True techies shouldn't have an everyday, run-of-the-mill office.
If you consider yourself a computer-savvy individual or even an early adopter, one of the first places you should be exemplifying that is in your home office. Similar to a living room, which typically contains your flashy entertainment setup, your office is the perfect place to create a unique space outfitted with the cool devices and mind-blowing innovations.
From your printer to your computer to your desk, there are several ways you can upgrade your work zone in order to step out of the dark ages and jump into the future. All you need is the latest and greatest productivity tech. To help you figure out what to get, we've rounded up 10 gadgets that will reinvent your office and totally make it much better.
Reinvent the Office: Printers
A first-rate office needs a first-rate printer.
No matter how digital we've become, it seems there will always be a need for printing, copying, and faxing. Enter HP's Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdw. It's super fast, offers two-sided printing, supports wireless printing from your laptop and even your smart device, is capable of scanning documents and sending them to your email, USB, network folders, or the cloud, and of course it includes faxing to boot.
The LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdw is a true multi-functional printer. We've used it and are particularly impressed by the lightning-fast duplex printing, maximum paper storage (thanks to two trays), high-quality colour printing, and that nifty touch display that allowed to access menus and settings in no time. Oh, and printing straight from our smartphone only took a few steps.
This $629 machine is definitely built for home office use and would streamline your productivity to a level you've yet to even realise.
Reinvent the Office: Desks
We've actually got two desks to recommend here, based on preference.
If you're the type who is looking to remain active and get in shape while you work, the Rebel Treadmill and Desk Combination features a height-adjustable desk and a treadmill that goes up to 2 mph. The entire thing weighs 88 pounds and costs $1,400.
Now, for those of you on the other end of the spectrum, there's the $3,900 Altwork Station. It's meant to redefine how you sit at your desk, while even letting you recline with continuous comfort, but it supports standing as well. And rather than hunching over to reach your laptop, Altwork will hover your workstation wherever is most comfortable for you with a push of a button.
Reinvent the Office: Routers
We've all bought a single Wi-Fi router, stuck it in our home office, and just hoped it would blanket every inch of our house with connectivity. But that's hardly the case. Businesses, on the other hand, put several Wi-Fi access points around their buildings to ensure total connectivity. Luma takes what was previously only found at businesses and makes it available in your house.
You can buy multiple Luma routers (sold in a three-pack), place them in your office and throughout your home, and they will work together to form a single network (or "surround Wi-Fi"), but it's really a mesh network, which is what businesses use. Each Luma has two dual-band radios on 2.4GHz and 5Ghz bands using 802.11ac Wave 2. Now, beyond basic coverage stuff, the Luma is smart in that it can tell you what every device on your network is doing. And in real-time. You'll also be able to remotely control Luma.
A single router costs $99, while the three-pack is $249.
Reinvent the Office: Displays
We think every office should have a huge display for showing data, whether that be feeds, channel news, or your own company stats in real-time. Well, instead of buying a massive TV set, consider a 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector, like this $50,000 aluminium one from Sony.
It looks like a long cabinet you'd place up against a wall, but it actually features a modular design integrated into a single unit (two cabinets, two speakers, and one projector). With the 4K Ultra Short Throw projector, you can display anywhere from a 66-inch to a 147-inch image or video onto your wall . Because the cabinet sits near a wall, shadows won't interfere with the projection.
The projector is equipped with SXRD panels, so it boasts four times the resolution of HD. If that price tag is too much to handle though, Sony makes a portable version for $798 that projects an 1366x768 image up to 80 inches.
Reinvent the Office: Mounts
You probably have a monitor and a tablet just sitting on your desk.
If so, get the Loctek D7A+X1 Swivel Monitor Mount in order to elevate them and increase your productivity. It fits a computer monitor from 10 to 27 inches as well as tablets from 7 to 12 inches, allowing you to place both screens side by side (sort of like a dual display), and because this setup has a three-joint movable arm, you can place your screens in the most ergonomic position.
The Loctek costs $199 and includes ports for audio, mic, and USB 3.0.
Reinvent the Office: Security
With all this pricey technology stuffed into your home office, you really should get some sort of security or protection to prevent people from breaking into your private space and stealing your goods or even accessing your work data.
The 90K Lock is a $675 smart lock system that detects fingerprints in order to open the door. It also has a built-in mic and wide lens HD camera, so you can have a live video feed of anyone that rings the doorbell and then have a two-way video chat with them directly from your smartphone or tablet. It includes a traditional door handle and is available in gold, black, and nickel colour options.
Reinvent the Office: Tools
We wanted to include a smart pen of some sort, because let's face it, sometimes recording notes by hand is relaxing and just easier. But we found two distinct offerings that were hard to choose between, so we've included both. The IRISPen Air 7 costs 4149 and lets you wirelessly scan text. It connects to your device over Bluetooth and recognises both letters and numbers in over 130 languages in real-time.
You can use it on magazines, newspapers, textbooks, letters, or anything else with text. If you don't find yourself needing to scan text to often but would rather like a handwritten-to-type-like feature, the $169 Neo smartpen N2 is a writing tool that recognises pen pressure to provide an accurate copy of your written notes on your device. It stores up to 1,000 handwritten pages but also syncs Evernote and Google Drive.
Reinvent the Office: Lights
Why get an average lamp when you can get a smart lamp?
Sony's Multifunctional Light uses Toshiba's LED technology to shine a full spectrum of colourful light. But that's not what makes it so intriguing. It's packed with sensors not only for luminance but also built-in motion, temperature, and humidity. It even has a microSD memory slot, infrared controller, speaker, and a microphone. It has everything but the kitchen sink.
And all that tech allows it to connect to your smartphone or any other Wi-Fi enabled device, so you can control it remotely, set it up on a timer, or let it detect you. If the Multifunctional Light sees you enter a room, for instance, it can turn on your stereo or TV, adjust the air con or thermostat, double as a motion-detection alarm system, record and playback messages, etc.
Unfortunately, it's only coming to Japan sometime during the first six months of this year. No word yet on pricing either. No worries, though: Sony's Life Space UX arm makes other smart lights - available in the US and UK - that double as Bluetooth speakers.
Reinvent the Office: Assistants
The Amazon Echo is not just a speaker you can pair with your device to wirelessly play tunes over Bluetooth.
It's also packed with a personal assistant that can answer your questions, fetch audibooks and ebooks, create notes and shopping lists, and control smart home accessories - all via voice commands. Alexa is always listening too, so you just have to say her name and she wakes up. The actual device consists of a 9.25-inch tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece mic array and costs $180.
You'll also want a $99 Prime membership to get the most out of Echo.
Reinvent the Office: Conferences
We've used the HTC Vive headset, for instance, to customise a McLaren car, properly demo and shop for kitchen hardware, and even climb mount everest. We recommend picking up one of these headsets because we can imagine virtual conference calls one day being a thing. Imagine being able to strap on the Vive and virtually engage with your coworkers all from the solace of your home office.
This isn't just a pipe dream. All it takes is one developer to create a simple app. Maybe Microsoft-owned Skype will one day go VR. Better yet, it might go AR and create an experience suited for Microsoft's HoloLens headset.
This article has been created in partnership with HP.