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Video:Essential Gadgets for College Students

with Tim Silva

If you want to pick the right gadgets for college students, our expert will give you some great ideas and pointers. See these suggestions for gadgets for college students.See Transcript

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Transcript:Essential Gadgets for College Students

Hi I'm Tim Silva for About.com.

Gadgets for College Students

Well it's about that time of year. The kids are going back to school. And that means the college kids are going back to college. So today I'm going to talk to you about 3 gadgets no college student should be without.

MP3 Players and iPods for Students

OK, gadget number one. Well you probably saw this coming. When was the last time you saw a student who wasn't wearing headphones. mp3 players and iPods have become a popular staple of student life. Today's mp3 players and ipods are more than just music players. They can have calendars and reminders and help get your students life organized.

Now you may find an mp3 player on line for instance for as little as $25 or $35. But buyer beware. Remember, you get what you pay for. The cheaper the price, probably the smaller the storage capacity. And you want to be careful too that the sound quality of the unit doesn't deteriorate the sound of the music you enjoy so much.

1 gigabyte of storage will get you just under 250 songs. So 2 gigabytes will get you 500 or just under. In general, expect to pay between $100 and $400 for a good quality mp3 player or iPod.

You can go ahead and shop online from sites you purchased from before and sites that you trust. Or go ahead to your local retail store. Another nice thing about mp3 players and iPods is that these devices are actually small hard drives, which means you can store different kinds of files on them. Like say, digital photos.

Digital Cameras for Students

And that brings us to our number 2 gadget. Some people have said to me "Well my son has a cell phone with him at school and that has a built in digital camera." And the only problem I see with those is that some of them are not very good quality. They tend to take darker pictures and a bit more grainy and a lower resolution. So for under $200 you can get a 7 megapixel digital camera that will take excellent pictures. The resolution is good enough to make fantastic 5x7 quality prints or great quality 8x10 photo prints.

Now you can purchase separate storage cards for the camera and say you get 512 megabyte card that will allow you to store over 200 high resolution photos. The other benefit of a digital camera is that it's actually easier to download the photos from here to a laptop to get access to them than it is from a cell phone. And again, when you're shopping for a digital camera I'd go ahead and use those trusted online sites that you've shopped at before or run over to your local retail stores. There are plenty of selections there, with plenty to choose from.

Portable Hard Drives for Students

OK, so now what you need to back up all this data, your mp3 and digital music files, your digital photos, brings us to gadget number 3, which is a portable hard drive. Many students can get by with a portable hard drive that will hold between 80 - 100 gigabytes of storage. That's typically plenty of storage to hold typical text and word files and term papers and things like that.

If you have a student who does digital art or works with digital video files they're going to accumulate much larger files. So you might want to look at hard drives that will hold between 200 and 500 gigabytes worth of storage. For under $200 you can get a portable hard drive that's about 500 gigabytes. That's plenty of storage to cover most of your storage needs. That could actually back up an entire laptop.

One thing to look for in portable hard drives is that they usually come in two flavors - USB2.0 or Firewire and that's just your basic connection between the hard drive and your computer. Now PCs typically use the USB 2.0 connection and some also have a Firewire connection. Apple computers typically have both - USB 2.0 and a Firewire connection. If you have a choice I like to go with the Firewire connection. I find a slightly faster transfer speed reading and writing between the portable hard drive and the computer.

So that brings us to the end of our three gadgets for the college student. We have the mp3 player or iPod, the digital camera, and the portable hard drive to help back up all the data that they collect while they're on their journey to knowledge. That's if for now.

Join us again next time. I'm Tim Silva for About.com.
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