glare, soft lighting that won't tire your eyes out in the dark, and a single charge can last you up to six weeks (depending on how often you use it).

    However, if you want to save some money, the basic Kindle doesn't have the same level of features, but is only £59.99.

    Kindle Paperwhite, £109.99

  4. External Hard Drive

    external hard drive

    Ok, so this one might not be the most exciting of gadgets, but it's super important to have a reliable backup of your work at university (especially when you get into your dissertation and long-term projects).

    The last thing you want is for your laptop to break (or get stolen) and to lose all your work as a result. An external hard drive like this one from Seagate can store a backup copy of pretty much your entire laptop (up to 1 terabyte, which should be plenty).

    If you're a gamer, you can also use this external hard drive to expand your library on Xbox One or Playstation 4 - a typical 500GB console can only hold up to 10 games, whereas you'll be able to store up to 50 with this.

    Seagate external hard drive, £45

  5. Noise cancelling headphones

    noise cancelling headphones

    These bad boys will be a God send when you're trying to block out the noise of the flat party upstairs, or when you're trying to get in the zone at the library.

    The crème de la crème of noise cancelling headphones are the Bose QuietComfort 35s, but coming in around £300, they're not exactly friendly to the student budget.

    This pair from TaoTronics are a great budget alternative and have really positive reviews. Most importantly, they're also bluetooth headphones with a battery life of 25 hours, so there's no need to be constantly chained up to your laptop or phone when wearing them.

    TaoTronics noise cancelling headphones, £60 

  6. Wireless printer

    student printer
    So you might be able to do all your printing at the university library, but it will cost you, and it can be inconvenient if there's queues an hour before your deadline. Investing in your own printer can save you a lot of stress and hassle over your uni years - but remember you'll have to buy cartridges!

    This Epson printer is wireless, so you can print things off easily using your phone or laptop. You can also make scans and photocopies of documents, which is perfect if you need to keep a hold of an important page from a book.

    It also comes with individual ink cartridges, so you don't waste any ink if you run out of a colour.

    Epson Expression home printer, £46

We've got loads of more tips of saving money on printing at university - including how to get cheap ink cartridges.
  1. Portable speaker

    portable speaker

    This could very well become one of your most important university investments.

    Pre-drinks, house parties, picnics in the park and watching movies on your laptop; having a good quality portable speaker will always come in handy.

    This Sony SRS-XB10 is small and affordable but packs a powerful punch. Not only does it have 'Extra Bass' to really get the party going, it's got 16 hours of battery life, is waterproof and you can connect two of them together to create surround sound.

    Sony SRS-XB10 wireless speaker, £39

  2. Tefal Toast n Bean maker

    toast and beans maker

    So the fact that students live off beans on toast is such a clichéd stereotype, but why would you not want this!?

    If you're in a rush to make it to your 9am, you can now make a hearty breakfast in a flash - no faffing around with the hob or microwave.

    The bean compartment also doubles up as an egg boiler/poacher if you''re not in the mood for a tin of Heinz.

    Honestly, this is the future.

    Tefal toast n bean maker, £35

  3. Fitbit Charge 2

    fitbit

    If you're keen on staying fit and active at university, but you're not so keen on forking out on an expensive gym membership, then a Fitbit is a solid long-term investment.

    There are a whole bunch of different styles and models to choose from, but the Fitbit Charge 2 offers probably the best all round product, at the best value price.

    It tracks your heart rate and workout to help you monitor changes and reach you goals

    It can also use your heart rate to track your sleep patterns, so you can set a vibrating alarm that will help you wake up naturally (rather than abruptly waking you in the middle of a deep sleep).

    FitBit Charge 2, £109.99

  4. Deluxe lapdesk

    deluxe lapdesk

    If you're the kind of person who likes to do work in bed (we don't judge) then this deluxe lap try will be a serious help.

    It holds laptops up to a width of 17 inches, and even has a handy little slot for your phone (even if that isn't the best way to concentrate on your work).

    There's a snazzy mouse mat if you like to use a portable mouse instead of your trackpad, and a wrist pad to make typing as comfortable as possible.

    If nothing else, a lapdesk stops your laptop from overheating, which it will definitely do if you keep it on your duvet all the time.

    LapGear XL deluxe lapdesk, £50

  5. Tile Mate key finder

    tile mate key finder

    If you're the kind of person who's always losing stuff - particularly your phone or keys - then this little device could be a life saver.

    Attach your Tile Mate keyring to your set of keys, and you can use the Tile Mate app to locate them if you lose track of them. If they're in your room somewhere, but you just can't get your hands on them, you can use the app to make the Tile Mate ring.

    If you've got your keys, but can't find your phone, hitting the button on the Tile Mate keyring will make your phone ring, even when it's on silent. Genius.

    The Tiles last for a year without charging, and once it's ran it's course you can replace it with a brand new one at a discount price.

    Tile Mate key finder, £16.99

  6. Foldable keyboard

    foldable keyboard

    If you want to type up notes in your lectures but don't want to lug your laptop to and from uni everyday, then a foldable keyboard could do just the trick.

    It folds up nice and small so you can easily keep it in your bag and then whip it out in lectures when you need it. You can connect it to your phone (Apple and Android) or your iPad/Windows tablet, and transfer your notes across to your laptop when you get home - simple!

    Also, a single charge can provide up to three months' use, so you don't have to keep remembering to recharge it too often.

    Microsoft foldable keyboard, £37.99

These essential apps will make student life a whole lot easier and cheaper - plus most are completely free!

What gadget could you not live without at university? Let us know in the comments!

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