The WFH splurge guide: You are probably missing out on this cool tech ensemble - Hindustan Times
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The WFH splurge guide: You are probably missing out on this cool tech ensemble

Dec 28, 2021 11:49 PM IST

Never before did webcams (either the ones integrated into laptops and tablets or the external peripherals) get as much attention and result in as much utility as the world we live in now.

The idea of work from home (WFH) is here to stay with the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. And it may be time to look for tools for efficient WFH multitasking that also take care of your health:

Here’s a five-point work from home WFH tech ensemble that you can consider (HT Image)
Here’s a five-point work from home WFH tech ensemble that you can consider (HT Image)

Second display: ViewSonic VG1655

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At times the display is not enough as you struggle to switch between active apps on a busy workday. How about something that can be a second screen for not just your laptop or PC, but also your Android tablet, Windows 11 (or Windows 10) convertible, and even your Android phone or Apple iPhone?

The ViewSonic VG1655 is a 16-inch IPS display. Not just your tablet, this will be larger than most laptops. And definitely a large screen companion for your phone. This connects with the source device with the USB-C cables. Weighing less than a kg, it is 6.9mm thick for the most part and you can configure this for use horizontally or vertically. The device is quite bright and crisp. The Full HD resolution should work for most users. This is a serious investment with a price tag of around 22,699.

Uniform illumination: BenQ ScreenBar Plus

Desk lamps take space on your desk. The spread of light on the workstation desk and indeed the desktop or laptop is also uneven. The latter, because the source of light sits on one side of the desk unless you keep two lamps. For Windows desktop PC and Apple iMac users, BenQ’s ScreenBar Plus can clip onto the top of the display for top-down (evenly spread) lighting on the entire desk and the screen you are looking at too.

For controls, there is an easy-to-use dial to work your way around and auto-brightness too, which is relevant if you use this as the day transitions into the evening and then sundown. But this feature can be turned off as well. The clip design is quite slick and factors in differing thickness and design curves, which means it will be easily mountable on most displays. The throw of the light is towards you as you sit, and wide as well, which means even large workstation tables will be easily covered. It does not really have many rivals, and the utility should justify the 12,990 price for most users.

External storage: Western Digital WD My Passport SSD

If you are not using an external storage drive to regularly back up your files and data or to back up your Windows PC or Mac, you are making a mistake. Two possible reasons why you are ignoring the good old storage drives—you are not backing up your data at all, or you are relying heavily on cloud storage. If the latter is the reason, remember that is heavily dependent on good internet connectivity which may fail you when it is crunch time.

Western Digital’s WD My Passport SSD is one of the better solid-state drives (SSDs). Quite compact too, it is smaller than your smartphone, with drop and vibration resistance. Simply put, it likely would not break if you accidentally slide it off the workstation desk. Prices start around 6,900 (this is available in capacities between 500GB and 4TB). The theoretical data read and write top speeds of around 1000MB/s are fast for an SSD. Since there are no moving parts, compared with older generation hard drives (also known as HDDs), these are more reliable over time.

Webcam: Anker Powerconf C300

Never before did webcams (either the ones integrated into laptops and tablets or the external peripherals) get as much attention and result in as much utility as the world we live in now. One of the good options to have for video calls and for your child’s online classroom is the Anker Powerconf C300. On the spec sheet, this ticks off most of what you will want and need. 1080p Full HD resolution, 60 frames per second refresh rate for smooth video calls, and low-light boost in case you are doing the video call in a dimly lit room.

The interesting bit is the artificial intelligence or AI aspect. This monitors your video feed and any changes in lighting to tweak the colour depth and warmth. This theoretically should have a positive impact on skin tones. Then there is the small matter of exposure, which will determine illumination, contrast, and shadows in your video frame, as others see it. Last but not least is a physical privacy shutter slider too. The Anker Powerconf C300 does not come cheap with a price tag of around 9,500 but you do get the Zoom Certified stamp of approval.

Lighting it up: Xiaomi Mi Smart Desk LED Lamp 1S

The Mi Smart LED Desk Lamp 1S is one of the better lighting options for your home workstation desk, than you may otherwise find in the price range of what this costs—around 2,899. You get a lot of bells and whistles with this. Smart app control, voice commands (works with Alexa, Siri, and Assistant), adjust the light colour temperature, the brightness, a focus mode, and a computer mode that specifically claims to reduce blue light.

It has an all-metal casing, which should be good for longevity and robustness. What we really appreciate are the compact dimensions of the base, which means this would not take up too much space on your workstation. The maximum brightness is 520 lumens from the 10-watt LED array. The single physical knob on the lamp is convenient to change modes and brightness if you are not using the smart features at some point. Most rivals, of which you will find plenty on shopping websites, miss out on smart features and also do not offer flicker-free lighting. The latter should help reduce headaches.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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