New year, new tech: 7 smart dorm devices you should definitely have handy
Why waste extra energy on things IoT can do for you?
Living on campus doesn't exactly lend itself to a smart home lifestyle. There are limited outlets in dorm rooms — and you have to share them with your randomly assigned roommates. On the flip side, you're not paying a utility bill so that's a point towards juicing up as many electronics as possible. Here are seven smart dorm devices to get your started if you can compromise with your roomies, and your outlets aren't too limited.
1. LeFun Smart Power Strip
Power strips are the backbone of any college dorm. Now add smart capabilities to them and boom, you're unstoppable. The LeFun Smart Power Strip houses four USB ports and four individually controlled smart plugs that work with your smartphone. On top of that, the strip also works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Home and you can set timers for devices that are plugged in to the outlets.
2. Google Home
Smart assistants really are a no brainer when it comes to building your smart home, and Google Home and its smaller sized Google Home Mini are both smart speakers that are sleek, easy to use and well designed: they literally goes with any color palette your room has.
Google Home works with Nest, Wemo, Hue, Honeywell and tons of other devices. You just start off any conversation with Google Assistant by saying "Ok, Google" and you're good to go. (Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Google Home and Home Mini.)
3. MYNT Tracker
You'll definitely need a tracker for your valuables on a college campus — particularly if you're going to be decked out in smart gear. MYNT has been my go-to finder lately. In previous dorm lists, I had recommended Tile, but this new tracker has an alert system to notify you if your stuff leaves a certain radius. (Tile just updated its service, Tile Premium, to offer this feature as well for a monthly fee.)
MYNT comes with a key ring hole — and it's small and sleek so you won't have to carry around clunky or childish looking items. If you have a car on campus, you could also consider using MYNT to help you figure out where you parked.
4. Jabra Elite Sport earphones
After testing different earphones, my favorite is currently the Jabra Elite Sport. They come in handy when I work out and with the "hear-through" function, I can stay alert on late night walks home. The headphones themselves hold about 4.5 hours of playtime, however, the case they come in gives you an additional 9.5 hours.
Jabra is waterproof and also pairs with a workout app to keep track of your heart rate and calories burned.
Most campuses will give you free cable, but what if you absolutely need to watch a two-part mermaid documentary to procrastinate your ten page paper? Roku streams on your TV, so there's no more crowding around your roommates MacBook for horror movie night.
6. Eufy Boost IQ RoboVac 11S
Dorms get dirty. Super dirty. And unfortunately, your mom won't be here to pick up after you anymore. So why not consider picking up a smart vacuum? The Eufy Boost IQ RoboVac 11S is pretty powerful — and fairly affordable at just about $230. It lacks a smartphone app, but you can set it on go, leave for class, and come back to a swept up, tidied space.
7. GE Smart Microwave
At my university, first-years don't get an apartment style dorm with a kitchen — instead, they have to work with a microwave and mini-fridge, both brought from home. Luckily things like the GE Smart Countertop Microwave exist now, connecting to Wi-Fi, your smartphone and Amazon Alexa, making heating up leftovers as easy as dining hall pie.
Another kicker is that it has scan-to-cook technology. Since you'll probably be making a lot of frozen meals and pizza rolls, simply scan the back of the box and this microwave will do the rest.
If you're nervous about going to college — or returning — many of these devices can relieve your anxiety about workflow or living away from home. When you're getting adjusted to a new place, any little thing helps.