Even a small desk can’t keep you from having a powerful computer setup — if you get the right gear and not too much of it. All it takes is a great laptop — like a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air — a vertical laptop stand, a not-gargantuan display and a minimal amount of other gear, as shown in today’s featured setup.
Oh, and consider a monitor arm rather than a stand. That helps keep the external screen out of the way.
This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.
Small desk fits minimal-but-mighty MacBook Pro setup
Redditor pale00 showcased their mini-but-mighty setup in a post entitled, “Small desk WFH setup.”
Its main feature is a recent MacBook Pro sitting in clamshell mode — closed but pretty much always on, as Pale noted — on a vertical Hagibis laptop stand. That orientation keeps the computer off to one side or in the back of the setup, taking up very little space. And of course it’s quick and easy to unplug the machine and take with you if necessary.
Then comes an external display, and not some 49-inch ultra-wide monster. Here it’s a sensible, 27-inch Lenovo QHD display on a mount. A Microsoft LifeCam Pale got from work perches on top of the display.
After that, the setup consists of just minimal other peripherals — a full-sized Magic Keyboard (could have saved some more space with a mini), the nearly ubiquitous Logitech MX Master 3 wireless mouse, a pair of AirPods Pro on a little tray and a felt desk mat plus a mouse pad.
USB-C hub monitor powers the MacBook Pro
Another space-saving and simplifying aspect of the setup is its capable monitor, which makes it possible to skip using a dedicated USB-C hub.
“Is the MacBook connected directly to the monitor?” asked a commenter. “How do you connect the webcam and what mic do you use for meetings?”
Someone else speculated that the monitor, which features 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution and a Mac-friendly refresh rate of 60Hz, is probably a hub, “allowing you to plug in multiple devices like speakers and cameras and have it travel to the laptop with the [Thunderbolt] port.”
Pale confirmed that the Lenovo monitor is a USB-C hub that powers the MacBook Pro.
“USB-C connection also delivers power, so only one cable is required,” they said. “I use BT headset or Jabra speak for meetings.”
Monitor mount rather than stand
Crucially, for a setup in a tight space, the Lenovo display does not sit directly on the desk. Instead, it’s mounted on a HyperX Armada single-monitor arm.
The mount fixes to the back or side edge of the desk, allowing you to move the screen without anything else getting in the way, maximizing limited space.
Shop these items now:
Computer and vertical stand:
Display and stand:
Audio and accessories:
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, challenges and plans for new additions.