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What's inside Perlow's office? 15 years of working from home

Our senior technology editor discloses his current home office setup.

Controlled chaos: Inside Jason Perlow's office

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The pandemic hasn't done much to change my overall working habits, as I have been home-based for about 15 years now. That being said, my home office equipment has gone through quite a few iterations over the last decade or so. 

Here is what I have been using over the last two years, with some suggestions for replacements for products that I currently use, but aren't current models.

Trackball

Kensington

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Don't neglect your pointing device. I've got a bunch of different mice and trackpads, but I keep coming back to my favorite, the Kensington trackball, which I've used in slightly different versions over the past 20 years.

$84 at Amazon $84 at Walmart

Webcam

Logitech C930e Business Webcam

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Logitech

The Logitech C930e Business Webcam is what I use to join all my video conference calls and also to produce our Jason Squared video segments at ZDNet. This model, as with all Logitech webcams, is in very high demand recently.

$143 at Amazon $130 at HP $130 at Adorama

Laptop

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch

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I've used many different desktop systems over the years but in my last two corporate positions I've moved from PCs over to MacBooks. The MacBook Pro 16, 2019 edition, is my current system, which I have permanently docked to my twin monitors.

$2,399 at Apple $1,975 at Back Market $2,149 at Amazon

Monitor

Samsung U28E590 28-inch 4K Business Display

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Because I write full time and need several apps and windows running simultaneously, I use twin 28" Samsung 4K displays, which are crystal clear and don't create a lot of eyestrain.

$358 at Amazon

USB-C Thunderbolt Dock

Caldigit TS3

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To connect all my peripherals to my Macbook Pro, I use a Caldigit TS3 USB-C Thunderbolt dock, which heavily simplifies my cabling setup.

$250 at Apple $250 at Amazon

Microphone

Blue Yeti Pro

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For recording podcast audio and for having the clearest voice possible on my conference calls, I use the Blue Yeti Pro, which delivers broadcast-quality performance.

$299 at Amazon $250 at Best Buy $250 at Adorama

VOIP router

OOMA Office VOIP router

ooma-office-brings-the-power-of-pbx-and-voip-to-smbs.jpg

Call me old-fashioned, but I still need a landline phone number and desk phone capability. The OOMA Office provides me with multiple virtual office phone numbers (including one for my wife's office) as well as virtual fax and virtual voicemail inbox and call attendant. 

$100 at Amazon

IP desk phone

CISCO SPA303 IP desk phone

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I use a CISCO SPA303 IP desk phone in conjunction with my OOMA router, but the company has replaced them with Yealink products which are more affordable solutions.

$60 at Amazon

Mechanical Keyboard

Keychron K4 Mechanical Optical Keyboard

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The Keychron K4 Mechanical Optical Keyboard has that substantial key travel and feel that I love as a long time technology writer, and it lights up with all kinds of pretty color patterns when keeping my office dim.

$100 at Amazon

Headset

Sennheiser Officerunner DECT headset

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The Sennheiser Officerunner headset connects via USB to my Mac for VOIP and video calls when I don't want to use a speaker, and it also connects to my desk IP phone. DECT transmission quality is crystal clear even if I want to take my calls a hundred feet away from my desk.

$479 at Amazon $444 at Walmart

Power conditioning

APC Smart-UPS Pro SMT1500IC

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South Florida's power infrastructure can sometimes be squirrelly, so I use an APC UPS for power conditioning. Don't connect your expensive computer equipment to just any surge suppressor or UPS. Use a reliable and trusted brand.

View Now at APC

Smart speaker

Sonos Five

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A writer's gotta have their office tunes. I use an older model Sonos speaker that's no longer being sold, but if I were in the market now to replace what I have, I'd pick up a Sonos Five.

$499 at Crutchfield $500 at Best Buy $499 at Adorama

Tablet

iPad Pro 12.9-inch 2020

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

I'm not always working at my desk. When I'm researching subjects and needing to read materials, I'm on the couch, with my iPad Pro 12.9". It's absolutely indispensable for the work that I do, and it's my preferred content consumption device for movies and TV.

$999 at Apple $969 at Amazon $1,000 at Best Buy

Network Switch

Linksys Business LGS124P 24-Port Rackmount Gigabit Ethernet PoE+

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I have a smaller 8-port version of this switch sitting in my office, but the core of my home network is the LGS124P, with Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability.

$230 at Crutchfield $230 at Best Buy $228 at Walmart

Enterprise-class 802.11ac access points

Linksys Business AC2600 Wi-Fi Cloud Managed Access Points

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Some of my other ZDNet colleagues prefer mesh networking setups in their homes, but I am old fashioned -- I use enterprise-class 802.11ac access points that are CAT6 home-run to my equipment room, using Power over Ethernet (PoE).

$250 at Best Buy $181 at Walmart

Gigabit-class internet service

AT&T Fiber

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My broadband is provided by AT&T Fiber, a gigabit-class internet service using Fiber to the Home (FTTH) technology. AT&T also provides the Residential Gateway (RG), made by ARRIS, which acts as the primary router to my office and home network.

View Now at AT&T

Headphones

Microsoft Surface Headphones

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Microsoft

I have a few different noise-canceling headphones, but The Microsoft Surface Headphones, which have been around for a few years now and have recently undergone a product refresh, are still my absolute favorite in terms of overall comfort, noise reduction capability, sound quality, and voice reproduction quality.

$350 at Amazon $250 at Best Buy