Peripherals are devices that connect to a computer but are not an integrated or necessary part of the computer. Peripherals are used for input and output. When a camera, for example, is attached to a computer to download photos it becomes a peripheral input device because files on the camera are being moved to the computer. A webcam built into a laptop is also a peripheral.
Printers are common computer peripherals. They are used to write out documents and print photographs. Printers are available in a wide variety of sizes, styles and prices. All-in-one printers are able to scan, receive faxes and make photocopies as well as print documents. Other printers can create high quality photographs or print onto CDs and DVDs. Portable printers are small and lightweight devices that can be used with laptops for mobile offices. Inkjet printers produce a good quality image and print on canvas as well as paper. Laser printers are usually faster and produce a crisper image than inkjet printers. Although prices vary, they may be more expensive than inkjet printers. Solid ink printers produce a high quality colour image. They may be slower than laser printers.
Speakers allow users to enjoy listening to music, movies and other audio files stored on the computer. Speakers are computer peripherals that output sound. Most laptop computers have built-in speakers, which are adequate but external speakers produce better quality sound and higher volume for playing movies and music. External speakers are connected through either a USB port or an audio out port marked with a headset symbol. Most desktops use two external speakers, however, serious gamers or those who want better quality sound often add a third speaker for sounds in the low tones. Speakers vary a great deal in quality, price and configuration.
External Memory Device
External memory is used to store data for transport to another computer or for backup in case of computer failure. Jump drives, memory sticks or flash drives are small devices that plug into computers' USB ports. Any type of file can be transferred from the computer to the jump drive. They are primarily used for physically transporting files from one computer to another computer. Jump drives are relatively inexpensive and are sometimes made into key chains or jewellery. External hard drives are another type of external memory. They are larger and more expensive but hold more data. They are used for storing photos and other large files that computers' memories may not be able to store. They are also used for backing up important files in case the computers suffer hard drive crashes or other failures. They also offer encryption to keep sensitive data secure.
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