Heading off to college? If you're like most students, you know it helps to create a "home away from home" with the gadgets and gear that will make the transition easier. The more you can smooth over any "gotchas" with cleaning, sleeping, and staying productive, the more you can focus on completing your coursework. Here are my top picks.
Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute ($700)
You're much more likely to vacuum in a dorm room if you don't have to bother with a cord. The Dyson Cyclone V10 has a bigger capacity than the previous V8 model, lasts 40 minutes on a charge on the normal setting, and has incredible power. Reality check: There are lower-cost models from lesser-known brands like Bissell.
Logitech MX Master 2S ($100)
The upgraded version of a popular all-purpose computer mouse, the Logitech MX Master 2S is light enough to bring along in a laptop bag, tracks on almost any surface, and uses laser precision that works for both Google Docs and Fortnite. Reality check: Razer tends to make similarly precise mouse products for less.
Canon EOS M50 ($700)
Considered a "consumer grade" camera, the Canon EOS M50 has professional-grade features like 4K video capture and a 24.1-megapixel sensor for photos. One of the best features? The M50 can focus ultra-fast, so you don't have to worry about blurry shots. Reality check: If you take photo classes, you might find the prof prefers a camera like the Canon 5D Mark IV.
Brother INKvestment Inkjet Printer MFC-J995DW ($200)
For the price, this Brother inkjet printer provides enough ink to last an entire school year, thanks to a new ink cartridge system that prints around 1,800 pages. You can print from an app on your phone or a tablet, and the printer supports dual-sided printing. Reality check: Canon also makes a high-yield printer that lets you refill the ink cartridges.
Bose Sleepbuds ($250)
Forget noise-canceling earbuds. The Bose Sleepbuds make noise, allowing you to pick from 10 distinct tracks that help you doze off. The buds last about 16 hours per charge. Reality check: Wired earbuds cost much less, and you can play sleep sounds from apps (some of them are free).
Aten Technology Thunderbolt 3 Multiport Dock ($220)
Small enough to fit on a dorm-room desk, this docking station provides ports for up to eight devices for your laptop or desktop, including an external display. The dock also serves as a charging station for a laptop, and you can use either Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3 gadgets. Reality check: You can decide to connect up to the ports on your laptop instead.
Vizio M-Series 55-Inch Television ($700)
A brilliant new model, both in price and picture quality, the Vizio M-Series 55-inch supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, to let you voice control not just the TV but your entire "smart" dorm room (say, to lock the door if you use an August lock). It's a 4K set that supports HDR for better contrast and color. Reality check: The 55-inch size might not fit in your dorm room, although Vizio also makes smaller models in the D-Series.
DJI Mavic Air ($800)
My top pick for drones, the DJI Mavic Air lasts 21 minutes per charge, has fold-in legs for portability, and captures at amazing 4K resolution. It means you can get out of the dorm room and capture some thrills. My favorite new feature has to do with directional sensing--this drone is harder to crash than ever. Reality check: DJI is a drone leader, but Parrot makes the Anafi drone that is $100 less and also captures in 4K resolution.