A proper desk setup can enhance your computing experience and can take your productivity to another level. No matter what kind of work, gaming, or just plain ‘ole browsing you do, there are ton of desk setup configurations out there, but what’s the best for you, especially if you’re on a budget? Below we’ve compiled a list devices that are essential to a great desk setup – a mouse, keyboard, monitor and headphones – and that won’t break the bank. Check out the items below for the best desk setup under $250.
Don’t see some of your favorites in the categories below? Be sure to let us know about them in the comments!
Logitech is easily the most well-known and respected manufacturer of computer, and mobile peripherals, so you know you’re in store for a quality product if it bears their badge. The Logitech Marathon M705 is an excellent choice for budget-conscious consumers who need a reliable mouse for their desk set up. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of using the Logitech Performance MX, picture the same usability and ergonomics, only in a smaller package.
The M705 still offers the Hyper-fast and horizontal scrolling, as well as the forward and back buttons where your thumb would rest. Unfortunately at this price, you do lose the programmable thumb pad button and the ability to charge with mini-USB. I will say that I personally prefer the size of the full-blow Performance MX, but if you’re sticking to a budget, sacrificing the size isn’t too big of a deal.
For writers, typists and gamers alike, mechanical keyboards have become more and more preferred of late. The major downside to a mechanical keyboard, especially if you aren’t familiar with them, is the price. Fortunately, if you do a little digging, you can find some great mechanical keyboards that won’t cost you an arm or a leg. The Roseville RK-9000v2 is a perfect example.
The best part about this keyboard is probably its minimalist design. At first glance, you might think this was just a “normal” keyboard, but start typing and you’ll immediately recognize that mechanical feel. That feel I’m referring to is thanks to the Cherry MX switches Red switches under the keys. The RK-9000v2 feels very well-built, especially for a product in the price range, and it has just enough flare to feel premium (braided cable and red metal backplate) but not be obnoxious.
If an increase in productivity is something you’re after, there is no argument against having a second display to supplement your primary monitor or laptop screen. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a quality monitor at this price, but Ben Q has something that fits the bill. The 22″, 1080p GW2270 is a relatively new product, and is a definite contender if you’re looking for something affordable.
Though Ben Q is widely recognized in the gaming community, this isn’t really the monitor for that. The 5ms response time is admirable for everyday usage, but for serious gamers, you might want something a bit quicker. In this range, however, you will still find great image quality suitable for web browsing, or watching videos and movies, but it’s worth noting this is not an IPS panel which will inevitably limit your viewing angles. At the end of the day, when building your best desk setup under $250, it’s going to come down to balancing performance with value, and I think the BenQ GW2270 does that very well.
Ok, before you look at the price tag and immediately discount these headphones, let’s just say don’t just a book by its cover. Monoprice, while it might not be the most recognized hardware manufacturer, produces some quality products on the cheap. The Monoprice 8323s are just that. At a sub-$30 price, you will actually find a comfortable experience with features that typically belong in higher price segments, such as swiveling and hinged ear cups and detachable audio cables. Speaking of cables, the 8323s come with two of them – a 50″ and an 11.5′. The 11.5′ is ideal if your tower sits below the desk or away from your primary work station.
Though these headphones aren’t going to give you active noise cancellation, you will find that the over-ear cups will block out a portion of surrounding noise and will also keep in the surprisingly full audio that you’ll get. If you have roommates, kids or a significant other at home that you like to keep quiet for while working, the closed-back design of the Monoprice 8323 is a nice addition to reduce noise bleed. Overall these are an outstanding choice for your audio gear if you don’t want to dish out lots of money.
Over at our sister site, Sound Guys, we’ve compiled a list of the best Bluetooth headphones, earbuds and wired headphones available on the market. Ranging anywhere from $33 to $499, you’re bound to find some great audio accessories to pair with your tablet, smartphone or ultrabook. Head to the links below for more information.
Putting together a desk setup under a $250 seems nearly impossible at first thought, but hopefully this list shows you that it’s actually quite doable. For the money spent here, you’re getting a lot of relative value and performance. The important thing is to do your research when sticking to a budget to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
Do you think this list is missing something – maybe your favorite mouse, monitor or keyboard? Let us know in the comments below!