The best must-have accessories for your new laptop

There were some downright irresistible deals on laptops this holiday season — beginning back at the start of November, retailers slashed prices on laptops from Dell, Lenovo, Sony, Samsung, Acer and other. We even saw some discounts on MacBooks. If you jumped on one of those sales and brought home a new laptop to kick off 2021 the right way, you’re not quite done. There are all sort of accessories you might need to round out your new portable PC experience. 

Whether you use your laptop at home for work or school, take it to the office, or plan to one day get on a plane with it, after the world returns to normal, there are a slew of gadgets and accessories that’ll make your laptop better. Many modern laptops lack ports, so a multi-port USB hub might be just the ticket to make you more productive. A slide-out second monitor can add essential screen estate for multitasking. And armed with the right laptop stand, you can turn any desk into a standing desk on demand for better ergonomics. Read on for the seven essential add-ons for your laptop. 


There are a million wireless mice out there, but my hands-down favorite is Microsoft’s Arc Mouse, which folds flat for travel and snaps into a curve when you need to get down to work. It’s available in about 10 different colors. 


If your laptop is a little short on ports, the Kingston 7-in-1 hub can get you up and running. It features USB-A, USB-C, SD and Micro-SD card slots plus a 4K HDMI output to drive a second monitor.


Almost without exception, the webcam that comes built into modern laptops is pretty anemic. Bypass it entirely with the Logitech HD Pro C920x. In addition to better 1,080-pixel video, it has dual microphones that can filter out background noise during web conference calls. 


This might be a pricey accessory, but if you need more screen space, it’s worth it. This portable monitor extends your desktop with a 12.5-inch IPS panel that slides on rails from the top of the laptop lid. Compatible with PCs, Macs and even Chromebooks, it’s more convenient than a second display you need to carry around with you. 


You can spend a lot of money on a standing desk, or get this $155 wooden “workspace elevator” with a pair of adjustable shelves. You can read more about Readydesk 2 in the best standing desk converters for 2021.


Don’t think your new laptop is equipped for gaming? That’s 2019 thinking. As long as your laptop has Wi-Fi with a decent broadband connection, you can play an enormous library of games on it without the need to use a single kilobyte of storage space for game installation. Stadia streams games to your laptop (and phone and TV) and could be the future of gaming. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you don’t have a bag or backpack for your laptop, you’re not ready to take it outdoors. There are a million laptop bags out there, but CNET named the Icon the best all-around laptop bag for 2021. It has a huge capacity, is well padded and is made from an abrasion and water-resistant material called Woolenex. There’s room for laptops up to 15.6 inches plus a tablet, plus it has charging cable pass-throughs to keep all your devices topped off while you travel. 

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