As a freelance web developer, hardware purchases are never easy, considering that they come out of my own pocket, and directly affect my profits.
As a result, I typically purchase average-grade hardware, as development doesn’t usually require heavy processing power.
The 3 areas I usually try not to skimp on are:
- Monitor display size
The first 2 may seem obvious, having nice large dual monitors makes it that much easier to code in one screen and preview in another. While a good amount of memory can support things like virtual machines, emulators, multiple browser windows, etc.
But, the last one, a good mouse, may not seem to carry that much importance. It didn’t for me until a few months ago. We had purchased a new counter top for our kitchen, made from recycled glass. I usually spend 10 or 15 hours/week working in the kitchen, just to break up the monotony of the home office, so I was extremely annoyed by the inability for the typical laser mouse to work on a glass surface.
In my frustration, I researched high-end mice, only to find that just about all of them were designed for gamers. So, I decided to take a gamble on a gamer mouse.
I purchased the Razer Mamba Ergonomic with minimal expectations, hoping only that it would work slightly better on a glass surface. After using it for just 5 minutes on my glass countertop, I was honestly blown away. The tracking precision was perfect, as good as on a mouse pad. The mouse uses laser and optical sensors to enhance precision. So where the laser was failing on the glass surface, the optical sensor was kicking in to provide accuracy.
So, I was impressed with the accuracy. But, as time went by, I’d occasionally hit a button on the mouse by accident. Instead of being annoyed, I was pleasantly surprised by the new feature I’d just discovered!
While in Eclipse, the “paging” buttons on the mouse allow me to flip between tabs, and while in a web browser, they allow me to go back and forward through my page history. This, and countless other features I’ve discovered.
Package this with the ridiculously good ergonomics (it really feels like the mouse was designed for your hand), and you’ve got one awesome piece of hardware!
The price tag hit me a little hard, after all, I was used to spending $5 on run-of-the-mill laser mice. It’s a tough $100 to swallow for a mouse. But, considering it’s something I use consistently at least 60 hours/week, it has paid for itself many times over.