Back To School 2012: Five Gadgets To Keep You Sane In Your New Dorm Room

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What? It’s August already? That means (for better or worse) that hordes of freshly minted college students will soon be starting the next chapter of their lives and moving into dull, cramped dorm rooms in the process.

Oh, that description applies to you? Well, congratulations — you’re in for a treat!

Before you go too nuts trying to decide which of your possessions will make that trip with you though, take a gander at this short list of gadgets that should help make the time spent cooped up in your new room just a little more pleasant.


Sony MDR-NC200D Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Yeah, a fancy set of speakers will draw more “oohs” and “ahhs” than a pair of noise-cancelling headphones will, but these are arguably more useful. Those of you who end up with cool roommates may not need these as much, but let’s be honest — not everyone is going to be quite as lucky.

Thankfully, MDR-NC200D’s active noise cancelling functionality means that it’s more than capable of blocking out your roomie’s Kanye West fixation, and they sound great to boot. It’s the priciest thing on this list with a $199 MSRP, but there are some deals to be found if you’re diligent enough. Consider that online scouring a precursor to all the research you’re going to have to do when it comes time to get cracking on those term papers.

Amazon.com, $198

Brother HL-2270DW Laser Printer

It may seem a bit lacking compared to some of the flashier all-in-one units companies like to peddle, but here’s the kicker — you’re going to be able to use the 2770DW for quite a while before having to pick up more toner, which means no more last minute runs to the computer lab.

And it gets better. The 2270DW’s predecessor could be tricked into printing pages well after it claimed there was no toner left thanks to a strategically placed bit of tape, and the process is even easier this time — just hit the ‘go’ button seven times to override the complaint. It’s pretty quick too — up to 27 pages per minute.

Amazon.com, $89.99

Pivot Power Surge Protector

Yeah, fine, it’s not the coolest thing on the list, but it’s arguably one of the most important. You’re going to need enough power outlets to accommodate all your electronic goodies (you’re reading TechCrunch after all, so I’m sure you’ve got quite a few), but the downside is that some of those wall warts are bulky as all hell.

Enter the Pivot Power, a power strip you can contort to squeeze in even the most obstructive power adapters (I’m looking at you, digital camera chargers). The single downside here is that you can only power six items at a time — that may be enough, but some people will probably need at least one more to cover all the bases.

Quirky.com, $29.99

Three-in-one Breakfast Station

Breakfast may or may not be the important meal of the day, but ThinkGeek’s schizophrenic breakfast gizmo makes cobbling together a morning meal relatively painless all the same. If you can’t tell from the image, that’s a tiny frying pan mounted on top of a tiny toaster, all attached to a tiny coffee machine.

What’s more, the whole thing isn’t much bigger than your average toaster, so it finding a home for it shouldn’t be too difficult. Just be careful where you stick the thing — the last thing you need is for a pile of hard-won orgo notes to fall on that tiny frying pan.

ThinkGeek.com, $39.99

WhiteyBoard Flexible Whiteboard

This one may be stretching the definition of “gadget” a bit, but the flexible, easy-to-install WhiteyBoard is worth a nod anyway. It’s downright wonderful for brainstorming sessions and plotting the trajectory of that meandering fantasy epic you plan to inflict on everyone in your Creative Writing class.

Of course, there’s an added benefit to getting a big enough WhiteyBoard — it should make for a fun way to kill some time with friends between trips to the dining hall for chicken nuggets. And on the off chance you’re allowed to paint your dorm room, feel free to step things up some WhiteyPaint instead.

WhiteyBoard.com, prices start at $9.99