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Fresher Tech: Uni Gear Guide 2016

Must-have kit to work hard, play hard and survive your first year of university

Acer Chromebook 14


Unlike college and secondary school where you relied heavily on dusty textbooks and notebooks to get through your studies, you have more freedom in how you learn at university. Depending on the type of lecturer you have, you’re usually free to bring a laptop into classes to take down notes. So you’ll want to consider getting a decent note-taking machine, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Chromebooks are a option if you want to save money when buying a laptop, although what you have to consider is the fact they’re very different to MacBooks or Windows models. They use Google’s proprietary Chrome OS and predominantly function by being connected to the internet. Most of the device’s applications are cloud-based.

If the mandatory Wi-Fi connection doesn’t bother you, then have a look at the Acer Chromebook 14. It’s one of the best Chrome devices you can get, offering you access to all Google’s cloud features in a sleek form and costing a little over £200. Sleek and stylish, it offers a 14-inch HD display, a 16GB hard drive and an Intel Celeron processor.

The Chromebook 14 costs £240/$300. For more information, visit


Libratone Too


While learning is important when you’re a student, university life is also about having fun. If you’re shipping off to do a degree this year, then you ought to get excited and prepared for the bustle and madness of Fresher’s Week.
It’s an opportune time to get to know other students and make friends for the year ahead. And, as you may have gathered, there are going to be a load of house parties. Should you want to plan one of your own – perhaps to show off your organisational skills and awesome music taste – you’re going to need a good speaker to keep the atmosphere alive. The Libratone Too is one of the best speakers you can get. Costing a little over £100, it’ll easily connect up to your phone via Bluetooth, offers 12 hours of battery life and is splashproof.

The Libratone Too costs £110/$150. For more information, visit


Aerobie AeroPress

Step 02 of a five step tutorial on how to make a coffee using an Aerobie Aeropress coffee plunger. Ground coffee is placed inside the plunger

A good coffee boost will almost be essential to helping you finish off those dreadful assignments early in the morning. And although you’re a student, that’s not to say you can only drink awful instant coffee. The AeroPress from Aerobie lets you make barista-grade coffee from the comfort of your own home. Easy to use and with a press time of 20 seconds, the coffee maker uses a uniform extraction method for the best coffee taste. It can make between one and three cups of American-style coffee per use, and you can buy a nylon pouch to carry it in.

The Aerobie AeroPress costs £30/$35. For more information, visit


Olympus WS-852



Taking notes in lectures is hard. Unless the lecturer speaks as slow as a snail moves around, then you’re going to have a hard time jotting down every word they say. Well, no worries, as that’s what voice recorders are for. The Olympus WS-852 has 4GB of internal storage, 1040 hours of recording time, smart audio tracking and a retractable USB stick.

The Olympus WS-852 costs £40/$50. For more information, visit


Tefal Toast N’ Egg

Although leaving home and moving into student accommodation is a fun and memorable experience, it’s also a lot of hard work. All of a sudden, you have to be an adult. You don’t have your parents to pick up after you anymore, and it’s down to you to ensure you survive. They certainly won’t be around to make you an omelette or sandwich when you’re hungry, or a hangover cure.

Cooking is probably the hardest thing to get to grips with once you’ve moved away from the luxury of your parents’ cooking, unless you’re a seasoned chef. But it doesn’t have to be too tough. This is why devices like Tefal’s Toast N’ Egg were created, and you should make the most of them when you’re living the hectic lifestyle of a university student. It’s an affordable two-slice toaster and egg maker, and is perfect for student houses. There are two slots for toast, muffins and bagels, along with a steamer for hard-boiling or poaching eggs.

The Tefal Toast N’ Egg costs £35/$45. For more information, visit


Kindle Paperwhite


One of the banes of being a student is the amount of old, dusty books you have to carry around with you. Want to avoid this? Then get yourself a Kindle Paperwhite. The latest model features a six-inch high-resolution screen, Wi-Fi and a built-in light so you can read books in the dark.

The Kinkle Paperwhite costs £110/$120. For more information, visit


STM Haven Backpack


You’ll probably be carrying a laptop and a load of books around with you at uni, so a good bag is essential. The Haven backpack from STM Bags is affordable and high- quality at the same time. It offers a dedicated laptop section with a protection mechanism that keeps it off the floor of the bag, as well as a separate iPad pocket and cable routing system to stop your cables from tangling. The bag also has a cushioned back panel to ensure your valuables are always protected, as well as a central air channel and 3D foam cores.

The STM Haven Backpack costs £75/$95. For more information, visit


MiniStation Slim


You’re going to be juggling a plethora of different files at university, such as notes, essays, photos and videos. Unless you buy a secure hard drive, you risk losing everything. MiniStation Slim from Buffalo Technology is a lightweight and stylish portable drive, available in 1TB or 2TB capacity versions. Because it uses USB 3.0, as opposed to the more common USB 2.0, files will transfer much faster. It’ll work with most current and next- generation notebooks, and has been preformatted for Mac and PC. You can get the drive in silver, black or red.

The MiniStation Slim costs £55/$70. For more information, visit



The morning after a big night out can be tough, but a quick cuppa is often a balm for even the worst hangover. But this requires the willpower to climb out of bed and actually make it. This is why you’ll need the iKettle. With a tap of your phone, you can get it to boil from wherever you are in your house. You can even set it to boil for a particular time.

The iKettle costs £100/$130. For more information, visit


Ethernet Adaptor


Living in a house full of other students means you may not always have the luxury of a stable internet connection. But you can fix this issue with TP Link’s gigabit Ethernet adaptor, which will let you create you own personal stable internet connection. It works with the latest versions of Mac OS and sports a foldable design and plugs into a USB slot.

The ethernet adaptor costs £15/$20. For more information, visit