Essential Gear for Surviving Freshman Year
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
The second iteration of UE’s grapefruit-sized Bluetooth speaker is markedly better than the first. It kicks out clear audio with improved bass in a 360-degree arc for study breaks (of up to 13 hours!). If your friend has one, you can sync the two to double the size of the party. The rugged design is waterproof too, making the Wonderboom the perfect accessory for the shower or the beach; it even floats.
Dell XPS 13
This sub-3-pound Windows notebook comes with a nice full-size keyboard, a nimble Intel Core i3 chip, and a 128-GB SSD for stuffing full of coursework, games, and memories. Dell’s 13-incher has long been our top PC pick for college students because of its solid mix of price and performance; now that the camera has been moved from below the screen to up top, we can make that recommendation more heartily. No more awkward “nose cam” Zooms during internship interviews.
Yeti Rambler 14
A lidded and vacuum-insulated mug like this one is essential for dorm life, where you’ll be consuming many hot things you want to keep hot and even more cold things you’ll want to keep frosty. The extra-wide mouth on this 14-ouncer not only gives you plenty of room to spoon your late-night oatmeal, it also exposes your scalding coffee to more air, cooling it down to sippin’ temperature much more quickly.
Lenovo Smart Clock
Just tell Lenovo’s fabric-covered wedge what time to wake you, and in the morning it’ll play whatever gets you going: news, a podcast, even a YouTube video. Google Assistant is built in, so the 4-inch touchscreen can display and read out answers to spoken questions. (“OK Google, what’s an iamb?”) And unlike many connected bedside devices, it doesn’t have a camera; Big Tech can’t watch you sleep—or whatever.
JABRA Elite 85H
It’s hard to concentrate on chemistry when your roommates are rocking Chromeo. Slip on these comfy wireless, noise-canceling cans for up to 36 hours of distraction-free study; mics on each earcup pick up all the noise in the room, then electronics blot it out, leaving you alone with your ambient dub mix. Yes, they’re expensive, which makes them a great gift for an incoming freshman.
Styling Anna Raben
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