Not long ago we wrote about a person who fashioned an ergonomically healthy computer setup with little more than an M1 Pro MacBook. At the time, their fancy new display was still to-be-delivered, so they made-do without it. Now all the screens are in place and they make a magnificent workstation, with the MacBook running with one landscape-mode display and two portrait-mode monitors. It took some special connectivity tricks to make it happen.
I wrote recently about the shameful squalor of my previous “setup” — basically a borrowed PC laptop perched on a pile of junk — and my effort to build something worthwhile around a gleaming new 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook. Well, like a lot of people in the throes of building a computer setup, I found that second-guessing haunted me into buying a whole lot of alternative gear.
You know, for testing purposes. Trial and error. Not because of my apparent shopping addiction. Or not much, anyway.
From time to time, as you work on making your computer setup all it can be, you order new equipment. And maybe it takes a long time to arrive. Perhaps “supply chain” issues intervene. And if that piece of equipment is your workstation’s visual centerpiece — the magnificent display, placed just so for graphical and ergonomic bliss — then what do you do, when you have no external monitor?
Do you hunch over your laptop until your neck and your back and everything else hurts? Not necessarily.
When you see people online showing off their computer setups with dual displays, you often see side-by-side horizontal monitors (landscape mode). Sometimes you see a horizontal screen and a vertical one (portrait mode). And sometimes you see stacked displays, with one landscape-oriented monitor mounted on top of another.
Sometimes you see the stack because of space issues, where there’s simply no room to either side of the setup. Other times you see a stack when someone wants to run four or five displays. And there are cases where the user couldn’t get one monitor to work in portrait mode, so they had to have both screens in landscape mode.
In the world of computer setups, space is often at a premium. When you’ve got computers, displays, peripherals, gadgets and cables, you need some surface area. But not everyone has a big desk, much less more than one. That’s where certain types of stands and mounting arms come in handy.
So many devices, so many screens, so many devices with screens — how do you manage them all? Some people go to great lengths. Others … not so much.
Those who love the old-school touch and feel of a mechanical keyboard have long-admired Keychron for its range of K-series keebs. The newest member of the family offers a new series name, Q1, an affordable price and more customization than the company has yet put out there.
When a computer setup is as clean and spare as Redditor whatsyourname’s, the eye tends to go to the most unusual item. In this case, it’s probably the colorful keyboard cover on the MacBook Pro, making it look like some other model of laptop.
And, of course, what did commenters most want to talk about in the setup? That thing. Naturally, a little bit of a debate ensued. Should you use a keyboard cover on a MacBook at all?
From Cult of Mac Setups articles, we know Keychron mechanical keyboards are popular among Mac users. The company’s sleek new K7 model promises to continue that trend. Better yet, you can be among the first to grab it in Keychron’s Kickstarter campaign.
Redditor floridatastic, who probably dwells in The Sunshine State, said they spent a while as a “serial lurker” on the macsetups subreddit. But after rebuilding a home workstation centered on an M1 MacBook Air, the time came to to take the gear public.
Redditor DeviantSubrbanKid, based in the Philippines, knows how to impress a few computer setup mavens on social media. Make the workstation clean, tasteful and functional. And then add some weird or interesting touches.
Many people have a thing for clean, simple computer setups where distractions are minimized and productivity — of whatever type — is maximized. Redditor CosmicCrispApple seems to find a Zen-like state simply by emphasizing the color white with some black contrast on the desk.
But it’s really not that simple. You also have to keep things, well, simple. And if you do it right, your setup can look and feel as light as air.
One of the downsides you hear about the M1 MacBook Air and the M1 MacBook Pro is that they officially (natively) support just one external display in addition to the laptop’s screen, not dual external monitors.
Well, that may be true in the user manual. But Redditor ImajiiMac is among those discovering that “official” ain’t everything.
To be fair, when Redditor No-Top-5065 posted pics of their MacBook Air-based computer setup, they asked for suggestions on how to improve it.
“Any recommendation on how can I improve my desk setup? Not into gaming, work and study most of the time,” said the post’s headline.
If you look at enough computer setups, you get used to seeing the amazing technology that impresses people on social media sites. But then, sometimes the cool innovation, or let’s say killer retro-innovation, is just an unfamiliar form of whiteboard with dry-erase notes scribbled on it.
Redditor TheCrunks has an admirably capable but compact setup with plenty of tech to like.
It’s only Monday, but Dutch videographer, designer and web production artist Dion Tavenier probably wins this week’s award for setup design. Cool, spare, architectural — get the Museum of Modern Setups on the phone!
If only there was such a museum. Or such an award.
Redditor jondajaba recently finished putting together a computer setup and asked in a post for recommendations on what’s missing that he might add. Naturally, setup mavens far and wide who live and breathe this stuff replied with plenty of advice.
Redditor KunalBH bought a compact, no-frills Anker keyboard to use with his iPad in 2017. Now he’s asking the universe for help finding a worthy replacement (or additional) keyboard for his MacBook Pro-based setup.
Passionate suggestions are pouring in. See below for some of the leading contenders.
Redditor franklinrockz makes no bones about the minimalist setup he bought with lockdown savings for online classes, calling it “pretty basic” and “nothing fancy.” But it gets the job done and looks good doing it.
A testament to that are the three dozen comments his post had by day two online. Lots of folks liked what franklinrockz did with the workstation and wanted to know about its components.
The setup showcased in a recent Reddit post consists of just a MacBook Air, an iPad, an iPhone and some peripherals and accessories, but it brings up a puzzling conundrum: Should you use both a MacBook and an iPad, even though their functionality overlaps to a great extent?
According to most of the comments, the answer is yes — even if it makes you feel like a sucker.
After toiling for many months to get it right, Southeast Asia-based Redditor vostok91 finally finished fitting a vibrant computer setup on a small desk in a small room. The result may be a small setup compared to some, but that doesn’t make it a “small setup.” It’s plenty feisty.
A 15-inch MacBook Pro paired with an LG 32UL950 Ultrafine 4K LED Monitor make up the setup’s core.
Redditor Liquidsama’s setup is popular on the social media app not just for the adorable Pac-Man Ghost Light in the corner (see photos), but for its awesome computing power for work and play.
The LED ghost light phases through nine colors and reacts to music, by the way — which is neat — but the real draw here is a bulked-up Mac Pro for IT work and a heavily modded PC for gaming. Not to mention a great audio rig for podcasting.
If one thing catches your eye first about Redditor arnaki_gkioulmpasi’s setup, it’s probably the interesting light show on the wall behind it. That array is made up of Nanoleaf Shapes that can be arranged any which way.
Those cool-looking lights, along with a Yeelight Screen Light Bar Pro atop the Dell 32-inch curved 4K monitor and a standing lamp next to the desk, keep eyestrain to a minimum.
Andreas Larsson is a Sweden-based security technician who converted a tiny corner of his office into a bonafide workspace. He had limited space to work with so he tried to squeeze every inch out of it. His friend, who works at an office furnishing company, custom-built a desk to span 46 inches — the entire length of his office.