8 tech gifts perfect for college students

8 Tech Gifts Perfect for College Students

Despite a shift toward virtual learning and a few continued uncertainty surrounding campus openings, many college students will soon be returning to or getting into dorm rooms and apartments. Though these spaces tend to get on the tiny side, that does not mean students can’t enjoy an immersive home entertainment experience.

Home theaters are typically thought of as space hogs, but it’s actually possible to create a compact home entertainment setup during a dorm or apartment. With the proper gear, you’ll even enjoy advanced video and audio formats, like HDR and Dolby Atmos, without having a huge display or an area filled with surround sound speakers.

Below, we’ve selected the simplest home entertainment products for dorms and smaller apartments, including compact TVs, soundbars, a streaming stick, a game console, and a sensible speaker. Whether you are looking to shop for that special university student in your life a present or you are a student yourself checking out tech recommendations, these picks will help turn any small lebensraum into an immersive wall unit.

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A 32-inch HDTV
TCL 32 inch tv
TCL 3 Series HDTV

Though the TV industry has primarily shifted to higher resolution displays like 4K and 8K, HDTVs still have an area within the market, particularly at smaller screen sizes. If you’re in need of a compact TV for a dormitory or a little apartment, an easy 32-inch HDTV might be a perfect fit. At that size, the advantages of a better resolution panel would be hard to ascertain, so it makes little sense to pay extra for a 4K set. At a current price of $129.99, TCL’s 3 Series offers solid performance for an entry-level TV.

To be clear, the image quality you will find on this TV is about as basic because it gets, but more advanced features are rare to seek out on displays this size. The set offers a resolution of 720p with a standard dynamic range and a typical color gamut. That’s enough to satisfy casual viewing needs, but don’t expect high-end home theatre quality. On the plus side, the three Series features support for the Roku smart TV platform so you do not need to worry about an additional streaming device. Instead, the display includes built-in access to several popular apps, like Netflix and Disney Plus.

As a reasonable entry-level TV under $200, the TCL 3 Series is definitely one of the higher 32-inch display options out there.

A 43-inch 4K TV
TCL 5 Series

For those that want something a touch larger but still manageable during a smaller apartment, a 43-inch TV is a perfect choice. you continue to won’t find many high-end models available at this size, but there are some solid 4K Ultra HD options on the market, including displays with basic HDR capabilities. The 43-inch TCL 5 Series is an especially bargain at just $299.99.

You likely won’t see the complete benefits that 4K resolution offers at this size, but the upper-resolution panel should still yield some improvements over an HDTV. The display also boasts wide color gamut support with Dolby Vision playback. These features are hard to seek out on TVs this size and that they provide a pleasant upgrade in picture quality when watching HDR videos. thereupon said, the TCL 5 Series doesn’t support local dimming, so black levels won’t be as inky as they’d get on costlier LCD model thereupon feature.

When it involves smart TV features, the TCL 5 Series includes integrated support for the Roku platform, making it easy to flick through an outsized assortment of popular apps. for school students who need a 4K TV which will slot in a smaller room, the 5 Series offers tons useful.

A 50-inch 4K TV
Hisense H8G 4K TV
Best Buy
Hisense H8G

Though the absolute best picture quality features are typically reserved for flagship TV models that are 55 inches or larger, there are still a couple of impressive display options available to buyers who need something a touch smaller. Hisense’s new 50-inch H8G may be a perfect example.

Unlike the opposite TV recommendations on this list, this model offers all of the advanced image features that home theatre fans search for during a premium TV, including full-array local dimming for deep black levels and more precise HDR performance. The display also uses quantum dots for wide color gamut support and boasts both Dolby Vision and HDR10+ playback. Android TV is integrated for convenient access to an outsized selection of apps, and therefore the remote features voice search with Google Assistant.

Though there are better looking 50-inch 4K TV models from Sony and Samsung, they cost quite double the worth of the Hisense H8G. For under $400, the H8G offers impressive value. If you are looking for the absolute best performance at this screen size, however, there’s also LG’s new 48-inch CX OLED 4K TV to think about. The CX is LG’s first OLED TV with a screen size option under 55-inches, and therefore the 48-inch model is now available for $1,499.99. While that’s very pricey for a TV that size, the CX includes all the high-end picture benefits that OLED TVs are known for.

Read our Hisense H8G 4K TV review here
A compact Soundbar
Sonos beam
Sonos Beam

Soundbars are available in all shapes and sizes, but few pack as many features into such a compact design quite just like the Sonos Beam. This single-unit soundbar is simply 25.6 inches long, making it a perfect fit placement with smaller displays and television stands.

Despite the soundbar’s compact size, the Sonos Beam still manages to pack a solid punch, offering a large upgrade over the wimpy integrated speakers you’re likely to seek out built into most TVs. The 3.0-channel soundbar features four full-range woofers and one tweeter, alongside support for PCM stereo and Dolby Digital processing. The Beam also can pair with other Sonos speakers for multi-room audio playback.

As another bonus, the Sonos Beam even includes support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa built right into the soundbar. this suggests that buyers who need a digital assistant do not have to shop for an additional smart speaker. Instead, you’ll save even more room with this all-in-one smart soundbar. On the downside, the Beam may be a bit pricey at $399.00, but its functionality and convenience help to justify the high cost.

Read our Sonos Beam review here
A compact Dolby Atmos Soundbar
Vizio soundbar
Best Buy
Vizio 3.1.2 SB36312 Soundbar

Living in a dorm or smaller apartment doesn’t suggest you cannot enjoy a real home theatre audio experience. Sure, it’s unlikely that you are going to be ready to fit a full-sized surround audio system in your room, but that does not mean you’ve got to choose standard stereo playback. In fact, there are a couple of compact Dolby Atmos soundbar systems that are ideally fitted to smaller spaces, including Vizio’s SB36312.

This model features a 36-inch soundbar with a left, center, and right channel. Two up-firing speaker drivers are included also. These special drivers are designed to bounce pontificate of your ceiling to simulate the effect of audio coming from above your head. Though the effect is often hit or miss, the added level of immersion is impressive, creating an enveloping movie-watching experience without the necessity for multiple speakers.

For dedicated bass, the SB36312 also includes a wireless 5-inch subwoofer. to assist make the system even more apartment-friendly, the subwoofer features a unique slim design, so you’ll easily place it out of the way. Though the SB36312 lacks the digital assistant functionality you will find on Sonos Beam, this model may be a better fit for people that need a compact home theatre experience.

A compact streaming player
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

While most new displays include integrated smart TV platforms with access to streaming apps, if you happen to be getting into a dorm or apartment with an older “dumb” TV, then a fanatical streaming player is importantalbeit you’ve got a contemporary smart TV, certain streaming players offer faster performance and a much bigger app selection than some built-in TV operating systems.

When it comes compact to streaming sticks, few are as feature-packed as Amazon’s Fire TV Stick 4K. this easy device plugs right into the HDMI port of your TV, adding support for an outsized assortment of streaming services, including Prime Video, Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Apple TV Plus, and more. An Alexa remote is additionally included for straightforward voice control and voice search functions. the hearth TV Stick 4K boasts compatibility with a comprehensive list of video formats, including Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Support for those advanced formats is some things notably missing from Roku’s competing Streaming Stick+.

On the downside, the Hearth TV Stick 4K is currently missing a few key apps, like Vudu and HBO Max, but it’s possible that these services are going to be added within the future. For buyers who need a compact streaming device with robust HDR support, the hearth TV Stick 4K is your best choice.

A compact computer game console
Nintendo Switch
Nintendo Switch

Though the stock is unfortunately hard to return by immediately, the Nintendo Switch is that the perfect computer game console for buyers who got to conserve space. Its compact size and portable capabilities make it uniquely compatible with smaller apartments and dorms.

Not only is that the system itself tiny compared to competing consoles, but you do not even need a TV to play it. The device is often pulled out of its included docking station for handheld gameplay. This makes it easy to play if you do not have space for an actual display, or your roommates are hogging the TV. you’ll simply sit back and relax on your couch or bed and luxuriate in a variety of high-profile games, including “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” “Super Mario Odyssey,” and “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

Unfortunately, the system is currently sold out at most retailers, but a handheld only version of the console, the Switch Lite, is currently available for purchase. the sole downside. 

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