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Best tech gifts for college students the 2019 holiday season

From the latest tablets to noise-canceling headphones, there's something on this list that is sure to please

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College kids who work hard all semester can't wait for some time off during the holidays. Make their winter break even better by gifting them with tech that they're sure to love. They may not believe in Santa anymore, but these presents will still put a smile on their faces.

iPad Air 3

The iPad Air 3 tablet from Apple in dark gray, silver, rose gold and white The iPad Air 3 tablet from Apple in dark gray, silver, rose gold and white Apple

Today's students rarely take notes with pen and paper, and the iPad Air 3 is a great tech tool for school. Naturally, college kids need time to unwind as well, and the entertainment factor of the $499 iPad Air 3 provides is essentially endless. This version is super thin, powerful, and has 10 hours of battery life for students who never want to put theirs down. Check out the iPadOS too, with tons of apps, slide over and split views, and a nice new home screen display that's more functional than ever. An extra perk is a free year of AppleTV+ with purchase, for binge-watching at its best. iPads are the perfect gift for students — but don't be surprised if you'll want one for yourself.


GE LED+ Battery Backup

The GE LED+ Battery Backup light bulb against a white background The GE LED+ Battery Backup light bulb also doubles as a flashlight GE

Basic bulbs work fine, but in the case of a power outage, students are left in the dark. With GE LED+ Battery Backup, the problem is solved, as students can unscrew the LED light and use this $15.99 device as a functioning flashlight. It recharges automatically when the electricity is on, so the flashlight feature will be ready with five hours of battery life. Dorm rooms need plenty of light so students can study, so this thoughtful gift is a useful addition.


Lenovo Smart Clock With Google Assistant

Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant The Lenovo Smart Clock with Google Assistant has a touchscreenGearBrain

Waking up in time for those early (or not-so-early) classes can be a challenge for college kids who've been up late the night before. Old-fashioned alarm clocks have gone the way of the dinosaur, and smartphone alarms can be ignored if the sleeper sets theirs across the room. A better choice is the $79 Lenovo Smart Clock With Google Assistant. The display is vibrant, it works with Google Assistant, and the touchscreen interface is high-tech. The features and functions are customizable and convenient, so students won't mind the morning as much when they wake up to something smart.


Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse + MX Keys Keyboard

Logitech MX Master 3 mouse The MX Master 3 costs $100 Logitech

A brand new mouse and keyboard would be a great gift for students who spend all kinds of time in front of a computer screen. The Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse and MX Keys Keyboard take scrolling and typing to a whole new level, with added speed and sophistication. The two — each $99.99 — work with Windows, Mac, and Linux machines, so no matter the student's preference, their productivity will increase. The battery charge lasts a long time, so no student will have to worry about hours of research or time consuming term papers.


Skullcandy Crusher ANC

A pair of black Crusher ANC headphones from Skullcandy Crusher ANC headphones have Tile trackers inside Skullcandy

Headphones are a hot commodity on college campuses, and the Skullcandy Crusher ANC, which GearBrain reviewed, personalized, noise-canceling, wireless ones are especially exciting. The design is modern, the fit is adjustable, but the real selling point is the ability to personalize the sound just for your ears. These $319.99 headphones last a full day on one battery charge, and with Tile tracker built in, if they're left someplace accidentally, students don't have to worry about never seeing them again.


Marshall Stockwell II Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The Marshall Stockwell II Portable Bluetooth Speaker

The Marshall Stockwell II Portable Bluetooth Speaker The Marshall Stockwell II Portable Bluetooth Speaker has 20 hour of playtime Marshall

Music makes college more memorable, and those tunes teens and twenty-somethings enjoy during their college years tend to be the ones that become the soundtrack to their life story. When the sound is superior, it makes all the difference. The Marshall Stockwell II Portable Bluetooth Speaker has a great design, that as artful as it is capable. This $199.99 speaker is lightweight and pumps out up to 20 hours of playtime. College parties just got kicked up a notch.


ORII Ring

The ORII Ring worn on someone's finger in silver The ORII Ring in silver ORII

For technology literally at your fingertips, ORII gives students a simpler way to do it all without any extra devices on hand, from controlling music to checking email. They'll get alerts for texts and calls, and the fact that a smartphone doesn't have to be out 24/7 will make parents proud. Of course, the kids won't miss a beat, and that's also helped by being able to use the $149 ORII with voice assistants including Siri and Google Assistant.


Ambassador

The Ambassador translator against a white background next to a smartphone The Ambassador translator pairs with a smartphone Ambassador

Ambassador, a professional translator, is an amazing high-tech tool for anyone on a college campus hopefully meeting the world at their door. Invented by Waverly Labs, this product is currently in the pre-shipping stage, but they are set to send them out come November — in plenty of time for the holiday season. The gadget fits over the ear, pairs up to a smartphone, and translates dozens of languages without any lag. The clarity and convenience sets the Ambassador apart from other tech tools geared towards the same purpose. The translator is priced at $149, but can be reserved at 25 percent off for just $119.


Amazon Echo Plus

Amazon Echo Plus The Amazon Echo Plus has a built-in Zigbee hubGearBrain

College dorm rooms and off-campus apartments are where college kids create their own space. With Amazon Echo Plus, they'll make the most of today's conveniences with a well-connected living area, and a built-in Zigbee hub to handle all their gear with voice control capabilities. The sound the speaker delivers is top-notch, and even if Wi-Fi or the internet goes down, the local voice control will still stay connected. For students with lots of devices, this $119.99 all-in-one controller makes a cool gift. (

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Amazon Alexa enabled devices.)


Leviton Decora Smart Mini Plug Wi-Fi Plug-In Outlet

Leviton Decora Smart Mini Plug The Leviton Decora Smart Mini Plug works with Amazon Alexa and Google AssistantLeviton

The Leviton Decora Smart Mini Wi-Fi Plug-In Outlet can turn nearly any device into a smart product. College life is a lot to handle, so simplifying a student's everyday existence leaves more time for studying and such. From coffee makers to mini fridges to lights, the $29.99 Leviton Decora works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to transform these everyday appliances easily. Students will be able to control the items from their smart phone or computer, with no new wiring required. Full control is now more inclusive.

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