While tablets may be growing in popularity, many students still prefer a laptop for working on their homework and school projects. Laptops are great for students who need a full keyboard, a portable surface for writing, and all-day battery life. But even the best laptop can benefit from accessories. Whether you’re looking for a laptop accessory that will protect your device, enhance your productivity, or just make your laptop look cooler, there’s something on our list that will appeal to you. Here are 10 of the best laptop accessories for back to school season 2015.
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1. Quik Lok LPH-003 Laptop Stand
Standing laptop desks aren’t the first accessory that comes to mind when you think of student life, but they’re actually ideal for a lot of students. A tall laptop stand is great for students who need to give presentations in front of a crowd, or for students who prefer to prefer to type while standing (hey, it worked for Hemingway).
In terms of construction, this is a solidly-built stand. Made from steel, there are four adjustable points that can securely anchor any size laptop, without interfering with input/output ports. The laptop tray can be swiveled 360 degrees, and the pull-out mouse tray can be placed on the left or right side of the laptop itself. The mouse tray is a nice perk for lefties.
Price: $82.99 (51 percent off MSRP)
2. 3M Privacy Filter for Apple MacBook Pro
Want to keep your roommate’s prying eyes off your homework, photos, or videos? A privacy filter can help keep what’s on your computer hidden from anyone else in the room. These privacy filters are designed to fit MacBook Pro screens. Testing proves that, when kept clean, the filter can be repositioned hundreds of times, which is a nice feature.
Price: $31.76-$32.79, depending on size selected (57 percent off MSRP)
3. Toshiba Canvio Basics USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive
Toshiba’s Canvio line of portable external hard drives is a perennial best-seller, with the 1TB version being tone of the most popular. The drive has built-in shock sensors to protect your device in the event of a drop, along with a one-year limited warranty for added peace of mind. The transfer rate of this drive is up to 480 MB/s, with an average seek time of 12 ms.
This external hard drive is available in 500GB, 750GB, 1TB, 1.5TB, and 2GB sizes. If you have a Chromebook or other laptop with limited hard drive space, one of these external drives gives you ample storage for your term papers, research materials, music, or movies. You can see some other options for external storage in our guide to the best external hard drives.
Price: $56.97 – $149.99, depending on size selected
4. Moshi ClearGuard MB Keyboard Cover
A lot of students prefer MacBooks to Windows laptops, citing fewer viruses and a longer product lifespan. The one downside of keeping your MacBook running for years at a stretch, however, is the wear and tear on your keyboard. Moshi provided a sample of this keyboard cover so we could go hands on. This keyboard cover works with a number of MacBook models, including Unibody MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Air models.
This keyboard cover is super thin, highly transparent (to allow the backlight to shine through), and safe to wash with soap and water. The texture and “bounce” of the keyboard is definitely different with this keyboard cover in place, but it doesn’t take too long to get used to. Overall, this keyboard cover is easy to install, remove, and clean.
Need more options to consider? Check out this guide to the best MacBook Pro keyboard covers.
5. LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0 Slim Portable DVD+/-RW External Drive with M-DISC Support
As more people rely solely on the cloud for saving and sharing data, an increasing number of new laptops simply do not have a CD tray. If you own a laptop without a CD/DVD drive, this external read/write drive is a smart buy. It can write in a variety of formats, including CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+R, and DVD-RAM. The maximum read/write speed is 8x. If you want to make sure you can still share files and documents the next time Dropbox or Google Drive goes down, having an external CD burner is just plain smart.
Price: $26.05 (22 percent off MSRP)
6. Etekcity Scroll S200 High Precision 1600 DPI Wired USB Optical Gaming Mouse
If you prefer to use a mouse, rather than your trackpad, this laptop mouse is a solid choice. You can use the mouse for compiling reports and finishing homework, as well as gaming after a long day of classes. It looks cool, and works with Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Price: $10.39 (81 percent off MSRP)
7. Myo Gesture Control Armband
You can take your classroom presentations and dorm room experience to the next level with this cool wearable. The Myo band picks up on the electrical activity of your muscles and the motion of your arm. Based on that data, you can wirelessly control your laptop, as well as iOS or Android devices. For example, you could control your music, switch between slides in a presentation, or just play games. If you’re tech-savvy, there are open APIs and free SDK to build solutions for home automation, drones, computer games, virtual reality, and more.
8. Mosiso Laptop Sleeve
A laptop sleeve is a must if you plan to carry your laptop and textbooks in the same bag. A good sleeve will protect your laptop from damage. This sleeve is padded, lined, and lightweight. A variety of patterns are available, in sizes that will fit laptops from 11 inches to 15.6 inches.
Price: $13.99 (53 percent off MSRP)
9. Moshi Codex Designer Lightweight Shell Case
Moshi also provided us with a sample of this lightweight MacBook case. This multi-purpose protective case can be used as a minimalist bag on days when you only need to bring your laptop, or used as a protective case on days when you need to work on the go. The interior is lined to protect your MacBook from scratches, with four small rubber feet to keep your laptop from slipping around when you are working with the laptop in its case. The only downside is the lack of interior or exterior pockets. That being said, this is a great bag/case for people who want a streamlined, simple solution.
This case is available in sizes that will fit the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro, as well as Windows laptops that have similar dimensions. You can check out similar options in our post on the best MacBook Pro cases and covers.
Price: $69.95 (13 percent off MSRP)
10. Tech Armor Complete Cleaning Kit
Cleaning your laptop may not seem like a big deal to some people, but a clean screen is easier to read. Plus, the next time the “campus crud” starts going around your school, a clean keyboard is going to be pretty important to your health. You can use the items in this kit to clean your laptop, as well as other gadgets. The kit comes with pre-moistened cleaning wipes, screen cleaner gel, a travel size cleaner, and two large microfiber cloths.
Price: $9.95 (67 percent off MSRP)
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