So you’ve got into college and you’ve made it to your dorm room. It’s fresh, it’s new, it’s exciting, it’s… really plain? Colleges aren’t known to make dorm rooms anything other than ‘easy to clean and repaint when you move in, so understandably you’ll want to fill it with the best dorm decorations and essential accessories you can find to make it a home away from home. That could be a HomePod, or maybe even something to watch Apple TV+ on. Either way, you’re going to want some gadgets – here are some of the best.
RGB for all
Nano Leaf starter set
You know those cool, triangular light patterns a lot of streamers have on their walls? Those are Nanoleafs. Each light cell is a triangular addressable RGB LED plate that interconnects with other light cells to create lit shapes. They’re homekit compatible too, so you can control them with Siri. You can permanently affix them to your wall, but in the case of a dorm room, you can pop them up with non-paint damaging sticky slips.
$240 at Amazon
Sounds all around
The HomePod Mini is Apple’s entry into the smart speaker market, and despite its diminutive size, it packs a big sonic wallop. You can get it in a load of colors, like Blue and Red, and you can command it with Siri. great for solo listening sessions as you study long into the night, or used as a party centerpiece when louder music is required.
$99 at Apple
Safe and sound
August WiFi smart lock
No one likes being walked in on while they’re in the middle of something, be they chilling out or 27 hours deep into an energy drink-fuelled paper writing session. A Smart Door lock like this one from August Home will do the trick nicely. It’ll fit over most deadbolt door locks, and keep you safe while you’re in, and your stuff secure when you’re out.
$222 at Amazon
Set the mood
Philips Hue bulb starter set
We all need light – it’s kinda hard to work without it! Smart lights bring a little something extra to the table, especially when you grab some Philips Hue bulbs. When they’re connected to the Hue Hub, you can hook them up to HomeKit and control them with Siri. They’re color-changing, and feature fading brightness levels so you can get the mood just right. Even better, they slip into standard light fittings, so you won’t have to change any of your lamp stands or even ceiling fittings.
$149 at Amazon
WEWATCH mini projector
Not enough room for a nice, big TV? No problem, just grab one of these little beauties. It’s a 1080p mini projector that’s good up to a screen size of 120-inches, which is more than big enough for anyone. It’s got native full HD output so it’ll look great, and there’s an HDMI port on the back so you can hook up any of your compatible devices. One of its coolest party tricks is WiFi compatibility, so you’ll be able to send streams from your phone or MacBook. Turn any wall or even your ceiling into a screen with this one – movie nights will never be the same again!
$149 at Amazon
Watch all the things
Apple TV 4K
Of course, if you’re looking for something to hook into the back of your mini projector, we’d go with an Apple TV streamer. It’s a heavy little box that’s packed with some powerful components, so it’ll be more than enough to send Netflix to your screen of choice, but it will also be beefy enough to play some of Apple Arcades’ best games. Connect up your HomePod Mini for some excellent sound quality, and you’ll have one of the best ways to watch the Foundation series in a small space this side of Mars.
$170 at Amazon
If we could only get two…
We’d start off with the WEWATCH projector so that we can have a massive screen in a smaller space. You might need to dim the lights for it to truly excel, but it’ll make everything you watch on it look pretty great. We’ve also seen some other cool uses of one – some use theirs as an atmospheric window to different locations when their own is boring, making a really relaxing space.
Our second pick would be the HomePod Mini – yes, we are Apple fanatics so of course we’d choose the Apple product, but it’s really really good. It gets plenty loud enough for get-togethers, and it looks great to boot. It can act as a good Siri hub for all your other HomeKit devices as well, so if we where to start anywhere, it would be here.
It’s not all play at college, remember, your dorm room should be a place of work as well. Check out our best desks for students list, and also the best cheap office chairs on a budget and where to buy them to really put the cherry on top.