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Peripheral Devices

The type and quality of peripherals you may need will vary greatly depending on the task you're doing. For the following discussions, we're including links to sites that compare the various brands and types of each peripheral.

Monitors 

You should know what a monitor is!  It’s how you see what your computer is showing you.  Laptops have their monitors built in, and tablets are essentially just small monitors stuffed with a small computer.  But even with that, there are more options for you to consider to maximize productivity.  

The most obvious upgrade you can make is to purchase a second monitor.  Being able to look at two things at once is a huge benefit, no matter your task.  Anyone who has worked with a second monitor will struggle to go back to just one.  Desktop computers can easily support two monitors, and most laptops allow you to plug one additional monitor in, in addition to the built-in screen. Tablets generally can’t support a second monitor, because they really aren’t designed for multitasking in the first place.

One thing you will want to watch out for is the monitor's connection.  HDMI, DVI, Displayport, Thunderbolt (Apple only), VGA (Legacy).  The minute differences between the connector types aren't too important for us, but make sure that your monitor and computer are compatible!

https://www.productchart.com/monitors/

Headphones

Most everyone probably already owns a pair of headphones or earbuds.  Besides, Laptops tablets and smartphones come with speakers and microphones built in. If you’re lucky enough to have a quiet, secluded workspace, this is likely going to be more than enough to suit you.  If you’re not so lucky, or if you have kids, you might want to consider a nicer pair of over-ear, noise cancelling headphones.  You won’t have to hear them, and they won’t have to hear what you’re listening to, win-win.   

https://choiceschoices.com/electronics/headphones 

Microphones 

The microphone in your laptop or phone is perfectly fine for one-on-one video conferencing, or if you’re not talking much in meetings.  But if you’re the primary speaker to a large audience, you should consider getting a dedicated microphone.  The sound quality is noticeably improved with even a $40 investment, and your audience will thank you.   

https://www.micreviews.com/guides/top-10-best-microphones-for-computer 

Webcams 

Despite the recent emphasis on “Video conferencing”, the video itself isn’t that important.  For most meeting attendees, the video stream just serves to prove that they’re present and wearing a shirt.  The presenter will be sharing their screen more often than their face.  Still, you should have one available.  Again, webcams generally come built-in with a laptop, tablet and smartphone, but you can purchase a standalone one if you want.  You would be hard-pressed to find a webcam these days with less resolution than 720p, and that should be plenty for most purposes.  Many video conferencing programs limit attendees to 720p anyway! 

https://www.techradar.com/news/computing-components/peripherals/what-webcam-5-reviewed-and-rated-1027972

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