You don’t need to be a dedicated 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 Amazon
If your bag doesn’t come with a built-in laptop area, grabbing a padded sleeve can offer protection on the cheap. AmazonBasics laptop sleeves are thin, inexpensive, and fit machines from 7 to 17.3-inches. $11.
If you’re in the market for an entirely new bag, the Belkin Active Pro messenger bag is a solid choice. It has room for a 15.6-inch laptop, a water-resistant coating for protection during rainy weather, and reflective areas make it visible in the dark. The messenger bag has padded shoulder straps and keeps you organized with special pockets for your devices. $50.
Let’s get down to the wire. Amazon
Cables and dongles are a big pain even when they aren’t lost. They’re annoying to carry around and can break easily. If you’re looking for something cheap and reliable, opt for these three-foot, 5,000-bend lifespan Micro USB cables from Anker. They 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 it up and keep the inside of your bag from looking like a bowl of spaghetti. Stylin’! $25.
The best touchpad
Sensel Morph Amazon
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 customized for specific 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. $200.
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. $48.
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 drive 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. $64.
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.
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.
Bolt USB 3.0 memory stick
The Kingston Bolt USB 3.0 memory stick fits inside your iPhone or iPad’s lightning port. After downloading the Kingston Bolt app, you can shoot photos and videos directly onto the external flash drive or free up space on your phone by transferring the files to the drive. From here, you can transfer the photos to your computer via the USB plug on the opposite side of the memory stick. Unlike uploading your photos to the Cloud, this device will not reduce the resolution of your media.
The device comes in three sizes—32GB, 64GB, and 128GB—and fits in a protective rubber key ring, so you can take it on the go. The keychain-sized device is portable enough that you can access your files from anywhere without taking up the space on your smartphone. $39 for the 64GB.
USB reading lamp
i2 Gear Amazon
A USB-powered light is a perfect, portable accessory for the college student or nighttime worker. Instead of having to turn on the overhead light—keeping other people in the room awake—snag a USB-powered light that will keep your night lit. This i2 Gear reading lamp has a flexible neck, 14 LEDs, and three brightness levels. It weighs only 1.5-ounces and comes in three colors—black, blue, and pink. $10.
Laptop cooling mat
If you notice your laptop getting hot, that’s not a good sign. Protect your lap and your laptop from overheating with an ergonomic and lightweight Targus lap chill mat. The 15 x 1 x 11.75-inch, tilted mat is powered via a USB port on your computer, has four rubber stops on the bottom to prevent the stand from moving, and features two fans below a ventilated grill to circulate heat. $33.
If you’ve got a newer computer, you might notice some of your beloved ports are starting to vanish. If you miss your Ethernet, HDMI connections, or SD card readers, all hope is not lost. The VAVA USB-C hub is an eight-in-one solution to the problem. The adapter includes inputs for an Ethernet cable, a microSD card, a SD Card, three USB 3.0 ports, a 4K HDMI port so you can connect an external monitor, and a 100-watt USB-C port. $60.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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