It's September once again, which means a fresh crop of students are getting ready to experience their first taste of student life in the form of freshers week. This whirlwind of new faces and new experiences can be daunting, but for every problem there is a technological solution, and university is no exception. We list here the six best gadgets for every aspect of student life, from hard work to good old fashioned partying. See also: Best laptops for students and best tablets for students
Olloclip - £35 – £50 depending on device
A wise man once said: “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” With that in mind, you’ll want to take plenty of photos of your all-too-brief time at university, and the Olloclip makes iPhone photography an absolute joy. See also: 10 best apps for students
This tiny clip-on lens comes with wide-angle, macro and fisheye modes to give your snaps a bit of extra diversity. They all work well for photo or video, but the fisheye’s probably the one you’ll use the most.
Read our full review of the Olloclip.
Fitbit Zip - £40 inc VAT
For many students, the inevitable late-night kebabs and meals out that come with uni life will lead to a swift and unexpected weight gain known as the ‘freshman 15’. However, beating this needn’t involve tedious diets and workout regimens. See also: Best smartphones for students
The Fitbit Zip is an affordable activity tracker that logs your steps, as well as calories burned and distance covered, and syncs them to your smartphone or computer. It can also be paired with other fitness apps to set fitness goals and calculate meal plans, if you’re into your protein shakes and the like.
Read our full review of the Fitbit Zip.
3. Film and TV
Chromecast - £30 inc VAT
Whether it’s movie drinking games, Take Me Out marathons or just compilations of people falling off things, online video is a staple of student life. But rather than huddling around a tiny screen with quiet speakers, Chromecast lets you stream video to your big, shiny HDTV with a minimum of fuss.
Chromecast works over Wi-Fi, meaning you can do away with cables, and even supports Android and iOS for big-screen mobile viewing. It boasts a super-simple setup, all being controlled from within the Chrome browser, meaning you can get it going even with a crippling hangover.
Read our full review of the Chromecast.
Inateck BP2001 Portable Bluetooth Speaker- £28.99 inc VAT
Pre-drinks and house parties will be a pretty large chunk of your student experience, especially for the first year, and the Inateck BP2001 ensures you’ll be the life of any gathering.
This small but powerful Bluetooth speaker can kick out more than enough decent quality, high-volume tunes to fill a student kitchen, whilst still leaving you free to roam around and socialize. The seven-hour battery life means you won’t be constantly looking for a mains plug, and it’s also small enough to be comfortably portable, allowing you to take the party outside into the sunshine.
Read our full review of the Inateck BP2001.
Logitech K480 – around £50 inc VAT
These days, many people have multiple devices to use for work, entertainment and social networking, and switching between them can sometimes be a pain. See also: Best printers for students
The recently announced Logitech K480 keyboard provides a solution to this problem by letting you switch between three Bluetooth-linked devices on the fly, allowing you to work on documents on a pc, send texts on a phone and reply to emails on a tablet simultaneously, with a built in notch to act as a device stand. While it’s not technically out yet, it’s due to launch at some point in September, so keep an eye out for when it eventually arrives.
Read our coverage of the Logitech K480.
Lightspeed i-Helicopter - £21 inc VAT
Any new student needs a way to meet people, and what better way than doing fly-bys around campus with this app-controlled helicopter? Small and lightweight, this can be easily taken with you to the park, library, or even to your lectures.
Controlled through the free companion app, you can fly either with the touchscreen or by using the tilt function for a more intuitive experience. While it doesn’t quite count as an essential, it’s an awful lot of fun, and well worth picking up if you want something to take your mind off classes.