‘Magic’ peripherals and M1 Mac mini take dual curved screens to the max [Setups]

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Dual curved displays and Apple keyboard, trackpad and mouse make the setup for Russ Hicks.
Dual curved displays and magic Apple peripherals make this setup sing.
Photo: Russ Hicks

With the recent arrival of a dual-monitor stand, Oxford, England-based Russ Hicks completed an overhaul of the setup that powers the one-man business he has run for 25 years: Genesis Marketing Services.

He specializes in printing equipment suppliers and packaging services. And his business now runs on a Mac mini M1 and dual curved screens.

Multiple sclerosis has made Hicks’ work more challenging recently, but Apple products have helped him deal with it.

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‘Magic’ peripherals and dictation ease the input

For Hicks’ marketing work, input gets done via Apple’s “magic” wireless trio: extended Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad 2 and Magic Mouse 2.

“The trackpad is positioned on the left due to my [multiple sclerosis],” he told Cult of Mac. “My right hand is losing its sensitivity and fine motor skills, so I’ve had to learn to be more left-handed. My right hand can make use of the mouse if needed, but I tend to rely on the trackpad most of the time.”

MS has also made typing increasingly difficult for Hicks, so he’s exploring dictation solutions. He said his current favorites are Apple Notes, Evernote (in heavy use on his iPad and iPhone X) and Drafts.

Dual curved monitors provide lots of screen real estate

Hicks’ dual 27-inch Samsung curved monitors provide a full 4 feet of screen real estate.

“At work this means the opening of multiple documents and web pages when composing a press release or a trade press feature,” he said. “Although I do some photo editing, it’s only basic selection and cropping of a favored image.”

M1-powered Mac mini more than gets it done

Hicks said he’s happy the engine now driving his screens is the latest Mac mini with an M1 chip.

“Officially, I believe that this mini’s not supposed to be capable of driving two screens, but it seems to work just fine for me,” he said. “One connects via USB-C and the second via one of the USB-B sockets. The Mac software for a second screen background all works as expected.”

Hicks finds the M1’s speed impressive but pointed out he’s not stretching its capabilities.

“It’s totally overkill for my work, but I just wanted to see how good it actually was — and at its current price point it’s a bargain buy in my opinion,” he said.

Bluetooth works smoothly

Hicks noted much was made of Bluetooth issues when the M1-based Macs first appeared, but he has zero problems with it. All three of his Bluetooth-enabled devices work 100% of the time.

Audio preferences

For sound, Hicks still loves his mid-1990s Technics SE-HD350 amp and speakers, which have moved house with him three times and still provide a rich, quality sound.

“A far superior sound, I’d say, than any Bluetooth speaker — and I’ve tried many,” he said. “A cable connects to the auxiliary inputs from the Mac mini’s headphone socket. Sounds are supplied via Apple Music and Spotify. I’ve still not decided which I prefer!”

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