Sonja Reid
CNN —  

Welcome to Influenced, where we interview creators of all kinds about the gear they use to do their job — and their advice for aspiring influencers. This week, we caught up with veteran internet personality and Twitch streamer Sonja Reid about her everyday essentials, why she loves streaming from a standing desk and her love affair with virtual reality.

Here’s the cool stuff Sonja Reid does

  • Has been streaming on Twitch since 2013 as “omgitsfirefoxx” and currently has more than 747,000 followers.
  • Co-hosts “Good Game Nice Try,” a weekly gaming podcast that’s part of Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco network.
  • Has covered the gaming and automotive worlds extensively, and hosted numerous major events and shows, including the SXSW Game Awards Show and “The Attack.”
  • Holds a 2017 Guinness World Record for “Most Followed Female on Twitch.”
  • Part of the Forbes 2016 “30 Under 30” list.

Sonja Reid’s favorite gadgets

Reid’s early setup included “an old HP laptop that would overheat and basically burn [her] hand” and a “Logitech webcam that [she] had stacked on a stack of sticky notes.” But, as you might expect, her setup has grown significantly as she took the internet by storm. Here are her some of the essentials that allow her to get her job done.

The go-to gaming mouse: Razer DeathAdder V2 ($69.99; razer.com)

Razer

Reid is a big proponent of Razer products — her home setup includes the BlackWidow keyboard, and she often uses a Razer Blade Pro laptop on the go. But the one piece of gear that has stayed with her from her early days is the Razer DeathAdder. It’s the first gaming mouse she ever purchased, and one she still uses today (though she has since upgraded to a newer model).

“I needed to get a gaming mouse, of course,” says Reid. “So I got the DeathAdder. And I still use the DeathAdder today, which is crazy to think about.”

A staple among PC gamers, the Razer DeathAdder frequently earns high marks for its comfortable and overall responsiveness. We tested the wireless DeathAdder V2 Pro model in our quest to find the best gaming mouse and praised it for its excellent ergonomics and large amount of handy buttons.

For staying active while streaming: Uplift V2 Standing Desk (starting at $549; upliftdesk.com)

Uplift

Tune in to any given Twitch stream and you’ll likely see someone being engulfed by a big, cushy gaming chair. But Reid has been mixing things up as of late and doing her weekly broadcasts from her Uplift standing desk, which she says has been “revolutionary” during a period of having to largely stay indoors.

“It was nice to have an excuse to actually be on my feet, and you have so much more space to play with,” says Reid. “It’s been good, just energy-wise and everything.”

Reid isn’t the only Uplift fan out there — the Uplift V2-Commercial Standing Desk happens to be our pick for the best customizable standing desk you can buy. We love it for its wide range of customization options, which include 22 desktop finishes and multiple colors for both the legs and power grommets. It also has a feature-rich keypad that makes it easy to set the desk to the exact height you want.

“They have these ports on the back [with] a power supply,” says Reid. “So I can plug things in really easily. You have different memory settings — and yeah, it’s great.”

For pro-level podcasting at home: Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone ($149; bhphotovideo.com)

Audio-Technica

Reid began talks for her podcast, “Good Game Nice Try,” early in 2020, with plans to shoot the show — which includes interviews with gaming personalities and occasional check-ins from Conan O’Brien himself — in a proper studio. Then a little thing called the pandemic hit, forcing the team to switch gears. Fortunately for Reid, she already had the microphone she needed to record a professional-quality podcast from home.

“Having a condenser mic before the pandemic feels like I’m hanging on to diamonds,” says Reid. “Because trying to get anything between workout equipment [and] cameras, it was insane. It was impossible to get anything. So, yeah, I was definitely well prepared going in, unintentionally.”

The AT2035 is a top-selling and well-regarded microphone, thanks to its crisp recording quality, strong noise isolation and a high-pass filter mode that can cut out unwanted background rumbles. Condenser microphones, such as the AT2035 and our top microphone pick in the Blue Yeti, are generally considered more ideal for capturing nuanced sounds (such as spoken dialogue) than the dynamic microphones you’ll see on stage at a concert. As such, they’re a fixture in podcast studios and personal streaming setups alike.

Just for fun: Oculus Quest 2 ($299; amazon.com)

Oculus

Reid is a longtime virtual reality enthusiast whose love for the technology goes back to 2016, when the first consumer VR headsets were big and bulky and needed an expensive and powerful computer to function. Needless to say, she loves her Oculus Quest 2, which eliminates all the wires and sensors for a pick-up-and-play VR experience that has become her favorite social activity as of late.

“I would say [one of my] top three favorite things in the world is putting people in VR for the first time who have never had an experience with it, because at this point it’s so intuitive,” says Reid. “I just threw somebody’s mom [in] it for the first time and just seeing how quickly they can pick it up… She actually did the best in Beat Saber out of all of us.”

That ease of use has made the Quest 2 one of our favorite tech gadgets, though an excellent game lineup that lets us battle with lightsabers in Vader Immortal or shoot like John Wick in Pistol Whip hasn’t hurt either. We’ve also found it to be an absolute game changer for staying active from home, thanks to great titles like Supernatural and FitXR that make working out feel more like an addictive video game than a tiring chore.

“It’s one thing, gaming-wise, I’ve just been blown away [by] over the last year,” says Reid.

Pro tips

If you’re looking to get into the worlds of Twitch or YouTube, Reid has two major pieces of advice: Think about the type of content you want to make, and don’t worry about going all out with your first setup.

“If you’re looking to do more travel content, having the [Razer Blade laptop] is great for gaming and doing streaming on the go,” says Reid. “But yeah, look into different parts and resources for doing a desktop setup. Invest in a standup desk would be my recommendation.”

And when you’re first getting started, Reid says, experimenting with different gadgets to find what works for you is key.

“Try different things and see how it feels and see how you like it, especially with headsets,” says Reid. “Because they’re shaped so differently, they have different textures. You never know what you want to have on your sweaty head for eight hours a day. So, yeah. Just try different things and start somewhere.”