Jack Wallen shares his picks for the best keyboard, monitor and headphones to use when you’re working from home.
I’ve been working from home as a writer for over a decade, which has given me certain insights into the remote work setup. One of the most glaring points that I realized very quickly is that the right technology can seriously improve your remote workflow. That means everything from the choice of desk, computer, speakers, microphones, printers, wireless router and much more.
But there are three pieces of technology that you might not always consider when setting up your best remote work setup: The keyboard, headsets and monitor you choose can help you more than you think.
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The right keyboard can not only help you type faster — and with more accuracy — but also keep those wrists from aching at the end of the day. The right monitor will prevent eye strain and give you enough screen real estate to have all your necessary apps open at once. The right headphones can not only help you hear those meetings with more clarity, but they can also cancel out extraneous family noise so you can keep concentrating.
To that end, I’ve selected what I believe to be the best choices that will help bring your remote work setup to heightened levels of productivity and lessen the frustration you experience. Let’s get to the winners of these three categories.
Keyboard: Ultimate Hacking Keyboard
The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard is by far the best keyboard I’ve ever used. Although it did take some getting used to due to its lack of traditional cursor keys and the addition of the Mod key, once my mind and fingers became accustomed to the layout, all other keyboards now seem antiquated and poorly designed.
This split-design keyboard makes it possible for you to move each half to the perfect spot, so your wrists and fingers can type without stress. The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard makes it such that you have to depend on a mouse much less than you would with a traditional keyboard. And the fact that the keyboard can easily switch between layouts — such as QWERTY and Dvorak — and is fully programmable means you can customize the UHK to perfectly fit your needs. You’ll also find attachable modules available to add a trackpad, extra keys, trackback, and a track pointer.
When you go to purchase the UHK, you can choose between eight different key switches to ensure your keyboard is ideal for fingers. Finally, the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard is built like an absolute tank, which means you can pound away at these keys eight hours a day, seven days a week, and not worry that it’s going to cave under the massive strength of your digits. The fact that the new models also include backlit keys are a bonus for those that like to type in darker environs. If there’s only one keyboard I could recommend to anyone, it would be the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard.
Cost: $320.00 and worth every penny.
Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM5
Under normal circumstances, my go-to headphone recommendation is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X. However, this is about the best tech for a remote work setup, which requires a bit more from headphones — specifically, noise cancellation.
The Sony WH-100XM5 is one of the most highly recommended pairs of headphones on the market. Why? First and foremost, the sound is pretty spectacular. No, these headphones won’t beat the likes of a pair from Focal, but we’re not looking to pay five or six figures for headphones. Instead, thanks to eight microphones, these workhorse headphones offer some of the best noise cancellations on the market while optimizing the sound you hear based on your environment.
If you’re looking for simply the best headphones for music and conference calls, and aren’t looking to spend thousands of dollars on a premium, audiophile pair, then The WH-1000XM5 is your best bet. These wireless Bluetooth headphones enjoy up to 30 hours of playtime from a full charge and with just three minutes of quick charging, you’ll get three hours of battery life. You can also connect these headphones to multiple devices, meaning you can use them in your office (connected to your desktop) and then take them on the road (connected to a laptop or phone).
Monitor: Samsung Odyssey G7
Besides offering an incredibly sharp picture, one of the best things about the Samsung Odyssey G7 is that it offers a 1000R panel, which means it matches the curvature of the human eye. What that will do is not only give you a better immersion into your work and play, it will also help reduce eye strain after eight or nine hours of staring.
The Odyssey G7 also happens to be really fast, with a 240Hz refresh rate, support for NVIDIA G-SYNC and FreeSync Premium Pro — which means you won’t suffer from dropped frames in video and/or games — as well as a 1ms response time and 1.7 times the pixel density of Full HD monitor. So not only is this WQHD monitor visually stunning, it can keep up with just about anything you throw at it. Your blacks will be blacker, your whites will be whiter and your colors more accurate.
If you’re serious about working from home, you need the right technology. The three options above will serve you very well. If you have the budget, I highly recommend you purchase each item on this list. If you can only go with one, I’d choose the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, as that will make the most difference in your workflow. Ideally, however, you’ll go with each to dramatically improve your remote work setup.