Tablets aren't a necessity, but they sure are proving themselves useful on campus. They're ultraportable, turn on instantly, and are perfect for today's wired campuses. With Wi-Fi access readily available, students can leave the laptop in the dorm and bring their tablet to class or the library. They won't replace a laptop, but can enhance it, as they're great for media consumption, like reading textbooks, watching videos, and of course, looking up the latest ESPN scores.
Some people prefer typing on a full keyboard and for that, there are accessories such as the Logitech Tablet Keyboard (http://www.logitech.com/en-us/tablet-accessories/for-ipad/devices/8214) which is a combination keyboard and stand. The keyboard connects via Bluetooth to your iPad, or iPhone, and the cover acts as an adjustable stand. Others like the Kensington KeyFolio Pro Performance Keyboard Case for iPad 2 (http://us.kensington.com/html/17939.html) are built-in to a folio case that protects your tablet.
There have been quite a few challengers to the iPad 2 this year, but it still reigns supreme as head of the class. Starting at $499, it has a 9.7-inch screen and comes in 16-64 GB configurations. The apps you install are really what it's all about, and Apple wins that contest hands down.
The closest competitor is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, also starting at $499 for 16GB-64 GB configurations. The Galaxy Tab runs on the Android operating system, specifically Android 3.1 Honeycomb which was built specifically for tablets, not just a phone OS re-done for a tablet.
Joby Gorillamobile ORI for iPad2: $60
Inspired by Origami, designed for comfort. A little difficult to figure out at first, the Joby is a Swiss army knife of iPad stands. The different configurations allow for adjustable heights and viewing angles, great for watching a video or typing a term paper.
IHome IDM15 Rechargeable Portable Stereo Bluetooth Speakers With Speakerphone: $99
Students who live in dorms know real estate is key, so when big sound can come from small speakers, it's a good thing. The iHome portable stereo speakers are great for dorm life because they're compact, portable, and deliver great sound. They can play audio from an iPad, iPhone, computer, or any other mp3 device with a 3.5mm audio jack. Since they're connected via Bluetooth, music is wirelessly streamed to the speakers while you still have use of your device. In fact, if your phone rings while connected, you can simply answer and take the call using the speaker's built-in mic. The travel case folds back to form a stand for your device when it's in use.
Microsoft Touch Mouse for Windows 7: $99
Microsoft's first multi-touch device designed for Windows 7 lets you flick, swipe and scroll just like those Mac users you've been envying. Once you figure out what all the gesture inputs are, you'll find yourself flicking and clicking and communicating with your PC at top speed. Touch Mouse also features Blue Track technology which means you can track on virtually any surface, like your lap, your bed, your jeans.
Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Studio Series Artist Edition: $29.99
Mice shouldn't be boring. Here's a wireless mouse with a little artistic flair to it. Made for mobility with great battery life. Six designs to choose from.
HTC Status Cellphone: $49.99 with 2-year contract