Portability has long been the laptop’s biggest selling point. Using one allows you to set up for work practically anywhere, whether you’re at an airport lounge, a hotel lobby, or a local coffee shop. Of course, that portability comes at a price. The slim and lightweight build of modern notebooks require cutting more than a few corners to achieve. As such, despite being equipped with plenty of processing power and gorgeous screens, many modern laptops are burdened with limited screen real estate, paltry battery life, teeny speakers, shoddy webcams, substandard mics, and an awful lack of ports.
Suffice to say, working (or even gaming) on a laptop imposes plenty of limitations compared to having a full-fledged desktop setup where you can have access to as many peripherals and accessories as you need to maximize your productivity. That doesn’t mean you can’t pack a few essential laptop accessories to help boost your efficiency and work output when you’re working on the go.
These are the best laptop accessories to help supercharge your productivity on the go.
Moft Compact Adhesive Laptop Stand
Some people can work fine with a laptop sitting flat on the desk. Others find the low monitor height and the flat keyboard just impossibly unergonomic. While many of us solve this by using a laptop stand at home, it’s not always the most convenient solution on the go. Unless, of course, your laptop stand can collapse perfectly flat and take up almost no space whatsoever like this clever solution from Moft. Measuring just 3.3mm thick, it attaches to the bottom of your laptop using residue-free adhesive, so you should be able to reposition if you’re not happy the first try. Once installed, you can deploy the stand section that raises the laptop at a 25-degree angle for better viewing height and typing angle. It’s made from a customized PU and stiff fiberglass material, by the way, so it should handle most laptop’s weight capably.
If you’re going to be doing a lot of talking on a laptop (whether for video calls or voice memos), it’s probably a good idea to include a USB mic in your laptop accessories. For laptop use, though, you want the most compact you can find and this portable USB condenser microphone definitely fits the size requirements while being colossally better than most built-in laptop mics we’ve tried. This is not a new device. In fact, it’s been around for what feels like forever, so it’s tried and proven by many users through the years. It comes with a mount for clipping to your laptop and works plug-and-play on both PCs and Macs.
All laptops come with webcams. The quality of those webcams, however, is not always at the top of the pack. If you want to look better during video calls and online presentations, you’ll want to add a standalone webcam to your laptop accessories. This is one of the most affordable 4K webcams you’ll find today and it delivers the basics very well. You get a clear 4K/30fps picture with excellent detail, accurate colors, and surprisingly good lighting (it uses algorithmic light correction). It has a narrow field of view, though, so you’ll have to be zoomed in up close the whole time and it’s fixed focus, so you’ll have to spend some time setting it up to find just the right position. If you want a good webcam but you’re working on a limited budget, it’s going to be hard to find something better at the price.
If you just want a USB hub that can give you as many USB ports as possible, we really like this laptop accessory, which offers seven standard USB 3.0 ports and three charging ports (no data). All seven USB 3.0 ports support fast data transfers up to 5Gbps, while the three charging ports can feed your devices up to 2.1 amperes each. Obviously, if you need other slots for SD card or headphones, you’ll want to opt for something else, but if you have a lot of USB peripherals you need to plug in at the same time, this is the USB dock to get.
As good as trackpads have gotten over the years, most people just work faster with a proper mouse. And if you’re bringing one along with your laptop, it’s best to choose a reasonably compact model that can run on a Bluetooth connection to spare you from the hassle of wires. This one from Logitech comes in a smaller profile that makes it well-suited for working on the go, while being big enough to use comfortably, whether you’re scrolling through a veritable jungle of a spreadsheet, touching up an image in Photoshop, or drawing fine lines on a vector editing app. It’s a feature-packed mouse, too, with a 4,000 DPI sensor that can track on any surface (even glass), dual scroll wheel modes (ratchet and hyper-fast), six customizable buttons, and the ability to switch pairing with up to three devices at the push of a button.
While there’s no shortage of options in USB hubs (it’s a popular laptop accessory), this is the only one we’ve seen so far that includes a built-in M2 SSD slot, allowing you to use additional high-speed storage to your laptop. If you work with large files and find yourself needing additional storage regularly, this offers one of the best ways to get it done. Aside from the SSD slot, you also get USB-C slot with 100W power delivery, a pair of USB-A 3.0 slots, and an HDMI slot if you want to hook up a portable monitor to the laptop (it supports up to 4K at 60Hz). Do note, if you load an SSD on this and use it frequently, the thing is going to get hot to the touch, so you might want to keep the SSD operations to a minimum if you can.
While a portable SSD is more compact, we really like the affordability of external HDDs, especially since most people will likely use it to backup files and media, so the slower read and write speeds of HDDs aren’t likely to be that big of a deal. This 5TB external HDD comes at an excellent price for its storage capacity and comes with a USB-C port, which should have a more common cable than the Micro-B connectors on older external storage. It comes with two cables (USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A), 256-bit AES hardware protection, and a three-year warranty.
If you have nightmares about your laptop battery draining with no outlet in sight, then a bigger power bank that can charge a laptop properly definitely needs to be in your laptop accessory stash. This one from Anker should do the trick with its 24,000 mAh battery able to charge most laptops to 100 percent either via the 100W AC outlet or the 45W USB-C port. It also has two additional USB ports for charging other devices. Do note, this is quite big, so it will likely take up an external pouch on your pack. Oh yeah, it’s also approved by the TSA for travel, so you can take it during trips.
If you’re willing to drop more money on a 4K webcam, we’re huge fans of Razer’s 4K model, which the outfit touts to deliver DSLR-like 4K quality. While claims like that are usually a bit of hyperbole, the 4K 30fps (or 1080p 60fps) video quality this webcam produces actually looks legitimately on the same level as a DSLR, courtesy of its large 1/1.2 inch Sony Starvis sensor, F/1.7 aperture lens, and wide field of view (up to 82 degrees). It’s so good, in fact, it’s become a popular webcam choice for streamers and desktop content creators, especially with its numerous AI features, including face tracking autofocus, auto exposure, and even a bokeh mode that lets you artfully blur the background.
If you want a portable second monitor that attaches neatly into your laptop’s lid, definitely consider adding this 14.1-inch 1080p option from Mobile Pixels to your list of laptop accessories. Designed to install on 14-inch or bigger laptops using a magnetic mount, this portable display measures just 0.35 inches in thickness, so it barely adds any material to your ultraportable’s sleek frame. It comes with a sliding mount that allows you to slide monitor to the left or right side and even adjust the angle for optimal viewing (it can rotate 270 degrees). The mount can also be removed from the lid and used as a stand, which lets you use the monitor away from the laptop in either landscape or portrait orientation.