Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd ANC

WiFi HiFi Holiday Gift Guide 2023: Gifts for Hybrid Workers

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, many companies are asking employees to come back to the office. If you’re one of the luck few who is still able to work from home either entirely or in part, you may be looking to create a better in-home workspace. These gifts are perfect for someone in that scenario.

Twelvesouth Curve

TwelveSouth Curve

The Twelvesouth Curve props your MacBook up to eye level so you can enjoy a more ergonomic experience and avoid slouching or adjusting the screen for an ideal camera angle for video calls and Zoom meetings. At US$60, it’s ideal for dual-screen set-ups. The classic matte black finish beautifully complements the MacBook while the white option is perfect for more modern workspaces.

Oakywood Desk Shelf

Oakywood Desk Shelf

Create a more stylish workspace at home with the Oakywood Desk Shelf ($190), which naturally features an oak finish coated with eco wax oil and complemented by black legs. It is wide enough to accommodate two screens or an ultra-wide monitor. The elevated design helps free up space underneath for storing items like notebooks or a wireless keyboard. It can hold up to 220 lbs. and pairs beautifully with a variety of other Oakywood desk accessories. Total heigh is 11 cm with 9cm of space beneath the shelf, and a tabletop that’s 1.8cm thick. The leg span is 72cm and the total length is 105 cm. Start measuring, stat!

ViewSonic VG245 Monitor

ViewSonic Surface certified monitor

This monitor is Designed for Surface approved and validated, so if you have a Microsoft Surface computer, it’s the perfect monitor for you. It uses USB-C connectivity to provides charging power, video, and audio over a single connector for convenience. This will also charge the Surface device without requiring an additional power cable. They also feature advanced ergonomic designs for a wide range of customizable adjustments for maximum comfort. The VG245 is a 24-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080p) IPS monitor with thin bezels. It includes USB-C connectivity for fast data, audio, and video transfer, and 60W charging over one cable. There’s also 60Hz refresh rate and 5ms G2G response time. Other connectivity options include HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, and USB-A/B. Along with advanced ergonomics (40-degree tilt, swivel, rotate and height), there’s also flicker-Free technology and a blue light filter for reduced eye fatigue. It sells for $329.

Satechi Dual Dock Stand

Satechi Dual Dock stand

Satechi always has great computer accessories, especially for MacBooks, and the Dual Dock Stand is a docking station with an NVMe SSD enclosure. Constructed from high-quality aluminum with a space-gray and black finish, there’s an array of connectivity options including multiple HDMI ports, USB-A ports, and USB-C data ports, along with an Ethernet port, DisplayPort, and USB-C power port to keep devices charged while working. Using the two HDMI ports and one DisplayPort, you can expand screen capacity at an impressive 4K/60Hz resolution. Connect up to two monitors in extended mode (limited to one external monitor for Mac M1/M2 systems), you can use two HDMI ports or a combination of one DisplayPort and one HDMI connection, allowing for a more personalized setup. It provides continuous power for MacBooks with a USB-C power port (input), delivering a strong 75W power delivery to stay charged throughout the workday. This port is designed exclusively for power supply and does not support data transfer or video output functionality. An SSD Enclosure at the bottom supports both NVMe and SATA SSDs. You can transfer large files and multimedia content in seconds with easy SSD installation thanks to the included screw and screwdriver. Expand the connectivity options with the Dual Dock’s two USB-C data ports, offering high-speed connectivity choices of 5Gbps and 10Gbps. The versatile docking station boasts an advanced ergonomic design built to seamlessly integrate with Apple and Windows laptops. This added elevation promotes efficient heat dissipation through strategically placed vents allowing for better performance, keeping the device cool even during intense usage. Compatible with a wide variety of systems, including Microsoft, Mac, and Lenovo devices, as well as other notebooks with a standard USB-C interface. get it for US$50.

Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd ANC True Wireless Earbuds

Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd ANC

True wireless earbuds aren’t just for use on the go: they can come in handy while working at home, too. The Beyerdynamic Blue Byrd ANC boast a neckband design, making it easy to pick up a phone call, listen to tunes, go for a run, and more, without having to remove them entirely and place them back in a case. They offer up to 14 hours of battery life, fast Bluetooth pairing, and ANC with a transparency mode. Push a button to block out unwanted noise from streets, commutes, or coffee shops. The ergonomically flat shape of the earbuds, combined with ear tips in various sizes, allows for long-lasting wearing comfort on-the-go or at home. Qualcomm aptX Adaptive, AAC, and Qualcomm cVc ensure precise audio playback and speech reproduction, says beyerdynamic. You’ll get the latest connectivity via Bluetooth 5.2, MFi certification, Amazon’s Alexa built-in, Google Fast Pair, and Siri. In the MIY app, Blue Byrd ANC includes extra features like the new Bluetooth over-the-air update and built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant. With a simple hearing test directly in the MIY app, you can customize your Blue Byrd ANC to suit your listening needs. Blue ByrdANC includes five pairs of ear tips, a carry case for traveling, a USB cable, and a Quick Start Guide. It’s also IPX4 certified and splash resistant. They are US$149.

Kensington MK7500F QuietType Pro Silent Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

Kensington Quiet Pro wireless keyboard

If you use a desktop at home or a wireless keyboard with your laptop, you’ll appreciate the Kensington MK7500F QuietType Pro Silent Wireless Mechanical Keyboard, which is quieter, sturdier, and more tactile than typical membrane office keyboards. Built-in meeting controls provide camera and audio controls to simplify and optimize the virtual meeting experience when using popular conferencing applications like Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Keys are engineered with Kailh Midnight Pro Silent Tactile Switches and sound dampening pads. It also employs an ergonomic design, including dual-position feet and a gel wrist rest. Equipped with an aluminum frame, laser-etched ABS keycaps, and a sealed IPX4-certified spill-proof design, the keyboard meets MIL-STD-810H Method 504.3 Contamination by Fluids. This means you can wipe down the keyboard with common household disinfectants without worrying about degrading the appearance or impacting the use of the keyboard. Connect up to five active devices to the keyboard, including three via Bluetooth, one using the included 2.4GHz USB receiver for a connection up to 32 feet away, and one using the included USB-A cable to use and charge the keyboard at the same time. Government-grade 128-bit AES encryption prevents keystrokes from being intercepted. Compatible with popular video conferencing applications like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, the keyboard features dedicated meeting keys that enable you to automatically bring virtual meeting software to the foreground and instantly toggle between talk/mute and video on/off. Four reprogrammable hot keys offer quick access to additional shortcuts for Windows and macOS, and optional Kensington Konnect software allows for programming additional keys, creating macros, adjusting key mappings, managing profiles, and more.

Beyerdynamic Space Max Speakerphone

Beyerdynamic Space Max

Perfect for handling a conference call at home or a remote office with a group of workers, the Beyerdynamic Space Max speakerphone (US$399) is a plug-and-play solution, a two-way speaker system with 360° Smart Mic technology for maximizing speech intelligibility and freedom of movement during calls or meetings with up to six participants. It’s officially certified for Zoom and compatible with Microsoft Teams, allowing you to start phone calls and virtual or hybrid meetings quickly and easily. It easily connects to laptops, smartphones, and tablets via USB or Bluetooth. Android device pairing is expedited with Google Fast Pair, and the included USB cable and USB-C to USB-A adapter allows for connecting to a multitude of devices. An optional USB WL adapter is available to enhance compatibility between the speakerphone and communication apps. It has an antibacterial surface, illuminated LED panel, and is IP64 certified.

Samsung M80C Smart Monitor

Samsung M8 monitor

Go smart with your home monitor with the Samsung M80C, which comes in a 32-inch size with UHD resolution and 400 nits of brightness. Available in Warm white, Daylight blue, Sunset pink, or Spring green to match every home office décor, it’s ultra-slim at just 11.39mm at its thinnest point. An organic, herringbone pattern has been applied to the back of both models as well, for an elegant look in the home office. The height-adjustable stand with tilt support that comes with the monitor can be used to adjust the angle while creating a clutter-free environment. The screen can also pivot 90 degrees to reduce the fatigue of scrolling through long files. As the highest end option in the line, it offers 4K resolution with HDR 10+ along with the increased brightness. It also provides access to the Samsung Gaming Hub as well as a Smart Hub to tap into services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and YouTube during downtime. Enjoy colour coverage up to 99% sRGB colour gamut to bring all content to life in brilliant colour, ideal for designers and creators. There’s also a magnetic, removable Slim Fit camera that supports FHD resolution and video conferencing features. You can connect to Google Meet and other apps while leveraging Auto Framing capabilities for more effective meetings as well. Additionally, Multi View has been upgraded, and now allows you to use Microsoft 365 and the Browser app in full screen mode to reduce switching between apps. Mouse and keyboard control functionality has been added to many apps, including SmartThings and Smart Hub. You can maintain full control while exploring favourite content without needing a remote. Additionally, you can control in-home connected devices right from the monitor thanks to the built-in IoT Hub, which supports both Zigbee and Thread. There’s also built-in voice assistants, including Bixby and Amazon Alexa so you can control it by voice. Far-field voice is also supported with a built-in mic, allowing you to speak directly to the monitor.

Kensington H3000 Bluetooth Over-Ear Headset

Kensington H3000

The Kensington H3000 Bluetooth over-ear headset will be a dream for anyone who is on calls all day while working from home. I reviewed a pair earlier this year and absolutely loved them. One of the first headsets certified in the “Engineered for Intel Evo Laptops Bluetooth accessories program,” the H3000 combines AI and noise-cancellation technologies to provide a premium audio experience and ensures optimal sound performance regardless of the surrounding work environment. It is powered by a rechargeable battery that provides up to 60+ hours for music and up to 40+ hours of calls and can be used with Kensington’s K83300WW Universal 3-in-1 Pro Audio Headset Switch for instant and seamlessly switching among up to three devices. It sells for about $110.

LG Gram 17Z90R Laptop

LG Gram laptops

Go big or go home, right? While LG offers multiple sizes in its Gram laptop line, we recommend the 17Z90R for work-from-homers who need to be able to access work files like if they were at the office. It’s ultra-lightweight and compact, sports long battery life, and features enhanced speed, strength, and connectivity. Boasting a 13th Gen Intel Core processor, LPDDR5 6000 MHz RAM, and upgraded cooling system, it has received MIL-STD-810H military durability test certification. The 17-inch (17Z90R) model has a variable refresh rate ranging from 31Hz to 144Hz, as well as NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 4GB laptop GPU and 400nits brightness with an anti-glare IPS display. There’s also enhanced smart security: it will lock itself and send an alert when it senses abnormal situations, such as a loss of the device. New to the LG gram this year, Intel Unison lets you place the LG gram at the centre of a work or entertainment setup and sync with other devices. Receive notifications, like phone calls or messages, from synced devices on a laptop for increased visibility. As well, all models support Thunderbolt 4 and HDMI connectivity, and the ultra-compact adapter offers more flexibility and portability with the same power at a fraction of the size. They also promise crisper and clearer sound thanks to Dolby Atmos audio and Smart Amp speakers.

Kensington MagPro Elite Magnetic Privacy Screens

Kensington privacy screen

Kensington offers these privacy screens for a multitude of computers, and this year, the newest versions are for the Studio Display (K50740WW), iMac 24” (K55170WW), and MacBook Air 2022 (K58374WW). I reviewed it for my MacBook Pro, however, and found it perfect for those evenings when I’m working from a local coffee shop. Privacy screens help protect you against visual hacking, when nefarious individuals view and access, even take photos of, confidential or sensitive data while you work in a public space, or even your own office. These sceeens are easy to install, detach, and reattach, limiting viewing angles by as much as +/- 30° while also reducing harmful blue light by up to 30%. The low reflective coating, with one side that has a matte finish, helps ease eye strain and diminish glare from outside light sources while the other glossy side helps provide a clear view of the monitor or screen. The screens also serve another purpose: protecting the screen from scratches, dust, and smudges. Even with the privacy screen attached, the MacBook can close completely to enter sleep mode.

NewQ 16-in-1 USB-C Docking Station

NewQ docking station

The NewQ 16-in-1 USB-C docking station provides users with 150W power delivery, 16 commonly used ports, super-fast file transfer, and support for triple 4K monitors in Windows, Mac OS and Steam OS. Using the DisplayLink technology, the docking station can extend up to three 4K@60Hz monitors quickly and easily. An advantage of DisplayLink is that it can expand two monitors at 4K 60Hz resolutions. It has a pair of HDMI, one DP, one USB-C 3.0, two USB-A 3.0, two USB-A 2.0, one Gigabit Ethernet, one SD card slot, one TF slot, two 3.5mm audio, one USB-C PD Out, and one USB-A PD out. By using its USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 port, you can transfer large files in seconds. The station supports up to 10Gbps data transfer speed. With safety features built-in, the docking station has excellent cooling performance to ensure it remains stable and reliable, along with an aluminium alloy shell, ample space within its case, and a high-efficiency chip. The docking station can also provide up to 96W to a laptop and can charge a smartphone with its 18W PD-out. Audio is also taken care of with dual 3.5mm ports, providing 48k stereo sound. Grab one for US$200.

Gry mattr and ergoCentric Longevity Ergonomic Desk

Staples Canada Longevity desk
Staples Canada launches Longevity™, Canada’s best ergonomic desk, in collaboration with gry mattr and ergoCentric. Premium hybrid work solution to be previewed at Interior Design Show ’23 in Toronto. (CNW Group/Staples Canada ULC)

Launched in partnership with Staples Canada, the gry mattr and ergoCentric Longevity ergonomic desk was designed by Joe Mimran and furniture manufacturer ergoCentric. The height-adjustable desk is one of Staples’ first Hybrid Certified products, and it’s designed to reduce stress and increase productivity while also providing a healthier workplace. You can adjust the desk between seated and standing positions to help improve circulation throughout the body. It uses up and down controls with three-position memory. The motors are quiet so there’s a smooth transition while the desk itself offers a minimal and sleek design. Pick one up for someone special at Staples Canada locations for $900.

Austere VII Series Power 8-Outlet

Austere VII power

Power up all your devices with the cleanly designed Austere VII Series Power, which comes with 8 outlets, including Omniport USB and 45W USB-C PD ports. Available for US$230, it offers surge protection, isolated outlet filtration, and flameless MOV protection. The outlets are nicely spaced so you can fit larger adapters side by side while the design would look elegant both atop a desk or under it. The Omniport USB has five rapid charging ports, including a pair of USB-A and three USB-C, each of which delivers up to 2.4 amps of charging power while also protecting low voltage devices. The product even comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Clickr Pebbled Lines Universal Stand

Clickr universal stand

I use a stand like this on my iPhone whenever I’m using my iPhone in my home office, whether it’s to use the calculator, view data, or I’m using a second screen experience. Available in a variety of colours and designs, The US$15 universal stand affixes to the back of any smartphone or smartphone case using strong 3M adhesive, sitting flush against it until you pull it out to reveal a handy kickstand. The loop can be used as a handle for holding the phone as well. For the best experience, the company recommends using this with a smooth, hard-shell case.

EcoTank ET-4850 Wireless Colour All-in-One Cartridge-Free Supertank Printer 

Epson EcoTank ET-4850

I have been using an Epson EcoTank printer in my home office for years and absolutely love it. You get the benefit if easy operation, intuitive interface, and Wi-Fi connectivity. But most important is that it uses ink reservoirs that only need to be refilled every few years or so, depending on how much and how often you print. What’s more, the ink refill bottles don’t cost much more (or about the same) as a standard ink cartridge. You pay more upfront but save a ton in the long run. You don’t have to worry that your kids printing school projects will use up your ink at the worst time when you need to print a report for a meeting or deadline. The newer ET-4850 model features the ink reservoirs on the front for easier access. At $600, it’s more than you’d probably like to spend on a printer. But it pays for itself in five years time when you realize you’ve only spend about $100 on ink versus $100 every two-to-three months.