Top 5 Most Important Gadgets for College

Making your holiday gift list? Don't forget to add these tech items for college.

Let's face it, technology is a big part of what we do every day. It's no wonder that we are using it more and more as part of the way we get and consume information. While college might not be exclusively digital just yet, chances are all your gadgets will be put through the ringer helping you get the grade.

Here's our list of the Top 5 Gadgets you'll need in college.

Whether your a Mac or PC user, a light and dependable laptop will be your most important tool. It's the one thing you will use the most in and out of class and your lifeline to online resarch materials. If you can, spring for a lightweight laptop with an SSD (solid state hard drive). This will make opening and closing apps faster and eliminate time spent waiting for your laptop to boot up. You can also ditch that dusty old CD/DVD drive unless you're really, really into watching movies, but let's face it you have Netflix and at least one other device to play your Blu-Ray collection on.

External Hard Drive
Why? Because the last thing you want is for your computer to crash and all your hard work for the past semester (or worse your whole college career) to disappear in the blink of an eye. Always keep your computer's hard drive backed up and store really important files in two places in case one decides to die on you.

These may not seem important at first, but whether you're listening to music or audiobooks a good set of headphones can make a huge difference. Since it's mostly personal preference you'll have to choose between in- or over-the-ear based on which is most comfortable for long study sessions. You may also want to consider noise cancelling headphones if you plan on working in the library or have a really noisy roommate.

E-reader / Tablet
Constantly reading on the go? Consider ditching those books for a new e-reader or tablet. E-readers can be snagged fairly cheaply, are easy on the eyes and are compatible with multiple file formats.

Tablets are more expensive, but have many more options, sizes and operating systems. Having access to more apps may make this option more appealing since you can sync notes between devices or even use it as a second screen while doing research. Book apps on tablets also tend to have the same features as e-readers and can read to you, keep track of your page and take notes.

The Cloud
Today we are becoming less and less dependent on physical devices to store our media. Using the cloud can be a great way to have access to your documents, photos and anything else from anywhere, at any time, on any device. With services like Dropbox, Evernote, SimpleNote, and Google Drive, you could easily store a majority of your files in and not use a single byte of hard drive space. Most of the services have built in ways to collaborate with friends which could make your next group project a breeze.

Unless you've been hiding out in a cave since 1999, chances are you already have a smartphone that you're using to take photos, tweet, share, text and surf the web. That's why it didn't make it to the tippity-top of our list, but it definitely deserves an honorable mention. If by chance you don't have one, focus on picking a device that suits your needs and is compatible with the rest of your gear. Remember, you'll probably be sticking with it for at least 2 years.

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