Even though we managed to make it through multiple lockdowns and a fair few WFH nightmares (read: WFB — working from bed), there’s one thing from the COVID era that seems here to stay, and it’s video conferencing.
Love it or hate it, you’ll likely have to put up with online meetings for the next few years as workplaces continue to offer flexible office days and remote work hybrids.
If you’re someone who constantly meets with clients and other stakeholders — it’s especially taxing because you’re still required to put your best foot forward no matter where you are. So, how do you stay professional on the job at home, even when you’re sitting waist down in pyjama pants? You start with some quality video conferencing equipment.
Video conferencing equipment essentials
There’s nothing worse than meeting with clients or higher-ups in your company, only for your video quality to be shonky. We know internet issues happen, but if it just comes down to your laptop or computer’s camera quality (which is common on older devices), you can fix that simply with a professional HD webcam.
Many HD webcams on the market offer autofocus and anti-glare capabilities and are compatible with a variety of laptops and streaming platforms. One of our favourites that offers all this and more is the Logitech BRIO 4K Ultra HD Webcam for Streaming, Conference Calls and Recording for Windows and Mac ($248.08), but it’s top of the range for a reason, as the 4K video quality is the best you can get.
Alternatively, if you still want great HD but aren’t too fussed if it’s not in 4K, this Anker PowerConf C300 Smart Full HD Webcam ($199.99) offers a video capture resolution of 1080p and utilises revolutionary AI technology to automatically adjust the field of view depending on the number of people in your meeting. It also comes with in-built ultra-sensitive dual microphones for optimal sound quality.
For a more affordable option that does similar things to its predecessors (minus the AI technology, microphone and 4K), this Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam ($116.79) is a fabulous starting point.
It’s a forever battle trying to find good lighting, especially if your desk doesn’t directly line up with a front-facing sunny window. That’s why artificial ring lights are the next best thing — and they don’t rely on how bright or dreary a day is.
Take the Video Conference Lighting Kit ($24.99), for example, that offers 56 superior LED beads, three colour lighting modes (cold/warm/nature) and ten brightness levels to create a flattering lighting situation designed to show up best via video and camera. This Dimmable LED Clip-on Ring Light, $35.48, offers similar benefits and clips seamlessly onto any laptop or monitor, as well as stands on any flat surface.
Alternatively, if you use your phone for online meetings more than your laptop, this Video Conference Cube Light ($66.99) attaches to your smartphone for an on-the-go professional look.
Now, these aren’t an essential, but if you work at home with housemates or have kids/pets and constant chatter going through the house all day, these noise-cancelling headphones will allow you to perform at peak concentration during online meetings and calls.
Of course, our favourites are none-other than these sleek Sony WH1000XM4 Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones with Alexa Voice Control ($378) that offer Dual Noise Sensor technology and up to 30-hour battery life with ten-minute quick charging capabilities. Try these Active Noise Cancelling Headphones ($89.99) instead for a cheaper but still fantastic option. Note: they also offer epic noise cancellation and 40 hours of playback on a full charge.
If you prefer a good earbud over the bulkiness of a headphone (read: us), these Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones ($313) offer the same industry-leading noise cancellation benefits as their Sony headphone counterparts, so don’t think you’re missing out getting the earbud version!
Laptop and monitor stands
The angle/height of your laptop or monitor makes a massive difference when it comes to video calls — I mean, think of it in the way you’d never take a selfie from under your chin, right? So, please don’t do it with your video calls either. That’s why a laptop or monitor stand like this Kensington 52785 Monitor Stand ($39), Otinlai Laptop Stand for Desk ($49.98) or Besign LSX3 Aluminum Laptop Stand ($39.99) will go down a treat to prop your device high enough to have an optimal front-facing angle where your colleagues will be able to see your face straight on. Alternatively, we also like to use a stack of books or a box if you can’t get your hands on a stand soon enough.
Blue Yeti USB Microphone, $200.34
Okay, we’re aware this is a little extra, but if you want your video calls to sound at the optimal quality (and maybe rival a few ASMR YouTubers out there), it’s a great investment. The best feature is that they also offer noise-cancelling circuitry that blocks out any sound other than your voice, meaning your workmates or clients won’t hear the bin man pick up your trash during the middle of your online meeting.
Our resident favourites are this Blue Yeti USB Microphone ($200.34), famous among podcasting circles as a great device for fabulous sound quality, as well as this Jabra Speak 510 Portable Conference Speaker ($148) that’s designed for picking up multiple voices clearly if you’ve got a small conference room of people while the rest are working remotely.
Mute/video button gadget
This connectable USB Zoom Meeting Mute Button ($65.71) is not a totally essential piece of video conferencing equipment, but it’s super handy to have if you’ve got cords and monitors and dual screens everywhere and find it hard to mute/unmute yourself promptly during video calls when needed. We also hate when we’ve got meeting notes up, and they get stuck behind a bunch of other windows when you tap the unmute button on your screen, so voila, here’s the solution.
It’s also compatible with either Windows or Mac. You just have to select your preference before purchasing. If you have a newer Mac, please note that you’ll need a USB converter cable ($28).
Now that you’re in the know when it comes to the best video conferencing equipment for all your online meetings, your next order of business is to check out how to beat the motivation slump that comes with WFH.