Whether you’ve had to leave your desktop PC at home or you’re just looking to upgrade your setup, I’ve got some good advice for you on setting up a home entertainment area using your laptop as a central hub. Using your laptop will give the freedom to plug, unplug and move freely with the same computer without the hassle of syncing between PCs or worse: transferring things manually. So get your wallets out because I’m about to hit them pretty hard.

Monitor or Small Television

Having a decent-sized monitor or television is great not only for working on a bigger screen with better resolution, but for enjoying shows and movies when you need to relax. For a dorm, a 24-inch should be enough to be enjoyably viewed from anywhere in the room. One option I suggest, if you can afford it and have enough room, is to get a good-sized monitor and a 32-inch television. This will give you the option to use both screens to maximize your productivity or allow you to procrastinate and watch things on the TV and work on your monitor. Choose whatever combination you’re most comfortable with and enjoy the desktop-like feeling it’ll bring without the actual desktop PC.

Wireless Keyboard and Mouse

I’m not a big fan of laptop keyboards and touchpads. And when I say “not a big fan”, I mean I loathe them with a prejudice passion. After a while, not only do your wrists start to hate you, but most laptops tend to get pretty hot and the awkward key placements don’t help make it any better. Luckily, when you’re at home, you have an option. And that option is an actual keyboard and mouse. So, go out and find yourself a combination with a keyboard that not only feels comfortable to type on, but do your hands and wrists a favor and get one with a cushioned palm rest.

External Hard Drive

This is not only a must for this particular setup, it’s a must for every setup. Backing up your important documents, photos, and entertainment media should always be thought of as a priority and not simply an option. Do some thorough searching though and find a solid one that fits your needs. If need to travel with it, make sure you find out how travel friendly it is, whether it’s got a reputation of being defective, and of course it’s capacity. And I’m serious when I say don’t skimp on this. You’ll regret it, so make a good investment and don’t penny-pinch too much.

Speakers and Headphones

Now, seeing as you may be in a dorm room with limited space and extremely close floormates, a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system is probably not a good option. So let’s be a little conservative and considerate with this purchase and simply go for a nice and simple 2.0 setup and a good pair of headphones. For the speakers, I suggest looking into Logitech and Creative’s lines. They’re good, established brands and you really can’t go wrong with them.

For headphones, don’t be persuaded by marketing and splurge on extreme high-end brands like Beats by Dre. Instead, I suggest something like Razer’s Orca or Audio Technica’s ATH-AD700. And if you are looking to buy something a little high-end without really breaking the bank, you can’t go wrong with Sennheiser.

Image Source: Raul Gonzalo