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Best Accessories for Always-Connected PCs
October 11, 2018
One of the newest forms of PC technology to emerge in the last few years is the always-connected PC.
Along with major improvements in how long their battery lasts and connectivity that puts other computers to shame, the always-connected PC is a dream-come-true for anyone who wants to stay in touch with work and play at every hour. There are only a few models out there so far, and all of them run Windows 10 S.
The right computer accessories, including audio and video cable adapters, can make your experience with them even more worthwhile, especially as you purchase and download new apps to run on your new, connected computer.
What is an always-connected PC?
An always-connected PC is designed to take the functionalities of a smartphone and translate them to the computing experience.
Currently, most run Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 as their platform, and most have great features like instant wake-up, longer battery life, and the opportunity to connect anywhere through a cellular connection. This means it takes only a few seconds for your computer to be fully up and running.
Downloads, emails, and applications are updated automatically, so you can instantly begin working or creating.
For those who travel often and don’t have a guaranteed WiFi connection, an always-connected PC is perfect for when an internet connection is difficult to find. Several providers, such as AT&T and Sprint, are now creating plans that add them, and it’s likely other companies will, too. This includes 4G LTE connectivity, which can be up to five times faster than a WiFi connection at home.
Most models also feature a touch screen, making it a good option for students or creators who need access to a lighter PC that allows them to take notes or design with the feel of a tablet. Many users are switching over to an always-connected PC because it allows them to have a similar experience to a tablet but with a keyboard and advanced operating system.
These PCs do the basics extremely well and can serve users looking for a computer capable of web browsing, running Microsoft® Office apps, and instantly refreshing email inboxes.
Gamers will need a more powerful system, but an always-connected PC can serve a number of buyers looking for a portable device that lets them message others, stay up-to-date on work, and have interconnectivity with a smartphone.
What should I look for in an always-connected PC?
Functionality is often the most important part of owning the right PC, and this is worth considering when looking for the right device. The HP ENVY x2 detachable laptop is one of the leading models available, and one of the first to incorporate always-connected technology.
This device was designed for portability, which it owes to its ultra-thin look and weight (2.73 lbs). Even so, it boasts an impressive 12.3-inch display. And with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage, you can expect the HP ENVY x2 laptop to run consistently for the life of its battery (up to 22 hours).
When choosing the right device, you should also consider which apps you plan to use and whether they’re compatible with Snapdragon. While more integration is likely to happen soon, these PCs are new on the market and it may take some time before they can run every app you need.
Most of them are programmed to run 32-bit apps, and though that is likely to change in the future, it means that non-Windows 10 applications may or may not launch.
However, if you are looking for a PC that allows you to complete most of your work and gives you the opportunity to get online anywhere, then an always-connected PC is a great option for you.
Best accessories for always-connected PCs
While most accessories will work with your new always-connected PC, it doesn’t hurt to purchase those tailored to the unique features that come with this type of computer. Accessories can, of course, make working and creating easier, and they can also tap into the connected experience and really help you get the most out of your device.
HP ENVY 500 Rechargeable Mouse
To match long PC battery life, you want a mouse that can last for the long haul, too. The HP ENVY 500 rechargeable mouse offers 11 weeks of power on a single charge along with a super-precise 1600 dpi laser sensor.
It’s also light and is only a little more than 4 inches long, making it simple to toss in your bag and take with you when you plan on working on-the-go for a while.
- Compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10
- Rubber grips for control
- Rose gold color
HP ENVY Urban 14-inch Laptop Tote Bag
For those planning to take their always-connected PC on the road, the HP ENVY Urban laptop tote bag offers the perfect solution. With a heavily padded interior and lots of space for a laptop and documents, it’s easy to sling the bag over your shoulder and get going.
It also offers space for accessories, so you’ll have everything you need in order to stay connected far away from your desk. This tote weighs a mere 2.4 lbs and fits up to 14-inch laptops, so you can have a little extra room for anything else you may want to take with you.
- One-year warranty
- Extra pockets for organization
- Magnetic closure
HP Bluetooth 300 Mini Speaker
We all like to have the option to play our music if we can, and who doesn’t enjoy getting big sound from a little speaker? The HP Bluetooth 300 mini speaker offers great audio quality without taking up a ton of space.
Perfect for long journeys, it’s also designed to be protected from dust and water. Take it with you on the beach or on a long hike; it’ll hold up and provide some great sound. A built-in microphone makes calls easy, too, and it’s simple to switch from the mic back to listening to your music.
It also includes a long-lasting battery, so it’s ready to work for hours alongside your PC.
- Included clip for easy portability
- Charging cable
- 3.5 mm audio output option
HP USB-C 65W Travel Power Adapter
The lighter and more portable your adapter is, the easier it is to take with you. The HP USB-C 65W travel power adapter offers plenty of power in a small package. Weighing in at about half a pound, you’ll barely notice it in your laptop bag.
It also boasts an adaptable voltage option that allows you to choose how much power you need (5V, 9V, 10V, 12V, 15V, or 20V), which is great for travel, in addition to a surge protector just in case the unexpected happens. This adapter can be used as a replacement or as your go-to when you’re heading off on your next journey.
- One-year warranty
- 2.91 x 2.91 x 1.12 inch dimensions
- Online support
HP USB-C to Multi-Port Hub
When you need to sit down and get some work done, your laptop may need another port or two.
For connecting additional monitors, devices, and sharing options, the HP USB-C to Multi-Port Hub lets you use your computer in a new way thanks to the HDMI, USB-C, and standard USB connections. It’s also light and small, making it easy to fit into your tote.
- A 12-inch cable for various positioning
- Small dimensions at 13.89 x 2.56 x 0.44 inches
- Quick-start guide
HP Pavilion Wireless Keyboard and Mouse 800
If you’re going places with your laptop, it can help to have a wireless keyboard and mouse combo with you. The HP Pavilion Wireless Keyboard and Mouse 800 is a cinch to slip in your bag while leaving plenty of room for other devices.
The compact wireless receiver is perfect for those who don’t want to keep track of a variety of cords in order to set up a proper workspace. You’ll be set up and ready to work in no time.
- Keyboard is super-light (1.56 lbs)
- Included Start Guide
- Two-year warranty and replacement
HP OMEN 300 Mouse Pad
For designers and those who need the most solid mouse pad around, the HP OMEN 300 mouse pad satisfies anyone who requires the utmost precision. It includes a rubber base to help avoid any unwanted movement, so you can make sure every movement is accurate.
Whether you are planning to use your mouse to decompress with some gaming or you need to turn in your latest assignment, a quality mouse pad can help reduce any potential frustration.
- Light (1.65 lbs)
- Designed with surface friction in mind
- Can withstand 250 km of mouse movement
HP Active Laptop Backpack
A backpack keeps everything in place and allows you to take your devices anywhere you want. With a compartment that can fit up to a 15.6-inch laptop and plenty of pockets for storage, the HP Active laptop backpack is a great option for those who are constantly on the road.
It’s also water resistant to help electronics stay dry, so you can keep it on your shoulders in almost any situation. The padded shoulder straps help you stay more comfortable when you’re carrying several pounds’ worth of devices and the backpack includes two water bottle pockets for long days at the gym or office, keeping you hydrated and healthy.
- One-year warranty
- Light (1.15 lbs)
- Breathable fabric
One of the perks of having a touch screen is the opportunity to create, but this can be difficult if you don’t have the right tools to help you get the job done. The HP Pen touch screen stylus adds the control you need in order to design, take notes, or play the games you want with precision. It fits just like a regular pen in your hand, letting your imagination be your only limit when you use it.
- N-trig technology for precision
- Sleek silver-colored design
- Works with Windows Ink and ready to use
HP ENVY Photo 6255 All-in-One Printer
It may be compact, but the HP ENVY Photo 6255 all-in-one printer is incredibly capable. The printer easily connects to your preferred WiFi network and can make even your worst photos look good.
Created for home offices and those who need a multi-faceted printer for a reasonable price, it also provides an extra layer of security while being compatible with mobile phones. It also allows you to order a number of print jobs at one time, and given that it’s an all-in-one, you can scan and copy your photos, too.
- ENERGY STAR® qualified
- Easy setup over WiFi
- Included printer software
With the right accessories, you can really get the most out of your always-connected PC. You can enjoy the experience of having a device that allows you connectivity and long-lasting battery life anywhere you go.
Related article: What are the Most Popular Computer Monitor Cable Types?
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.