Smart home tech for your dorm room

Your dorm room is the home base for absolutely everything you do at college. Back at home, you had space for all your stuff and endless places to plug in all your tech. Now, you’ll most likely be dealing with a cramped space, limited power, dodgy Wi-Fi, and maybe surly roommates. Making your dorm room smarter is going to help you study, relax, and stay organized.

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) with Clock
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock

Set wake-up alarms, stream music, and get homework help

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Kensington Ergonomic Vertical Wireless Mouse (K75575WW)
Kensington Ergonomic Vertical Wireless Mouse

Battle carpal tunnel

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Satechi Trio Wireless Charger with Magnetic Pad –Qi Certified– Compatible with iPhone 13 Pro Max/13 Pro/13, iPhone 12 Pro Max/12 Pro/12/12 Mini, AirPods Pro/Gen 3, Apple Watch Series 7/6/SE/5/4/3/2/1
Satechi Trio Wireless Charger

Recharge three devices with one connection

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amazon echo dot 4th gen review 7 of 8John Velasco / Digital TrendsAmazon Echo Dot with Clock Set wake-up alarms, stream music, and get homework help

Pros

  • Charming new design
  • Great audio quality for its size
  • Alexa Guard protection
  • Affordable cost

Cons

  • LED clock should be default

A digital assistant can help with so many things at college. You can use it to stream music (at reasonable volumes without annoying your neighbors), ask Alexa for help with assignments (Alexa, what is Gross Domestic product?), and use it to control other smart devices you might want to bring along, like smart lighting. Thanks to that built-in LED clock, you don’t have to fish out your phone to check the time, and you have two glorious ways to snooze your alarm: Ask Alexa to snooze or hit that excellent built-in snooze button. 

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) with Clock
Amazon Echo Dot with Clock

Set wake-up alarms, stream music, and get homework help

ge expands cync smart light adds climate control camera game room full colorCync by GE smart light bulb Add color, light, and fun

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to use
  • App is uncluttered
  • Great variety of lights
  • App control is quick and responsive
  • Works with all digital assistants

Cons

  • Could use a few ‘extra’ features
  • Motion sensor was glitchy

Adding a smart light bulb or two can be a great way to smarten up a dorm room. Just make sure to choose bulbs that don’t require a hub or bridge. A good pick is Cync by GE smart bulbs because you can control them from your phone using the companion app. Add IFTTT and you can get your smart lights to give you a heads-up on the weather by having them turn blue when it snows, for example.

GE Lighting CYNC Smart LED Light Bulbs, Color Changing, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Enabled, Alexa and Google Assistant Compatible, A19 Light Bulbs (4 Pack)
Cync by GE smart light bulb

Add color, light, and fun

Amazon Smart Plug Smarter power made easy

Pros

  • Small
  • Affordable
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Doesn’t add extra outlets

Smart plugs are a great way to add remote control over devices that otherwise don’t have smarts. You can use them to bring automation to your dorm room or small apartment. An Amazon Smart Plug is an inexpensive and easy option that adds smarts to an existing plug, so you can program the plug to turn on your desk lamp at a certain time of day. If you’ve got more gadgets, you may want to also consider adding a power option that splits a single outlet into multiple connection points.

Amazon Smart Plug
Amazon Smart Plug

Smarter power made easy

Belkin Power Strip Surge Protector Keep your gear charged

Pros

  • Fairly compact
  • Long cord
  • Extra room for larger AC adapters

Cons

  • No USB ports

Most graduates will tell you they have lived in a dorm room with just one power outlet. A power bar that also doubles as a surge protector is just the thing for making sure your devices are charged and ready. This splitter has multiple options for connecting all your devices. It also gives you the peace of mind of surge protection so nothing fries your stuff. If you want more ideas, check out our list of the best power bar surge protectors.

Belkin Power Strip Surge Protector
Belkin Power Strip Surge Protector

Keep your gear charged

Kensington Ergonomic Vertical Wireless Mouse Battle carpal tunnel

Pros

  • Wireless
  • Battery powered
  • Combats wrist fatigue and carpal tunnel

Cons

  • Learning curve to use it

A wireless mouse is a must-have to keep cable clutter at bay. A Bluetooth mouse alone is such a relief after swiping around on a laptop trackpad all day, and it’s a total game-changer to use a mouse with your iPad. This particular Kensington wireless mouse is also vertically oriented, meaning it helps you stave off carpal tunnel syndrome. Getting used to it takes about a day, but once you’ve come on board, you’ll never go back to a regular wrist-wrenching mouse again.

Another great option in a small space is to move things off the desk surface whenever possible. If you’ve got a ring light, webcam, or microphone you’re using, getting a Kensington Boom Arm is a huge help. The articulating arm can move into a hundred positions and can be pulled into your space or pushed away as needed.

Kensington Ergonomic Vertical Wireless Mouse (K75575WW)
Kensington Ergonomic Vertical Wireless Mouse

Battle carpal tunnel

jbl flip 6 review trashed radiatorTed Kritsonis/Digital TrendsJBL Flip 6 Bring music anywhere

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Loud and clear sound
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Excellent water and dust protection
  • EQ offers some sound tweaking
  • Works with JBL Portable app and PartyBoost

Cons

  • Can’t stereo pair with non-Flip 6 JBL speakers
  • Doesn’t work as a speakerphone
  • Not drastically different from Flip 5

A portable Bluetooth speaker is at the center of any good party, but finding one that can survive a multitude of outings and that’s solidly built and sounds good when turned up can be tricky.

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