10 Gadgets for Equipping Your Perfect Desk
10 Gadgets for Equipping Your Perfect DeskHP ENVY 5530, $130Netgear LTE Data Gateway 6100D, $130Jabra Motion Office, $380NeatConnect, $500Logitech Wireless All-in-One Keyboard TK820, $100Seagate Backup Plus Desktop 4TB, $160HP Slate 21 Pro, $379HTC One M8, $200 with Sprint contractPhiaton MS 500 Headphones, $300S’Well Bottle, $25
Is there such a thing as the perfect desk? As you can guess, I mean more than just a self-assembly model from Ikea and a plant. Your desk is a sanctuary, the place where you get real work done--at least when you are not at Starbucks. What you have sitting on your desk can determine whether you stay productive during the day or whether you are constantly trying to get stuff to work. Here’s the latest gear I’ve found to help, tested to meet my high standards.
The HP ENVY 5530 can print, scan, and make copies. Yet, the device measures only about 14 by 18 inches in size so it won’t overwhelm your workspace. Print speed goes as fast as about 21 pages per minute in draft mode, and you can scan at 1200 dots-per-inch. My favorite feature is the “unlimited” ink feature called HP InstantInk. The printer connects to the Internet so the service can monitor your ink cartridges. If you are running low, you’ll get a new cartridge in the mail. The service charges a monthly fee starting at about $5 per month for 100 prints.
For a small office or for those who work solo, consider adding this Sprint 4G router to your desk. First off, easy access to a router with Ethernet ports means you can plug in a laptop or a network printer quickly, swapping equipment as needed. Of course, the router also shares a Wi-Fi signal for the whole office and connects over Sprint 4G service for Internet. For wireless, the router uses fast 802.11AC for network transfer at over 300-1200Mbps. The 4G LTE service, which requires monthly Sprint service, zooms along at about 50 to 60Mbps at peak periods.
Desk phones in a startup setting are a bit too old-school. You probably tend to roam around the office and have a smartphone in tow. The Jabra Motion Office headset is a powerful Bluetooth earbud and base that can replace the need for a desk phone entirely. It’s best feature: the headset can adapt to the sound environment around you automatically and make sure you can hear (and the caller can hear you). Of course, the headset works with any Bluetooth device like an Apple iPad or your laptop (over USB or Bluetooth), and you can even transfer calls between a landline, smartphone and a softphone like Skype using the touchpad.
For the perfect desk, the HP ENVY printer can already scan business documents. But consider adding the NeatConnect to quickly scan everything else--expense receipts, business cards, and even slips of paper with your notes from a meeting. The latest version can scan directly into the cloud using popular storage services like Microsoft SkyDrive, Evernote, and Dropbox or to the NeatCloud site (subscription included). There are slots on the scanner for quick loading.
Still typing on the same old clunky keyboard? Upgrade to one that has a touch interface you use as a mouse--it’s amazingly accurate and supports gestures like swipes. The soft-touch keys promote speed typing without the chunky feel of older keyboards. You can connect to a laptop or desktop using 2.4GHz wireless--so no dangling cords at your desk. The entire keyboard is also super-thin at 0.8 inches and has a trendy look that fits with a start-up aesthetic.
Cloud storage is handy for most of your work throughout the day, but it depends greatly on the size of the files. Huge video files or investor presentations can consume way too much bandwidth. This back-up drive from Seagate can handle large files and transfers at USB 3.0 speeds of about 5Gbps--or fast enough to transfer even big files in seconds. Seagate includes a service that can perform a back-up to the cloud for important files.
This all-in-one computer runs on the Android operating system. There are USB ports for keyboard and mouse, an Ethernet port to connect to a router (you can also connect over Wi-Fi), and a bright 21.5-inch touchscreen. Any app you can run on an Android tablet will run on this computer, but you can also use the lightning fast Chrome browser. The Slate comes with the Kingsoft Office Suite, 50GB of free Box.net cloud storage and has a 1.66GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of flash storage. The Slate weighs about 14 pounds.
I haven’t used a desk phone since about 2012, and one reason is that I use a smartphone even at my desk. If you are used to typing digits on a desk phone, try using a Bluetooth headset like the Jabra Motion Office and a smartphone. This brand new model has all the features you might want for making calls throughout the day, including a speakerphone that sounds crisp and clear, a fast quad-core processor, and a solid unibody metal construction.
Need to get some serious work done at your desk? Set aside the Bluetooth headset and put on these high-quality headphones. They use 40mm drivers to improve sound quality, acoustic dampers that give your digital music an analog feel, and plush leather head ear pads. In my tests, they sounded as good as the Beats By Dre Studio Headphones, but without the outsized price.
It’s not really a gadget, but this water bottle deserves some space on your desk as well. The cold or hot bottle comes in three sizes (the 9-ounce bottle is $25, the 17-ounce is $35 and the huge 25-ounce is $45) and multiple contemporary colors like ocean blue and sweet mint. The opening is big enough for chunks of ice to fit through. If you use cold water, it will stay cold for 24 hours; hot liquid stays that way for 12 hours. Each bottle sold supports the charity WaterAid.