If you or someone on your gift list bought a new computer this year, you may have noticed they don’t have enough ports or inputs. Some laptops don’t have a USB-A port at all. That’s leaving some people wondering how to connect a wireless mouse, a hard drive, or any other external device.
A new PC laptop purchased in 2020 may have two USB ports, HDMI, and a USB-C. If you need more, a USB hub is a perfect addition to any laptop. Hubs that add up to 4 USB-A ports are generally around $12.
New computers, such as Apple’s line of MacBook’s have no USB ports. A new MacBook Air has only 3 Thunderbolt inputs that can also use USB-C. The Anker PowerExpand Hub needs just one of those ports to add two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI to play videos on another screen, and two SD slots for memory cards that are used mostly for photos and video. The PowerExpand 5-1 is $26.
A computer mouse makes using a laptop easier than trying to do everything with a trackpad. Some require a USB port to connect to a computer but others connect over Bluetooth. Expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $70.
An external keyboard might be useful, not just for laptops but the iClever keyboard is made specifically for phones and tablets. It connects through Bluetooth and when you’re not using it, the keyboard folds up nicely to fit in a backpack or purse. It’s $37.
Bluetooth earbuds are a must to drown out noise or listen to music on the go. The new Bose Quiet Comfort Wireless Earbuds may be the best sounding earbuds I’ve ever tried. They have 11 levels of active noise canceling that you can control through an app or by tapping or swiping the sides. They’re the most comfortable earbuds I’ve tried and are sweat-resistant. When I’ve used them for phone calls, the person on the other end of the line had no idea I was using earbuds. That’s a pretty tall order as others I’ve used seem to pass along any room noise to the person I’m talking to. The sound is tremendous. Deep full bass, midrange, and highs are crisp. Very impressive whether you’re listening to rock, jazz, hip hop, classical. Just great sound. They’re $280.
Few things have improved as much as the technology in earbuds and headphones. The difference in earbuds from just 2 years ago and today is remarkable. If someone on your list is still using wired earbuds or earbuds that are a couple of years old, new earbuds make a great gift.