Gabriel writes:

I have recently acquired the new Samsung Chromebook and I’m very pleased. I was looking for a sort of “Top 10” of budget accessories and/or essentials. Do you have any recommendations?

Seagate Hard DriveIt’s so good to hear that you’ve been enjoying your experience with your Chromebook. The past two generations of Chromebooks have been an excellent value for the investment. They’re priced to appeal to the largest possible market without sacrificing on the core functionality people look for in a laptop.

There are, of course, a number of accessories and add-ons that can take the features built in to the Chromebook and extend them past the initial offering.

To start: I’d recommend buying an external hard drive. While 16 GB may well be enough storage for most of the tasks you’ll be completing with the Chromebook, having some extra external storage for locally saved documents and media files can make your life a little easier when you aren’t actively connected to the Web.

Believe it or not, the Chromebook can play media files from FAT, NTFS, HFS+, and other major file systems. For example, playing an MP4 or MP3 file directly on your Chromebook is natively supported. Video on a plane? Sure thing!

Seagate makes some excellent USB-powered external hard drives that fall well into the budget buyer category.

You may also want to consider connectivity accessories. If you don’t have a Chromebook with integrated 3G, you may benefit from a portable hotspot or USB wireless modem for times when you’re out of reach of available Wi-Fi. Chromebooks are made to travel and be used on the road. If you don’t have an active connection to the Web, they really aren’t very useful beyond editing a document in offline mode. Be careful, though; not all wireless providers that offer cheap service are what they’re cracked up to be.

A good protective sleeve can help you avoid damaging your Chromebook on the road. Duragadget makes a line of sleeves fitted perfectly for the Samsung Series 5 Chromebooks.

You might also want to customize your Chromebook a bit to fit your personality. A skin will turn a regular Chromebook into something a bit more interesting to the eye while protecting its outer frame from dings and scratches during transport. It’s your laptop. Why shouldn’t it reflect your personality?

You can also get a good portable mouse if you’re not entirely sold on the trackpad. This is more of a personal preference than anything, but for some, having a little extra control over the cursor means improved productivity and versatility. This is one area where Logitech does a great job.

Over all, the real benefit of the Chromebook is in having everything you need in one package. You don’t need a lot of storage if you keep most of your content in the cloud. Likewise, having a less powerful processor and limited upgrade options isn’t really a huge sacrifice when your primary experience is handled by far more powerful servers sitting in a data center elsewhere in the world. All you really need is a capable client, and the Chromebook definitely delivers in this area.