The pandemic hasn’t done much to change my overall working habits, as I have been home-based for about 15 years now. That being said, my home office equipment has gone through quite a few iterations over the last decade or so. Here is what I have been using over the last two years, with some suggestions for replacements for products that I currently use, but aren’t current models.
Don’t neglect your pointing device. I’ve got a bunch of different mice and trackpads, but I keep coming back to my favorite, the Kensington trackball, which I’ve used in slightly different versions over the past 20 years.
The Logitech C930e webcam is what I use to join all my video conference calls and also to produce our Jason Squared video segments at ZDNet. This model has since been replaced with the C920e, which has been in very high demand recently.
I’ve used many different desktop systems over the years but in my last two corporate positions I’ve moved from PCs over to MacBooks. The MacBook Pro 16, 2019 edition, is my current system, which I have permanently docked to my twin monitors.
Because I write full time and need several apps and windows running simultaneously, I use twin 28″ Samsung 4K displays, which are crystal clear and don’t create a lot of eyestrain.
To connect all my peripherals to my Macbook Pro, I use a Caldigit TS3 USB-C Thunderbolt dock, which heavily simplifies my cabling setup.
For recording podcast audio and for having the clearest voice possible on my conference calls, I use the Blue Yeti Pro, which delivers broadcast-quality performance.
Call me old-fashioned, but I still need a landline phone number and desk phone capability. The OOMA Office provides me with multiple virtual office phone numbers (including one for my wife’s office) as well as virtual fax and virtual voicemail inbox and call attendant.
I use a CISCO SPA303 IP deskphone in conjunction with my OOMA router, but the company has replaced them with Yealink products which are more affordable solutions.
The Keychron K4 Mechanical Optical Keyboard has that substantial key travel and feel that I love as a long time technology writer, and it lights up with all kinds of pretty color patterns when keeping my office dim.
The Sennheiser Officerunner headset connects via USB to my Mac for VOIP and video calls when I don’t want to use a speaker, and it also connects to my desk IP phone. DECT transmission quality is crystal clear even if I want to take my calls a hundred feet away from my desk.
South Florida’s power infrastructure can sometimes be squirrelly, so I use an APC UPS for power conditioning. Don’t connect your expensive computer equipment to just any surge suppressor or UPS. Use a reliable and trusted brand.
A writer’s gotta have their office tunes. I use an older model SONOS speaker that’s no longer being sold, but if I were in the market now to replace what I have, I’d pick up a SONOS Five.
I’m not always working at my desk. When I’m researching subjects and needing to read materials, I’m on the couch, with my iPad Pro 12.9″. It’s absolutely indispensable for the work that I do, and it’s my preferred content consumption device for movies and TV.
I have a smaller 8-port version of this switch sitting in my office, but the core of my home network is the LGS124P, with Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability.
Some of my other ZDNet colleagues prefer mesh networking setups in their homes, but I am old fashioned — I use enterprise-class 802.11ac access points that are CAT6 home-run to my equipment room, using Power over Ethernet (PoE).
My broadband is provided by ATT Fiber, a gigabit-class internet service using Fiber to the Home (FTTH) technology. ATT also provides the Residential Gateway (RG), made by ARRIS, which acts as the primary router to my office and home network.
I have a few different noise-canceling headphones, but The Microsoft Surface Headphones, which have been around for a few years now and have recently undergone a product refresh, are still my absolute favorite in terms of overall comfort, noise reduction capability, sound quality, and voice reproduction quality.