I’ve spent the last few months bashing the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
It’s too big. It’s too heavy. It doesn’t fit on any coffee table that has ever been made, ever. You can’t take it on trains. You can’t take it on planes. It’s too big for your lap. It’s annoying to carry around. It’s like a lead weight in your backpack.
I know – my mother has told me a million times not to exaggerate.
However, despite my desire to downsize for my next MacBook Pro purchase, there’s no escaping the fact that I still rely just as heavily on the ‘big one’ as I always have.
Ironically, I simply could not run this business without it, and while I’ve been unfairly moaning about its unapologetic size, I’ve unwittingly created what I’ve just realised is the perfect 16-inch MacBook Pro setup.
I’d like to share it with you today.
My 16-inch MacBook of choice
A quick note on my 16-inch MacBook Pro.
It’s one of the oldest in my needlessly large fleet of Macs – and when I say “oldest”, I mean I purchased it in October 2021.
That was when Apple finally removed us from the MacBook Pro wilderness years. Gone was the horrible butterfly keyboard and in came more power and less throttling thanks to Apple silicon and, shock-horror, a complete about-turn on the port situation.
They even brought back MagSafe. And HDMI!
The result is easily the most impressive line-up of MacBook Pros we’ve ever been able to buy. They are damn-near faultless.
Mine is the M1 Max version with a fully maxed-out chip, 32GB of unified memory, and a 2TB SSD. It feels every bit as quick as the day I bought it, hence the lack of desire to upgrade to the M2 version.
But it’s what I’ve added to this 16-inch MacBook Pro that has really made it shine.
I’m fairly sure there’s something in here for everyone – even if you will possibly need to tweak your budget a little bit!
The monitor: Apple Studio Display
I had a lot to say about the Studio Display when it first arrived. It was – and still is – too expensive and had – and still has – one of the worst webcams on the planet.
Despite this, it is a lovely-looking thing, both design-wise and when it comes to the quality of the display itself.
It’s also an effortless partner for any MacBook. All you have to do is plug in one cable, and you’ve got a huge second display, power for your laptop, and a USB-C hub. In fact, it’s so good, I’ve thought about getting a second one – an option which is definitely still on the table.
The ‘dock’: Benks Infinity Max Laptop Stand
The Banks Infinity Max Laptop Stand isn’t a dock in the truest sense of the word – it doesn’t contain any expansion ports for your laptop. But it does provide a safe and incredibly useful perch for it if you’re using external peripherals.
Whenever I work from my studio, I place the MacBook Pro on the Benks stand, hook it up to the aforementioned Studio Display, and I immediately have the perfect two-display setup.
As with all Benks accessories, the Infinity Max Laptop Stand is beautifully built and delivers just the right features. The swivelling base is great for adjusting the angle of my MacBook Pro, and although I don’t take it out of the studio, the fact you can flatten the Benks stand makes it perfect for those who want to use it while travelling.
The keys: NuPhy Studio Halo96 keyboard
I love mechanical keyboards, but I must point out that I’m not a true mechanical keyboard aficionado.
I don’t really know anything about them, apart from the fact they feel lovely to type on, have a lovely traditional aesthetic, and emit an incredibly addictive sound.
NuPhy makes some of the best mechanical keyboards for people who don’t care how mechanical keyboards work, and who don’t want to build them from scratch. The Halo96 has remained on my desk for longer than any other I’ve tried thus far.
The no-brainer: Logitech MX Master 3S
I have some good news! Today, I’m not going to wax lyrical about the Logitech MX Master 3!
Instead, I’m going to wax lyrical about its follow-up – the MX Master 3S, which is pretty much the exact same mouse.
I recently forgot to pack the MX Master 3 into my backpack. When I returned home and realised it was missing, it literally felt like someone had chopped off a limb. So, without a moment’s thought, I immediately ordered an MX Master 3S.
This has consigned my beloved MX Master 3 to permanent studio duties on my M2 Pro Mac mini setup. The new MX Master 3S, complete with its beautifully muted button clicks, is my new and ever-present video editing partner.
The external storage: SanDisk SSDs
There has been a fair bit of bad press for SanDisk SSDs recently. I therefore need to be careful with my recommendation here, but I cannot escape the fact that I have never encountered an issue with the drives I’ve used. And I’ve really used these things.
To add some context to this, I’ve been using SanDisk external SSDs for over three years. I’ve edited more than 650 YouTube videos on them and they haven’t failed or lost data once. In my experience, they are bulletproof.
The audio: RODE NTH-100 headphones
The 16-inch MacBook Pro has a beautifully capable audio system and I have been known to rely on it for video edits.
However, usually, I prefer to use a pair of decent reference headphones, and the RODE NTH-100 are an absolute joy. They’re one of the comfiest pair of headphones I own, and the sound reproduction is flat enough to make them reliable for YouTube video edits.
RODE continues to make some utterly brilliant gear – don’t look past them.
The proper webcam: Insta360 Link
As mentioned earlier, the webcam on the Studio Display is garbage. The one on the 16-inch MacBook Pro isn’t bad, but neither comes close to the Insta360 Link.
This is not a cheap webcam and I’m pretty sure it has a relatively small audience. But if you’ve got the money for the Insta360 Link, you won’t regret your purchase. I use mine for every video call in the studio and it still provides the best image quality, second only to plugging in a honking great DSLR camera into my MacBook.
If you’re worried about missing Centre Stage, the Insta360 Link benefits from a physically moving head that’s akin to a drone gimbal. Once again, it isn’t cheap, but you get what you pay for.
The protection: Harber London Zippered Sleeve
I go through MacBook slipcases like I do pants.
This is because I’m a tech reviewer and get sent lots of laptop cases to try out, but there’s one brand that always seems to hold my attention for longer than most: Harber London.
Their stuff is utterly lovely – always. The Zippered Sleeve is the perfect fit for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, offers an abundance of protection inside and is even water-resistant. It’s expensive, but as with all Harber London stuff, you never feel short-changed (the fact it’s handmade in Spain helps).
I hope I’ve thrown some inspiration your way today for your own MacBook Pro setup, but if you’ve got your own favourites, please add them to the comments below!
Before you go
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