Chair: The Herman Miller Mirra
The Mirra, next generation after the classic Aeron. Look at this baby.
Fully adjustable and really, really comfortable.
I believe in purchasing good furniture, even before buying any electronics. You’re going to keep that tablet or desktop for 3 to 5 years, tops. But a top-notch chair can easily last 8 to 10 years, if not more. So if you’re already buying $1500 computers, why skimp off a good chair?
A good chair, along with good ergonomics, can easily save you a lot of time flexing your wrists and getting massages. This is seriously a big deal. Your elbows, wrist and back are some of your biggest assets.
Speaking of displays…
Display: Apple’s, or Dell UltraSharps
Oh, boy. Apple (do I really need to link that?) displays are known to be quite well calibrated. As a designer, color calibration and sharpness is crucial. I cannot understate this — most everyday displays are crap. And there’s nothing more embarrassing than seeing a print-out in a completely different color from what you were planning.
You can color-calibrate most decent screens. But not all of them can actually get to good color accuracy. In reviews, they tend to check this in terms of “92% of sRGB” or something like that.
Also, you want an IPS display. In-Plane Switching allows you to have better viewing angles, and colors that break up less as you move around. This is even more important if you have multiple displays, which you totally should. Have at least 2 displays.
Apple displays are always pre-calibrated out-of-the-box (which is, well, expected, given they also make the OS), have good color accuracy, are IPS screens, and are about the correct brightness. Note that I said “Apple display”, not just “MacBook” or something — this is because the iPad has a seriously accurate display from the 3rd generation and above. Many tablets I’ve tested have badly matching displays, once I hold them up next to a calibrated screen. This means you can get away with using an iPad for color checking.
Now, if you don’t like Apple (and if anyone screams “OVERPRICED” at this point, they’re going to look silly), you can take a look at the Dell UltraSharp line.
These are Dell’s top-of-the-line screens. And boy are they pretty. I have one sitting alongside my iMac right now. They have the same basic properties as Apple displays, but with a wider range of sizes and resolutions.
Additionally, many of them allow you to swivel to portrait view, which is awesome for code. They also support various other input types, unlike Apple’s Thunderbolt display which just allows, well, Thunderbolt.
You’ll notice that the prices are practically identical for Dell and Apple — so you can really just go in and do a feature-by-feature comparison.
Note: There’s a new iMac just out, which includes a fancier body shape and USB 3.0 ports. We don’t know if they’ll update the Thunderbolt Display to match, but it may be worth a wait.
In the next section: Mice, “companion screens”, drawing tablets, wall mounts, lamps, paper, and more. Much more.
For now, have a peek into the future and check out the absolutely fantastic Leap Motion.
Yes, I’ve pre-ordered it. Yes, it’s real — here’s a hands-on by David Pierce of The Verge:
… Yeah. $70.