9 best tech gadgets and apps for college

Tips & tricks
5 mins

Fall semester is near! Parents and students, take note. We talked to ExpressVPN’s youngest team members and put together their favorite gear that got them through college—for studying, partying, and just adulting.

(Note: ExpressVPN does not have a business relationship with any brands mentioned in this article. We just love tech!)

Upgrade your college life with these must-have gadgets and apps

1. Portable power bank

Daily college life is demanding on your phone’s battery. Whether you’re browsing TikTok, arranging study sessions via WhatsApp, or streaming Netflix while on the bus, your phone’s in constant use. On top of that, sockets are hard to find when out and about, and the precious few in the campus cafe or library are always in use.

A portable power bank frees you from the need for sockets, enabling you to keep your phone topped up all day without worrying about eeking out the battery until you get home. Grab yourself one today from brands like Verbatim or Anker and enjoy the freedom and confidence a full phone battery gives you.

2. Noise-canceling headphones

College isn’t all partying. Sometimes you have to study. Yet often it’s hard to concentrate. The campus library can get noisy come deadline day, and dorms are always a hive of activity. When you need to focus for a study sesh, a pair of noise-canceling headphones are a must.

You can shut out the world and just let the music flow with their active noise cancellation. You don’t even need to listen to music. Just pop them on to silence the world. Many brands have released stylish ANC headphones at affordable prices, such as Urbanista and JBL.

3. FocusMe app

The first of our featured apps goes hand-in-hand with the above headphones. Time is your most valuable resource, yet it’s easy to waste due to all the distractions calling out for our attention. Thankfully, there’s a way to level up your productivity and reclaim all those lost hours.

FocusMe is a customizable content blocker that empowers you to change your online habits and win back your wasted time. Install it on your devices to block social media, websites, web browsers, or even the entire internet so nothing can get in the way of your productivity.

4. Amazon Prime Student

You’ll be buying a lot of stuff while at college. Sure, you could pop down to a brick-and-mortar store, but online shopping is where it’s at, especially Amazon. So an Amazon Prime Student subscription is definitely worth considering.

It gives you all the same perks as regular Prime, including free two-day shipping, free same-day shipping in select areas, Prime Music Unlimited, and access to the entire Prime Video library—all at a hefty discount. Prime Student comes with a six-month free trial, after which it costs just 7.49 USD per month.

5. Portable projector

College dorms are tiny. Anything that takes up too much room is unwelcome; TVs are a great example of this. They’re just too big. What you need is something with the screen size of a TV you can pack away in a drawer when you’re done watching.

Portable projectors are a great alternative to TVs, especially for college life. Despite their small size (often the size of a soda can and rarely larger than a MacBook), many portable projectors usually pack built-in speakers, Android OS (for Netflix and Prime Video streaming), and projections measuring up to 100 inches.

Not only that, their portable nature means you can take them all around your dorm, campus, and even beyond. Impromptu indie movie screenings or gaming sessions down the college quad? You bet!

6. Notion

If you need to up your organization and declutter your life, Notion is the app for you. It’s a project management and note-taking app that works great for busy college students. Take notes, organize your classes, and keep tabs on assignment deadlines all from a single app.

You can even create separate pages for college and personal use. Keep up to date with any clubs or committees you are a part of both on and off campus to become a true master of time. Well, your time at least.

7. Bluetooth speaker

Sure, headphones are great if you’re flying solo, but if you want to share the beats with a few friends, grab yourself a Bluetooth speaker. Bonus points if it’s waterproof. Pool parties and beach campouts aside, spilled drinks are an inevitability at college parties, so some splash resistance is highly recommended. Some Bluetooth speakers even float.

8. Robot vacuum cleaner

No one likes doing chores. Especially when you’re at college. Between studying, partying, working part time, attending students clubs and organizations, and a whole lot more, you don’t want to spend your down time cleaning your floors—which, let’s face it, get very dirty. So let a robot vacuum cleaner do it for you.

Now, you might think that robot vacuums are luxuries far out of reach of college students. However, many brands like eufy and iLife provide great entry-level options at relatively affordable prices. They lack some of the fancy features such as laser mapping and self-emptying dust bins, but they still do a great job cleaning your floors all on their own.

9. VPN app

You knew this one was coming. However, despite our bias, a VPN will enhance your college experience in a number of ways for around just 10 USD (or less) per month.

College Wi-Fi isn’t very secure. They’re public networks after all. With so many students, faculty members, and members of the public using your college’s network, anyone could be watching. A VPN encrypts your connection, increasing your privacy and security and preventing prying eyes from keeping tabs on your online activities. Not only that, but a VPN can help you access any sites and apps blocked by your college network, like Netflix.

Find out all the benefits of using a VPN.

Got any tech products or apps that are great for college? Let us know in the comments.

Phone protected by ExpressVPN.
Protect your online privacy and security

30-day money-back guarantee

Various devices protected.
Take the first step to protect yourself online. Try ExpressVPN risk-free.
What is a VPN?
Welcome to my own little pocket of reality. Watch out for YouTube marathons about space and existentialism, Herbie Hancock humming sessions, and Timmy Trumpet duet sessions.