I’m currently in Paris finishing up my time at the launch event for a new OPPO smartphone. It’s my first proper overseas excursion for Mark Ellis Reviews and, obviously, I’ve brought too many devices with me.

There are the phones, obviously; that’s what this trip was all about, after all – but did I really need to bring two MacBooks?

Bar the additional heft this added to my already bulging backpack, lugging around two highly capable MacBooks seems rather indulgent, doesn’t it?

However, I have put both devices to good use while I’ve been here, and I’m growing increasingly curious about how to undertake these trips in the future.

I’ve done this before

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember my trip to Canada last year.

For some unfathomable reason, I decided to take every iPad I own to Montreal. Which is a lot of iPads. Trust me – when you throw an iPad Air (complete with Magic Keyboard), 12.9-inch iPad Pro (complete with Magic Keyboard), and an iPad mini into a backpack, you know about it.

I still have no idea why I did that. I think it was largely for content reasons – it gave me something to write about. But it also left me with the overriding desire to frisbee all of those bloody slabs of glass and aluminium across the departure lounge when it was time to head home.

It may, therefore, not surprise you to hear that I haven’t brought a single iPad with me to France. No, instead, I brought my M2 MacBook Air and the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Different functions

As I’ve highlighted in the past, the big MacBook and its little cousin are very different machines with very different roles to play in my business.

The M2 MacBook Air is the do-it-all workhorse. I’d genuinely be lost without it each day if it wasn’t there to help me publish these blogs (it’s sat on my lap now while I write this in my hotel room bed), remain on top of email, and undertake the myriad of other tasks that keep the brand running.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is equally indispensable, but for a completely different reason. The raw power on offer from that M1 Max chip makes video editing a breeze, no matter where I am or what I need to do. Since I’ve been away, I’ve edited an entire YouTube video, polished off some short-form content, and started work on my latest Patreon vlog.

That MacBook Pro is the most capable production laptop I’ve ever owned. More impressively, the stellar battery life means I’m rarely concerned about the proximity of a power outlet. It really has revolutionised my workflow and been a blessing on this trip.

But I still brought two laptops with me.

What’s the answer?

You can happily use the base model M2 MacBook Air in a pinch for video editing. I’ve done it in the past with the M1 version, and although I’ve not fully put the new one to task in that regard, the tests I’ve carried out suggest it’s just as capable.

However, I wouldn’t call any of the instances where I’ve had to edit video during this trip ‘a pinch’. I’ve had ample time, workspace, and energy (sort of) to get that work done, and when that’s the case, I’d much rather have the raw power of the 16-inch MacBook Pro on tap.

Similarly, I could use the big MacBook for the less intensive stuff with which I task the M2 MacBook Air. But that feels like a big device on which to write, and I spent many an uncomfortable writing session on the road with the Intel version in my past life as a freelance marketer.

There’s an answer for this, obviously – there always is. I think it lies in the 14-inch MacBook Pro. Life is all about compromises, and sacrificing the big 16-inch screen for a form factor that isn’t quite as back-breaking might be a sensible switch when upgrade time arrives – particularly if I continue to travel more regularly.

I’m just not sure I want to make those sacrifices. I love the size of that screen – it genuinely makes a huge difference when editing video on the go. I have time, thankfully – the 16-inch MacBook Pro will serve me for a good few years – but now the world is open and I’m desperate to get out and see more of it, will it turn into a burden?

Only time will tell. Obviously, I’ll keep you posted.

Final thought

I’m curious – have you ever found yourself in a similar situation where you rely on a couple of different devices for wildly different tasks, but which you suspect could be combined?

Tell me your tales of multi-device reliance and the solutions you’ve found in the comments section below!