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Price: A decent one around $300 or so (try looking here)
Reason to get: For those who can't afford a fully fledged laptop or any other device, a netbook is the perfect, little nifty thing you can get your hands on. Not only are they pretty cheap, but they can also run Windows XP pretty well which many people are still very content with. If you don't buy a netbook with a Windows license, you'll find them to be even cheaper.
The batteries last all day, they are very tough for their size, often running SSD memory and are great for student life. Plus, by the time that Chrome OS comes out, coupled with the already high demand for Ubuntu, a netbook is the perfect device to suit both of these operating systems.
Don't get: a thick, chunky laptop which could be used as a blunt object to kill someone with.
Product: iPod nano (6G)
Price: From $149; no academic discount available (unless you buy a Mac at the Education Store)
Reason to get: Almost everybody has owned an iPod at some point in their life, and can you blame them? Sure, the sound quality wasn't necessarily great in the first few generations but over the years Apple has packed in even more to a smaller shell, and the iPod nano 6G is no exception. The sound quality is excellent, there is a huge choice of accessories, it has a touch-screen display, and you will be socially awesome as a result of having one.
Reason to get: With an iPod you almost have to get iTunes, but not for use with your actual iPod. Instead use SharePod which cuts the bureaucracy that iTunes brings with it. But iTunes U has such a vast array of academic downloadable podcasts available from lectures on science to technology, to anatomy to the quantum physics of mass media which can broaden the mind to a level you've never experienced. And the best part? They're free for anyone and everyone.
Product: RapidShare account
Price: $9 for around 30 days, upwards.
Reason to get: We all know that torrents are great for distributing content on an easy, simple yet worldwide scale, though given a bad name since they are also used for content infringement and piracy. Even with your fellow peers spying on you on behalf of major companies, it might be in your best interest to avoid torrents and use a paid, subscription service to access a wide variety of content available on the web. Even though many RapidShare files is video content from current TV to DVD's of popular movies and music, it also contains a huge quantity of other stuff which you might find useful. Though, don't use it to download illegal content, yeah?
Product: PhotoShop CS5 Student & Teacher
Price: Around $190, cheaper if you shop around (up to 80% off with academic status)
Reason to get: PhotoShop and the rest of the CS5 range is pretty expensive, though it is on offer at a greatly reduced price for academics and students, so why not take advantage of it? PhotoShop is not easy to learn, but once you get there you can do some pretty intense things with it. Multimedia technology students at university may even be able to get this for free from their academic department. Maybe one day you'll be able to create wonders like these?
Product: 'Social' phone
Price: Free on contract in some cases; around $300-400 otherwise.
Reason to get: The world has gone social crazy, with video uploads, social networking, instant messaging and the like. If you haven't already, grab yourself a 'social' phone, so something like an iPhone or a BlackBerry should do the trick. People seem to fall into an 'either/or' category with the aforementioned, but there's a phone out there for you with Facebook, Twitter and wireless access, a high-resolution camera and more applications than you can shake a stick at.
Product: Wireless-N router
Price: Around $50-100 on Amazon (try looking here)
Reason to get: A wireless-N router is almost absolutely essential in a student house. Some universities offer WiMAX which is like wireless-N (and lower ends of the wireless spectrum, come to think of it) but accessible over huge, vast spaces of area. But if you are lucky enough to have a fast broadband connection in your house, you'll want to use up every last drop of it. Wireless-N also works brilliantly if you stream music or videos to a media extender, too.
Product: Multi-printer/scanner-type thing
Price: A decent one around $250-350 or so (try looking here)
Reason to get: You can always use the printers up on your college campus if you want, but that means braving the weather at the best of times. If you want to consolidate a printer, scanner (and fax, though I doubt you'll need to) into one device at a lower overall cost, try a multi-printer device. You can even print out photos if you have photo-quality paper too, and wedge in your memory cards from your phone to print out high-resolution snaps.
Product: A free anti-virus solution
Reason to get: When you get your new computer, it'll be bundled with all kinds of crapware, not to mention the 'naff and useless anti-virus that's installed by default. You'll need something either you can pay for, or something that's completely free. Well, logically most people would go for the free one - and you should! Microsoft Security Essentials is a pretty good anti-virus, outshining its predecessor Windows Live OneCare by miles. It may seem simple and relatively benign on the face of it, but it's genuinely a damn good anti-virus solution and outshines even the big names like McAfee.
Don't use: the preinstalled 'crapware' bloatware-like anti-virus on your new computer.
Product: External storage backup drive
Price: A decent one around $100-250 or so (try looking here)
Reason to get: Don't bother with the cloud, get an external storage backup drive. Of course you can use it for all the music, the videos and other content that you download whilst you're a student, and it's easy to take with you when you go round to friends or have a few to drink at a house party. But you can also use it to backup all of the important things in life - and trust me, you will want to. All it takes, after all, is one single second to wipe out three years of work.
Don't get: a cloud storage subscription.