In the old days, laptops used to have lots of connectors and ports dotted around their sides. But in the past year or two makers have slimmed down their devices even more and left no room for such things as an HDMI output or Ethernet socket.
Indeed, more and more laptops (including Apple MacBooks and Dell's XPS) and tablets use the latest USB-C connection standard because it's small and versatile: the port can be used for a variety of things including connecting peripherals and even charging.
But if you still need to connect non-USB-C devices to your laptop you'll need a USB-C hub or adapter. This will let you attach external hard drives, memory sticks, DVD drives, phone chargers, wired Gigabit Ethernet connections, and external displays or a projector for meetings.
The great news is there is a wide choice of quality USB-C adapters and hubs now available, and at reasonable prices.