13 Must-Have Accessories for a New Laptop or Tablet
That hot new laptop you bought your dad will look great when he takes it out of the box, but how will he take it anywhere, without a bag? Your daughter will be excited to use the new tablet you got her, but when she drops it down the stairs the next day, you'll wish you also put a rugged case under the tree.
No major gadget comes with everything you need right in the box. Whether you're purchasing a laptop or tablet for yourself or as a gift, it's going to need some extra gear. From wires to memory cards, cases and bags, these are the must-have accessories to buy.
Samsung 32GB microSD Card
A lot of Android tablets, including Amazon's Fire slates, have microSD card slots that allow you to add more storage. So, if you just bought someone a Fire with 8 or 16GB of internal memory, you can triple or quadruple the amount of space you have for apps with a 32GB card that costs under $10.
Sosoon Laptop Backpack
Unless you don't plan to take your laptop outside of the house, you're going to need a laptop bag to carry it in. Rated an average of 4.5 stars by over 800 customers on Amazon, this sub-$30 backpack can hold up to a 15-inch laptop, along with room for lots of other stuff like cables, books or even a tablet. It also has a built-in charging port you can use to juice your phone, if you put a power bank inside the bag.
AmazonBasics 6-Foot HDMI Cable
If your laptop has an HDMI-out port and you want to connect to a monitor or TV, you'll need a cable to send the signal. AmazonBasics' 6-inch cable is affordable and reliable, receiving a 4.5 average rating from over 14,000 shoppers.
Logitech M510 Wireless Mouse
Your touchpad or pointing stick is fine when you're balancing the laptop on your lap, but a wireless mouse is more comfortable and precise. Our favorite mainstream wireless mouse, the Logitech M510 has a fantastic rubberized gripping surface and two helpful buttons (for forward / back or whatever you configure) on its left side. You can get it in silver, red or, our favorite, blue.
Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro Rugged iPad (9.7-inch) Case
Even the least expensive iPad costs around $400 so you'll want to protect that investment with a rugged case, especially if you're giving that tablet to a child. Rated 4.5 stars on Amazon and with a price under $30, the Unicorn Beetle Pro is designed to protect a 9.7-inch iPad from drops and dings of all kinds. It even includes a built-in screen protector and a kickstand for propping the tablet up to watch videos.
HooToo USB-C Hub
If you've got a MacBook or super-thin Ultrabook that only offers USB Type-C ports, you'll need some kind of hub to connect to most peripherals. This portable hub connects to a single USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 port on your laptop and provides three USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader and HDMI out.
Logitech C920 Webcam
Most laptops have webcams which fall on the spectrum between blah and horrifyingly blurry. Even if you like your built-in camera, you may have a hard time using it when your laptop is docked and its screen is closed.
Our favorite webcam for the money, the sub-$50 Logitech C920 takes sharp, color images and even does well in low-light. Place it on top of your external monitor.
Toshiba Canvio Connect II 1TB Portable Hard Drive
Sure, you have online storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive, but they aren't great for storing large files and they won't help you if your computer crashes and you need a full system restore. An external, USB hard drive gives you a fast and secure way to store your files, take your data with you on the road and keep a full system image in case the worst happens. The Toshiba Canvio Connect II is our favorite cheap external hard drive thanks to its strong performance, attractive design and ability to work with both Macs and PCs right out of the box.
Corsair Strafe Mechanical Keyboard
Whether you're playing PC games or typing up reports, having an external keyboard with mechanical switches will help you work (or shoot) faster. The Corsair Strafe comes with your choice of genuine Cherry MX switches -- we recommend the clicky blue ones -- along with a red backlight and different color WASD keys.
Anker PowerCore+ 20,100 mAh Portable Charger
There are a lot of portable power banks that you can use to charge a tablet or phone, but the PowerCore+ can also juice a laptop. If you have a MacBook or any of the dozens of PC laptops that can charge over standard Type-C, the Anker PowerCore+ can provide you with enough extra battery life to get hours of work done. The 20,100 mAh battery comes with two USB 3.0 ports and a single USB-C connection.
Samsung SD300 24-inch, 1080p Monitor
Plugable USB 3.0 Docking station
Your new laptop works well enough when you take it on the road, but when you're home, you might need to connect to multiple monitors, a keyboard and a mouse. A docking station such as this affordable choice from Plugable can connect you to all your peripherals over a single wire.
Asus ZenScreen MB16AC
Many people have dual monitors on their desks, but lose the extra productivity when they take their laptops on the road. A portable USB monitor lets you add a second screen to your travel gear.
We've seen a number of USB monitors on the market, but the Asus ZenScreen MB16AC stands out for attractive design, 1080p display. The 15-inch displays uses a USB Type-C connection, but older notebooks that have only USB 3.0 can connect with an adapter. Take it with you when travelling to get the most out of it.