While most of the content I write on Windows Central is about software, I rely on many gadgets to get the work done, such as a second computer for testing, a camera and microphone for meetings, a reliable keyboard and mouse, RGB LED strips to add some ambient lighting, and a good desk to work comfortably. Here's a rundown of the products that help me to stay focused and get work done on a daily basis, which may also help you to get some ideas on what to get next.
- Mobile lab: Surface Pro 3
- Comfortable typing: Microsoft Modern Keyboard
- Face-time: Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam
- Best mouse: Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse
- The big pad: Ktrio Extended Gaming Mouse Pad
- Get heard: Blue Yeti
- Work and play: Xbox One
- PC gaming: Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Adapter for Windows 10
- Ambient light: LED light strip
Although there are newer versions of the Surface Pro line, I'm still using the Surface Pro 3 as a secondary lab device, and as the computer that I take on the go for meetings and events. After all these years, it continues to offer excellent performance, and yes, the battery still holds very well.
During the many years that I used a laptop as my primary device, I got comfortable typing with a slim profile keyboard. When I switched to a desktop PC, I wanted the same typing experience, and the keyboard that met the requirements was the Microsoft Modern Keyboard, which also comes with Windows Hello Fingerprint support. The keyboard offers a premium design with a very slim profile and chiclet keycaps, and it works using a Bluetooth or USB connection.
When I was on the hunt for a new webcam, I was looking for a device that could offer a professional quality image and great features at an affordable price. After researching, I found the Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam, which checked off everything on my wishlist, including 1080p resolution for streaming and recording, and features such as background replacement technology, decent capturing in low light conditions, and a microphone array. I've been using this Logitech camera for a while, and I don't regret the purchase.
There are countless mice to choose from, but the Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse is one of the few that works as advertised. The MX Master is a fully wireless high-precision mouse that's very comfortable to use and has many great features, including the ability to connect with multiple devices, an infinite scroll wheel, back and forward buttons, as well as a horizontal scrolling button, all of which you can customize. After years of use, a single charge can still last over a week, and if I'm running out of battery, I can plug a USB cable and continue using it while it's charging.
If you spend a lot of hours typing on your computer, you'll notice over time that your palms and mouse will start leaving tracks on your desk. My solution was to get a gaming mouse pads, which are big enough for you to use the keyboard and the mouse comfortably. While you can find tons of gaming pads, the one from Ktrio features a non-slip rubber base, stitched edges, and it's even waterproof — all at a reasonable price.
While the built-in microphone on your laptop or webcam can do a relatively good job as an input device, when you're looking to step up, the Blue Yeti microphone is perhaps one of your best options. It's an excellent microphone that offers impressive sound quality, is super easy to use, and it won't break your wallet.
I don't consider myself a gamer but I do play games occasionally, and when I need a distraction from work, my Xbox One is always ready to deliver a great gaming experience. It's also my device of choice to stream Netflix shows and movies.
If you play games on your PC you should be using your keyboard and mouse, but if you're more comfortable using a controller, you need the Xbox One Wireless Adapter. This is an inexpensive USB dongle that allows you to bring the Xbox One controller to your Windows 10 device. I have one, and I use it with the Xbox app to stream games from the console connected to the local network.
You could just use a regular light bulb in your office, but if you want to add some ambient lighting with different colors to change the mood of the room, attaching an RGB LED strip the back to the desk is the way to go. There are a bunch of brands out there, although pretty much all of them are the same flexible LED strip with a power adapter and remote control to change the colors.
Many like it, but this one is mine
While I always believe that less is more when it comes to a great setup, I found that having the right amount of accessories really supplemented my workspace, both in terms of productivity and fun. Sure I have my main computer and all the accessories that go along with that, but I also have my Xbox One setup for when I want to relax and an LED light strip for some extra flair.
If I had to pick one or two of these products, it would be the Microsoft Modern Keyboard because of its minimalistc design and built-in fingerprint scanner for quick authentication. Also, I'd pick the Logitech MX Master mouse, because of its reliability and features, such as infinite scrolling and the ability to connect to multiple devices.
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