Laptop Buyer's Kit Email 4

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Laptop Buyer’s Kit
Part 5: Must-Have Laptop Accessories
In our previous installment, How to Spot a Laptop Deal, we let you in on the latest discount trends and listed hand-picked deals. If you haven’t bought your laptop yet, no problem; it’s a good idea to keep this email for when you do. In this installment: five must-have laptop accessories that could have your desktop questioning its existence.
Non-Traditional Laptop Bags
That Can Help Prevent Theft

Nothing says, “I’m a laptop, steal me” like your typical-looking laptop bag. Companies like Swiss Army and Targus make laptop backpacks that are inconspicuous (as to not attract laptop thieves). They house a padded laptop sleeve and come with plenty of zippered backpack storage compartments. Timbuk2 makes waterproof messenger bags and backpacks with built-in padded laptop sleeves and plenty of bag room for loading up devices like a power adapter, an external mouse, and extra hard drives. Caselogic also makes a set of canvas messengers with an exorbitant amount of storage space –enough for a small digital projector.
Monitors Can Double Your Workspace
Just about every laptop comes with a DVI or VGA port for an external monitor, so take advantage of the extra workspace it affords. For the most versatility in aspect ratio, monitors capable of displaying both widescreen (16:9) and standard (4:3) content and DVI connectivity are best. HD monitors are inexpensive (under $200) with Full-HD 1920X1080 native resolution and some featuring HDMI ports and TV tuners, so they double as an HDTV. Larger screens usually mean better resolution, and in general higher contrast ratios mean deeper blacks and brighter whites. Look for LED-backlit monitors to help conserve energy for both yourself and the planet.
See Full-HD (1920X1080) Monitors »
See Monitors with HDMI Ports »

See Monitors with High Contrast Ratios »
Mice Make Your Laptop Feel Comfortable
For around $30, a wireless mouse can liberate you from the confines of the touchpad. For a few dollars more, you can make typing more comfortable by pick up a wireless keyboard & mouse combo -usually under $75. You can easily connect these through a USB wireless receiver or Bluetooth connection. Most keyboards feature one-button program launching and multimedia controls.
Have a Backup Plan
Data corruption and “accidental” file deletion can be devastating. Backing up your files today can help prevent the hair-pulling agony of losing files tomorrow. For about $75 you can pick up a 500GB external hard drive that connects to your laptop’s USB port to easily back up your files. For fastest backup of your documents, pictures, music, and video, a USB 3.0 connection coupled with a 7200rpm hard drive is as good as it gets, but it’s priced accordingly. If speed isn’t top-priority, you can find a deal on a 5200rpm hard drive with a USB 2.0 or Firewire 400 or 800 port, because they will soon be disappearing from the market. Companies like Carbonite and Mozy create “no charge” backup software that installs onto your computer, and for about $55 per year, it encrypts an unlimited amount of files before backing them up in a secure offsite cloud. An even less expensive option: a 16GB USB flash drive for around $25 can at least back up some of your more important files.
Check Out Daily Deals on External Hard Drives »
Amp Up Your Sound
Let’s face it, built-in laptop speakers are not thrilling. For around $100, speaker docks can seriously enhance audio. Of course, you can plug in your iPod, but almost all of them have a mini-plug port to double as a 2 speaker multimedia system for music, movies, and even gaming. There are also speaker docks out there that run on batteries (kind of a modern day boombox) and some come with cool extras like remote controls. Earbuds are fine for listening to jams and watching movies on-the-go, but for gaming and those times when you’re sharing a room with someone who’s made it clear that they’d rather not listen along, high-end, full-sized headphones are the way to go.
See Speaker Docks »
See Daily Deals on Headphones »

More Laptop Buying Info Here
Laptop Buying Guide
These are some of the top features to consider, but there are more features to learn about like wireless display technology, fingerprint and face recognition. Check out our complete Laptop Buying Guide.

Coming up in your next newsletter:
Tips & Tricks
We’ll reveal tips and tricks that help maintain and secure your laptop.

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The Retrevo Gang

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