Notebook Accessories

Carry bags

Notebook carry bag

If you're buying your first notebook computer, you may be pleased to hear that it's quite common (but not a given) for vendors to include a carry bag with your machine. These bags are usually made of leather and are very executive-styled but some others may well be simple in design and made of nylon or some other material.

As good as these bags can be you might want to investigate purchasing a more traveler friendly notebook bag. Such high-end bags can incorporate features like a design specifically intended for easy access including a front pocket, wheels, water proof pockets, more comfortable or multiple carrying methods (straps and handles), room for a change of clothes or external additions such as keyboards and mice and varying warranties (the best of which guarantee a bag's workmanship for life).

External speakers

If you're a multimedia content creator, gamer or just enjoy your music and DVDs when on the road, portable external speakers might be on your shopping list.

Some portable speakers intended for use with notebook computers still use batteries but most are now powered by USB.

The latest models are increasingly getting thinner and lighter and brands to consider include Creative, Kensington and Sony amongst many others.

Data projectors

Data projectors are a must have for the boardroom, unless you are happy struggling to wow the meeting by running through that presentation you spent hours on using your 14in notebook monitor. Accordingly, many workplaces now have data projectors that staff can share for pitches, presentations and meetings.

If you're in the market for one, there's a lot of information to take in and that can be found in the Projectors Buying Guide.

However, note that projector prices in Australia continue to fall with some new low-end models being released at around the $1500 mark.

A data projector will usually connect to the VGA-out (monitor out) port of your notebook and you may need to check your notebook's manual for details on how to enable the projector display. On some machines this is as simple as pressing the Fn (function) and F5 keys at the same time.

Display accessories

Your notebook's display is one of its most obvious and prone components. Accordingly there are a variety of lightweight accessories that can clip on to reduce glare, guard from damage or magnify (for the vision impaired).

One product that deserves special mention is 3M's privacy film for notebook computers. The film allows you to see the display like normal when sitting in front of the notebook, but it darkens (not just blurs or distorts) the display when viewed from an angle. This is a perfect accessory to work on sensitive information while you're on a plane, for instance.

Cleaning accessories

Even though new notebooks have smudge-proof or mark resistant casing and others feature lids that can be polished to remove scratches, you're still going to want to clean your investment to keep it looking new.

You shouldn't just use any cleaning product on your notebook. Alcohol-based products in particular can cause discoloration on some notebook chassis' and potentially damage displays.

That's where notebook cleaning and polishing kits -- sometimes purpose made for certain models -- can come in handy to remove dust, marks and in some cases, scratches.

Depending on the kit, you're likely to be able to perform both dry and wet cleaning and receive items like cleaning wipes, microfibre chamois, keyboard brushes and special cleaning solutions.

At a pinch -- a new dry chamois and a low-powered dust buster may still do the trick. Just be careful, turn off the notebook first (and possibly remove the battery) and be particularly cautious around any fan intakes, ports and the fragile display.

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