Behind the Screens is a new weekly 9to5Toys series that takes you through our writers’ setups, be it mobile, desktop, gaming or home theater. Next up is Michael Potuck, writer and copy editor across the 9to5 network.
My workspace is inspired and based around my space gray 15-inch MacBook Pro. I really dig the sleek, dark aesthetic and have been swapping out different white accessories and other items to go with the space gray theme over the last six months or so.
I also really appreciate a clean and minimal setup not only because of how it looks, but also because it helps me stay focused on my work. I’m always tweaking and toying with my setup, but I’m quite happy with where I’ve landed. Let’s jump in!
My main machine is a 2016 space gray, 15-inch MacBook Pro. At first I was a bit concerned about just having the four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports for my primary Mac after coming from an iMac, but it hasn’t proven to be an issue for me. I use a USB-C monitor that includes a built-in hub/dock (will share more in a moment) and when I’m traveling I use the HyperDrive USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 Hub.
Even though the 15-inch MacBook Pro is a bit bulky for traveling, I value the extra screen real estate when I’m not working at my home office.
For my monitor I’m using BenQ’s PD2710QC. Not an inspiring name, but I really like the price point for the features it sports. When Apple partnered with LG for the UltraFine display, I was underwhelmed by the experience my colleagues and others were having with a $1,000+ product. I tried some other alternatives, including HP’s ENVY USB-C 4K sub-$500 option, but nothing stuck.
While at first I didn’t think I’d want anything less than 4K for an external display, BenQ’s PD2710QC changed my mind after using it for a few weeks. It features USB-C connectivity and an integrated dock with 4 USB A ports, Ethernet, DisplayPort, and 3.5mm audio. While I’d ultimately prefer all of these features and a 4K resolution, the $600 price point feels great.
I have my BenQ 27-inch display mounted offset on a VIVO articulating arm for a clean, floating appearance. The cool part about the integrated dock with this BenQ display is that it’s built into the removable base. And it just so happens to fit perfectly underneath my elago L4 MacBook Pro stand. I’ve got a couple of my external hard drives that live under there, tucked away, but easily accessible.
Working on creating a unified space gray theme I added Logitech’s Craft Wireless Keyboard. While I think it’s a bit overpriced, I like the customizability, space gray and aluminum design and it matches my mouse.
Honestly, I prefer the feel of Apple’s Magic Keyboard over the Logitech Craft Keyboard, but I also don’t want to pay $500+ for a space gray Magic Keyboard. The Craft has a much softer feel with a longer key throw compared to Apple’s Magic Keyboard. There’s nothing wrong with it, but comes down to personal preference.
I’ve been using the Logitech MX Master mouse for a while now. I actually still have the first generation in Navy (although it seems pretty much black to me). As a copy editor and writer, I really value how versatile and customziable this mouse is, it’s a big efficiency booster.
Sitting in the center of my desk, just in front of my external display is the ElevationDock 4. This is my favorite dock I’ve ever used. While it doesn’t offer wireless charging, I’ve found its other key features far outweigh the cord free charging for me.
My favorite aspect of this dock in day-to-day use is the suction grip and great angle that allow for one-handed use and docking/undocking, which is fantastic. Also, the angle is ideal for Face ID so I never have to hunch over my desk or enter my passcode.
Rounding out my desk is a Sonos Play:1 in black (pretty much space gray) which I’m using with the software AudioBridge as a temporary workaround until AirPlay 2 support arrives. I love Sonos’ sound and I also dig the simple and clean design.
I’ve also got one storage/organization container on my desk. I got it from IKEA a few years back and haven’t been able to find it since. It adds a pop of color and it’s clean and functional. IKEA does have a new series of aluminum desk storage options called Ypperlig.
I use the Jarvis standing desk for my setup. I like to move around a lot during the day and this motorized, programmable desk makes it easy to quickly adjust my workspace height.
I ended up going with just the frame from Jarvis and picked up a simple untreated pine top and applied some linseed oil for a light, natural look.
When I’m ready to switch it up and rest my legs, I use an AmazonBasics exercise ball (space gray 😅). I enjoy the motion and it also helps me stay focused on my posture.
For cable management underneath my desk, I opted for a couple of Fully’s WireTamers.
Otherwise I’ll probably keep this setup for a while, or at least until Apple releases the space gray Magic Keyboard and Trackpad for stand alone purchases…and we get a look at next year’s pro Apple display.
More Behind the Screens:
- See what gear is in Trevor’s CES 2018 backpack
- Check out Jeff Benjamin’s video editing workspace
- Take a look at Zac’s blogging and podcasting workstation