Must-have back to school, college gadgets and gifts 2016

It's the time of year when the next generation of college students is gearing up to go -- and there's plenty of gifts available for study, brightening up a dorm room and entertainment.
1 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Final Fantasy Vinyl Record Wall Clock

For something fun if your student is a fan of retro gaming, this Final Fantasy wall clock, made out of a used vinyl record and measuring 12 inches, could be a great addition to a dorm room.

Price: $55

Via: Variety Shop

2 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

HP Chromebook

Laptops do not have to cost a fortune. For $179.99, you can pick up an HP Chromebook which is a useful gadget for either younger students or as an entry-level device for college. The 11.6-inch laptop runs on Google's Chrome OS and can be used for basic tasks such as using word processors, accessing the web, listening to music and watching media. For an entry laptop the specs aren't too bad either, sporting 2GB RAM, a 16GB hard drive and a 2.16GHz Intel processor.

Price: $179.99

Via: Hewlett-Packard

3 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

HP Envy All-In-One Printer

A key item which should be on every student's shopping list is a reliable printer -- and preferably one with a scanner, too. While libraries will offer printing services, having your own makes life a lot easier for students who can avoid the queue, meet the last-minute deadline and physically edit coursework without needing to stare at a screen for hours. HP's all-in-one contains a printer, copier and scanner, and won't break the bank either.

Price: $69.99

Via: Best Buy

4 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Google Chromecast

Affordable and very useful, Google's Chromecast is a dongle which plugs into the back of television sets via an HDMI port. Once connected, the Chromecast can be used to steam content from the user's PC and mobile device apps including television, music, and films.

Price: $35

Via: Google

5 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

Tablets are commonplace in both schools and colleges today, and a reasonably-priced device which will last throughout a university career is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2. The tablet can be used to access online services, download and read books, create notes and watch media, among other purposes -- and will likely prove a valuable gadget to own with so many learning resources now hosted online.

Price: $399.99

Via: Samsung | Best Buy

6 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Sennheiser Game One

Headsets are not just for gaming, but can come in handy for blocking out external noise and are useful in online study sessions, too. One set which, although not cheap, works for its money is the Sennheiser Game One set. Not only stylish and likely to prove a hit, the headset comes with a moveable microphone, excellent audio and is comfortable to wear for long periods.

Price: £146 | $159

Via: Sennheiser | Amazon UK, US

7 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Bronze Times laptop backpack

Available in a wide variety of colors, the Bronze Times travel back is a backpack suitable not only for school essentials -- but also protecting any devices, such as laptops, within thanks to shockproof fabric. There are two sizes available for students who need a little extra room.

Price: $42.99

Via: Amazon

8 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet


Something suitable for both younger students and college gamers with Android devices, the Gembox is a small, simple plug-and-play device which harnesses television sets to open up Android games. Once plugged in, users can access games from both Google Play and GameFly, utilise emulators and play to their heart's content.

Price: €99

Via: Emtec

9 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Urban style Glider touchscreen gloves

A small but handy gift especially when the weather becomes cooler, Urban Style's Glider gloves are fashionable and also caters for mobile device use -- allowing the wearer to touch, swipe and tap without hinderance.

Price: $24.99

Via: Glider Gloves

10 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

FBL Flip 3

A fun gift for students of any age, a portable speaker such as the FBL Flip is a good choice. Available in many different colors, the Flip speaker offers 10 hours of battery life, is splash proof and connects to any device with Bluetooth. For the price point, the sound is good with little feedback.

Price: $99.95

Via: JBL

11 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Livescribe 3 smartpen

The Livescribe 3 smartpen is a digital pen which will cut down on the time students need to spend re-writing and compiling handwritten notes, and is, therefore, a great tool for study. The pen can be used on smartphones and tablets, whether Android or iOS, in order to create notes in a digital format which can then be synced across the user's devices.

Price: $149.95+

Via: Livescribe

12 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Kensington ComboSaver notebook lock

One for college students: a laptop lock. While this might not seem like the most exciting gift, it can be considered one of the most useful -- allowing students to leave their laptop safely on a desk while studying to grab a drink or visit the bathroom.

Price: $9.99

Via: Amazon

13 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Lumie smart alarm clock

Getting up in time for lectures might be a bit of a struggle, and for some of us who are not morning people, a perfect student gift could be the Lumie smart alarm clock. It looks stylish but its main benefit is mimicking natural light to slowly wake up sleepers in the morning.

Price: £59.95 ($78)

Via: Lumie

14 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch

Apple Macs are a common sight in colleges these days and for good reason. The icon aside -- and considering the fact Microsoft's Surface Pro is a decent alternative for those who prefer the Windows operating system -- a 13-inch MacBook Pro is still a worthy investment as a do-it-all PC with decent specs (128GB flash storage, 1.6GHz processor, 8GB memory).

It won't be suitable for any heavy modelling or design work, but will prove reliable for the years at college.

Price: $999+

Via: Apple

15 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Netflix suscription

Netflix has angered some with recent price hikes, but the subscription base is still going thanks to the wide variety of content available to users, ranging from films to television shows and music playlists. If you're feeling generous, perhaps a one-year subscription to keep your student occupied in their free time could be a big hit.

Price: $9.99 - $11.99 p/m

Via: Netflix

16 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Veho Pebble smartstick portable charger

A gift students are likely to value are portable chargers, such as the Veho Pebble smartstick. This tiny gadget can be shoved in a bag and forgotten, but when smartphones or tablets run out of juice, they provide a source of power for a charge. This can also be incredibly valuable in cases of emergency.

Price: $39.95

Via: Veho

17 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Playbulb Comet smart LED strips

Something fun for dorm rooms, Playbulb's Comet LED strip lights go beyond the fairy lights often pasted around college dorms. The strips not only can be altered to different colors, but can be controlled via a smartphone for different atmospheres.

Price: $69.99

Via: Mipow

18 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Amazon Prime Student subscription

You can't really go wrong with Amazon Prime Student. As a dumbed-down version of the Prime subscription, your student can get discounts on everything from clothing to books, and can also use the service to back up photos and get free two-day shipping on many items.

At the moment, students can also sign up to a six-month trial for free.

Price: $49 PA

Via: Amazon

19 of 19 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Seagate Expansion 1TB portable hard drive

External hard drives are a great gift. If your student is fond of downloading content such as films or TV shows, 1TB won't last too long -- but for the price point, you can't go wrong, and the device can be used to backup more important content, such as college documents, coursework and photos.

Price: $54.99

Via: Amazon

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