Whether this is your first term at university and you’re getting ready for freshers’ week or you’re on your way back for another year, having the right tech can save you time and make your life easier. From study aids and kitchen helpers to efficient chargers, we’ve tried-and-tested products to bring you the most useful bits of kit you can buy.
1 Livescribe 3 smartpen: £125.99,
As you write on the special paper, this records the audio in the lecture hall with your smartphone or tablet’s microphone. If you can’t read your notes later, you touch the pen to the scribble to hear what was said. It also saves your writing onscreen using the Livescribe app.
2. Tylt Energi 6K Wall charger and battery: £56.90,
Don’t worry about your smartphone running out of juice mid-lecture. This rechargeable battery has an integrated cable that plugs straight into your smartphone and will power it up several times over. But what makes this power cell unique is that it has a wall charger built -in that charges both phone and itself.
3. Microsoft Surface 3: From £419,
This is our pick of the tablet/laptop hybrids. It’s a full Windows computer with a 10.8-inch touchscreen and optional extra keyboard (£80) that clips on magnetically to make it more like a laptop. The price includes a year’s subscription to the Microsoft Office 365 Personal productivity suite, plus free upgrade to the new Windows 10 operating software.
4 Tefal TT552842 2 Slice Toast ‘n’ Egg ‘n’ Beans Toaster:£29.99,
Breakfast is crucial, we know, but time is short and you can’t be late for lectures again, can you? This is a toaster so a student essential to start with, but a chamber at the end heats baked beans through, though it can also be used for boiling or poaching an egg.
5. Just Mobile AluCable Duo: £18.36,
It’s just a cable but, oh my, it’s useful. Because not only does it have a Lightning connector for recharging your Apple devices, the end pops off to reveal a microUSB connector so it can also charge a Bluetooth speaker, compact camera or a myriad of other gadgets with microUSB connectors. Just Mobile’s range of electronic helpers is enormous. All are stylish and well made.
6 MiPow Power Cube 9000: £74.99,
This rechargeable battery, like the Tylt, has a built-in Lightning cable for iPhones, though other phones can be charged using the supplied microUSB cable. But this 9000mAh cell is half as powerful again as the Tylt, so it can charge an iPhone 6 three times over. It’s aluminium-clad and comes in colours to match the iPhone, too – silver, gold and grey.
7 Knomo Turin 14” Slim Laptop Briefcase: £65,
You need to carry your books, laptop, phone, chargers and more. Knomo’s bags are immaculately made and have lots of pockets. This one is designed to fit a laptop of up to 14 inches in a padded section. The water resistant fabric helps, too. Knomo products have unique ID tags so be sure to register it: if lost the finder can quote the code and Knomo will retrieve and return the bag to you free.
8. Apple MacBook: From £1,049,
If you want the best computer around, with the slickest hardware and software, you need to turn to Apple. The latest MacBook is slim, light, has a gorgeous high-resolution display and a choice of metallic colours to choose from (gold, silver and space grey). This laptop has the latest USB-C connector so be sure to buy an adaptor to go with it.
9. Zagg Folio Case with Keyboard for Apple iPad Air 2: £99.99,
This wraparound case protects your iPad Air 2 and includes a Bluetooth keyboard, to turn the tablet into a highly efficient mini notebook PC. When the new operating system software is launched in the next few weeks, the multi-tasking features may make you feel you don’t need a regular laptop. The keys are backlit so you can type easily in the darkest of rooms.
10 Cambridge Audio G2 Mini Bluetooth speaker: £79.95,
Talented though your smartphone is, it can’t play music well through its little speaker. So choose a Bluetooth speaker like this one that plays music wirelessly from your phone, up to 10 metres away. This model is light, effective and deceptively powerful.