Computer Peripherals and Accessories Guide
Computer peripherals are devices that are not a part of the computer, but instead complement it. Some peripherals such as monitors are essential, while others such as graphics tablets are specialized for specific tasks. Learn more about the many different types of computer peripherals and their uses below.
A monitor is an essential computer peripheral for many desktop systems, with some workstations having multiple for increased productivity. When shopping for a computer monitor, you should check compatibility with the computer’s video card. If the video card is unable to output the monitor’s native resolution, you may have to upgrade the video card or system.
Together with mice, keyboards are essential computer input peripherals. Even tablets and touchscreen computers can benefit from having keyboards, particularly for tasks such as word processing. Aside from comfortable ergonomics, some beneficial features that you may want to consider include backlighting, touch functionality, wireless connectivity, programmable keys, and more.
A computer mouse is another computer input peripheral that can be used for hours on end, so it needs to be ergonomic. Otherwise, users may experience strain-related injuries over a long period of time. Other considerations include wireless connectivity, smaller dimensions for portability, or a trackball design.
Though some organizations are migrating to paperless environments, there are industries and commercial sectors that continue to utilize printers daily. For instance, printing receipts and sales orders is sometimes required when working with clients and customers.
There are two main types of printers, laser and inkjet. The benefits of a laser printer include fast print speeds, high color accuracy, and high page yields for toner cartridges. However, an inkjet printer can have a lower initial purchase cost compared to a laser printer.
Scanners are essential computer peripherals for users that need to save physical documents and images digitally for editing and archiving. There are two main types of scanners to choose from, flatbed and document-fed.
If your staff mostly scans paper media, document scanners are ideal. But for larger items such as books and magazines, you will need a flatbed scanner.
Power management devices are computer peripherals that regulate and split power delivery to electronic equipment. They allow your staff to safely power down their computers in case of blackouts and protect equipment from electrical surges and spikes.
Unlike monitors, projectors are designed to display content for more than one user. When shopping for a projector, pay attention to important specifications such as brightness, resolution, and contrast ratio.
You should also consider what type of projector you need. There are three main projector technologies, LCD, DLP, and LCoS.
- LCD – LCD projectors have high color accuracy and brightness, but are not ideal for displaying content onto large surface areas.
- DLP – Compared to LCD, DLP projectors are capable of higher contrast ratios but have lower color accuracy.
- LCoS – Though LCoS projectors have high levels of brightness and color accuracy, they tend to cost more and have lower contrast ratios.
Microphones can range from relatively basic desktop mics for conferencing to advanced condenser mics for studio-quality sound recording. To lower cost, choose one that is adequate for the task at hand rather than one with the most features.
Like keyboards and mice, graphics tablets are a type of input device. However, they have a much more specialized purpose. They allow designers and artists to create digital images and designs free-hand, similar to using a pen or pencil.
For teleconferencing and online meetings, video can be just as important as audio. Along with microphones, webcams can be used to facilitate more immersive and informative meetings. They are ideal computer peripherals for professionals that need to present sales information to clients, share design mockups with fellow team members, or interview potential employees.