The last thing you want to do after spending hours staring at your laptop studying is spend more time staring at your laptop when you want to play a game or watch a movie. That's where game consoles come in. The Xbox One S starts at $244 on Amazon, while Microsoft regularly marks down the price of its entry-level system to around $200. In addition to being the place to play Halo and Gears of War, it's also an incredibly capable media machine thanks to its built-in UHD Blu-ray drive and support for HDR video. Plus, you might not have to spend any money on games for it: If you had a huge collection of digital games on the Xbox 360, Microsoft has made a swath of them playable on the One.
It also means there are tons of used disc-based titles that will perform and play better on the Xbox as well. Specifically, the Red Dead Redemption Game of the Year Edition is the best example of what an old game can look like on new hardware. If you opt for the new route, it'll only set you back $20. When you consider how much there is to see and do Rockstar's open-world take on the Old West, it's a veritable circus of value. And really, what better way is there to get ready for the sequel which comes out in late October?
If you're in the PlayStation camp but somehow still haven't picked up a PlayStation 4, give the $300 PS4 Slim a look. It's sleeker and quieter overall compared to the 2013 model, and it's the only place you can play this fall's incredibly promising Spider-man game. The new Greatest Hits program slashed the price on some of the system's best games, which can make your gaming dollar stretch even further.
As good as those two consoles are, playing them between classes requires a trip back to your dorm. That's not the case with the Nintendo Switch. It's small and light enough to toss into your bag before leaving that you might not even feel it. Plus, it starts up and powers off quickly, making it easy to get back to the field you were clearing in Stardew Valley before English 256 started. By the time you get home for the day, you can slide the hybrid console into its dock and watch a few episodes of The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu before nodding off to sleep to your TV.
Find all of our picks for console in our 2018 back-to-school guide and while you're there, check out our 100-plus picks in 13 other categories.