8 Freshmen Tech Gifts That Are Actually Useful

by Chelsey Grasso

Freshmen have a tendency to pack the minivan full of things they won't possibly ever need during their first year of college (ironing boards, people?). If you want to get somebody you know something that will actually be put to use, and frequently, you should consider one of these awesome freshmen tech gifts. There's no denying that the world runs on electronics these days, and if a college student wants to stay on top of the game, he or she's got to stay on top of the tech world.

These gifts range in price and size, but each and every one of them is a useful piece of equipment that the average freshman student will find themselves wanting throughout the entirety of their education. From USBs to Fitbits and Kindles to external battery chargers, there's no shortage of smart technology here. (In fact, you're probably going to find yourself pining after most of this stuff yourself once you make it through the list.)

Get your kids, friends, and friends' kids something they will actually put to use this coming fall. The times have changed, and so have the type of necessities a student needs when walking onto campus for the first time.

1. Wooden USB

You'll find yourself needing a USB more often than not once you're at college. Need to print something at the library? Get a USB. Need to share a file with a classmate? Get a USB. Need to work on a project in the university's computer lab? Get a USB. This wooden one (available in 16, 32, and 64 GB) is too cool not to love. Sleek and easy to use, it'll be easy carrying this little block of wood around in your pocket on the regular.

Exotic Wooden USB, $13.77+, EWARTWOODS /Etsy

2. Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader

Gone are the days of lugging around course books and spending your afternoons in the library's archives. Instead, go digital! The Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader weighs less than a pound, and its non-glare, LED touchscreen makes it easy to read anywhere. Get your required reading done on the beach, on the plane, or in between classes without having to break your back over it. Simple, powerful, and easy on the eyes (literally)... what's better than that?

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader, $119.99,

3. Fitbit Blaze

This version of the Fitbit not only counts your steps and reads your heart rate, but it even offers on-screen workouts for those looking for a little help during their early-morning or post-classes exercise time. Nice.

Fitbit Blaze, $199.95,

4. Fujifilm Instax Instant Smartphone Printer

So you don't have room in your dorm for a full-sized printer and loads of white paper and color cartridges? That's OK, you'll still have room for Fujufilm's Instax Instant Smartphone Printer. If you're being honest, what are you most interested in printing anyway? School materials, or those awesome Instagram photos you took at last night's football game? Say no more.

Fujifilm Instax Instant Smartphone Printer, $199, Urban Outfitters

5. Ultra Thin Portable External Battery Charger

On that note, how are you going to take all those awesome Instagram photos when your iPhone starts losing its charge? Don't worry, Walmart's got you covered with its Ultra Thin Portable External Battery Charger. The dual USB port will even allow you to charge two devices at once. Your friends can thank you later.

Ultra Thin Portable External Battery Charger, $14.25, Walmart

6. Targus DEFCON Cable Lock For Notebook Computers

You know when you're all set up at the library, working hard, and then you suddenly have to pee? If you don't, you will soon. The bladder always seems to strike right when you're in the middle of being productive. Don't waste time packing up your laptop. Instead, quickly lock it up while you go to take a quick break. Genius!

Targus DEFCON Cable Lock For Notebook Computers, $34.99, Office Depot

7. WD My Passport Ultra 1TB External USB 3.0/2.0 Portable Hard Drive

Back up everything... always. There's nothing worse than a computer failing on you a few days before that semester-long project you've been working on is due. It sucks, but computers do break. Having a reliable external hard drive is one of the smartest purchases that you can make as a college student. Trust me on this.

WD My Passport Ultra 1TB External USB 3.0/2.0 Portable Hard Drive, $59.99, Best Buy

8. Water-Resistant iPhone 6/6/s Case And Bike Mount

Chances are that you're not going to have a car on campus during your freshman year of college, but you very well may have a bike to help you get between classes. This water-resistant bike mount is perfect if you need to use your GPS, listen to some tunes, or keep an eye on your phone to see if anyone calls you while you're riding.

Water-Resistant iPhone 6/6/s Case And Bike Mount, $26, Urban Outfitters

Image: Kindle Paperwhite/Amazon