Generally, we stop at picking the best system for work and play. But, often, it is the interface and other things which go a long way in enhancing our experience. Presenting a few tools which would help you in the long run.
Rapoo V500ProWhen I first heard of a mechanical keyboard at this price, I couldn’t believe it. That too a gaming one? Impossible! But price isn’t the only thing going for this one. The heft and weight of a mechanical keyboard and the feedback of the keys satiated the fan in me (my regular keyboard is a mechanical one, but isn’t made for gaming). Then I tried playing some varied games in the dark and the backlighting worked like a charm. While there aren’t dedicated macro keys for the hardcore gamer, there exists a combination of special keys, used in conjunction with the function key. And if you’re playing games such as the FIFA series or Battlefield, the experience’s is quite satisfactory. But most of all, I loved typing away to glory. If you look for it online, this keyboard costs even less, making for excellent value.
Price: Rs 3,999
ViewSonic XG2703-GSYou may have spent hundreds of thousands of rupees on a gaming PC, but all could come to nought if you don’t have the proper monitor. And of course, split seconds matter, especially if you’re a serious gamer. While playing Grid 2 on this 27-inch monitor, I managed to not bump into opponents after coming off a blind alley. And using its “dark” mode in Thief: Deadly Shadows was a lot of fun. The high refresh rates came in handy while playing RTS and action games. The monitor comes with a plethora of connectivity options and so I ended up connecting the Amazon Fire Stick to it, and binge-watching my favourite shows using its in-built speakers, which are good enough for use in the bedroom. It was a lot of fun playing games at their highest setting on the monitor and it is built of NVIDIA cards, supporting G-Sync technology, which essentially ensures there are no dropped frames. I couldn’t test this feature out as I didn’t have access to a card which supports this feature. Do bear in mind though that this monitor is quite bulky and the menu will certainly flummox you; and an external source selector remote would certainly have helped. Also, one could possibly get an UHD monitor at this price.
Price: Rs 84,999
Astrum KW300 Wireless Deskset
Astrum KW300 Wireless DesksetThe first time I used this product, I struggled to get the mouse out of sleep mode. The fault was between the chair and the keyboard; I’d neglected to read the instructions which said one had to get the mouse out of standby after not using it for more than 8 minutes by pressing a button or scrolling, and not moving it. That out of the way, I liked the look and feel of the round keycaps. The set paired easily with an old PC I use as a media centre and soon I was doing a lot of stuff from the couch. It helps that all the batteries needed to operate the set comes in the box. But one needs to have a proper surface for the mouse to work; I used an old magazine with varying results. The function key adds some media control functions as well. But do remember this isn’t made for anything more than casual gaming.
Price: Rs 2,199
Rapoo 3510 Plus
Rapoo 3510 PlusThe unique thing about this wireless optical mouse is its fabric cover, which feels great for all-day usage. While working on a notebook on a particular day, I used this after pairing with its nano receiver. Of course, it was easier to use than the trackpad and was quite responsive as well. The review sample was in grey and it thankfully matched the laptop’s look. And for someone with sweaty palms, this is a godsend. But best of all, there were many “oohs” and “aahs” whenever people saw the fabric-finish mouse. This one’s certainly a conversation-starter.
Steelcase GestureAsk anyone who works in an office one thing they would like to change at their place of work (besides their salary or work hours) and nine of 10 will say they’d like a better chair. Yes, that humble piece of furniture which you simply can’t do without (unless you work at a standing desk). And if you, like me, nurse a bad back, you’re in for serious trouble if your seating isn’t right. And it hits productivity — a bad bout of back pain can render you immobile, and it’s so bad you can’t work from bed (I’ve tried that as well). Thus, if you’re working long hours, this chair, Steelcase says, is ideal.
At first glance, the chair seems a hi-tech cousin of humble office chairs, but the moment I sat down, I could feel the difference. There was a lot of solid support for my lower back. Also, the armrests could be swivelled for the perfect position if I was looking at my phone or was hunched over a laptop. I read up a bit on the chair and found that it supports nine different kinds of postures that are a result of our obsession with technology and gadgets. I tried out the described postures and was surprised to find that I did replicate most of these all through the day. But it was very comfortable doing it on this chair. Also, since this one was made for a carpeted office, using it on any uncarpeted surface could be slippery, as I found out; thus the company recommends buying chairs specific to the surface. All this, of course, comes at a price and there was if course a sticker-shock moment when I found that it was as expensive as a good laptop. But then, you can replace your gadgets, but not your back.
Price: Rs 65,000 (approx)