User trades 4K display for a second MacBook Pro [Setups]


Dual MacBook setup
This setup traded a vertical 32-inch display for an M2 Max MacBook Pro, among other changes.

For the second time in as many weeks we’ve come across someone ditching a nice external display and keeping just one — and this time it’s to add a second powerful MacBook Pro used as both a computer and a secondary display. In fact, now it’s triple-display setup, but two of them are laptops on stands.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

Setup goes from 2 external 4K displays to 1 and adds second M2 Max MacBook Pro instead

Redditor MagneticMotion (“MM”) showcased the clean and complete setup in a post entitled, “Updated setup.” The updates refresh their setup from its state shown in another post 7 months earlier.

MM described the changes, which include dropping a 32-inch Dell 4K display they used in portrait mode (vertical; see image below) in favor of adding a second M2 Max MacBook Pro and keeping it open on a stand as a secondary display. Hey, sometimes removing an external display can actually count as a kind of upgrade. But MM made a whole bunch of other changes, too.

Here’s MM’s description:

  • Changed the table top to a slightly wider one with less depth – IKEA Karlby (Walnut)

  • Got rid of the vertical 32-inch monitor and replaced it with an M2 Max — I wasn’t sure that the second 32-inch monitor added much value; sometimes, it felt distracting. One big monitor for a major task feels better, and the laptop is great for misc stuff such as Spotify.

  • Laptop stand – Ugmonk Laptop Stand (Walnut).

  • Moved from Magic Keyboard to a full-size MX Keys S; I tried both the Mac version and MX Keys S Graphite; I like the Graphite color much more + it works with the same Bolt receiver as MX Master 3S. The Mac version only works with the older Unifying receiver; not sure why.

  • The keyboard was also a secondary reason I switched to open Macbook — I use TouchID fairly often and would miss it without the Magic Keyboard and laptop closed.

  • Added some new gadgets – Oakywood Magsafe Charger, and Oakywood Headphone Stand with charger, both in Walnut. The former Belkin charger is now on a nightstand.

  • Added new noise-cancelling headphones – Bose QuietComfort Ultra – much better than sound and isolation than Airpods; in addition, earplugs are not healthy for prolonged periods of time.

  • Added two small plants and a bigger one near the desk. I’m looking for another smaller plant to add on the right side of the table or desk shelf, or maybe even some type of small vine/creeping plant hanging from the wall – looking for inspiration.

  • Looking for an iPhone continuity camera holder, ideally mountable on the BENQ Screenbar Halo.

Q&A with commenters: desk mat/mouse pad, Dell monitor arm, Oakywood MacBook sleeve

Commenters had relevants questions and concerns, so we’re included exchanges between them (Q) and MM (A) below.

Q: How do you like the desk mat as a mouse pad? As aesthetically pleasing as it is, in my experience it’s only subpar for using it as a mousepad because of wear and therefore not really a smooth mouse experience after some time. That pretty much goes for every felt desk mat I’ve tried (regardless of price), which is why I don’t use them anymore.

A: So far, it holds and has no noticeable wear; I have had it for approximately 6-7 months. I used to play competitive games years ago, so I was used to small mice (e.g. G Pro Wireless) with speed fabric mousepads — Razer, HyperX, etc. After transitioning to this kind of setup, I tried the felt mat, and so far, no regrets. My main issue at first was a different texture since I was so used to smooth fabric surfaces. But it is great now, and it matches other accessories — the Macbook sleeve, Analog sleeve from Ugmonk, and cup coasters. I don’t know how it will wear in another year or two. Nevertheless, I used to change my gaming pads once a year because they don’t feel that great once used much.

Q: What do you think about Dell MSA20 monitor arm with U3223QE monitor? Is this monitor arm wobble with relatively big monitor?

A: Strong and solid arms. I had two of those 32-inch [monitors] before (one vertically), and they never moved. They wobble a bit if you hit or shake the table, but that’s physics. Otherwise, they don’t move at all while working and don’t sink at all — I actually measured it after a month, and the gap was the same.

Q: I’ve been considering that Oakywood MacBook sleeve. How do you like it?

A: Love it. Feels great, looks great and is fairly thick so great protection. Plus, it goes with other felt accessories I bought from them.

And if you like the desktop wallpaper showing on the external display, you can find it here.

Shop these items now:

Previous version of setup with dual displays
The previous version of the setup had two 4K displays and one M2 Max MacBook Pro, not the other way around.

Computer and accessories:

Display and mount:

Input devices:



Furniture and accessories:

If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to 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.

2023 16-inch M2 Max MacBook Pro

This 16-inch M2 Max MacBook Pro comes with a 38-core GPU, 32GB of unified memory and a 1TB SSD.

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 12:42 am GMT


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.