Laptop accessories that will upgrade your entire life | Popular Science
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Laptop accessories that will upgrade your entire life

Supplies to help you do everything (that you do on your laptop) better.

You don't need to be a huge gamer or a Youtube star to want the best products for your laptop. Below, personal computer accessories to help protect and leverage your device's capabilities.

Laptop protection

Cases

Laptop protection

Amazon

If your bag doesn't come with a built-in protective laptop area, grabbing a padded sleeve is much cheaper than buying a new bag. AmazonBasics formfitting laptop sleeves are thin, inexpensive, and come in sizes for laptops from 7 to 17.3-inches. $11.

If you are in the market for an entirely new bag, the Belkin Active Pro messenger bag is a solid choice. It's got room for a 15.6-inch laptop, a water-resistant coating for protection during rainy weather, and reflective areas for nighttime visibility. The messenger bag has padded shoulder straps and keeps you organized with special pockets for your devices. $50.

Cables

Cables!

Let's get down to the wire.

Amazon

Cables and dongles are a big pain. They're annoying to carry around and can break easily. If you're looking for something cheap and reliable, go with Anker, a company known for top-quality tech goods that don't dent your budget. These three-foot, 5,000-bend lifespan Micro USB cables are only $5 each and come with an 18-month warranty.

For a fancier—and pricier—option, Native Union cables have a 10,000-bend lifespan due to their "o-flex" strain relief, which increases the cable's durability. The cable is four feet long and comes with a leather strap to wrap up the cable when it's not in use. Stylin'! $25.

Sensel Morph

The best touchpad

Sensel Morph

Sensel

The Sensel Morph is a touch-sensitive, pressurized pad that has over 20,000 sensors with 32,000 levels of touch sensitivity. It can register up to 16 simultaneous touch points, and comes with overlays that let you use the touchpad for multiple types of applications. There are 10 overlays in all, including options for music (drum pad, piano, and music production controls), keyboards, and gaming controls. It can be used wirelessly over Bluetooth or plugged in via USB. The overlays are typically $35 each, but if you buy three overlays you get one of them for free. $300.

Anker USB-C charger.

The charger

Anker USB-C charger

Amazon

If you've got a newer laptop that charges over USB, Anker's 5-port 60W wall chargers are a trustworthy alternative to the one that comes with your computer. The charger has four standard USB ports, a 29-watt fast-charging USB-C port, and built-in PowerIQ technology that detects the fastest charging speed of your device. For an extra USB-C cable, check out Native Union's USB-C to USB-C cable. $50.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB

The external hard drive

Seagate Backup Plus Slim

Amazon

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is portable, USB-powered, and works with Macs, PCs, and the Playstation 4. The external come in four sizes—1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB—and uses a high-speed USB 3.0 connection. For a heavy-duty option, take a look at the Glyph Studio featured in our music recording gear guide. $69.

Laptop audio accesories

Audio accessories

Pump up the jams, as they say.

Amazon

Not only do the Libratone Q ADAPT Bluetooth wireless headphones look cool and different, they also sound pretty good, too. The headphones have a 20-plus-hour battery life, tech that lets you adjust how much outside noise you want to cancel out, and the ability add a second Bluetooth device to share your music. $249.

If you hate having things on your ears, the Bose Soundwear Companion could be your new best friend. The wearable speaker is form fitting, flexible, and sits on your shoulders. The upward facing speakers use Waveguide technology to produce a rich and full sound mix that is sent directly at your ears, minimizing what others hear around you. The device lets you answer calls, has a 12-hour battery life, and is sweat-resistant. $299.

Headphone stands

Headphone holders

Take a stand. I'm just kidding. Buy one. Stealing is bad.

Amazon

For the times you aren't listening to podcasts or blasting that embarrassing pop-punk band you loved 20 years ago, have a place to stick your headphones. This wooden headphone stand is sleek as heck, has a walnut finish, and is 10 inches tall. $20.

For a tech-enabled option, the Twelve South Fermata is a wall-powered headphone stand with a microUSB plug built in to the stand and a cushioned, leather resting pad for your headphones. There is a second USB port in the base for simultaneous charging. $80.

UPPPERCASE keyboard protector

The keyboard protector

Keep your keyboard crumb-free.

Amazon

Getting a keyboard cover is a no-brainer. Protect your investment from dust, minor spills, and other acts of general clumsiness. These protectors are .12mm thin, transparent, and fit newer 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook models. $13.

Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan

Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Program

Touch it all up.

Amazon

Instead of using native photo organizing and retouching apps like Photos, upgrade to Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography plan. This one-year subscription comes with both Photoshop and Lightroom, access to tutorials to learn how to use the programs, and 20GB of storage. $120.

Logitech Wireless Marathon Mouse

The best mouse

Logitech Wireless Marathon Mouse

Amazon

The Logitech M705 Wireless Marathon Mouse uses two AA batteries that last up to three years and comes with a Logitech Unifying receiver that lets you pair up to five other devices in a single USB port. It uses laser tracking for responsive, fast, and accurate scrolling. $34.

Omnicharge

Portable charging

Omnicharge

Amazon

The Omni20 is a power powerhouse. The 20,400mAh power bank has enough juice to charge your laptop or a drone. Plus it's got 11 internal temperature sensors to prevent overheating. The Omni20 comes with two USB ports, a standard three-prong wall socket, and an OLED screen that displays information on battery life and the devices temperature. $249.

If you've got a laptop that charges via USB-C, Omnicharge has a new model available for pre-order with an estimated delivery of December. It has two USB-C ports instead of the standard wall socket. If you pre-order now, you get 32 percent off market price.

Belkin Screen Cleaner Kit

The screen cleaner

Belkin Kit

Amazon

A clean laptop screen makes for a happy user. This Belkin screen cleaner kit comes with a microfiber cloth and an alcohol-free cleaning solution. $9.

Lexar Multi-Card Reader

The card reader

Lexar Multi-Card Reader

Amazon

This Lexar card reader can read 25 formats of memory cards, uses USB 3.0 for transfering files at up to 500MBs per second, and has a protective pop-up design that keeps your cards safe. $23.

Laptop stands

Laptop stands

Save your neck.

Amazon

The aluminum laptop stand by Rain Design is standard for a reason: it's got has a cord organizer in the back, sits on top of a fully-rotating swivel base, and raises your screen 5.9-inches giving you a more comfortable viewing angle. Plus it's only $42.

For a natural look, there's the pricier Grovemade stand, which is finished in walnut. It's got a stainless steel lip that prevents your laptop from sliding off, plus cork feet to protect your desk from being scratched. Its rear height is about six inches. This allows you to have your computer screen at a tiled, more comfortable angle. $139.

Webcam

The webcam

Say cheese.

Amazon

The Logitech Pro Stream webcam lets you record and stream HD video. Choose between 1080p footage at 30fps or 720p at 60fps. The camera has two built-in omnidirectional mics, automatic lighting correction for poorly lit rooms, and a sharp autofocus. $95.


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