Go-go gadget Knight: top-4 tech trends
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 16:09
With the upcoming release of the iPhone 5, the scramble to get one’s hands on the newest and hottest technology is more evident than ever. Many students are often willing to sacrifice an otherwise precious paycheck or dip into financial aid refunds in order to possess the newest model of smartphone, laptop or gaming system. The Central Florida Future took to the campus to find out what’s trending in the technology world for UCF — here’s a look at the top-four gadgets that Knights can’t live without.
1. Smartphone: Ask almost any student on campus and they’ll say that the No. 1 piece of technology they can’t live without is their smartphone. The iPhone is a popular option, and Android phones have been rising in popularity thanks to the sleek design and increasing functionality of the Samsung Galaxy line. Senior biotechnology major Mandela Sealy owns a Blackberry and finds it convenient and efficient.
“You keep in touch with everyone — family members, parents, friends — and if you’re on the go and you want to figure out something, you just check your phone quickly and you get what you need to know,” Sealy said.
Rose Wayne, an anthropology major, received an iPhone 4S as a Christmas gift and said she uses it all the time for Internet access, iTunes and the UCF app.
“It helps me keep track of my assignments,” Wayne said. Though she enjoys using her iPhone, she said she has no plans to upgrade to the new model anytime soon as she does not find it cost-effective to do so.
No matter the brand or model, most students believe that a smartphone is a modern necessity. Junior sociology major Shaun Richards thinks it’s an essential piece of technology for a college student in 2012.
“It’s something now that if you don’t have it, that can put you in a lot of bad situations,” he said.
2. Laptop: Laptops have cemented their place as the new spiral notebook for college students in the 21st century. While a few professors still refuse to allow students to use laptops for any reason in the classroom, most of the faculty members on campus have conceded to the fact that college students find laptops essential to their academics, and many have even embraced their use in class. Steven Nguyen, a sophomore electrical engineering major, said he uses his Asus laptop heavily for academics as well as gaming. Nguyen believes in value over brand loyalty when it comes to computing — as long as that computer runs Windows.
“I’m really used to Windows,” he said. “I’ve been using it for years, and every time I have to switch to a different operating system, I’m like ‘This doesn’t apply to me.’”
However, Apple MacBooks are equally as popular as Windows systems and many students purchase their laptops based on the operating system that works best with their class requirements. The 13-inch Macbook Air is currently rated as one of the best options for a college student’s laptop on PCMag.com alongside top brands such as Sony VAIO and Lenovo Thinkpad, though it runs several hundred dollars more than the top Windows-based brands.
3. Tablet: A technology trend that is on the rise with students everywhere is the use of tablets such as the iPad and Kindle Fire. This ultra-portable alternative to the laptop is often especially ideal for students who tend to use digital textbooks for many of their classes.
Senior molecular and microbiology major Nick Fusco uses his HP laptop for reading literary journals and doing research for papers, but does the majority of his notes and studying on his iPad.
“There are a lot of note-taking apps for it that are really useful for writing on PDFs,” Fusco said. “Note Taker HD is what I use for note-taking.”
The Kindle Fire is an increasingly popular alternative to the iPad because of its lower cost, similar function and direct connection with Amazon.com. Amazon Prime members have the added bonus of access to the Kindle Lending Library, which allows users to borrow from over 145,000 titles at no additional cost. Luckily for students, faculty and staff, Amazon Prime is free for one year to those who sign up for an account with a valid .edu email address.
4. Headphones: Headphones are a necessary part of the college student’s constant quest to focus (or procrastinate). Either way, many Knights find it important to make an investment in the equipment they use to listen to their favorite tunes on the go.
Brandon De La Euz, a sophomore computer engineering major, dropped around $50 on his Sony Noise-Canceling headphones.
“My original Apple headphones broke, and I decided to go to the store with my dad one day to check out headphones," he said. "I wanted to get over-the-ear headphones, and these are the perfect ones for me — they fit perfectly and the sound quality is great since they’re noise canceling.” De La Euz said he doesn’t mind spending the money for the quality, since he uses the headphones often on bus rides home to Miami.
ConsumerReports.org recommends Audio-Technica ATH-ANC27 headphones, which usually sell for about $60, for college students looking for an over-the-ear option. For those looking for a more portable option in the same price range, the website suggests the JVC HA-FX300 ear inserts.