Going to college comes with a whole new set of freedoms. You’re out of your parents’ house and in a dorm room all your own — shared with a roommate (or two), of course.
That means you get to set it up however you like, with no judgment of your college dorm ideas or rules from Mom and Dad.
So when it comes to decking it out with cool gadgets, you don’t want to skimp. Here’s the smart home tech to add to your back-to-school checklist:
You need a wireless smart speaker for a number of things: from playing music when hanging out with friends to using voice control to find out the day’s weather forecast so you know what to wear to class. The best dorm speakers will let you create a surround sound effect for movies and TV.
Plus, without your parents around to warn you of due dates and tests, you can set up a smart speaker to remind you. You can also use it as an alarm clock for those early-morning classes.
Some of the best tech for college isn’t for school — it’s for when you’re not doing schoolwork. A smart TV is absolutely essential. How can you binge Netflix in style without it?
With a smart TV, you can also add other apps to stream the football game, stay in touch with friends on social media and fall down a YouTube rabbit hole. Oh, and to stream all those lectures your professor posted from class.
Here’s where the tech gets really boss: smart lights. Use a mobile app to control brightness, the color of the light and whether to play fun flashing effects (strobe light anyone?). Make it vivid for study time and dim it down for couch time.
You can also use the lights to wake you up — set them on a timer so they turn on when it’s time to get ready for class. They can also start to fade to remind you that it’s time to put the video games down and get to bed.
If you really want to set your life on autopilot, get some smart plugs for your outlets. This way, you can set the coffee maker to start so you wake up to the smell of fresh brew. Go the extra mile and connect it to your microwave so that breakfast burrito is waiting for you, too.
Beyond enhancing your morning routine, smart plugs eliminate the “Did I leave (fill in the blank) on!?” Just log in to the app and check. Got lots of electronics? Find a smart power strip for your command center.
You need to protect all that tech. This is where smart security comes into play. It starts with the lock. If your dorm will allow it, add a smart lock to your room and/or closet door.
Be careful with video cameras though: You want to make sure you’re not recording anyone without their knowledge or consent. It’s best to keep cameras in a place where someone won’t be unknowingly recorded — unless they’re stealing your stuff.
Motion sensors are a great alternative. They won’t record anyone, but they will let you know if someone’s in your space.
With all these great college dorm ideas, don’t forget about the gear on the go. Bring device trackers like Tile or TrackR to attach to your laptop and other expensive things you don’t want to lose.