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Expert Reviews Remote Working Awards 2023: The very best home-working products

We reveal the absolute best products to help you build the perfect home office

Remote working might have evolved since we were all confined to our homes, but one thing is clear: the era of office work is over. It’s not hard to see why, either. Plenty of industries can function perfectly well with staff working remotely, and for many people the amount of time, money and effort saved by not commuting to work is incredibly appealing.

But whether you’re still 100% remote or your company has adopted a hybrid working arrangement, you’re going to need a suitable setup if you want to benefit from remote working to its fullest. Many workplaces will demand it from you to prevent work-related injuries, and they would be right to do so: hunching over a small laptop screen at your living room table or on a sofa is no match for an ergonomically friendly home office.

That’s where we come in. The Expert Reviews team tests hundreds of products – from laptops and printers to webcams and Wi-Fi extenders – in our home offices every year, putting each one through a challenging set of benchmarks to find the best for you.

Below, you’ll find our top choices across 23 different categories. In each, we’ve highlighted our pick of the products, along with a highly commended silver medallist. Read on to boost your home working productivity, whatever your budget.

Expert Reviews Remote Working Awards 2023

Best office chair

Winner | Slouch Task One | £259

The Slouch Task One is a brilliant value office chair. In addition to gas lift height adjustment, you’ve got seat depth adjustment, adjustable lumbar support, and four reclining positions to lock the backrest in. It comes in two primary colours (black and grey) with a choice of five muted colours for the seat fabric (what’s more, you can order free samples of these if you so wish). It’s comfortable and feels solidly built. Put it this way: the Slouch Task One offers ergonomic features that we’re used to seeing only from chairs with much higher prices.

Highly commended | John Lewis Anyday Gerard | £79

With a fixed backrest and static armrests, the Gerard isn’t going to win any awards in the ergonomics department: adjustable features are strictly limited to a gas lift height mechanism. But that can be forgiven when you consider its price. The Gerard feels comfortable and sturdy enough, even if it’s on the firmer side. And for under £100, that’s not bad at all – in fact, it’s currently our favourite budget office chair.

Best monitor

Winner | LG 40WP95C-W | £1,500

This behemoth of an ultrawide monitor delivers everything a remote worker needs and then some. With a pin-sharp 5,120 x 2,160 resolution and a 40in panel with a 2500R curvature, the 40WP95C-W can manage three side-by-side windows with ease. You’ve got a surplus of ports (including two Thunderbolt 4 ports) and a surprising amount of vertical adjustability for a stand lumbered with such an enormous display. The OSD is easy to use and the panel aced our in-house tests in almost every department. There’s simply nothing else you could ask for.

Highly commended | Philips 27B1U7903 | £1,199

At the highest end of the office monitor spectrum sits the Philips 27B1U7903. This 27in 4K display delivers exceptional performance thanks to a mini-LED backlight and Philips’ trademark dedication to colour accuracy, making it a great choice for professionals and users who demand a bit more from their work screen. Throw in a suite of USB-A ports and two Thunderbolt 4 ports plus a stand with huge amounts of adjustability and it’s clear why the 27B1U7903 earns our recommendation.

Best-value monitor

Winner | Huawei MateView SE | £140

Huawei’s commitment to cheap monitors that don’t skimp on extras is particularly evident here. The MateView SE is a brilliant 24in budget monitor with a stand that pivots, rises, sinks and tilts, which is frankly unheard of at such a low price. It also has a boosted 75Hz refresh rate and a panel that returned very strong results in our tests, meaning gaming and light photo/video editing aren’t out of the question here. Sure, sacrifices have been made in pursuit of the extraordinary price tag, but none that impacts the overall appeal of this great-value monitor.

Highly commended | Acer K273 | £146

The most impressive thing about the Acer K273 is the amount of screen real estate you’re getting for such a low, low price. This 27in panel covers the basics exceptionally well, delivering strong performance in our tests and offering at the very least a stand that tilts and a 75Hz refresh rate for light gaming. As a versatile, great-value workhorse with a bigger screen, the Acer K273 is unmatched.

Best home working laptop

Winner | Apple MacBook Air (M2) | £1,199

The 2022 update to the MacBook Air might not be the game-changer its predecessor was, but it’s a better laptop overall and an absolute dream for home workers. It’s lighter and brighter than the M1 model and benefits from a bigger screen, an improved audio system, better webcam and the return of MagSafe charging. The M2 chip powering it delivered improved performance on the 8GB RAM/512GB SSD model we reviewed, while battery life left all of its key Windows rivals in the dust. Slim, attractive and silent but with no shortage of processing muscle, there’s no laptop we’d rather use while working at home or further afield.

Highly commended | Lenovo Legion Slim 7i Gen 7 | £1,629

Despite being marketed as a gaming laptop, the seventh-generation Legion Slim 7i has the chops to handle any task you throw at it. With an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor working alongside an Nvidia RTX 30 series graphics card, a bright, colourful 16in display, efficient cooling system and great battery life, this is a laptop that’s equally comfortable being used for creating content, ploughing through office work or playing AAA titles on Steam.

Best Chromebook

Winner | Acer Chromebook 516GE | £699

We were blown away by the processing power and performance of this 12th-generation Intel Core i5-powered beast. It’s the fastest Chromebook we’ve ever tested, which makes it an excellent choice for everything from basic daily tasks to streaming video games from the cloud. And, whatever you’re doing, the 516GE looks great. The 16.1in 2,560 x 1,600 IPS display delivers good contrast, impressive colour gamut coverage and excellent colour accuracy to complement the responsive performance and helps fully justify the high price of entry (by Chromebook standards).

Highly commended | Acer Chromebook Vero 514 | £530

With a chassis and bezel made from up to 30% post-consumer recycled plastics and keyboard keycaps and speakers with even greater PCR plastic content, the Vero 514 is one of the most sustainability focused laptops we’ve ever tested. It’s a whole lot more than just green credentials, however: the 12th-gen Intel Core i7 processor is lightning fast, the keyboard very comfortable to work on, and connectivity options, both wireless and physical, are extensive.

Best printer

Winner | Brother MFC-J6955DW | £405

Laser printers may be more common in offices, but that hasn’t stopped this versatile inkjet printer from winning this year’s top spot. The Brother MFC-J69555DW can print, fax, scan and copy in sizes up to A3, which does mean that it’s quite large, but also that there’s plenty of space for paper storage, reducing the frequency of refills. Printing is both efficient and relatively economical, for both mono and colour, while robust connectivity makes printing and scanning from your phone fairly effortless. It may be hefty, but this is easily the best multifunction printer around.

Highly commended | Epson EcoTank ET-1810 | £145

If you’re working with a tighter budget, the Epson EcoTank ET-1810 is our pick for low-cost, high-capacity printing. Functions such as scanning and copying are jettisoned, leaving behind a dedicated ink tank printer with enough ink in the box to print 3,600 mono or 6,500 colour pages. With per-page printing costs at around 0.2p for mono and 0.4p for colour, this is the best option for keeping prices low and production high.

Best-value printer

Winner | Brother DCP-J1200W | £131

The printer offering the most value for money this year is the Brother DCP-J1200W. A multifunctional printer (MFP) that retails under £150, the DCP-J1200W can connect to devices by Wi-Fi and USB, or you can download the Brother Mobile Connect app to print and scan directly from your phone. The printer comes with sufficient ink to produce 720 mono pages and 480 colour, while the refills account to around 3p per mono page and 6.2p per colour, which is a little on the pricey side but still quite reasonable for such an affordable printer.

Highly commended | Canon Pixma TS3450 | £50

For its sheer affordability, the Canon Pixma TS3450 is also well worth considering. Despite costing £50, the TS3450 offers a full suite of printing, copying and scanning functions. The ink cartridges print at 6p per mono page and 8p per colour, which isn’t the cheapest, but is still reasonable enough. Ease-of-use features such as automatic duplex printing aren’t included here, but what you get is still a bargain at this price.

Best webcam

Winner | Insta360 Link | £319

The Insta360 Link is one of the most impressive webcams we’ve tested to date. Plug-and-play for both Apple and Windows systems, the Link packs the largest imaging sensor we’ve seen in a webcam, resulting in an exceptionally clean 4K image, even in lower-light conditions. The real ace up its sleeve, however, is its full three-axis gimbal. This enables the Link to lock onto and follow your face as you deliver your presentation, switch between different presenters or zoom in on a whiteboard or flipchart. It certainly doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re after the best webcam around the Insta360 Link is very tough to top.

Highly commended | Obsbot Tiny 1080p PTZ | £179

Those shopping for a tracking webcam on a slightly more restrained budget will certainly want to consider Obsbot’s Tiny 1080p PTZ. The Tiny 1080p boasts solid audio and video chops, combined with a versatile tracking motor. While its video quality tops out at Full HD resolution, it still offers plenty of detail for online calls, meetings and presentations. Its face tracking is fast and dependable, allowing you to concentrate on the task at hand, confident that you’ll remain nicely centred within the frame.

Best-value webcam

Winner | Creative Live! Cam Sync V3 | £50

The Creative Live! Cam Sync V3 is proof that a decent quality webcam needn’t cost the earth. Clocking in at under £50, the Cam Sync V3 offers an impressively wide 95-degree field of view and a crisp, detailed 2K image. While you’ll need to pair the V3 with a third-party app, such as OBS, in order to unlock its 1440p image, it’s still a bit of a standout feature at this price point. Having this higher resolution output enables you to zoom in up to 3x while still maintaining a usable 720p video feed.

Highly commended | Logitech Brio 300 | £68

The compact Logitech Brio 300 is an ideal companion for working on the move. Weighing just 75g, the Brio 300 packs a neat fold-away monitor clamp and a nifty built-in privacy cover. At just 70 degrees its field of view isn’t the widest, but its video output is nicely detailed and Logitech’s RightLight 2 automatic image correction does an excellent job of maintaining true-to-life skin tones, even under tricky mixed lighting conditions.

Best mouse

Winner | Logitech MX Master 3S | £120

We were impressed enough with the MX Master 3, but Logitech has improved on the formula with the 3S, bringing quieter left and right button clicks and an upgraded sensor with a higher maximum DPI of 8,000. Like its predecessor, the 3S is comfortably ergonomic, works across up to three devices and is incredibly flexible, with a total of seven buttons alongside the scroll wheel and thumb wheel. As long as you don’t care about also having RGB lighting or advanced gaming features, the Logitech MX Master 3S is the best mouse for your working needs.

Highly commended | SteelSeries Prime Wireless | £65

If you like to game outside of work, the SteelSeries Prime Wireless is the undisputed champion. The lightweight body feels comfortable in your hand, and the click action is extremely satisfying. DPI can be tweaked up to a dizzying 18,000, and if you aren’t fussed by the tasteful lighting around the scroll wheel, you can turn it off in the SteelSeries control panel to boost the battery life up to around 100 hours.

Best keyboard

Winner | Keychron V Series | £120

While Keychron’s Q Series are the more highly regarded keyboards, the V Series offer most of the same strengths at more affordable prices. Starting at £120, the V Series comprises nine models, including 60%, 80% and 100% variations, as well as different switch options and a customisable layout. Add crisp typing action, sturdy build quality and proper support for Mac and Linux alongside Windows, and the Keychron V Series offers something for everyone. If you aren’t put off by a wired connection, these mechanical keyboards offer the most value for your money.

Highly commended | Logitech MX Mechanical Mini | £125

If wired connections are abhorrent to you, our runner-up has you covered. Available in full-size or the portable tenkeyless model, the Logitech MX Mechanical Mini works great on both Windows and macOS, connecting via Bluetooth or Logitech’s own RF dongle. It can operate across three devices with a flick of a switch and the clever backlight illuminates when your hand approaches, even adjusting to ambient light to preserve the already impressive battery life.

Best PC speakers

Winner | Microsoft Audio Dock | £191

In a market where USB-C hubs and speaker phones rarely come in one package, the Microsoft Audio Dock rightly stands out from the crowd. Its 15W woofer and 5W tweeter deliver robust audio performance in a compact, lightweight design with enough ports to satisfy most people, including support for DisplayPort so you can drive a portable monitor with just one cable. And while it does lack Bluetooth connectivity, it costs nearly half as much as the rival Logitech Logi Dock despite offering similar functionality. For exceptional audio performance and clutter-free desk space, the Microsoft Audio Dock has instant appeal.

Highly commended | Creative T60 | £70

Housing 2.75in full-range drivers and rear-facing passive radiators, the Creative T60 supplies powerful bass and stereo separation that enhances both general PC use and gaming experiences – especially when engaging Clear Dialogue and Surround features. With a built-in DAC and USB connectivity, it also provides quick digital sound transfer and offers simple use across multiple devices. Even if it does miss out on aptX codec support and a subwoofer connector, the T60 remains a compelling option as your next PC speaker set.

Best conferencing headset

Winner | Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet | £199

Building on the success of the already well-regarded ATH-M50x series, Audio Technica has stepped things up a notch with the ATH-M50xSTS StreamSet. Adding an external microphone to the mix has brought crystal-clear clarity that effectively isolates the user’s voice from background noise. Audio quality is well balanced, too, with an impressively wide soundstage, and while the leatherette earpads aren’t the most comfortable, the inclusion of a mesh fabric alternative means you can happily wear them for your full working day. At £199, there’s a steep initial cost but their durable build and replacement earpads offer promise as a long-term investment.

Highly commended | Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC | £279

With clear microphone performance, heaps of business call settings and seamless integration with web conferencing apps, the Poly Voyager Free 60+ UC prove an excellent in-ear option for the workplace and beyond. Their OLED touchscreen is undoubtedly their standout offering, providing quick access to controls and up to 24 hours of battery life. While active noise cancellation could be stronger, and a £279 list price is a little daunting, they manage to bridge the gap between traditional conferencing headsets and regular wireless earbuds in a confident manner.

Best USB microphone

Winner | HyperX QuadCast S | £112

Whether you’re planning to make your podcast debut or simply looking to upgrade the quality of your conference calls, the HyperX QuadCast S USB microphone is the complete package. The QuadCast S delivers crisp, clear, noise-free audio that’s leagues ahead of onboard laptop and webcam mics. It comes with a shock mount stand as standard and packs intuitive onboard controls for adjusting your audio input and recording pattern, as well as a handy tap-to-mute function. If you want to bring a level of professional polish to your Zoom, Teams or Skype calls then the QuadCast S is a solid investment.

Highly commended | Audio-Technica AT2020USB-X | £119

We’ve long been fans of Audio-Technica’s AT2020USB+ microphone and the AT2020USB-X improves upon its predecessor in a couple of key ways. It features a new, much-improved base and offers built-in monitoring for latency-free audio monitoring. While it’s not the most fully featured microphone around, its professional-level audio reproduction will make it a quality addition to just about any remote working setup.

Best Wi-Fi extender

Winner | Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 3000 | £91

A good Wi-Fi extender should be simple, powerful and unobtrusive. The Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 3000 ticks all of those boxes, delivering very good results in our testing – particularly at medium and long range – and proving exceptionally straightforward to operate. As the name suggests, it supports Wi-Fi 6 and AX3000 speeds, meaning you’re future-proofed while benefiting from the most that your current router can dish out. Sure, it’s not the most glamorous thing in the world, but never underestimate the power of a good Wi-Fi connection in the darkest recesses of your home.

Highly commended | TP-Link RE505X | £60

This unassuming extender offers incredible bang for your buck. It excels at its primary function, delivering rapid download speeds a significant distance from our test router. It’s also easy to set up and, like the Devolo above, is compatible with Wi-Fi 6. But the best thing about our runner-up in this category is that if you already have TP-Link mesh Wi-Fi, it will function as an extra node. Not bad at all.

Best router

Winner | Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 | £350

Jet black and winged like its namesake, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 is intimidating to behold and a frighteningly good router to boot. Bringing the price of Wi-Fi 6 down a smidge is an admirable thing, but it’s the speeds of the RAXE300 that caught our attention – whether you’re using 2.4GHz, 5GHz or 6GHz, this router will make the most of your connection. And bristling with Ethernet ports (and a single USB-C port for good measure) the RAXE300 is as well equipped as it is powerful.

Highly commended | Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 | £350

As gaming routers go, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 is exemplary, and not only for the size of its four antennas. This powerful Wi-Fi 6 router is packed with gaming-specific features, but it’s also a sensational all-round performer with a few surprising extras (including a built-in VPN and remarkably comprehensive parental controls for keeping tabs on young gamers).

Best-value router

Winner | D-Link R15 Eagle Pro AI AX1500 | £46

Although this router might take the prize for the most complex product name, the D-Link R15 Eagle Pro is a very simple proposition. This is a genuinely affordable Wi-Fi 6 router that delivers where it matters most. It’s compact enough to blend into an office environment and more than powerful enough for a busy home network, whether or not you’re using its Wi-Fi 6 capabilities. It’s simple to use and doesn’t overdo it with extras, which makes it a perfect choice for anyone experimenting with routers like this for the first time. A worthy winner.

Highly commended | Asus TUF Gaming AX5400 | £140

Treading the line between performance and price with a little more visual flair, the Asus TUF Gaming AX5400 comes in a close second place. This keenly priced gaming router gives you plenty of control over your traffic (so you can prioritise gaming) and has a huge number of network management options – oh, and it performed very well in our tests, too.

Best mesh Wi-Fi router

Winner | Netgear Orbi RBKE963 | £1,700

If money is no object, the Netgear Orbi RBKE963 is the last word in mesh network performance. Faster than any regular Wi-Fi 6 router and with far greater coverage, the RBKE963 returned astounding results in our tests, cementing its position as our favourite mesh Wi-Fi kit. It’s packed with management features and has the potential to support hundreds of devices at once, and it’s surprisingly simple to set up – simply put, there’s no better demonstration of the next generation of wireless standard.

Highly commended | TP-Link Deco XE75 | £338

The TP-Link Deco XE75 is a member of the same exclusive club as the Netgear above, but it’s a little kinder on your wallet. That doesn’t make this mesh system any less impressive, though – we recorded impressive results from just two nodes and were pleased by the built-in parental controls and security features. If you want great coverage at a reasonable price, look no further.

Best-value mesh Wi-Fi router

Winner | Mercusys Halo H80X | £100

To say that newcomer Mercusys impressed us right out of the gate is an understatement. The Halo H80X is the best example we’ve encountered of a mesh Wi-Fi system that anyone can use: it’s fairly priced and surprisingly powerful, with an excellent and straightforward suite of management features and a nice design that doesn’t draw attention. Faster than comparable rivals and capable of covering a whole home with two nodes, this is an exceedingly impressive mesh and a great first effort.

Highly commended | D-Link M15 Eagle Pro AI AX1500 | £117

You’re not seeing double: The D-Link M15 Eagle Pro AI AX1500 shares all but one letter with its non-mesh sibling above. It’s similar in other ways, too: the M15 is also a fiercely priced bit of kit that performed very well on test and doesn’t overcomplicate its management settings. The difference, however, is that the M15 can eliminate shaky Wi-Fi in every corner of your home for less than the cost of most normal routers.

Best external hard drive

Winner | Crucial X8 Portable SSD | £62

The Crucial X8 Portable SSD is our top pick for an external hard drive due to just how much value you get for your money. Ranging from the 1TB model that’s well under £100 to a massive 4TB version that costs less than £300, there’s an option for all needs. Sequential read and write speeds are respectable enough over the 10Gbits/sec USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C connection – the slower Type-A is fine, but stick to USB-C if you can – and the shock-resistant aluminium casing helps to keep the drive cool when it’s working overtime.

Highly commended | Toshiba Canvio Flex | £52

The Toshiba Canvio Flex HDD comes with both USB-A and USB-C cables, expanding the selection of devices you can pair it with, and the chassis is both compact and robust. Sequential read and write speeds are relatively nippy, and though the random speeds aren’t anything special, they’re on a par with comparable drives. If you don’t want to shell out for an SSD, this is the best-value HDD you can get right now.

Best USB hub

Winner | Kensington UH1400P | £75

The Kensington UH1400P is a driverless 8-in-1 mobile dock that packs plenty of functionality into its relatively sleek frame. There are three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports – one of which supports 5V charging – and a single USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port, which can be used for 85W USB-PD charging to juice up compatible laptops. There are also individual SD and microSD ports, an Ethernet port and an HDMI port that supports 4K at 60Hz. For what you’re paying here, the Kensington UH1400P offers tons of flexibility and a great deal of value.

Highly commended | Anker 563 USB-C Hub | £260

If you need even more ports, the 11-in-1 Anker 563 has two HDMI ports – one offering 4K at 60Hz and one capped at 30Hz – as well as an Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio jack, SD and microSD slots, one DisplayPort and four USB ports. Passthrough charging is also supported, though you’ll need to provide your own charger. It’s a little more expensive, but the 563 brings enough to the table to be worth the price.

Best mouse mat

Winner | Journey Alti Wireless Charging Desk Mat | £100

If you’re a hybrid worker and your desk is a bit of a chaotic mess, Journey’s Alti Wireless Charging Desk Mat could be a game changer. Available in either black or light grey options, this reversible mouse mat has both vegan leather and plush felt sides, and can also be pulled apart to stow away your notes and important documents. What makes this mouse mat really special, however, is the bundled wireless charger, which magnetically connects to the side and can charge your phone up to 15W, as well as simultaneously charge your Airpods.

Highly commended | Logitech Mouse Pad – Studio Series | £9.99

The Logitech Studio Series mouse pad is well suited to home workers on a budget and to anyone with limited space on their desk. Made from 100% recycled polyester, you can choose from three different colours – Blue, Dark Rose and Graphite – with a rubber base keeping the mouse pad from slipping around your desk. Mouse movement was nice and smooth in our tests, and the raised edge stopped the mouse from going out of bounds.

Best laptop stand

Winner | Nexstand K1 | £70

The Nextstand K1 is the high-end sports car of laptop stands. Constructed using a hard-wearing yet lightweight carbon fibre, this laptop stand can be folded away neatly in your bag or locker, with seven adjustable height options to choose from. It’s easily the best-engineered laptop stand we’ve ever used, with its thoughtfully considered folding design and small 150g weight. We particularly liked the bundled soft drawstring carrying case, as well as the pivoting rubberised cradle, which helps your laptop fit nice and snug, with barely any wobble to speak of.

Highly commended | VonHaus Laptop Stand | £8.99

It’s no surprise that the affordable VonHaus Laptop Stand is making yet another appearance in our Remote Working Awards. A constant in our best laptop stands article, its lightweight and slim design is capable of holding laptops between 11in and 17in in size. And with a generous seven levels of adjustability, offering viewing angles between 25 and 47 degrees, its ergonomics are great, with plenty of space for ventilation, too.

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