8 Essentials for a Tricked-Out Desk
Ten One Design Magnus, $50Click & Grow, $60Saddleback Leather Pad, $213Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam, $249Sennheiser DW Pro2, $350Monster ClarityHD Model One High Definition Speaker, $750 pairSharpie Stainless Steel Pen, $7The Square Clean Bottle, $40
Can you live without these gadgets? Yeah, sure--but given how much time you spend working, you won't want to. Click on to see my top picks for swanky--and productivity enhancing--office gear.--John Brandon
This ultra-simple stand for the iPad (including the recently announced iPad 4) has a magnetic anchor at the bottom for holding your tablet horizontally or vertically. There is no charger, so it is not an iPad dock, but the advantage is a cleaner work area: You can set your iPad on the stand during the day without any cables running across your desk. And it's heavy enough to stay put with rubber feet on the base.
Anyone who works under fluorescent lights knows that office plants often die an untimely death--even when you do remember to water them. The Click & Grow uses a built-in battery that pumps water from an enclosed reservoir. A light blinks to tell you when you need to fill the reservoir or change the batteries. There are 10 plants available, including tomato, thyme, and lemon balm.
This leather desk pad, which comes in four colors (like chestnut and black) and three sizes (the large goes for $213) is one of those “buy it once for life” accessories. The leather is high-grade and durable, and it's stitched with thick, marine-grade threading. There’s an inner padded layer made out of neoprene and a no-slip suede underside.
This Logitech conferencing camera is somewhere between the low-res webcam in a laptop and the higher-end videoconferencing gear you might find at a hotel. The video streams at 1080p at 30 frames per second. The lens tilts to 78 degrees and matches what you will find in a high-quality digital camera. The speakerphone is full-duplex (you can talk and listen at the same time) and works from up to eight feet away.
This wireless headset does double-duty at your desk. You can dock it for charging, then use it as a standard telephone headset or with your computer for Skype calls. To switch between the two, you push a large button on the front of the dock. The call quality is outstanding with a rich bass. The headset lasts for about eight to 12 hours per charge and can connect from over 180 feet away.
Only have so much desk space? Clear off a little more room for these bookshelf speakers. There’s a 3.5mm jack for connecting your laptop and a docking port for an iPhone or iPod. The powered speakers use a built-in amplifier and a 6.5-inch bass driver for extra oomph, and they can lay flat or upright.
Everyone needs to keep a writing utensil handy, even in the age of the iPad. I like the Sharpie Stainless Steel Pen because of how smooth it writes. There’s a soft grip on the steel pen body and the ink doesn’t bleed through paper, either. Extra ink cartridges are $4 each.
A Kickstarter-funded project, the Square water bottle is, you guessed it, square. So that means it won’t roll away when dropped. The top corks tightly to keep water fresh and cold, and the bottom unscrews for easier cleaning. The handle is also easy to grip and carry.
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