THE GEAR • June 2020
With working from home fast becoming the new norm, The Club’s resident tech writer, Derek Adams, tracks down the new-generation devices that will help supercharge both your home office set-up and (in many cases) your Avios balance via the eStore
There’s nothing worse than losing connection in the middle of that all-important Zoom call because your Wi-Fi can’t quite make the stretch. That’s where the game-changing Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 AX6000 (£700), saves the day, with its massive 350 square metres of blazingly fast (6GB per second) and seamless Wi-Fi to every corner of your house (even the garden). It also has no problem accommodating 60+ online devices at the same time, all with zero buffering. Pricey, but worth the investment.
There’s no denying the brilliance of the iPad for surfing the internet, quick-fire emails, playing games and your weekly virtual pub quiz. What it’s not great for is typing long emails, reports, essays or dissertations. Enter the new Apple Magic Keyboard (Apple, 3 Avios/£1), a remarkably tactile QWERTY keyboard-cum-case that transforms any 11 or 12.9-inch iPad or iPad Air into a laptop of sorts. While it isn’t cheap (£299), it will revolutionise your home working set-up and communication skills immeasurably – and save you the cost of forking out on an actual laptop.
A good-quality ergonomic chair such as the excellent Curva (£132 from Office Monster; up to 9 Avios/£1) not only helps prevent back ache and shoulder and wrist issues, but helps your breathing, too. The tilting mesh backrest provides great ventilation and lumbar support, whilst the smooth castors are perfect for zipping over to the kitchen kettle for your tea break.
If you have no option but to work in the living room where the kids are running around or watching TV, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones is a must. These Bose 700 cans (£350 from Bose; 6 Avios/£1) not only produce impeccable sound quality, but are also really comfortable to wear for hours at a time.
Measuring just 11.3cm in length and available in four storage sizes (1, 2, 4 and 5TB), the Seagate Backup Plus (£90 from Currys PC World; 2 Avios/£1) will safeguard those all-important files without invading your desk space. Simply plug it in and get on with the tasks in hand, safe in the knowledge that if anything should happen to your laptop (liquid spillages, drops or simply old age), you’ll still have all your most vital files – or indeed the contents of your entire computer – backed up and safely stored.
If your job involves working out of the home for periods of time – perhaps somewhere that doesn’t have a fast internet connection such as a hotel, your country home or even your shed – then the Netgear Nighthawk M1 (£315 from BT Shop; 5 Avios/£1) will make your workflow go much more smoothly. The mobile 4G hotspot modem and router provides rocket-ship speeds of up to 1 Gigabyte per second downloading and 150 Megabytes per second uploading. You can also connect it to your home router, so it serves as the main modem, or simply have it to hand for those inevitable times when your home router suddenly decides to stop working just as you’re approaching a vital deadline.
Live streaming has gone stratospheric since the lockdown, especially for professional musicians, who turn to devices such as this excellent IK Multimedia iRig Stream (£95) to connect their high-quality mics to phones. It’s a doddle to set up and the massive improvement in sound quality it provides enriches the experience for those on both ends of the line.
Is it your first time on the British Airways Avios eStore? You can get 20 per cent bonus Avios on your first transaction when you shop online. To find out more, click here