Laptop Mag’s Ultimate Home Office Awards

 

Nearly two years in a pandemic and we’ve learned to work differently. Working from the comfort and safety of our homes has forced many to work smarter, not harder. And as we begin to make the leap into hybrid working solutions, you need gadgets that are as versatile and forward thinking as you are.

Thankfully, there are plenty of gadgets that fit the bill. From PCs to peripherals and everything in between, there are a host of devices that are up for the rigorous demands of work. And a vast majority can also be used for play during your downtime. And that’s what the Ultimate Home Office awards are all about. We wanted to highlight the gear that’s making your work situation easier and more productive whether you’re WFH, hybrid or back in the office full time.

We evaluated more than 100 products that were submitted for our Ultimate Home Office Awards. We judged based on several criteria, including quality, performance and what kind of value they delivered to the work experience. In the end, we decided on 23 winners that can turn any office into a lean, mean productivity machine. Without further adieu, meet the winner of the 2022 Ultimate Home Office Awards.

Best overall laptop: Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Not too big, not too small, it’s just right. The Dell XPS 15 sits in the sweet spot of the XPS line, delivering a gorgeous 4K display, comfortable keyboard and plenty of multitasking power. And with an Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti GPU, you can do some light gaming when you’re done working. And with over 10 hours of battery life, you can put in a bit of overtime. Best of all, it’s extremely light, so it’s a great choice for those of us currently working in a hybrid setup.

Best business laptop: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

If we’re talking about business, it’s only right that Lenovo sits somewhere on this list. The ThinkPad brand is practically synonymous with business. Weighing in at a featherlight 2.5 pounds, the convertible Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is ideal for working from home or traveling to the office. Inside the elegant black matte chassis, you’ll find a beautiful 14-inch display and a powerful Intel Core i7 processor with Intel integrated graphics. Plus, it has a host of security features and boasts a whopping 15.5 hours of battery life.

Best 2-in-1 laptop: MSI Summit E14 Flip Evo

MSI Summit E14 Flip Evo (Image credit: MSI)

You might know MSI for its gaming laptops, but it’s time you pay attention to its productivity-focused laptops. Case in point, the MSI Summit E14 Flip Evo is a versatile 2-in-1 laptop that is portable, elegant and powerful. The laptop is outfitted with the latest 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with integrated graphics, a 14-inch QHD panel and Windows Hello-supported security features as well as TPM 2.0. And in case your laptop is lost or stolen, it has location tracking technology courtesy of Tile.

Best laptop for creators: Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel

Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Creative professionals, meet your new best friend. The Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel is a result of outside-the-box thinking. Going beyond your average 2-in-1 laptop, the specialized hinges on the display let you pull it forward to use it well, as an easel. It’s an innovative twist that many artists will enjoy, especially with the built-in pen. Spec-wise, you’re looking at an Intel Core i7 processor with Intel integrated graphics. And since this is targeting creatives, you’ve got a lovely 15.6-inch, 4K display to help bring your ideas to life.

Best chromebook: Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5

Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Yes, people are using Chromebooks in a professional setting. And it’s easy to see why with the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5. It’s immensely stylish with its two-toned rear panel and fabric backed keyboard. And if that’s not enough to turn heads, the 13-inch system has a jaw-dropping OLED touchscreen. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor, the Chrome OS stunner lasts over 13 hours on a charge so you can transition seamlessly from work to some much-deserved downtime.

Best webcam: Lumina 4K webcam

Lumina 4K webcam (Image credit: Lumina)

If you want to level up your Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams meetings, the Lumina 4K is an excellent choice. With crystal clear 4k resolution, excellent low light performance and speedy autofocusthe all metal Lumina will take your videos to the next level. We were really impressed with how the webcam reproduces skin tone. Lumina also features DSLR quality imaging and AI-powered autofocus that follows you and keeps you the center of attention. That is when you’re not staring at the webcam itself which is available in Rose Gold, Silver, Atomic Grey and Gold.

Best USB mic: Hyper X Duocast

Hyper X Duocast (Image credit: HyperX)

Are you thinking about streaming or maybe finally starting that podcast? The HyperX Duocast USB mic is a solid choice. The mic  looks and feels like a professional device, and once plugged in, it shows off its RGB lighting and gaming roots. With two polar patterns, tap to mute, and a shock mount, you’ll be recording and streaming in a matter of minutes with this plug-and-play USB mic.

Best charger: Monoprice Wireless Charger

Monoprice Wireless Charger (Image credit: Monoprice)

The Monoprice wireless charger is one of our favorites because of its all-black modern understated styling that keeps a low profile in any work area. The Qi-certified 15W fast charging is perfect to charge your smartphone, wireless earbuds, and wireless charging capable tablets. It’s a great accessory to keep the important devices that help you work, topped off and ready to go.

Best headphones: Shure Aonic 40

Shure Aonic 40 (Image credit: Shure)

The Shure Aonic 40 over-ear wireless deliver a clean natural audio experience, but don’t skimp on the bass, pump out  powerful distortion-free lows. And the  highs and mids are just as impressive. Though they look heavy, the sturdy aluminum headphones are actually very comfortable, very stylish, with easy-to-use controls on each earcup. Also, you have the user-friendly Shure companion app to kick up the audio experience to another level. And you get 25 hours which will get you through half the work week.

Best USB dock: Kingston Workflow Station

Kingston Workflow Station (Image credit: Kingston)

The Kingston Workflow Station is the gadget you didn’t know you need it until you get your hands on it. It’s ideal for content creators who spend their time shooting tons of photos and video. Not only does it take up minimal desk space, it has four interchangeable pods that you canjust pop into the base unit and go through all the files via SD, micro SD and also add extra USB Type A and Type C ports. But the game changer is when you learn , you can just grab one of the pods and take it with you when out in the field and use it as a normal card reader that plugs into your laptop via USB-C cable. The Workflow improves your workflow at home or in the field, and makes handling your media a breeze. If you’re a home-based content creator, you’ll be glad you have one on your desk.

Best keyboard: Razer Pro Type Ultra

Razer Pro Type Ultra (Image credit: Razer)

The Razer Pro Type Ultra is a gorgeous all-white mechanical keyboard designed for the business space. It’s wired, wireless (2.4Ghz), and Bluetooth enabled, providing over 200 hours of lifetime before it needs a charge. Don’t worry about your neighbors calling you noisy, because these keys are damn near silent thanks to the sound dampening foam built into the keyboard. Each key is lined with a fingerprint-resistant, soft-touch coating, making each stroke feel better than the last. And with its soft, cushioned wrist rest, it’s easily one of the most comfortable keyboards to type on.

Best mouse: Lenovo Go Wireless Vertical Mouse

Lenovo Go Wireless Vertical Mouse (Image credit: Lenovo)

The Lenovo Go Wireless Vertical Mouse is primarily designed with comfort in mind. Tilted at a 45-degree angle, the mouse is designed to imitate the posture of a handshake. We’ve seen mice like this before, but this is rather affordable and feels unique thanks to its eco-friendly cork chassis. It even has a liquid and UV resistant coating, so it’s easy to clean, which is important in the world we currently live in.

Additionally, it features an on-the-fly DPI adjustment, which’ll get you up to 2400 DPI. And there are a total of six buttons on this mouse, three of which are programmable. This mouse will last you eight hours throughout the day, so you don’t have to worry about it dying on the work day — if it does, that means it’s time to clock out.

Best headset: HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless

HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless (Image credit: HyperX)

You cannot go wrong with a HyperX headset, especially the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless. This black-and-red thing of beauty is built up of premium metals and pleathers that wrap your ears in a cloud of comfort. It is the first gaming headset with over 300 hours of battery life — get ready to game for weeks without needing a single charge.

Combine that with HyperX’s dual chamber drivers, you’ll enjoy the sweet mids and highs while also capturing those bass-heavy lows.The things that make it great for gaming also make it great for video conferencing. And speaking of gaming, this headset rocks DTS Headphone:X Spatial Audio, which provides precise sound localization, meaning that you’ll always know where those footsteps are coming from.

Best standing desk: Vari Curve Electric Standing Desk

Vari Curve Electric Standing Desk (Image credit: Vari)

While there are dozens of electric standing desks on the market, the Vari Curve Electric Standing Desk stands out for home office use due to its ease of assembly, excellent looks and comfortable design. The desk supports up to 200 pounds and can adjust from 25 inches all the way up to 50.5 inches to find the perfect height for you to work while standing or seated.

The name gives away the unique feature of the Vari Curve versus Vari’s other standing desk as it features a gently curved and rounded front that makes it easier to access the full desktop and more comfortable to lean against as you work standing. The durable black laminate finish should hold up well to years of use and the 60 x 30-inch desktop features integrated cable management to keep your workspace looking tidy.

Best smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S22

Samsung Galaxy S22 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Samsung’s most affordable flagship of 2022 is the best smartphone for people that work from home. It offers a gorgeous 120Hz display and a massively upgraded camera system over last year’s model, meaning you are much closer to the performance of the Galaxy S22 Ultra while saving hundreds of dollars. Samsung’s security and software support are second to none on Android and guarantees your data will stay safe. Samsung’s DeX Mode will even let you use your phone as a laptop replacement by connecting to a display and thanks to the powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor it will keep up with any productivity tasks you throw at it.

Best router: Asus ZenWiFi ET8

Asus ZenWiFi ET8 (Image credit: Asus)

The Asus ZenWiFi ET8 is the best wi-fi router for your home office. And with the twin routers, it covers an impressive 5,500 square feet if you have a larger home or want to work in your backyard or porch. The clean white minimalist design will let you place the ET8 in a more centralized or visible location without worrying about your house looking like a data center.

Powerful anti-malware tools and parental controls will keep your network safe and free from being overwhelmed by your kids if you need to prioritize your bandwidth. The ET8 supports Wi-Fi 6E speeds that should meet your needs for years to come. Each of the nodes features a 2.5Gbps WAN port, three 1Gbps LAN ports, a USB 3.1 port for connecting to smart home or other devices.

Best must-have gadget: Razer Anzu Smart Glasses

Razer Anzu Smart Glasses (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Razer is always thinking of ways to alleviate the pain points of gaming, and this time, the gaming hardware giant launched a new, stylish product that minimizes the negative effects of staring at a fast-moving display for hours and hours on end. Meet Razer’s Anzu Smart Glasses, spectacles that are designed to reduce eyestrain by filtering 35% of blue light that emanates from screens. It’s great for both gaming and work.

The glasses also provide a hands-free experience for taking calls and listening to audio. Equipped with an omnidirectional mic and built-in speakers, the Anzu Smart Glasses can come in handy for video conferencing. Using the sleek touch interface, you can play or pause music, change tracks, manage calls and invoke your phone’s voice assistant (e.g., Hey Siri!). The stylish spectacles come in two designs: round for a modern Harry Potter look and rectangular for those who prefer angular frames.

Best monitor overall: Samsung M8 Smart Monitor

Samsung M8 Smart Monitor (Image credit: Samsung)

You might think “home office awards” implies we would have a slightly humbler monitor selection, but we’re flying straight to the moon with this one. The 32-inch Samsung M8 4K Smart Monitor is an absolute must-buy for anyone willing to spend extra cash on something that will last. This is an all-in-one system that can browse the web, utilize Microsoft 365 programs and connect to Samsung mobile devices. It’s ideal for anyone looking to increase productivity without needing an expensive tower. And of course, HD is fine and all, but nothing beats your first time absorbing the unmatchable brilliance of an ultra high definition display with HDR capabilities.

Best monitor for graphic designers: ProArt Display PA328QV

ProArt Display PA328QV (Image credit: ProArt)

The ProArt Display PA328QV caught our eyes, literally and figuratively. It is 31.5 inches of beauty stuffed into a 2560 x 1440-pixel, 75Hz refresh rate panel. This is a display that will appeal to content creators and professional artists — it covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut and offers a Delta-E color accuracy of less than two. Finally, it’s a Calman-verified display, which further proves that the panel produces colors that are true and accurate. I/O offerings include a DisplayPort, an HDMI port, an earphone jack and a USB hub. For flexibility, the ProArt Display PA328QV features an ergonomic stand with tilt, pivot, swivel and height adjustment. And yes, it’s VESA-mount compatible.

Best 4K monitor: LG UltraFine “Ergo” 4K Monitor

LG UltraFine “Ergo” 4K Monitor (Image credit: LG)

The LG UltraFine “Ergo” 4K Monitor is an excellent pick for graphic designers and multimedia creators looking to get the most out of their display. The 32-inch, 3840×2160 IPS screen should be more than enough for your artistic needs. Even if you’re just planning to use Microsoft’s 365 Suite or primarily focus on document-based work, having such a gorgeous display for when you jump to 4K-supported film or TV shows is absolutely worth it. And the best aspect of this package is the advanced stand, which lets the monitor extend, retract, swivel, height, pivot and tilt. If you need to keep one part of your desk free, the support can remain entirely on one part of your desk and stay unobstructive.

Best earbuds: 1More EVO Earbuds

1More EVO Earbuds (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

When it comes to wireless earbuds, there are more than enough contenders equipped with flagship features like active noise cancellation (ANC), hi-res audio, and long battery life — all in a sleek, comfortable design. The problem is, they come with a flagship-level price tag. That’s not the case for the 1More Evo earbuds.

These sub-$200 ANC champs offer incredible sound, stylish looks, powerful ANC, and a great battery life, and you’d struggle to find better earbuds than these in the upper mid-range price range. They offer up to 5.5 hours of listening time, extended up to 20 hours thanks to its portable charging case. With 10mm dynamic and a balanced armature driver in each bud that gives the highs and lows better separation, these offer a crisp, expressive sound profile not to be sniffed at.

Best external storage: Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD

Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD (Image credit: Samsung)

External SSDs are the unsung heroes of storage on nearly every in an office. There are plenty of them out there, but none can quite match the style, durability, and portability of the Samsung T7 Portable SSD. With stand-out sequential read/write speeds of 1,050/1,000MB/s thanks to a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port, AES 256-bit hardware encryption, and an IP65 rating offering stellar dust, water and drop resistance, this speedy SSD is a hard nut to crack. Perfect for on-the-move content creators, photographers of the great outdoors, and anyone who needs up to 2TB of storage, you can nab the Samsung T7 Shield Portable SSD  in a different array of stylish colors.

Best mini PC: Asus Mini PC PN51

Asus Mini PC PN51 (Image credit: Asus)

Who needs a full-blown desktop PC when the mighty Asus Mini PC PN51 knocks it out of the park? Desk real estate is an important factor in any home office setup. However, just because the ultracompact PN51 is small doesn’t mean it’s sacrificing power. On the contrary, it sports an AMD Ryzen 5000U CPU with Radeon Vega 7 graphics, quad-display support with resolutions up to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution via four video outputs, and houses a dual-storage design supporting up to a 1TB M.2 SSD and a 1 TB 2.5-inch hard disk drive.

Better yet, it can even pump out 8K visuals at up to 30Hz via its DisplayPort 1.4 port, and up to 60Hz through DisplayPort Dual-Mode (DP++). Along with its integrated Intel Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, plus a built-in SD card reader, Asus’ Mini PC deserves a (small) spot on anyone’s desk.

Best audio peripheral: Questyle M15 mobile DAC

(Image credit: Questyle)

The M15 mobile DAC solves the impracticality issue of lugging traditional hi-fidelity audio equipment while you’re on-the-go. Questyle condensed the ultimate portable audio experience into a compact, mobile DAC and amp. The M15 offers best-in-class fidelity and unparalleled performance, allowing you to enjoy music — or whatever else you like to listen to while you’re out and about — to the fullest. It also supports and decodes FLAC, MQA, ALAC and other lossless formats. It also boasts long battery life, low power consumption, excellent thermals, so you can enjoy high-fidelity audio anytime and anywhere.

Best conferencing speaker: Anker PowerConf S500 Speakerphone

(Image credit: Anker)

Enhancing the convenience of an online meeting is an absolute necessity when working from home or hopping on calls remotely. And you can’t do wrong with the Anker PowerConf S500 Speakerphone for home office use. It features VoiceRadar technology, which works to get rid of unwanted background noise and offer an immersive conferencing experience. Its four microphones with 32KHz sampling rate built into the device allow for clear audio, while the 1.75-inch speaker is designed to make it easy for everyone in the meeting to converse together.

Best office chair: Mavix M4

(Image credit: Mavix)

The Mavix M4 gaming chair is a must have for any home office. While it’s a little pricey, it offers phenomenal lumbar support, a comfortable design and a fashionable mesh-like material. The HD foam can adapt to your body’s shape and offer breathability in the face of long-winded work sessions. With an armrest that can be adjusted by a margin of three inches and a steep recline to let you enjoy whatever position you please while in the zone, this is easily our favorite office chair out there.

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