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Best Chromebook accessories for students: Docks, Webcams, and more

Best Chromebook accessories for students: Docks, Webcams, and more

If you recently bought a Chromebook for school, you probably need a few things to go with it. Whether you’re using your Chromebook for virtual classes on Zoom or in the classroom, accessories just make the overall experience easier. Those learning online will certainly want a new high-quality webcam. For power users, a USB-C dock is key to leveraging everything your Chromebook can do.

In this guide we take a look at the best accessories to make the most of your new Chromebook in the classroom and at home.

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Best docking stations for Chromebooks

If you’re looking to use your Chromebook with an external monitor, you’ll likely want to add a docking station to increase the number of available ports. With a good docking solution, you can greatly expand your Chromebook’s versatility. You can use it to connect a mouse, a mechanical keyboard, external storage devices, multiple monitors, or all of them at once.

On top of that, with some docking stations, you can even keep your Chromebook charged as long as it has a compatible USB Type-C port or thunderbolt port. Docking stations are great for students as well as business users that dock their machine at the office.

    Best overall

    The Tiergrade USB C Chromebook docking station is perfect for power users. It offers the widest selection of ports, including two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, two USB 3.0 Type-C ports, two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort port, an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port, 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks, a S/PDIF audio port and a USB 3.0 Type-C port with 60W power delivery. On top of that, the dock also includes a full-sized SD card reader and a microSD card reader.

    Best budget alternative for power users

    The Baseus 16-in-1 Chromebook docking station is a cheaper alternative to the Tiergrade dock with a slightly different port selection. It includes three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, two USB 3.0 Type-C ports, a USB type-C port with pass-through charging support, an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port, a 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack, a microSD card slot, and an SD card slot. For display connectivity, it features a VGA port and an HDMI port. However, it only supports screen mirroring for dual external displays.

    Best portable

    The NOVOO 8-in-1 USB C dock is the tiniest Chromebook Docking Station on this list, earning it the most portable title. Despite its tiny size, it packs 3 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, an Ethernet port, a USB Type-C port with up to 100W passthrough charging, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader. That's a lot of ports for something as tiny as this. Makes me wonder why some fruity OEMs can't offer more than two USB Type- C ports on their laptops.

    Best budget portable

    If you're not willing to spend $40 on a tiny USB C hub, then the Anker PowerExpand+ should be a better option. It's slightly larger than the NOVOO USB C dock, but features the same number of ports. This includes two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB Type-C port for data, a USB Type-C port with pass-through charging support at up to 100W, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader. It should get the job done if you have basic needs.

    Best for Chrome OS tablets

    The Sabrent Chromebook docking station is a good choice for Chromebooks with a detachable keyboard as it features a stand that you can use to prop up your Chromebook when you're not using the included keyboard. In terms of ports, it offers two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, two USB Type-A 2.4A fast charging ports, an HDMI port, a DVI port, a USB 3.0 input, 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks, and a RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port.

    Best with built-in stand

    The Targus Chromebook docking station is a good 2-in-1 option that not only offers a decent selection of ports but also doubles up as an ergonomic stand. It includes 4 USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two DisplayPort ports, 2 HDMI 2.0 ports, a USB Type-C port with 60W pass-through charging support, a headphone / mic combo jack, and a RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port.

Best mice for Chromebooks

When shopping for a new mouse to pair with your favorite Chromebook, comfort is king. In this list, we’ll prioritize the comfortable operation of each mouse over other advanced features. After considering day-to-day usage, we’ll look at battery life, price point, and of course integration with Chrome OS. Mice come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s worth viewing a large volume of options before reaching a final decision.

    Best budget mouse

    If you need a wireless mouse on a budget, Seenda has you covered. This mouse lacks some bells and whistles, but costs under $6 and has a comfortable design. Battery life is excellent on this device. For those who only use a mouse on occasion, this is the way to go.

    Best slim and flat design

    Some mice require you to choose whether you are left or right handed, but not the Logitech M355. This mouse has a slim and flat design, perfect for ambidextrous users. In addition, the slim profile and ultra-quiet clicks make this a great mouse to use at work.

    Best bluetooth and 2.4GHz combo

    The Jelly Comb dual mode mouse features both bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless connectivity. With this, you can connect to two devices simultaneously. Jelly Comb has a number of great color options to choose from, with a price under $15.

    Best for trackball fans

    Logitech's M570 has a distinct and instantly recognizable form-factor. The giant teal trackball is easily spotted while the mouse is in use. If you do a lot of scrolling for work, and find a trackball comfortable, this is the best option by far. This is one of the most comfortable mice to use for long periods of time.

    Best mouse and keyboard bundle

    Bundles are never a bad thing in terms of value. Jelly Comb packages an excellent wireless keyboard and mouse combo for under $25. Both devices feature excellent battery life, and an auto sleep mode when not in use.

    Best noiseless mouse

    Keeping quiet while at work is sometimes important. If you're looking for a mouse that's virtually silent, Geyes has you covered. This lightweight mouse is also rechargeable and features a comfortable honeycomb design. Friends and family will surely notice the eye-catching design on your new mouse.

    Best for productivity

    The Logitech MX Master series is the industry standard for what a mouse should be. Ultra-fast mag speed scrolling, ergonomic design and app-specific customization make this an ultra-premium pick. With USB-C quick charging and the ability to work on glass surfaces, this is a mouse you can use anywhere.

    Best for gaming on a budget

    The BENGOO gaming mouse provides an RGB light show to highlight your gaming atmosphere. A speed DPI switch allows four adjustable settings. This mouse is also great value, with an ergonomic design, flexible buttons, and a price tag below $10.

    Best battery life

    Logitech obviously has several options when it comes to mice. The M510 is a standout thanks to its consistent rating as a battery life champ. Users report a year or more average use on a single charge. With a comfortable design and a price under $25, this is an excellent option.

    Best for Arc lovers on a budget

    There are many fans of Microsoft's Arc mouse design. Unfortunately, the official Microsoft Arc mouse does not play nice with Chromebooks. If you enjoy the design of Microsoft's mouse, the NORMIA RITA Arc mouse is a great substitute at less than half the price.

    Best vertical mouse

    Another popular form factor is the vertical mouse design. This layout allows you to use the mouse in a grip-like orientation. Many users find this to be the most comfortable way to use a mouse for long periods of time. Anker also packs a fantastic feature set and battery life into this unique design.

    Best curved vertical mouse

    If you find the Anker vertical mouse a bit too tall or rigid, iClever has another exciting option. This vertical mouse features a more dramatic curve that contours to the hand at a more shallow angle. At under $25, with whisper quiet keys, this mouse is great for home or work.

Best webcams for Chromebooks

Although not as essential as the mouse or keyboard, a new webcam can improve your video-conference experience. While most laptops come with built-in webcams, the quality is more often than not sub-par. It may get the job done occasionally, but it’s always advisable to have an external webcam for your Chromebook to achieve a more professional look in video meetings. If you have a Chromebox or you’ve hooked up your Chromebook with an external monitor, you’re likely on the lookout for webcams that will pair nicely with your Chrome OS device.

Here’s a list of some of the best webcams for a Chromebook or Chromebox you can buy across various price points and use-cases.

    Best for basic use

    This is one of the best webcams for Chromebook if it's going to be your first webcam. It can only output at 720p though which should be sufficient for the occasional video call with friends and family.

    Best budget

    If you don't want to spend too much on a webcam for your Chromebook but still want decent video quality, this is the one to pick. It has a wide-angle lens and can even be used for recording and streaming.

    Best with ring light

    The ring light around the webcam with adjustable brightness helps improve video quality if the ambient lighting around you is insufficient. It also has a privacy cover, auto-focus, and dual microphones.

    Best for streamers

    If you're a streamer or are planning to stream on YouTube or Twitch, this is a great way to get started. It has a built-in ring light, advanced auto-focus, and supports 60fps at 720p or 30fps at 1080p.

    Best for higher resolution

    This webcam has the highest resolution among the ones mentioned in this list. There's a 4MP sensor and you can digitally zoom in up to 3X. It has a 95-degree FoV, dual mics, and a privacy shutter as well.

    Best for professional meetings

    The Logitech C920x is one of the most popular webcams especially for office meetings. It has support for stereo audio which means everyone can hear you crystal clear. There's also support for HD light correction.

Best sleeves for Chromebooks

Chromebooks are made to be portable.  To protect your investment when out and about, you can grab a sleeve or bag at a fairly low price. This is even more important if you have an LTE-capable Chromebook and travel often. Most of these options are on sale often, making the deal even sweeter. With so many options available, you can find something that fits your personal style and has functionality for daily work and play.

    Best basic sleeve

    If you just want a basic sleeve with no frills, Amazon has you covered here. This sleeve's size ranges from 11.6 inches up to 15.6 inches, depending on the size of your Chromebook. With three color options to choose from and a low price, grab this if you just need to carry your Chromebook outside on occasion.

    Best carrying case

    If you need extra protection for your Spectre x360 when carrying it around, the hard shell on this sleeve can do just that. Meanwhile, the inside is soft to absorb any impact from your laptop moving around.

    Best hard sleeve

    If you want top of the line protection, get this hard sleeve from Nacuwa. With a range of size options, this sleeve is suitable for any Chromebook. You also get protection from spills, and a few inner pockets to organize cables and your laptop charger.

    Best leather sleeve

    For those that want an elegant sleeve, UNIKA has a nice selection of color options. This sleeve features an ultra-thin design and accommodates 13-15 inch Chromebooks.

    Best shockproof sleeve

    Sometimes we all have a clumsy day or two. With the Lymmax shockproof sleeve your laptop will stay protected even if you drop it. This sleeve comes in a range of color options but is limited to 13-15 inch size compatibility.

    Best sleeve with stand

    Would you like a laptop sleeve that doubles as a stand? Nillkin offers just that at a price under $30. With four color options to choose from you should be able to find one that matches your personal style.

Best stylus pens for Chromebooks

The Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) defines industry-wide standards for interoperable communication between an active stylus and touch-enabled devices, such as phones, tablets, and computing and entertainment platforms. Thus far, there are quite a few solid USI pens available on the market, but they’re a bit pricier than the old-school capacitive styli.

We recommend choosing one of the USI options below if it’s in your budget and your device supports USI, otherwise we provide a budget option that’ll do the job in a pinch.

    Best overall USI stylus

    This is the best overall stylus to take advantage of the USI compatibility on your Chromebook. Solid overall build quality with a nice heft in-hand make this stylus easy to write with. It's a shame it requires a AAAA battery to run, but the usability is still impressive.

    Best overall USI stylus

    Another excellent USI stylus with a nice-looking overall design. It's comfortable to hold and it doesn't have the useless eraser button other models do. iPlume also boasts impressive low latency on this model, making it easier to write and draw with precision.

    Best rechargeable stylus

    The main downside to many USI styli is the annoyance of dealing with batteries. Luckily, HP has a USI pen that's rechargeable via USB-C. The battery life on this pen is also excellent, averaging over 2 weeks of typical use.

    Best budget USI stylus

    This USI stylus from TiMOVO features unique palm rejection features that effectively avoid your palm from disturbing your creation. Comes with a replacement tip and a tool, you can use the tool to pull out the nib, which is very easy to replace. This pen is also frequently on sale, making it a good option for those on a budget.

    Best OEM USI stylus

    Lenovo's USI stylus is well-built and has a nice feel in the hand. While it's not as easy to power as the HP, it should last months on a single battery before it needs replacing. It features a pen clip to help you secure the stylus in your backpack.

    Best non-USI stylus

    Have you found all these USI pens too expensive? Then you might want to go old-school with the capacitive stylus from Mixoo. This pen is under $10 and comes in many colors. You should be able to accomplish basic note-taking tasks and do it in style.

That’s our roundup of the best Chromebook accessories for students. Hopefully you now have everything you need to use your Chromebook in class, at home, or on the go. Our ideal setup for college would be the Tiergrade USB-C Docking Station, Logitech MX Master 3 mouse, and the Penoval USI pen. Webcam and sleeve options are really all about personal preference and style.  If you try out some of our picks, let us know how they work for you in the comments section below.

About author

Jeff Springer
Jeff Springer

Applied mathematician with a love for Android. I am interested in inverse problems for imaging and integration with camera software for mobile phones.

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