Back to school essentials: College edition

As summer winds down, young adults are returning or making their first trip to college. It’s a major life event for the kids to leave the nest, and the first time they will be on their own. In this big transition, kids turn into adults and learn independence while getting an education that will help them the rest of their lives.

We’ve gathered our collection of items we think every college student should consider. From Amazon Prime to wireless headphones, every student’s needs are different. We think most of these items are relevant and will help you in your studies, hanging out with friends, or help keep you safe.

Check out the tech gear below:

Amazon Prime – Student Edition free for six months

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Amazon Prime is an essential for many young adults who are leaving the home. Mom and Dad won’t be able to go to Target, Best Buy or the grocery store for them, but Amazon can deliver just about anything for free with an Amazon Prime account. From fresh food, to toothbrushes and shampoo, Amazon has you covered. There are apps for Amazon Prime, Amazon Fresh and Prime Now to make things easier and they are available on iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices. So for those students without a car on campus, Amazon Prime is well worth the $50 (50% off for students) annual subscription.

Huawei MateBook – starting at $699.99 at the Microsoft Store and Amazon


You may not know Huawei for laptops, but the MateBook is a fantastic alternative to the pricey Surface Pro series from Microsoft. It is cheaper and serves as a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet that is perfect for taking to class or to the library. It is slim, lightweight (1.4 pounds) and has excellent battery life (9 hours). For students who will be taking on art, the MateBook also has a compatible stylus where you can create and edit your next masterpiece. Right now you can get the portfolio keyboard free with a purchase from the Microsoft store.

stm Drifter Energy 15″ laptop backpack – $239.95 at stm, Amazon


Colleges will recommend laptops to students to use for class, and generally speaking, they will recommend laptops that can keep up with their education. Macbooks, Surface Pros, and other high end laptops need the best protection possible considering they cost well over $1000. stm has been in the bag game for a long time, and it knows how to make high quality products. The 15″ energy drifter not only protects laptops with padding and superior materials, but it can also charge mobile devices and accessories with the sweet built-in power bank. Since it is built into the backpack, you will never run out of power no matter how long you spend in the library. The drifter energy comes in camo, navy and graphite. The bag is pricey, but it’s made to last the entire four to five years you will be in school.

jamstik+ – The smartest guitar in the world $299.99 at, Amazon, B&H Photo

There are lots of you who have always wanted to learn how to play guitar. The jamstik+ is one of the coolest ways to learn as it connects to Android and iOS devices. It can see your fingers and display them in real time to show right from wrong. Better yet, it can teach you how to play guitar without paying for lessons. It’s also much more portable than a full size guitar since it only weighs a pound and a half without the big body. Having this fun instrument will help keep college kids entertained no matter where they are.

House of Marley Get Together portable audio system – $199.99 at, $149.99 at Amazon and B&H Photo


Read the full review of the Get Together portable audio system here.

Just about every college student will need access to music. Whether it’s for a party, hanging out with friends, or most importantly studying, this speaker from the House of Marley is one of the best you can get for your money. It’s made with environmentally friendly materials like bamboo, but best of all it sounds phenomenal. The Get Together has a full sized USB out port that can charge your smartphone while you jam to your tunes.

UE Boom 2 and Roll 2 – You can pick up either speaker at retailers such as B&H Photo Video, Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.

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You can read Scott’s full review here.

Pool party, showers, or dorm rooms are all places the UE speakers can shine. They’re water resistant, durable, and have great battery life mixed with excellent sound reproduction. Both speakers also come in a wide variety of colors so you can easily identify which speaker is yours when you’re ready to take it home.

J&L Wireless Headphones – Currently on sale at for $13 with discount code C68SILFL (read my full review here)


Headphones are an absolute must-have for any college student. You can use these in the library to rock out to tunes while studying, and best of all they only cost $13. If you happen to misplace them, you won’t suffer the heartache of losing expensive headphones. Best of all, the J&L headphones sound absolutely fantastic. You won’t get audiophile grade quality here, but you will love listening to your music through these. They have excellent battery life and again, at $13 you cannot go wrong with this set.

Amazon Echo – $179.99 at Amazon


The Amazon Echo is the smartest speaker you can buy today. With long nights ahead of every college student, the Echo can be voice controlled and given commands that can help with homework, waking you up, setting reminders, and helping with math problems. While it can do the helpful things, it can also play music through WiFi or Bluetooth, it can read audio books, and it can also keep you entertained with humorous jokes. This is worth getting for every college student.

Cygnett Chargeup digital 10000mAh portable power bank – $55.99 at Cygnett, $79.99 at Amazon


With our heavy reliance on portable electronics, a reliable and well built external battery is a must-have for every college student. Cygnett has made high quality accessories for many years, and the Chargeup digital battery is an accessory worth owning. With a battery rating of 10000mAh, most smartphone should get a minimum of three full recharges with this slim power bank. The digital power meter also makes it extremely easy to check how much power you have remaining before it runs out.

Satechi 60W 6-Port Multi-Port USB Desktop Charging Station – $29.99 at Satechi and Amazon


Without question, dorm rooms are limited with power outlets. Laptops, headphones, smartphones, tablets, etc. all need power, and the Satechi 6-port charging station is the perfect compact charger that will keep up with all of your needs. With two USB Type-C ports, and fast charging full size USB A ports, this multi-port power station is the perfect device to have with the industry’s shift to a new charging standard.

Blu R1 HD – $49.99 at Amazon


Many college students will be moving away from home and the Blu R1 HD is a great backup phone to have in case of a lost primary phone. The Blu R1 HD is only $49.99 and works on GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile. It doesn’t have the best display, processor, camera or memory, but it will keep you connected in case you happen to break or lose your smartphone.

KMASHI 400A Peak 14.8V 8000mAh Compact Car Jump Starter – $39.99 at Amazon
If you plan on bringing a car or truck with you while you live off campus, you should definitely store one of these portable power banks in your trunk. There will be long periods where you stay on campus and leave your car in the parking lot where your battery will slowly discharge. It may even discharge to the point where it won’t start anymore, and this little guy can bring your car back to life. That way you won’t have to wait around in a parking lot to get your car going, and you won’t need to ask someone for help. It has short-circuit prevention with warnings if you do not get the polarity matched up properly. And lastly, this power bank can also charge your smartphone or tablet with the USB A out port.
House of Marley Liberate XBLT wireless headphones – $179.99 at HOM, $109.99 at Amazon
Living in the dorms makes it extremely difficult, depending on your roommate, to maintain privacy while you study. Strap on the Liberate XLBT wireless headphones, from House of Marley, to tune out the background noise while looking stylish at the same time. These headphones have a leather headband and soft ear cushions for those who want to listen to their music for extended sessions.
WHOOSH – get the starter kit from, or Amazon
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Lastly, grab WHOOSH! It is an electronics disinfectant and cleaner for your smartphones, tablets and laptops. It is non toxic and will help prevent the spread of germs since there will be many more people in contact with your devices. It’s cheap and a great investment in keeping your devices shining like new.
For those of you just heading out to college, the guys here at AndroidGuys wish you all the best! Stay safe and get your education on.
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