Tested: Elgato Stream Deck MK.2 may be made for gaming, but it shines for Mac productivity

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Elgato recently refreshed its Stream Deck with an MK.2 model, which caught my eye as a notable Twitch streaming companion. And then I started thinking how well it would work in my Mac workstation. Our latest Tested with 9to5Toys review dives in to just how this gaming accessory can upgrade your macOS productivity.

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Hands-on with the Elgato Stream Deck MK.2

Elgato is known for a variety of PC gaming accessories these days, but its Stream Deck is one of the peripherals that started it all. Recently, the brand refreshed the studio controller with the launch of the MK.2 version, which improved the experience with some quality-of-life changes.

Centered around the same customizable 15-key design as before, the new model has a more streamlined form-factor with a detachable 45-degree stand as well as USB-C connectivity. But how well does this $150 gaming accessory actually perform in a macOS workflow? Find out what to expect below.

Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:

  • 15 customizable LCD keys to control apps, tools, and platforms 
  • Removable faceplate for different designs and modification 
  • Easily customize keys to trigger single or multiple actions, launch social posts, adjust audio, turn on lights, and much more 
  • Detachable stand and USB-C cable included 
  • Powerful plugins for Elgato 4KCU, OBS, Streamlabs, Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Spotify, Philips Hue, and many more 
  • Hotkey actions to streamline your film editing, music production, photography workflow, and more 

9to5Toys’ Take

I originally picked up the new Elgato Stream Deck MK.2 back at the end of January to go alongside my first PC gaming setup. After using it for Twitch streaming, I got to thinking about how it could improve my daily Mac workstation, too. Paired with the 24-inch M1 iMac, it’s been quite the useful addition to my podcasting setup.

Each of the 15 keys found on the peripheral sports a customizable LED display that can be programed to a special icon or gif. There’s even the ability to showcase information in real time, like a stock price, current Twitch viewers, or notifications in a messaging app. That, paired with out-of-the-box Mac support and the new USB-C connection, made it a great companion to my M1 iMac.

As for how I am actually using it, I have the Elgato Stream Deck MK.2 configured for a variety of tasks. The first row is filled with various shortcuts to programs or workflows that I use everyday, like opening up GarageBand and other programs. It has also been indispensable for taming the various audio inputs and outputs for my setup. Thanks to quick actions, I have been able to set buttons that not only let me switch the audio settings between my microphone and iMac’s speakers but also see the sources at a glance thanks to the LCD keys.

One of my favorite use cases for the peripheral has to be controlling all of the HomeKit lights in my office. Thanks to the HomeControl Menu app, I was able to set favorite scenes as buttons for one-tap access to turning on the lights in the first place or setting the mood with a specific scene.

So don’t be fooled into thinking that because the Elgato Stream Deck MK.2 is geared toward being a gaming accessory, it won’t be a great addition to your Mac setup, too. Because it is! Having a dedicated input for supplementing my workflow in the way that this accessory does has been super helpful in streamlining daily tasks. There really is something so novel, not to mention useful, about just how customizable the latest Stream Deck is. Which is why it gets an easy Tested with 9to5Toys seal of approval from this podcaster and up-and-coming streamer.

Buy the Elgato Stream Deck MK.2

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