Every six months, I re-evaluate the configuration of my home office workstation for improvements and enhancements. Admittedly, my specific needs skew to the higher end that the typical home office worker would require. I host a video podcast every week and need simultaneous and convenient access to both my MacBook Pro and Dell Minitower.
While I spend most of my daily time using my MacBook Pro for video editing, blog creation, presentation development, and other productive work, I use a Dell Minitower because it’s the only one on the market for its Nvidia video card and awesome Broadcast app. is the current solution. Correcting eyesight during video podcasts.
From my point of view, the ability to make eye contact is an essential ability that enhances my professionalism. No comparable solution exists in the macOS world, although Apple may address it at its upcoming WWDC event in early June. But for now, I’ll have to use a Windows-based system with a suitable Nvidia graphics card.
Still, switching display inputs back and forth between these two systems using the manual physical buttons on the back of my existing 38-inch monitor is a significant pain point. This inconvenience is compounded by the need to use a second keyboard and mouse to operate the Windows system, which creates widespread clutter in my office.
Enter HP with its new E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor, which I received about a week ago. It’s hard to overstate the positive impact this extra-large display had on my overall work productivity, after only using it for a week.
The HP E45c is usefully ultrawide
One screen really is enough for many productivity power users. An ultrawide monitor may be needed to meet your demands, but more home users need regular access to multiple PCs, whether it’s a home and company-supplied laptop or, in my case, Mac and Windows PC both.
The latest HP flagship display, the E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor features a 45-inch dual QHD display. It includes a single curved widescreen panel with a resolution of 5,120 by 1,440 pixels, essentially two 2,560-by-1,440-pixel displays combined. You’ll need a significant amount of desktop space to use it, preferably in a corner of your home office.
The monitors act like two 24-inch displays, without the split or bezel in between that you’d find with a traditional twin-display arrangement. The size, shape and 32:9 aspect ratio of this monitor offer plenty of screen area that lends itself easily to really useful multitasking.
The 1500R curvature of the E45c helps you become more immersed in your work by taking in a larger field of view. However, HP’s Super Screen has other tricks up its sleeve beyond its sheer width.
It is at this point that the fun begins. Although ultrawide displays are nothing new, some are designed to work with laptops, particularly those that employ Thunderbolt 4 or DisplayPort over USB-C.
The HP E45c is the first device of its size and resolution to support dual-display input via a single USB-C connection. When plugged into a wall socket, it supplies power to the laptop via the USB connection, charging it while it works.
The HP E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor has two USB-C ports that provide up to 65W of power each to two computers, or 100W of power to one computer and 30W to a tablet or phone. (Photo by the author)
When I plugged both my MacBook Pro and Dell PC into the monitor’s respective USB-C and HDMI ports, I automatically displayed both system desktops in a 24-inch side-by-side format (as shown above). is) back-panel buttons without the need to fiddle with it as is the case with other widescreen displays.
But it does more.
Device Bridge is a home run
The HP E45c also features Device Bridge 2.0, an updated version of a function that was previously only available on HP’s premium display range. Device Bridge is a version of what the industry calls KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) functionality, although I’ve never seen it implemented so smoothly and seamlessly.
Clearly, HP is showing off its software development and implementation chops. Using a single keyboard and mouse, I could operate the desktops of the different computers displayed on the screen. I transferred files and data to my MacBook Pro and Dell PC by dragging and dropping them between the side-by-side displays. Additionally, the update has a security feature that disables Device Bridge when necessary.
Using this functionality, you can control two Windows PCs, a macOS system, or one of each machine.
Although I haven’t tried this for a final workspace, HP claims you’ll be able to daisy chain another UltraWide monitor to mimic up to four displays on two screens.
Sonos Era 100 speakers level up your home workstation
Truth be told, Sonos speakers were never targeted at the PC market. When used with a TV or as part of an entertainment system, the company’s soundbars, subwoofers and even portable ROMs sound quite enjoyable, as do the older Play Series speakers.
However, the technology hidden behind the Sonos speaker’s grille is its major selling point. Its multiroom system functionality is the most practical way to hear everything, everywhere. It boasts connectivity with Alexa, Apple, Google and practically any music streaming service.
Now, with the New Era 100, Sonos finally crushes rivals from a sound quality perspective.
The Sonos Era 100 is a single speaker that easily competes with anything but more expensive two-speaker systems thanks to dual tweeters and more refined room adjustment capability. (Photo by the author)
When used as a pair, the Era 100 is undeniably the most incredible little all-in-one speaker I’ve ever heard.
I was concerned that its Bluetooth connectivity would create latency challenges, but I never experienced any video/audio synchronization issues streaming video or editing for my podcasts, even when I didn’t have speakers connected directly to my MacBook Pro audio port .
The Era 100 speaker is available in black or white. You don’t need to take out your phone to perform basic functions as it has a volume slider and a play/pause button. The rubberized bottom of the speaker is an improvement as it adheres to almost any surface and helps reduce acoustic vibrations.
A button on the back of the speaker next to the USB-C connector allows you to manually turn off the built-in microphone if you don’t like the voice assistant.
Impresses Easy Setup
Setting up and pairing two Era 100s is fairly simple. Both speakers work together when paired, though only one needs to be physically connected to the 3.5mm audio port on my MacBook Pro with the Sonos USB-C to Audio Port Adapter, which costs $19 and It is sold separately.
Easy setup only required taking out my phone, installing the Sonos app, and registering the speaker with my account. The Sonos app allows you to connect to all your favorite streaming services, create groups of multiple speakers, and specify where the Era 100 is located in your home.
I appreciate the simple integration with my streaming provider, the voice assistant, Spotify, and Alexa. The Era 100 replaced an older Amazon Echo speaker in my nearby kitchen, and it picked up my orders better than it did when it was farther away. The speaker also has a great mic for voice control.
Like advanced microphones, many of the Era 100’s best improvements are hidden from view. Still, you’ll notice them as soon as you start playing music and participating in video conference calls.
Sonos boosted the woofer by 25% and added two angled tweeters for authentic stereo sound. Previously Sonos speakers of a similar size and shape could only play mono music.
The speaker includes a 47% faster CPU, which may extend the time it takes this speaker to receive software upgrades compared to previous versions.
Interestingly, Sonos claims to have “over-built” the processing into these speakers to potentially improve performance in the future. Although I’ve tested several Sonos speaker models side-by-side over the years without ever detecting any latency, it’s comforting to know there’s room for improvement.
While the overall PC market continues to struggle with top-line unit growth that won’t subside for several quarters, if not a year, the peripherals category for large, widescreen displays and docking stations remains a bright spot. happened.
Manufacturers are beginning to understand that workers need multisystems at home. While it may not be uncommon to have multiple displays in an office, home users have limited desktop space in their home offices and prefer to avoid cable clutter.
At $1,099, the HP E45c G5 DQHD Curved Monitor is more affordable than you might think when considering the typical cost of two premium 24-inch displays. This monitor’s superb Device Bridge functionality avoids the need for a secondary keyboard and mouse input device that multisystem workers will drool over.
The plethora of integrated ports on the HP E45c will provide docking station-like capabilities for all but the most advanced users. This monitor has changed the way I work at home and has dramatically increased my productivity.
As for the Sonos Era 100 speakers, I didn’t anticipate how its great sound would enhance my overall work productivity experience. Especially with the regular videoconferencing calls I participate in over the course of several hours during the day, I found the Era 100 speakers to deliver surprisingly distinct and clear sound from each speaker during the call.
On top of all those items, the Sonos Era 100 is more than satisfactory for streaming music and video. The speaker has some features to adjust its output depending on the acoustics of your room, as is the case with most premium speakers on the market, and its clean and balanced sound makes it suitable for listening to different music genres .
At $249 each — or $498 for a pair — Sonos is targeting these speakers to compete with Apple’s new $299 HomePod, announced in January. Still, as mentioned above, they are more suitable and functional for home office users.
Frankie, it’s hard to overstate the impact these new HP and Sonos accessories will have on your home work productivity. With hybrid working likely to be with us in the near future, these products are modest investments that make working at home more efficient, affordable and enjoyable.