My home office – the peripherals

After talking about my new office desk, chair and monitor arm, I wanted to highlight the other tools on my desk.

Disclaimer: I’ve bought all my gear myself with my own, hard earned, money. So no sponsorship here! Which is why I can give you the good and the bad.

Because I like gaming and I love Logitech gear, I’ve got myself the G502 Hero gaming mouse. It’s a great mouse and I can’t decide if I like it more than my MX Master 2S. The G502 is attached to my desk and I use the MX when I take my laptop with me. The MX has a very long battery life and it can easily switch between multiple PC’s, but the G502 is a lot more sensitive and it’s a lot more customisable. For gaming, I love the G502, for coding and day to day use, I prefer the MX.

My keyboard is the Microsoft Comfort Curve 3000, there is already an upgrade: the Wireless Comfort Desktop 5050. I love the ergonomic design, it really is a lot more friendly on my wrists. I don’t think I want to go back to a normal keyboard. The keys type very smoothly. I just wish I could disable the CAPS LOCK KEY BECAUSE… damnit it happened again. That is a complaint irrespective of the type of keyboard; normal keyboards, ergonomic ones, they all still have a CAPS LOCK KEY… damnit. I think the Logitech Ergo K860 has the option to turn it off or remap it. That and it can switch between multiple PC’s like the MX Master 2S mouse.

To improve the video recording during teleconferences, I bought myself a Logitech BRIO webcam. This is a good upgrade from my laptop camera. The image looks more crisp and it recognises me in a flash. From friends I’ve heard that the image over Skype is not great, but I think that might be Skype as Teams, Zoom and Discuss do produce nice video. The audio is good, but I’ve heard that it’s a bit hollow compared to the mic on my headset.

My headset is a Logitech G933 surround sound one. I must say, that surround sound really is awesome. When I play video games, this really comes to life as I can clearly hear which direction the enemies are coming from. It’s comfortable, even when I game for a few hours (too few and far in between). The microphone is really superb as well. It captures a nice, warm sound and filters out background noise effortlessly.

The reason I focused so much on connecting to multiple PC’s earlier is because my laptop and PC share a desk. So I had to find a way to share my keyboard, mouse, headset and webcam between these two devices. Cue in the UGreen 2 In 4 Out USB Sharing Box. This little device allows me to plug in 4 USB devices: headset receiver, keyboard, mouse and webcam. With a single press of the button on top, I can switch to which device they are attached to. My PC streams to my screen on the Display Port input and my laptop connects via HDMI. Now I press the button on top of the UGreen box and I switch the input of the screen and I’m good to go. Unfortunately, I should have taken a bigger UGreen box, because if I want to share additional devices (say a USB microphone) I’ll have to start choosing.

The only thing that is directly plugged into my PC is my Logitech G13 gaming keyboard. I received this as a birthday gift from my wife. I was looking for something like this and I kept doubting. When my birthday rolled around, she presented it to me. I’ve used it for every game I’ve played since. I hope it doesn’t break as I don’t think they still make these. I can’t find a link to it on the Logitech site nor on local PC stores. The only reference I find is on Amazon for way too high a price. After a little fiddle with the key mappings, either to make a special profile for the game or to remap the keyboard config, I play way smoother with this device than any keyboard or gamepad. Best gift ever!

The last thing on my desk is the Roost laptop stand. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s the best laptop stand I’ve ever had. I’ve given my wife one a few years ago and it’s a very easy to set up stand. Much better control over the stands than the ones I’ve previously used in corporate settings. It also keeps a much better grip on my laptop.

Hopefully this series helps somebody make a decision while they are looking for a new keyboard or mouse, (standing) desk or ergonomic chair.

My home office – the chair

Last week, I wrote about the sturdy SmartDesk 2. This week, I review the comfortable new chair I’m sitting on while typing this. Oh, spoiler alert, the chair is living up to it’s expectations.

Disclaimer: I’ve bought all my gear myself with my own, hard earned, money. So no sponsorship here! Which is why I can give you the good and the bad.

The ErgoChair 2

The two ErgoChair 2 chairs were next to arrive, about one and a half month after ordering them. Before, I had a very comfortable Markus chair from Ikea (not the exact model as I bought mine about 8 years ago). It was a very comfortable chair, but I have to say that the ErgoChair 2 is an upgrade all around.

It started when I assembled the ErgoChair. The instructions are very clear and a lot of thought has gone into the assembly process. In a little over half an hour, I was done with one chair. The star of the show is the superb tool that is supplied. It makes tightening the bolts a breeze. No need to awkwardly grip the little metal tool that is normally supplied, with this tool the bolts are tightened in a flash.

The supplied tool

During assembly, I did make a silly mistake: I put the arm rests on backwards on the first chair. Luckily I saw my mistake as I put the cushion (with the armrests) down. Besides my little derp moment, assembly went as smooth as it could have.

Now that I’ve used the chair for the past 2 months, I can say it’s very pleasant to sit on. Almost everything can be adjusted. From the height of the chair, the headrest and the incline of the back, to the tilt of the cushion and back tilt tension. I’m not sure what that last one does, but it’s impressive. They even have a very good instruction video on what you can adjust and how to do it, because I didn’t even mention all the settings you can tinker with.

There is one minor point: the armrests. Like the rest of the chair, it’s very customisable. I can adjust the height and move the armrest itself horizontally in all directions. Here is my biggest annoyance so far: the armrests just slide around. Most adjustments such as moving the armrest or the headrest up and own, happen in stages. I can feel the clicks and stands as I move them. Not so when horizontally positioning the armrests. This is most distracting when I move my arm from my keyboard to my mouse or the other way. Then the armrest can change positions without intending to do it.

The top of the armrest is made of a soft kind of plastic which is nice to the touch, but some fabric or fake leather with a cushion would have been more comfortable. Especially when sitting in the chair for hours during a workday. I think it’s strange they did not use the same material of the cushion to make the armrest more comfortable.

Don’t get me wrong, the armrest is still comfortable and I love the chair. There’s a lot of thought put into this to make it as comfortable as possible. If the good folks at Autonomous add some cushion to the armrest, they’ll have the perfect chair.

Up next week: the monitor arm, again from the good folks over at Autonomous.

My home office – the desk

Since I’ve moved into a new house about a few months ago, I’ve upgraded my office quite a bit. Since writing about your office setup is such a big hit ever since Covid-19, I decided to add mine as well. I know I’m a bit late to the party, but then again, I only recently got all the parts in. So lets start with the standing desk.

Disclaimer: I’ve bought all my gear myself with my own, hard earned, money. So no sponsorship here! Which is why I can give you the good and the bad. I’m going to start with the new desk setup: a standing desk, ergonomic chair and monitor stand, all ordered from Autonomous. I ordered these parts 11th of June 2020.

My standing desk

The first item to arrive is the SmartDesk 2 Premium. Actually, that’s not true, the cable trays arrived after 2 weeks or so, but without the table, they are pretty much useless. Combined with the table though, they are really convenient. The tables arrived about a month after I ordered them.

A SmartDesk arrives in two packages. One is the table top, the other are the legs, the electronic buttons and all the screws. Putting it all together is very easy. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Except a Philips head screwdriver, all tools are supplied.

Assembly is almost a one man job. It starts with attaching the mechanical legs to an iron frame. Then comes a bit tricky part of attaching the frame to the table top. It’s a bit trial and error to get it aligned with the pre-drilled holes, but it’s not that hard. Then comes the part where I needed help: flipping the table. Because the legs are mechanical, they weigh quite a bit and the large surface of the table makes it unruly to grab. I think I could manage to do this on my own, but it was so much easier when my wife gave me a hand.

The cable trays can very easily be attached when the table is still upside down. I’m very happy that I ordered them as they are a great place to store excess cables, power strips and laptop chargers that don’t need to move every week.

For even more cable management, there are some zip ties with a sticky edge so I can attach the cables from the buttons to the underside of the table without them hanging in the way or taking up space in the cable trays. The only downside is that after about a month, the glue on my wife’s desk gave out. It’s easily fixed with some super glue, but it’s annoying to do after the table is in the upright position.

Left: the loose cables – Right: the fixed cables
Drag to see more of the pictures

Attaching the power cable for the legs and cables for the buttons is just plug and play. They look like pc power cable plugs, so they only attach one way. The console has up and down buttons, 4 numeric buttons (1 through 4) and an M button. After plugging in the table for the first time, I have to press the up and down button at the same time to reset the height. If there is ever a problem, this is how the table resets. Setting the table at the right height, is very easy. I just press the up and down buttons until it has the right height.

Programming the height is a bit strange and I did have to look it up. I first tried to press the number for a few seconds, but that did nothing. The correct way is to press the M button for several seconds until the height on the display starts blinking. Then I press the number I want to program. So I set the table at sitting height, pressed the M button until the display starts blinking and then pressed 1. Now button 1 is set to my sitting height. I did the same, but for standing height, for button 2. Now that these 2 heights have been programmed, it’s a breeze to operate.

The materials of the table are sturdy and have a high quality feel to it. I think this table will serve me well in the years to come. There are a lot of small, really nice touches. The two that stand out for me are the two holes drilled into the table for cable management and rounded edges that are really comfortable when resting my arms.

Next week I’ll write about my thoughts on the ergonomic chair that I ordered.