April 13, 2024


Unlimited Technology

Putting together your Christmas list? Don’t forget the home office

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – If you’re trying to think of a perfect gift for someone on your list this Christmas, here’s an idea that’s almost perfect for anyone. Gifts for the home office or computer.

Everyone spends time on the computer whether that’s on a desktop or laptop. If they’re doing more work or playing from home, these gadgets will improve those many many hours each day.

Let’s start with the thing they stare at more than anything: the computer monitor. Like a lot of electronics, monitors have greatly improved in the past few years. Many have blue light filters built in to relieve or reduce eye strain and if desk space is limited, many have improved speakers built-in.

I’m trying out the ViewSonic MP3481a 34-inch curved monitor. It has the above-mentioned features and also includes connectors for HDMI, USB-Type A, B, and C for charging and display.

You can connect multiple computers. For example, keep the monitor connected to the desktop PC tower and then connect your laptop when you need to. You can switch back and forth between the two computers with the press of a button. I didn’t know if I would appreciate or even notice a difference with the curved screen but it does give that wrap-around immersive experience.

The 3481a has HDR10 Content support for video playback and 100 frames per second refresh rate which is good for gaming and video editing.

A less expensive computer upgrade is a new keyboard. I had been using the same old Microsoft keyboard that came with my computer from 9 years ago and finally upgraded to a Bluetooth wireless keyboard from Logitech. The one I purchased was about $50 and takes up much less real estate on my desk.

The K780 has a tray at the top to prop up my phone or tablet and there are three buttons to switch from typing on the computer to tapping out emails and text messages on a smartphone or tablet.

A standup desk is a great gift for someone who’s recently shifted to working from home. The Flexispot EC1 is a best-seller on Amazon that is height adjustable. You can sit and work and with the press of a button the desk raises to a standing height. These are around $250 but frequently go on sale. This particular desk has over 7,000 ratings and an average of 4 and a half stars.

Laptops are more powerful than ever but one drawback to new features and a better battery is the loss of ports. Many newer laptops have only a USB-C input which is not enough for anyone who needs to add a few peripherals such as an external hard drive and card readers. Anker has a USB-C hub I keep in my backpack for all of those work sessions in coffee shops.

Plugging the hub into the laptop’s USB-C port provides inputs for SD and micro SD cards, USB-A, USB-C, and HDMI. It works well with newer iPads with a USB-C charging port as you can move files to and from the iPad to external devices. The Anker USB-C hub is around $35.

Zoom meetings are the norm now for office and remote workers. If you’ve ever had to Zoom with someone who’s staring down into their web camera you know it looks awkward and unprofessional (who wants someone to look up their nose?).

There are many laptop stands available that prop up the computer so the webcam is at eye level. These stands are usually under $25.

Speaking of Zoom meetings, a selfie-ring light makes a great gift as it lights up the person speaking on Zoom. Most have different color and brightness settings and it makes a huge difference in the quality of any video conference. These are now under $20.

Someone on your list can use one or more of these gadgets, in fact, I’d say most of the people on your list can use these gadgets.

But they’ve been very popular items since the spring of 2020, so if you find them in stock, don’t wait to save a few bucks on Black Friday. They might be gone.

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