The 16 Best Accessories to Go With Your MacBook Pro
Since being home mostly permanently, I’ve really noticed just how many assorted dongles, docks, lifts, and other accessories my office provided me. As in, I’ve noticed their absence. The number of times I’ve gone to export something, or found myself working on my MacBook in some ridiculous posture, makes me take stock of all the add-ons I’m now missing. You probably are, too. So with the world shut down for the foreseeable future, it's time to give our desks at home the spruce-up they need, whether the update is practical or for vanity’s sake. Besides, everything in the MacBook universe already costs an arm and a leg (not without merit), so we might as well get the most out of our massive investment.
MacBooks are often oriented around the designer, artist, and fashion realms, and folks in those worlds tend to need computer accessories to do their jobs well. And while Apple tries to be the sole provider of all of your accessorizing needs, every once in a while you need something the company can't offer. Other times, you should really go with what Apple sells. Here’s a roadmap to help you on your expensive MacBook journey through the best mouses, keyboards, monitors, and more.
THE BEST DOCK
OWC 14-Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock, amazon.com
I live by the word of docks, and OWC has one of the best out there for Mac users. Docks help not only with cord management, but also ease of access to all the chargers, monitors, keyboards, and various other extensions. A dock requires that you plug in just one USB-C into your Mac when you sit at your desk, meaning you won't have to go through a 20-minute cord untangling act every time you have to send a few emails or charge your iPhone. It's easy, and honestly, a necessity.
THE BEST SMALL DOCK
Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Core, amazon.com
Another great dock but on the more covert side, Belkin's option is much more transportable, in case you need some extra plugs and converters along the commute (especially with the absence of the more traditional USB-A ports on MacBooks). While you may forfeit a little bit of the cord organization you get through the OWC dock, it just depends on what you need.
THE BEST MOUSE
Apple Magic Trackpad 2, amazon.com
Apple's Magic Trackpad 2 is smooth, with a lot of customizable gestures and comfortable scrolling. Whether you go with this or the Magic Mouse is largely based on preference, but the simplistic design of the trackpad makes it our winner.
THE BEST KEYBOARD
Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, amazon.com
In step with the Space Grey age comes Apple's signature keyboard, the Magic Keyboard. It’s the same reliable machine it's always been, but now in a style that will go with your Space Grey MacBook family.
THE BEST TECH BUNDLE
Razer Pro Productivity Suite, razer.com
Yes, Razer tends to cater to gamers, but recently, it released this killer productivity suite with help from Humanscale. This is the combo—the Pro Click wireless mouse, the Pro Type wireless keyboard, and the Pro Glide mouse mat—for those who prefer more of a mechanical keyboard and extra buttons on their mouse but still want that modern design touch. It hits that middle ground between gamer, tech nerd, and minimalist that a lot of us have been searching for.
THE BEST MONITOR
LG UltraFine 4K Display, apple.com
Before Apple decided to make its own monitor (with an abhorrent price tag), LG and Apple had a unique friendship. LG made these monitors with Apple computers specifically in mind, and they're slick as hell. Crisp 4K visuals and phenomenal design make them pricey, but also a must-have for any designer, photographer, or video editor with a Mac.
THE BEST BUDGET MONITOR
Asus ProArt PA248QV 24.1" WUXGA LCD Monitor, amazon.com
If you can't swing the other monitor on this list, I can't blame you; nice monitors are expensive. Asus, however, released this fantastic and affordable screen that has phenomenal color output and a design that allows for mobility and versatility of the screen. For under 200 bucks, it's a remarkably powerful package.
THE BEST PORTABLE MONITOR
Vissles-M 15.6" Portable Touchscreen Monitor, vissles.com
This little guy can fold nearly flat and come along with you anywhere as a second screen. And while you may not be going far, it's perfect for working at your dining room table-desk and still guaranteeing an easy clean-up at the end of the day. The Vissel’s touch screen doesn't currently support Mac OS, but it still totally works as a secondary display, which is all you really need.
THE BEST LAPTOP LIFT
Rain Design mStand360 Laptop Stand, amazon.com
Lift! That! Laptop! Lift it! A laptop lift just makes everything a helluva lot more organized and ergonomic when you're trying to work, especially at a desk with an additional monitor. The Rain Design lift is simple, sturdy, and at an ideal height. And now, a glance into Esquire behind the scenes: These are the laptop lifts we use at the office. So am I biased? Yes. Do I think they’re very good? Also yes. So get yourself a piece of the Esquire cinematic universe.
THE BEST DESK
Artifox Standing Desk 02, theartifox.com
This is a high-end desk, folks, and it may not be for everyone. But Artifox desks are peak desks. They have such a simple but practical design that incorporates one of the easiest cord managing systems I’ve seen—and cord management is a must if you haven't gotten that yet. Artifox makes quality standing desks for fidgeters and non-standing desks for sitters, and really, you're good with either. But chances are if you're using a Mac you have some kind of creative background, and a standing desk like this one will get the blood flowing to your brain.
THE BEST DESK LIGHT
Dyson Lightcycle Morph Desk Light, dyson.com
Dyson's Morph lamp is nice because it functions as an area light but also has the range and mobility to be a reading light. Along with that, there are tons of brightness and warmth settings. If you're into Apple, you're probably into this whole sleek, futuristic design that Dyson does so well, and the Lightcycle Morph is the most versatile lamp out there.
THE BEST KEYBOARD ACCESSORY
Grovemade Maple Keyboard Tray, grovemade.com
I hate typing on flat keyboards. My wrists need a slight angle so as to not flare up. Should I see a doctor? Probably! I got this tray instead. It not only holds the Magic Keyboard at a glorious angle, but also looks beautiful while doing it. Grovemade is one of those companies where, when touching the product, you just know it's nice as hell. It's a great way to not only help with wrist fatigue but also spice up your keyboard setup.
THE BEST DESK PAD
Grovemade Desk Pad, grovemade.com
Another accessory from Grovemade: Out with the mouse pad and in with the desk pad. It covers a large surface area and not only makes it more comfortable to rest your arms, but also works as an oversized mouse pad. It looks so neat and organized. And Grovemade has a few style options, including leather, wool, grey, black, and my personal favorite, navy.
THE BEST CASES
Casetify MacBook Pro Case Collections, casetify.com
Casetify protects your MacBook with a huge selection of case designs to choose from, including Pokémon cases, illustrated cases, and textured cases. They hold up well, keeping their decals and structure, as opposed to many of the cheaper, generic options you'll find on Amazon. If you're a computer customization savant, Casetify has some really stunning options.
THE BEST TOOL FOR ARTISTS
Wacom Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet, adorama.com
Wacom has always been a leader in the digital art field, but this tablet is a game changer. It's an ultra-light, ultra-thin digital drawing pad with immense customization and control ease. Fantastic visuals coupled with beautiful design make it a wish-list accessory for any tablet-using artist, designer, animator, or other creative.
THE BEST GAMING CONTROLLER
Steel Series Nimbus Mobile Gaming Controller, amazon.com
Let’s be honest: Gaming is not big on MacBooks. But Apple is testing its gaming skills with Apple Arcade and expanded game controller support. Right now, only a few controllers work well with Macs. SteelSeries' Nimbus is one of those few. Mac and iOS functionality coupled with a comfortable and accessible design make this a solid accessory for anyone looking to do some light gaming.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.