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Five ways of Improving Your Laptop Life

The new normal means so many of us are still working from home. That’s good for many, many reasons, but there are still a few issues. In particular, companies do insist on making us use their terrible, usually cheap laptops or tablets to connect back to the office.

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Not every computer can be a top of the line Apple product, or thousands of pounds. Not every laptop needs to be. But when you’re stuck on one tiny screen, with no more equipment or add-ons, you’re going to be battling against your device as much as you are your workload.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are small changes you can make to improve your experience tenfold. You don’t have to spend a lot of money – although you can. But it’ll make a huge difference.

Additional Laptop Monitors

Screen space is one of the biggest problems you can have on a laptop. That’s especially true when you’re on the smaller side of the tech and you’re having to squeeze everything into no space at all.

That’s where an additional external monitor can come in handy. It means you have way more control over your screen real estate, and you can add a couple if you’re a power user. Magnetized connectors mean you can slip it right onto the back of your system, making it convenient too. This admittedly big investment will change the way you work, getting rid of those annoying moments bouncing between tabs or having to close your workspace to get to additional information.

Mouse and Keyboard

Getting a better keyboard and mouse is cheap, readily available and will make your workday much better by default. The tiny keyboard on laptop is bad enough, but easy to get used to. A trackpad will never be a good alternative to a mouse though. The difference is huge.

And, thankfully, you can get Bluetooth keyboards nad mice from just about any shop in existence. They’re not overly expensive and, even better, just about anything will do. There are RGB keyboards with a hundred bells and whistles, but you can safely walk by them if all you’re looking for is something that’s more comfortable to type on.

Obviously needs will vary – do a little research if you want something more than just the basic.

Laptop? No Thanks!

If there’s one place you shouldn’t put your laptop it’s… on top of your lap. Yes, that seems counter to the name, but it’s true.

Finding somewhere that’s flat and stable is a much better idea. This will not only give you a better position from which to work – typing at a keyboard will be better at a desk, for instance – but it’ll also improve the life of your device. That’s because a lot of the air flow features are on the bottom of the device. That means in a years time, you won’t find your laptop slowing down.

Sitting Pretty

A small thing, but worth considering if you spend a lot of time on video calls. Ring lights are cheap and easy to attach. Laptop cameras are unflattering and usually pointed directly at your double chins. This sounds like a match made in heaven.

It’s not overly important, but if you’re self-conscious about the less-than-pretty look you give off in online meetings, then this is a simple, cheap and effective solution. They’ll add warmth, hide the cracks and even out the shadows – perfect.

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Of course, the opposite problem is just as easy to solve. Maybe you just don’t want to be seen at all? Well, in that case, a privacy cover is cheaper than a ring light, but just as effective.

Power users might want to upgrade to an external camera entirely. This can offer things like improved resolution, wider viewing angle and even tricks like following you around as you move. It’s unnecessary, but can be very useful.

Portable Charger

You can’t always be at home, as great as that sounds. Sometimes you might have to be working on the move, and that’s especially true for those of you working in a hybrid model. Several offices are having their staff work exactly as they would at home, using the same equipment, just at the office instead.

And so a portable charger can be a godsend. Battery life on laptops aren’t always great, and yet there are good portable batteries out there if you want to double or even triple what you usually have.

Prices will vary depending how much you want or need. It’s one of those things that you’ll wish you had on the odd occasion that you need it.

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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