Some people dislike using a mouse. Others can’t fathom a trackpad. And believe it or not, some folks hate both. So what do they do to get their brilliant thoughts onto the computer screen?
Knowing it’s hard to get by in life on just a keyboard, what input device can they use in addition to it? As today’s featured computer setup illustrates, they might try using a certain tablet like it’s a cross between a trackpad and a mouse.
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MacBook Pro setup replaces mouse and/or trackpad with a Wacom Intuos Pro drawing tablet
Redditor Happy_Haircut (“Hap”) showed off their unusual workstation in a post entitled, “Anti mice, trackpad, and multiple monitor setup.”
Hap uses a 3-year-old ,Intel i9-powered MacBook Pro with eight cores. It drives a 27-inch Dell P2715Q Full HD monitor sitting on a Fully Jarvis arm. A BenQ Screenbar Monitor Light perches on top of the display, illuminating the desk.
Hot and noisy MacBook Pro
The post made much of the excess noise from the 2019 MacBook Pro’s fan, as well as the heat it apparently fails to dissipate. Especially with external monitors.
“I know the pain, external monitors seem to make the edition extra special,” said one sympathetic commenter. “Mine was much older and slower though (2016 13“) and I’ve just switched to a 14“ MBP and wow what a difference. Yours is most likely still fast enough to hold off for a while though.”
Hap agreed but lamented buying their MacBook Pro not long before the M1 release.
“Yes, I bought it at the wrong time, but had no idea silicon was on the horizon. My employer is sending me a ‘2 month old fully specc’ed MacBook’ so I’m excited to see what that is! Was also debating a base model Studio and MacBook Air.”
And they added: “I find that low power mode in Monterey cuts out excess fan noise when on an external monitor.”
Wacom Intuos Pro drawing tablet
For input devices, Hap uses a Logitech MX Keys mechanical keyboard, but with the stock keycaps replaced by Nuphy75 keycaps. That’s a bit unusual, but what’s more-so is the lack of a mouse or trackpad.
Instead, for a decade they’ve used a Wacom Intuos Pro M drawing tablet.
You can use other devices, like an iPad or even an iPhone, as a trackpad or mouse — especially in conjunction with apps like Remote Mouse — but Hap finds a lot to like with the Intuos.
As they explained to curious commenters:
Your screen is a mapped out tablet region. You can even split the region to control multiple screens. That’s where having the medium or large versions come in handy. Because you make your regions smaller your slightest moves are more exaggerated. It’s literally just a mouse in a form of a pen. it literally has the left and right buttons like a mouse.
You also get pressure sensitivity due to the tablet. If you have mainly used a mouse it make take you a week to get used to it. But once you do you realize, depending on the task, it’s more productive because you change your interaction with the computer to be more gesture rather than procedural clicks.
Hap went on to say other benefits of using the tablet instead of a mouse or trackpad are the Wacom’s customizable express keys and on-screen menus. They customize the keys for every application they use.
“I love them, but shocked to find that most Wacom users don’t use them,” Hap said, “I’ve invested a lot of time into customizing them. I rarely use shortcuts on my keyboard anymore. On my Intuos they do not feel in the way if I’m not using them.”
Hap even finds the tablet “much more ergonomic, comfortable and accurate even for basic web browsing” than other input devices. And that’s without using the tablet’s “trackpad mode” because its “not as well implemented as the trackpad on the MacBook.”
Interestingly, Hap said they “feel like a caveman when I use a mouse and trackpad, and I get wrist pain.”
Those are some pretty good arguments in favor of a Wacom Intuos Pro drawing tablet as an input device.
In the audio department, Hap uses Beyerdynamic DT770 closed-back wired over-ear headphones for “active listening.” The cans, made in Germany, are designed for the high-resolution audio of studio recording.
But Hap also has a set for “noise cancelling/meetings and for passive listening.” Those are Sennheiser Momentum 3 closed back ANC over-ear headphones.
Shop these items now:
Computer and dock:
- Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro wired over-ear headphones
- Sennheiser Momentum 3 wireless ANC over-ear headphones
If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.