Best tech gifts for remote workers: Work from home upgrades

Working from home, or at the very least, remotely, is here to stay. For those friends, loved ones or coworkers who’ve been putting off updating their home office, it’s time to help them get settled in for the long haul.  

From upgrades to their computer’s sound system, to interactive wall decorations that can be used for work and play, or an inexpensive home security camera, there are plenty of holiday gifts that they’re sure to love. Below you’ll find a wide range of gift ideas for any remote worker.

An external monitor is a must-have



This Samsung 27-inch monitor is more than just an external display for your laptop, it doubles as a TV when you’re not working. It has a standard 1920×1080 high-definition resolution, ready to extend your computer’s screen or stream your favorite shows thanks to the built-in Smart TV features and apps. 

Better yet? You can grab one for less than $230, a rare claim during a time when almost all high-end computer monitors have shot up in price.

Also: Best monitors 2021: Top picks for your viewing pleasure

Laptop speakers just don’t cut it



Logitech’s new Z407 computer speakers can be used to improve your laptop or desktop’s overall sound quality, or connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth so you can stream your favorite tunes while you work. In fact, you can use a USB cable, 3.5mm audio cable, or Bluetooth to connect to the speakers that also include a subwoofer and a remote dial to control volume and playback. 

Another fun way to decorate a home office



Instead of boring wall decorations, Nanoleaf’s latest product, Lines, adds some color and interaction to a home office. Each Line can light up on its own, react to music or mirror the colors of whatever is on your computer screen, a fun setting for those who like to take afternoon breaks to get a quick gaming session in. 

Laptop-esque keys for eight hour typists



Having a tactile and responsive keyboard makes for a world of difference, especially if you’re gifting to someone who types for eight hours a day, 40 hours a week. While RGB, clickity-clack gaming keyboards make for eye-catching gifts, I’d recommend the Logitech MX Keys instead. It’s not the fanciest keyboard out there — the monotone slate design is forgettable — but the high-quality keys and sturdy metal shell make the MX Keys one of the most satisfying keyboards to type on. Logitech promises up to five months of battery life, a bit less if you turn on backlighting.

Also: Best keyboards of 2021: The best that you deserve

There’s nothing wrong with having more power


Image: Hyper

Instead of having multiple devices plugged into a power strip, the HyperJuice GaN charger is capable of putting out a total of 100W of power to four devices, and only taking up a single plug. That’s enough to charge a MacBook Pro or Surface laptop and still have enough power to charge a phone or tablet. There are two USB-C ports and two full USB ports. 

There’s nothing more frustrating than unreliable Wi-Fi


Image: Linksys

The brand new Linksys Velop AX4200 is a mesh network system that can blanket an apartment or home in a reliable Wi-Fi signal. It’s compatible with Wi-Fi 6, offering faster speeds for compatible devices, and comes in a single pack or three-pack, depending on how big of an area you need to cover. 

Connect your M1 MacBook to two monitors


Image: Hyper

Hyper’s Dual 4K HDMI Adapter for M1 MacBook fixes a common complaint by owners of MacBooks with Apple’s M1 processor — the inability to connect the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to more than one monitor at a time. With this adapter, you only need to plug it in to a single USB-C port, and then connect two HDMI cables to the adapter. One display will output 4K at 60Hz, while the other will be limited to 4K at 30Hz. 

You can never have too many ports


Image: Anker

Trying to recreate an office setup with multiple devices and accessories plugged into a laptop can get messy when you run out of ports. This Anker 4-port USB hub does exactly what its name implies: Adds four ports to a computer. You’ll need one USB port to connect it to, so really you’re gaining three ports. Still, at $15, it’s an easy stock stuffer.

A longer, sturdy charging cable should come with every gadget


Images: Nomad Goods

Nomad produces high-quality accessories for all of our gadgets, but one of my personal favorite products from the company is its line of charging cables. The cables are long and rugged thanks to a kevlar exterior, and some of them even have multiple connection types via adapters at the end of the cable. That means you can have a single cable that can convert from microUSB to Lightning to USB-C without any added cost. 

For someone who needs more ports and connections


Image: Belkin

For someone who needs more than a few extra standard USB ports, the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro is a good, if not expensive, fit. It has a total of five standard USB ports, an Ethernet port, a DisplayPort, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an SD card reader, a standard USB-C port, and the ability to provide up to 85W of power to keep a laptop powered while connected to an external monitor and several accessories. 

Make an impression, virtually


Image: Elgato

Elgato is better known for its gaming and streaming accessories, but those same devices can be used to improve your Zoom setup. The company has sound panels, light rings and all sorts of items to make you look good, but none of that means a thing if you don’t have a reliable camera. I’ve been using the Elgato Facecam for the past few months and it’s one of the best webcams I’ve ever used, outside of a $1,000 dedicated camera. 

You can fine-tune and tailor the camera’s performance to your liking using free software, ensuring you look as good as you want.

Also: Best webcam 2021: Top choices for your video calls

A dedicated note-taking tablet


Image: ReMarkable

Our computers, phones and tablets are one-stop shops for practically every digital task we can think of, but there’s still room for single-use devices like the ReMarkable 2 tablet. Think of the ReMarkable 2 as a digital notebook, where everything you write, draw or sketch on it is synced to the cloud and accessible on all of your devices. You can even send documents to the tablet for markup or to sign. 

The best part? There are zero distractions when using it. No breaking news alerts or an email that means nothing in that exact moment. Just you, the pen and a digital piece of paper. Unlimited digital paper, at that.

Also: Best tablets 2021: Apple’s iPad isn’t your only option

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