Whether you’re looking to make your workspace a bit more ergonomic, are in dire need of extra USB ports or are just looking for a good way to keep your computer safe and secure when moving to and from the office, we’ve rounded up a list of accessories that’ll help improve your current laptop set up.
As laptops have become thinner, lighter and more portable, we’ve seen the number of available ports dramatically decrease. For example, the most recent Apple Macbook Air only has two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. This scarcity of connection ports can be frustrating at times, as you’re forced to juggle what you want to be plugged into your laptop at any given time. The limited types of ports will also force you to keep connection adapters on hand, so you can actually plug in your portable SSD.
The easiest solution to this problem is to grab yourself a USB hub. With one of these hubs, one of your laptop’s ports can now support four or more connections. These hubs come in different styles, with some only featuring USB ports while other hubs include multiple types of ports, for things like HDMI, USB-C or an SD card reader. As far as laptop accessories go, a USB hub is one of the most essential.
For the most part, the webcam that comes with your laptop is good enough. If jumping on a video call isn’t something you do that much of, then you can probably skate by with what you currently have.
But if you’re someone who spends a lot of time on camera, then you’ve probably noticed that your video quality could be better. Your webcam’s sensor might struggle to focus in a too dark room or completely blow out your video if there’s too much light.
Using an external webcam that you plug into your laptop will not only allow you to capture higher quality video, but it’ll also give you better control when it comes to focus and brightness (some webcams also include in-built lighting). Now you won’t have to spend a few minutes trying to find the perfect position to get a video that isn’t too dark or too bright.
If you’re not interested in grabbing an external webcam and are more than happy to stick with the one that comes with your laptop, you should pick up a webcam cover. It’s a cheap but effective way to add an extra layer of security to your laptop that lets you control what people looking through your webcam can see. Just stick one of these thin covers onto your laptop and slide it open when you need to use your webcam.
While you can get the results by sticking a band-aid or a piece of tape over your camera, these covers help to make your laptop setup look a bit more professional too.
We recommend: Privise Webcam Cover, 3-pack ($10.99).
Similar to its webcam, your laptop’s in-built microphone will do a good enough job if you’re not going to be taking a lot of calls. If you work with a pair of headphones that also feature an in-built microphone, those should be good enough.
However, if you spend a lot of your day speaking into your laptop, be it on professional work calls or gaming, then an external microphone isn’t a bad accessory to have.
Usually placed on the side of your laptop, the audio quality of these in-built mics leave a lot to be desired. With a USB microphone, you’ll be able to record yourself at a much higher quality and give yourself more control of its sensitivity.
If you use the same laptop for both work and personal use, then it’s going to get pretty dirty if you’re using it for multiple hours every day. If you also enjoy sitting outside while working, then you’ll be exposing your laptop to plenty of airborne crud and dust.
By keeping your laptop spick and span, you’ll be able to maintain its functionality for longer. Cleaning it regularly will help reduce the amount of dirt or dust that gets into your laptop, which can mess with its keyboard and potentially cause it to overheat. There are plenty of affordable and portable cleaning kits available that will help you brush away any dirt or keyboard crumbs, and wipe those fingerprints off your screen.
We recommend: OXO Good Grips Sweep & Swipe Laptop Cleaner ($22.79), OXO Good Grips Keyboard & Screen Deep Cleaning Set ($22.79), Hagibis 5-in-1 Computer Cleaning Kit ($23.99).
If you find yourself suffering from a stiff back because you regularly hunch over your laptop, a stand is a must-have ergonomic accessory. Using a stand to raise your laptop’s screen to meet your eye level can help you to maintain better posture while working and help to reduce neck strain. Exposing the underside of your laptop and its air vents to additional airflow can also help increase its cooling.
The only major downside to a laptop stand is that raising it up can make it impossible for you to reach your keyboard and trackpad in a comfortable manner. So you might want to pick up a low-rise and/or adjustable stand that you can easily reach.
Are you tired of using your laptop’s trackpad to get around? Then it might be time to grab yourself a proper mouse, which will give you a much more fluid movement around your screen along with an improved precision with your actions. Lord knows how many times we’ve accidentally done a single click instead of a double-click.
If you find that your wrist or fingers start to hurt after using your laptop’s trackpad, you’ll also be able to gain the ergonomic benefit of switching to a mouse.
If your laptop is tight on USB port availability, there are plenty of great wireless mice out there too. That’s one less cable you’ll need to wrangle.
Your laptop is important, so the last thing you want to do is accidentally break it. Getting a dedicated laptop bag or backpack will help ensure that your personal computer is both safe and secure. Must like the USB hub, a good backpack or bag for your laptop is an essential accessory.
Thankfully, it’s not hard to find a good laptop backpack. There are plenty of options out there, catering to a wide variety of tastes and styles. It doesn’t matter how the bag looks, just as long as there’s plenty of padding to keep your laptop safe. If you also plan to lug around a mouse, docking hub and/or microphone, then the more room in your laptop bag for accessories, the better.
Just make sure that the bag you’re buying can fit your laptop. The last thing you want to do is to try and fit a 16-inch Macbook into a 13-inch backpack.
If you’d rather stick with the back you already own, then at the very least, you should have a protective sleeve for your laptop.
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