Laptop and Desktop Accessories: A Buyers Companion

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Laptop and Desktop Accessories: A Buyer's Companion

Anyone who has ever brought a computer home and taken it out of the box knows that no matter what it says on the outside, there is always something else they want to buy. There is a huge market for computer accessories because every computer buyer is unique, and they all want something to make their computer either work better, look better, or just feel more comfortable to use. Besides, accessories are a great way to personalise a computer and let it reflect the owner's personality. The one problem with accessories is that there are so many of them that it can be hard to decide which ones best fit any particular buyer's requirements. For the buyer looking for a mouse, there are hundreds, if not thousands of options to fit every need or budget; keyboards and monitors are the same way. Combine those numbers with all the other accessories, and the task of sifting through the variety for just the right one can appear overwhelming. Luckily, winnowing out the chaff is not hard for anyone who is willing to spend a little time and effort in thought before they buy.

Understanding Accessory Needs

The first thing any prospective buyer should do before looking for accessories is take inventory of what they already have. Many desktop computers come with a keyboard, mouse, and speakers; laptops generally have everything one needs built in. Unfortunately, not every user is comfortable with the bundled accessories, and desktops often do not include monitors, so there is usually something for most new computer owners to buy. There is also the fact that some people are highly particular about their accessories, especially things like keyboards, mice, and speakers, and so they may wish to buy ones that are better suited to their specific needs than those that come with the computer.

Considering the Space

One thing that many accessory buyers may forget is that all accessories have space requirements. For some, such as a mouse, this is not a major factor, but for others such as desks and monitors, it can be a deal-breaker. It is not just desks and monitors, either, even keyboards can be an issue as most ergonomic keyboards do not fit on keyboard trays, and even when they do, they often lack room for the mouse, and putting the mouse on the desk with the keyboard on the tray defeats the purpose of using a keyboard tray. Printers need plenty of space, as well; not just enough for the printer, there also needs to be enough room to load paper and change the ink.

Setting a Budget

Budgets are another area where a buyer has to take control of the situation before looking to purchase. While some accessories, such as large monitors, can be expected to be fairly expensive, there are others with a wide range of prices. The computer mouse is a prime example, as it can range from almost free to the price of a fair sized monitor. Keyboards are another accessory with widely variable prices, with high-end models costing as much as several dozen standard ones. With such a range, it can be easy to spend more money on one accessory than a buyer can really afford, so the best thing to do is to set the budget beforehand, especially if buying several accessories.

Considering Connectivity

One of the most important things to look at when buying accessories is how that accessory connects to the computer. Some, such as monitors, have dedicated ports, but most modern accessories rely on the Universal Serial Bus, or USB connector. Even wireless accessories often rely on USB, using a dongle that plugs into an available USB port. The only problem with USB is that it is very easy to find more accessories than the computer has available ports. Some USB devices can be connected to a USB hub, but others require a direct connection to a port on the computer. A person intending to use a lot of accessories should consider a computer with a large number of USB ports.

The Most Popular Accessories

Even though there are literally thousands of different accessories available for both desktop and laptop computers, some are more common than others. The following table shows what are commonly considered to be the most popular accessories for most computer users:

Accessory

Function

Flash Drive

Makes it easy to carry and transfer files

Laptop Bag

Makes it easy to carry and protect a laptop

Speaker Set

Turns a computer into a multi-media entertainment centre

Game Gear

Special controllers and accessories enhance the game experience

Compressed Air Can

Makes cleaning keyboards much easier

Webcam

Makes it easy to connect with family and clients

Wireless Connections

Most accessories are much easier to use with wireless interfaces

External Storage

Makes it easy to increase storage and recover from a crash

Monitors

Laptops may have them built-in, but being able to see is vital

Mouse

The interface device that made graphical interfaces possible

These are not the only accessories, there are many more, but they are some of the ones that have become most important for many buyers. The one thing they all have in common is extension, they all extend the capacities of the computer, whether laptop or desktop. Some, like the mouse have become so common it is almost impossible to use a computer without them, but they are still accessories.

Other Important Accessories

In addition to the big ten, there are a number of other accessories that are both important and useful for many computer owners, both for the home and for use in business. Some of them are obvious, such as the much-maligned printer which can be used by pupils for homework and business people for contracts. Others may be less common, but very important for those people who use them regularly.

Powered USB Hub

For those people who love computer accessories, one of the best options they can purchase is the powered USB hub. This accessory essentially extends the flexibility of their computer by providing more USB ports, and thus the ability to use more accessories than would otherwise be possible. The powered aspect is also helpful, as a number of accessories draw power from the USB connection, and an unpowered hub may lack the ability to drive every accessory that can be plugged into it.

Scanner

Many people have large collections of photographs that were taken the old-fashioned way, with film cameras. A scanner allows them to convert these photos to electronic form so that they can be shared with the entire family, no matter where they are in the world.

Printer

The printer is the opposite of the scanner, transforming information from the digital to the physical. Printers can not only print documents, but also images. Some even support the use of special photographic paper to print pictures that are indistinguishable from the photographs people used to bring home from the chemist's.

Buying Laptop and Desktop Accessories on eBay

One of the best places to buy accessories for your laptop, or desktop, is eBay. The site has a wide variety of accessories of every conceivable description, and at every imaginable price point. All you have to do to find the ones that best meet your needs is to drop your requirements in the search box, you can find one on every eBay page, and watch your results appear on the screen. Then, once you have a screen full of results, you can use the filters on the sidebar to narrow them down to just those that best meet your requirements. You can filter by everything from the interface, to the type of accessory, and even price range. eBay makes it easy to find just the right accessories. Then, after narrowing the results down, you can use the sort function to ensure that the ones that best meet your requirements are at the top of the screen.

With your results in hand, the next step is to find your best match from amongst eBay's many reputable sellers, and the best place to do that is their profile page. You can find everything from their feedback rating to their location. Some sellers even have bundle specials where they put several accessories together, and others may allow local buyers to pick up their purchases in person.

Conclusion

The key to buying laptop and desktop accessories is simple. As with so many other things it depends on knowledge; knowledge of the buyer's needs, knowledge of the accessories. The best way to start is to determine which accessories a particular user needs, and where they can put them. The next step is to set a budget. Other concerns include making sure the computer in question has enough of the right kinds of ports to use all the accessories the buyer wants. Once that is done, it is time to find the right accessories for the specific user's needs. For some buyers, that involves replacing the original accessories that came with the computer, especially ones like a mouse or keyboard, with ones that better fit their particular needs. Others want to extend their capabilities more radically, with accessories such as printers, scanners, or even webcams. Whatever a person needs, there is an accessory to meet their needs, the key is having the understanding to make the right choice.

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