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If you look at Facebook these days, there are plenty of first day of school photos, and plenty of photos of parents dropping their young adults off for college. While some may have planned ahead, others may still be working on outfitting their new college students with everything that they need to be prepared. If there is a college student in your life, you want to make sure that they are well equipped. Other than the standard bedding, towels, toiletries, and small appliances to outfit their dorms, some may need a couple of tech items to keep them working and on schedule.
While some may have opted to have a trunk party or furnish everything for their students themselves, others may still be looking to friends and family for help. And of course, grandparents and close friends want to help. If you are looking to buy a last-minute gift other than a laptop for a grad who is off to college, here are a few ideas.
Now a drone is not your usual gift for a college student. However, it may be a great gift for a student of photography, geography, or film. They can use a video drone to explore new areas, take photos from above for class, or record video of themselves speaking, or giving tours. It may be just what they need to elevate their project to the next level. These drones can shoot high-quality video of events, classes, and more.
A Digital Assistant
College students will have a tight schedule to keep up with and lots to do. Keeping a to-do list is a must. I often remember things that I need to do while I'm busy doing other stuff. It's awesome to be able to say “Alexa, add ‘call the doctor' to my to-do list”. And I can also ask Alexa to add things to my Amazon shopping cart.
The Amazon Echo Dot probably represents the most reasonable way to get into the digital assistant universe. It can be purchased for only $49.99, but can sometimes be found on sale for a great deal. However, if you know that the person would appreciate a more full-featured product with awesome speakers, the Amazon Echo is the way to go. Regularly priced at $229.99, it's a great deal.
Want even more? Consider getting an Echo Show for the college student, and one for your home. You can use it to video chat with each other, and it can do everything that the Amazon Echo can do and more. It can be used to watch Amazon Prime video, pull up recipes, weather, and much more. The Amazon Echo Show can be purchased for $229.99.
When your student does not want to take a full-sized laptop to class or to the library, a nice tablet makes a great laptop alternative. Add a Bluetooth keyboard and the student can easily type rather than using the on-screen keyboard.
I love a great Android tablet. I am currently using a Samsung Galaxy Tab A with LTE, and I love it! Don't need LTE? Of course, a WiFi-only version is available. It is currently around $200. That's my choice, but there are many great Android tablets available at a range of prices. My advice is to get one from a known manufacturer and stay away from tablets from 2nd rate companies, or companies that you have never heard of.
A Bluetooth Earpiece
Phone calls home will hopefully be a common thing once your loved one is off to college. They may also have calls with fellow students or even instructors. Having a good Bluetooth earpiece will allow them to talk hands-free while taking notes, driving, or even doing laundry. Remember, in most parts of the country it is now illegal to drive while talking on the phone by holding it up to your ear.
I recommend getting wireless, stereo Bluetooth headphones like the Samsung Gear Circle. I have been using one for about 1.5 years and I love it! Not only can I take calls, but I can listen to music in stereo. And I love that it just hangs around my neck out of the way when not in use. The Gear Circle is now available starting at only $40 in a range of colors.
A Bluetooth Speaker
Music is great for the soul. Some people have to have music on to work. Others like to clean with music blasting. In either case, having a good Bluetooth speaker means they can listen to music that actually sounds good… not muffled through their laptop or phone speaker.
The Monster Hotshot is a great little speaker that pairs with a phone or computer via Bluetooth. Available starting at only around $20, it is small enough to throw in a backpack or sit on a bookshelf, and it has great sound.
Not sure what to get? Consider sending the grad some much needed cash or a gift card so they can get just what they need.