Working from home can be tough for a lot of people, which is why it's essential to be comfortable and have the right mindset. I've been working at a home office since 2012, so I've picked up a few interesting things along the way. If your home is your new office, you'll want to have only the best stuff. Here is what I recommend based solely on what I use.
All the power
Is there is a difference anymore between work and play? Why not both with this amazing gaming rig. HP OMEN Obelisk is a pre-made gaming tower that acts as a DIY kit. You buy modest entry-level build and add RAM, storage, a new GPU, or upgrade that CPU yourself later. Reasonable RGB lighting keeps things flashy, and the cooling gets the job done. Pricing starts at $799 with a Ryzen 5, but you can work your way up to my kit, which is an Intel i9-9900K with RTX 2080 Super graphics and 64GB of RAM. That should handle work and fragging at over 100 FPS with ease.
Typing or gaming
Usually, I recommended Microsoft's Ergonomic keyboard, but I've made the switch over to the SteelSeries Apex Pro TKL. It's the smaller version of the Apex Pro by omitting the keypad. What makes this keyboard super exciting is the ability to customize key actuation (0.4mm and 3.6mm), even on a per-key basis. That makes it ideal for all types of gaming situations, but it also lets you enjoy typing for work as well. It's a bit pricey at $180, but this is likely the last keyboard you'll need. Plus, it has a tiny OLED display and amazing RGB lighting.
Why a graphics card for work from home? Hear me out. NVIDIA has this new beta feature called RTX Voice that uses AI with the power of its ray-tracing-enabled (RTX) graphics cards. The feature filters out background noise instantly. Barking dogs, meowing cat, clickity keyboard all disappear when using the feature while your voice remains crisp and clear. It's voodoo technology, but a must if you're spending hours on video meetings all day. The only requirement is you need an RTX-series graphics card.
Having the right router with modern technology is critical if you're working from home. TP-Link's latest range of home routers, including the affordable AX3000, is a great place to start. You get Wi-Fi 6, improved performance even for older connected hardware thanks to orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), eight high-gain antennas, 1.8GHz quad-core CPU, and expansion ports. If you need more power, you can opt for the AC6000 ($270) or the massively powerful AX11000, which is what I use.
Gaming and work
There are a lot of great monitors out there, but not many are as flexible as the Razer Raptor 27. This 27-inch WQHD display is ideal if you want to frag your enemies at 100+ frames-per-second thanks to the 144Hz panel with 1ms response. But this display is also terrific for work thanks to the anti-glare coating, HDR feature, and excellent color accuracy (96 percent DCI-P3, 100 percent AdobeRGB). Even the design is clean, minimalist, and unlike anything on the market. This is my favorite "does it all" display right now, and it's hard to recommend anything else.
Look, if you're working from home, you're not putting shoes on (and you shouldn't wear shoes in the house anyway). That's why Minnetonka makes these legendary sheepskin slippers. They last years, are super comfortable even in the spring, and you can wear them outside when you grab the mail or throw out the trash. Nothing beats them. Yeah, they're not cheap, but they will last you years and years of abuse, trust me.
One area where technology is useful is telling the time. With Amazon no longer having its Alexa Spot device, the Lenovo Smart Clock is your next best bet. This $80 Google Home-powered alarm clock is now just $40, which makes it much easier to recommend. With a dimming display, two microphones, a mute mic button, and no cameras, this little speaker does excellent for audio, and it is small enough for your nightstand.
Coffee is excellent, but Razer's awesome "mental performance enhancement" drink is better. With B-vitamins, minerals, no sugar, choline, and only modest amounts of caffeine, this will keep you going without a crash or the jitters. And thanks to it being a powder, you can use as much or as little as you want.
Probably like you, I hate printers. They're not cool, they're not exciting, and yet they are still necessary if only on occasion. I've been using the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M130fw for the last two years, and it's been excellent. It has most things like monochrome print, scanner, copier, fax, wireless printing, all with a color touchscreen. It also worked with the initial setup, which was nice.
Sounds good to me
The Surface Studio 2 speakers are quite impressive, especially considering they're hidden. But for something with my power, I prefer the Razer Nommo Chromas. The audio quality is to my liking, I like how I can direct the audio, and that Chroma lighting compliments those Philips Hue lights.
This sharp looking diffuser makes your humble abode smell good at an instant. The cool lighting effect and smart app ability make it that much more fun to play with. It may sound corny, but using vanilla, menthol, peppermint, or lavender to calm you down works. Plus, you can get rid of that home funk.
Better for your back
If you're working from home, sitting is going to be a prevalent part of your day. But what I told you that kneeling might be better? I've been using so-called kneeling chairs for years, and while it takes some time to get used to, it is better for your posture. No more slumping over and slouching when on those video calls.
Which one of my favorites do you like?
While not all of these are necessary, there are a few that stand out as being critical. The TP-Link AX3000 sticks out as an essential purchase. Having reliable internet is crucial if you're working from home, and this router will go a long way for that (especially if you have an old router now). Razer Respawn is not expensive, but it'll make a big difference in your energy levels.
Overall, though, any of these items will make your online and PC gaming life a lot more enjoyable. Like a carpenter, you need the right tools, and this list here is a good start.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.